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Posts tagged ‘Type-2 diabetes’

Why we have an obesity problem Part #2

A while back I posted Why we have an obesity problem.

If that was Part #1, this is Part #2.

I was visiting my local Post Office the other day. It’s a busy little sub-Post Office counter built at the back of a neighbourhood convenience store, as many Post Office counters are these days. It’s almost always busy, and customers form a queue along one of the aisles of the shop. Here is the view as I stood in the aisle awaiting my turn to be served.

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Great, ‘the £1 zone’ is right there, where folks who just want to post a parcel or buy some stamps or apply for a drivers licence, have to stand and wait to be served.

I grabbed a packet of cookies and turned them over to see the nutrition label.

Check this out:

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This twin-pack of ‘vanilla flavoured cookies with chocolate chips’ weighs 400 grams net weight. As you can see, the cookies deliver 495 calories per 100g. In round numbers, this is 2000 calories – for £1. (For my readers outside the UK, at current rates, £1 sterling is €1.14 Euros, or $1.29 USD at current, Feb 2019, exchange rates.)

2000 calories is the recommended daily intake for an adult female in the UK, wishing to maintain body weight (not gain or lose).

2000 calories, your entire daily intake, for £1.

Let’s just check the ingredients label to see what these cookies are made of.

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Now, remember the way an ingredients list works – the items are listed in descending order, from the item that makes up the greatest percentage of the contents, down to the minor items listed last.

These cookies are made of – refined wheat flour, palm oil, sugar, chocolate chips (which are made of sugar and more palm oil) and then some coca butter and then lesser items.

Broken out by macronutrient, the 2000 calories in this £1 pack consist of:

  • Just over 50% sugar – 262 calories of carbs out of 495 calories per 100g. (Carbohydrates contain around 4.1 calories per gram.) They list “of which sugars” as a sub-set of the carbohydrate, but given that the ‘non-sugar’ is just refined wheat flour, once inside your intestines it is broken down and absorbed as glucose just the same as the refined sugar, so to your blood, to your metabolism, it’s all sugar. Out of 2000 calories – approx 1060 calories of sugar
  • After the flour and refined sugar, the only other substantial ingredient is the palm oil (not the best thing to be eating) which contribute the overwhelming majority of the calories from fats in this product. (Fats contain around 9 calories per gram.) SO we get around 212 calories of fat (palm oil) per 100g. Approximately 43% of this product is fat
  • Out of the total 2000 calories in the pack…it’s 53% sugar, and 43% fat – and that fat is not a healthy fat like you get in fresh fish, olive oil or avocado, that’s fat from palm oil
  • As for this ‘food product’ providing any possible health benefits…like vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids…forget it

We have an obesity problem in this country, and that problem is a burden that is unfairly heaped onto low income families, and this is a big part of what is causing that problem. Crap food, refined sugar, refined plant oils, and cheap processed grains, are everywhere – cheap food, easy to buy, in our faces, tempting, tasty, packed and displayed to make our kids nag and pester for it.

While 90% of people I meet say they “can’t afford to buy organic” fruits and vegetables, but convenience stores are punting 2000 calories of sugar and fat for just £1, we are never going to solve the problem.

Public Health England needs to sort this out. Food manufacturers and mass market retailers are one of the most potent forces driving the obesity problem in the UK, and there can be no doubt that the abundant availability of cheap sugar is also exacerbating the type-2 diabetes problem too. This puts an increasing burden of poor health on to poorer families – the government should be subsidising bloody fish and vegetables, and taxing the hell out of sugar and palm oil. Clearly, with 2000 calories on sale for £1 (how do they even do that? The cost of overheads, the packaging, the shelf space, the store staff???) this is not happening, and we have a food system that enabled unscrupulous manufacturers and retailers to dump a mass of cheap, health-damaging ‘food products’ on to the market without any sugar taxes or other barriers to stop them.

Shame on you Public Health England.
Shame on you UK govt.
Shame on you food manufacturers.
Shame on you major food retailers.
Shame on all of you. Our NHS cannot afford to treat this burden forever. We have to rebuild a country that understands ‘prevention is better than cure’.

 

Fix your diet and live longer…simple, right?

In the spirit of keeping things short and simple, let’s get straight to the point.

I made a little video for you, it’s only 11 minutes, and it briefly explains Mother Nature’s Diet and the 12 Core Principles in the most short and easy way I could! I was aiming for inside 10 minutes…got it in just over 11, that’s pretty good for me!

This healthy living game doesn’t have to be difficult, it really is simple stuff.
Try these –

See how simple this stuff is!

Now of course, if you want ‘complex’ then there is plenty of detail and plenty of science behind it all. You might like to read more about how a sedentary life (that means you don’t do much exercise) can increase the risk of kidney cancer and bladder cancer.

Or perhaps you would be interested in reading about the role of excess dietary carbohydrate in driving health conditions such as obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

This line stands out “An insulin response with every snack and meal for years can, in genetically vulnerable people, cause insulin resistance with variable expression among people and among different body tissues.” Read the whole (short) article in the British Journal of General Practice here.

As the article suggests, possibly the treatment protocol that has prevailed for decades – a diet based on whole grain ‘slow release’ complex carbs, and taking medications to control blood glucose, may in fact be the wrong approach, doing patients more harm than good. The correct approach, of course…well, that would be Mother Nature’s Diet. Natch.

If you need any further convincing on this topic, you should watch this lovely half-hour video from the highly personable Dr David Unwin, whom I have met and he’s a lovely chap, awarded as ‘Innovator of the Year’ by the NHS, for treating diabetic patients with a low-carb diet.

To your good health!

Karl

Vote to save our NHS…

There are several ways we can save the NHS – let’s look at the one you and I can do today.

I do not intend to start using this blog to talk politics, so apologies up front for the slightly provocative political tease in the title this week. As we approach a general election in the UK, there is an even greater than usual amount of talk in the media about the NHS being sold off, privatised, deliberately run into financial ruin and going broke.

Sadly, much of this talk is based in the uncomfortable reality that the NHS truly is in huge financial trouble. Doctors working long hours; A&E departments struggling to cope; patients on beds in corridors; nurses forced to go to food banks; the rising cost of treating an ageing population; the huge cost of treating obesity-related ill health; and the massive rise in the cost of treating our diabetes epidemic. These costs, along with the massive and constant cost of treating heart disease and related circulatory conditions and cancer treatments are crippling the NHS, and unless funding is increased, the system faces breaking point.

As a nation, we spend around 19% to 20% of our tax receipts on running the NHS, roughly the same as we spend on pensions. These two things – the NHS and pensions – are the biggest single areas of government expenditure in the UK. Be under no illusion, the NHS is a big deal, we spend many billions on healthcare annually, and no doubt private profit-making corporations would just love to get their hands on some of those big contracts.

But I’m pretty sure we don’t want an American-style system, we really don’t.

It seems that once nationwide healthcare provision comes under the influence of the joint forces of profit making insurance companies, profit making private medical facilities, and profit-making drug companies, then the whole system starts to Read more

Should we all be cutting back on starchy carbohydrates?

I have seen a lot in the press recently about type-3 diabetes, the proposed alternative name for Alzheimer’s disease.

This is not particularly new, Type-3 diabetes has been offered as a name for Alzheimer’s for over a decade now, but it does increasingly seem to be coming to the fore and reaching mainstream discussion more recently.

It makes me wonder how many more people are starting to see that high refined carbohydrate consumption is not our long-term historical norm. Now, I didn’t just write “humans are not supposed to eat carbs.” No, that’s not what I said. Humans have always eaten carbohydrates, just not is such great quantities, and not refined and processed, the way breakfast cereals, sliced bread, quick-cook pasta and baked goods are today. These refined carbs (sugars!) and all highly processed grain products (bread, pasta, cereals) are a relatively new addition to our diet, and in such bulk, they seem to be causing some serious problems.

And with all the increase in grain consumption, we are seeing an increasing rise in the human consumption of glyphosate, the highly controversial herbicide from Monsanto. This is of great concern to many – the numbers reported in that link are certainly ringing alarm bells.

It seems there are plenty of good reasons to look at consuming fewer foods made from processed grains, and fewer refined carbohydrates in general.

Low-carb diets have become amazingly popular in recent years, first it was The Atkins Diet, and more recently the Paleo movement.

And there are increasingly many reports of low-carb diets helping people, with challenging health problems such as type-2 diabetes and advanced renal failure. Indeed, I have had plenty of people email me over the last five years to tell me that they follow the MND lifestyle and they have controlled their type-2 diabetes or even reversed it and come off their medications. I have had some emails from people exclaiming “you’ve cured me!”

I do not actively promote Mother Nature’s Diet as a low-carb diet. MND as a way of living includes eating plenty of carbs every day, we just like to eat the most nutritious carbs we can, such as sweet potatoes and squash, rather than bread, pasta and cereals. These vegetables tend to be lower in calories and higher in fibre – in my opinion, much better choices. I promote MND as a healthy-carb diet, rather than a low-carb diet.

The 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet do steer you away from high carbohydrate consumption.

Core Principle 1 states “Eliminate processed grains and starches from your diet”

What’s the point here?

In very broad general terms, there are five key reasons why we avoid eating grains and processed starchy carbs when living the Mother Nature’s Diet way.

1: For the vast majority of people, unless you are an athlete, then you just don’t need lots of bulky starchy carbs in your diet. The truth for most people is that eating lots of these starches provides a lot of calories they don’t need, and that can lead to a gain in excess body fat.

2: Grains cannot be digested unless they are processed or fermented, and in the natural order of things, way back in evolution, these foods would not have formed a major component of our diet.

3: Most of these foods (grains) naturally contain compounds that are not good for a lot of people. These foods contain gluten, phytates and other chemical substances that can cause digestive problems for a lot of people.

4: Grains and starchy carbs – the way they are consumed in the typical Western diet – tend to supply lots of bulk and lots of calories, without supplying much in the way of micro-nutrients – vitamins and minerals. In terms of eating foods that fill your plate, there are much better choices.

5: Modern large-scale industrialised agriculture, particularly grain (wheat and barley, also maize, rice and soya) agriculture, is a major source of topsoil erosion and greenhouse gas emissions.

If you would like to read a little more detail, just click here.

We are not excluding an entire food group “from all people, in its entirety, at all times” just because “grains are bad for you” as there is much more to it than that. The reality is that for many people, the popular foods made using grains and other starches, sold en masse in our supermarkets, which form a bulk part of the typical modern Western diet, are feeding people large amounts of easily-digestible calories, eaten rapidly in large quantities, eaten too quickly, too easily, too eagerly, too often, and these foods tend to be of a fairly low overall nutrient density.

In all, this ‘consumption pattern’ seems to be a major contributing factor to growing obesity levels, it seems to be a major contributory factor to the rising type-2 diabetes problem, and it seems to be a major contributory factor to the sub-standard level of micro-nutrients in the modern Western diet.

Additionally, people tend to eat these grains and starchy carbs as ‘the bulk’ element of a meal (think cereals and toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, pasta, rice and spaghetti for dinner) and this can often lead to over-eating large quantities of these foods. Because of this issue of quantity, these grains and starchy carbs tend to contribute a substantial proportion of the calories in a person’s diet, but comparatively little micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals). This can contribute to weight gain.

Eating the MND way, we swap out those processed starchy foods for better options, namely fresh vegetables. The vegetable still offer some carbohydrate, but they are also offer more fibre, more micronutrients, less starch and fewer calories. For most people, this helps with weight loss and a healthier, more nutritious diet.

Eating the Mother Nature’s Diet way, in Core Principle 2 we also “Eliminate refined sugar, and limit natural sugars” and this further reduces the heavy carbohydrate load in the typical Western Diet.

So MND is not a low-carb diet per se, but it’s a healthy carb diet. It balances good choices of carbs, with good fats, varied proteins and plenty of micronutrients.

Try implementing the MND way into your life, just try it for 90 days, and see if it works for you.

Keeping things simple

This week, I have been reading a lot of things that resonate with me around a central theme of simplicity. I often talk about how the diet industry and the health-and-wellness industry over complicate everything in order to sell you ‘solutions’ This may be selling you supplements that promise amazing results – yet in reality, in the overwhelming majority of cases, supplements maybe make up about 1% of the story in total, at best.

Or it may be selling you ‘detox’ retreats, or fad diets promising to rid your body of ‘toxins’ – when in reality, there is no scientific truth behind the idea that if you eat a few extra vegetables you are somehow going to ‘release toxins’ that might be in your blood waiting to harm you. If your blood was ‘toxic’ you would be in hospital, fighting for your life. Don’t buy into this bullshit sales rubbish.

I read a lot, and I teach ‘science reduced to simplicity’ as the core of what I do at Mother Nature’s Diet. Time and again, I find that there really are only a handful of genuinely good ideas, all of which are of course encompassed in the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet.

Today, I was reading about ‘The Simple 7’ taught by the American Heart Association. Heart disease remains the global number one cause of death, and back in 1978, experts at the American Heart Association thought that rather than spending all our time trying to ‘cure’ heart disease, prevent people with heart disease from suffering heart attacks (and strokes), and keep people alive for longer after a heart attack, why not spend some time trying to help people not get heart disease at all in the first instance.

Now this is my kinda medicine – prevention is better than cure!

The American Heart Association came up with ‘The Simple 7’ Read more