The Latest in Health & Medicine

eating-almondsHave you kept up-to-date on the research on nutrition, the human microbiome, and ancestral health lately? If not, here’s your chance to catch up. In these semi-regular posts I include links to recently published articles, videos, and scientific papers that I find particularly interesting and that revolve around topics that are frequently discussed on this site, such as the human microbiome, physical activity, and ancestral diets.

Let me know in the comment section if you have any thoughts/opinions related to the articles and videos in today’s post or if you’ve come across any interesting new research on diet, health, and exercise that you think deserves to be mentioned.

A lot has happened in the world of ancestral health and medicine since the last time I did one of these posts, so for today’s edition I’ve got a lot of stuff I want to share with you…

– Diet

Excessive workout supplement use: An emerging eating disorder in men?

In an effort to build better bodies, more men are turning not to illegal anabolic steroids, but to legal over-the-counter bodybuilding supplements to the point where it may qualify as an emerging eating disorder, according to research. Read more…

It is time to bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity: you cannot outrun a bad diet

In the past 30 years, as obesity has rocketed, there has been little change in physical activity levels in the Western population.2 This places the blame for our expanding waist lines directly on the type and amount of calories consumed. Read more…

Mike Willesee’s Paleo challenge: The results

It was during an interview with celebrity chef Pete Evans that Willesee decided to test the claims that it [The Paleo Diet] could “change lives”.

Protein-packed breakfast prevents body fat gain in overweight teens

Researchers compared the benefits of consuming a normal-protein breakfast to a high-protein breakfast and found the high-protein breakfast — which contained 35 grams of protein — prevented gains of body fat, reduced daily food intake and feelings of hunger, and stabilized glucose levels among overweight teens who would normally skip breakfast. Read more…

Western diet is associated with a smaller hippocampus: a longitudinal investigation

Lower intakes of nutrient-dense foods and higher intakes of unhealthy foods are each independently associated with smaller left hippocampal volume. To our knowledge, this is the first human study to demonstrate associations between diet and hippocampal volume concordant with data previously observed in animal models. Read more…

We Love Paleo – Documentary Trailer 2015

Official trailer for We Love Paleo documentary 2015.

Food may be addictive: Food craving may be ‘hard-wired’ in the brain

An international group of researchers have found that food craving activates different brain networks between obese and normal weight patients. This indicates that the tendency to want food may be ‘hard-wired’ into the brain of overweight patients, becoming a functional brain biomarker. Read more…

Colorful potatoes may pack powerful cancer prevention punch

Compounds found in purple potatoes may help kill colon cancer stem cells and limit the spread of the cancer, according to a team of researchers. Read more…

Current dietary protein recommendations need updating, experts say

New research based on modern techniques suggests that recommendations for protein intake in healthy populations may be incorrect. In a paper just published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, an NRC Research Press journal (a division of Canadian Science Publishing), researchers put the focus on protein as an essential component of a healthy diet. Protein helps people stay full longer, preserve muscle mass, and when combined with adequate physical activity, has the potential to serve as a key nutrient for important health outcomes and benefits. Read more…

Diversifying your diet may make your gut healthier

A loss of dietary diversity during the past 50 years could be a contributing factor to the rise in obesity, Type 2 diabetes, gastrointestinal problems and other diseases, according to an expert. Read more…

The Gene For Sweet: Why We Don’t All Taste Sugar The Same Way

Sugar gives the human brain much pleasure. But not everyone revels in cupcakes with an inch of frosting, or milkshakes blended with candy bars, though these crazily sugary treats are increasingly the norm.

Scientists have known for a decade that cats and other felines don’t have taste buds for sweetness at all. So they figured there had to be some genetic variation in other species, including us. Lately, they’ve discovered that some of us have genes that make us more sensitive to bitter compounds. And that suggests there might be differences in how the other four tastes — sweet, sour, salt and umami — are genetically wired. Read more…

Step away from the burger: Why a ‘Western’ diet is bad for your health

Recent studies have linked Western diets with increased risks of colon and prostate cancer. Men eating mostly a Western diet were found to have 2.5 times the risk of dying from prostate cancer whilst the risks associated with colon cancer again linked back to inflammation and a change in the activities of gut bacteria. Read more…

Digesting Bread and Pasta Can Release Biologically Active Molecules

Biologically active molecules released by digesting bread and pasta can survive digestion and potentially pass through the gut lining, suggests new research. Read more…

New Studies on Salt: Adverse Influence Upon Immunity, Inflammation and Autoimmunity

The most powerful and scientifically valid study in humans has indisputably demonstrated that a high salt diet promotes chronic inflammation and adversely affects the immune system. Read more…

Disgust Diet: Can You Train Your Brain To Recoil At High-Calorie Foods?

Some days, the french fries are just irresistible. You know it’s not the best thing to put in your body, but did that salad really stand a chance after the smell of fried garlic, Parmesan and thyme on crisp potato wedges wafted over to you?

Well, Kristina Legget, a psychologist at the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus, thinks she can muffle that siren song. In a new study, she suggests there could be a simple way to retrain people’s brains into making fries or ice cream or anything else suddenly seem unappealing — even a little disgusting. Read more…

The Paleo Way – How we got here

Ancestral diets determine vulnerability to type 2 diabetes

Middle classes from developing countries are more susceptible than western Caucasians to obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease because of their ancestor’s diets. Read more…

Diet that mimics fasting appears to slow aging

Want to lose abdominal fat, get smarter and live longer? New research that periodically adopting a diet that mimics the effects of fasting may yield a wide range of health benefits. Read more…

– The Human Microbiome

Your stomach bacteria determines which diet is best for weight reduction

New research enables “tailored” diet advice — based on our personal gut microbiome — for persons who want to lose weight and reduce the risk of disease. Systems biologists have, for the first time, successfully identified in detail how some of our most common intestinal bacteria interact during metabolism. Read more…

Now You Can Buy Shampoo and Cleanser That Promote the Growth of “Good” Bacteria

If you’ve heard about probiotic cosmetic spray, it’s probably from a New York Times Magazine story published last year. In that article, journalist Julia Scott profiled the startup AOBiome and recounted her experience using the company’s signature product, a spray “contain[ing] billions of cultivated Nitrosomonas eutropha, an ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) that is most commonly found in dirt and untreated water.” Read more…

Indigenous Bacteria from the Gut Microbiota Regulate Host Serotonin Biosynthesis

… these findings demonstrate that Sp [spore-forming bacteria] are important modulators of host 5-HT [serotonin] and further highlight a key role for host-microbiota interactions in regulating fundamental 5-HT-related biological
processes. Read more…

Designer microbiome: MIT biologists program common gut bacteria

Researchers are still studying exactly how the microbiome — the billions of bacteria and other tiny critters that inhabit our bodies — influences human health.

But while they get on with that, bioengineers are assembling a tool kit for building designer bacteria that doctors could introduce into the microbiome to diagnose, monitor or even treat disease. Read more…

Is depression an infectious disease?

Your New Antidepressant Goes Remarkably Well With Blueberries

Maverick psychiatrists are dishing out probiotics in place of drugs. This may be outside the bounds of proven science. It’s also worth a shot. Read more…

Common Medicines Make Superbugs, Not Prescription Antibiotics

Careless prescriptions and cattle fattening antibiotics are blamed for the rise of superbugs resistant to everything in the hospital arsenal, but that’s all wrong. Antibiotics fail, because we are all abusing common medicines that also have powerful antibiotic activity. All painkillers, anti-inflammatories, statins, antidepressants, and the whole list of common pharmaceuticals are the problem. We simply use too many drugs. Read more…

Another Amazing Connection Between Gut Bacteria And Cognitive Functioning Found By OSU Researchers

Now, a new study, which was published in the journal Neuroscience, shows that diets high in fat and sugar are probably impacting cognitive functioning, because of their impact on the type of bacteria that thrive on high-fat and high-sugar diets. Read more…

Stopping Candida in its tracks

Scientists are one step closer to understanding how a normally harmless fungus changes to become a deadly infectious agent. Read more…

Prozac In The Yogurt Aisle: Can ‘Good’ Bacteria Chill Us Out?

The idea that fermented foods — including yogurt and kefir — are good for us goes way back. But could the benefits of “good bacteria” extend beyond our guts to our brains? Read more…

Targeting bacteria in the gut might help burn, trauma patients

Burn patients experience dramatic changes in the 100 trillion bacteria inside the gastrointestinal tract, research shows. The findings of a new study has now shown that there was an increase in potentially harmful bacteria, and decrease in beneficial bacteria. The findings suggest that burn patients might benefit from treatment with probiotics. Read more…

Lack of soluble fiber drives diet-induced adiposity in mice.

HFD-induced obesity is strongly promoted by its lack of soluble fiber, which supports microbiota-mediated intestinal tissue homeostasis that prevents inflammation driving obesity and metabolic syndrome. Read more…

Nicotine-eating bacteria could one day help smokers kick the habit

Most people who smoke cigarettes know it’s bad for their health, but quitting is notoriously difficult. To make it easier, scientists are taking a brand-new approach. They are turning to bacteria that thrive on nicotine, the addictive component in tobacco. They report successful tests on a bacterial enzyme that breaks down nicotine and could potentially dull its effects in humans. Read more…

The man who gets drunk on chips

A few people become inebriated simply by eating carbohydrates – what’s going on in the body? Helen Thomson reports. Read more…

Pot For Parasites? Pygmy Men Smoke Out Worms

About 70 percent of Aka men regularly use marijuana, scientists at Washington State University in Vancouver reported last month in the American Journal of Human Biology. By contrast, only about 6 percent of the women partake of the drug. Read more…

Why Would Anyone Get a Fecal Transplant? Watch a Brother and Sister Explain

It isn’t very often that a medical procedure inspires a patient-advocacy movement, let alone an Internet fan club. Especially not a procedure that is, well, icky. But that’s undeniably what has happened with fecal transplants, a low-tech practice from back in medical history that has worked its way from outlaw home procedure to papers in major medical journals and a Food and Drug Administration clinical trial. Read more…

Researchers Suggest Running Your Shower To Decrease the Risks of Crohn’s Disease

Scientists believe that bathroom showers may spread bacteria that cause Crohn’s Disease, and advise people to run the water for a short period before taking a bath. Read more…

You May Be on a Paleo Diet, but Is Your Microbiome?

… the question you need to ask yourself is whether you are eating enough fruits and vegetables to reach the FDA recommended amount of fiber (27-38 grams), never mind the 150 grams consumed by our Paleolithic ancestors. If not, you might be eating “paleo”, but your gut bacteria are not. Read more…

– Other topics

Obesity: Small intestine contributes to chronic inflammation

Obesity is caused by numerous and complex factors, some of which are as yet unsuspected. Scientists have now shown that severe obesity is accompanied by inflammation of the small intestine and enhanced immune response in that region. This phenomenon reduces the insulin sensitivity of enterocytes and increases the absorption of nutrients, thus exacerbating the disease. Read more…

“Safe” Plastic Alternatives Linked to Scary Health Problems

Exposure to two chemicals widely considered safe—and used in hundreds of consumer products including plastics, cosmetics, and soap—has been linked to increased blood pressure, insulin resistance, and other dangerous health problems in children, according to a new study. Read more…

There’s a single nerve that connects all of your vital organs — and it might just be the future of medicine

As part of the immune system, inflammation has a useful role helping the body to heal after an injury, for example, but it can damage organs and blood vessels if it persists when it is not needed. One of the vagus nerve’s jobs is to reset the immune system and switch off production of proteins that fuel inflammation. Read more…

Low chance of obese people recovering normal body weight

The chance of an obese person attaining normal body weight is 1 in 210 for men and 1 in 124 for women, increasing to 1 in 1,290 for men and 1 in 677 for women with severe obesity, according to a new study. The findings suggest that current weight management programs focused on dieting and exercise are not effective in tackling obesity at population level. Read more…

Smart phone not a smart choice when facing depression

Depressed people who turn to their smart phones for relief may only be making things worse. A team of researchers found that people who substitute electronic interaction for the real-life human kind find little if any satisfaction. Read more…

Controlling inflammation to reduce chronic disease risk

The nutrition status of the individual with for example a deficiency or excess of certain micronutrients (e.g. folate, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin 1, vitamin E, zinc) may lead to an ineffective or excessive inflammatory response. Studies have showed that high consumption of fat and glucose may induce post-prandial inflammation (manifesting itself after the consumption of a meal), which may have consequences for the development of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The Western-style diet, rich in fat and simple sugars but often poor in specific micronutrients, is linked to the increased prevalence of diseases with strong immunogical and autoimmune components, including allergies, food allergies, atopic dermatitis and obesity. Read more…

Underground Wellness. Podcast #339: Molds, Mycotoxins, and Sick Building Syndrome

Did you know that the mycotoxins from hidden molds in homes and office buildings can be the root cause of asthma, allergies, fatigue, headaches, neurological conditions, and more?

Unfortunately, medical doctors have not been trained to consider mold exposure as a potential cause of these symptoms and conditions. Read more…

Barry Schwartz: The paradox of choice

Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In Schwartz’s estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.

Picture: Creative Commons picture by Abd allah Fotelh. Some rights reserved.

Comments

  1. Lots of good information to re-read. Thank you, Eirik!

  2. Thanks for all the info, Eirik.

  3. “Current dietary protein recommendations need updating, experts say”, and
    “Protein-packed breakfast prevents body fat gain in overweight teens”

    I would definitely agree. I’ve read (with a grain of salt) that too much protein can cause cancer via the mTOR pathway. One website in particular (that’s a bit far-out) preaches low food protein intake, yet inexplicably recommends (and, of course, sells) whey protein, which IMO is a heavily processed non-food. I don’t see anything wrong with higher protein intake from real food when it works on an individual basis.

    I feel and function noticeably better when I include quite a bit of animal protein in my diet, particularly for breakfast (such as ham and eggs). It usually holds me until dinner with no desire to snack. Without the high-protein breakfast I’m hungry all day. When I’ve had enough protein, I lose interest in eating whatever is left on my plate, so it seems to be sort of a self-regulating thing. I’d be interested in your take on this, Eirik.

    • I’ve written an article on this topic that you may find interesting. Check it out 🙂

      http://bretcontreras.com/protein-the-most-important-macronutrient-for-weight-loss/

      A quote from the article:

      Studies in animals were some of the first to suggest that protein consumption plays a key role in regulating total energy intake (6). When spider monkeys, mice, pigs, and numerous other species are given a diet with a low percentage of protein, they tend to consume more total energy than when they are faced with a diet with a high protein content. The observation that mammals continue eating in an attempt to reach a targeted protein intake has also been shown in several human studies (6,7,8,9).

  4. Great info, thanks for compiling all of these!

  5. “Step away from the burger: Why a ‘Western’ diet is bad for your health”

    Burgers are always getting a bad rap, but they aren’t necessarily poor nutrition unless they are those cheap, bready offerings from the fast food chains. Deconstructed, a good hamburger contains a decent-size patty of ground chuck, tomato, lettuce, onions, maybe pickles, a bit of mustard or mayo–in other words, nothing really terrible. Yes, there’s too much bread with a burger, but you don’t need to eat the entire bun. You don’t need to eat any of it, for that matter. You don’t have to eat it with an order of greasy French fries either. When made at home (or at a good restaurant), you can replace the fries with a side salad or veggies.

    Burgers might not be something that one should eat every day, but they can be a lot healthier than some of the so-called “Paleo” substitute foods and recipes I’ve seen.

    • Absolutely. Unfortunately, the burger you describe is not the type of burger most people eat. Rather, they’ll stop by McDonald’s on their way home from work and order a burger made of refined wheat (bun) and processed, fatty meat (patty), as well as french fries and coke.

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