Category Archives: hunter gatherer

Anti-inflammatory diet, are 9 servings of vegetables per day possible?

I often recommend a specific diet to decrease inflammation, decrease pain, and improve healing of tissue. I have been asked by patients to post this nutritional plan on my website so here it is (see below). In addition to this post, I will place the diet on a separate page along with recipes for vegetable soup and bone broth.

The recipes (vegetable soup and bone broth) meet the anti-inflammatory diet guidelines and also follow the more restrictive “Autoimmune Protocol”. This nutritional approach provides an array of micro nutrients that fight inflammation, support tissue repair, decrease the risk of chronic disease, and help maintain  a healthy gut flora (good bacteria in the intestines).

When I recommend 9 servings per day of vegetables patients often tell me it is impossible to achieve.  But it is not impossible, nor is it impractical. Every Sunday afternoon I make a large pot of vegetable soup that will keep all week in the refrigerator. I bring  generous servings to work every day for breakfast, brunch, and/or lunch and add some meat or seafood prepared the evening before (left-overs) on the side. The key to eating 9 servings per day is to have a variety of vegetables at every meal. The vegetable soup makes that goal not just achievable but convenient.

The anti-inflammatory diet described below provides ample fiber to feed your healthy gut bacteria and avoids the sugar and refined starches that can produce gut dysbiosis (unhealthy balance of bacteria in the intestines). Vegetables provide five times the amount of fiber per calorie compared to grains. You do not need to eat bread or cereal to get fiber.

So here is the anti-inflammatory diet. it is consistent with the Mediterranean diet as well as an Ancestral-Paleo diet.

Caution: if you have diabetes and are taking medications, this diet reduces carbohydrates and eliminates added sugar so adjustments in diabetes medications are necessary to avoid potentially dangerous low blood sugars. So consult your physician or primary care practitioner.

9 SERVINGS  OF NON-STARCHY VEGETABLES PER DAY, 3 SERVINGS FROM EACH OF THREE CATEGORIES. Organic as much as possible. (Read about the Dirty Dozen here: Dirty Dozen | EWG’s 2017 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce )

  1. DARK GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES, 3 SERVINGS PER DAY EQUALS 3 CUPS MEASURED COOKED OR 6 CUPS MEASURED RAW
  • Arugula, Beet Greens, Bok Choy, Chard all colors, Chicory, Cilantro
  •  Dandelion Greens, Endive, Escarole, Kale-all kinds, Parsley, Radicchio
  • Radish leaves, Spinach, Turnip Greens, Watercress
  1. Colored vegetables, 3 cups daily:
  • GREEN: Artichoke, Asparagus, Avocado (FRUIT), Cabbage (red and green) Celery, Cucumber with skin, Okra, Olives, Peppers, Zucchini with skin
  • RED: Beets, red cabbage, red peppers, cooked tomatoes (fruit)
  • YELLOW: Carrots, Pumpkin, Squash-summer and winter, Sweet potato,
  1. SULFUR RICH VEGETABLES, 3 CUPS DAILY: Some leafy greens are also sulfur rich so there is overlap in these categories
  • Arugula, Asparagus, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collard Greens, Garlic, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Mushrooms, Onions red-yellow-white, Radishes, Scallions, Shallots, Turnip Greens, Watercress.

Berries (any kind) ½ cup per day. This can be substituted for one serving of vegetables.

OMEGA-3 rich fish-seafood (at least 16 ounces per week)

  • Anchovies, clams, herring, mackerel, mussels, oysters, salmon, sardines, trout, calamari (squid), saltwater fish should be wild, shellfish farmed OK, farmed trout OK.

Meat ideally grass fed and grass finished, hormone and antibiotic free.

Poultry and eggs free range, any wild game meat or poultry.

Drink only filtered water, coffee, tea, bone broth (homemade is best) and kombucha.

No grains, cereal, bread, pasta, no food made from flour, no oats, wheat, barley, corn etc.

No legumes (beans), no peanuts

No dairy except Ghee for cooking (optional)

No processed food made with added sugar or hydrogenated oils (which contain trans-fats)

No “vegetable oils” (soy oil, corn oil, etc.)

Use only extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and ghee. Limit EVOO to low heat cooking or add after food is cooked. The other oils on this list have higher smoke points.

Do not use store-bought salad dressing which usually has added sugar and inflammatory vegetable oils. Make your own salad dressing with EVOO and vinegar or lemon juice.

For more information about the AIP (Autoimmune protocol)  I suggest you visit these websites:

Autoimmune gut-repair diet – Autoimmune protocol | Dr. K. News

The Autoimmune Protocol – The Paleo Mom

The Autoimmune protocol is more restrictive than the anti-inflammatory diet and is beneficial for individuals with autoimmune disease.

Live clean, sleep well, exercise outside in the sunshine, love and laugh.

Dr. Bob

Nutrition Journals and the influence of the food industry

Ever wonder why the public is so confused about nutrition recommendations? Just follow the money and you will understand that most of the professional societies that publish nutrition articles are funded by big food companies that are trying to sell more sugar, refined carbs and junk food. I recently read an excellent post about this topic here:

The Vilest Villain: American Society of Nutrition

This theme is repeated by medical journals that are “The Official Journal of the Society of >>>>>>” Just fill in the blanks for just about any medical society. Funding comes from big pharmaceutical companies the same way that funding in the nutrition Journals comes from large (junk) “food” manufacturers.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of very valuable, life-saving drugs out there.

But most chronic human disease in developed societies is generated by various combinations of poor nutrition, lack of exercise, disruption of circadian rhythm, inadequate restorative sleep, stress and lack of social support systems.

The obesity and diabetes epidemics continue to worsen yet the failed dietary advise of major health organizations is slow to respond to the data. Excess refined carbs (especially in the form of “food” made with flour) and added sugar (especially in the form of HFCS) are the major driving forces for obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Red meat is not the culprit, provided the meat is properly sourced (hormone and antibiotic free, grass fed) and cooked in a manner that does not create carcinogens and inflammatory mediators (cook with slow, low, moist heat, high temperature grilling and smoking cause problems, but that topic  is for another post).

Americans consume an average 130 pounds per year of added sugar and 140 pounds per year of refined flour. Those are averages so there are many people who consume more. The added sugar is not the white stuff people put in their coffee. It comes in all sorts of forms but is found in energy drinks, soda, lattes and mochas, salad dressing,  ketchup, canned soups, canned vegetables, white AND whole grain breads, pasta (even “whole grain”), crackers, breakfast cereal,  just about any packaged food that has more than one ingredient on the label. These foods represent 70% of the American diet. The problems created by this situation are enormous and will bankrupt our “healthcare system”. This is a cultural and economic problem.

The solutions are simple but largely ignored in our society. We are creatures of habit and convenience.

Eat whole foods, nothing from a package that has more than one ingredient. Eat meat, seafood, poultry, fresh organic vegetables (6-9 servings per day), fresh organic fruits, and nuts. Meat should be hormone and antibiotic free (free range, grass fed). Seafood should be wild. Poultry should be free range and the eggs should come from free range chickens, ducks, geese.

Do not worry about eating fat as long as it comes from healthy animals and sources such as coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil and clarified butter (ghee).

Do not use any “vegetable” oils (corn, soy, and other oils from grains or seeds) The vegetable oils are highly refined and inflammatory. They contain easily oxidized omega 6 fats that feed the production of inflammatory mediators in your body and create oxidized LDL leading to atherosclerosis.

Exercise daily, preferably outside in a green space. Twice per week spend 20-30 minutes  doing resistance training (lift weights, work against the resistance of bands, use your own body weight doing pushups, pull-ups etc)

Reduce stress with mediation, yoga, tai chi, dancing, engaging in fun sports and social activities. Walk on the beach, by a lake, river or stream, in the woods, listen to music.

Get some sunshine regularly especially during the morning to get your circadian rhythm in order and to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D.

Spend time with family, friends and colleagues who are supportive and fun to be around.

Sleep in the dark.

Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Avoid TV, computer screens and other electronic devices for at least 2 hours before bedtime.

Unplug from the internet, email, etc on a regular basis.

We evolved as hunter-gatherers.

Peace

Bob Hansen MD

 

 

Great lecture videos available on line

In January I attended the annual meeting of Physicians for Ancestral Health. There were great presentations on many topics related to lifestyle and health. Take a look at the website linked below to learn about many topics relating nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle to health.

Open Video Archives | Physicians for Ancestral Health

I presented a lecture titled “The Lipoprotein Retention Model, What’s Missing?” This discusses many factors (root causes) that contribute to the formation of plaque in arteries and what can be done to prevent this insidious process by adopting a “Paleo Lifestyle“.

Other videos include:

Paleopathology and the Origins of the Paleo Diet. Keynote speaker Michael Eades MD, author of several books and a well known website.

Medicine Without Evolution is like Engineering Without Physics– Randolph M Neese, MD Director of the Arizona State University Center for Evolution.

The Roles of Intermittent Fasting and Carbohydrates in Cancer Therapy– Dawn Lemanne, MD, MPH, integrative oncologist.

 23 and Me: Practical First Steps-Deborah Gordon MD, discusses a practical approach to utilizing information from this genetic test.

Histamine Intolerance-Why (food) Freshness Matters– Georgia Ede MD.

 

Mood and Memory: How Sugar Affects Brain Chemistry-Georgia Ede, MD.

Systems Analysis and Multiple Sclerosis– Tommy Wood MD, author, blogger and lecturer, frequently interviewed on topics related to exercise and nutrition.

Cholesterol OMG– Jeffry Gerber, MD “The Diet Doctor” in Denver Colorado

Bob Hansen MD

 

 

 

Low Carb Beats Low Fat Again, Annals of Internal Medicine article

Once again, a randomized trial demonstrates that a carbohydrate restricted approach is superior to a low fat diet with regards to weight loss, inflammation, body composition and cardiovascular risk factors. This study was recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the official journal for the American College of Physicians.

Men and women aged 22 to 75 years with a body mass index of 30 to 45 kg/m2 (obesity defined as BMI > 30, morbid obesity defined as BMI >35) were recruited from the general public by using mailing lists, fliers, work site and community screenings, and television advertisements.

Neither diet included a specific calorie or energy goal. Participants in each group were asked to refrain from changing their physical activity levels during the intervention

Here is the summary cut and pasted from the abstract.

Objective: To examine the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet compared with a low-fat diet on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors.

Design: A randomized, parallel-group trial. (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00609271)

Setting: A large academic medical center.

Participants: 148 men and women without clinical cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Intervention: A low-carbohydrate (<40 g/d) or low-fat (<30% of daily energy intake from total fat [<7% saturated fat]) diet. Both groups received dietary counseling at regular intervals throughout the trial.

Measurements: Data on weight, cardiovascular risk factors, and dietary composition were collected at 0, 3, 6, and 12 months.

Results: Sixty participants (82%) in the low-fat group and 59 (79%) in the low-carbohydrate group completed the intervention. At 12 months, participants on the low-carbohydrate diet had greater decreases in weight (mean difference in change, −3.5 kg [95% CI, −5.6 to −1.4 kg]; P = 0.002), fat mass (mean difference in change, −1.5% [CI, −2.6% to −0.4%]; P = 0.011), ratio of total–high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (mean difference in change, −0.44 [CI, −0.71 to −0.16]; P = 0.002), and triglyceride level (mean difference in change, −0.16 mmol/L [−14.1 mg/dL] [CI, −0.31 to −0.01 mmol/L {−27.4 to −0.8 mg/dL}]; P = 0.038) and greater increases in HDL cholesterol level (mean difference in change, 0.18 mmol/L [7.0 mg/dL] [CI, 0.08 to 0.28 mmol/L {3.0 to 11.0 mg/dL}]; P < 0.001) than those on the low-fat diet.

Limitation: Lack of clinical cardiovascular disease end points.

Conclusion: The low-carbohydrate diet was more effective for weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor reduction than the low-fat diet.

Primary Funding Source: National Institutes of Health.

Let’s go through those results again: At 12 months, participants on the low-carbohydrate diet had

  1.  greater decreases in weight. This has been demonstrated in multiple previously published studies.
  2.  greater decreases in  fat mass. This is an important distinction, the low carb group lost more fat, not muscle.
  3.  greater decreases in the ratio of total to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. This ratio is a measure of cardiovascular risk (risk for heart attack and stroke). It improved more on low carb than on low fat diets.
  4.  greater decreases in triglyceride level. Triglyceride level is also an important cardiovascular risk factor. It went down significantly more as compared to the low fat diet.
  5.  greater increases in HDL cholesterol level. This result is considered to be protective against heart attack and stroke.
  6. greater decreases in CRP level than those in the low-fat group. CRP (C-reactive protein) is a blood test for inflammation and is also a cardiovascular risk factor.
  7. significant decreases in estimated 10-year risk for coronary heart disease as measured by the Framingham risk analysis at 6 and 12 months, whereas those in the low-fat group did not. Say again, the low fat group did not decrease their Framingham risk analysis but the low carb group did.

All of these differences were “statistically significant”, meaning they were unlikely caused by accident.
And what about side-effects?

The number of participants who had symptoms, including constipation, fatigue, thirst, polyuria, diarrhea, heartburn, gas, nausea, vomiting, appetite changes, or headache, did not differ significantly between the low-carbohydrate and low-fat groups, except significantly more participants on the low-fat diet reported headaches at 3 months

The authors concluded:

Our study found that a low-carbohydrate diet induced greater weight loss and reductions in cardiovascular risk factors at 12 months than a low-fat diet among black and white obese adults who did not have diabetes, CVD, or kidney disease at baseline. Compared with a low-fat diet, a low-carbohydrate diet resulted in greater improvements in body composition, HDL cholesterol level, ratio of total–HDL cholesterol, triglyceride level, CRP level, and estimated 10-year CHD risk. Because CVD is the most common cause of death in the United States and obesity is a particularly prevalent risk factor, our study has important clinical and public health implications

Effects of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets: A Randomized Trial, A. Bazzano, MD, PhD, MPH et. al., Ann Intern Med. 2014;161(5):309-318. doi:10.7326/M14-0180

Get rid of the sugar-added foods, processed and refined flour foods and vegetable oils. Send a message to corporate America that crap-in-a bag and crap-in-a-box is no longer in demand. Eat only grass-fed meat, wild seafood, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit and tree nuts. Enjoy better health and better food.

 

Bob Hansen MD.

Not all calories are the same.

The old school teaching about obesity went like this. Consume more calories than you burn and you gain weight. Consume less calories than you burn and you lose weight. Obesity is just a problem of self control. All calories are the same.

This way of thinking has been dis proven but still pervades many discussions.

Ample evidence supports the following facts that should be considered in choosing foods and mitigating the obesity epidemic.

  • High glycemic high carbohydrate foods and beverages such as bread, pasta, potatoes, crackers, chips, granola bars, breakfast cereal, soda, energy drinks produce a rapid rise in blood sugar and insulin levels, stimulate hunger, enhance further carbohydrate cravings, and drive people to overeat. Thus, what kind of food you eat affects how much you eat. (1,2)
  • High carbohydrate diets  result in decreased calorie burning (decreased metabolic rate) compared to high fat high protein diets. Thus, a diet with carbohydrate restriction not only limits hunger (improves satiety) but also results in burning more calories for the same level of activity and at rest. I have previously discussed weight loss studies that consistently demonstrate that carbohydrate restriction results in spontaneous reduction in caloric consumption. At the same time this approach results in burning more calories while you watch TV or go for a walk. (3)
  • The human body does not absorb all of the calories present in food. A higher % of the calories present in highly processed refined foods (which represent 70% of the American diet) are absorbed compared to whole unprocessed foods such as tree nuts. (4)
  • Whole foods, especially non-starchy vegetables, provide much more satiety producing fiber (non-starchy vegetables have five to seven times as much fiber compared to whole grain bread on a per calorie basis)
  • Food choices produce different effects on the gut flora. A diet consisting of whole hunter-gatherer type foods (grass fed meat, free range poultry and eggs, wild seafood, fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts) enhance and support the development of “good bacteria” in the gut. As discussed before , the gut flora have a major impact on the risk of obesity and other diseases.
  • High carbohydrate diets produce higher insulin levels.  Insulin results in conversion of carbohydrate into fat and storage of fat. Insulin inhibits the burning of fat. Carbohydrate restriction results in burning fat for energy.
  • The process of protein digestion consumes more calories compared to the digestion of carbohydrate. Protein has a higher  thermogenic effect compared to carbohydrate.

THE BOTTOM LINE: not all calories are the same. The quality of the food we consume affects our metabolic rate, our absorption of calories, how quickly we feel full and therefore how many calories we consume, and the mix of good bacteria and bad bacteria that live in our GI tract.

Good health, peace and tranquility to all

BOB

1. Fed Up Asks, Are All Calories Equal? – NYTimes.com

2. Changes in diet and lifestyle and long-term wei… [N Engl J Med. 2011] – PubMed – NCBI

3. Effects of Dietary Composition During Weight Loss Maintenance: A Controlled Feeding Study

4. Impact of Peanuts and Tree Nuts on Body Weight and Healthy Weight Loss in Adults

An Egg a day keeps the doctor away

When I recommend to my patients that they should eat eggs and vegetables for breakfast rather than breakfast cereals (which have high sugar content and nasty gut inflaming gluten proteins) they often ask “well what about my cholesterol ?”. I tell them that eggs are a health food and that they do not need to worry about their cholesterol.

I first read about the man who ate 25 eggs per day for 15 years here.

Health Correlator: The man who ate 25 eggs per day: What does this case really tell us?

He was 88 years old when some cholesterol fearing physicians studied his plasma lipids (HDL, LDL, triglycerides etc.) and other aspects of his health (blood pressure, weight, etc.) and discovered that he was very healthy at the ripe age of 88.

Normal Plasma Cholesterol in an 88-Year-Old Man Who Eats 25 Eggs a Day — NEJM

This article was published in 1991 and the authors concluded that this man was exceptional in lacking adverse health consequences from eating 25 fat and cholesterol laden eggs every day for 15 years. Since that time, many studies on the health effects of eggs have demonstrated that they are in fact a health food and do not increase cardiovascular risk. In fact they provide a nutrient dense assortment of important vitamins, minerals, fat, and protein. Perhaps most importantly they are very high in choline, an important nutrient which is not hard to come by. Eggs and liver provide an abundance of choline.

Choline is widely used in the human body for many important functions. These include:

  • building block for an important neuro-transmitter called acetyl-choline (you cannot live without it)
  • essential component of the phospholipids that form the outer membrane of all living cells
  • chemical precursor to betaine which is essential to health, particularly for eyesight
  • methyl metabolism (methylation is an essential physiologic chemical process in our body)
  • protects against fatty liver disease

You can read more about the importance of choline here:

Choline – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Regular egg consumption has been demonstrated to improve insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular risk profiles in healthy individuals and in individuals with metabolic syndrome as demonstrated here:

Whole egg consumption improves lipoprotein profil… [Metabolism. 2013] – PubMed – NCBI

Daily egg consumption with modest carbohydrate restriction in that study resulted in:

  • improved insulin sensitivity (good)
  • reduction in oxidized LDL (very good, oxidized LDL is the major instigator for atherosclerosis)
  • reduced triglycerides (high triglycerides are a marker for metabolic syndrome, precursor to diabetes, heart attack and stroke)
  • reduction in other blood lipid markers for cardiovascular risk (apoE, apoC-III, large VLDL, total IDL, small LDL and medium LDL)
  • increase in the size of HDL and LDL particles (reduction in cardiovascular risk)

They concluded that:

“Atherogenic dyslipidemia improved for all individuals”

In adults with metabolic syndrome (hypertension, insulin resistance, obesity, high triglycerides) three whole eggs per day with moderate carbohydrate restriction resulted in:

  • reduced waist size
  • reduced % body fat
  • reduction in inflammation as measured by plasma tumor necrosis factor alpha and serum amyloid

The authors concluded that:

“on a moderate carbohydrate background diet, accompanied by weight loss, the inclusion of whole eggs improves inflammation to a greater extent than yolk-free egg substitute in those with MetS.”

Effects of carbohydrate restriction a… [J Clin Lipidol. 2013 Sep-Oct] – PubMed – NCBI

In yet another study:

Daily intake of 3 whole eggs, as part of a CRD, increased both plasma and lipoprotein lutein and zeaxanthin. Egg yolk may represent an important food source to improve plasma carotenoid status in a population at high risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

See for yourself:

Egg intake improves carotenoid status by increasi… [Food Funct. 2013] – PubMed – NCBI

In another study:

Consumption of 2 and 4 egg yolks/d for 5 wk increases macular pigment concentrations (lutein and zeazanthin) in older adults with low macular pigment taking cholesterol-lowering statins.

“Lutein and zeaxanthin may reduce the risk of dry, age-related macular degeneration because of their photo-oxidative role as macular pigment.”

Consumption of 2 and 4 egg yolks/d for 5 wk i… [Am J Clin Nutr. 2009] – PubMed – NCBI

Studies of the benefits of high-cholesterol egg consumption have  been so convincing that even the American Heart Association has removed advice to avoid eggs.

“…there have been a number of epidemiological studies that did not support a relationship between cholesterol intake and cardiovascular disease. Further, a number of recent clinical trials that looked at the effects of long-term egg consumption (as a vehicle for dietary cholesterol) reported no negative impact on various indices of cardiovascular health and disease”

Exploring the factors that affect blood cholesterol… [Adv Nutr. 2012] – PubMed – NCBI

From an evolutionary medicine point of view, eggs and ample dietary cholesterol have been around a long time in the human diet.

“Paleoanthropologists suggest that dietary cholesterol has been in the human diet for millions of years (710). Sources included eggs, bone marrow, and organ meats. Stone Age intake of cholesterol is uncertain, but it may well have exceeded current dietary recommendations.

 There are many important biological roles for cholesterol that span the spectrum from cell membrane structure to steroid hormone synthesis, bile acid synthesis, and others. The vital role of cholesterol in human metabolism and the well-established place of dietary cholesterol in the native human diet provide a robust theoretical challenge to the view that dietary cholesterol poses a threat to human health.

 More important still are prospective, population-based studies that, when similarly scrupulous about variation in other dietary components, find no association between cholesterol intake in general, or egg intake in particular, and the risk of CVD (13).”

Exploring the factors that affect blood cholesterol… [Adv Nutr. 2012] – PubMed – NCBI

Here are more links to discover that eggs are a health food.

Egg consumption and endothelial function: a randomized controlled crossover trial.

Endothelial function testing as a biomarker of vascular disease.

Daily egg consumption in hyperlipidemic adults–effects on endothelial function and cardiovascular risk.

Endothelial function testing as a biomarker of vascular disease.

Daily egg consumption in hyperlipidemic adults–effects on endothelial function and cardiovascular risk.

High intake of cholesterol results in less atherogenic low-density lipoprotein particles in men and women independent of response classification.

Plasma LDL and HDL characteristics and carotenoid content are positively influenced by egg consumption in an elderly population.

Eggs distinctly modulate plasma carotenoid and lipoprotein subclasses in adult men following a carbohydrate-restricted diet.

Significance of small dense low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol concentrations in relation to the severity of coronary heart diseases.

Rethinking dietary cholesterol. [Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2012] – PubMed – NCBI

Endothelial function is the term used to describe how well the arteries can expand and contract to meet the needs of blood flow. It is considered an important tool for assessing cardiovascular risk and it is impaired in metabolic syndrome, diabetes and in patients with coronary artery disease. Compromise of endothelial function is part of the process of atherosclerosis and heart attacks.

“There is thus a case to be made that endothelial function is potentially a summative measure of overall cardiac risk status and at least a valuable addition to standard risk measures (45). The ever-expanding footprint of research in this area in the cardiology literature attests to its importance.”

Despite (or because of) their high fat and cholesterol content, eggs have not been found to have any negative effects on endothelial function.

Rethinking dietary cholesterol. [Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2012] – PubMed – NCBI

So far since launching this blog a few weeks ago we have discovered that saturated fat and cholesterol containing foods are not the villains portrayed by the media, doctors and professional organizations that give us nutritional advice.

We have reviewed evidence that added sugar, sweetened beverages, refined carbohydrates (especially flour foods), trans-fats, and excessive polyunsaturated omega six fats from processed “vegetable oil” are the culprits with regards to obesity, diabetes, heart attack and stroke. These culprit components of the modern Western diet were definitely absent from the diets of our paleolithic ancestors. We have not evolved to tolerate them. These modern manufactured and processed “foods” represent an unhealthy deviation from our evolutionary past.

There is so much more to discuss. In the spirit of more work ahead during this 50th anniversary week of John F Kennedy’s assassination. I will close with a quote from JFK’s favorite poet and friend, Robert Frost.

“I have promises to keep, / And miles to go before I sleep, / And miles to go before I sleep.”

Peace,

Bob Hansen MD

Introduction

Practical Evolutionary Health

Americans spend almost twice as much per person on health care than the rest of the developed world yet we rank between 20 and 30 on most measures of public health. Why is that? The answer lies in our cultural habits, shaped in no small part by the marketing departments and sales forces of corporate America. Lifestyle and personal habits, in the broadest sense, determine our longevity and functional status (both physical and mental) as we age more than any drug or surgery. Dissecting how corporate America shapes and affects our health requires us to explore several layers. The first layer includes the food, pharmaceutical and medical device industries. But looking deeper at what shapes our culture and therefore our health, we must recognize the way our consumer driven economy shapes our culture with regard to the essential ingredients of health and disease.

This blog will explore the science and economics of health in an attempt to answer the “why is that?” above. The framework of this exploration will utilize a practical evolutionary-medicine perspective.

For a few million years our ancestors lived as hunter-gatherers. That period represents more than 99% of our evolutionary history. During that period our sleep habits cycled with the sun, we exercised regularly to obtain food, we ate fresh foods that included wild game and seafood, berries, nuts, tubers and  some wild plants, we rested allot, and enjoyed the benefits of small intimate social networks. After a few million years evolving in that manner we introduced agriculture, bred grass seeds into grains, bred wild fruits and vegetables into a variety of agricultural products with very different nutritional profiles as compared to the wild predecessors, and domesticated animals. Beyond that, we entered a period of industrialization that  has altered our eating, sleeping, social and exercise habits in a profound and  detrimental manner.

Convenience foods have been engineered in human laboratories to present flavors, textures, appearances and just the right mix of sugar-salt-fat to stimulate excessive consumption of nutritionally deplete calories. Mono-agriculture has depleted our soil both quantitatively and qualitatively. Corporate farming and animal husbandry have introduced the unnecessary and harmful use of antibiotics, hormones, insecticides and pesticides in the name of efficiency. Shift factory work has disrupted the circadian rhythm of millions of workers, increasing the risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, depression and accidents to name a few. Artificial light has interfered with the procurement of adequate restorative sleep so essential for health. And  modern society has depleted our social network of meaningful supportive relationships and meaningful work.

That is the big picture, but what is the scientific data to support these statements? And what can we do to recapture the essential ingredients of healthy living while bringing home a paycheck? That is what this blog is about.

The Manifesto page represents a summary opinion of important topics related to health.

My posts will generally address topics covered in the Manifesto.

Bob Hansen MD