Obesity, Diabetes, and Other Diseases vs Food Trends in Pictures

I think there is a saying that goes like “Tell me and I will forget but show me and I’ll remember”. Well we are always talking about the pressing issues such as obesity, diabetes and other diseases, and how our food/lifestyle effect them. Here are some interesting graphs on the trends that have been going on. Pictures make a bigger statement sometimes than words will ever do, so I’m hoping these make a lasting impact for those that may need it.


Who says fat makes you fat, excess calorie make you fat....and it looks like we have upped the carb intake.

I think we can all agree that we know over the last few decades the calories have gone up and our activity gone down (a recipe for fat gain). Proteins and fat lowered a bit % wise, but carb% increased dramatically (primarily thanks to the whole “low fat” movement that could turn out the be the worst advice ever given). We are not saying carbs are the enemy, but we know that quality matters…..so let’s see where we are getting our carbs from.

carbs chart

Carbs as a whole are not the evil force against us, but you still have to break down the quality of those sources. Our largest increases in carbs are coming from cereal grains and sugar.

While fruits and vegetables have marginally increased, cereal grains and sugars have skyrocketed. With the increase in cereal grains also comes the increase of potentially damaging proteins known as lectins, that are linked to increase insulin (and leptin) resistance.

Dietary interventions should compare effects of agrarian and non-agrarian diets on incidence of diseases of affluence, related risk factors and leptin resistance. A non-significant (p = 0.10) increase of cardiovascular mortality was noted in patients advised to eat more whole-grain cereals. Our lab conducted a study on 24 domestic pigs in which a cereal-free hunter-gatherer diet promoted significantly higher insulin sensitivity, lower diastolic blood pressure and lower C-reactive protein as compared to a cereal-based swine feed.

Lectins can also be transported through the gut wall into the blood circulation, where they directly influence peripheral tissues and body metabolism through the binding to glycosylated structures, such as the insulin receptor, the epidermal growth factor receptor and the interleukin 2 receptor.

from: www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6823/5/10

carbs sugar

Sugar and all it's hiding places are your worst enemy in the battle of weight loss.


The trend of replacing stable/healthy fats with processed destructive fats is not helping disease prevention

I’m hoping more people are getting over the whole “fat” paranoia out there (as we recently talked about in Butter vs Margarine in this post). Want stable and healthy cell membranes, then have healthy fats (not easily oxidized/damaged fats such as trans or polyunsaturated vegetable oils).

One other important factor coming up in all disease prevention is Vit D deficiency. Vit D, a FAT soluble vitamin.

Modern diets usually do not provide adequate amounts of vitamin D partly because of the trend to low fat foods and partly because we no longer eat vitamin-D-rich foods like naturally reared poultry and fatty fish such as kippers, and herring. Often we are advised to consume the egg white while the D is in the yolk or we eat the flesh of the fish avoiding the D containing skin, organs and fat. Sun avoidance combined with reduction in food sources contribute to escalating D deficiencies.

from: http://www.westonaprice.org/basicnutrition/vitamindmiracle.html


Replacing skim for whole milk is not a healthy move.

Again we are scared off fat (esp sat fat) by the mainstream, and replace it with low fat dairy. When it turns out that the skim/low fat versions are actually not as healthy as they are advertised:

Of further concern, one group of researchers found that up to 70% of milk containers sampled had less than the stated value of vitamin D. In addition, consumers are increasingly switching to lower fat versions of milk. In one report, three of 14 skim milk containers sampled had no measurable vitamin D, while another studyfound that up to 47% of skim milk samples contained 0% to 50% of the amount of vitamin D claimed on the label, underscoring the fact that skim milk may be an inadequate source of vitamin D.

from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/410703_3

feast famine

Lastly, part of the problem is the continuos intake of feast....with no time for famine as the body was programmed to survive.

Simple case of too much energy, not enough expenditure will lead to an inefficient working energy system (metabolic system). Periodic lower periods of energy input help transition to better fat burning metabolism. Intermittent periods of fasting can even help improve insulin sensitivity (and lower insulin) and the overall efficiency of the glucose metabolism.

So what did we learn?

Photo sources: www.preventivecare.com, www.fao.org, www.ca.uky.edu, www.proteinpower.com, www.webexhibits.org

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