Diets make bold claims: drop 15 pounds in four weeks! Shed that stubborn belly fat! Get the abs you’ve always wanted! But, for most people, diets just don’t work. In fact, studies show the vast majority of dieters who do lose weight end up right back where they started, or even heavier, after five years. Neuroscientists and science writers Sandra Aamodt and Darya Rose break down the road blocks to sustained weight loss, and how your own brain is sabotaging your success. Rose explains how you can skip the crash diets and create long-lasting changes through the science of forming new habits. Her step-by-step approach makes the daunting task of creating a healthier, happier you seem simple.
Endocrinologist Robert Lustig, Dentist Cristen Kearns and Health Policy Expert Laura Schmidt team up to explore how the US food system has led to higher rates in obesity and related metabolic diseases in the last 50 years.
Preventable disease rates keep going up, even while behaviors have improved: smoking rates are down, cholesterol and blood pressure are down, and physical activity is up. We should be reaping a health benefit, but we’re not. The primary reason: we’re eating too many refined carbohydrates and too much sugar.
How did the food system come to encourage this? Pharmaceutical companies benefit from long-term drug treatment of metabolic diseases. Organizations such as the Sugar Association and the Beverage Association fund questionable scientific studies to convince the public that obesity and sugar are not related. These efforts include funding aggressive marketing campaigns to influence public policy. According to Schmidt, they spent 31 million dollars in a single election to convince voters in San Francisco and Oakland not to support a soda tax.
But there is hope. Research into the effects of too much sugar is getting attention, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Lustig and others. There are many parallels between this issue and smoking. According to Schmidt, we’re about where we were in 1970. The tide is slowly shifting, but we have a long way to go. Policy-makers are just now beginning to recognize the negative consequences of an unhealthy populace on healthcare costs and future social security benefits. Lustig advises, “You want social security? Stop drinking soda and tell all your friends to do so, too.”
We first met Dr. Lusting in 2009 when UCTV presented his “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” lecture. That viral video now has over 7 million YouTube views, and more every day.
His latest program, “The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains,” coincides with the publishing of his new book of the same title.
In this half-hour interview, Lustig, a UCSF endocrinologist, explores the reward system in our brains – serotonin, cortisol, and dopamine – chemicals that drive our pleasure-seeking behaviors including overeating, drug use, and that ever-present cell phone. But he goes beyond just neural pathways and brain chemistry to impute the underlying economic machine that creates industries that profit off processed foods full of sugar.
He recommends a “four Cs” solution — connect, contribute, cope, and cook — urging a slowed-down lifestyle for the sake of our health and happiness.
In addition to the interview “The Hacking of the American Mind”, you may enjoy these short videos:
When you have an allergic reaction to something you eat, your body recognizes a protein in the food and reacts against it. There are many different responses that can happen-rashes, hives, diarrhea-but, the most dangerous occurrence is when there is potential for anaphylaxis, which can cause death.
In this episode of Health Matters, Dr. David Granet talks with UC San Diego’s Dr. Stephanie Leonard who is the director of the Food Allergy Center at Rady Children’s Hospital here in San Diego.
More than 3 million people under the age of 18 have been diagnosed with food allergies, but Dr. Leonard says that number is on the rise. In a ten year period, she says, there has been an 18% increase in the diagnosis of food allergies in children.
Watch “Children’s Food Allergies- Health Matters” to hear the various theories behind why that number is increasing.
For more on food allergies, check out Food Allergies: Past, Present and Future.
Eating right takes on a whole new meaning when you watch “Living for Longevity: The Nutrition Connection” this month on UCSD-TV.
In her helpful talk from UC San Diego’s Stein Institute for Research on Aging, Vicky Newman, MS, RD, explains how the right balance of foods, part of an anti-inflammatory eating plan, can maximize your health and energy level. Learn practical tips for controlling your weight, maintaining bone strength and reducing the risk of common chronic diseases associated with aging. You’ll also find out about foods that support the body’s immune and detoxification systems, how to maintain a healthy (and happy) gut, and how to balance your fats to support your health and well-being.
Watch “Living for Longevity: The Nutrition Connection” Thursday, April 25 at 8:3pm, or online now (additional broadcast times at the link). For even more valuable healthy aging tips and research updates, check out the Stein Institute’s video archive.