Good carbs and high fiber

Good carbs are high in fiber and not high in sugar
Good carbs are high in fiber and not high in sugar

Just as with fats, there are “bad carbs” and “good carbs” (and conflicting dietary claims and sometimes controversy). Importantly, good carbs are high in fiber but not high in sugar. Good carbs include fiber-rich whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.

Despite the proponents of low-carb diets, recent scientific reviews and research indicate that for long-term health (and not just immediate weight loss) people should eat more carbs, not less–but they should consume good carbs rather than bad.

The reviews and research suggest that consuming more good carbs as part of one’s diet (and that’s significantly more than what most people currently eat) can lead to 15-30% decreases in mortality and the incidence of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and colorectal cancer. Other benefits can include weight loss, lower blood pressure, and lower cholesterol. “The relationship between a high-fiber diet and lower disease risk could be causal.”

Read the article (Rita Rubin, JAMA, 17 April 2019).

And, go to the source — Carbohydrate quality and human health: a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses (Andrew Reynolds, et al., The Lancet, 10 January 2019).

Science highlights: threats to global health, and apple trees are dying

Air pollution is one of the greatest threats to people's health worldwide.
Air pollution is one of the greatest threats to people’s health worldwide.

See the WHO’s 10 threats to global health in 2019. Diabetes, cancer, and heart disease account for more than 70% of all deaths globally–driven by tobacco use, physical inactivity, alcohol abuse, unhealthy diets, and/or air pollution and climate change. These factors also drive mental illness; half of all mental illness starts by age 14, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-19 year-olds.

(World Health Organization, 21 March 2019).

Rapid Apple Decline is killing young apple trees in North America
Rapid Apple Decline is killing young apple trees in North America.

“Rapid/sudden apple decline”–where rows of young apple trees quickly die–is occurring and spreading in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, British Columbia, and elsewhere in North America. No certain cause has yet been found–weather-related stress (severe cold and drought), certain root stocks, herbicides, unknown pathogens, insects, and/or high-density planting may play a role. Apples are a very valuable crop–worth $4 billion in the U.S. alone.

Read the article (Erik Stokstad, Science, 21 March 2019).

Getting kids hooked on sugary beverages

Getting kids hooked on sugary beverages

The prevalence of obesity in the United States among those 40-59 and over 60 years of age is an extremely high 41-43% and about 19% for those under 20 (as of 2016). Rates of type 2 diabetes are rapidly increasing today for adolescents.

How did we get to this point?

One way–big Tobacco companies bought up food companies and manipulated and marketed heavily sweetened/artificial flavor beverages (like Tang, Capri Sun, Kool-Aid, and more) to children from the 1960’s through the early 2000’s (many of these brands have now passed to other companies … who are continuing this marketing today in the U.S. and globally).

“Cigarette companies were frequently introducing new flavored products, and many of the chemicals that went into cherry-scented chewing tobacco and apple-flavored cigarettes [as examples] found their way into children’s drinks.” The goal of these manipulations and marketing was “to leave people wanting more.”

People were hooked on sugary beverages. The very adult age groups in the United States with obesity rates in the 40% range today were children in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s.

Read the article (Andrew Jacobs, New York Times, 14 March 2019).