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May Missives: What You Need to Know About Meals, Music, Memory, and More!

May Missives: What You Need to Know About Meals, Music, Memory, and More!
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From Ronald Hoffman, MD.

Poor food choices drive diabetes pandemic: A new study links poor diet to 14 million cases of type 2 diabetes worldwide—in 2018 alone. (In my opinion a gross underestimate if you add in the high percentage of new cases of diabetes that remain undiagnosed, as well as innumerable individuals who fall short of the formal requirements for diabetes, but whose borderline elevated blood sugar is a hallmark of metabolic syndrome, a sure pathway to heart disease, stroke, neurodegenerative disease, and even many cancers).

In sum, researchers estimate that 7 out of 10 new cases of diabetes worldwide in 2018 were linked to poor food choices.

Key factors among 11 dietary risk factors considered were insufficient intake of whole (but not refined) grains; excesses of refined rice and wheat; and overconsumption of processed meat. A consistent trend was over-reliance on refined carbohydrates, including sugary soft drinks, pastry, and candy.

Regionally, Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, especially Poland and Russia, had the largest number of type 2 diabetes linked to diet; prosperity has enabled formerly food-challenged nationalities to consume more processed foods. But Sub-Saharan Africa, Mexico, and Latin America, where food-related diabetes used to be relatively uncommon, are rapidly playing catch-up.

I’m curious as to why the U.S., which leads developed countries in obesity, was not singled out for being in the vanguard of the worldwide type 2 diabetes pandemic.

Beverages and diabetes: A corollary to the above study is a recent investigation of the relationship between consumption of various beverages and the risk of death or heart disease among adults with type 2 diabetes.

It was found that a high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages increased risk by 20%; regular intake of coffee, tea and plain water significantly reduced the risk of dying.

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