Metabolical: The Lure and Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition and Modern Medicine
Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric neuroendocrinologist who has long been on the cutting edge of medicine and science, challenges our current healthcare paradigm which has gone off the rails under the influence of Big Food, Big Pharma, and Big Government.
You can’t solve a problem if you don’t know what the problem is. One of Lustig’s singular gifts as a communicator is his ability to “connect the dots” for the general reader, in order to unpack the scientific data and concepts behind his arguments, as he tells the “real story of food” and “the story of real food.”
Metabolical weaves the interconnected strands of nutrition, health/disease, medicine, environment, and society into a completely new fabric by proving on a scientific basis a series of iconoclastic revelations, among them:
• Medicine for chronic disease treats symptoms, not the disease itself
• You can diagnose your own biochemical profile
• Chronic diseases are not "druggable," but they are "foodable"
• Processed food isn’t just toxic, it’s addictive
• The war between vegan and keto is a false war—the combatants are on the same side
• Big Food, Big Pharma, and Big Government are on the other side
Making the case that food is the only lever we have to effect biochemical change to improve our health, Lustig explains what to eat based on two novel criteria: protect the liver, and feed the gut. He insists that if we do not fix our food and change the way we eat, we will continue to court chronic disease, bankrupt healthcare, and threaten the planet. But there is hope: this book explains what’s needed to fix all three.
Lowdown on New Medicines for Treating Obesity
https://www.peoplespharmacy.com/article ... ity-part-2
This week’s radio show is the second of a two-part series on new medicines for treating obesity. This episode features Dr. Robert Lustig, neuroendocrinologist and anti-obesity crusader. He discusses the uses and disadvantages of drugs such as semaglutide (Wegovy, Ozempic) and tirzepatide (Mounjaro). In addition, he offers a completely different way to combat obesity. You may want to listen to it through your local public radio station or get the live stream at 7 am EDT on your computer or smart phone (wunc.org). Here is a link so you can find which stations carry our broadcast.
The new medicines for treating obesity are so popular that they are in short supply. But how well do they address the underlying metabolic dysfunction leading to weight gain? If you can’t listen to the broadcast, you may wish to hear the podcast later. You can subscribe through your favorite podcast provider, download the mp3 using the link at the bottom of the page, or listen to the stream on this post starting on November 6, 2023.
The Consequences of Obesity:
Excess weight can have health consequences for both children and adults. But not all extra weight is equally dangerous. Subcutaneous fat, such as that stored on the buttocks or thighs, is not really likely to become a problem until a person is carrying more than 22 pounds or so. However, visceral fat around the organs (“big belly fat”) is caused by excess stress and is far riskier. Only 5 pounds of visceral fat can lead to metabolic disruption. The third fat depot is the liver. Just a tiny amount of fat in the liver (about ½ pound) can lead to type 2 diabetes and other metabolic problems.
Metabolic Problems Associated with Obesity:
Eventually, the metabolic dysfunction signaled by obesity can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular complications, fatty liver, cancer and even dementia. The most common complication is insulin resistance, which can lead to a vicious cycle of hunger and overeating.
Keep in mind that you can’t see fat in the liver by looking at people or even by weighing them, although it is by far the riskiest form of fat accumulation. Fatty liver is extremely common in the US, but that wasn’t always the case. Can we trace the origins of this problem to metabolic dysfunction caused by too much sugar in the American diet? How should this affect our approach to treating obesity?
Are GLP-1 Agonists Best for Treating Obesity?
Drugs like semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy) and tirzepatide (Mounjaro) can help people who have struggled with their weight shed pounds. What are the pros and cons? Although they do help most people lose quite a significant amount of weight, not everyone can tolerate the side effects. Gastroparesis, or stomach paralysis, is especially dangerous. In addition, the medications essentially induce a state of starvation in which people lose muscle as well as fat. Finally, when people need to stop taking the medicines, they frequently regain the pounds they lost. What is the solution?
Eat Real Food:
Our guest is clear that we must pay more attention to real food as the foundation for treating obesity. Highly processed foods contribute to metabolic dysfunction. Sugar, in particular, is a mitochondrial toxin, impairing three essential enzymes we need to produce energy and keep our metabolism healthy. In addition, a lot of processed food and its packaging contains PFAS, which also harm the mitochondria. As if that weren’t enough, the lack of fiber in our processed food deprives our gut microbes of what they need to keep inflammation under control.
What Is Real Food?
Real food does not come from factories. It comes out of the ground or off trees or plants. Possibly it comes from animals that eat plants–pigs, cows, chickens or fish. Eating real food instead of highly processed food is a good way to start healing from metabolic dysfunction.
What About Food Deserts?
Some people live in places where the only food they can buy is highly processed, with a long shelf life and devastating metabolic consequences. Dr. Lustig is active with an organization called Eat Real, which provides real food for children in school. In addition to minimizing the processed foods kids eat in their lunchrooms, it introduces them to a delicious variety of real foods that are available in their communities without sugar or other mitochondrial toxins.
One prime consideration for American consumers is price. Real food often costs more than highly processed treats. On the other hand, the new medications for treating obesity are extremely expensive, and not all insurance companies cover them adequately. Moreover, the downstream costs of treating the consequences of metabolic dysfunction are exorbitant.
This Week’s Guest:
Robert Lustig, MD, MSL, is Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco. He specializes in the field of neuroendocrinology, with an emphasis on the regulation of energy balance by the central nervous system. His research and clinical practice has focused on childhood obesity and diabetes.