Anti-Inflammatory Diet

All health care starts with diet. My recommendations for a healthy diet are here:
Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle.
There are over 190 articles on diet, inflammation and disease on this blog
(find topics using search [upper left] or index [lower right]), and
more articles by Prof. Ayers on Suite101 .

Saturday, July 25, 2009

National Healthcare and Diet

Barack Obama's Anti-Inflammatory Breakfast Pulpit

Trying to improve the health of Americans by taking the advice of the healthcare industry is futile. Barack Obama must set the example of a healthy lifestyle.

The solution is to prevent the diseases that the healthcare industry is using as a source of profits and that means fundamentally changing diets and lifestyles. It has taken three decades to attack health by shifting from meat protein and saturated fats to starch, high fructose corn syrup and polyunsaturated (omega-6) vegetable oils. It will take a sustained, personal effort by President Obama to guide a relatively rapid return to a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet.

All of the degenerative and autoimmune diseases that form the core of current healthcare diagnosis and treatments are rooted in an inflammatory diet and lifestyle dictated by agribusiness and uninformed by science. The media nags about people eating too much and exercising too little. Our obese population is encouraged to lose weight by eating less. Food fat is demonized. Statins are prescribed with religious zeal to lower blood lipids to reduce cardiovascular disease. All of this “health” advice is wrong and unsupported by the biomedical literature.

It is about time for an authority figure, i.e. The President of The United States of America, to use some leadership skills and teach people how to eat and live. That would be much easier than trying to get doctors to order fewer tests from their own medical test companies or order fewer images through their own imaging companies. Are the pharmaceutical companies going to suggest that their pills should cost less and be pushed less frequently? Will the insurance companies step out of their lucrative middleman role between doctor and patient? It is more reasonable for The President to use his bully pulpit to change the U.S. diet and lead us back to health.

All that is needed is for President Obama’s image at the breakfast table to be judiciously used by a private, non-profit organization on a website:


This would provide an opportunity for the President’s health agenda to be presented to the world through his prescription (and explanation of health benefits) for each morning meal:

Slow food
Local food
Low carbon footprint
Low carbs
High omega-3 to -6 fatty acid ratio
Praise eggs and saturated fats
Warn about grains
Vitamin D deficiency
No HFCS
No trans fats

Each meal would come with a source and description of each ingredient and its benefits. YouTube videos of the meal preparation could show the techniques needed. Occasionally The President could be seen enjoying the meal and animation could be used to show why hypoglycemic ingredients were used. Maybe The President would show solidarity to the diabetic victims of industry food fights by getting his finger pricked for a blood sugar test after a meal. It would be good to see him complain about the inaccuracy of several different typical meters. Imagine the close-up of all of the lancet marks needed to convince him that the readings are making sense!

This single approach would cost the American people nothing to implement and would save billions of dollars in healthcare expenses over a few years, as citizens of all socio-economic classes changed to diets that were less inflammatory, and degenerative and autoimmune diseases quickly declined.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well done! The conversation about "healthcare" simply revolves around who is going to retain the profits. Government wants it, insurance companies want it, actual healthcare people will be required to provide "free" care; people who lead the antiinflammatory lifestyle will pay!

Anonymous said...

well, I apologize for being so pessimistic but don't hold your breath on that one.

Jim Purdy said...

"It is about time for an authority figure, i.e. The President of The United States of America, to use some leadership skills and teach people how to eat and live."

Brilliant idea, especially the proposed Barack's Breakfast website.

jean said...

http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2009/03/sam-kass-named-white-house-food.html

I wonder if this site is what you have in mind.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Jean,
Thanks for the link.

That site seems informative and newsy.

My idea was to be less dependent on what actually happens in the White House and more based on an actual health agenda. It could also be done as a fake obama, where everyone knows that is not the pres., but it is still a source of useful info on day-to-day eating. It would definitely attack the status quo. It would be guerilla healthcare, to attack corporate food processing and the agri-health complex.

It would simple promote sound food/diet/health practices so that people don't need the corrupt food and healthcare systems. They can be healthier without them.

It would be useful to have the Pres' support, but if Obama is too close to healthcare that works, his future will be threatened by all of the powerful lobbies. Functional healthcare is effective and cheap. Maybe Bill Gates would support healthcare for the poor in the US. Maybe a Barack's Breakfast iPhone App with twitter support would be all that is needed.

toddhargrove said...

Art,

I have often read that sat fats are pro-inflammatory but have never seen the mechanism explained and just assumed that this is part of the unfair demonizing of sat fats that we see everywhere. Recently I read that sat fats can activate toll like receptor activity which is pro-inflammatory. Is this an important source of inflammation in your view?

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Todd,
I no longer think that saturated fats are a problem, because they don't seem to contribute significantly to inflammation.

If someone is suffering from chronic inflammation, then perhaps extra dietary saturated fats may contribute to problems at local sites of inflammation, e.g. atherosclerotic plaques.

If someone can tradeoff saturated fats for omega-6 vegetable oils, I think that would be a good health trade. I would eat butter before corn oil or safflower oil.

Thoughts on movement, inflammation and cartilage:
Movement is the best lubricant, i.e. lowers inflammatory cytokines, for joints. Avoidance of movement is a symptom of chronic inflammation. Aging is associated with higher chronic inflammation and therefore less movement. Less movement makes joints more prone to inflammation. People who move protect their joints from aging. Joints don't wear out. People just sit.
"Young" cartilage does not suppress vascularization. Damaged cartilage is young and fragile. Old people have young joint surface cartilage. Maturation of cartilage requires mechanical stress. People don't age, they flame out.

Thanks for your comments.

toddhargrove said...

Thanks Art!

Anonymous said...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/5921266/Blue-MandMs-mend-spinal-injuries.html

Wondered if you had seen this yet. The anti-inflammatory effect of the blue dye used in blue M&Ms is apparently effective in treating spinal injuries.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Thanks for bringing the blue mice cure to my attention.

I just wrote a quick article for Suite101 on the subject. For some reason, trauma to the spinal column (brain too?) leads to ATP release into the damaged tissue. That causes inflammation through the P2X7 purine receptor. The inflammation ends up killing cells.

I think that estrogen protects brain cells from trauma-based inflammation. Maybe it would work in spinal cord injuries. Glycosaminoglycans, GAGs, are also important.

Cristian Stremiz said...

Is hyperosmolarity a synonym of inflammation?

Is inflammation a consequence of extracellular hyperosmolarity?
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19549308

Excerpts:

"The present study further suggests inflammation and hyperosmolarity are closely related phenomena if not synonymous."

"The consequences of hyperosmolarity may not be limited to inflammation: first, we know that chronic infection and inflammation contribute to about 25% of all cancer cases worldwide [25]; second, hyperosmolarity has also been measured in tumors [26]. This increased oncotic pressure (osmotic pressure exerted by proteins in plasma) has been mostly studied because it prevents the delivery on target of anti neoplastic drugs. Distribution of antineoplastic agents within tumors remains one of the major challenges in cancer chemotherapy because distribution is hampered by high interstitial oncotic pressure [27,28]. It is possible that cancer might also be a consequence of the massive influx of protein leaked first during chronic inflammation and then by the resulting abnormal blood vessels. The resulting increased pressure may play a major role in cancer development. This hypothesis is reinforced by the fact that we show that hyperosmolarity down-regulates the tumor suppressor gene p53 and delays apoptosis."

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Cristian,
I think that inflammation is the consequence of multiple inputs. High osmolarity is just one situation that activates NFkB leading to the expression of the suite of genes that produces the inflammatory phenotype at the cellular and tissue levels.

I wasn't aware of the buildup of serum materials in tumors, which constitutes hyperosmolarity. I will have to look into it. It is related to vacularization, which is a critical step of tumor development. ( It is interesting that processing of some collagens produces a peptide that blocks vascularization. That is why cartilage doesn't have blood vessels or nerves. Immature cartilage, as in damaged surfaces, fails to suppress vascularization and can lead to pain and fragility.)

Perhaps leakiness of newly forming vessels in tumors leads to hyperosmolarity, inflammation and suppression of apoptosis. Tumor survival may depend on both induction of vessels and inhibition of maturation -- the tissue around the tumor is somewhat like the uterine wall and the tumor is the placenta/foreign tissue.

Thanks for the interesting perspective.

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Mrs. Ed said...

You might like this little rant called "Where's the health in Helath Care Reform" http://www.naturalnews.com/012330.html

"Leadership" also needs lots of money come re-election time...food and drug companies have lots of it.

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