Paleolithic Diets & Evolutionary Medicine

NPR’s health blog SHOTS posted an article about the Paleo Diet: The Paleo Diet Moves From The Gym To The Doctor’s Office. I’ll summarize and offer my thoughts below.

Randolph Nesse, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Michigan, could be called the father of “evolutionary medicine.” He co-authored an influential paper in 1991 called “The Dawn of Darwinian Medicine,” which made the case for researching how an understanding of human evolution by natural selection can explain what’s making modern humans so sick today. Enter the paleolithic diet movement. It’s basically on solid ground, because the diet directs people to swear off anything that was not readily available before agriculture: sugar, dairy, grains, beans, and artificial chemicals. Not a bad start. Continue reading “Paleolithic Diets & Evolutionary Medicine”

Toxic Chemicals Can Make You Fat and Diabetic: The Story of Endocrine Dysruption

endocrine organs

The percentage of US children between 12 and 19 with diabetes or pre-diabetes increased from 9% in 1999 to 23% in 2008. That’s a staggering 2.5x increase in just 10 years, and is an alarming public health problem. What’s at the root?  Dietary choices and sedentary lives surely figure in, but those two factors alone do not explain the increase. What else is there? Evidence is mounting that everyday chemical exposures from our air, food, water, clothing, furniture, homes and workplaces are also to blame.

EDC-figureEven though pesticides, plasticizers, antimicrobials, and flame retardants have had benefits, the side effects on human and environmental health are a growing concern. Literally. We now know that many chemicals can disrupt our normal hormonal functions. We call them “endocrine-disrupting chemicals” (EDCs). Scientific studies linking EDC exposure with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes are piling up, and now the term “metabolic disruptor” is becoming common.

What common chemical exposures are known to increase the risk of obesity and diabetes? It’s a blizzard of bewildering names that include: Continue reading “Toxic Chemicals Can Make You Fat and Diabetic: The Story of Endocrine Dysruption”