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This Diet Is Bad for Bones

From eNewsletter 2/17/2020

DID YOU KNOW that according to a new study in Frontiers in Endocrinology, athletes who went on a four week ketogenic diet showed impaired markers of bone modeling/remodeling? Only after the athletes stopped the ketogenic diet and went back to a normal diet did their markers recover.

Please do not try the keto diet, and if you are currently on it, please go back to a normal eating style. Your bones will thank you. NOTE: If you've had a great start to the new year, be mindful that research says good intentions start to wane in February. Don't let doubt creep in. Stick to your positive wellness goals!


Bonnie and Steve: A new snapshot of obesity in America paints an alarming picture. According to "Trust for America's Health: State of Obesity," in 2018, for the first time, more than 35% of adults in nine mostly southern states were obese. As recently as 2012, no state had an adult obesity rate above 35%. Almost 40% of US adults and nearly 20% of kids are obese.

This is startling given that a new report on obesity from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development details that even just being overweight will slash almost 3 years from life expectancy, on average.

Another study from PLOS Medicine concludes that a suboptimal diet costs approximately $300 per person, or $50 billion nationally, accounting for 18 percent of all heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes costs in the country. Three dietary factors contributed most to these costs: consumption of processed meats, low consumption of nuts/seeds, and low consumption of omega-3 fats.

High-sugar diets in childhood have long-lasting effects, and the changes we see now in adult obesity rates started with diets decades ago, when those adults were children. According to a study in Economics & Human Biology, since the 1970s, many available infant foods have been extremely high in sugar. Other independent studies in medicine and nutrition have suggested that sugar consumption during pregnancy cause an increase in fat cells in children as well.

Fruit drinks and flavored waters that contain added sugars and/or low-calorie (diet) sweeteners dominated sales of drinks intended for children in 2018, making up 62 percent of the $2.2 billion in total children's drink sales. Companies spent $20.7 million to advertise children's drinks with added sugars in 2018, primarily to kids under age 12. This is appalling, especially when researchers have found signs of brain damage related to inflammation in obese adolescents.

According to a study in JAMA, from 1999 to 2016, US adults experienced a significant decrease in percentage of energy intake from low-quality carbohydrates and significant increases in percentage of energy intake from high-quality carbohydrates, plant protein, and polyunsaturated fat. While this is positive, the reality is that continued high intake of low-quality carbohydrates and saturated fat remains, to the tune of 42% of U.S. adults' daily calories. Staying at this percentage will hardly move the obesity needle.

What Does the Future Hold?

Simply switching to real food consumption for any eating style is critical as evidenced by a new study from JAMA Internal Medicine stating that unhealthy low-carbohydrate-diet and low-fat-diet scores were associated with higher total mortality, whereas even healthy low-carbohydrate-diet and healthy low-fat-diet scores were associated with lower total mortality.

Aside from individualized diet, lifestyle, and genetic advice, which is what is most necessary for every American, federal, state, and local governments need to emphasize policies to help improve access to nutritious foods, provide safe opportunities for physical activity, and minimize harmful advertising. Some ideas are as follows:

  • Extend the WIC Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for 2 years postpartum for mothers and to age 6 for children.

  • Tax sugary drinks and use the money to fix health and social disparities.

  • Ensure that the CDC can fund obesity prevention strategies in every state (up from the 16 in which they are currently funded).

  • Make it harder to advertise unhealthy food to children by ending federal tax loopholes.

  • Fully fund federal programs for student physical education.

  • Fund Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS), Complete Streets, Vision Zero, and other pedestrian safety initiatives.

  • Ensure programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans at minimum.

  • Strengthen and expand school nutrition programs and eliminate all unhealthy food marketing to students.

  • Enforce laws for health insurers to cover all obesity-related preventive services.

  • Cover evidence-based comprehensive pediatric weight management programs and services in Medicaid.

Disappointingly, the current administration is pulling back on almost all of these recommendations, so please contact your local officials to share your concerns.


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