The food choices we make have a major influence on our health and environment and the welfare of the people and animals who ultimately make our food.
Nevertheless, research and education efforts haven’t yet resulted in a major shift in food buying patterns. We want to know more about your goals and ideals when buying food – and what prevents you from fulfilling them.
Along with the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation, I support this survey sponsored by perfact.co, a startup that seeks to take the guesswork, challenges, and pain out of finding the products that are right for you without compromising your privacy or “paying with your data”.
Years in the making, check out the survey results to date. Over 2,000 respondents so far!
If you haven’t taken the survey yet, there is a link at the bottom of the survey results page.
Dr. Robert H. Lustig
The Metabolic Matrix: Re-engineering ultraprocessed foods to feed the gut, protect the liver, and support the brain
The Metabolic Matrix: Re-engineering ultraprocessed foods to feed the gut, protect the liver, and support the brain
Ultraprocessed food is established as a metabolic disruptor acting to increase adiposity, reduce mitochondrial efficiency, drive insulin resistance, alter growth, and contribute to human morbidity and mortality. Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are beginning to understand the detrimental impact of the food they market, and have employed substitution strategies to reduce salt, sugar, and fat. However, the harms of ultraprocessed foods are far more complex than any single component, and are not ameliorated by such simple substitutions. Over the past 2 years, the authors have worked with the Kuwaiti Danish Dairy Company (KDD) to conduct a comprehensive scientific evaluation of their entire commercial food and beverage portfolio. Assay of the macronutrients, micronutrients, additives, and toxins contained in each of their products was undertaken to determine the precise nature of each product’s ingredients as well as the health impacts of processing. The authors formed a Scientific Advisory Team (SAT) and developed a tiered “Metabolic Matrix” founded in three science-based principles: (1) protect the liver, (2) feed the gut, and (3) support the brain. The Metabolic Matrix categorizes each product and provides the criteria, metrics, and recommendations for improvement or reformulation. Real-time consultation with the KDD Executive and Operations teams was vital to see these procedures through to fruition. This scientific exercise has enabled KDD to lay the groundwork for improving the health, well-being, and sustainability of their entire product line, while maintaining flavor, economic, and fiscal viability. This process is easily transferrable, and we are sharing this effort and its approaches as a proof-of-concept. The key aim of our work is to not only make ultraprocessed food healthier but to urge other food companies to implement similar analysis and reformulation of their product lines to improve the metabolic health and well-being of consumers worldwide.
In the podcast Sugar – A Chronic Toxin? I discuss with @lizctucker how the sugar fructose is addictive, drives fatty liver disease, and accelerates the aging process.
Robert’s Rules of Reduction (of processed food, that is)
I’ve spent the last 25 years investigating the causes and treatments of chronic disease
(obesity, diabetes, fatty liver disease) in children and adults. I can sum up my research career in three simple precepts:
- It’s the insulin, stupid.
- It’s the sugar, stupid.
- It’s the lack of fiber, stupid.
All of this has led me to determine that our processed food diet is the primary culprit. It is high-sugar, low-fiber, toxic, addictive, ubiquitous, and detrimental to society. Therefore, I’ve dedicated my efforts to reduce its impact on people and the environment.
I’ve also determined that processed food is not going away, no matter how I may want it to. Partly because it’s cheap, partly because it’s convenient, and partly because it’s addictive.
I’m for fixing the problem any way I can. Society can do this in two ways:
- Reduce the availability of processed food.
- Reduce the harm of processed food.
Reducing availability is problematic, as the industry keeps pushing it, the public keeps demanding it, and the government keeps ignoring it. I’m doing what I can, most recently publishing a white paper to provide a roadmap for processed food reduction.
But reducing harm may be a bit easier. To help sick people get better, I’ve teamed up with a group of materials science engineers to develop a proprietary fiber that will absorb sugars in the intestine, thus protecting the liver and feeding the gut, thus mitigating some of the toxic effects of processed food. The company is called BioLumen Technologies. It is very exciting and has generated interest within the processed food industry, most recently PepsiCo.
Some may question this strategy, as it would seem to be the antithesis of my message, and it looks on the surface like a “get out of jail free” card to patients, a “carte blanche” to the industry, and like I am “selling out”. Not true. You can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. People are hurting, people are dying, and COVID is making it worse. To stick to “principle” is to turn my back on these people. I’ve never taken a dime from the food industry, and I’m not starting now. I derive no salary from BioLumen, and I am not on Pepsi’s payroll. I’m just trying to fix the problem any way I can, using my research, knowledge, and expertise.
This fits well within my Hippocratic Oath and my oath to you, the public. Fix the problem. But you can’t fix a problem if you don’t know what the problem is. Everything I have learned so far in this amazing journey tells me that I do. If the processed food and beverage industry can figure it out too, then all to the better.
Metabolical: The Lure and the Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine, by Robert H. Lustig.
To be released May 4, 2021
Pre-orders being taken on Amazon.
The New York Times bestselling author of Fat Chance explains the eight pathologies that underlie all chronic disease, documents how processed food has impacted them to ruin our health, economy, and environment over the past 50 years, and proposes an urgent manifesto and strategy to cure both us and the planet.
Dr. 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 will weave 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.
A double dose of sugar!
The Nature Metabolism paper explains why some people who eat high sugar diets get fatty liver and some don’t.
It has to do with “leaky gut”; those with leaky gut get NAFLD. Except that chronic fructose causes NAFLD!
The Cell Metabolism paper shows why fructose causes both liver fat AND oxidative stress.
Normally these are in different liver pathways. It turns out the cell has a switch called triose kinase, which directs fructose metabolites down one pathway or the other.
These two papers, taken together, drive home the assertion that fructose is the primary, and the most modifiable driver of fatty liver, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome.
It’s the processed food, D’oh!!
Fructose stimulated de novo lipogenesis is promoted by inflammation, Nature Metabolism
Schematic summary from “Fructose stimulated de novo lipogenesis is promoted by inflammation.” In IEC, dietary fructose is converted to F1P by KHK. F1P inhibits protein N-glycosylation, triggering ER stress and intestinal inflammation to downregulate TJPs and trigger barrier deterioration and endotoxaemia. Endotoxin (LPS) reaches the liver via the portal vein and engages TLR4 on macrophages to activate nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) via the adaptor protein MyD88 and induce TNF expression and secretion. TNF engages TNFR1 on hepatocytes to induce caspase-2 (CASP2) mRNA, whose translation is stimulated by ER-stress-activated IRE-1. CASP2 activates SREBP1 to induce ACC1 and FAS, thereby priming the liver to convert KHK-generated F1P to FA (C:16, C:18), giving rise to hepatosteatosis. *P< 0.05; **P< 0.01; ***P< 0.001.
Celebrate August being National Wellness Month!
Join the UCSF office of Wellness and Community in a UCSF Wellness Bingo Challenge to prioritize your wellbeing and self-care.
Throughout the month of August, pick and complete at least five of the activities in the Wellness Bingo Grid in any order. No need to actually stick to a diagonal or the same row or column – wellness is about being flexible too.
Submit your results in the Qualtrics link on the Bingo Grid and be entered in a drawing for a chance to win a $25 gift card. 10 winners will be selected!
Qualtrics Submission Form: https://ucsf.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eKikDNRPsBkgMn3
Click on the image below for the interactive (hyperlinked) PDF:
Two Myths Of Chronic Metabolic Disease: The Real Problem and the Simplex Solution
Simplex Health Medical Advisor Robert Lustig M.D., M.S.L. endocrinologist, best-selling author, and an Emeritus Professor of Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of California will dispel two common obesity myths and reveal what’s really responsible for fueling the chronic disease in our country today. Co-hosted by Simplex Health’s Chief Medical Officer and Medical Director, Avrahom Gurwitz M.D. MPH FAAP CPH IFM and Clinical Director of Diabetes Prevention & Reversal and Director of Protocol Research & Development Stephanie Biggs, RD LDN CDE, will discuss dietary strategies that target this problem for the purpose of preventing and reversing disease.
I’m very happy to recommend Michael Goran and Elsie Ventura’s new book “Sugarproof” for two reasons. First, it’s yet another piece lifted out of the Jenga that the sugar industry compiled in the 1970’s, and the structure is finally tumbling down. Second, earlier in his career, Michael researched exercise. But he switched to sugar, because he realized no matter how we try otherwise, we can’t outrun a bad diet, and not even our kids can. Diet is the #1 problem. And sugar is public enemy #1.
Please join us for a live discussion with Sugarproof authors Drs. Goran & Ventura at https://www.facebook.com/DrRobertLustig: How sugar disrupts growth and development and how to empower families to consume less.