Hyper-Palatable Foods

Hyper-Palatable Foods

“betcha can’t eat just one!”

“A popular U.S. brand of potato chips once promoted itself with the slogan, “betcha can’t eat just one!” Maybe that’s because potato chips, like so many foods in the American diet, can pack a mix of ingredients apt to light up people’s brain-reward neural circuitry and overpower mechanisms that are supposed to signal when we’ve had enough to eat. Researchers call this class of foods — often processed foods or sweets with alluring combinations of fat, sugar, carbohydrates and sodium — “hyper-palatable.” While a slew of films, popular books and academic studies have addressed hyper-palatable foods over the past 15 or so years, none has yet to offer a broadly accepted quantitative definition of just what constitutes a hyper-palatable food.”

New research offers specific metrics that might qualify foods as hyper-palatable — and finds most foods consumed in the United States meet these criteria.

Article: Data-driven definition of unhealthy yet pervasive ‘hyper-palatable’ foods

Research Paper in Obesity: Hyper‐Palatable Foods: Development of a Quantitative Definition and Application to the US Food System Database

“Extensive research has focused on hyper‐palatable foods (HPF); however, HPF are defined using descriptive terms (e.g., fast foods, sweets), which are not standardized and lack specificity. The study purpose was to develop a quantitative definition of HPF and apply the definition to the Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies (FNDDS) to determine HPF prevalence in the US food system.”

“The study is the first to provide a quantitative definition of HPF to be used as a starting point for future research. Given the immense contributions of HPF to obesity risk and related health conditions, it is imperative that the research community develop and validate a specific, quantitative definition of HPF that will advance the field’s understanding of potential mechanisms that may drive overeating and obesity. The HPF definition may also be an asset to inform future food policy work. A major barrier to policy legislation on HPF is that there is no precise definition to inform regulation, and it is not feasible to limit or restrict entire categories of foods (e.g., desserts). Given the ways in which HPF are integrated into our existing food system, strong and specific scientific evidence will be needed to dislodge and eventually regulate some of the most problematic foods that are associated with extensive disease and disability in the US. The HPF definition and quantitative criteria presented in this study represent a crucial first step in this process.”

Article: Study offers data-driven definition of unhealthy yet pervasive ‘hyper-palatable’ foods

“Fazzino and her KU coauthors — Kaitlyn Rohde, research assistant at the Cofrin Logan Center and Debra K. Sullivan of the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition at the University of Kansas Medical Center — sought to define criteria for hyperpalatable foods by conducting a literature review, and then using nutrition software and applying their definition to 7,757 food items in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies (FNDDS).”

Sales Ban on SSBs Makes an Impact

Sales Ban on SSBs Makes an Impact

Association of a Workplace Sales Ban on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages With Employee Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Health by Elissa S. Epel, PhDAlison Hartman, BALaurie M. Jacobs, PhDCindy Leung, ScD, MPHMichael A. Cohn, PhDLeeane Jensen, MPHLaura Ishkanian, MPHJanet Wojcicki, PhD, MPHAshley E. Mason, PhDRobert H. Lustig, MD, MSLKimber L. Stanhope, PhD, MS, RD Laura A. Schmidt, PhD, MSW, MPH

In this before-after study and trial that included 214 adults who regularly drank SSBs, participants reported consuming less SSBs after a workplace sales ban and a reduction in waist circumference and sagittal diameter but no change in body mass index or insulin sensitivity. Those randomized to receive a brief motivational intervention had greater improvements.

“As rates of cardiometabolic diseases continue to rise, private employers are likely to face greater productivity losses and private health expenditures. The results of this study suggest that workplace SSB sales bans, if widely adopted, could add another layer of efficacy to existing SSB reduction strategies. At the societal level, private sector–driven change through workplace sales bans seems to offer a strategy that complements existing governmental reform efforts. Although effective, governmental reform policies, such as SSB taxation and warning labels, face significant political obstacles that private-sector sales bans do not.”


Articles about the Study

UCSF Banned Sugary Drink Sales, Here Is What Happened Next, Forbes

Doctors call on workplaces to ban sale of sugary drinks, The Guardian

Workplace sugary-drink ban helps employees cut back, Reuters

 

Fat and fructose at the mitochondria that drives the inflammatory process

Fat and fructose at the mitochondria that drives the inflammatory process

Paper in Cell Metabolism:

Fatty Acid Metabolites Combine with Reduced β Oxidation to Activate Th17 Inflammation in Human Type 2 Diabetes

It’s long been known that both “lipotoxicity” and “glucotoxicity” are associated with inflammation leading to diabetes. But it wasn’t clear which, when, and how, resulting in different factions battling for supremacy. The science of this controversy is now beginning to come into focus.

A paper two weeks ago from Softic et al. in Cell Metabolism demonstrates that fructose inhibits mitochondrial beta-oxidation through alteration of specific mitrochondrial proteins, conversely glucose stimulates it. Thus dietary sugar is more metabolically problematic than dietary starch; a finding that our group corroborated in obese children.

This paper from Nicholas et al. also in Cell Metabolism, demonstrates that because of that mitochondrial dysfunction, fatty-acylcarnitine, which should be beta-oxidized, can power the production of TH17 cytokines that in part drive that inflammation. Furthermore, one must remember that some of that fatty acid production can be derived via de novo lipogenesis using fructose as a substrate.

This paper, combined with Softic, helps bridge the gap to show that, at the molecular level, it appears to be the combination of both fat and fructose at the mitochondria that drives the inflammatory process.

Apart from its calories, sugar is bad for two reasons: 1) it turns into fat in the liver; and 2) it mucks up the mitochondria, the little energy burning factories inside each cell. Both of these result in a process known as “insulin resistance” which leads to chronic disease. And apart from its calories, fat is bad for one reason: when it doesn’t burn in those problem mitochondria, it can make proteins that can cause more inflammation and more disease. 
 
So fat is bad, and sugar is worse. But the combination of fat AND sugar together is by far the worst. That’s called the Western Diet.
Robert Lustig, MD, MSL

Societal Math

Societal Math

The Societal Math of Processed Food (U.S.)

The food industry grosses 1.46 Trillion / yr
-657 billion is gross profit

Health care costs in the U.S. total $3.5 trillion / yr
-75% of which is chronic metabolic disease
-75% of which is preventable

Thus, $1.9 trillion / yr is wasted.

We lose triple what the food industry makes.

This is unsustainable, and explains why Medicare will be broke by 2026, and neither “Obamacare” or “Trumpcare” or “Medicare for All” can fix it (and not the NHS either).

Fructose Drunk

Fructose-Drunk
 
Anitha Ahmed
 
for Dadi, my grandmother
 
Summertime, we eat mangoes—
Their sweet ether smell
And wrinkled skin,
Easily broken, oozing juice.
I prick your finger,
Your aged hands shake
You are quiet though it stings.
I squeeze your blood up test strips—
too sweet, always too sweet—
Still, you ask me to slit us mangoes
We suck sweet pulp to the pits
Pluck fibers from our teeth.
Soon you’ll weaken and feel your pulse
Pounding in your head, but for now
Sticky trails run down your neck,
Your face creased deep with dimples
As you laugh, fructose-drunk.
 
From JAMA Poetry and Medicine
U.S. obesity as delayed effect of excess sugar

U.S. obesity as delayed effect of excess sugar

This paper is huge. One of the arguments the food industry advances is that sugar consumption has gone down while obesity has gone up, so it can’t be sugar. This paper uses a complex statistical analysis to show that US obesity is a function of both current sugar consumption and an derivative of the sugar consumed by the previous generation going forward. In other words, it’s the economic equivalent of “epigenetics”. This is yet another nail in the coffin (as if we needed any more nails)!

U.S. obesity as delayed effect of excess sugar

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1570677X19301364