A study by scientists at Madurai Kamaraj University, Tamil Nadu, has found evidence that chronic exposure to organophosphate insecticides induces diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance in both humans and mice. The researchers found that organophosphate-induced diabetes was mediated by gut bacteria. The results were published in the journal Genome Biology.
A survey of around 3,000 people in villages in and around the university found that the prevalence of diabetes in people who were directly exposed to the insecticides was three-fold higher than in people who were not directly exposed to the insecticide. Serum analysis for four organophosphate insecticides revealed a direct correlation between pesticide level and HbA1c. “We saw a linear trend — for every unit increase in insecticide residue there was a corresponding increase in HbA1c level,” says Dr. Ganesan Velmurugan from the Department of Molecular Biology, School of Biological Sciences, Madurai Kamaraj University and the first author of the paper.
A lawsuit filed Monday accused three makers of insulin of conspiring to drive up the prices of their lifesaving drugs, harming patients who were being asked to pay for a growing share of their drug bills.
The price of insulin has skyrocketed in recent years, with the three manufacturers — Sanofi, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly — raising the list prices of their products in near lock step, prompting outcry from patient groups and doctors who have pointed out that the rising prices appear to have little to do with increased production costs.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Massachusetts, accuses the companies of exploiting the country’s opaque drug-pricing system in a way that benefits themselves and the intermediaries known as pharmacy benefit managers. It cites several examples of patients with diabetes who, unable to afford their insulin treatments, which can cost up to $900 a month, have resorted to injecting themselves with expired insulin or starving themselves to control their blood sugar. Some patients, the lawsuit said, intentionally allowed themselves to slip into diabetic ketoacidosis — a blood syndrome that can be fatal — to get insulin from hospital emergency rooms.
When the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) isn’t dishing up fake nutrition news to the public, it makes up fake news to try to discredit dietitians who cross it, say critics. It’s probably no coincidence, that those dietitians support low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diets to treat obesity, diabetes and heart disease and/or criticise Australia’s dietary guidelines and DAA’s food industry links.
Critics say that DAA’s Big Food sponsors don’t like those dietitians either as they affect product sales. In the final of a four-part series on DAA’s conflicts of interest, Foodmed.net looks at the cases of three dietitians who fell foul of DAA and its long-time CEO Claire Hewat. DAA also thought nothing of going after one of the dietitians in another country. It tried and failed to silence a top dietitian academic in New Zealand for her views on LCHF.
Hewat flatly denies that LCHF or its industry links had anything to do with actions against the dietitians below. Here, Foodmed.net looks at whether that claim stands up to scrutiny.
A firestorm recently erupted over a paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine that found official advice limiting sugar in diets to be based on “low” or “very low” quality evidence. Because a food-industry group had funded the study, a slew of critics accused the authors of distorting the science to undermine nutrition guidelines and make sugar seem less harmful than it actually is. One prominent nutrition professor called the paper “shameful.” “It was really an attempt to undermine the scientific process,” said another.
Lost in this torrent of criticism was any significant discussion of the science itself. Regardless of its funding source, was the paper correct in saying that there is insufficient evidence to recommend limiting sugar? And do official guidelines even matter, since we pretty much know that sugar is bad for us?
Virtually all doctors agree that elevated insulin resistance is very bad for human health, being the root cause of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. So, if it is so bad, why do we all develop it in the first place? How can such a mal-adaptive process be so ubiquitous?
As of 2015, over 50% of the American population has diabetes or pre-diabetes. This stunning statistic means that there are more people in the United States with pre-diabetes or diabetes than without it. It’s the new normal. Why does it develop it so frequently? There must be some protective purpose to it since our bodies are not designed to fail. Humans have lived for millennia before the modern diabesity epidemic. How can insulin resistance be protective?
You can discover many things by taking a different perspective. The golden rule states “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” A well-known quote says, “Before you judge me, walk a mile in my shoes”. In both cases, the key to success is change perspective. Invert (turn upside down) your perspective, and see how your horizons are immensely broadened. So let’s look at the development of insulin resistance from the opposite angle. Let’s not consider why insulin resistance is bad, but rather, why it is good.
Over the past half-century, the rate of obesity in America has nearly tripled, while the incidence of diabetes has increased roughly seven-fold. It’s estimated that the direct health care costs related to obesity and diabetes in the United States is $1 billion a day, while economists have calculated the indirect costs to society of these epidemics at over $1 trillion a year.
In recent years, some researchers have focused on the particular role refined sugar may play in these epidemics. Perhaps the most comprehensive analysis of this research has been put forth by the science journalist, Gary Taubes, author of the recent book, “The Case Against Sugar.” I spoke with Taubes about his research and what people should know about sugar to make better choices in their diets.
David Bornstein: What’s the essence of the case against sugar?
Gary Taubes: To understand the case against sugar, using a criminal justice metaphor, you have to understand the crimes committed: epidemics of diabetes and obesity worldwide. Wherever and whenever a population transitions from its traditional diet to a Western diet and lifestyle, we see dramatic increases in obesity, and diabetes goes from being a relatively rare disorder to a common one. One in 11 Americans now has diabetes. In some populations, one in three or four adults have diabetes. Stunning numbers.
So why sugar? Well, for starters, recent increases in sugar consumption are always at the scene of the crime on a population-wide level when these epidemics occur. And sugar is also at the scene of the crime biologically, and it’s got the mechanism necessary. But the evidence is not definitive; what I’m arguing is still a minority viewpoint.
I used to think excess weight was caused by eating too much and/or not exercising enough. “There was no one overweight on the Burma Railway,” I’d quip. Not any more.
When overweight people said “it’s my metabolism” or “I am big-boned”, I’d dismiss it as an excuse for gluttony and laziness. Not any more.
The myth that obesity is caused by overeating, especially a diet high in fats, is one perpetuated by the sugar industry and the “research” this industry has funded over the decades.
The sugar industry also perpetuated the myths that obesity causes diabetes; that diets high in saturated fats, high cholesterol and overeating generally cause heart disease; and that excess salt causes hypertension (high blood pressure). Anything, in short, to steer attention away from the real cause of these four maladies: sugar.