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2 posts from February 2017

02/08/2017

Review of "Hell is A Very Small Place," (February 7th)

If you listened, or not, to my December 19th interview with Jean Casella (see below), one of the three editors of, "Hell is a Very Small Place, Voices from Solitary Confinement," here is my review of the work: http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2017/02/07/hell-is-a-very-small-place.

The essay begins with: 

It is well recognized that over the past several decades US prisons and jails have become the nation's largest inpatient psychiatric hospitals.  This is not surprising when you realize the majority of the US correctional population, the largest in the world at well over two million, suffers from mental illness.  Leaving aside the question of whether it is appropriate to incarcerate the mentally ill, at least those with serious mental illness, how we choose to treat a significant percent of mentally ill inmates is to place them in solitary confinement.  This means how we treat a significant percent of the mentally ill in this country is to torture them. 

 

02/07/2017

"The Case Against Sugar," A Conversation with the Author, Gary Taubes (February 6th)

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In his recent work, The Case Against Sugar, Gary Taubes argues not all calories are alike.  Sugar, or the consumption of sugar, causes elevated levels of insulin, or hyperinsulenema, and high levels of insulin drives fat accumulation.  Rather than obesity causing diabetes, Taubes argues, hyperinsulinemia causes both.   That there's been an 800% increase since 1960 in the consumption of sugar and approximate doubling of diagnosed cases of diabetes since 1990 cannot be a coincidence.  (Per the CDC, over the past 25 years the age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes increased by ≥50% in 42 states and by ≥100% in 18 states.)   Not only does sugar consumption drive the diabetes epidemic, Taubes argues it can also be correlated to hypertension, cancer, stroke and dementia.        

During this 35 minute conversation Mr. Taubes discusses the impetus for the book, sugar's relationship to elevated insulin levels and obesity and diabetes, the problem/s with the accepted belief that a "calorie is a calorie," the FDA's determination that sugar is GRAS (Generally Accepted as Safe), the role the Sugar Association has played in encouraging and defending sugar's consumption, the difficulty in scientifically proving sugar consumption is correlated to diabetes, hypertension and cancer among other prevalent serious and fatal illnesses, how much sugar do we consume and how much is too much, or how much sugar can we tolerate safely.    

Mr. Gary Taubes is the co-Founder of the Nutrition Science Initiative, and a science and health journalist. He is the author of Gary-TaubesWhy We Get Fat and Good Calories, Bad Calories. Gary has been a contributing correspondent for the journal Science since 1993, and has contributed articles as a freelancer to The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Slate, and numerous other publications.  His 1997 book, Bad Science was a New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Awards.  He is the only print journalist to be a three-time winner of the National Association of Science Writers Science-in-Society Journalism Award.  He is the recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Independent Investigator Award in Health Policy Research.  Gary received his B.S. in physics from Harvard University, his M.S. in engineering from Stanford University, and his M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.

For more information on The Case Against Sugar go to: http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/213737/the-case-against-sugar-by-gary-taubes/9780307701640/.

To learn more about the Nutrition Science Initiative go to: http://nusi.org/