Public Health

Obesity is a disease where people accumulate more and more fat. When they reach a certain point, their fat stops working and they develop disease, such as type 2 diabetes. But not all fat is bad. The fat that accumulates in obesity is called white fat, but a second form of fat (brown fat) could actually be used to treat obesity.

Brown fat has evolved to turn fuel into heat. In small animals, like mice and voles, brown fat makes heat that helps them survive, even in freezing temperatures.

Early this year, I testified at FDA in support of approval for a new smoking cessation tool called iQOS. While it may have seemed odd for the president of the American Council on Science and Health, which has campaigned against smoking for 40 years, to endorse a product made by a tobacco company, the reason was simple data.

Modern life has many benefits. Transport, comfy furniture, smartphones, TV, the internet, dentistry and advanced medicine would be at the top of most people’s lists. Our bodies also show signs of responding positively to modern life. In almost every part of the world, we are much taller than we used to be. We also live much longer, with life expectancy inching towards 80 in many wealthy countries, while everyone “knows” ancient humans usually died in their twenties. But what I discovered while researching my book, is that things are more complex than that.

Smirnoff, a vodka brand, has tried to place itself under a health halo by claiming it is not only gluten-free but non-GMO as well.
Does the presence of higher levels of biomarkers of dairy fat consumption in people with lower levels of type 2 diabetes mean more dairy means less risk of developing it? According to epidemiology, yes, but epidemiology and politics are the two key reasons public confidence in academic science have plummeted. 
An analysis of over 400,000 people's self-reported drinking habits finds that statistically drinking alcohol 4 or more times per week increases the risk of premature death by 20 percent. The increased risk was consistent across age groups.
On occasion there are renewed claims that even moderate alcohol consumption might "cause" breast cancer. As science advances so do claims about new ways to suggest harm. An example is recent claims about epigenetic alterations and lifestyle behaviors.

Yet there are flaws in such a simplistic approach to correlating one lifestyle option out of hundreds, like modest alcohol consumption, and breast cancer, which comprises 21 subtypes with each subtype displaying its own unique pathological signature.
A new paper declares that whole grains can help prevent type 2 diabetes  but a quick glance at the methodology will show you why you need to be skeptical. It doesn't matter if it’s rye, oats, wheat, wheatberries, bulgur, or couscous, any whole grain will do. Which is like declaring that any pasta can reduce type 2 diabetes, which will also be true - if in either case the calories are reduced.

Type 2 diabetes, which unlike Type 1 does not involve an inability to produce insulin but rather involves insulin production being overworked, is overwhelmingly related to obesity. That is why unlike Type 1 it is more of an adult disease. To prevent it requires more than using a type of food, it involves consuming less of all foods.
People who go on low carbohydrate diets often report that they lose weight. And they do, because it is a crash diet. But as a long-term solution that and other fad diets are unsafe, as shown in a large study presented today at the European Society of Cardiology today.

The study prospectively examined the relationship between low carbohydrate diets, all-cause death, and deaths from coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease (including stroke), and cancer in a nationally representative sample of 24,825 participants of the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) during 1999 to 2010.
Some researchers, clinicians, professional organizations, and health charities have been waging a war on sugar, calling for dietary recommendations to be changed and even for a sin tax on sugar, all claiming it will reduce obesity and cardiovascular diseases. In 2014, the World Health Organisation even recommended that adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than ten percent of their total energy intake.