This week on HealthBite I share my monthly recap of (some) of the nutrition/diet/weight loss/health news that caught my eye (and the eyes of my patients.) There was talk about aspartame, lab grown meat and of course lots of “ozempic” news (always ozempic news). If you are currently on or interested in ozempic (or the likes) keep reading.
WHAT DO I DO ABOUT MY DIET COKE??
The WHO declared aspartame as “possibly carcinogenic” but guidelines regarding its use remain unchanged, the FDA has not banned it and aspartame remains in thousands of drinks, gums, snacks, you name it. So what gives?
Basically aspartame is still deemed safe at moderate amounts – this has been set to 40 mg per kg (or per 2.2 pounds) daily. So if you are 180 pounds, the acceptable limit per day is 3,272 mg! To give you perspective, diet coke has 200 mg.
But there is a much more important take-away here, let’s take a moment to reassess our consumption of aspartame, of food additives and of processed and ultra-processed food in general. While we take these additives for granted, (60% of our (American) calories come from processed and ultra-processed food) they do not come without a cost. As I have shared, there is a ton of data linking processed and ultra-processed foods to multiple cancers, heart disease, alzheimer’s disease…to name a few.
So my take on all this… don’t freak out. No need to purge your pantry of every sugar free gum or jello. But do take stock of what you are consuming. How you are nourishing yourself, how much of what you consume is processed or ultra-processed? And if it is more than you would like to admit, take some small steps towards change.
THANKSGIVING TURKEY GROWN IN A LAB?
Speaking of processed, it seems like interest in meat substitutes like Beyond and Impossible has waned over the past few years. But now we have a different solution for sustainable meat, cultured or cell-based meat.
Have you all heard of this!?!?
Basically, genetic material from animal cells are extracted, and grown in a laboratory to make meat. A few months ago a European company used genetic information from the mammoth, mixed it with genetic data from the African elephant, inserted it into a sheep cell, and made a meatball. While this was not made for consumption, lab grown chicken, seafood and meat is in works and already being served in some parts of the globe. The USDA has already given the green light to three California-based companies to begin producing and selling lab-grown chicken in the United States. More on that here.
OUR BODY IS SO KIND TO US WHEN WE TREAT HER WELL
Researchers showed that higher intake of these 6 protective food groups reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke and all cause mortality. Here’s what the data supports.
2-3 servings of Vegetables per day
2-3 servings of fruit per day
1 serving of nuts per day
2 servings a day whole-fat dairy
3-4 servings of legumes per week
2-3 servings of fish per week
And you can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke and all cause mortality by up to 30% over the course of 9 years!
OZEMPIC AND FRIENDS
A bunch of news related to ozempic and her friends…
Last week CNN reported on a new side effect of semaglutide called gastroparesis- which is a slowing or weakening of the gut impairing its ability to effectively pass food thru to the intestines. Keep in mind that slowing down the gut is one of the ways that these drugs increase the sensation of fullness and reduce hunger, but what is concerning is that there seems to be some cases where gastric delay is severe and in some cases may continue despite and after coming off the drug. CAVEATS: These reports have not been rigorously investigated in a scientific way, appear to be rare, and may be related to factors other than the drug itself. Basically, be aware and if you are concerned talk to your doc.
Also in ozempic related news. New guidelines for what to do if you are on the drug but are scheduled to have surgery. An oral version of semaglutide, called rybelsus, currently approved for diabetes shows excellent weight loss data and diabetes drug, tirzepatide (also known as mounjaro), beats semaglutide (wegovy/ozempic) in a head to head weight loss study.
You can hear more about these stories on this week’s HealthBite.
Remember even though I am a doctor, I am not your doctor. This newsletter and all of my content is intended for informational purposes only. Please talk to your own personal physician if any of this information pertains to you.
That’s all for this week!
Next week I will be sharing some mindset tips to hack our inertia. How to move from knowing to actually doing!
Looking forward to seeing you then!
Have a great week!