The Roundup

Roundup

Here is The Roundup, Edition 31, bringing you the best from around the web from the past two weeks!

Blast from the Past

While most of us focus on diet and exercise when attempting to get healthier, lose weight and prevent chronic disease, we may be missing an extremely important piece of the wellness puzzle that might completely derail our efforts: adequate, good quality sleep. In an article by BBC News, one professor at Oxford University harshly (but accurately) sums up our culture’s attitude towards sleep:

“We are the supremely arrogant species; we feel we can abandon four billion years of evolution and ignore the fact that we have evolved under a light-dark cycle. What we do as a species, perhaps uniquely, is override the clock. And long-term acting against the clock can lead to serious health problems.”

Ignoring circadian rhythms could possibly be one of the biggest contributors to Western culture’s continuously declining health, and yet is one that is rarely discussed in the media or by doctors. It seems that our obsession with productivity, as well as attachment to electronic devices like phones, laptops, tablets and TVs, has become more important than attending to our sleep needs, and our health is clearly suffering for it.

I’ve written before about how blue light at night disrupts our circadian rhythms and how to address this issue using apps and orange goggles. There’s no reason not to make these simple changes to your evening routine, and I can personally vouch for the effectiveness of changing your environment to better simulate natural day and night lighting. It may be the one change you haven’t yet made that could make the biggest difference in your overall health and risk of future chronic disease.

Research Report

  • Sleep restriction and circadian misalignment promote insulin resistance and inflammation. Yet another reason to focus on sleep!
  • Sleep disturbance and altered circadian rhythm messes up your gut flora. Again… get your sleep!
  • Supplementing with a prebiotic and probiotic combo improves fasting blood sugar, insulin resistance and lipids.
  • Newborns of obese parents have altered DNA methylation patterns, which may affect their risk of chronic disease in adulthood.
  • Gut microbiota metabolism of dietary fiber into short chain fatty acids may shape the immunological environment in the lung and influence the severity of allergic inflammation.
  • Research shows that acute sleep deprivation increases portion size and affects food choice in young men.
  • The emerging role of the gut microbiota in regulating food allergen sensitization may help explain the rise in food allergies and intolerances.

Worth A Look

  • The New York Times covers one author’s No-Soap, No-Shampoo, Bacteria-Rich Hygiene Experiment. Maybe it’s time to stop using soap and shampoo in the shower?
  • Ancestralize Me has developed a quiz to help you determine if your diet is too restrictive to be healthy.
  • Mark Sisson shares 7 different ways to unwind before bed without drinking alcohol.
  • This picture creeps me out when I think of how much saltwater I’ve swallowed as a lifelong surfer.
  • Obesity isn’t just a problem in humans; it also affects our pets. Help fight canine obesity with this new app and book.
  • The new documentary Fed Up explores the widely misinterpreted notion that “calories-in-calories-out” is the answer to the obesity epidemic.

For the Foodies

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  1. Antonio Pedro says

    “Western culture’s continuously declining health, and yet is one that is rarely discussed in the media or by doctors.” Really? Could you please quantify that statement? Thanks

    • Chris Kresser says

      - 1 billion people around the world suffer from diabetes and obesity
      - autoimmune disease now affects 1 in 6 Americans: 50 million people
      - 1 in 3 Americans suffer from high blood pressure
      - global cancer rates expected to increase by 70% over next 20 years
      - 50 million Americans now suffer from allergies (1 in 6); food allergies increased by 50% from 1997-2011
      - if current trends continue, 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes in 20 years
      - todays kids are the first generation that are expected to live shorter lifespans than their parents.

      I could go on, but you get the point. I think it’s fair to say our health is declining, even if we’re living longer.

      • Antonio Pedro says

        To make the point that health is declining, we really need longitudinal data; not just cross-sectional. Obviously I am with you. However, with we want to reach a broader audience (i.e. a friend of mine who does not believe in it), we need good and clear data showing that increase in morbidity due to chronic conditions. The assumption that today is worse-off from a few decades ago is far from obvious. Otherwise, we will be talking to uncritical followers only. Sounds obvious but it is rarely done. Cheers

        • Antonio Pedro says

          Also, a lot of what are taking is not ‘Western’ but an American problem, like being shorter. So we need to be more precise about these statements and stop mistaken US problem but other countries’ problems. Cheers

  2. John McDonell says

    Interest in several problematic conditions like obesity, type ll diabetes, cancer, etc, much relevance here – ‘Lights Out’ by TS Wiley. Its a great START. She in the book only covers winter – 7months per year … she forgets nighttime UV (reflection off lunar surface) … Did our ancestors customarily sleep outdoors? … ; she also does not mention the profound influence of night colors like indigo(not black) … lilac, etc. The blue vs orange is an interesting tidbit in a whole range of possibilities.

  3. Michelle R says

    Chris, the content of these blogs is a great compilation of useful articles. However, I think it’s time for a new name for “The Roundup”.
    Most of us get negative feelings upon seeing the word “Roundup”. Or we might neglect to click on the tweet thinking it’s just more bad news about GMOs and Monsanto’s Roundup.
    You could call it the Review or Kresser’s Collection.
    Just a thought. Keep up the good work.

    • Karen says

      Lots of people are using the term “roundup” on the web to indicate a collection of some sorts. Maybe it’s because Roundup is illegal where I live, but I don’t make that connection at all!

  4. Wenchypoo says

  5. Wenchypoo says

    Prebiotics…as in RESISTANT STARCH? My spouse, who is a burgeoning Type 2 diabetic (by genetics–thanks, Dad!), cannot do the potato starch stuff every day because it loses its charm after 1 meal. I feed him cold potato salad once weekly, and for some reason, we get the same effect with cooked veggies, so he gets those 3X/week. The rest of the time, it’s high-protein keto, with the occasional Bubbie’s fermented dill pickle. Back-to-back meals with resistant starch or soluable fiber lose effectiveness with him, so we break them up with protein-only meals.

    Thank god for BG monitors (no matter how inaccurate they may be). http://www.diabetesdaily.com/voices/2013/07/blood-glucose-meter-accuracy-comparison-chart

  6. Cory Summit says

    Don’t usually comment here but Chris, you feel that the “old friends” theory and fecal transplants has something to it but a drop of saltwater “creeps you out?”

    Im actually surprised how the probiotic/ provironic nature of fresh ocean water its not discussed as it relates to the immune system. Especially considering we came from that same slurry at some point and most of our ancestors lived near and interacted routinely with the oceans of the world.

    Lastly the things that cannot be seen under 25k magnification are much more numerous and possibly more impactful for health.

  7. Maria says

    I don’t know why but somehow American culture has equated getting adequate rest with laziness and elevating the person who is alway busy working with success. This may appear to be productive in the short term until they burn out and often never fully recover. When in reality adequate rest is the only way to peak productivity.

    Look at Europeans. Required vacations are 4-8 weeks (not days but weeks!) They get more national holidays, everyone has medical coverage, good medical with many more services fully covered and lead the US in productivity. The French work week maxes out at 35 hours.

    We have limits for airline pilots but I really have issues with Doctors, Surgeons, attorneys, accountants, truck & train drivers etc. working more than 40 hours per week. Unfortunately many prestigious occupations glorify working many tedious hours often 80-100 with commute and overnight travel and then we also have so many unemployed people. Wouldn’t it make sense to divide an 80-100 hour work week among two people even if they both made less money?

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