Welcome to the Dr. B Newsletter, a curated healthcare email that delivers vetted reads on whole-body health. This week’s newsletter may go down like a bitter pill for those who love rainbow-hued foods + no-cal sugar substitutes. But it’s packed with delicious Checkup articles + a guide on how to live confidently amongst our trigger foods, too! Scroll on for fascinating new food studies + healthcare updates. No sugar (c)rush included.
The WHO reviewed 283 global studies + concluded that sugar substitutes do not help us lose weight.
Controlled studies found non-sugar sweeteners have a low impact on reducing weight + calorie intake. (But the loss isn't sustained.) Observational studies found no change in calorie intake. They also marked a slight risk increase for type 2 diabetes + cardiac issues. One study warns that erythritol—used to make no-cal substitutes taste as sweet as sugar—can be linked to higher rates of strokes, blood clots, heart attacks and premature death!
Head to CNN for details + tips on how to reduce your natural sugar intake instead.
A petition to remove Red No. 3 from the list of approved food substances is under FDA review. California and New York may ban Red No. 3, titanium dioxide, propylparaben + more by 2025.
Why the controversy? These additives offer zero nutritional benefit. People in the food industry point out that studies on their harm are mixed. But enough suggest significant health risk to public health. Some dyes are believed to increase kids’ hyperactivity + restlessness. Titanium dioxide can damage the reproductive system. And Red No. 3 has caused cancer in rats!
But part of the fun of eating cereal + candy is the rainbow delight, right? So read this Atlantic article for more on how consumers have not embraced natural dyes with open arms + how food scientists are trying to make them more vibrant. Plus, an argument against coloring our food at all.
Let’s close out with good food news! (Limited) research shows that when we’re regularly exposed to our trigger foods, we eat less of them!
In one study, only rodents who had random access to sugar binged when given it. In another, humans fed mac and cheese every night for five days ate less of it than participants only given it once a week.
But how to live calmly amongst our trigger foods? In Self, dietitian Christine Byrne offers a plan. Read the article for specifics on the principles of food. But here's the gist:
Our bodies respond differently to food. A new study aims to find out how (NPR). The NIH just kicked off a study tracking how differences in lifestyle, environment and biology affect our response to food. The goal is to have machine learning + AI develop algorithms that predict a person’s response to certain foods. This precision nutrition should be available by 2030. Hopefully, food processes will shift + reduce rates of diabetes and certain cancers. Read the article for this fascinating area of study.
U.S. has been falling behind on life expectancy for decades, study shows (CNN). In 1950, the U.S. ranked 12th for longest life expectancy worldwide. In 2019, we came in 40th. Why the drop? The study looked at several social factors + found issues with each. We don’t have universal health care. We eat more calories than other countries. We have high rates of child poverty, more guns + more drug problems. Read the report for what's needed to reverse this trend.
Were you sick but didn’t have Covid? It could have been this virus. (HuffPost). Human metapneumovirus virus cases (HMPV) hit beyond-normal rates this year. For healthy people, HMPV often presents like the common cold. But for babies, seniors and immunocompromised people, HMPV can cause severe breathing issues happen that require supplemental oxygen. HMPV spreads easily through touch. So if you’re feeling sick, wash your hands well!