Smorgasbord Health Column – Health and Food in the News – Nutritional deficiency on the increase. Keto Diet, Industrially manufactured foods, Lack of Sunshine

Recently, Carol Taylor and I shared a series on how to include food in your diet to avoid nutritional deficiency .. In the autumn we will be moving on from vitamins to minerals.

You can find the posts with some wonderful recipes from Carol in this directory:

There have been some studies that have identified that there is an increase in nutritional deficiency in the diet and here are three articles that are worth reading.

A physician’s warning on the keto diet – Doctor Shivam Joshi

The keto diet has recently garnered much fame for its apparent ability to improve diabetes and obesity – results so impressive the Journal of the American Medical Association recently highlighted the diet and thereby christened it as something more than a low-carb craze. However, not all the evidence supports such a positive outlook, leading the diet to straddle the increasingly blurred lines between faddist snake oil and sanctified medical therapy.

For starters, the keto diet is not new. Nearly a century ago, prior to the discovery of insulin by Frederick Banting and Charles Best, the keto, or ketogenic, diet was used as a crude way to stave off high blood sugar levels, which was then inevitably fatal. By foregoing carbohydrates, the body utilizes fat, either stored or consumed, as its main energy source without raising blood sugar levels. In the process, ketones are produced, and thus giving the diet its name.

By avoiding carbohydrates altogether, blood sugar levels do no spike, but the underlying glucose resistance may still be present. Although some small non-randomized studies show improvements with the diet, a larger meta-analysis of diabetic patients on either the ketogenic diet or a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet for more than one year showed no difference in hemoglobin A1cs or glycemic levels between the two diets. If the diet produces results no different than a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet, then what about its effects on weight loss?

Read the rest of the article:

Fad diets and busy lifestyles sees the UK’s intake of key vitamins and minerals plummet over the last 20 years, major study finds

One in five girls aged 11 to 18 are deficient in levels of nine different nutrients
Junk food is taking over with 5,800 takeaways opening in three-and-a-half years
Experts say busy lifestyles and fad diets putting people at risk of serious disease

Britons’ changing diets have seen our intake of key vitamins and minerals fall sharply over the past 20 years, a major study has found.

Experts say busy lifestyles, junk food and fad diets are putting people at increased risk of serious disease.

The study assessed intake of key nutrients among Britons between 1996 and 2016. Vitamin A intake – which is vital for the eyes and for reproductive health – has fallen 21 per cent.
Vitamin D – crucial for the bones, brain and lungs – has fallen 22 per cent. Calcium has dropped by 10 per cent, iron by 5 per cent and potassium by 4 per cent.

Teenage girls are particularly vulnerable to nutrient shortfalls, with more than one in five aged 11 to 18 deficient in levels of nine different nutrients – magnesium, potassium, iodine, selenium, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B2, iron and calcium.

Overall, fat and calorie intake has fallen by 25 and 17 per cent respectively – although these still exceed recommended levels.

Read the rest of the article:

Here is another article on rickets, which is caused by a deficiency in Vitamin D. Although in this article the changing weather patterns is held responsible, it is also down to children not having the same level of access to the outside as they did even 20 years ago. Even diluted sunshine reacts with bare skin to help boost stores of the vitamin for the winter months.. For those who might have missed the posts on Vitamin D.. a reminder after this link to the latest article on the subject.

Rickets CRISIS in UK as WEATHER change leads to 50 per cent increase in children diagnosed

In a dramatic increase, the number of children suffering from the condition, which can cause bowed legs due to soft bones, has almost doubled since 1997.

Haris Majeed, who published the report in Scientific Reports, claimed that the weather was responsible for the unexpected rise.

He wrote: “Climatologists knew that the UK receives lower summer sunshine than other parts of the world, but no one ever thought of the effect it had on specific health implications, such as rickets.”

Read the rest of the article:

More about Vitamin D and its link to Rickets and other diseases

In my blogs on cholesterol – I mentioned that Vitamin D thinks its a hormone – and our bodies have a different process to obtain and utilise it that is partly digestive but primarily through our exposure to the sun.

Vitamin D is necessary for our bone health (aches and pains), immune system (frequent infections), arthritis (joint pain) hormonal fluctuations (SAD is more prevalent in women).

Most people think if they are taking in Calcium that they will be keeping their bones healthy but in fact Vitamin D is vital in this process.

To illustrate how important Vitamin D is to our skeleton here is a brief overview of how it works.

Our bones are living tissue that grows and regenerates throughout our lifetime. It is not static and old bone is removed and replaced with new bone continuously, a process that requires the essential elements of bone to be available from our diet and from chemical reactions in the body. There are four main components that are needed on a daily basis.

Minerals – calcium, magnesium and phosphorus – Matrix – collagen fibres (gristle) – Osteoclasts – bone removing cells and Osteoblasts– bone producing cells.

If you have ever made paper mache sculptures at school you will used a chicken wire framework first of all to establish the shape that you wanted and then overlaid your strips of wet paper and allowed them to harden. The bone making process is very similar.

A network of collagen fibres forms the base and it is then overlaid with the minerals. The strength of the finished bone is dependent on the amount of mineralisation that takes place. Osteoclasts will remove old bone when needed and this results in a need to produce new collagen matrix to attract new minerals for the repair process.

Vitamin D’s role is essential, to ensure that sufficient calcium and phosphorus is attracted to the new matrix and that the new bone is strong. If you are deficient in this vitamin more bone is discarded than replaced leading to soft and malformed bones.

There is a worrying increase in the numbers of children being diagnosed with this condition which is called rickets which is why recently the health service has suggested giving all children of 5 and upwards Vitamin D supplementation.

That is because most of our children are no longer exposed to sunlight which is the most efficient way for our bodies to produce the essential Vitamin D it needs. Consider these accumulative factors – less PE at school – increased traffic so no more playing in the streets, more apartment living without gardens, fear of child abuse and abductions so children are kept inside, more television, video games and computer time, both parents working so the children are kept after school or inside and finally when out in the rare holiday sun, children are covered in factor 40. Anything over factor 8 and our skin cannot absorb enough sunshine to produce vitamin D.

The last thing I am suggesting is that you go and lie in the midday sun for three hours and burn to a crisp but during the summer months getting 45 minutes of sunshine on your arms and chest and face with a light factor, either early to mid morning or late afternoon should be sufficient for most people.

There are also dietary sources of Vitamin D – We need at least 10ug per day and we can get this if we eat eggs and oily fish regularly during the week as part of a balanced diet. You can also take cod liver oil capsules and as I mentioned at the beginning of the post; Vitamin D is one of the few supplements that I will take through the winter months.

For the other components involved in bone health; make sure you are obtaining calcium from dairy products, oily fish such as sardines and salmon, including canned salmon, green leafy vegetables such as spinach and if vegetarian, tofu.

salmonMagnesium is found in dairy products, fish, meat, seafood, apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, whole grain cereals and dark green vegetables.

wholegrainsPhosphorus can be found in the proteins in your diet such as poultry and whole grains.

vegetablesWe as adults have a responsibility to ensure the health of our children and however difficult that may be in this modern day and age giving them a safe environment to play and exercise in the sunshine has to be a priority for us all. Combined with a healthy, natural and unprocessed diet with far less sugars and these children will not run the risk of having bowed legs due to rickets.

I hope that you have found this useful and if you put ‘Health Column’ in the search bar you will find many posts on nutrients and diet.

©sallycronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

A little bit about me nutritionally.

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse by health books and fiction you can find them here:

As always delighted to get your feedback and questions. This is not intended to take the place of your doctor’s presence in your life. But, certainly in the UK, where you are allocated ten minutes for a consultation and time is of the essence; going in with some understanding of how your body works and is currently functioning can assist in making a correct diagnosis.

Some doctors believe that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. However, I believe that understanding our bodies, how it works, how we can help prevent health problems and knowing the language that doctors speak, makes a difference.  Taking responsibility for our bodies health is the first step to staying well.

Thanks for dropping in Sally.