It usually comes as a shock to people that most liver disease in Canada and the US is caused by food abuse and obesity and not by alcohol abuse. The liver of a 10-year-old overweight child who is fed junk all his years can be just as damaged as that of a 60-year-old alcoholic. Both conditions lead to cirrhosis and potentially cancer.
In fact, liver cancer is one of the very few cancers still on the increase. Why? Because people don’t know about the problem. One in ten Canadian has liver disease. Many, if not most, don’t even know about it until the condition is very advanced—perhaps irreversibly.
Your liver performs over 500 jobs and does so silently and judiciously. Among those jobs are the master tasks of managing your cholesterol, hormones and filtering your blood. You can’t survive without any one of those processes. The liver is the largest organ in the body—and it is the only organ that can regenerate itself.
The Canadian Liver Foundation is sounding the alarm that we can no longer marginalize liver disease as one caused by alcohol abuse alone. Diet plays a much bigger role as does the very preventable, treatable Hepatitis A, B and C. Many carry and transmit this virus without knowing it and yet simple, cost effective screening is available.
So, here is what you can do:
Image of cirrhosis from Shutterstock.
Will there ever be any consensus on food addiction? Some people believe that overeating is just a lack of personal strength and others think there is a biological source.
New evidence coming from a study in the EU tries to pull together all the research. There seems to be proof that the neurotransmitter called dopamine is increased in the brain when eating, which is similar to what happens when taking other drugs. To test this theory, just think about how you feel when you have a headache. It goes away while you are eating, and just for those few moments the pain is soothed enough to give you a break.
Dr. Lustig from University of California was speaking in Toronto at the orthomolecular health conference and his work shows that there is a leptin resistance in the brain similar to an insulin resistance in the body. Leptin is the chemical that signals fullness in the brain, but sugar seems to interfere with that signal to an acclimatizing degree. Eat more sugar of any kind and you’ll want even more, because the brain can no longer sense it. Sounds like a drug to me.
Here are some ways to reduce your sugar intake and a few recipes to help you do it.
Some would like to point the finger at high fructose corn syrup as the lone source of all our obesity troubles. As you can see, it is the overabundance of sugar in total. That said, bees are giving us our first clue as to how useless HFCS really is.
Bee colony collapse is a serious topic in the agri-food world. There have been many theories about why bees are dying before they can perform the important task of pollinating our plants, but now there is the news about HFCS being a problem.
The pesticide which is used in conventionally grown corn is suspected to be toxic to bees. Now, scientists at the University of Illinois say they have found a possible link to the practice of feeding honey bees HFCS instead of honey. It is speculated that the HFCS is lacking in something that honey naturally has, which makes the bees themselves undernourished. This, of course, makes perfect sense since we know that honey has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties in its raw form. That wouldn’t be true of HFCS, a highly processed product derived from a genetically modified plant.
So, while you are reducing all sugar, go ahead and add ‘avoid all sweeteners derived from corn’ to your list of things to check for on labels.