Have you read or commented on these articles?
"If you start asking around, you???ll find that a surprising number of people have GI issues. The incidence of gut problems, major and minor, seems to be on the rise ??? and it seems to be distinct to humans. After all, it???s hard to imagine that many lions are battling irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) out on the savannah, or that wild deer are reaching for the Tums. This is probably because unlike other animals we humans have had a proclivity for incorporating strange new foods into our diets. If our guts are too antiquated to handle our brain???s progressive desires, what should we be eating?"
Forbes has a substantial readership and this article is specifically soliciting comments about diet...great chance to positively "talk paleo" to a potentially wide audience...
"He was especially interested in mental illness. He has a family member with mental illness and in 1985, his parents, Raymond and Shirley, helped found the first national support group for families dealing with mental illness, what???s now called the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance."
"We careen through the streets of Bethesda and finally pull up to a guard station at the National Naval Medical Center, where we are meeting Colonel Mike Lewis, M.D., M.P.H., one of Hibbeln???s collaborators, to talk about some new studies. A soldier in dusty fatigues salutes and waves us in. ???Sir, very good sir.??? Hibbeln returns the salute. Hibbeln tells me that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression in the U.S. military are affecting 20 percent of those who have been deployed. He points to construction vehicles and men in hard hats who swarm around the medical center. ???They???re building new treatment facilities to capture this flood of psychiatric distress,??? he says. ???If I can get the military to change their diet, show that it works to reduce depression and suicide there, then there???s a great potential for societal change.???"
"His reasoning is this: The modern American diet is vastly different from the one upon which our ancestors evolved. Our ancestors consumed about equal amounts of omega-3 fats and omega-6 fats, the other polyunsaturated fats (found in vegetable oils) that compete with omega-3s for space in the brain. Today, Americans get 10 to 25 times more omega-6s than omega-3s, partly because we don???t eat as many omega-3-rich fish, such as salmon and sardines (or wild animals, which are also higher in omega-3s), but mostly because our diets now contain processed foods that are packed with omega-6-rich oils, including oils made from soybeans, safflower and corn."
"Hibbeln presented the possibility that this dramatic shift could have changed the way our brains function???sort of as if a car designed to run on unleaded gas suddenly started using diesel. Might it even trigger or perpetuate psychiatric illnesses? Hibbeln offers an interesting correlation: statistics suggest that depression and homicide rates have risen steadily over the past century???the same time period during which Americans??? annual per capita intake of omega-6-rich oils increased by nearly 500 percent, from 11 pounds to 64 pounds."
"After talking about Lewis???s ideas for providing omega-3s to protect soldiers??? brains from traumatic injury, Hibbeln reveals his grandest plan, one that applies all his research toward helping people in the ???real world.??? Hibbeln wants to create what he calls a modern-day ???Diet of Evolution.??? He is designing this diet???which he plans to someday introduce into the Naval hospital???s cafeteria???to boost the ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s in the brain, not so much by increasing omega-3s but rather by dramatically reducing omega-6 fats???from about 10 percent to 1 percent of total calories. (On 2,000 calories a day, that???s 2 to 2.5 grams versus the 17 to 20 that a typical Western diet delivers.)
For years, Hibbeln and others have advocated eating lots of omega-3-rich fish to restore the omega balance in the brain. But they haven???t lost sight of the fact that animal studies suggest slashing the omega-6s may work just as well. ???We don???t need to increase the world???s fisheries production tenfold to achieve the same goal,??? says Hibbeln. Eating a traditional Mediterranean-style diet that???s centered on vegetables and fruits, legumes and olive oil, provides plenty of seafood and is limited in meat, will help to lower omega-6 intake dramatically, says Hibbeln. (Vegetables, fruits, legumes and olive oil don???t contain significant amounts of omega-6s or omega-3s; seafood provides plenty of omega-3s; and meat tends to deliver more 6s than 3s. The diet as a whole is low in omega-6-rich processed foods. But overhauling an institutional menu is expensive, he says, ???so the question is how do we make the same menus, backing off the omega-6 fatty acids????
Answer: Replace the inexpensive high-omega-6 oils the military currently uses, such as soybean oil, with lower-omega-6 oils, such as high-oleic safflower and high-oleic sunflower oil (which have been bred or engineered to have more monounsaturated fats and fewer omega-6s).
If Hibbeln can show that balancing the omega-3/omega-6 equation in the medical center cafeteria can reduce risks of depression and suicide, it might convince the entire military to switch to lower-omega-6 oils (which cost a little more than, say, soy oil, but far less than the expense of changing the entire military diet). This could open the door to wider-reaching changes???like commercial product reformulations. Hibbeln is already preparing for that. His research team is figuring out how many omega-3s and omega-6s are in foods on supermarket shelves: Different brands of salad dressings. Mayo. Peanut butter. Chicken. Pork. ???Pretty much everything,??? says Hibbeln."
I don't live in a world of absolutes. I live in a world where progress is possible, but often comes slowly and requires tremendous dedication and persistence. Both of these articles are heartening to me. The possiblity that Hibbeln's work can spread, even to the entire military services food services is wonderful. Is it a "perfect" paleo/primal/ancestral diet solution? No. But it would be major progress that would affect many lives and especially many young lives.
What do you think?
asked byAtkins_witha_loincloth (5477)
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on August 24, 2011
at 05:18 AM
That is wonderful... I hope he gets it done. A step in the right direction for sure.
on August 24, 2011
at 07:00 AM
Agreed, a step in the right direction.
However, at what cost? Genetically modified, safflower, sunflower, etc crops. Why can't we just grow real food that is good for us? It's not like it doesn't exist and needs to be invented in a lab.
In one paragraph it is noted that we didn't evolve with an out of balance omega 3/6 balance. We also didn't evolve eating GM safflower oil that has been modified to be lower in PUFA's and higher mono saturated fats.
Interesting articles all the same and thanks for posting them.