The Evolution Of Food Science
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Every generation appears to have an "in" diet that news pundits on TV and armchair dietitians on the internet tend to sing unending praises of. In the past, we've seen low-fat, low-sugar, and now low-carb diets that all tried to address critical diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, among others. When contemplating functional diets, it is critical to look at peer-reviewed, independent studies and, of course, consult a certified dietician who can recommend adjustments based on an individual's specific physiology. That being said, it is undoubtedly worthwhile to investigate the current debate surrounding foods that affect our health. The foods we eat today have been connected to some of the most devastating diseases we face as a species, ranging from cancer to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Recently, research into the gut biome has provided new insight on its relationship with our mental health and what we may crave at any particular time.

According to research, an imbalance in the gut microbiota, known as dysbiosis, can cause changes in appetite and a desire for sugary foods. According to some studies, some types of bacteria in the gut, such as those belonging to the Firmicutes phylum, may be connected with greater sugar cravings and a higher risk of obesity.

It's crucial to highlight that research on the gut microbiome and sugar cravings is still in its early stages, and additional research is needed to completely understand the relationship between these two elements. It is, nonetheless, a very promising subject of study, with fresh findings being published all the time. A recent study concluded that an individual's gut microbiota can be used as a biological marker for diabetes as well as a target for therapy and prevention.

Seed oils are a relatively new addition to the discussion of meals with a large impact on our cardiovascular health. Dr. Chris Knobbe's YouTube address gained major attention because it drew analogies between the rise in cardiovascular-related fatalities and the usage of industrially produced seed oils that replaced animal-based fats such as lard and tallow prior to the 1950s. There is further evidence given not only in his talk but also in many other peer-reviewed studies demonstrating the link between numerous sorts of chronic degenerative diseases, including cancer, and the ingestion of omega-6 fatty acids often found in seed oils. These are also among the most common types of fat we consume as a species, as they are found in practically all processed foods, from the filling inside Oreos to the base for Nutella, not to mention their use as the major cooking fat in both commercial and home kitchens.

Much of the debate over which foods are "functional" and "healthy" appears to be cyclical. The Seven Countries Study, an epidemiological study of coronary illness, concluded in the early 1970s that eating eggs and red meat resulted in increased intake of saturated fats, which led to cholesterol and an increased risk of CVD, or cardiovascular disease. A new study has called these conclusions into question because they had too much of an effect on how many Americans ate during that time.

Recent research suggests that a moderate diet of red meat and eggs may not be as hazardous to cardiovascular health as previously thought.

A 2020 systematic review and meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered no substantial link between red meat consumption and the risk of CVD and only a weak association between red meat consumption and type 2 diabetes.

A 2020 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) discovered that those who consumed up to one serving of red meat per day had a decreased risk of heart disease and death compared to those who did not consume red meat. A meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Epidemiology in 2021 revealed no significant link between egg consumption and CVD risk.

What can be gleaned from the ongoing debate about which foods have the most impact on our health in comparison to others? Diabetes, CVD, and other chronic illnesses are constantly evolving and are influenced by a variety of external factors such as age, gender, lifestyle, and even combinations of these factors. All of these aspects reside in a complicated matrix, making it impossible, even for major, well-funded research endeavors, to determine what is best for us.