Tag Archives: weight gain

Do Antibiotics Raise Diabetes Risk via Gut Microbiota?

People who take multiple courses of antibiotics may face an increased risk of developing both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, potentially through alterations in gut microbiota, conclude US researchers.

The team, led by Ben Boursi, MD, a postdoctoral researcher in the department of gastroenterology at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, found that the risk of diabetes was increased by up to 37%, depending on the type of antibiotic and the number of courses prescribed.

“Overprescription of antibiotics is already a problem around the world as bacteria become increasingly resistant to their effects,” commented Dr Boursi in a statement.

“Our findings are important, not only for understanding how diabetes may develop, but as a warning to reduce unnecessary antibiotic treatments that might do more harm than good.”

The study was published online ahead of print March 24 in the European Journal of Endocrinology.

The More Courses of Antibiotics, the Greater the Risk

Dr Boursi explained that studies both in animal models and humans have shown an association between changes in gut microbiota in response to antibiotic exposure and obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes.

Speaking to Medscape Medical News, he noted: “In mice, we know that germ-free mice are lean and, by fecal transplantation, we can transmit obesity to them. We also know that low dose of penicillin may induce obesity in mice models.”

He added that there have been several studies in humans indicating that exposure to antibiotics in early childhood is associated with an increased risk of obesity in later life, while other investigations have reported differences in gut microbiota between people with and without diabetes.

To investigate further, Dr Boursi and colleagues conducted a nested case-control study using data from the Health Improvement Network (THIN), a UK population-based database, from which they identified 1,804,170 patients with acceptable medical records.

As diabetes is associated with an increased risk of infection, the team wanted to exclude all cases with prediabetes or undiagnosed diabetes. To do that, they removed all patients diagnosed with diabetes within 183 days of starting follow-up and included only patients with exposure to antibiotics more than 1 year prior to the index date.

From the original cohort, they were able to select 208,002 diabetes patients and 815,576 controls matched for age, sex, general practice site, and duration of follow-up before the index date.

Conditional logistic regression analysis revealed that exposure to a single antibiotic prescription was not associated with an increased risk of diabetes, adjusted for body mass index (BMI), smoking, last blood glucose level, and the number of infections before the index date, alongside a history of coronary artery disease and hyperlipidemia.

However, treatment with two to five courses of antibiotics was linked to an increased risk of diabetes with penicillin, cephalosporins, macrolides, and quinolones, at adjusted odds ratios (ORs) ranging from 1.08 for penicillin to 1.15 for quinolones.

The highest risk for diabetes was seen among people who received more than five courses of quinolones, at an adjusted OR of 1.37. An increased risk of diabetes was also seen in patients who took more than five courses of tetracyclines, at an adjusted OR of 1.21.

Interestingly, the researchers were unable to find an association between diabetes risk and treatment with imidazole, antiviral drugs, and antifungals, regardless of the number of courses.

To account for further possible confounding factors, the researchers repeated the analysis only in individuals without skin or urinary-tract infections, which are more common among diabetes patients. This had no impact on the results.

Next Steps

When the analysis was restricted to type 1 diabetes, the risk was increased only following exposure to more than five courses of penicillin or two to five courses of cephalosporin, at odds ratios of 1.41 and 1.63, respectively.

Commenting on the findings, study coauthor Yu-Xiao Yang, MD, assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania, pointed out their investigation was observational in nature.

“We are not able to establish cause and effect necessarily, but it is actually pretty consistent with the experimental data, which is more definitive in terms of the animal data than in humans.”

Dr Yang said that the next step for the team will be to expand their focus, as the antibiotics data “provide indirect evidence suggesting the importance of gut microbiota on metabolic outcomes, including diabetes.”

Describing their findings as “important evidence,” he concluded: “Based on this indirect evidence and existing data in animals, we are planning to more directly investigate the effect of altered microbe environments in humans.”

The work was supported by the National Center for Research Resources and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health. The authors have reported no relevant financial relationships.

Eur J Endocrinol. 2015. Published online March 24, 2015. Abstract

via Do Antibiotics Raise Diabetes Risk via Gut Microbiota?.

Leave a comment

Filed under Public Health

High Fructose Corn Syrup – The Facts

High fructose corn syrup has virtually replaced table sugar as a sweetener in the food industry.  It’s cheaper, sweeter and more readily available than table sugar but is it worse for our health? Find out in our latest video blog!

2 Comments

Filed under Diet, Public Health

‘What’ you eat is more important than ‘How Much.’

The Hat in Rancho Cucamonga California

Image via Wikipedia

Finally a large-scale study has concluded what I have been telling patients for years! What you eat is more important than how much of it you eat.  A calorie is not a calorie!

If you ask many classically trained dietitians about maintaining a healthy weight they will regurgitate the same old rhetoric they always have – “as long as you don’t eat more calories than you expend you won’t gain weight,” and “there are no bad foods, just bad amounts of food.”

The above statements have never made sense to me.  I remember taking ‘advanced biology’ in high school.  (There was nothing really ‘advanced’ about it. It was just the second of two courses, the first being ‘basic’ biology.)  In this class I remember learning about physiology and how the body responded differently to different types of food.  Some foods caused the release of insulin while others caused little or no release of this hormone.  The job of this hormone? It basically tells the body to store fat.  From that information I concluded that what you ate had to make a difference in your weight.

As I progressed through my eduction in college (as a biology major) and then on to chiropractic school where I truly received advanced training, my view did not change – the quality of food that I ate had to make a difference on maintaining my weight.  It could not possibly be as simple as calorie-in/calorie-out.

Yet when you read information online or from other mainstream media outlets you will hear just the opposite. “Eat whatever you want, just be sure it’s in moderation.” Or “It doesn’t matter what kind of food you eat as long as it’s low calorie.”

A new study of just over 120,000 people finally has come up with a conclusion that makes more sense.  Hopefully the American Dietetic Association will take notice.  Individually there are some very good dietitians out there, but the American Dietetic Association is making people sicker and sicker with their stance on many aspects of health in my opinion.

The researchers analyzed data on three separate studies over a 20-year period, tracking the long-term effects of different foods and lifestyle changes on more than 120,000 men and women. Adults in the study gained an average of 3.35 pounds every four years, for a total average weight gain of almost 17 pounds.

Regular consumption of potato chips, French fries and sugared beverages were most to blame for slow and steady weight gain. However, people who ate yogurt, fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains either lost weight or gained the least.

Now, I will be the first person to tell you that weight is not the be-all, end-all of health markers.  It’s a good one, but there are plenty of thin people in this world who are very unhealthy.  Also, I generally do not recommend grains be a big part of anyone’s diet.  In small amounts they are ok, but they contribute to inflammation which can be problematic for many reasons.

The other foods in this study – yogurt, fruits, vegetables and nuts – are free foods! Eat them as much as you want.  I routinely encourage people to eat these foods as much as possible.

Interestingly, nuts are a high calorie food yet they performed very well in helping people lose or maintain their weight.  If it truly was about calorie-in/calorie-out then nuts should have performed poorly.  It just goes to show you it isn’t about the calories that we’re putting in, it’s about the quality of those calories.

As much as I’d like to say it’s only about the quality of our food that matters, I cannot.  The amount matters to a certain extent.  If you are regularly consuming 7,000 calories per day you will gain weight.  That type of excess cannot be combated with ‘good’ foods.  However, to get that kind of extra calorie one would have to consume huge amounts of the ‘bad’ foods like fast food, doughnuts, etc.  Those clearly are not quality foods in the first place.

Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian of the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital is the author of the study that appears in the New England Journal of Medicine.  He says the calorie-in/calorie-out theory is incorrect “because different foods have a different effect on the body. ‘You can’t just say a calorie is a calorie. It doesn’t address your feelings of fullness, your blood glucose levels, your blood insulin levels and the other biological responses in your body.”

I could not agree more and this has been my point to other ‘experts’ on nutrition when we debate the calorie-in/calorie-out theory.

Let me pose this scenario to you –

Two people are going to embark on an experiment.  They are going to eat identical calorie diets for the next year.  One person is going to eat 2,000 calories per day in potato chips and the other is going to eat 2,000 calories per day in chicken and vegetables.  Who will be healthier and have the most optimal weight at the end of our experiment?  Intuitively we would say the person eating the chicken and vegetables would be and I believe this is correct.

There have been many short-term studies that have concluded healthy diets only need to focus on calorie content.  The quality of the food was not important for maintaining weight.  Finally a study has looked long-term and concluded that the quality of your food is important. Make sure your choices are good choices.  If you focus on the quality of your food you will maintain your weight more effectively than counting those calories.

5 Comments

Filed under Diet, Public Health

Thanksgiving Weight Gain – Fact or Fiction?

The First Thanksgiving, painted by Jean Leon G...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s the start of the Holiday Season!  I love the holidays.  Food, fun and family.  It’s a great time of year for those things. It’s not a great time of year for most of us in terms of our health, however.  But, instead of focusing on the bad things, I want to fill you in on a health myth that surrounds Thanksgiving.  Hopefully I can put your mind at ease and you can enjoy your Thanksgiving just a little bit more.

Myth – I will gain 5 pounds from eating too much this weekend

This blog comes from something a patient said to me this morning about gaining weight this weekend.  I thought it would be a good topic to analyze and share with you all.

Weight gain is an interesting subject.  People are often very concerned about how much weight they gain over the entire holiday season from Thanksgiving to the New Year.  If you look at the statistics, most people are rightfully concerned.  The average American will gain 12 pounds over the holiday season!  That’s a lot to gain in just 6 weeks.

If the average American gains 12 pounds over 6 weeks then how could someone gain an entire 5 pounds over the course of this long weekend?  Is it possible?  If you ask many men and women across the country they will tell you it is.  I’ve had many patients tell me that they have weighed themselves before and after Thanksgiving and found they’ve easily gained 5 pounds in one weekend.  Fortunately, they are confusing what the scale says with actual weight gain.  Let me explain.

In order to gain 5 pounds of fat in just 4 days a person would have to consume an inordinate amount of food over that 4 day span.  One pound of fat contains 3,500 calories so five pounds of fat contains 17,500 calories.  You might be thinking, ‘I could eat 17,500 calories over this 4 day binge no problem.’  That may be the case but you have to remember that you will burn calories as well.  These calories are required for your heart to beat, for you to breathe, for your brain to function, etc.  The list could go on and on.  Essentially, given an average metabolism, you would have to consume an extra 17,500 calories over a 4 day period.  This does not apply if you are insulin resistant or have other hormonal problems.  Although it would still be difficult to gain 5 pounds in 4 days, keep that in mind.

Let’s put that into perspective –

The average person will burn about 2,000 calories in a day.  So over this 4 day holiday weekend a person would burn about 8,000 calories assuming no exercise is taking place.  That means to gain 5 pounds you would need to consume a total of 25,500 calories over the 4 day weekend.  That’s 6,375 calories per day!  That’s a lot of calories.

According to the American Council on Exercise, the average American will consume 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving day.  That’s no where near the required 6,375 needed to jump start this 5 pound weight gain.  And remember, you’d need to consume 6,375 calories everyday over the weekend to gain 5 pounds.

‘So then why does my scale read 5 pounds heavier on Monday?’ I hear you saying.  This is likely from water retention.  Between the meal, the alcohol and the lack of physical movement water begins to accumulate in all areas of the body.  Water weighs a lot and this is reflected on the scale when you check it.  Basically, it is a physiologic impossibility to actually gain 5 pounds of fat in 4 days.  Remember, the scale is only measuring your weight, not fat.  Many factors will affect your weight.  Try not to confuse what you weigh with actual weight gain.  In this case one does not equal the other.  Phew!

Now, this is not to say that you will not gain any weight over the holiday weekend.  You might, but it can be avoided.  Stay active and make your worst day Thanksgiving.  Don’t continue it through Sunday.  If you return to healthy eating habits and exercise after Thursday there is no reason for weight gain over this weekend.  Keep that in mind and enjoy!

3 Comments

Filed under Diet

5 Ways to Safely Prevent Mold Growth in Your Homes

Mold and fungus is a major health problem for many people.  For most it will cause hypersensitivity and allergy type reactions.  However, for others it can cause a host of other problems including chronic pain, weight gain, anxiety, numbness and tingling and immune deficiencies.  I treat many patients with mold exposures and it is more common than you might think.

If you are having symptoms that don’t seem to add up and your doctors are stumped, consider checking out the possibility of a mold exposure.

Click below for 5 easy ways to prevent mold in your own home.

via 5 Ways to Safely Prevent Mold Growth in Your Homes | TestCountry Articles.

1 Comment

Filed under Public Health