Featured Articles

Diabetes and Heart Ailments

by Christopher C. Barr

The much ballyhooed connection of overweight and even obesity issues to illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes have been brought into question by two studies in this week’s Archives of Internal Medicine.

More than half overweight and nearly a third of obese adults in a national health/nutrition survey had healthful figures for such risk markers as cholesterol including the so-called “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and blood sugar, as well as insulin sensitivities.

By contrast, almost one quarter of those recognized as having normal weights had unhealthful figures for the same risk markers.

“A considerable proportion of overweight and obese U.S. adults are metabolically healthy, whereas a considerable proportion of normal-weight adults express a clustering of cardiometabolic abnormalities,” wrote Judith Wylie-Rosett, Rachel Wildman and colleagues in their published report.

Wylie-Rosett of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York oversaw one study and according to Reuters News said in a telephone interview, “We really don’t know as much about obesity as we think we do.”

No kidding.

“Her team did not look at people’s diets,” stated the Reuters News report.

To ignore (the root of the word ‘ignorance’) “people’s diets” is to miss the most important part of the equation.

Size doesn’t matter

The often rotund peoples on traditional Mediterranean diets such as in Greece and Italy have been well documented for less coronary artery disease than skinnier western counterparts in studies dating back more than half a century.

These studies are neither small nor obscure.  The Framingham studies were large and long-term through four decades and well renowned.

The primary healthful differences came down to the type of oil – olive oil – and whole grains.

Much has been made of the olive oil.

That’s great.

Not so much has been made of the whole grains.

That’s too bad.

Simple breakdown

The biggest difference between whole grains and refined grains are three minerals that just happen to figure prominently in all of the observed markers and characteristics of the recent study.

The minerals silicon, selenium and chromium are abundant in whole grains and almost entirely absent in refined grains.

Chromium nourishes and strengthens muscle (like the heart) as well as offering some level of protection of the tissues.  Chromium also manages cholesterol.  Abundant chromium levels result in an abundance of the “good” HDL cholesterol.  Low chromium levels result in low HDL and high “bad” LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol.

Selenium provides protection of heart tissues from free radical damage, and assists with heart energy levels by way of production of Coenzyme Q10.  Selenium also assists chromium with cholesterol management.

Silicon (or silica) is responsible for both strength and elasticity of arteries and other tissues.

One more study

The other study noted that the liver may be the key.

Unseen fatty accumulations in the liver were noted as a more accurate indicator of heart risk than easily seen fat.

Both selenium and chromium were established as nutrients essential for life 50 years ago in liver studies.


A wait problem … not a weight problem

Almost 100 years ago the minerals chromium, selenium and silicon began to be routinely removed more than 90 per cent from whole grains by refining and bleaching processes.  This was ruled a violation of the Pure Food & Drug Act by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1915 yet the practice continued – and continues today.

It is the wait for government to enforce the law and for food providers to follow the law that is the key to heart health – and diabetes as well (chromium was specifically cited as essential for blood sugar metabolism by the National Institutes of Health 50 years ago).

The people await the all too serious wait problem of the government and food providers to be addressed as a far more weighty issue than the weight of the people.

Leave a Reply