Good vs Bad

Low Quality Food with Low Nutrient Density Linked to Cancer

For the first time, a low quality diet, as defined by the concentration of micronutrients per calorie, was strongly associated with and offered great predictive value for an individual’s risk of developing cancer.  While there are many forms of cancer and not all have the same strength of association with diet quality, many of the most common types were closely tied to the presence of low quality food choices.  Although some readers may have already assumed these findings to be true, it is a major breakthrough that should strengthen public health efforts to eliminate processed food from the daily diet.  There is still a pervasive opinion by many health experts that diet is not linked to cancer and that cancer is too complex to be tied to an individual’s food choices.  This study suggests otherwise.

Over 471,000 European adults participated in this research as part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC) Study.  Those Europeans, primarily from England, France, and Belgium, with lower nutrient density diets had the highest risk of cancers, most notably of the digestive tract and liver.  The team of investigators feel that this diet is a leading risk factor for two reasons: the increased burden of metabolizing refined carbohydrates and sugar-based foods and the absence of essential micronutrients that play pivotal roles in the body’s defense systems against cancer.

Increased vegetable consumption is the single most effective way to increase the nutrient density of the diet.  Dark green, leafy vegetables lead the way with very high levels of minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients per calorie of energy.  This class of vegetables may be the most protective group of foods available.  Sweetened foods and those foods made with flour and/or low quality seed oils, most often high in omega 6 fatty acids, typically represent the lowest nutrient dense foods.  These low quality foods often displace those that provide us the greatest levels of nourishment.

~ John Bagnulo MPH, PhD.


Deschasaux M et al. Nutritional quality of food as represented by the FSAm-NPS nutrient profiling system underlying the Nutri-Score label and cancer risk in Europe: Results from the EPIC prospective cohort studyPLOS Medicine, 2018; 15 (9): e1002651.


Fructose, Fruit juice, and the Microbiome

The microbiome continues to dominate the research front.  That 5 pounds of microbial life that inhabits our digestive tract is far more responsible for our health, most people would ever guess.  It’s composition and how various populations of microbes relate to one’s risk of particular conditions is being intensely studied.  While some of the research surrounding specific microbiome profiles (diversity, presence of larger families of bacteria, or the numbers of potentially pathogenic strains for instance) is preliminary and limited to associations, many microbiologists and microbial experts believe that there is a great deal we can now say with confidence. Continue reading

Dietary Fiber

Dietary Fiber Reduces Brain Inflammation Associated with Aging

Most of people regard fiber as something that helps keep them “regular”.  Others who may be more interested in their health understand how a diet rich in fiber can foster populations of beneficial gut flora and greater diversity overall within the microbiome.  The latest investigation however is sure to pave the way for a better understanding of the mechanisms linking higher levels of soluble fiber with improved brain health (1). Continue reading

SUS Awards

2018 Society of University Surgeons Resident Award Winners

SUS Awards

The SUS is pleased to announce the two award winners for the best presentation by a resident in the 2018 Academic Surgical Congress Plenary Sessions, where the Senior Author is a SUS member. The presentations were graded by members of the SUS Executive Council and the winners will represent the SUS at the European Society for Surgical Research (ESSR) and the Society of Academic & Research Surgery (SARS) Annual Meetings. Continue reading

Trisomy 18

Trisomy 18 and A New Perspective on Nutrition Support

Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards syndrome, is a condition caused by an error in cell division, occurring in about 1 out of every 2500 pregnancies. The developmental issues caused by Trisomy 18 are associated with medical complications that are generally critical in the early years of a child’s life. Only 50% of babies who are carried to term are born alive.  Intensive care admissions in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU’s) are the norm for infants with Trisomy 18. Infants that survive and are discharged from the hospital require extensive care and support by the parents, family, and outside help. The greatest challenges for these children are generally in those body systems with the greatest developmental delays or deficiencies. In some children it may be the respiratory system and in most the digestive system is compromised. Continue reading