Diet and Nutrition

New Research Confirms Link Between Diet and Depression

A recent investigation among an Australian Islander population, the Torres Strait Islanders, confirmed those aspects of a modern diet that contribute to major depression and highlighted two specific fats that are highly involved in the development of the disease (1).  The Islanders that ate more fish, less take-out and fast foods, and subsequently had higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids, had the lowest risk for depression and depression-related issues.  Those Islanders, typically younger and following a less-traditional diet, that ate more processed food, less seafood, resulting in more omega 6 fatty acids, were at the highest risk. Continue reading

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.


Crohn’s Disease, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), and Enteral Nutrition: Liquid Hope is the best of both worlds.

The past 3 years have seen numerous research investigations come to the same conclusions: Crohn’s disease is a function of both an individual’s diet and their microbiota. Many individuals suffer severe flare-ups with exposure to long chained carbohydrates from specific starches and grains that survive upper GI digestion and end up feeding the wrong bacteria in the mid to lower GI.  There is an increasingly popular approach to mitigating these conditions with strict enteral nutrition therapy (1). Continue reading

Clinical Biomarkers

Clinical Biomarkers for MDs and RDs: What they mean and what the patient needs

By now, most clinicians and dietitians have learned to assess patient lab work with at least some new-found appreciation for those markers of inflammation.  These may range from the highly sensitive C-reactive protein (CRP-hs) to the more general erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) or possibly the surrogate marker of renal inflammation, urinary micro albumin.  Each of these has its own role in detecting inflammatory-based issues and each should indicate the potential role for dietary intervention. C-reactive protein tests, both regular and highly sensitive, have become the most common measures of inflammation. CRP values greater than 3.0 are major red flags,- in fact, anything greater than 1.0 should generate some concern. CRP hs values greater than 1.0 suggest a significant amount of inflammation, most likely systemic and definitely affecting the cardiovascular system. Much of this inflammation is gut-derived: microbes metabolize particular components of a meal or diet and then generate a wide variety of substances, many of which are highly inflammatory. Continue reading