Read The case against sugar

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Albert Schweitzer began working in equatorial lowlands of West Africa in 1913. He was astonished to encounter no cases of cancer among the thousands of native patients he saw each year. However, as the natives [took to] living more and more after the manner of the whites, cancer in his patient population became ever more frequent (Taubes, 2016, pp 257).

Wise elders, grand parents or statesmen have been  traditional roles for aging adults. Wisdom transforming into Alzheimer’s disease does not compute (Peper, 2014).

In 1960’s Surgeon Captain T. L. Cleave proposed that common western diseases (diabetes, colon cancer, ischemic heart disease, gallstones, obesity, diverticulosis, and dental carries), to which I would add Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune diseases and allergies, could not be due primarily to genetic factors but to new factors in the environment to which man had not yet had time to adapt (Cleaves et al, 1969). As he states, “One such factor was the processing of food which resulted in the consumption of large quantities of pure sugar and starch.  This led to disease because man was evolutionary adjusted to eating smaller amounts of carbohydrates intimately mixed with fiber and protein.”

Clinicians and epidemiologist have consistently reported that none western cultures, whether the Masai in Africa, the Inuit in Northern Canada, the Japanese in Japan, or the Native American, had very low incidences of these western diseases. Yet, when these people adapted a western diet of highly refined carbohydrates and sugar the prevalence of these diseases increased and approached the incidence in western cultures (Burkitt & Trowell, 1975; Taubes, 2016).

Historically these illness were initially observed in the ruling class.  The affluent class was privileged and tended to eat more refined carbohydrates and sugars (white bread, cakes, pastries and sugar in coffee and tea). It is only recently that this class effect is reversed. Lower economic classes tend have a higher prevalence of these western diseases.  Affluent people can afford and often eat low processed organic foods while economically disadvantaged people cannot afford low processed foods and instead eat predominantly highly processed carbohydrate and refined foods.

Highly refined processed foods and sugar–not fats–are  significant risk factors for the development diabetes and cardiovascular disease and mortality (Imamura et al, 2015; Taubes, 2016; Yang et al, 2014) . What is not as well known is that some cancers and Alzheimer’s disease also correlates with the increase intake of refined carbohydrates and sugar (Das, 2015; Kandimalla et al, 2016; Peper, 2014).

It is highly likely that the increase in beta-amyloid protein plagues in the brain is not the cause of the Alzheimer’s but the brain’s defense mechanism to protect it from the fluctuating high insulin and glucose levels. A high sugar and simple carbohydrate diet are risk factors for inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.  These inflammatory diseases are recognized as a precursor for Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is sometimes described as Type 3 diabetes (Kandimalla et al, 2016; Steen et al, 2005).

Taking the perspective that foods are significant risk factors for the development of these western diseases, the focus should be on prevention and less on treatment.  The research to develop drugs to treat Alzheimer’s have up till now been unsuccessful despite that the billions spent on attempting to develop new drugs. For example, the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has spent 3.7 billion dollars over the last decade while the National Institutes of Health spends more than half a billion dollars a year on pursuit of treatment (Coghlan, 2017).

The treatments cost of these western diseases, which at best ameliorate the disorders, is overwhelming.  In the USA, we spent $147 billion to treat obesity and $116 billion to treat diabetes. While the medical costs to treat diabetes for a single patient is about $6000/year or $400,000/lifetime (Pollan, 2009).

As a refined carbohydrates and high sugar diet is a risk factor for western diseases, the focus should be on prevention. Thus, reduce sugar and refined carbohydrates intake and increase high fiber vegetable.  To implement such a simple preventative measure means:

  1. Educate the public about the harm of sugars and refined carbohydrate foods.
  2. Ban advertising of foods that are high in sugar and refined carbohydrates.
  3. Reward companies to produce foods low in sugar and refined carbohydrates.
  4. Tax food products high in sugar and refined carbohydrates just as tobacco has been taxed.

I am positive that in the future when we  look back at the 20th and early 21st century, we will be appalled that the government allowed people to poison themselves with sugar and highly refined carbohydrates. Just as we now warn against the harm of tobacco, limit the sales to minors,  and have ongoing public health stop smoking  campaigns.

For much more information, read science writer Gary Taubes superb well researched and engaging book,  The case against sugar. 



Burkitt, D.P. & Trowell, H.C. (1975).  Refined carbohydrate foods and disease: Some implications of dietary fibre.  York: Academic Press.

Cleave, T.L., Campbell, G.D., & Painter, N.S. (1969). Diabetes, coronary thrombosis and the saccharine disease, 2nd ed. Bristol, UK: John Wright.

Coghlan, A. 2017). The Alzheimer’s problem. New Scientist, 233(3110), 22-23.

Das, U. N. (2015). Sucrose, fructose, glucose, and their link to metabolic syndrome and cancer. Nutrition31(1), 249-257.

Imamura, F., O’Connor, L., Ye, Z., Mursu, J., Hayashino, Y., Bhupathiraju, S. N., & Forouhi, N. G. (2015). Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, artificially sweetened beverages, and fruit juice and incidence of type 2 diabetes: systematic review, meta-analysis, and estimation of population attributable fractionBmj351, h3576.

Kandimalla, R., Thirumala, V., & Reddy, P. H. (2016). Is Alzheimer’s disease a Type 3 Diabetes? A critical appraisal. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-Molecular Basis of Disease.

Peper, E. (2014). Affluenza: Transforming Wisdom into Alzheimer’s Disease with Affluent Malnutrition and Immobility. Neuroconnections, 9(2), 32-35.

Pollan, M. (2009). Big food vs. big insurance. New York Times, September 10, A29.

Steen, E., Terry, B.M.  Rivera, E.J., Cannon, J.L., Neely, T.R., Tavares, R., Xu, X. J., Wands, J.R., & de al Monte, S. M.  (2005). Impaired insulin and insulin-like growth factor expression and signaling mechanisms in Alzheimer’s disease-is this type 3 diabetes? Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 7(1), 53-80.

Taubes, G. (2016). The case against sugar. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Yang, Q., Zhang, Z., Gregg, E. W., Flanders, W. D., Merritt, R., & Hu, F. B. (2014). Added sugar intake and cardiovascular diseases mortality among US adultsJAMA internal medicine174(4), 516-524.

Keep cellphones and tablets away from your body–they cause cancer

The preliminary finding of the 25 million dollar peer-reviewed study by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), overseen by the National Institutes of Health. found that  cellphone communications frequencies at 900 megahertz increased cancer rates in male rats.   Although the official report will not be released until 2017, the data concurs with the 2011 World Health Organization finding that cellphone radiation was a group 2B possible carcinogen. This study showed that the telecommunication industry’s claim “there is no risk” hold no water  and is similar to the initial tobacco industry’s  claim that “smoking did not cause cancer.”  Although the harmful effects are probably small, they are a risk factor!

We are the first generation that is covertly and chronically exposed to radio frequency radiatio (RFR). The long term effects are still partially unknown. Who knows what the future effects will be for children whose brains and bodies are still developing while being exposed the cellphone/tablet radio frequency radiation for hours a day. Remember,the RFR is similar to the radar beam–albeit at a lower intensity–used to cook your food in your microwave oven.

I strongly recommend to adapt the precautionary principle and assume that cellphones could be harmful. Thus, keep cellphones and tablets away from your body. Put them in your purse, attaché case, or backpack.  Use speaker phone or blue tooth earphones and microphone to talk.  When not in use,  put it on airplane mode to reduce long term exposure to RFR. For more recommendation see:

Read the detailed analysis by Joel Moskowitz, Ph.D. Director, Center for Family & Community Health, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA, which has been reprinted with permission below  from

Monday, May 30, 2016 by Joel Moskowitz, PhD.

National Toxicology Program Finds Cell Phone Radiation Causes Cancer

SPIN vs FACT: National Toxicology Program report on cancer risk from cellphone radiation

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) of the National Institutes of Health reported partial findings from their $25 million study of the cancer risk from cellphone radiofrequency radiation (RFR). Controlled studies of rats showed that RFR caused two types of tumors, glioma and schwannoma. The results “…could have broad implications for public health.”

A factsheet on the NTP study that summarizes some biased statements, or “Spin,” about the study that tend to create doubt about data quality and implications, as well as “Facts” from decades of previous research is available at

Factd versus spinAccording to the NTP report:

“Given the widespread global usage of mobile communications among users of all ages, even a very small increase in the incidence of disease resulting from exposure to RFR [radiofrequency radiation] could have broad implications for public health.”

Overall, thirty of 540 (5.5%), or one in 18 male rats exposed to cell phone radiation developed cancer.  In addition,16 pre-cancerous hyperplasias were diagnosed. Thus, 46 of 540, or one in 12 male rats exposed to cell phone radiation developed cancer or a pre-cancerous lesion as compared to none of the 90 unexposed male rats. The two types of cancer examined in the exposed rats were glioma and schwannoma. Both types have been found in human studies of cell phone use.

In the group exposed to the lowest intensity of cell phone radiation (1.5 watts/kilogram or W/kg), 12 of 180, or one in 15 male rats developed cancer or a pre-cancerous lesion.

This latter finding has policy implications for the FCC’s current cell phone regulations which allow cell phones to emit up to 1.6 W/kg at the head or near the body (partial body Specific Absorption Rate or SAR).

The NTP study is likely a “game-changer” as it proves that non-ionizing, radiofrequency radiation can cause cancer without heating tissue.

The results of the study reinforce the need for more stringent regulation of radiofrequency radiation and better disclosure of the health risks associated with wireless technologies — two demands made by the International EMF Scientist Appeal — a petition signed by 220 scientists who have published research on the effects of electromagnetic radiation.

Along with other recently published studies on the biologic and health effects of cell phone radiation, the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization should now have sufficient data to reclassify radiofrequency radiation from “possibly carcingogenic” to “probably carcinogenic in humans.”

The risk of cancer increased with the intensity of the cell phone radiation whereas no cancer was found in the sham controls—rats kept in the same apparatus but without any exposure to cell phone radiation.

In contrast to the male rats, the incidence of cancer in female rats among those exposed to cell phone radiation was not statistically significant. Overall, sixteen of 540 (3.0%), or one in 33 female rats exposed to cell phone radiation developed cancer or a pre-cancerous lesion as compared to none of the 90 unexposed females. The NTP has no explanation for the sex difference. The researchers pointed out that none of the human epidemiology studies has analysed the data by sex.

The researchers believe that the cancers found in this experimental study were caused by the exposure to cell phone radiation as none of the control animals developed cancer. The researchers controlled the temperature of the animals to prevent heating effects so the cancers were caused by a non-thermal mechanism.

One of two types of second-generation (2G) cell phone technology, GSM and CDMA, were employed in this study. The frequency of the signals was 900 MHz. The rats were exposed to cell phone radiation every 10 minutes followed by a 10-minute break for 18 hours, resulting in nine hours a day of exposure over a two-year period. Both forms of cell phone radiation were found to increase cancer risk in the male rats.

For each type of cell phone radiation, the study employed four groups of 90 rats — a sham control group that was not exposed to radiation, and three exposed groups.  The lowest exposure group had a SAR of 1.5 W/kg which is within the FCC’s legal limit for partial body SAR exposure (e.g., at the head) from cell phones. The other exposure groups had SARs of 3 and 6 W/kg.

Glioma is a common type of brain cancer in humans. It affects about 25,000 people per year in the U.S. and is the most common cause of cancer death in adults 15-39 years of age. Several major studies have found increased risk of glioma in humans associated with long-term, heavy cell phone use.

In humans, schwannoma is a nonmalignant tumor that grows in Schwann cells that cover a nerve which connects to the brain. Numerous studies have found an increased risk of this rare tumor in heavy cell phone users. In the rat study, malignant schwannoma was found in Schwann cells in the heart.

For more information about the NTP study see

For references to the research that found increased risk of malignant and nonmalignant tumors among long-term cell phone users see

The NTP report is available at



Triumph and failure of medicine: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes a remarkable first-person memoir by neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi that follows his transformation from being an outstanding neurosurgeon and scientist to being a patient diagnosed with stage lV lung cancer. It shares in detail the challenges of the patient doctor relationship and the eventuality of facing death. It is a must book to read to understand the intense training that physicians undergo to reach the top of their profession. It also explores in detail the challenges facing patients and all of us when death stares us in the face.

When Breath becomes air

Dr. Kalanithi’s drive was to be the preeminent neurosurgeon and scientist.  When diagnosed with stage IV cancer, he receives the best scientific treatment at Stanford University Medical Center. His stellar treatment also illustrates medicine’s disregard of the healing process and how  the patient may contribute to his own healing process.  Even though the initial diagnosis appeared hopeless; nevertheless, he responded well to the cancer treatment. It is at this point the superb scientific Western medical approach  failed him. The failure was the medical culture of the hospital, his oncologists, and most importantly his own lack of somatic awareness. He did not listen to his own body crying out: “I am exhausted.”

When reading the book, I was shocked to realize how little he appeared to appreciate factors that suppressed the immune system.  He continued to be stressed to the extreme through working, working and working. After the initial recovery, he went back to the same pattern which had preceded the initial illness instead of respecting the biological regeneration process so that he could support the recovery of his immune system. He totally focused on performing surgery without listen to the needs of his own body.

When he initially  recovered from the cancer after the disease had regressed, he decided, “I would push myself to return to the OR (operating room). Why? Because I could.” After a month, he was again operating at nearly a full load. As he stated almost every evening he ended his days “exhausted beyond measure, muscle on fire, Coming home each night, I would scarf down a handful of pain pills, then crawl into bed.”

He was dedicated to his career and patient care. However, he did not listen to his own exhaustion. When reading this part in the book, I sadly predicted that his cancer would return with vengeance and that he would die. Although there are many causes of cancer and many treatments, in the end one component that may facilitate surviving cancer is the patient supporting his own functional immune system

Why was this brilliant neurosurgeon, his colleagues, and his physicians, so disconnected from common sense? After trauma ,the body needs time to regenerate and recover. Having meaningful work and relationships is important; however, pushing yourself to exhaustion in pursuit of professional is a prescription for illness.

Whatever happened to the well documented knowledge that ongoing excessive stress without time to regenerate is a predictable risk factor for illness and even death? High stress is associated with poorer survival in patients with cancer. (Chida et al, 2008; Denaro et, 2014). How come the medical staff was unaware of the concept of “Karoshi” a Japanese word invented in 1978 which means death from overwork (International Labor Organization, 2013).

Possibly, this disconnect from common sense is embedded in medical training in which residents and interns work 24 hours or longer shifts. With the drive and pride to perform at any time, medical staff are trained to disregard the signals of their own body.  One cannot burn the midnight oil indefinitely with incurring consequences. Do we really want our doctors, those to whom we entrust our very lives, living and working on the knife-edge of exhaustion?

Possible medicine need to encourage and support common sense such as a regular life style, exercise, healthy diet, and social support (see the book Fighting Cancer by Robert Gorter and Erik Peper, 2011).  I hope that by reading Dr. Kalanithi’s remarkable book, it will encourage you to listen to yourself and nurture the self-healing potential of the body. Hopefully, the future medical prescription, instead of offering  high technology and pharmaceutical solutions, will also respect and support the intrinsic self-healing processes of the body. Possibly the future prescription will read: have 8 hours sleep, take time to regenerate, learn relaxation skills, have regular meals, and nurture social connections.


Case Study: Karoshi: Death from overwork (2013). International Labour Organization.–en/index.htm

Chida, Y., Hamer, M., Wardle, J., & Steptoe, A. (2008). Do stress-related psychosocial factors contribute to cancer incidence and survival?. Nature clinical practice Oncology, 5(8), 466-475.

Denaro, N., Tomasello, L., & Russi, E. G. (2014). Cancer and stress: what’s matter? from epidemiology: the psychologist and oncologist point of view. journal of cancer therapeutics and research, 3(1), 6.

Gorter, R. & Peper, E. (2011). Fighting Cancer-A None Toxic Approach to Treatment. Berkeley: North Atlantic. ISBN: 978-1583942482

Kalanithi, P. (2016). When Breath Becomes Air. New York: Random House


Update on Roundup® (glyphosate)-Now classified as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A)

My previous blog, Are herbicides a cause for allergies, immune incompetence and ADHD? focused on the health risks associated with  the herbicide Roundup® (glyphosate) as a possible contributing factor for allergies, immune incompetence and ADHD. The danger of using glyphosate may even be worse!

On March 20, 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)–the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization–classified glyphosate as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A). Thus, I strongly recommend avoiding glyphosate and other types of herbicide and pesticide contaminated foods. Use the precautionary principle and eat only organic foods.

The IARC defines the category Group 2A as follows: The agent is probably carcinogenic to humans. This category is used when there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. Limited evidence means that a positive association has been observed between exposure to the agent and cancer but that other explanations for the observations (called chance, bias, or confounding) could not be ruled out. This category is also used when there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and strong data on how the agent causes cancer.

Overdiagnosed: Should I have more tests or treatments?

One Computerized tomography (CT) scan of the abdomen and pelvis will expose you to more radiation than the residents of Fukushima, Japan absorbed after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in 2011. –Consumer Reports, March 2015, Vol.80 No.3, 39.

High-risk patients with heart failure and cardiac arrest hospitalized in teaching hospitals had a significantly lower 30-day mortality when admitted during dates of national cardiology meetings (70% survival when doctors attended meeting as compared to 60% survival when doctors did not attend the meetings). -Jena et al, 2014.

There are so many questions

I feel healthy but worry that cancer could be lurking in the background, should I do a preventative body scan?

I sometimes have slightly higher blood pressure especially when the doctor measures it. It is probably borderline, should I go on medication?

Should I have my PSA tested?

I am a healthy fifty year old, should I have a mammogram?

Should I have an annual physical?

In the quest to stay healthy or prevent disease, we are bombarded by information that preventative testing would save lives and improve health. Only in the United States and New Zealand allow direct to consumer medical advertising which tends to increase excessive drug use and medical testing (Liang & Mackey, 2011). The messages imply that medical screening and testing (e.g., body scan or stress tests) can identify early stages of a disease and implying that earlier treatment will improve quality of life and survival. Similar messages encourage basically healthy people to take drugs for borderline conditions (e.g., borderline hypertension, osteopenia, increased cholesterol levels. What is not shared is the possible risk of unnecessary medical interventions or  the harm caused by drug or treatment side effects especially when they are used for a long time period.  When unbiased research such as the Cochran Reviews are done,  even the annual physical exam appears to offer no benefits (Krogsbøll et al, 2013). Similarly,  mammograms and PSA testing  for a healthy population appears to offer no benefits and may increase risks. It is truly difficult to accept that an annual health check up is worthless or that a routine mammogram or PSA test may do more harm than good since for many years the public message has been the opposite:  to get more screening and testing. There are many reasons for this approach such as:

  1. Genuine belief, although not evidence based,  that an early intervention and more testing would reduce suffering.
  2. Financial incentives for the parties that perform testing and preventative screening or encourage increased drugs sales for borderline conditions for which the risk and benefits are not well documented.
  3. Fear of lawsuits by medical providers.  If a patient develops an illness which possibly could have been diagnosed by screening, even though the screening may not have affected the actual outcome, the health professional could be sued.

Become an informed consumer

When you have a symptom and do not feel well, see your doctor and get diagnosed, it may safe your life.  At the same time be an educated consumer and when unexpected findings are discovered and not related to your specific symptom/complaint, ask questions before agreeing to have more tests or treatments. Ask your provider some of the following questions which were initially outlined by Dr. Eugene Robins (1984):

  1. Why are you doing this test or procedure?
  2. What are the risks and what are the benefits?
  3. What are the risks of treatment and what are the benefits of treatment?
  4. How accurate is the test?
  5. How will the test results change the treatment strategy?
  6. Are there less invasive strategies that could be used? Be very careful of exposing yourself and especially children to CT scans. It is estimated that for every 1000 children who have an abdominal CT scan, one will develop cancer as a result (2015, Consumer Report, March 16).

To be able to navigate the complexities of diagnosis and to understand the risks and benefits of treatment and testing, read the recent two articles in the New York Times, Can this treatment help me? There is a statistic for that, How to Measure a Medical Treatment’s Potential for Harm and the superb book, Over-diagnosed-Making people sick in the pursuit of health,  by Drs. H. Gilbert Welch, Lisa M Schwartz, and Steven Woloshin who are professors at Darthmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. This book is a must read for every patient and health care provider. index


(2015). Overexposed. Consumer Reports, 80(3), 37-41.

Carroll, A.E. & Frakt, A. (2015). How to Measure a Medical Treatment’s Potential for Harm. New York Times, February 2.

Frakt, A. & Carroll, A.T. (2015). Can This Treatment Help Me? There’s a Statistic for That, New York Times, January 26.

Jena, A. B., Prasad, V., Goldman, D. P., & Romley, J. (2014). Mortality and Treatment Patterns Among Patients Hospitalized With Acute Cardiovascular Conditions During Dates of National Cardiology Meetings. JAMA internal medicine. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.6781

Krogsbøll, L. T., Jørgensen, K. J., & Gøtzsche, P. C. (2013). General health checks in adults for reducing morbidity and mortality from disease. JAMA, 309(23), 2489-2490.

Liang, B. A., & Mackey, T. (2011). Direct-to-consumer advertising with interactive internet media: global regulation and public health issues. JAMA, 305(8), 824-825.

Robins, E. D. (1984). Matter of Life & Death: Risks vs. Benefits of Medical Care. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company

Welch, H.G., Schwartz, L.M., & Woloshin, S. (2011). Over-diagnosed-Making people sick in the pursuit of health. Boston: Beacon Press.

A historical perspective of neurofeedback: Video interview by Larrry Berkelhammer of Erik Peper

Dr. Erik Peper is interviewed by Dr. Larry Berkelhammer about the research he did in the late 60s and early 70s on EEG alpha training. He describes how he learned to turn off alpha brain rhythms in one hemisphere and turn them on in the other.
Neurofeedback equipment allows researchers and clinicians to get extremely useful feedback, allowing people who are hooked up to get very good at identifying their own brain rhythms and to alter them at will. This can potentially allow us to re-train our brains. Dr. Peper talks about how the real gift of science is about being open to explore rather than to assume our beliefs are factual. Science is about curiosity, experimentation, and exploration. In studying people with cancer and other diseases it is vital that we study more than just pathology–we need to study those individuals who are the outliers, that is, those who recovered against all odds–let’s see what they did to mobilize their health.


Cell phones and tablets: Health risk and what to do

Cellphones and laptops are part of our world; however, they are also a health risks as described in the previous blogs: Wireless devices may cause harm  and  Screens will hurt your children.  For a superb  summary of current  research data  see Louise Kuo Habakus’s  post,  An open letter to Apple Inc. It points out the dangers of tablets and smart phones’ radiation.

A poetic summary of risks and what can be done, read Lawrence Klein’s  poem, Cell Phone Harm,

Phone Harmful: Poem

by Lawrence Klein

Keep mobile phones, tablets or laptops away from your body,

Wireless Devices may cause harm, this research is not shoddy,

Cervical spine stress caused by your communication possession,

Your head forward position increases cervical compression


On top of that there is an increase risk of brain cancer

It is enough to make you pause, before you answer,

Keep your cell phone away from your body and place

it in your purse or outer coat pocket, not near your face!


And use your speaker phone or ear phones instead

of placing the phone directly against your head.

It is impossible to belief that that only a few years ago,

there were no cell phones. So now when you go


home, put the phone away so you can be with your family.

Cell phone use is ubiquitous, sometime you need to get free!


Copyright Lawrence Klein 2015