Podcast

Readers questions

It’s Thursday, the rain is clattering against the window, and the time has come for another podcast episode from the Food Pharmacy crew. This time, we talk about everything from vitamin D and beet stalks, to supplements and rinsing vegetables in vinegar. In addition, you’ll get the recipe for our pesto from paradise. Sound intriguing? Well then, you can listen here. Or here.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Food Pharmacy, Press

Intestinal flora in focus on Swedish Tv-show

Two days ago, we brought both our food blender and our gut bacteria to the channel 4 tv-house, and were featured as guests on the tv-show Malou efter tio (Malou after ten). In the show we discussed intestinal flora, and made some recipes that our bacteria (and our children’s bacteria) can enjoy: Luke Skywalker’s granola, ”meat sauce” on red lentils, strawberry yogurt, green blueberry soup, hot chocolate, and apple pie cookies (almost all the recipes can be found here or here if you suddenly feel an acute craving). Maybe these aren’t exactly revolutionary recipes that will change the gastronomic food scene, but sometimes (read: quite often) the simple things are the best.

For example, many of you might find it hard to cook healthy weekday dinners. To this we can only say: Take it easy. Let go of the dinner stress for a while and start focusing on changing up your snacks instead. A good snack (smoothie, porridge, quick ”ice cream”?) can actually be filled with nutrition.

Or, focus on breakfast, the biggest sugar-culprit of them all. Why not try our green blueberry soup or strawberry yogurt to start your day?

In the studio, we were joined by another intestinal flora nerd (we’re a small but tight gang) named Lars Engstrand, a professor and chief physician in the field of intestinal research. He liked our apple pie bites. And we like people who like our apple pie bites.

But joy is fleeting, as you know. In just twelve short minutes it was over. The lights went out and the cameras were directed towards some other exciting guests. And we walked slowly home, lugging our mixer, our artichokes, and our green bananas. But not our apple pie cookies. Lars had taken them back to his lab.

Watch the full clip here.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.


Ann Fernholm, Debate

The sugar industry stopped research showing that sugar can cause cardiovascular disease

Just like the tobacco industry, the sugar industry has influenced the research around it. In 1971, they halted a study that showed how sugar negatively affects intestinal flora and upsets blood-fat levels in lab rats. For half a century, the sugar industry has managed to prevent this important knowledge from being publicized.

In 1965, researchers at Harvard were paid by the Sugar Research Foundation, an American organization sponsored by the sugar industry, to write an article claiming that sugar is harmless for the heart. This cover-up was finally revealed just last year by Cristin Kearns, researcher at UCSF in San Francisco..

Now, Cristin Kearns has been digging deeper into the archives, and has discovered that the Sugar Research Foundation, in the years of 1967-1971, funded animal-tested research at Birmingham University, in which scientists investigated whether or not sugar affects the risks of developing cardiovascular disease. The study in fact showed that sugar upsets blood-fat levels, and that intestinal flora are involved in the process: Sugar industry sponsorship of germ-free rodent studies linking sucrose to hyperlipidemia and cancer: An historical analysis of internal documents. In addition, sugar-levels were increased by a protein that is associated with bladder cancer.

These negative results caused the sugar industry to hurriedly withdraw their money from the research project.

The sugar industry therefore, has done exactly what the tobacco industry did. They have directly impeded any research that could affect their sales.

It’s making me so upset just thinking about it, and there are things I want to write that I probably shouldn’t, so let’s just move on.

Sugar, intestinal flora and blood fats

The interesting thing, which the unfinished study shows, is the connection between sugar, a compromised intestinal flora, and an unhealthy level of blood-fat. In my book My Sweet HeartI talk about how fat increases in the liver whenever we eat a large amount of the sugar known as fructose (found in white sugar). The build-up of fat in the liver upsets blood-fat levels, and may in the end cause fatty-liver. In one chapter of the book, you can read the following (for those who haven’t read my books, metabolic syndrome is the disrupted metabolism that people with abdominal obesity and type 2 diabetes experience):

Bowel incontinence and bacterial toxicity seems to contribute to a fatty liver.

As you’ve probably read before, people with metabolic syndrome are more likely to have a depleted intestinal flora, with a high number of inflammatory bacteria. This condition is also associated with a bowel incontinence. The bacteria have special molecules, called endotoxins (shorthand for internal toxins), located in a membrane that surrounds the bacteria. The levels of these toxins found in the blood are increased in those suffering from metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Some researchers believe that this is a contributing factor to the fatty-liver condition that I describe in chapter 3. For instance, if mice are fed with fructose, they soon develop bowel-incontinence, more bacterial infections in the blood, and, in the long run, fatty-liver. But if the mice are given antibiotics at the same time, it seems to protect them from fatty liver. Antibiotics can cause unbalance among healthy intestinal flora, but at the same time, it is also true that antibiotics help get rid of unhealthy bacteria. In the case of the mice, the antibiotic counteracted the poison-producing bacteria. The experiment suggests that an upset intestinal flora may accelerate the development of fatty liver and metabolic syndrome.

With that said, it should be known that the research I refer to was published in 2008 and 2009. But the sugar industry knew about the link between sugar, intestinal flora and upset blood fats already, in the early 1970s.

Further animal experiments in May this year showed that fructose causes leaky intestines in mice. In September, researchers also published a new article about fructose, intestinal flora and the risk of fatty liver.

It’s tempting to think that this is all exciting new knowledge, but the truth is that the sugar industry knew about it 50 years ago. For half a century, they’ve managed to prevent this knowledge from spreading, and as a result are complicit in decades of disease and needless suffering. Is there anyone else out there who finds all of this a little depressing?

Science journalist and writer Ann Fernholm runs the blog annfernholm.se. Now and then, she writes here at Food Pharmacy.



Recipes

Overnight oats with banana split

Question: What should we eat on a slushy Saturday morning in November?
Answer: Banana split. Any questions?

This recipe is not 100% Food Pharmacy-Approved, as you’ll soon notice, because we heat the bananas at low temperatures in coconut oil, cinnamon, and a tablespoon of maple syrup. The syrup, of course is sinfully good, but not necessary – it’s obviously good to eat the bananas naturally with a little powdered cinnamon.

Overnight oats with banana split
(2 servings, so double everything)

1 cup oatmeal
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 1/2 cup plant-based milk of your choice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch of salt
2 bananas
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons natural almonds
2 tablespoons nutella

Put the oatmeal, chia seeds, milk, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and let it sit in the fridge overnight (or skip the overnight-thing and make the porridge in the morning instead, by putting the ingredients in a pot and letting it simmer for a few minutes).

Cut the bananas right down the middle and heat them in a frying pan on low temperature with coconut oil, maple syrup and cinnamon for a few minutes on each side until they’re soft. Serve the porridge with the banana, chopped natural almonds, some extra plant-based milk, and nutella, which you can either make yourself or buy ready-made at a health food store (be sure to check the table of contents so that you don’t end up with a brand that uses too much sugar and other weird stuff).

Among the most delicious things we’ve made on the blog, ever.

Inspiration: happyhealthblog.com

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Ann Fernholm

The Dietary Science Foundation’s new goal: to evaluate what kind of diet is most effective in counteracting obesity and type 2 diabetes

Thank you, thank you, thank you! That’s what I would like to say to all the wonderful people who support the Dietary Science Foundation. Your consistent support has allowed us to move on to our next goal: to evaluate what kind of diet is most effective in counteracting obesity and type 2 diabetes. All Christmas donations we receive this year will go towards this research.

Before we start talking about the Dietary Science Foundation’s new venture, I would like to mention that the Stockholm County Council (SCC), through the so-called ”ALF funds,” has decided to donate 600,000 SEK ($72.000) towards studying the effects of various types of diets on Type 1 diabetes. Fantastic! After a 600 000 SEK donation from the DSF, the study has now altogether received a total of 3.4 million SEK (4 million dollars), with help from other financiers (Skandia and SLL). This makes it the biggest study ever conducted in terms of researching how diet can be used to lower and stabilize blood sugar in type 1 diabetes!

Studies that can save lives

To be honest, it feels unreal that the Dietary Science Foundation has now made its second major project happen. This was exactly what I dreamt about when we started the foundation: independent high quality studies that could lead to change. When I write ”thank you, thank you, thank you”, I really mean it. From the heart.

Expensive with inefficient dietary advice

Currently, we are setting up some new goals for the fund, such as: financing studies on how healthy diets can be used to treat both obesity and type 2 diabetes. For a long time, people with type 2 diabetes have received this kind of dietary advice:

This picture is taken from Bra mat for alla – mat vid diabetes och hjärt- kärlsjukdom (good food for all – food for people with diabetes and cardiovascular disease), a brochure that has been used extensively within Swedish care. If you get out the magnifying glasses you can observe that they recommend bread with each meal. Their lunch recommendation, a root-vegetable soup, is so low in calories that it requires supplemental pancakes for dessert.

So much points to the fact that this type of dietary advice is ineffective, and causes blood sugar levels to rise to unhealthy levels. In recent years, the health care industry has begun to advocate for slower carbohydrates, but many still struggle with blood sugar that fluctuates like a roller coaster. The Dietary Science Foundation therefore wants this dietary advice to be subjected to proper scientific review.

Like winning the lottery

And guess what? Better research in this area would be like winning the lottery for all of us. Not only are obesity and type 2 diabetes causing pain and needless suffering, but also they are our most expensive diseases to treat. They increase the risk of, for example: cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia, osteoarthritis, fatty liver, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and complicated pregnancies.

All this sickness contributes to our current situation, in which the county council is struggling, and long waiting times are common. We simply can’t afford to go on like this.

You can be part of the effort by supporting the Dietary Science Foundation’s investment! As a monthly donor, you’ll be helping us work long-term. Also, ask for a donation to us on your Christmas wish-list (preferably at the top). Or just pick up the phone and Swish any amount to 123 900 42 43.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone. From the heart.

Science journalist and writer Ann Fernholm runs the blog annfernholm.se. Now and then, she writes here at Food Pharmacy.


Food Pharmacy, Podcast

Health-stress

Are we at a greater risk of dying from the stress and hysteria that comes with worrying about eating the ”right food” than from anything we actually eat? In this podcast episode we discuss the subject of health-stress, and try to find the balance between ”absolute health” and more casual diets, without losing sight of the fact that obesity and type 2 diabetes are still two of the biggest issues in public health today.

Go here or here to listen to it!

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Food Pharmacy

That’s why we broke up with white sugar

Well now, how about we take a look at Lina’s inbox?

Hi Food Pharmacy,

I love your books, love the blog, and your podcast! You’ve really inspired me (a long-term sugar-lover) to look at my eating habits in general, and particularly my sugar intake. I’m curious to know how you dealt with the social aspect of changing your diet? Since I stopped eating sugar, I find that I constantly have to defend this obviously healthy choice. It’s odd, but before, when I ate too much sugar, nobody commented on what I ate. But now that I am making an effort to cut out sugar, it’s seems like I have to defend that effort constantly in front of friends, family and colleagues. Please help me – how can I get people to respect my decisions without having to defend them all the time?
Best Regards, from Lisa

Hello Lisa!

Thank you for your e-mail. It was so spot-on that we decided to publish it. The truth is that we very much recognize our own experience in what you have written; not just in the times we’ve had to apologize for not eating the cinnamon bun served with coffee, but also in how we’ve been judged as ”party poopers,” just because we didn’t eat any desserts or goodies.

While we don’t advise giving any fiery speeches to your friends, we do think that there are many people out there who simply don’t know the facts, and could benefit from learning about them. For instance, there is the fact that we currently eat about four times more sugar than is recommended by the National Food Agency. Additionally, today, obesity and type 2 diabetes are among the most significant public diseases, and unhealthy food is a culprit in both. About 422 million people around the world are estimated to have type 2 diabetes, and nearly 40 percent of the adult population are overweight or suffering from obesity, which are frightening numbers, considering that the result is an increased risk of contracting other diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, some forms of cancer, dementia and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). For us, these facts were reason enough to review our eating habits. As real candy-lovers, we always suspected that there might be a contradiction between what is yummy and what is healthy. Later, when we discovered that you could make (and eat) desserts that taste at least as good as the ”real” thing – and that won’t raise your blood sugar as shockingly as traditional pastries and sweets do – it was clear to us that it was time to break up with white sugar.

So try to answer your friends, family and colleagues with all these simple facts. Or maybe just offer them these irresistible chocolate bites the next time you have coffee?

Chocolate bites 2.0.
1 cup organic oat flakes
7 fresh dates
3-4 tbsp cold-pressed, raw coconut oil
4 tbsp coconut flakes
a pinch of pure vanilla powder
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp cacao powder
roll the bites in coconut flakes

Mix all the ingredients until you have a large ball. If it won’t combine, add some coffee or water (1 tsp is probably enough). Roll into balls, and roll each ball in coconut flakes. Store in the fridge for up to a week. 

Best

/ Lina and Mia

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Food Pharmacy

SvD news: Is the fixation on maintaining a healthy diet just a different form of eating disorder?

Yesterday, we were interviewed by SvD News about whether or not trying to achieve ”absolute health” is, well, healthy. We personally don’t believe in taking a militant approach to eating, but we are convinced that balancing our diets is crucial, and we hope to inspire you to find that balance with this blog and our books.

At the same time, there are certainly other things to worry about besides people being ”too” healthy, especially at a time when obesity has become a public disease, and type 2 diabetes is increasing. These are two diseases that can be prevented by good food and exercise, by the way. So, we will be picking up from where the SvD News interview left off in our next podcast episode, which will be released on Wednesday. Tune in then!

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Recipes

Sunshine smoothie with turmeric, passion fruit and banana

With all due respect to the common green smoothie, sometimes we find ourselves just craving something completely different. Something like this sunny smoothie, inspired by today’s weather – and absolutely awesome to start off the day with.

You’ll need the following items from the fridge, pantry or drawer:

2 frozen green bananas (unfortunately too ugly to qualify for the group picture), a small piece of ginger, 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon turmeric, and 1 cup of water. Put everything in a mixer, and press start.

Next, scoop out the pulp from a passion fruit with a spoon and place it at the bottom of two glasses while you wait.

Pour the blended smoothie into the glasses, and treat yourself and a lucky friend to this sunny concoction. Or, maybe you are working on being friends with yourself? In that case you can drink both, and feel good about it!

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Food Pharmacy

Our cookbook in Polish

It’s time to call all your Polish friends and tell them that our cookbook is finally available in Polish. It was two weeks ago today that we took a trip to Kraków and did some PR for our cookbook, which was released during our visit there. In just two days, we managed to do: three interviews, a film shoot, two book signings, a lecture and a crazy cooking class.

Yes, we promise. Check it out for yourself:

We didn’t get much sleep but it was worth it. And, we’ll be back! Maybe only because we already miss our publisher, Magda, a lot (she’s in the picture above). A really wonderful, kind person, and one that we feel very lucky to know!

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.