What causes cancer? In 2015, researchers updated the landmark 1981 study from the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment noting that the original estimates had “generally [hold] true for 35 years.” At 35% of the attributable risk, tobacco was the single largest contributor to cancer. But very close behind, was our diet, which researchers estimated contributed between 30–60% of the risk. Generally accepted as true, the far more contentious question is “What part of the diet contributed to the risk of cancer?”

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The legendary Irish surgeon Denis Burkitt noted in 1973 that many diseases characteristic of modern Western civilization…

Cancer, the second leading cause of death in America, is perhaps medicine’s greatest remaining mystery. Medical research has revealed the underlying causes of most of the world’s diseases from micro-organisms causing infections to atherosclerosis causing heart disease and strokes to genetic diseases like sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis. But for such a common disease, we simply don’t know the answer to the all-important question — what is cancer? Why does it develop? Our understanding has undertaken many radical shifts, most recently in the past decade.

The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, often called the father of modern medicine named our…

Controlling hunger is crucial to weight loss. How do you reign in hunger? We all think that eating more or eating more often will prevent hunger, but is this really true? Standard dietary advice is to eat 6 or 7 small meals per day with the hope that this will stave off hunger and prevent overeating. If you can prevent hunger, then you may also be able to make better food choices. On the surface, it seems pretty reasonable. However, on the surface, the disastrous Eat Less, Move More or Calories in Calories out paradigms also seemed pretty reasonable, too…

Note: Written with Megan Ramos of Intensive Dietary Management Program.

Have you eaten a loaf of garlic bread, a bowl of pasta, and a dish of pistachio gelato and still felt hungry? Have you come home from dinner and then ate a bag of popcorn in secret to satiate you before bed? You’re not alone. I hear these stories from people every day, and I’ve had some of my own. Your mind is telling you that you are full because you must undo the top notch on your belt, but your stomach is still complaining it’s empty. Some people continue…

In the early 20thcentury, cancer didn’t attract much attention. The biggest health problems were infectious diseases — pneumonia, gastrointestinal and tuberculosis. The American Society for the Control of Cancer (ASCC) was created in 1913 and stressed the importance of early detection and aggressive treatment. In the 1940s, they championed the routine use of the Pap smear for cervical cancer. It was hugely and stunningly successful as death rates from cervical cancer dropped quickly. This was an auspicious start. In 1944, the ASCC changed its name to the American Cancer Society.

But deaths from infections would drop precipitously over the first…

Simple single-celled organisms called prokaryotes, such as bacteria are the earliest forms of life on earth, and still abundant today. Much later evolved the more complex, but still single celled organisms called eukaryotes. From those humble beginnings came the multi-cellular life forms called metazoans. All animal cells, including humans, are eukaryotic cells. Since they share a common origin, they bear a resemblance to each other. Many molecular mechanisms (genes, enzymes, etc.) and biochemical pathways are conserved throughout the evolution towards more complex organisms.

Humans share approximately 98.8% of their genes with chimpanzees. This 1.2% genetic difference is enough to account…

The legendary Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León (1460–1521), like many of his contemporaries, sought fame and fortune through exploration of the New World. He settled in Hispaniola (now modern day Dominican Republic) before becoming the governor of Puerto Rico for 2 years before being replaced by Christopher Columbus’ son, Diego. Forced to sail once again, he allegedly heard native tales of a mythical ‘fountain of youth’.

He explored many parts of the Bahamas and is believed to have landed in 1513 near the present-day town of St. Augustine in northeast Florida. He named this newly ‘discovered’ land Florida from…

In 2005, National Geographic writer Dan Buettner described certain areas of the world where people lived longer, healthier lives as “Blue Zones.” This includes:

  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Sardinia, Italy
  • Loma Linda, California
  • Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
  • Ikaria, Greece.

People living in these Blue Zone locations reach their 90s and even past 100 (called centenarians) with relatively little age-related disease. Although spread throughout the world, with seemingly widely divergent diets and lifestyles, they all share certain characteristics that may help them live longer, fuller lives. These people often smoke less, move more (and at a moderate level), and prioritize family and socializing…

There are many people who say that we don’t know what causes cancer. This is incorrect. While we may not know how cancer develops, we already know quite a bit about things that cause cancer. In fact, the first cause of cancer caused by an external agent was described in1761 by Dr. John Hill of London, a physician, botanist and medical writer. Tobacco was first used by the native Americans, and mention of its use came from explorers of the New World. By 1614, it was widely in use in Europe with an estimated 7000 shops in London. Smoking tobacco…

It’s time for the medical community to admit mistakes and stop blaming patients for obesity

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Photo: FredFroese/Getty Images

Obesity is such an emotionally charged issue in large part because it has become entangled with a person’s willpower and character. This makes it different from almost every other disease due to the unspoken accusation that you did it to yourself.

Many physicians unconsciously engage in fat shaming because they believe that pointing out the many ways a person could’ve done better gives patients extra motivation to lose weight. As if the whole world was not reminding them every single day.

When it comes to fat shaming, I believe the camp that’s popularized the “Calories In, Calories Out” (CICO) mentality…

Dr. Jason Fung

Nephrologist. New York Times best selling author. Interest in type 2 diabetes reversal and intermittent fasting. Founder www.TheFastingMethod.com.

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