Diabetes, cancer, obesity, and heart disease have one thing in common-what we put in our mouths. It’s not a revelation to point out that the Western diet, rich in fat and sugar, the kind of taste combination that the food industry knows will zero in on our gustatory pleasure centres with laser sharp precision, is causing these diseases to proliferate at an alarming rate. If we adopted a plant-based diet that is low in processed meat, sugar, fat and alcohol and ate less we’d be putting a massive dent in these abysmal statistics. The problem is that we love the pleasure of eating and who would want to consistently deprive themselves of these sybaritic delights by enduring an ascetic existence.
Scientists are sensitive to our plight so instead of eating less they’ve come up with an arsenal of substances that mimic these benefits. Of these the most promising are resveratrol, found in the skin of red grapes and curcumin, the spice deployed in curries. Both appear to lower cholesterol and blood sugar and help with weight loss, however they come with a caveat in that they are hard to absorb and it’s also not easy to achieve the tissue levels that allow them to achieve successful outcomes. They need to be administered with substances that make them more bio-available and this is a work in progress.
In the meantime we might just have to resort to a lifestyle that entails at least some deprivation, until the experts discover a way to let us have our cake and eat it.