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🧊 The Plunge - August 31, 2023

Published 10 months ago • 3 min read

Clarity on staying healthy and happy arrives every day, from all corners of the globe. The Plunge brings you the information you always wanted: current, clear-cut answers from the world's leading scientists and creators.



The War on Cereal

There's a war on sugar happening in Mexico. Under a 2019 policy, Tigre Toño and Sam el Tucán cannot live on Frosted Flakes and Fruit Loops boxes. Kellogg's is fighting back. The law forces companies to put warning labels on the front of food packaging containing excessive sugar or fat. Kellogg's rejiggered the recipes, switching out sugar for the sweetener allulose, but the policy includes a provision for artificial sweeteners. Companies like Coca-Cola and Kraft Heinz have taken other steps, creating packages with no obvious front or back, tricking stock boys into accidentally hiding the warnings. It looks like the start of a lengthy, bitter fight, one that could even disrupt international trade relations. As nutritional risks come into focus, we may finally see how much power the food conglomerates have. (StatNews - 8 mins)

What's Your Ageotype?

"Deep phenotyping" has picked up steam in recent years, pushing researchers to connect the ever growing knowledge of the body with medical diagnostics from patients. Stanford geneticist Michael Snyder brought this to aging, recently studying a group of 43 people aged 29 to 75. As part of this analysis, Snyder's team gathered over 18k data points for each volunteer during quarterly tests associated with gene expression, proteins, the immune system, and more. The team found 608 molecules that changed significantly as participants aged, even in a short, several year timespan. Following analysis, it appeared aging occurred most in just one or two of four pathways: the kidneys, liver, immune system, or general metabolism. These individuals were able to leave the study with their 'ageotype' and follow specific strategies to fight aging. Beyond Stanford, others researchers are hunting for the right set of ageotypes such as the reproductive system, sensory system, connective tissue, and central nervous system.

Standardization of ageotypes may lead to stronger confidence in treatment. However, these findings cast doubt on all-encompassing biological age tests that pull DNA from a limited sample of saliva or blood. It'd be surprising to expect these tests not to grow in scope over time, hopefully using samples from various parts of the body. (​NewScientist​ - 8 mins)

Bananas are killing your smoothies

Bananas turning brown? That's from the polyphenol oxidase, or PPO. But the enzyme does more than soften fruit, it also appears to limit the absorption of flavanols into the body. Present in apples, pears, blueberries, and cocoa, flavanols support heart and cognitive health, making the such great additions to a fruity smoothie. By mixing bananas (high in PPO) with these fruits, researchers at UC Davis saw an 84% reduction in the body's flavanol absorption compared to the control. Their suggestion? Cut out the berry-banana smoothie and drink them separately. (Food and Function - 25 mins)

Eat meat to protect those hips

University of Leeds researchers dug into the impact of diet on hip fractures. Looking at 400k individuals across 15 years, and cohorting them based on meat consumption, they found vegetarians face a 50% greater risk of hip fracture than regular meat eaters, regardless of sex. This is especially notable because of the danger associated with hip fractures. Various studies show mortality risk in the year following a fracture between 22% and 58%. However, overall numbers are quite low, with only 0.8% of those studied suffered the injury. This translates to just 3 more hip fractures per 1000 people over 10 years for vegetarians. In the eyes of the researchers, it's likely that the benefits of a vegetarian diet, including lower risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease, outweigh this risk. (BMC Medicine - 17 mins)


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The Plunge

by Corey Garvey

Hey I'm Corey, the curator of The Plunge, my newsletter focused on healthspan and longevity. The Plunge gives subscribers up to date articles, podcasts, and videos about longevity and remaining mentally fit while living a long, happy life. ~Corey

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