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Even more bad news about added sugars, and hope for treating diabetes

Feb. 19, 2015
In this RDH eVillage Focus introduction, Maria Perno Goldie remembers Michele Darby, RDH, MS.
Before I delve into this issue of RDH eVillage Focus, I must acknowledge the loss of a dental hygiene pioneer, educator, and mentor, Michele Darby, RDH, MS. Michele was Professor, Eminent Scholar, Graduate Program Director, and Chair of the Gene W. Hirschfeld School of Dental Hygiene at Old Dominion University (ODU). Among many other achievements, Michele was coeditor with Margaret Walsh, RDH, EdD, of the textbook Dental Hygiene: Theory and Practice, based on the Human Needs Model. Michele lived her life with passion and grace, and passed with the love and companionship of her husband, Dennis, and their children, Devan and Blake. All of us here at PennWell extend heartfelt condolences to Michele’s family and friends. You will be missed, Michele. For more on Michele’s life and achievement, click here and here.

This issue presents information on various forms of diabetes, which can be deadly. It comes as no surprise that fructose added to foods and beverages is a principal driver of type 2 diabetes. A recent study in Mayo Clinic Proceedings suggests that replacing glucose-only starches with added sugars in the form of sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup results in substantial adverse metabolic effects. (1) The increased baseline resistance was more profound with greater proportions of added fructose in the diet. Whole foods containing fructose (e.g., fruits and vegetables) were not found to pose such risks, and in fact improved overall health outcomes. (1)

Could relief for diabetics be on the way? Researchers engineered a strain of bacteria commonly found in the human gut, Lactobacillus, to secrete Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), a hormone that releases insulin in response to food. Probiotic formulations often include lactobacillus to prevent and treat diarrhea, as well as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disease, and some skin disorders. In this animal study, those that received the modified probiotic had blood glucose levels up to 30% lower than those that did not receive the probiotic. (2) The researchers are working with a biopharmaceutical company called BioPancreate to get the probiotic made into a pill for human use. If successful, the researchers say it would be likely a diabetic would take the pill each morning to help manage their condition. (3)

We also discuss hypertension in this issue. Hypertension, diabetes, tobacco use, and other conditions, diseases, and lifestyle habits can increase the risk of heart disease. Heart and cardiovascular diseases are still the number one cause of death for men and women, although cancer is quickly catching up! (4) Heart disease and cancer kill 611,105 and 584,881 each year, respectively. Take care of your heart.

We also discuss tobacco issues. We know that CVS drug stores stopped selling tobacco products September 3, 2014. (5) Now, I am happy to report, that as of March 1, 2015, shoppers will not be able to buy tobacco products at Raley's, Bel-Air Markets, and Nob Hill Foods Stores in Northern California and Nevada. In a statement, the supermarket group says it is pulling those items off their shelves because “There is a very strong correlation between tobacco use and many serious health issues … At this time, the evidence against tobacco usage is simply too strong to ignore.” (6) The move comes just a year after the CVS announcement, and after Rite-Aid Pharmacy announced a reduction in sales of tobacco products. Hurray for Raley’s and CVS!!!

Breaking news! This memo has been prepared by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) to provide further clarity and guidance as new workforce models are discussed across the country. There have been many questions lately about the Oral Preventive Assistant (OPA), which was introduced in 2006.

Enjoy the issue. If there is a topic you would like to see covered, please reply to the newsletter.


Maria Perno Goldie

1. James J. DiNicolantonio, James H. O'Keefe, Sean C. Lucan. Added Fructose: A Principal Driver of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Its Consequences. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2015; DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2014.12.019.
2. Duan FF, Liu JH, March JC. Engineered commensal bacteria reprogram intestinal cells into glucose-responsive insulin-secreting cells for the treatment of diabetes [published ahead of print January 27 2015]. Diabetes. 2015.
3. Probiotic helps treat diabetes in rats, could lead to human remedy. EurekAlert! Published January 29 2015. Accessed Feburary 19 2015.
4. Leading causes of death. CDC website. Accessed February 19 2015.
5. We’re tobacco free. CVS Health. Accessed February 19 2015.
6. Raley’s halts tobacco sales. The Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing website. Published February 16 2015. Accessed February 19 2015.

Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS, is the editorial director of RDH eVillage FOCUS.