Japan restaurant highlights dementia awareness

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Diners have no complaints about the service at a pop-up restaurant in central Tokyo, where the 17 waiters and waitresses all suffer from dementia. (Photo courtesy: social media)
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Professional cooks prepared the dishes for diners who were required to register in advance, at a venue in Roppongi’s Ark Hills complex. The organizers included a dementia nursing care home. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 17 September 2017
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Japan restaurant highlights dementia awareness

TOKYO: Diners have no complaints about the service at a pop-up restaurant in central Tokyo, where the 17 waiters and waitresses all suffer from dementia.
“The Restaurant of Order Mistakes” — a play on the title of a classic Japanese children’s book, “The Restaurant of Many Orders” — is the brainchild of NHK television director Shiro Oguni, 38.
The goal of his project, scheduled to run Sep. 16-18, is to raise awareness about dementia ahead of World Alzheimer’s Day on Sept. 21, and allow the public to interact with those who have the condition in a safe environment in which the servers need not fear the consequences of any errors they might make.
“It was truly great that everyone believed that they would be able to do this job, as long as they had proper support in place,” Ogino said.
Makoto Ichikawa, a customer, said he enjoyed talking to a waitress who briefly forgot her role and sat down across from him to chat.
Professional cooks prepared the dishes for diners who were required to register in advance, at a venue in Roppongi’s Ark Hills complex. The organizers included a dementia nursing care home.
Following the success of a similar pop-up restaurant in June, Ogino turned to crowd-funding to back the event, which he hopes to hold annually.
Japan is a global frontrunner in confronting dementia, the cost of which has been estimated at one percent of the world’s gross domestic product.
Both public and private initiatives have sought to erase the stigma of the disorder that affects nearly 5 million Japanese citizens. One in five Japanese aged 65 or over, or some 7 million people, are forecast to have some degree of dementia by 2025.


Low-carb diet linked to elevated mortality risk: study

Updated 17 August 2018
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Low-carb diet linked to elevated mortality risk: study

  • Rapid shift 10,000 years ago to grains, dairy and legumes has not allowed the human body enough time to adapt to these high-carb foods, say researchers
  • Replacing meat with plant-based fats (such as avocados and nuts) and proteins (such as soy products and lentils) reduces the risk of mortality

PARIS: Middle-aged people who get roughly half their daily calories from carbohydrates live several years longer on average than those with low-carb diets, researchers reported Friday.
The findings, published in The Lancet, challenge a trend in Europe and North America toward so-called Paleo diets that shun carbohydrates in favor of animal protein and fat.
Proponents of these “Stone Age” diets argue that the rapid shift 10,000 years ago — with the advent of agriculture — to grains, dairy and legumes has not allowed the human body enough time to adapt to these high-carb foods.
For the study, under 40 percent of energy intake from carbohydrates qualifies as a low-carb regimen, though many such diets reduce the share to 20 percent or less.
At the other extreme, a 70 percent or higher share of carbohydrates — such as pasta, rice, cakes, sugary drinks — can also reduce longevity, but by far less, the scientists found.
“Low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with protein or fat are gaining widespread popularity as a health and weight loss strategy,” said lead author Sara Seidelmann, a researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
“However, our data suggests that animal-based low carbohydrate diets might be associated with shorter overall lifespan and should be discouraged.”
Replacing meat with plant-based fats (such as avocados and nuts) and proteins (such as soy products and lentils) reduces the risk of mortality, Seidelmann and her team found.
The optimal balance of food groups for longevity remains hotly debated.
Many studies have concluded that eating carbohydrates in moderation — 45 to 55 percent calories — is best, but others report improved short-term, cardio-metabolic health with high-protein, high-fat diets.
Measures of metabolic health include blood pressure, good and bad cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.
Seidelmann and colleagues poured over the medical histories of nearly 15,500 men and women who were 45-64 when they enrolled — between 1987 and 1889 — in a health survey spread across four locations in the United States.
Participants filled out detailed questionnaires about their dietary habits — what foods, how much, how often, etc.
Over a 25-year follow up period, more than 6,000 of the men and women died.
People who got 50-55 percent of their calories from carbohydrates outlived those with very low-carb diets, on average, by four years, and those with high-carb diets by one year.
A review of medical records for an additional 432,000 people from earlier studies yield confirmed the results, which are also in line with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations.
“There is nothing to be gained from long-term adherence to low-carbohydrate diets rich in fats and proteins from animal origins,” said Ian Johnson, a nutrition researcher at Quadram Institute Bioscience in Norwich, England, commenting on the research, in which he did not take part.
But carb quality, not just quantity, is crucial he added.
“Most should come from plant foods rich in dietary fiber and intact grains, rather than from sugary beverages or manufactured foods high in added sugar.”
Fibers also help maintain a healthy gut flora, now considered to be a major player in health and disease.