Southeast Asia a ‘hotspot’ for antibiotic abuse, FAO official says

Above, a plate coated with an antibiotic-resistant bacteria called Klebsiella with a mutation called NDM 1 and then exposed to various antibiotics is seen at the Health Protection Agency in London in this 2011 photo. (Reuters)
Updated 31 January 2018
0

Southeast Asia a ‘hotspot’ for antibiotic abuse, FAO official says

BANGKOK: Overuse and misuse of antibiotics in food is rife in Southeast Asia, a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) official said on Wednesday, warning of serious risks for people and animals as bacterial infections become more resistant to treatment.
The official from the United Nations’ food agency issued the warning on the sidelines of an international meeting in Bangkok focused on antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
FAO’s Chief Veterinary Officer Juan Lubroth said in Bangkok that threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was magnified in places, like Asia’s megacities, where there was high population growth and intense food and agriculture production.
“Here in Southeast Asia … we would consider it a hotspot because of the population growth, urbanization dynamics, the production of food,” Lubroth said.
A report published on Monday by the World Health Organization said that a new global surveillance system had found widespread occurrence of antibiotic resistance among 500,000 people with suspected bacterial infections across 22 countries.
“Some of the world’s most common – and potentially most dangerous – infections are proving drug-resistant,” Marc Sprenger, director of WHO’s Antimicrobial Resistance Secretariat, said in a statement.
A 2016 report by economist Jim O’Neill, commissioned by the British government, projects $100 trillion in losses by 2050 if nothing is done to reverse the trend, and estimated that the annual toll resulting from AMR will climb to 10 million deaths in the next 35 years.
“Ninety percent of those deaths would be in the developing world, and that is scary,” Lubroth said.
He said the FAO advocates educating farmers about the dangers of using antibiotics to promote growth in animals, and stronger enforcement of rules governing food production.
“It’s not only about having the rules in black and white, they need to be applied.”


Low-carb diet linked to elevated mortality risk: study

Updated 17 August 2018
0

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.