Seniors’ Council Meeting Explores Why Humans are at Risk for Disease and How to Reduce Risk

Whereas the 19th century was dominated by infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumonia, the 20th century saw an emergence, and then overwhelming domination, of what has been termed the “metabolic” diseases.  Obesity increased from a prevalence in 1900 of 1 percent of adults to over 40 percent of adults today.  Likewise, type 2 diabetes increased from just 1 case per 50,000 individuals to one in eight people today.  The epidemic rise of these two conditions has also been accompanied by a remarkable rise in the frequency of hypertension, heart disease, fatty liver, chronic kidney diseases, and Alzheimer’s disease.  What is especially interesting is that these conditions tend to cluster in individuals, suggesting some underlying common risk factors for their development.

The classical thinking has been that these diseases reflect our success as a species, as we have been so successful with our technologies that we no longer need to exercise, and that with the grocery stores filled with readily available food, we can simply overindulge on a daily basis.  Too much food and too little exercise must follow the laws of physics— the excess energy from calories are stored as fat, and it is the reason we are becoming fat and diabetic. Unfortunately, if it was simply a matter of just changing our habits, it would seem to not be that difficult to reverse obesity. However, if one looks at the hundreds of books, podcasts, programs, diet companies, etc, that are in the market, it is apparent that preventing and or reversing these conditions remains a difficult task.

We then discovered that there is only one nutrient that activates this biological switch.  Our discovery and the fact that we can get (or make) this nutrient from a variety of foods, including foods that contain sugar or high fructose corn syrup, from starchy foods, from salty foods, and from certain types of meats is life-changing. The net effect is that there are ways we can help prevent,  and even reverse, these serious metabolic conditions. Details will be presented at the January Seniors’ Council of Douglas County meeting on Thursday, January 4 beginning at 10 am.  Check the Seniors’ Council website for location TBA.

Dr Richard Johnson is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado. He has made major research contributions to understanding the cause of obesity and diabetes and has been funded by the National Institutes of Health since the 1980s. He has published over 800 research articles and reviews and has lectured in over 45 countries, and he is one of the highest-cited scientists in the world. 

The Seniors’ Council of Douglas County advocates for, educates, and engages older adults.  Meetings are free and open to the public.  For up-to-date details go to

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