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Sugar detox? Cutting carbs? A doctor explains why you should keep fruit on the menu

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One of my patients – who had been struggling with obesity, uncontrolled diabetes and the cost of her medications – agreed in June 2019 to adopt a more whole-food plant-based diet.

Chris George/PhotoPlus Magazine/Future via Getty Images – The Conversation

Excited by the challenge, she did a remarkable job. She increased her fresh fruit and vegetable intake, stopped eating candy, cookies and cakes and cut down on foods from animal sources. Over six months, she lost 19 pounds and her HbA1c – a measure of her average blood sugar – dropped from 11.5% to 7.6%.

She was doing so well, I expected that her HbA1c would continue to drop and she would be one of our plant-based successes who had reversed diabetes.

Her three-month follow-up visit in March 2020 was canceled because of COVID-19 lockdowns. When I eventually saw her again in May 2021, she’d regained some of the weight and her HbA1c had climbed to 10.4%. She explained that her diabetes doctor and a diabetes nurse educator had told her that she was eating too much “sugar” on the plant-based diet.

She’d been advised to limit carbohydrates by cutting back on fruits and starchy vegetables and eating more fish and chicken. Sugar-free candy, cakes, cookies and artificial sweeteners were encouraged. In the face of conflicting medical advice, she fell back on conventional wisdom that “sugar” is bad and should be avoided whenever possible, especially if you have diabetes.

I’m a physician, board certified in preventive medicine with a lifestyle medicine clinic at Morehouse Healthcare in Atlanta. This emerging medical specialty focuses on helping patients make healthy lifestyle behavior modifications. Patients who adopt whole-food plant-based diets increase carbohydrate intake and often see reversal of chronic diseases including diabetes and hypertension. In my clinical experience, myths about “sugar” and carbohydrates are common among patients and health professionals.

Fruit vs. sugar

Your body runs on glucose. It is the simple sugar that cells use for energy.

molecular diagrams for glucose, fructose and galactose
These molecules are the three kinds of simple sugars, found in starches, fruit and milk.
Trinset/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

Glucose is a molecular building block of carbohydrates, one of the three essential macronutrients. The other two are fat and protein. Starches are long, branching chains of glucose.

molecular diagram of chain of glucoses together
Chains of simple sugar molecules linked together form starches and other carbohydrates.
Trinset/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Naturally occurring carbohydrates travel in nutrient-dense packages such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

Humans evolved to crave sweet tastes to get the nutrients needed to survive. A daily supply of vitamins, minerals and fiber is needed because our bodies cannot make them. The best source of these substances for our ancient ancestors was sweet, ripe, delicious fruit. In addition, fruits contain phytonutrients and antioxidants, chemicals produced only by plants. Phytonutrients such ellagic acid in strawberries have cancer-fighting properties and promote heart health.

Refined sugars, on the other hand, are highly processed and stripped of all nutrients except calories. They’re a concentrated form of carbohydrates. The food industry produces refined sugars in many forms. The most common are sucrose crystals, which you’d recognize as table sugar, and high-fructose corn syrup, which is found in many processed foods and sweetened beverages.

If you continually satisfy your taste for sweet with foods that contain refined sugar – rather than the nutrient-rich fruits at the core of this craving passed on by evolution – you may not get all the nutrients you need. Over time, this deficit may create a vicious cycle of overeating that leads to obesity and obesity-related health problems. Women who eat the most fruit tend to have lower rates of obesity.

Sugar toxicity

Refined sugars are not directly toxic to cells, but they can combine with proteins and fats in food and in the bloodstream to produce toxic substances such as advanced glycation end products (AGEs). High blood glucose levels may produce glycated low-density lipoproteins. High levels of these and other glucose-related toxic substances are associated with an increased risk of a wide range of chronic health problems, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

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The disease most commonly associated with sugar is Type 2 diabetes. A surprising number of people, including health professionals, incorrectly believe that eating sugar causes Type 2 diabetes. This myth leads to a focus on lowering blood sugar and “counting carbs” while ignoring the real cause: progressive loss of pancreatic beta cell function. At diagnosis, a patient may have lost between 40% and 60% of their beta cells, which are responsible for producing insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that controls how much glucose is in the bloodstream by blocking glucose production in the liver and driving it into fat and muscle cells. Loss of beta cell function means not enough insulin gets produced, resulting in the high blood glucose levels characteristic of Type 2 diabetes.

Beta cells have low levels of antioxidants and are susceptible to attack by metabolic and dietary oxidized free radicals and AGEs. Antioxidants in fruit can protect beta cells. Researchers have found that eating whole fruit decreases the risk of Type 2 diabetes, with those who eat the most fruit having the lowest risk.

hands pouring sugar into a bowl with strawberries in the background
As you consume less refined sugar, you may notice more nuance in fruits’ flavors.
Brianna Soukup/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Detoxing from sugar

People interested in losing weight and improving health often ask if they should do a “sugar detox.” In my opinion this is a waste of time, because it is not possible to eliminate sugar from the body. For instance, if you ate only baked chicken breasts, your liver would convert protein to glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis.

Low-carb diets may lead to weight loss, but at the expense of health. Diets that significantly reduce carbohydrates are associated with nutrient deficiencies and higher risk of death from any cause. On low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets the body will break down muscles and turn their protein into glucose. The lack of fiber causes constipation.

Eliminating foods sweetened with refined sugar is a worthy goal. But don’t think of it as a “detox” – it should be a permanent lifestyle change. The safest way to go on a refined sugar “detox” is to increase your intake of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables. Once you eliminate refined sugar, you’ll likely find that your taste buds become more sensitive to – and appreciative of – the natural sweetness of fruits.


This article is part of a series examining sugar’s effects on human health and culture. You can read the articles on theconversation.com.

This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Jennifer Rooke, Morehouse School of Medicine.

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Jennifer Rooke works for Morehouse School of Medicine. This is stated in the article.

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These are the 12 big bets of future disruptive technologies

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The 12 big bets on future technologies as per Nasscom report

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) and Boston Consultancy Group (BCG) have identified 12 big bet technologies that can potentially disrupt markets in the next 3-5 years.

A report titled “Sandboxing into the Future: Decoding Technology’s Biggest Bets”, has identified these technologies of the future: autonomous analytics, Artificial Reality and Virtual Reality, autonomous driving, computer vision, deep learning, distributed ledger, edge computing, sensortech, smart robots, spacetech, sustainability tech, and 5G/6G.

AR VR concept image

The report noted that these 12 technologies will unravel in diverse ways, giving way to regional and vertical-specific big bets. While buyers in North America and Europe are betting on technologies such as autonomous analytics, APAC is likely to focus more on 5G/6G technologies, sensortech and smart robotics. Overall, technology buyers anticipate that investments in emerging technologies will account for 70%- 80% of tech spending by 2030.

“Going forward, it will be interesting to see how businesses will put their bets on emerging technologies and how they would be taking ahead the tech revolution for the larger good of the society,” said NASSCOM President Debjani Ghosh.

Cognizant acquires Utegration

Leading technology services company Cognizant has said it bought Houston-based Utegration LLC, a full-service consulting and solutions provider specializing in SAP  technology and SAP-certified products for the energy and utilities sectors.

Cognizant will gain approximately 350 employees in North America and India upon the close of this acquisition.

“We believe Utegration’s rich industry expertise and differentiated portfolio of energy and utilities-focused products and accelerators is a perfect complement to our SAP practice,” said Rob Vatter, Executive Vice President of Cognizant’s Enterprise Platform Services.

Utegration serves over 50 North America-based clients in the energy and utilities sector with solutions across four domains aligned to market needs: customer experience, billing and advanced metering infrastructure, managed services, data science and analytics, and finance and asset performance management.

HCLTech partners with Intel and Mavenir for 5G solutions

HCLTech, a leading Indian technology services company revealed a new collaboration with Intel Corporation and Mavenir to develop and provide scalable private 5G network solutions for communication service providers (CSP) and broader cross-vertical enterprises.

Through this new collaboration, the companies will work closely on a range of projects and activities across enablement, go-to-market and sales acceleration, with the goal of delivering more 5G solutions to CSPs, Internet of Things (IoT) and enterprise verticals, a statement said.

HCL

The three companies will work cross-functionally to add new offerings and help generate greater value for enterprises. The companies will develop a cloud-native enterprise-to-enterprise (E2E) architecture of an Intel Xeon processor-based 5G solution leveraging Mavenir RAN, Intel SmartEdge and HCLTech’s management, orchestration and automation services.

“There is currently a great need for scalable, reliable 5G solutions across nearly every enterprise and industry,” said Kalyan Kumar, Chief Technology Officer, HCLTech. “This need represents a major opportunity to innovate and deliver solutions that will have a major impact on business operations and outcomes.”

Collins Aerospace to expand operations in India

Collins Aerospace, which is part of Raytheon Technologies has announced that it will be expanding its operations in India. The company inaugurated its Global Engineering & Tech Centre and a new India Operations Centre to mark its 25th year in Bengaluru.

Collins Aerospace has also pledged significant capital and manpower investments over the next five years given that the Indian aerospace & defence (A&D) market is projected to reach $70 billion by 2030.

The team at Collins India is actively collaborating with Indian R&D organisations like NAL, CMTI, DRDO for study into materials, additive manufacturing, pre-qualification tests and other important projects.

Wipro bags top honour for workplace inclusion

Wipro Limited, a leading Indian technology services and consulting company, has been recognised as a ‘Gold’ employer by the India Workplace Equality Index (IWEI) 2022.

Awarded to the top employers by IWEI, the gold employer is the highest of 3 levels, where an organisation is credited with ‘embedding inclusion in the workplace.’ Highlights of Wipro’s efforts in this journey include recognition of Wipro’s leadership in India to advance LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace, from organisational policies to external communications.

wipro

It also demonstrates a long-term and in-depth commitment towards LGBTQ+ inclusion, where Wipro has implemented several initiatives enabling its employees to become active allies for the community.

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Corraling Kafka: New ecosystem simplifies, democratizes event-streaming data for enterprises

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Aiven, a cloud-data platform based in Helsinki, has fleshed out an open-source ecosystem for Apache Kafka, a popular event-streaming platform. The new offerings promise to help enterprises consolidate their Kafka infrastructure using open-source components. 

“Event streaming is transitioning toward the main stack of the IT infrastructure,” Filip Yonov, director of data streaming product management at Aiven, told VentureBeat. “At Aiven, we have witnessed the fastest growth in the event-streaming domain compared to all other products.”

Apache Kafka provides the infrastructure for wiring streams of data together from databases, apps, IoT devices, and third-party sources. Kafka helps organize raw data into event streams that reduce data size and are easier to integrate into event-driven apps and analytics. Enterprises use it to improve customer experiences, build the industrial metaverse and monitor patients. 

However, building out a Kafka infrastructure involves a lot of moving parts. Aiven has consolidated all the necessary tooling into one place to simplify this process. Key new enhancements include support for Apache Flink and data governance. These complement existing tools for connecting services, replicating data and managing schemas for Kafka deployments.

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The need for simplicity

LinkedIn originally developed Kafka to integrate data across its large microservices infrastructure and open-sourced it in 2011. Over the intervening years, large enterprises have customized the tooling for their own needs, and several vendors have rolled out proprietary enhancements to fill in gaps around governance and integration. Many organizations use Kafka for various data pipeline scenarios, such as transferring data between applications in real-time or moving data from a database to a data warehouse.

Yonov told VentureBeat that as Kafka clusters become larger and more complex, they require additional tooling and governance to ensure proper operation and management. “Unlike existing Kafka solutions, Aiven’s offering does not require organizations to choose between proprietary tools and vendor lock-in or open-source technologies without support,” he said.

Improving the developer experience with event streaming

One essential aspect has been to democratize the experience for working with event-streaming data. The open-source tool, Klaw, provides a self-service interface for managing Kafka clusters. Kafkawize, which develops Klaw, recently joined Aiven’s open-source development office in September to help integrate their tools together. Now they are working together to improve self-service, simplify user management and enforce data governance. 

Another significant development was to connect streaming data to SQL queries familiar to data engineers. The new Aiven for Apache Flink tools allows teams to process larger volumes of events and run real-time analytics using SQL. Aiven provides this as a fully managed service that reduces the complexity of deploying a Flink cluster. It also simplifies the integration with Aiven for Apache Kafka to filter, enrich and aggregate events on the fly. 

Aiven hopes to replicate the success of other open-source frameworks like PostgreSQL, Kubernetes and Linux, built by a healthy mix of contributions from various communities. 

“We truly believe that fostering an open-source, community-driven and inclusive ecosystem of technologies around Apache Kafka can drive further innovations and new developments in the data-streaming domain, ensuring the long sustainment of the technology in the future,” Yonov said.

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How do tech layoffs impact PERM and the green card process? • TechCrunch

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Here’s another edition of “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at technology companies.

“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that allows people all over the world to rise above borders and pursue their dreams,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you’re in people ops, a founder or seeking a job in Silicon Valley, I would love to answer your questions in my next column.”

TechCrunch+ members receive access to weekly “Dear Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to purchase a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off.


Dear Sophie,

I handle HR and immigration at our tech company. We filed a PERM for one of our team members about five months ago for her EB-2 green card, and we’re awaiting certification from the Labor Department. We’ve been gearing up to start PERM for another employee.

Will the layoffs in the tech industry affect the PERM process for EB-2 and EB-3 green cards? What will happen to my team members’ green cards if our company has to do layoffs?

— Pondering in People Ops

Dear Pondering,

It’s wonderful that you’re steadfastly supporting your team with green card sponsorship. This can provide unfathomable peace of mind for people still on non-immigrant status in the U.S. through the green card process. We’re here to help ease the holiday season with education on the options for both companies and individuals.

Let’s dive into the winter wonderland of PERM and employment-sponsored green cards.

Will tech layoffs impact the PERM process?

For the permanent labor certification application — or PERM — your company is currently working on, the short answer is yes, the layoffs may have several different effects depending on where your company is in the process.

The PERM green card process is a multistep and time-intensive one involving a labor market recruitment test requiring employers to demonstrate to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that there are no qualified U.S. workers (U.S. citizens and green card holders) who are qualified, willing and able to fill the EB-2 or EB-3 PERM position. PERM also aims to ensure that the opportunities, wages and working conditions of U.S. citizens and green card holders are protected.

A composite image of immigration law attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a TechCrunch logo.

Image Credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a new window)

If you are in or will soon start the PERM recruiting phase, you may receive a larger number of job applicants for your job posting due to the recent layoffs in the tech sector. With an uptick in potentially qualified applicants, it could prove more difficult to demonstrate that there is no qualified U.S. worker to fill the PERM role. If a qualified U.S. worker is ready, willing and able to fill the PERM role, the labor market test fails and the DOL will not grant the company’s PERM labor certification.

Keep in mind that unemployment is a big concern for the DOL. During the last recession, when millions of jobs were lost, DOL increased its scrutiny of the adjudication of PERMs, particularly within the financial sector, to ensure displaced U.S. workers were considered for positions before international talent.

At the moment, the U.S. unemployment rate is under 4%, so we have a ways to go before we match the 10.6% unemployment rate in 2010. Although there have been many layoffs in tech, I remain optimistic, as there are other indicators that the economy is still strong and there are many job requirements in and beyond the tech sector.



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