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The CrossFit stimulus—constantly varied high-intensity functional movement coupled with meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar—prepares you for the demands of a healthy, functional, independent life and provides a hedge against chronic disease and incapacity. This stimulus is elegant in the mathematical sense of being marked by simplicity and efficacy. The proven elements of this broad, general, and inclusive fitness, in terms of both movement and nutrition, are what we term our CrossFit Essentials.

In the first article in his new series on diabetes, Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, MD, discusses the long history of diabetes research and introduces several models for understanding the causes of the disease, as well as its progression. While the mechanism underlying Type 1 diabetes is generally agreed upon, debate continues over whether Type 2 is related to fat consumption or raised insulin levels resulting from carbohydrate intake. Kendrick explains and evaluates the arguments for each model.

Read MoreDiabetes, Part 1: Disease Models

Several studies support the hypothesis that diet, particularly carbohydrate consumption, affects vision. One study compares the eyesight of hunter-gatherer and industrialized groups and finds myopia skyrockets when indigenous populations adopt a Western diet involving more refined carbohydrates. Another study explores the mechanism behind dietary contribution to myopia and finds increases in insulin promote eyeball elongation in animal models. A third study explores dietary sugar’s links to glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration. Its authors ultimately recommend avoiding high glycemic index foods.

Read MoreSugar and Sight

A 2016 review finds preliminary evidence suggesting intermittent fasting and similar eating patterns can reduce markers of cancer risk and progression. More intensive fasts, such as complete fasting on alternating days, show more consistent benefits; more moderate fasts show equivocal clinical impact.

Read MoreCould Intermittent Energy Restriction and Intermittent Fasting Reduce Rates of Cancer in Obese, Overweight, and Normal-Weight Subjects?

“Since 1990, Uffe Ravnskov MD PhD has published over 100 scientific papers critical of the cholesterol campaign, proposing new hypotheses and also contending that ‘the successful dissemination of the diet-heart idea is due to authors systematically ignoring or misquoting (contradictory) studies.’”

Read MoreThe Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy that Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease

Prof. Timothy Noakes provides evidence in support of Nina Teicholz’s argument that “the story of nutritional science is not, as we would expect, one of sober-minded researchers moving with measured judicious steps.” Teicholz claims it instead falls under “the ‘great man’ theory of history, whereby strong personalities steer events using their personal charisma, intelligence, wisdom, or wits.” According to Noakes, these qualities are precisely what allowed Ancel Keys to convince his colleagues to support his diet-heart and lipid hypotheses — even when the science did not.

Read MoreIt’s the Insulin Resistance, Stupid: Part 10

This 2018 paper on the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) reports the small share of diabetic subjects who fail to achieve glycemic control with weight loss differ only from successful responders in the ability of their pancreatic beta-cells to return to normal function. The DiRECT study thus further establishes that diabetes can be reversed through diet alone. Significantly, it also reinforces the importance of early intervention, as a diet started soon after diagnosis (before stressors have begun to degrade pancreatic beta-cell function) is more likely to successfully reverse diabetes.

Read MoreRemission of Human Type 2 Diabetes Requires Decrease in Liver and Pancreas Fat Content but Is Dependent Upon Capacity for B Cell Recovery

Prof. Tim Noakes separates fact from fiction in his examination of the data from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS). Despite the efforts of some of the study's lead scientists to wrench the data into supporting the association of dietary fat and blood cholesterol concentration with coronary heart disease (CHD), the study instead demonstrated insulin resistance is a significant risk factor for CHD mortality whereas blood cholesterol concentration has little or no practical predictive value, especially after age 50. Noakes also highlights the insights shared by Dr. George Mann, “who was initially one of the scientific leaders of the FHS but later resigned to express his displeasure at the fake science he detected."

Read MoreIt’s the Insulin Resistance, Stupid: Part 9

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick concludes his series on the response to injury hypothesis for cardiovascular disease (CVD) by observing that reducing risk relies on doing at least one of three things, and ideally all three: protecting the endothelium from damage, reducing blood coagulability, and improving the body’s healing processes. Kendrick highlights several specific ways to protect the endothelium, from quitting smoking to getting more sun to increasing potassium intake.

Read MoreWhat Causes Cardiovascular Disease? The Response to Injury Hypothesis, Part 4

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