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Global rise in autoimmune diseases linked to western fast food

EviLore

Expansive Ellipses
Staff Member

"
More and more people around the world are suffering because their immune systems can no longer tell the difference between healthy cells and invading micro-organisms. Disease defences that once protected them are instead attacking their tissue and organs.

Major international research efforts are being made to fight this trend – including an initiative at London’s Francis Crick Institute, where two world experts, James Lee and Carola Vinuesa, have set up separate research groups to help pinpoint the precise causes of autoimmune disease, as these conditions are known.

“Numbers of autoimmune cases began to increase about 40 years ago in the west,” Lee told the Observer. “However, we are now seeing some emerge in countries that never had such diseases before.

For example, the biggest recent increase in inflammatory bowel disease cases has been in the Middle East and east Asia. Before that they had hardly seen the disease.”


Autoimmune diseases range from type 1 diabetes to rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis. In each case, the immune system gets its wires crossed and turns on healthy tissue instead of infectious agents.

In the UK alone, at least 4 million people have developed such conditions, with some individuals suffering more than one. Internationally, it is now estimated that cases of autoimmune diseases are rising by between 3% and 9% a year. Most scientists believe environmental factors play a key role in this rise.

“Human genetics hasn’t altered over the past few decades,” said Lee, who was previously based at Cambridge University. “So something must be changing in the outside world in a way that is increasing our predisposition to autoimmune disease.”

This idea was backed by Vinuesa, who was previously based at the Australian National University. She pointed to changes in diet that were occurring as more and more countries adopted western-style diets and people bought more fast food.

Fast-food diets lack certain important ingredients, such as fibre, and evidence suggests this alteration affects a person’s microbiome – the collection of micro-organisms that we have in our gut and which play a key role in controlling various bodily functions,” Vinuesa said.

“These changes in our microbiomes are then triggering autoimmune diseases, of which more than 100 types have now been discovered.”


Both scientists stressed that individual susceptibilities were involved in contracting such illnesses, ailments that also include celiac disease as well as lupus, which triggers inflammation and swelling and can cause damage to various organs, including the heart.

“If you don’t have a certain genetic susceptibility, you won’t necessarily get an autoimmune disease, no matter how many Big Macs you eat,” said Vinuesa. “There is not a lot we can do to halt the global spread of fast-food franchises. So instead, we are trying to understand the fundamental genetic mechanisms that underpin autoimmune diseases and make some people susceptible but others not. We want to tackle the issue at that level.”

This task is possible thanks to the development of techniques that now allow scientists to pinpoint tiny DNA differences among large numbers of individuals. In this way, it is possible to identify common genetic patterns among those suffering from an autoimmune disease.

“Until very recently, we just didn’t have the tools to do that, but now we have this incredible power to sequence DNA on a large scale and that has changed everything,” said Lee. “When I started doing research, we knew about half a dozen DNA variants that were involved in triggering inflammatory bowel disease. Now we know of more than 250.”

Such work lies at the core of Lee and Vinuesa’s efforts, which aim to find out how these different genetic pathways operate and unravel the many different types of disease doctors are now looking at. “If you look at some autoimmune diseases – for example, lupus – it has become clear recently there are many different versions of them, that may be caused by different genetic pathways,” said Vinuesa. “And that has a consequence when you are trying to find the right treatment.

“We have lots of potentially useful new therapies that are being developed all the time, but we don’t know which patients to give them to, because we now realise we don’t know exactly which version of the disease they have. And that is now a key goal for autoimmune research. We have to learn how to group and stratify patients so we can give them the right therapy.”

Lee also stressed that surging cases of autoimmune diseases across the world meant new treatments and drugs were now urgently needed more than ever before. “At present, there are no cures for autoimmune diseases, which usually develop in young people – while they are trying to complete their education, get their first job and have families,” he said.

“That means growing numbers of people face surgery or will have to have regular injections for the rest of their lives. It can be grim for patients and a massive strain on health services. Hence the urgent need to find new, effective treatments.”
"
 

DragoonKain

Neighbours from Hell
I have autoimmune disease and I was never big on fast food 😑

Wouldn’t be shocked if fast food is contributing to it though. Genetics is also a big factor. I wonder if someone who gets it from diet or micro biome can pass it on to their kids.

And I get my injection tonight actually.
 

JayK47

Member
No doubt. My dad had diebetes and my mom has MS. Neither of them ate healthy. After my dad died, I turned my diet around and my wife and I eat much better now, but on occasion still hit up fast food if we are in a hurry or want something cheaper. Although it is not so cheap anymore.
 
I’m in a fast food line right now. 😐
 

Bombolone

Gold Member
Interesting read.
These autoimmune diseases showing up in places previously absent of them; as more people start to consume fast food, is such a damning observation.

You could literally save billions in healthcare costs if you could remove fast food from the population.
Obviously you can't do that. People want what people want.

This is a head scratcher for me.
You can see the Tsunami coming but what do you really do about it?
You know a huge amount of energy, suffering and cost (money) is coming in the near future, but how do you balance something as big as Fast Food with the Public health?

Imagine if someone told you they could end a certain suffering (guaranteed), which in turn saves you money, heartache etc.
All you had to do was not eat fast food.
FU**ING WIIILLLLD to me.

As always just gotta be responsible for yourself.
Cook your own meals and treat yourself to some take-out every now & then.

We are a tragic species.
 
were they testing these places 40 years ago? are we sure this isn’t just an increase in western medicine and modern diagnostics making there way to these areas?
This is exactly what makes me highly skeptical of the claim. Unless autoimmune disease is souly caused by fast food, they should have had at least some instances of it before. So it seems far more likely this is an issue of just not recognizing the condition until the same period.
 

poppabk

Member
Seems like their opinion than an actually supported fact. I'm sure shitty diet doesn't help, especially for digestive system based auto-immune diseases, but for something like MS this seems like a massive reach, although the article is vague enough that it isn't even clear if that is what the researchers are saying. Also seems weird to say that human genetics haven't changed when our immune system relies on constant random genetic recombination to produce all the immune molecules that ultimately lead to auto-immune diseases.
 

Thaedolus

Gold Member
Weird, I was born with Crohns disease so unless my mom ate it and it attacked me in the womb.....
Saying there’s a link != all autoimmune disease is traced to fast food. These diseases existed before something made it worse (possibly fast food), just like obesity existed before our shitty western diets made it worse. So it’s not that weird that people have autoimmune diseases without consuming vast quantities of fast food, even if fast food is linked to to autoimmune disease.

Babies get cancer without being exposed to carcinogens. Carcinogens are still carcinogenic.
 
99% of fast food is terrible for you and you shouldn't eat it. Anybody with a brain knows this but half of America is obese and diabetic so.....

I'll occasionally indulge in fast food, but it's usually just a few items from a few places. I can't even recall the last time I had anything from Mickey D's, it's been probably over a decade.

Cheap, fast, and easier than cooking are usually the reasons I hear. Though I'd argue about it being cheap anymore.
 

Vestal

Gold Member
Lets call it what it is. A sad reality that is much harder to fix than we are willing to admit. We live a very busy and fast life in this country with little to no down time. Me and the wife have been trying our damndest to avoid fast food as much as possible, but the convenience of it coupled with our work/home lives kind of "force" us to rely on this sort of convenience at times just so we can keep our sanity. Not to mention, that the cost for creating a home meal has really sky rocketed the last couple of years.

Personally, I am leveraging 3 days of hello fresh a week, 1 "GOOD" home meal day, 2 "Simple" home meals and 1 takeout/fastfood day a week. We try our hardest to keep to this. (Breakfast are kept simple through the week(boiled eggs, toasts etc) while lunches are taken care of through the School most of the week, and its either pizza or sandwiches in the weekend).


Regardless, its not easy at all with 2 kids.
 

Sakura

Member
I find it funny how the government keeps taxing the shit out of cigarettes because of the increased financial burden on the health care systems, it's bad for you, blah blah blah but they all seem to turn a blind eye to fast food. I am willing to bet obesity is a bigger burden on the country than smoking.

Also, totally anecdotal, but I used to very frequently get intense pain in my intestines that would wake me up at night, and would take like an hour or more to subside. I dunno if that is IBD or what. But after I moved to Japan, it almost completely went away. Can't even remember the last time it happened. Don't have seasonal allergies any more either...
 
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Do these scientists realize that we are gathering and storing more and more data as never before? So any comparison we do with the past might be heavily biased by the amount of data we had and have now. This is a basic statistical law which I recently realized that outside technical disciplines, many do not have a clue about. Nowadays it is all about publishing a paper first and less about proper science.

Btw, fast food is low quality food, we all know that. Don’t need an academic research to tell me that.
 
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jason10mm

Member
This is more of fast food (i.e. a crappy high sugar/salt diet low in fiber and healthy fats) exacerbating underlying genetic disorders than fast food being a strict causative agent.

Kind of like hereditary hemochromatosis. Folks with that disease over accumulate iron from their diet. Totally not a problem in the ancient world when getting iron in your diet was a huge challenge. But now we have easy availability of iron rich foods and even supplementation so HH can now manifest at very early ages compared to historic examples (such as they are).
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Do these scientists realize that we are gathering and storing more and more data as never before? So any comparison we do with the past might be heavily biased by the amount of data we had and have now. This is a basic statistical law which I recently realized that outside technical disciplines, many do not have a clue about. Nowadays it is all about publishing a paper first and less about proper science.

Btw, fast food is low quality food, we all know that. Don’t need an academic research to tell me that.
So true.

How many people 50 or 100 years ago were tracked against autoimmune diseases? Probably hardly any.

Reminds me of times people would bring up years ago people in Denmark had higher rates of cancer than people in Africa. Well, probably because the average Dane has good medical care and docs diagnose shit fast from regular doctor's visits, whereas the average medical care in Africa is probably crap and hardly anyone gets cancer and xray checks. It's like covid. Check any global chart and according to them basically nobody in Africa has covid. Cases counts and deaths can literally be zero for some countries.
 
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Yamisan

Member
Saying there’s a link != all autoimmune disease is traced to fast food. These diseases existed before something made it worse (possibly fast food), just like obesity existed before our shitty western diets made it worse. So it’s not that weird that people have autoimmune diseases without consuming vast quantities of fast food, even if fast food is linked to to autoimmune disease.

Babies get cancer without being exposed to carcinogens. Carcinogens are still carcinogenic.
Except for the fact that he proves nothing at all, this article is 100% and 0% facts which shouldn't be a thing in something that is based on science.
 
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p_xavier

Authorized Fister
I feel much better when I do keto diets, but it gets expensive quite fast. Talking about fast, I do a 24h streak every week, I have major inflammation and pain due to a decade of heavy drinking.
 

BigBooper

Gold Member
I can believe it, but also don't see an alternative. GMO foods and food efficiency along with the negatives is still better than mass starvation we used to think was the future.
 

Croatoan

They/Them A-10 Warthog
Wait till yall learn that sperm count has dropped over 50% and women are having something like 4x as many miscarriages. We are headed for a fucked up future were we are all sick and have to fertilize in test tubes exclusively...and nobody knows why.
 
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poppabk

Member
Wait till yall learn that sperm count has dropped over 50% and women are having something like 4x as many miscarriages. We are headed for a fucked up future were we are all sick and have to fertilize in test tubes exclusively...and nobody knows why.
For men it's tight pants and for awhile laptops. Gotta keep your balls cool.
 

G-Bus

Gold Member
Too much overly processed foods cause health problems.
Shocked Patrick Stewart GIF




Just wait until they start to realise all the health problems micriplastics are going to cause.
 
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Tams

Member
Honestly sounds like scapegoating of the 'West'.

Sure, most modern fast food that isn't healthy comes from the West, but it's up to people and their governments themselves to control what they eat. Don't wanna get fat and increase your chances of getting an auto-immune disease? Then don't fucking eat so much unhealthy fast food.

And 'Western' cuisine was, is, can be healthy. Just like 'Oriental'/'Eastern'/whatever nonsense can be unhealthy.

If anything, it's a diet 'of affluence'. You can see it from all the fat fucks through history. Henry VIII? Goat. Queen Elizabeth? Likely had no teeth left in the end. Numerous Byzantine emperors/sultanates? Fat fucks because they ate too many Turkish sweets.
 

betrayal

Banned
If anything, it's a diet 'of affluence'. You can see it from all the fat fucks through history. Henry VIII? Goat. Queen Elizabeth? Likely had no teeth left in the end. Numerous Byzantine emperors/sultanates? Fat fucks because they ate too many Turkish sweets.

You can't compare that. The people mentioned were not "fat fucks" because they ate many chemical additives through fast food, but because they ate too much of more or less natural food.


The problem is not fast food in general, but the ingredients of our food.

We don't eat food (largely unprocessed) anymore, we eat products.

Even healthy foods now often have many artificial additives. Proteins, carbohydrates and natural fats don't make you sick, it's what you add to these macronutrients, but also what you leave out (fibre).

The ancestral human diet consisted of ~100g fibre a day. Today, most people eat only a fraction of that. Dietary fiber, primarely from plants, has been shown to change gut bacteria in a very positive way.

I am convinced that this topic will become one of the biggest and most important in the decades to come.

I have read an enormous number of books on nutrition, which are evidence-based. If you are interested in nutrition and health in general, I recommend books like "How not to die" and "How not to diet". Two books where everything is based on studies and also every source or study is specified.


PS: Something very practical: most people think large orgies of ass wiping are normal after you have been taking a dump. Zero to two wipes until it is absolutely clean would be normal.
 
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IDKFA

Member
I hardly touch fast food. I only it if I'm out and there is absolutely no other option.

It's pretty clear that fast food is damaging to the environment and human health (both physically and mental).

Unpopular opinion, but I would like to see fast food banned, or at least highly regulated. Maybe give it the tobacco treatment and ban fast food advertising. Not sure what it's like in the US, but in the UK, KFC has a scary, almost cult like following. People go mad over cheap fried chicken.

Also, no matter what, home cooked food always tastes better than fast food trash, and if your using natural ingredients, it'll always be better for you health.

Fuck fast food.
 

Tams

Member
You can't compare that. The people mentioned were not "fat fucks" because they ate many chemical additives through fast food, but because they ate too much of more or less natural food.


The problem is not fast food in general, but the ingredients of our food.

We don't eat food (largely unprocessed) anymore, we eat products.

Even healthy foods now often have many artificial additives. Proteins, carbohydrates and natural fats don't make you sick, it's what you add to these macronutrients, but also what you leave out (fibre).

The ancestral human diet consisted of ~100g fibre a day. Today, most people eat only a fraction of that. Dietary fiber, primarely from plants, has been shown to change gut bacteria in a very positive way.

I am convinced that this topic will become one of the biggest and most important in the decades to come.

I have read an enormous number of books on nutrition, which are evidence-based. If you are interested in nutrition and health in general, I recommend books like "How not to die" and "How not to diet". Two books where everything is based on studies and also every source or study is specified.


PS: Something very practical: most people think large orgies of ass wiping are normal after you have been taking a dump. Zero to two wipes until it is absolutely clean would be normal.
Yes you can.

A lot more foodstuff is more processed these days, but all of those examples are large amounts of processed food. Honey, sugar, etc. The main difference was far, far fewer people could ever hope to afford it.

And you didn't address my argument about blaming the 'West' for this when these other countries are sovereign and people ultimately have control and final say into what goes into their bodies.

Nor did I say that a highly processed isn't a major issue, so I don't know why you went off on that rant. Either you got completely the wrong end of the stick, or you're trying to maliciously trying to change the topic.

Edit: and get off your fucking high horse. Trying to preach at me about eating healthily. Mate, I already do.
 
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NeoIkaruGAF

Gold Member
Fun fact: humans have been eating shit during most of their existence. Even literal shit in some instances, but most people throughout history have hardly sustained themselves on varied, quality diets, and clean food is still a luxury for a lot of people today.

The concept of autoimmunity is relatively new, and adding to this the fact that medical diagnosis has been getting more and more fastidiously precise with time, to the point a lot more conditions get an uncertain diagnosis than one may think… it’s really hard to make such claims. Diabetes is, more often than not, not an autoimmune disease but a metabolic one, so of course that one is linked to an increase in calories, sugar and obesity (also) due to fast foods. But I’d guess it’s almost impossible to pin a lot of conditions of humanity in the past to autoimmunity, so there’s definitely a bias here. Autoimmune diseases are also noncommunicable and don’t happen in clusters, so they wouldn’t draw much attention from the medical world before at least the late 1700s, and as such reports of them in the past were necessarily scarce. Today we are very interested in them because there’s a potentially unlimited field of pharmaceutical research dedicated to their diagnosis and treatment, so of course a lot more diseases of this type have been identified, defined and typified.

In summary, I find it hard to think autoimmunity in the past was so much less than today given humanity’s penchant to eat and drink virtually anything, paint and pierce our bodies with just any material available, and live/work with/in proximity of radioactive/damaging stuff.
 

betrayal

Banned
Yes you can.

A lot more foodstuff is more processed these days, but all of those examples are large amounts of processed food. Honey, sugar, etc. The main difference was far, far fewer people could ever hope to afford it.

And you didn't address my argument about blaming the 'West' for this when these other countries are sovereign and people ultimately have control and final say into what goes into their bodies.

Nor did I say that a highly processed isn't a major issue, so I don't know why you went off on that rant. Either you got completely the wrong end of the stick, or you're trying to maliciously trying to change the topic.

Edit: and get off your fucking high horse. Trying to preach at me about eating healthily. Mate, I already do.

Only the first sentence was addressed to you.The rest was completely general on the subject. That's why I had made several blank lines afterwards. So I have really no idea which "rant" you're talking about, because i wasn't ranting about you or anything.

We can have different opinions without any problems. Who is right in the end, of course, I do not know. But apart from that, I wouldn't necessarily count honey and co. as highly processed foods. I was referring more to the other 90% of foods that you get in the supermarket and that have additives for a longer shelf life, taste or consistency. These things rarely existed 30-50+ years ago.

Apart from that, i absolutely agree with you on the topic of "blaming the west". Of course, everyone is responsible for what they eat. You even have a wider choice of healthy and unprocessed foods in the west than anywhere else in the world.
 
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StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
As much as fast food, candy, pop etc... are rotten for health, I'm all for it. They're options. And it's convenient and tastes great.

People got to remember too that the average person the past 20 years is at it's peak for age longevity where just about everyone in a decent country lives to around 80. So hey, lets' have some fun eating. If this was 100 years ago, we'd be dead at 50 on average.

If anyone is going to talk about bad food, dont forget bad drinks. There's no way pop or guzzling booze is healthy either.

 

betrayal

Banned
As much as fast food, candy, pop etc... are rotten for health, I'm all for it. They're options. And it's convenient and tastes great.

People got to remember too that the average person the past 20 years is at it's peak for age longevity where just about everyone in a decent country lives to around 80. So hey, lets' have some fun eating. If this was 100 years ago, we'd be dead at 50 on average.

If anyone is going to talk about bad food, dont forget bad drinks. There's no way pop or guzzling booze is healthy either.


All of what you say is true, but I think the greatest overall harm to anyone from eating poorly is not death itself, but the negative impact on personal quality of life.

Permanent and often decades lasting pain, inflammation, subsequent diseases and much more are in the end usually the biggest evil. In addition, there is also often a deterioration in mental and physical fitness. But fortunately (or maybe not?) this is also the point, where our today's medicine creates a lot of relief, but sometimes for problems, which we ourselves have created the last 50 years.

I think everyone who usually eats average food and then has eaten primarily less processed food for a few weeks or months will know the difference. You are more energetic, more motivated and generally in a better mood.
 
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Dream-Knife

Member
As much as fast food, candy, pop etc... are rotten for health, I'm all for it. They're options. And it's convenient and tastes great.

People got to remember too that the average person the past 20 years is at it's peak for age longevity where just about everyone in a decent country lives to around 80. So hey, lets' have some fun eating. If this was 100 years ago, we'd be dead at 50 on average.

If anyone is going to talk about bad food, dont forget bad drinks. There's no way pop or guzzling booze is healthy either.

Notice how it has slowed down since the 90s? Particularly this last decade. Obesity has also been increasing.

On the other hand, we're also not fighting over eastern Europe anymore.
 

strange headache

Fluctuat nec mergitur
No wonder considering the cheap but unhealthy low quality ingredients most of the big fast-food companies use:


A patty of lean ground beef, a slice of tomato, some lettuce and two slices of whole wheat bread are not what is making us sick. It's the analogue cheese, the artificial sauces, the fake emulsified fillings and the insane amounts of hidden sugar and salt that are slowly killing our fast-food addicted kids and adults. You can make reasonably healthy versions of a hamburger or a pizza and indulge them once in a while, but the huge XXL portion sizes are leading to bad eating habits.

Most people vastly overestimate the quantity of food they really need and think they absolutely need 3 hefty meals a day with snacks in-between. The food industry is doing its best to keep people hooked on crazy amounts of sugar, fat and sodium. That is what highly processed food is designed for. Skipping a meal once in a while and a bit of healthy exercise coupled with a diet that consists of mostly whole foods (from every macro category) is the way to success. Having a cheat meal once in a while is perfectly fine, but people just don't have any self-control anymore.

Also, What the U.S. needs are way stricter health and food regulations when it comes to these products. Many things that you Americans consume are outright illegal here in Europe.
 
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StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Also, What the U.S. needs are way stricter health and food regulations when it comes to these products. Many things that you Americans consume are outright illegal here in Europe.
Canada is the same. Even for medical products.

Health Canada is more strict on ingredients vs. the US FDA that any medical products we sell here often have to be slightly adjusted (which can take years of reformulation and testing) before Health Canada approves it. Just pulling up some US products and slapping on some bilingual packaging wont work unless it's tested.

It's counterintuitive. You'd think the biggest economy country with the most companies and laws would be the most strict in formulations and ingredients, but it's actually the opposite. The US always seems more loosey goosey.
 
PS: Something very practical: most people think large orgies of ass wiping are normal after you have been taking a dump. Zero to two wipes until it is absolutely clean would be normal.
It always amazes me how we can live in such a scientifically advance society and yet many basic fundamentals of human health and disease are not understood by the majority. Stool/bowel health are always good (and early) indicators of problems - or health. Most people have no idea how bathroom "performance" is a very good reflection of what's going on overall in your body.
 

Go_Ly_Dow

Member
Not surprised here. All the shit that must sneak in ultra processed foods and in food packaging that must surely harm our bodies.

Also one to watch out for is the supposed amount of microplastics in may types of table and sea salt.


Not sure if it makes a difference, but I try and only use rock salt, like pink salt.
 

NeoIkaruGAF

Gold Member
As much as fast food, candy, pop etc... are rotten for health, I'm all for it. They're options. And it's convenient and tastes great.

People got to remember too that the average person the past 20 years is at it's peak for age longevity where just about everyone in a decent country lives to around 80. So hey, lets' have some fun eating. If this was 100 years ago, we'd be dead at 50 on average.
A lot of people are basically dead at 80, and quickly dying past 65 or so. If not biologically, in every aspect of what we like to call human life.

I live in one of the countries with the highest average life expectancy in the world. There’s so many old people here, octogenarians and nonagenarians in droves. So many of them are walking carcasses, those of them that can still walk that is. And most of them aren’t even obese. Now imagine if you’re also obese or overweight and consume junk food every week, multiple times a week. The point where your life isn’t really living anymore can only get to you faster, and there’s really no medication that can do much more than put a daily patch on your ailments at that point.

There isn’t an age when you can just stop taking care of yourself. It’s rather the opposite. And food is something everyone expects to indulge in at least once a day, so maximum care should be taken there.
 

SafeOrAlone

Member
Crazy how whenever I see negative articles about fast food, I crave it. It's almost like a "maybe if we ignore it, it will go away" situation. Truth is, I'm probably just addicted in minor way.

Still, I had no intention of eating fast food today until seeing this article. Not the first time either.
 
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nush

Gold Member
Also, no matter what, home cooked food always tastes better than fast food trash, and if your using natural ingredients, it'll always be better for you health.

Problem is we are two generations away from people that knew how to do that and would teach their kids. However on the plus side there are numerous Youtube cooks that can teach us and people find it rewarding and enjoyable to cook at home.
 
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