Tuesday, March 02, 2010

If You Know what's Good for You ... (Part 3)

Drinking Water Proven to Help Weight Loss
Posted By Dr. Mercola
September 18, 2010
A new study has found that obese dieters who drank two cups of water before each meal lost 5 pounds more after three months. A year later, they also kept more of the weight off.
The dieting technique is well known, but this study may be the first hard evidence that increasing your water intake is a useful weight-loss strategy.
According to Discovery News:
“The reason could be physical. According to some research, water consumption might spark the body to produce more heat, boosting metabolism and burning more calories. Or, drinking more water might simply make people less likely to drink a lot of high-calorie sugar-filled beverages.”
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
You can actually survive without food for months, but without water you’d die after a few days, so needless to say, water is absolutely essential to life.
Every day you lose water from your body through urine and sweat, and this needs to be replenished..
Water for Weight Loss?
If you don’t drink enough, you can easily become dehydrated, and as you may have experienced dehydration often mimics hunger. If you’re eating plenty of nutritionally balanced foods and you still feel hungry, it could very well be the case that you need a drink of water to fill you up.
This is actually a solid strategy you can use even before you eat a meal, as research shows that drinking two cups of water before each meal will help you lose more weight.
Whether the water works by physically filling you up, boosting your metabolism or simply taking the place of sugary drinks like juice and soda isn’t yet known, but it’s really a moot point.
The key to remember if you’re trying to lose weight is that pure water may be the secret weapon for fighting off cravings and reducing hunger that you’ve been looking for.
Even beyond weight loss, chronic dehydration from not drinking enough water has been linked to an astounding number of conditions ranging from chronic fatigue syndrome and depression to hypertension, multiple sclerosis and asthma, according to Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj.
Dr. Batmanghelidj is the author of the phenomenal book Your Body’s Many Cries for Water. I highly recommend it to learn more about why water, or as Dr. Batmanghelidj calls it “nature's miracle medicine,” is so essential for optimal health.
Making Water Your Primary Beverage Will Give You a Major Weight Loss Boost
One of the first pieces of advice I offer to anyone trying to lose weight is to stop drinking soda, fruit juice, sports drinks, and any other sugar-laden, high-calorie beverage. This is especially true of beverages (and foods) that contain fructose.
Fructose has become one of my newest health passions for a number of reasons. It is really not well understood how pervasive a negative influence this sugar has on people’s health.
For those who have struggled with their weight for years -- examining their diets, avoiding fat and counting calories, yet not getting anywhere and wondering what they’re doing wrong -- you need to pay very close attention to this issue.
In many cases the primary culprit may be the excessive intake of hidden sugar in the form of corn syrup, or high fructose corn syrup, which is a main ingredient in soda, as well as countless processed and pre-packaged foods.
It’s extremely easy to consume high amounts of HFCS on a daily basis, especially if you drink sodas or any other sweetened beverages such as iced-teas and fruit juices in lieu of water.
Even seemingly “health-conscious” beverages like Vitamin Water, Jamba Juice and Odwalla SuperFood contain far more added sugar and/or fructose than many desserts!
So it’s time to realize that dietary fat does not make you fat. Fructose does.
As Professor Hoebel, a specialist in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction, told Science Daily:
"Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn't true, at least under the conditions of our tests.
When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese -- every single one, across the board.
Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight."
It’s Not Just Soda That’s the Problem
Soda is definitely a problem if you’re trying to lose weight … drinking a single can a day translates to more than a pound of weight gain every month … but it is not the only beverage you need to cut from your dietary repertoire.
Although often regarded as healthy, fruit juice typically contains very high concentrations of fructose, which will cause your insulin to spike and may counter the benefits of the antioxidants it contains.
This is particularly true for nearly all commercial juices that are bottled or canned as they liberate methanol, which is metabolized to formaldehyde in your brain. Fresh is better and does not have the methanol issue and is also a more vital drink.
However, anyone with insulin resistance, which is 80% of the public (those with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or overweight) is also better off avoiding it. If you don’t have insulin resistance then limiting the total grams of fructose to less than 25 grams would be a prudent strategy.
Previous studies have already clearly demonstrated that drinking large amounts of juice dramatically increases your risk of obesity. Children are at particular risk here, since so many children are given juice whenever they’re thirsty instead of plain water.
For example, research has revealed that 3- and 4-year-olds who carry extra weight and drink just one to two sweet drinks a day double their risk of becoming seriously overweight just one year later.
So it’s truly imperative if you want to lose weight that you cut out all fruit juice, soda, and any other sweetened beverage from your diet.
Fructose will not only pack on extra pounds faster than other ingredients, including other sugars, it promotes a particularly dangerous kind of body fat, namely adipose fat.
This is the fat type of fat that collects in your abdominal region and is associated with a greater risk of heart disease.
For an in-depth review of just how different fructose and HFCS really is from regular sugar, please read through this recent article and watch the lecture given by Dr. Robert Lustig.
How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?
Once you’ve made the switch to pure water, your next question may be how much water is necessary?
If you are healthy, then drinking whenever you feel thirsty should be an adequate guide of how much water you need, but I encourage you to use this simple trick to gauge whether your water intake is sufficient:
You will want to make sure you drink enough clean pure water to turn your urine a light color of yellow. Dark yellow urine is a sign that you need to drink more water.
If it’s hot outside or you are engaged in exercise or other vigorous activity, you will require more water than normal. Additionally, as you grow older your thirst mechanism works less efficiently so older adults will want to be sure to drink water regularly, and again make sure your urine is a light, pale color.
For tips on making sure you’re drinking the purest water around, be sure to read this past article (hint: it does NOT come in plastic bottles!).
No doubt about it, making the simple decision to drink plenty of pure water instead of sugary drinks will likely lead to excess pounds simply “falling off” in no time.
Please Remember …
Just as water is an essential to life it is impossible to achieve optimal health without regular exercise. So please remember to get your regular exercise, as it will be a very powerful synergy to drinking water for weight loss. You can view my page on the Peak Fitness Technique for some great tips.
This "Miracle Health Food" Has Been Linked to Brain Damage and Breast Cancer
Posted By Dr. Mercola
September 18 2010
If you were to carefully review the thousands of studies published on soy, I strongly believe you would reach the same conclusion as I have—which is, the risks of consuming unfermented soy products FAR outweigh any possible benefits.
Notice I said unfermented soy products.
For centuries, Asian people have been consuming fermented soy products such as natto, tempeh, and soy sauce, and enjoying the health benefits. Fermented soy does not wreak havoc on your body like unfermented soy products do.
Unfortunately, many Americans who are committed to healthy lifestyles have been hoodwinked and manipulated into believing that unfermented and processed soy products like soymilk, soy cheese, soy burgers and soy ice cream are good for them.
How Did Soy Foods Become So Popular?
If it seems like soy foods appeared out of nowhere to be regarded as the “miracle health food” of the 21st Century, it’s because they did.
From 1992 to 2006, soy food sales increased from $300 million to nearly $4 billion, practically overnight, according to the Soyfoods Association of North America. This growth came about due to a massive shift in attitudes about soy. And this shift was no accident—it was the result of a massive investment in advertising by the soy industry that’s been wildly successful.
Soy is indeed big business, very big business.
From 2000 to 2007, U.S. food manufacturers introduced more than 2,700 new soy-based foods, and new soy products continue to appear on your grocer’s shelves.
According to the survey Consumer Attitudes About Nutrition 2008 (by the United Soybean Board):
As of 2007, 85 percent of consumers perceive soy products as healthful
33 percent of Americans eat soy foods or beverages at least once a month
70 percent of consumers believe soybean oil is good for them
84 percent of consumers agree with the FDA’s claim that consuming 25 grams of soy protein daily reduces your risk of heart disease
This is a tragic case of shrewd marketing and outright lies taking root among the masses with the end result of producing large profits for the soy industry and impaired health for most who have been deceived into using unfermented soy long-term..
As you can see from the extensive list of articles below, there is a large amount of scientific research showing that soy is not the nutritional panacea of the 21st Century.
The Dark Side of Soy
The vast majority of soy at your local market is not a health food. The exception is fermented soy, which I’ll explain more about later and even worse GMO soy that is contaminated with large pesticide residues as the reason it is GMO is so they can spray the potent toxic herbicide Roundup on them to improve crop production by killing the weeds.
Unlike the Asian culture, where people eat small amounts of whole non-GMO soybean products, western food processors separate the soybean into two golden commodities—protein and oil. And there is nothing natural or safe about these products.
Dr. Kaayla Daniel, author of The Whole Soy Story, points out thousands of studies linking soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility—even cancer and heart disease.
Here is just a sampling of the health effects that have been linked to soy consumption:
Breast cancer
Brain damage
Infant abnormalities
Thyroid disorders
Kidney stones
Immune system impairment
Severe, potentially fatal food allergies
Impaired fertility
Danger during pregnancy and nursing
Soy proponents will argue that soy-based foods (they lump the fermented ones with the unfermented) will protect you from everything from colon, prostate and breast cancer to strokes, osteoporosis, and asthma.
But said enthusiasts never mention the studies that illuminate soy’s downside and all of the dangers posed to your health, which are based on sound research.
Another unfortunate fact is that 80 percent of the world’s soy is used in farm animal feed, which is why soy production is contributing to deforestation. Some soy propagandists have suggested that the solution to this is for all of us to become vegetarians—a reckless recommendation rooted in total ignorance about nutrition—whereas a far better solution is a major overhaul in how farm animals are fed and raised.
What Makes Soy Such a Risky Food to Eat?
Here is a summary of soy’s most glaring problems.
91 percentof soy grown in the US is genetically modified (GM). The genetic modification is done to impart resistance to the toxic herbicide Roundup. While this is meant to increase farming efficiency and provide you with less expensive soy, the downside is that your soy is loaded with this toxic pesticide. The plants also contain genes from bacteria that produce a protein that has never been part of the human food supply.
GM soy has been linked to an increase in allergies. Disturbingly, the only published human feeding study on GM foods ever conducted verified that the gene inserted into GM soy transfers into the DNA of our gut bacteria and continues to function. This means that years after you stop eating GM soy, you may still have a potentially allergenic protein continuously being produced in your intestines.
Even more frightening is the potential for GM soy to cause infertility in future generations, which has been evidenced by recent Russian research.
Soy contains natural toxins known as “anti-nutrients”
Soy foods contain anti-nutritional factors such as saponins, soyatoxin, phytates, protease inhibitors, oxalates, goitrogens and estrogens. Some of these factors interfere with the enzymes you need to digest protein. While a small amount of anti-nutrients would not likely cause a problem, the amount of soy that many Americans are now eating is extremely high.
Soy contains hemagglutinin
Hemagglutinin is a clot-promoting substance that causes your red blood cells to clump together. These clumped cells are unable to properly absorb and distribute oxygen to your tissues.
Soy contains goitrogens
Goitrogens are substances that block the synthesis of thyroid hormones and interfere with iodine metabolism, thereby interfering with your thyroid function.
Soy contains phytates
Phytates (phytic acid) bind to metal ions, preventing the absorption of certain minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc -- all of which are co-factors for optimal biochemistry in your body. This is particularly problematic for vegetarians, because eating meat reduces the mineral-blocking effects of these phytates (so it is helpful—if you do eat soy—to also eat meat).
Soy is loaded with the isoflavones genistein and daidzein
Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen, which is a plant compound resembling human estrogen. These compounds mimic and sometimes block the hormone estrogen, and have been found to have adverse effects on various human tissues. Soy phytoestrogens are known to disrupt endocrine function, may cause infertility, and may promote breast cancer in women.
Drinking even two glasses of soymilk daily for one month provides enough of these compounds to alter your menstrual cycle. Although the FDA regulates estrogen-containing products, no warnings exist on soy.
Soy has toxic levels of aluminum and manganese
Soybeans are processed (by acid washing) in aluminum tanks, which can leach high levels of aluminum into the final soy product. Soy formula has up to 80 times higher manganese than is found in human breast milk.
Soy infant formula puts your baby’s health at risk.
Nearly 20 percent of U.S. infants are now fed soy formula, but the estrogens in soy can irreversibly harm your baby’s sexual development and reproductive health. Infants fed soy formula take in an estimated five birth control pills’ worth of estrogen every day.
Infants fed soy formula have up to 20,000 times the amount of estrogen in circulation as those fed other formulas!
There is also the issue of pesticides and genetic modification
Soy foods are both heavily sprayed with pesticides and genetically modified (GM). More than 80 percent of the soy grown in the United States is GM. And more than 90 percent of American soy crops are GM.
Since the introduction of GM foods in 1996, we’ve had an upsurge in low birth weight babies, infertility, and other problems in the U.S. population, and animal studies thus far have shown devastating effects from consuming GM soy.
You may want to steer clear of soy products for no other reason than a commitment to avoiding GM foods... unless you wish to be a lab animal for this massive uncontrolled experiment by the biotech industry.
What Soy Products are Good For You?
I want to be clear that I am not opposed to all soy. Soy can be incredibly healthful, but ONLY if it is organic and properly fermented.
After a long fermentation process, the phytate and “anti-nutrient” levels of soybeans are reduced, and their beneficial properties become available to your digestive system.
You may have heard that Japanese people live longer and have lower rates of cancer than Americans because they eat so much soy—but it’s primarily fermented soy that they consume, and it’s always been that way.
Fermented soy products are the only ones I recommend consuming.
These are the primary fermented soy products you’ll find:
Tempeh, (left) a fermented soybean cake with a firm texture and nutty, mushroom-like flavor.
Miso, a fermented soybean paste with a salty, buttery texture (commonly used in miso soup).
Natto, fermented soybeans with a sticky texture and strong, cheese-like flavor.
Soy sauce, which is traditionally made by fermenting soybeans, salt and enzymes; be wary because many varieties on the market today are made artificially using a chemical process.
Please note that tofu is NOT on this list. Tofu is not fermented, so is not among the soy foods I recommend.
Vitamin K2: One of the Major Benefits of Fermented Soy
One of the main benefits of fermented soy, especially natto, is that it is the best food source of vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 is essential to preventing osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and diseases of the brain such as dementia, and protecting you from various cancers including prostate, lung, liver cancer and leukemia.
Vitamin K acts synergistically with vitamin D to keep you healthy.
Vitamin K is sometimes referred to as the “forgotten vitamin” because its benefits are often overlooked. It was named after the word “Koagulation,” to reflect its essential role in blood clotting. In fact, the enzyme nattokinase—derived from natto—is safer and more powerful than aspirin in dissolving blood clots, and has been used safely for more than 20 years.
If you enjoy natto or some of the other fermented soy foods, you can get several milligrams of vitamin K2 from them each day (this level far exceeds the amount of vitamin K2 found even in dark green vegetables).
Unfortunately, the health benefits of many of the fermented soy foods fall by the wayside because many Americans do not enjoy their flavor.
If you don’t want to consume natto to get your vitamin K2, the next best thing would be to get use supplemental Vitamin K2 (MK-7). Remember, vitamin K must be taken with a source of fat in order to be absorbed.
I suggest adults consume about 150 mcg of vitamin K2 daily.
Medical Problems
Caused by Soy:
Legal Action Request
Tips for Avoiding Unwanted Soy Foods
For a simple rule of thumb, just remember that unless soy is fermented (tempeh, miso, natto, or traditionally made soy sauce), you’re better off avoiding it.
Soy foods to avoid include:
TVP (texturized vegetable protein) or soy protein isolate, which contains a large amount of msg, which you should definitely not consume
Soybean oil
Soy cheese, soy ice cream, soy yogurt
Soy “meat” (meatless products made of TVP)
Soy protein
Soy infant formula
The best way to eliminate non-fermented soy from your diet is to avoid all processed foods and instead purchase whole foods that you prepare yourself.
If you do buy packaged foods, you can check the label to see if it contains soy. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, which took effect in January 2006, requires that food manufacturers list soy on the label, because it’s one of the top eight food allergens.
So, even if soy is hidden in colors, flavors, or spice blends added to foods, it must be clearly stated on the label.
One other common source of soy is lecithin which is used as a emulsifier in many foods and supplements. Most lecithin in the US is derived from soy but there are some newer products that extract it from organic sunflower. We switched over to the organic sunflower lecithin a few years ago in all of our products.
Ready-to-eat meat products recalled
Wed Jul 21, 2010
By The Canadian Press
OTTAWA - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Dats Deli Europeen of Montreal has expanded a warning not to eat some ready-to-eat sliced meat products.
The products, which include smoked meat, smoked turkey breast, pepperoni and roast pork, may be contaminated with Listeria.
The affected products have best before dates up to and including August 10, 2010, and are being voluntarily recalled.
The ready-to-eat meats are sold in various sizes and bear the establishment number 155.
The products have been distributed in British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec and Ontario, but there have been no reported illnesses associated with them.
On Tuesday, the CFIA and Dats Deli Europeen issued the initial recall for a smaller list of products sold in Quebec and Ontario.
Some Fresh Express salads recalled
Wed Jul 14, 2010
PRINCE.EDWARD.ISLAND (CBC) - Canadians should not eat some romaine-based lettuce products that might be contaminated with E. coli, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says.
Wednesday's alert is in response to a recall of some Fresh Express brands by the manufacturer, Fresh Express Inc. of Salinas, Calif.
The affected brands have best before dates of July 8 through July 12 and an "S" in the product code.
The use-by date is found in the upper right hand corner of the package. The product code is immediately underneath.
These products have been distributed in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, and may have been distributed nationally.
There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these salads in Canada, the agency said.
Food contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 might not look or smell spoiled, but the bacteria can trigger serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses.
Symptoms include severe abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea.
In most cases, symptoms clear up on their own within five to 10 days. Taking antibiotics is not recommended.
But in a small number of cases, E. coli contamination can lead to a life-threatening condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, which kills three to five per cent of people suffering from it.
Some people who recover still have to contend with lifelong complications that can include blindness, paralysis and kidney failure.
Research links pesticides with ADHD in kids
By The Associated Press
Monday, May 17th, 2010
A new analysis of U.S. health data links children's attention-deficit disorder with exposure to common pesticides used on fruits and vegetables.
While the study couldn't prove that pesticides used in agriculture contribute to childhood learning problems, experts said the research is persuasive.
"I would take it quite seriously," said Virginia Rauh of Columbia University, who has studied prenatal exposure to pesticides and wasn't involved in the new study.
More research will be needed to confirm the tie, she said.
Children may be especially prone to the health risks of pesticides because they're still growing and they may consume more pesticide residue than adults relative to their body weight.
In the body, pesticides break down into compounds that can be measured in urine. Almost universally, the study found detectable levels: The compounds turned up in the urine of 94 percent of the children.
The kids with higher levels had increased chances of having ADHD, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, a common problem that causes students to have trouble in school. The findings were published Monday in Pediatrics.
The children may have eaten food treated with pesticides, breathed it in the air or swallowed it in their drinking water. The study didn't determine how they were exposed. Experts said it's likely children who don't live near farms are exposed through what they eat.
"Exposure is practically ubiquitous. We're all exposed," said lead author Maryse Bouchard of the University of Montreal.
She said people can limit their exposure by eating organic produce. Frozen blueberries, strawberries and celery had more pesticide residue than other foods in one government report.
A 2008 Emory University study found that in children who switched to organically grown fruits and vegetables, urine levels of pesticide compounds dropped to undetectable or close to undetectable levels.
Because of known dangers of pesticides in humans, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limits how much residue can stay on food. But the new study shows it's possible even tiny, allowable amounts of pesticide may affect brain chemistry, Rauh said.
The exact causes behind the children's reported ADHD though are unclear. Any number of factors could have caused the symptoms and the link with pesticides could be by chance.
The new findings are based on one-time urine samples in 1,139 children and interviews with their parents to determine which children had ADHD. The children, ages 8 to 15, took part in a government health survey in 2000-2004.
As reported by their parents, about 150 children in the study either showed the severe inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity characteristic of ADHD, or were taking drugs to treat it.
The study dealt with one common type of pesticide called organophosphates. Levels of six pesticide compounds were measured. For the most frequent compound detected, 20 percent of the children with above-average levels had ADHD. In children with no detectable amount in their urine, 10 percent had ADHD.
"This is a well conducted study," said Dr. Lynn Goldman of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a former EPA administrator.
Relying on one urine sample for each child, instead of multiple samples over time, wasn't ideal, Goldman said.
The study provides more evidence that the government should encourage farmers to switch to organic methods, said Margaret Reeves, senior scientist with the Pesticide Action Network, an advocacy group that's been working to end the use of many pesticides.
"It's unpardonable to allow this exposure to continue," Reeves said.
Tell The FDA That Cherries—And Now Walnuts—Are NOT Illegal Drugs!
April 13, 2010
Has the FDA lost its mind–again?
In the latest volley of the US Food and Drug Administration’s bizarre war on scientific freedom of speech, the FDA has sent a Warning Letter to the president and CEO of Diamond Foods stating that the firm’s packages of shelled walnuts are “in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.”
Why? As Bill Faloon, co-founder of the Life Extension Foundation, explains in a powerful new investigative article, Diamond Foods, a processor and distributor of nuts, dared to list some of the health benefits of walnuts on its website. The FDA says that the walnuts are being “promoted for conditions that cause them to be drugs because these products are intended for use in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of disease.”
In other words, if you say that a food is healthy and may help protect against heart disease, or ease arthritis or inflammation, your words have magically changed that food into a drug, and that’s illegal.
Life Extension magazine has published no fewer than fifty-seven articles that describe the health benefits of walnuts, each article supported with copious scientific references. Yet the FDA says the walnuts “are not generally recognized as safe and effective,” that the manufacturer’s “unauthorized health claims” have caused the walnuts to become “misbranded,” which makes them subject to government “seizure or injunction”!
What Science Says about Walnuts
As Bill Faloon notes (with every statement carefully supported by scientific journals and publications):
There is a sharply reduced incidence of heart disease in those who consume walnuts.
Walnuts provide a unique blend of polyunsaturated fatty acids (including omega-3s), along with nutrients like gamma tocopherol that have demonstrated heart health benefits.
Even moderate consumption of walnuts offers significant reductions in dangerous LDL cholesterol and improvement in the lipoprotein profile.
Walnuts protect against coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis because they contain key nutrients like arginine, polyphenols, and omega-3 fatty acids.
The National Library of Medicine database contains no fewer than thirty-five peer-reviewed published papers supporting a claim that ingesting walnuts improves vascular health and may reduce heart attack risk—yet the FDA, the federal agency responsible for protecting the health of the American public, would apparently rather support pharmaceutical manufacturers’ rights. Imagine what would happen to drug profits if everyone ate walnuts for heart health instead of taking expensive medications!
As Bill Faloon says, the verbiage in the FDA’s Warning Letter to the walnut manufacturer “makes it clear that the FDA does not even consider the underlying science when censoring truthful non-misleading health claims.”
Moreover, Faloon continues, “FDA has issued waves of warning letters to companies making foods (pomegranate juice, green tea, and walnuts) that protect against atherosclerosis. The FDA is blatantly demanding that these companies stop informing the public about the scientifically validated health benefits these foods provide.”
These latest FDA outrages are on top of an earlier attack on cherry growers. In that case, the cherry growers cited excellent scientific research from places like Harvard indicating that cherries reduce inflammation and pain. The FDA sent an injunction letter threatening the usual legal penalties—including jail—if this truthful dissemination of scientific research did not stop immediately.
What is the FDA thinking? Why is it blatantly disregarding its own mission of educating the public and promoting health? Why is it acting like an ignorant bully?
Potato Chips . . . as Health Food?
Faloon points to Frito-Lay, a subsidiary of the food and softdrink giant PepsiCo, makers of Pepsi-Cola®, as an example of the strange double standard the FDA seems to be applying. Frito-Lay sells $12 billion a year of products that include Lays® Potato Chips, Doritos®, Tostitos®, Cheetos®, and Fritos®.
You might not associate these mostly deep fried snack foods as being good for you, but as Faloon mentions, the FDA has no problem allowing the Frito-Lay website to state the following:
Frito-Lay snacks start with real farm-grown ingredients. You might be surprised at how much good stuff goes into your favorite snack. Good stuff like potatoes, which naturally contain vitamin C and essential minerals. Or corn, one of the world’s most popular grains, packed with Thiamin, vitamin B6, and Phosphorous—all necessary for healthy bones, teeth, nerves and muscles.
And it’s not just the obvious ingredients. Our all-natural sunflower, corn and soybean oils contain good polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which help lower total and LDL “bad” cholesterol and maintain HDL “good” cholesterol levels, which can support a healthy heart. Even salt, when eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet, is essential for the body.
In other words, Frito-Lay can make health claims about its processed fried foods, in opposition to real scientific research, with no repercussions whatsoever, but Diamond can’t make scientifically substantiated claims about shelled walnuts, a health superfood. As Faloon notes:
“For the FDA to allow Frito-Lay to pretend there are heart benefits to ingesting their high-calorie snack products, while censoring the ability of walnut companies to make scientifically substantiated claims, is tantamount to treason against the health of the American public. The simple fact is that walnuts are healthy to eat, while carbohydrates fried in fat are not. FDA permits companies selling disease-promoting foods to deceive the public, while it suppresses the dissemination of peer-reviewed published scientific information.”
Men remain oblivious to cancer risk of processed meat
Saturday, May 01, 2010 by: David Gutierrez
(NaturalNews) Men eat much more processed meat than women and are less likely to know that processed meat consumption has been linked to bowel (colorectal) cancer, according to a poll conducted for the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).
"The evidence that eating processed meat increases bowel cancer risk is convincing and this is why we recommend people avoid eating it," said the WCRF's Rachel Thompson. "But despite the strength of the evidence, awareness levels are low and this seems to especially be the case in men. This is a concern because, as men eat roughly double the amount of processed meat as women do, they could make a bigger difference to their cancer risk by cutting down."
The researchers found that men in the United Kingdom eat approximately 50 grams (1.8 ounces) of processed meats such as bacon, ham, salami and sausage per day. In contrast, British women eat only 24 grams of processed meat per day.
Research suggests that eating 50 grams of processed meat per day -- roughly equivalent to two slices of bacon -- increases a person's risk of bowel cancer by 20 percent. Yet the WCRF poll of 2,000 adults found that only 41 percent of women and 36 percent of men were aware of this risk. Only 63 percent of respondents knew that a poor diet can increase the risk of cancer, and only 60 percent knew that being overweight also increases cancer risk.
Researchers believe that one in ten cases of bowel cancer could be averted if everyone kept their consumption to less than 70 grams per week.
"It is important to emphasize that while we recommend avoiding processed meat, this is not a question of all or nothing," Thompson said. "If you do not want to give up processed meat altogether, you can still make a real difference to your cancer risk by cutting down from, for example, having a bacon sandwich every day to only having one a couple of times a week."
'Growing concern' over marketing tainted beef
By Peter Eisler, USA TODAY
15 April 2010
WASHINGTON — Beef containing harmful pesticides, veterinary antibiotics and heavy metals is being sold to the public because federal agencies have failed to set limits for the contaminants or adequately test for them, a federal audit finds.
A program set up to test beef for chemical residues "is not accomplishing its mission of monitoring the food supply for … dangerous substances, which has resulted in meat with these substances being distributed in commerce," says the audit by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General.
The health effects on people who eat such meat are a "growing concern," the audit adds.
The testing program for cattle is run by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which also tests meat for such pathogens as salmonella and certain dangerous strains of E. coli. But the residue program relies on assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency, which sets tolerance levels for human exposure to pesticides and other pollutants, and the Food and Drug Administration, which does the same for antibiotics and other medicines.
DOCUMENTS: Read the audit report
Limits have not been set by the EPA and FDA "for many potentially harmful substances, which can impair FSIS' enforcement activities," the audit found.
The FSIS said in a written statement that the agency has agreed with the inspector general on "corrective actions" and will work with the FDA and EPA "to prevent residues or contaminants from entering into commerce."
Even when the inspection service does identify a lot of beef with high levels of pesticide or antibiotics, it often is powerless to stop the distribution of that meat because there is no legal limit for those contaminants.
In 2008, for example, Mexican authorities rejected a U.S. beef shipment because its copper levels exceeded Mexican standards, the audit says. But because there is no U.S. limit, the FSIS had no grounds for blocking the beef's producer from reselling the rejected meat in the United States.
"It's unacceptable. These are substances that can have a real impact on public health," says Tony Corbo, a lobbyist for Food and Water Watch, a public interest group. "This administration is making a big deal about promoting exports, and you have Mexico rejecting our beef because of excessive residue levels. It's pretty embarrassing."
Some contamination is inadvertent, such as pesticide residues in cows that drink water fouled by crop runoff. Other contaminants, such as antibiotics, often are linked to the use of those chemicals in farming. For example, the audit says, veal calves often have higher levels of antibiotic residue because ranchers feed them milk from cows treated with the drugs. Overuse of the antibiotics help create antibiotic-resistant strains of diseases.
"Beef farmers and ranchers pride themselves on producing a safe and wholesome product, and anything less is unacceptable," says Meghan Pusey, a spokeswoman for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. "We remain committed to working with industry and government partners to eliminate rare safety incidences from a meat supply that is extraordinarily safe by any nation's standards."
Others say legislative action is needed, especially to curb problems with antibiotic residues.
The audit "shows clearly the need for quick action by Congress to place some reasonable limits on the use of antibiotics in farm animals," says Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., who has more than 100 co-sponsors on her bill to ban seven types of antibiotics from being used indiscriminately in animal feed. "If we don't remedy this problem, who knows what kind of havoc these residues will have on our bodies."
Surface Disinfectants are Ineffective In Eliminating Viruses
Posted by Dr. Mercola
April 06 2010
Some 40 percent of commercial disinfectants used to clean surfaces are believed to be ineffective in eliminating noroviruses, a group of viruses responsible for more than half of all food-borne gastroenteritis outbreaks.
According to a recent study, only bleach-based disinfectants drastically reduce the concentration of these viruses.
Noroviruses spread directly via contact with infected persons or indirectly through contaminated objects, foods, or surfaces.
The effectiveness of disinfectants used to clean surfaces at home or at businesses in the food sector is therefore crucial for limiting the spread of these viruses, which affect over 21 million people every year in the United States alone.
Researchers tested the efficacy of three major categories of household disinfectants: bleach-based products, alcohol-based products, and quaternary ammonium–based products. Lab tests showed that five minutes of contact with a bleach-based disinfectant reduced the concentration of noroviruses on a stainless steel surface by a factor of 1,000. Alcohol- and quaternary ammonium-based products were 100 times less effective.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
About 40 percent of disinfectants on the commercial market are alcohol- or ammonium-based, and this new study has found that these cleaners are virtually ineffective at eliminating noroviruses -- a group of viruses that sicken over 21 million people in the United States each year with “stomach flu” or food poisoning.
This has major implications for restaurants and other public settings, as well as in your own home, where these disinfectants are being used under the false guise that they help prevent the spread of these viruses.
If you’ve been spritzing these disinfectants around your home, you’ve been exposing yourself and your family to these noxious chemicals for essentially nothing!
From an effectiveness standpoint alone, the bleach-based cleaners were 100 times more effective … but all chemical disinfectants are a lose-lose situation when it comes to your health.
Why You Don’t Need Chemical Disinfectants in Your Home
Disinfectants are indeed a necessity in the operating room and in hospitals. But they’re also a classic example of a good thing gone bad. Nowadays many people go on cleaning frenzies in their own homes, using disinfectants on their kitchen countertops, bathrooms, floors and even in their laundry.
But while disinfectant soap may be a good idea before surgery, there’s no need to use it every time you wash your kitchen counters.
One of the major problems with these cleaners, as this latest study has pointed out, occurs when they don’t completely eliminate bacteria or viruses.
When disinfectants are used in low levels, researchers have found that they actually make certain bacteria stronger and resistant to antibiotic treatment. This is true even in hospital settings, and certainly applies to the low-level disinfectants many use around their homes.
While building up antibiotic-resistance and thereby contributing to the creation of superbugs, chemical disinfectants disrupt the balance of bacteria, both good and bad, in your home, making it much easier for the bad bacteria to flourish.
Meanwhile, the chemicals themselves are toxic in their own right.
Cleaning Your Home with Toxic Chemicals?
The invention of chemical disinfectants is credited to Joseph Lister, an English surgeon who, back in the late 19th century, used carbolic acid to soak surgical dressings. To this day, Lister’s carbolic acid, now known as phenol, is a common main ingredient in household detergents like Lysol, Pine-Sol and Spic-n-Span (it’s also found in mouthwash).
As you’re “cleaning” your home with these products, you’re also exposing your family to their harmful properties. Phenol is toxic and people who are hypersensitive can experience serious side effects at very low levels. Studies have linked phenols to:
Damage to your respiratory and circulatory systems
Heart damage
Respiratory problems
Damage to your liver, kidneys and eyes
Nonyl phenol ethoxylate, a common ingredient in laundry detergents and all-purpose cleaners, is banned in Europe, and biodegrades slowly into even more toxic compounds
Beyond phenol, other chemicals found in household disinfectants include:
Formaldehyde, found in spray and wick deodorizers, which is a suspected carcinogen
Petroleum solvents in floor cleaners may damage mucous membranes
Butyl cellosolve, found in many all-purpose and window cleaners, may damage your kidneys, bone marrow, liver and nervous system
Triclosan, the active ingredient in most antibacterial products, not only kills bacteria, it also has been shown to kill human cells
Meanwhile, there is such a thing as being “too clean.” If a child is raised in an environment doused in disinfectant soaps and cleansers, they may not able to build up resistance to disease through normal exposures to dirt and germs.
This theory, known as the hygiene hypothesis, is likely one reason why many allergies and immune-system diseases have doubled, tripled or even quadrupled in the last few decades.
Your Immune System is what Ultimately Protects You
Germs, bacteria and viruses are literally everywhere and you’ve got them on your body right now. If you’re at a computer reading this, there are likely many germs on your computer mouse, keyboard and desk. The point is, you can’t run from germs and there’s really no need to, especially when your immune system is healthy.
A strong immune system is the best defense against any pathogenic bacteria you come across, and will serve you well if you nourish it with the proper tools.
In other words, infectious agents only serve as triggers to cause illness; what is required or responsible for the actual infection is a dysfunctional immune system.
If you require more information you can read my article on how to keep your immune system in top working order.
Simple and Effective Natural Cleaning Alternatives
I strongly encourage you to think about ditching all of your chemical disinfectants, including your antibacterial soaps, laundry detergents and bath and kitchen cleansers, in favor of more natural alternatives.
Because no study has shown that a vigorous program of home disinfection leads to a reduction of illness in a family. Yet, studies have shown that disinfectants can cause you and your family harm.
For those times when you need to do a bit of cleansing, one of the best non-toxic disinfectants is simple soap and water. You can use this for washing your hands, your body and for other household cleansing. Another all-purpose cleanser that works great for kitchen counters, cutting boards and bathrooms is 3% hydrogen peroxide and vinegar.
Simply put each liquid into a separate spray bottle, then spray the surface with one, followed by the other.
You can actually keep your home very fresh and clean by making your own natural cleaning products using items you probably already have around your home. Some more tips for making simple and effective all-natural cleansers:
Use baking soda mixed with apple cider vinegar to clean drains and bathtubs, or sprinkle baking soda along with a few drops of lavender oil or tea tree oil (which have antibacterial qualities) as a simple scrub for your bathroom or kitchen.
Vinegar can be used to clean almost anything in your home. Try it mixed with liquid castile soap, essential oils and water to clean floors, windows, bathrooms and kitchens. It can even be used as a natural fabric softener.
Hydrogen peroxide is another natural disinfectant that is safer to use than chlorine bleach for disinfecting and whitening.
Vodka is a disinfectant that can remove red wine stains, kill wasps and bees and refresh upholstery (put it into a mister and simply spray on the fabric).
The benefits to using these natural ingredients are many; your home will be clean and fresh smelling without exposing your family to toxins … plus, making your own cleansers is much less expensive than purchasing most toxic commercial varieties.
7 Drugs That Can Kill Children with a Single Pill
Posted by Dr. Mercola
April 06 2010
Even parents who keep medicines out of their children's reach are at risk of an emergency.
The Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America notes that in 50 percent of all childhood accidental poisonings, the medication bottle was only "out" for a short amount of time as it was being used.
Here are some of the more common medicines that can lead to emergencies when accidentally ingested by kids:
Heart Pills -- In children, they can cause dangerously low blood pressure and heart rate, and even lead to shock.
Muscle Rubs -- Camphor is especially dangerous because ingesting it works so quickly; symptoms occur within 10-20 minutes, and often children can go into seizures without any warning.
Prescription Pain Medications -- For an infant, even half a tablet of hydrocodone can be lethal.
Aspirin and Oil of Wintergreen -- Oil of wintergreen is particularly hazardous because its pleasant smell tempts toddlers to ingest it, but one teaspoon of oil of wintergreen is the equivalent of nearly 90 baby aspirins -- a life-threatening dose for a toddler or child.
Antidepressants -- After pain medications, antidepressants are the second highest cause of accidental death from poisoning in children younger than 6.
Blood Pressure Patches, Eye Drops, and Nasal Sprays -- These medications, designed to be absorbed over time through your skin, can lead to serious consequences when ingested by a toddler. As little as 6 ml can lead to a coma.
Diabetes Drugs -- As these medications are more commonly prescribed, the incidence of pediatric poisonings has also increased, with over 2,500 occurrences in the United States in 2001.
ABC News March 18, 2010
Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice March 2010
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
It is no mystery to most of you reading this that the reliance on drugs to treat disease symptoms is a choice that results in hundreds of thousands of premature deaths every year in the U.S. alone and causes needless pain and suffering in millions of others.
One of the uncommonly appreciated side effects of this approach are the results of accidental use of these dangerous drugs.
A young child can grab a pill off the floor and swallow it in the blink of an eye. Tragically, that is often all it takes to cause life-threatening, and sometimes fatal, reactions in their small bodies.
There were nearly 2.5 million calls involving human exposure to poisons made in 2008, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System 26th Annual Report. Of them, half involved children younger than 6, and nearly 39 percent involved exposures to children younger than 3 years.
Because medications are so common, a child can be exposed not only at home when a parent takes a bottle out of the medicine cabinet, but also just about anywhere a pill can fall out of someone’s pocket. This is why it’s so important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a medication poisoning.
What are the Signs Your Child Has Ingested a Potentially Lethal Medication?
If you see your child ingest a pill or medication of any kind, don’t wait to take action. Your child may appear fine at first, but deadly side effects can appear hours later when it’s too late.
So, if you’re in the United States, call 911 or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 if you even suspect your child has eaten an adult (or unknown) medication. If you’re in another country, contact emergency help immediately.
Likewise, if your child is displaying any of the poisoning symptoms below, you should call for help immediately.
Low blood pressure or heart rate
Unusual sleepiness
Nausea or vomiting
Most of you reading this are probably well aware of the importance of keeping all medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter, pill form or liquid, out of the reach of children. If you take any of the seven medications listed above, it is especially important to keep them away from your children at all times, because even a single pill can be deadly.
In addition to keeping these items in a cabinet out of children’s reach, there are simple child-safety locks that can be installed on cabinets to keep little hands out … and these devices can literally be lifesaving.
If you have to use drugs for any reason and have children who live with or visit you, it is also absolutely imperative NOT to remove the child-proof caps, and to be very careful not to drop any pills on the floor (at home or when you’re visiting a friend or in a public place).
Even eye drops and vapor rubs can quickly lead to seizures, lethargy, coma and death in toddlers, so please don’t take any chances.
Even Medications Made for Children Can be Harmful
Along with making sure your children do not accidentally ingest any lethal medications, you need to be very cautious with the drugs you intentionally give your children as well.
Just because a medication is easy to obtain over-the-counter (OTC) or is prescribed to you by a doctor doesn’t mean it’s harmless -- especially to young children.
In 2004 and 2005, adverse drug events were the third leading cause of nonfatal injuries among infants treated in hospital emergency departments. They were also the sixth leading cause of nonfatal injuries among children 1 to 4 years old.
Further, as often as drugs are administered to infants and young children, it’s easy to forget that 75 percent of all prescription drugs do NOT have labeling instructions for children, leaving their use in children up to your doctor’s discretion.
So using these drugs on kids is like throwing darts in the dark. It’s pure guesswork.
Throwing Darts in the Dark …
Since information on how to prescribe medications to children is so scarce, doctors often rely on the flawed assumption that children are simply smaller versions of adults.
In reality, however, drugs act much differently in children. For instance, children may process drugs more quickly than adults do, and because children are still developing, drugs could stunt physical growth or impair emotional and cognitive development.
Among the limited number of drugs that have been tested for pediatric safety and effectiveness, it has been found that:
One-fifth of drugs that work in adults are ineffective in children
One-fifth of the drugs were being prescribed at the wrong dosage
One-third of the drugs caused unexpected side effects, some of which were potentially fatal
A classic example of the dangers surrounding medications for kids was highlighted recently concerning children’s over-the-counter cold medicines.
These drugs were over prescribed to well-intentioned parents looking to soothe their children, despite the fact that there was very little evidence that they worked. Instead, there was growing evidence that many of these drugs were fraught with side effects.
Please realize that nearly all of the problems for which kids are given drugs can be resolved using natural approaches. If you have a specific challenge, such as ADHD, allergies or obesity, that you’d like to address using safe, drug-free methods, please use the search feature at the top right of this page to get the answers you’re looking for.
Other Common Poisons to Watch Out For
Medications are a common poison for kids, but they’re not the only one. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, the most common poisons for children are:
Cosmetics such as perfume or nail polish, and personal care products such as deodorant and soap.
Cleaning products (laundry detergent, floor cleaners, etc.).
Pain medicines (analgesics) such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Foreign bodies and toys including silica gel packages to remove moisture in packaging and glow products.
Topical preparations such as diaper rash products, hydrogen peroxide, acne preparations, or calamine lotion.
If you switch your home over to natural and safe cosmetics, personal care products and cleaning supplies, you can drastically cut down on your child’s risk of poisoning from such products.
However, even some “natural” products can be dangerous to kids. For instance, you need to be very careful with any supplements you take that contain iron. Iron overdose is a leading cause of poisoning deaths in children under 6, so keep any such supplements safely out of children’s reach.
Toothpaste that contains fluoride can also be very toxic, even if it’s marketed for children. Although I recommend ditching fluoride toothpaste for a number of reasons, it’s important to be aware that if your child swallows a large amount of fluoride-containing toothpaste, you need to call for emergency help immediately.
Shocking! This 'Tequila' Sweetener is Far Worse than High Fructose Corn Syrup
Posted by Dr. Mercola
March 30 2010
Many people interested in staying healthy have switched to agave as a safer "natural" sweetener. They want to avoid well documented dangerous sweeteners like HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) but are unaware that agave is actually WORSE than HFCS.
So just what is agave?
Blue agave is an exotic plant growing in the rich volcanic soil of Mexico under a hot tropical sun, boasting a stately flower stem that blooms only once in its lifetime. "Agave" literally means "noble." It’s generally recognized as a superstar of the herbal remedy world, claiming to offer relief for indigestion, bowel irregularity, and skin wounds.
Ferment it, and you have Mexico’s favorite adult beverage -- tequila.
Just the name "agave" conjures up images of romantic tropical excursions and mysterious shamanic medicine.
These are the mental images agave "nectar" sellers want you to hold. They use agave’s royal pedigree to cover the truth that what they’re selling you is a bottle of high-fructose syrup, so highly processed and refined that it bears NO resemblance to the plant of its namesake.
What is the "Real" Truth about Agave?
If you knew the truth about what’s really in it, you’d be dumping it down the drain -- and that would certainly be bad for sales.
Agave "nectar" or agave "syrup" is nothing more than a laboratory-generated super-condensed fructose syrup, devoid of virtually all nutrient value, offering you metabolic misfortune.
Unfortunately, masterful marketing has resulted in the astronomical popularity of agave syrup among people who believe they are doing their health a favor by avoiding refined sugars like high fructose corn syrup, and dangerous artificial sweeteners. And if you’re diabetic, you’ve been especially targeted and told this is simply the best thing for you since locally grown organic lettuce, that it’s "diabetic friendly," has a "low glycemic index" and doesn’t spike your blood sugar.
While agave syrup does have a low-glycemic index, so does antifreeze -- that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Agave syrup has the highest fructose content of any commercial sweetener -- ranging from 70 to 97 percent, depending on the brand, which is FAR HIGHER than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which averages 55 percent.
This makes agave actually WORSE than HFCS.
It is important to understand that fructose does not increase insulin levels, which is not necessarily good as what it does do is radically increase insulin resistance, which is FAR more dangerous. You see, it’s okay for your insulin levels to rise, that is normal. You just don’t want these insulin levels to remain elevated, which is what insulin resistance causes.
That is why fasting insulin is such a powerful test, as it is a very powerful reflection of your insulin resistance.
In addition to insulin resistance, your risk of liver damage increases, along with triglycerides and a whole host of other health problems, as discussed in this CBC News video about the newly discovered dangers of high fructose corn syrup. The study discussed in this news report is about HFCS, however, it's well worth remembering that agave contains MORE fructose than HFCS, and in all likelihood, it's the FRUCTOSE that is causing these severe liver problems.
How Agave is Grown and Produced Proves it is Unnatural
Agaves grow primarily in Mexico, but you can also find them in the southern and western United States, as well as in South America. Agaves are not cacti, but succulents of the yucca family, more closely related to amaryllis and other lilies. Edible parts of the agave are the flowers, leaves, stalks and the sap.
A mature agave is 7 to 12 feet in diameter with leaves that are 5 to 8 feet tall -- an impressive plant in stature, to be sure. There are over 100 species of agave, in a wide variety of sizes and colors.
Although the industry wants you to believe that agave nectar runs straight from the plant and into your jar, nothing could not be farther from the truth.
In spite of manufacturer’s claims, agave "nectar" is not made from the sap of the yucca or agave plant but from the starch of its pineapple-like root bulb. The root is comprised mainly of starch, similar to corn, and a complex carbohydrate called inulin, which is made up of fructose molecules.
The process by which agave starch and inulin are converted into "nectar" is VERY similar to the process by which cornstarch is converted into HFCS1.
The agave starch is converted into fructose-rich syrup using genetically modified enzymes and a chemically intensive process involving caustic acids, clarifiers, and filtration chemicals[ii]. Here is a partial list of the chemicals involved:
Activated charcoal
Cationic and ionic resins
Sulfuric and/or hydrofluoric acid
Inulin enzymes
How natural does this sound?
The result is highly refined fructose syrup, along with some remaining inulin.
Agave syrup comes in two colors: clear or light, and amber. What’s the difference?
Due to poor quality control in Mexican processing plants, some of the syrup gets burnt. Hence, the darker amber color. Of course, this poor quality control is marketed as an "artisan" variation, like amber beer, when in fact it contains higher levels of toxic impurities that arise from the sugar-heating process.
Impurities aside, agave "nectar" is neither safe nor natural with laboratory-generated fructose levels of more than 80 percent!
It is worth mentioning that some websites mention that a natural raw agave product does exist in Mexico, made from the actual sap of the agave, but availability is limited because it is so expensive to produce. By far, the vast majority of agave syrups offered commercially are not this unprocessed raw agave from the sap.
Sales are Sweet for Agave Companies and Bad for You and Your Family
Growing consumer resistance to HFCS has been a hole-in-one for the agave industry. Need a healthy alternative to those evil HFS products?
Agave syrup to the rescue!
In case you doubt the influence of marketing in setting trends and consumer buying habits, look at these statistics:
New agave products more than tripled in number between 2003 and 2007, from 56 to 176. Agave syrup is now appearing in products such as energy bars, cereals and organic ice creams.
Revenues for the category "other liquid sweeteners," which includes agave, rose to more than $10.3 million in 2007, which was a 50 percent jump from 2006.
McCormick & Co., a major food manufacturer, placed agave syrup in its "top 10 flavors" list for 2009.
Two of Mexico’s largest agave syrup manufacturers, Iidea and Nekutli, are sending increasingly large shipments of agave syrup to Germany, Japan and New Zealand due to growing global popularity.
Agave is also quickly crossing over from the health food market to mainstream grocery chains, restaurants and taverns, and consumers (especially vegans and raw food enthusiasts) are replacing their honey and maple syrup with bottles of agave after being duped into believing it’s a more healthful alternative.
The Myth of Agave as a "Healthy" Sugar Substitute
It’s important for you and your family’s health to remember that agave syrup is neither healthy nor natural.
As reported by Dr. Ingrid Kohlstadt, a fellow of the American College of Nutrition and an associate faculty member at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health:
"Agave is almost all fructose, a highly processed sugar with great marketing."
Agave syrup is not low calorie -- it has about 16 calories per teaspoon, the same as sucrose (table sugar). The glycemic index is immaterial, once you understand the full extent of the risk this product poses to your health.
The consumption of high amounts of sugar is what is inflating America’s waistline, as well as escalating rates of diabetes, blood pressure and heart disease.
Although overall sugar consumption is definitely something to be concerned about, even more problematic is one type of sugar that wreaks extraordinary havoc on your body: FRUCTOSE.
And if you want fructose, agave products next to pure fructose, have the highest percentage of fructose of any sweeteners on the market, over 50 percent more fructose than high fructose corn syrup.
Why You Need to Understand Why Fructose is so Important
All sugars are not created equal, in spite of what you might have been told.
Glucose is the form of energy your cells were actually designed to run on. Every cell in your body, every bacterium -- and in fact, nearly every living thing on the Earth -- uses glucose for energy.
But as a country, regular cane sugar, or sucrose (50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose), is no longer the sugar of choice. It’s now fructose.
This happened in the 1970s as a result of technology that made HFCS far less expensive to produce. Believe me, it was NOT done for its health benefits. This was purely an economic decision.
Let me clear up any confusion here, as fructose is the primary sugar in most fruits. It isn’t that fructose is intrinsically evil -- it is just the MASSIVE DOSES you and your family are exposed to that makes it dangerous. Because it is so cheap and makes foods taste so much better, it is added to virtually every processed food.
There are two overall reasons fructose is so damaging:
Your body metabolizes fructose in a much different way than glucose. Fructose is broken down in your liver just like alcohol and produces many of the side effects of chronic alcohol use, right down to the "beer belly"
People are consuming fructose in quantities that are 400-800 percent higher than they were 100 years ago due to its pervasive presence in just about all processed foods
Fructose Turns to Fat and Makes You Fat!
Unlike fructose which is nearly exclusively broken down in your liver and is directly converted to dangerous fats. This is one of the reasons why fructose is the leading cause of obesity. However, only 20 percent of glucose is metabolized in your liver. This is related to the fact that nearly every cell in your body can directly use glucose as a fuel source, so it’s normally "burned up" immediately after consumption.
It is also important to understand that the fructose in fruits and vegetables is not the same fructose molecule you’ll find in synthetic high-fructose corn syrup, which is manufactured in the lab. Naturally occurring fructose comes along with fiber, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, whereas fructose sweeteners have no nutritional value at all.
Additionally it is actually attached to other sugars and molecules and needs to be broken down before it is absorbed which limits the damage it causes. In HFCS it is a free fructose molecule, just as the glucose. Because these sugars are in their free forms their absorption is radically increased and you actually absorb far more of them had they been in their natural joined state which would cause a higher percentage of the fructose to pass to the intestine unabsorbed.
But the menace of fructose doesn’t stop there.
Fructose also elevates your uric acid levels, which is actually more dangerous than elevated cholesterol levels as it causes chronic, low-level inflammation, which increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, arthritis and premature aging.
Fructose also "tricks" your body into gaining weight by fooling your metabolism -- it actually severely impairs your body’s normal appetite-control systems.
Excessive fructose rapidly leads to weight gain and abdominal obesity ("beer belly"), decreased HDL, increased LDL, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure -- i.e., classic metabolic syndrome.
Fructose metabolism is very similar to alcohol metabolism, which has a multitude of toxic effects, including NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). Metabolically it’s very similar to drinking alcohol without the buzz.
Remember to RADICALLY Reduce Your Fructose
These biological changes are not seen when humans or animals eat starch (or glucose), suggesting that fructose is a "bad carbohydrate" when consumed in excess of 25 grams per day.
However, it is important to remember that because fructose is so cheap it is added to nearly all processed foods. So even if you are seeking to eliminate it from your diet you will EASILY exceed 25 grams per day because it is "hidden" in so many foods. This is made worse by the deceptive and lax labeling laws which frequently allow gigantic loopholes for agribusiness to include it in the product and not identify it.
Making matters worse, your body easily becomes sensitized to fructose.
Fructose activates its own pathways in your body—those metabolic pathways become "upregulated." In other words, the more fructose you eat, the more effective your body is in absorbing it; and the more you absorb, the more damage you’ll do.
You become "sensitized" to fructosr as time goes by, and more sensitive to its toxic effects as well.
Let me be clear that it isn’t fructose that is the problem -- but excessive fructose. And especially the concentrated amounts of fructose that your body was NEVER designed to process, such as what’s in HFCS and agave syrup.
Agave nectar is EVEN WORSE than HFCS because it’s even higher in fructose than HFCS (80 percent and higher), making it an even worse metabolic menace.
Other Reasons You Should Steer Clear of Agave
Poor Quality Control. There are very few quality controls in place to monitor the production of agave syrup. Nearly all agave sold in the U.S. comes from Mexico. Industry insiders are concerned that agave producers are using lesser, even toxic, agave plants due to a shortage of blue agave.
Pesticides. There are also concerns that some distributors are cutting agave syrup with corn syrup -- how often and to what extent is anyone’s guess. In addition, the FDA has refused shipments of agave syrup due to excessive pesticide residues.
Saponins. Agave is known to contain large amounts of saponins. Saponins are toxic steroid derivatives, capable of disrupting red blood cells and producing diarrhea and vomiting. There is also a possible link between saponins and miscarriage by stimulating blood flow to the uterus, so if you’re pregnant, you should definitely avoid agave products.
Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). Some agave syrups contain a contaminant called hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF, also called 5-hydroxymethyl furfural), an organic heat-formed compound that arises in the processing of fructose -- in both agave syrup and HFCS. HMF has potential toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic effects[iv]. HMF is EXTREMELY toxic to honey bees, which is a problem since commercial beekeepers feed HFCS to the bees to stimulate honey production when field-gathered nectar sources are scarce[v].
Nutrient Void. Agave syrup is not a whole food -- it is fractionated and processed, devoid of the nutrients contained in the original, whole plant.
Enzymes. Agave syrup is not a live food. The natural enzymes are removed to prevent agave syrup from fermenting and turning into tequila in your food pantry or cabinet.
Addictiveness. Agave is, for all intents and purposes, highly concentrated sugar. Sugar and sweeteners wreak havoc on your health and are highly addictive.
What are Acceptable Alternatives to Agave?
If you are craving something sweet, your best bet is to reach for an apple or a pear. And if you give yourself a sugar holiday for even a couple of weeks, you will be amazed at how much those cravings will decrease. But be sure and count the grams of fructose and keep your total fructose from fruit below 15 grams per day as you are sure to consume plenty of "hidden" fructose in the other foods you will be eating.
You can use the table below to help you count your fructose grams.
Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose
Limes 1 medium 0
Boysenberries 1 cup 4.6
Lemons 1 medium 0.6
Tangerine/mandarin orange 1 medium 4.8
Cranberries 1 cup 0.7
Nectarine 1 medium 5.4
Passion fruit 1 medium 0.9
Peach 1 medium 5.9
Prune 1 medium 1.2
Orange (navel) 1 medium 6.1
Apricot 1 medium 1.3
Papaya 1/2 medium 6.3
Guava 2 medium 2.2
Honeydew 1/8 of med. melon 6.7
Date (Deglet Noor style) 1 medium 2.6
Banana 1 medium 7.1
Cantaloupe 1/8 of med. melon 2.8
Blueberries 1 cup 7.4
Raspberries 1 cup 3.0
Date (Medjool) 1 medium 7.7
Clementine 1 medium 3.4
Apple (composite) 1 medium 9.5
Kiwifruit 1 medium 3.4
Persimmon 1 medium 10.6
Blackberries 1 cup 3.5
Watermelon 1/16 med. melon 11.3
Star fruit 1 medium 3.6
Pear 1 medium 11.8
Cherries, sweet 10 3.8
Raisins 1/4 cup 12.3
Strawberries 1 cup 3.8
Grapes, seedless (green or red) 1 cup 12.4
Cherries, sour 1 cup 4.0
Mango 1/2 medium 16.2
Pineapple 1 slice (3.5" x .75") 4.0
Apricots, dried 1 cup 16.4
Grapefruit, pink or red 1/2 medium 4.3
Figs, dried 1 cup 23.0
If you feel you must have a sweetener, here are a few guidelines to follow:
Avoid ALL artificial sweeteners.
Avoid agave like the plague.
Limit sugar of all types as much as possible. You can buy pure glucose (dextrose) as a sweetener for about $1 per pound, which has none of the adverse effects of fructose if used moderately. It is only 70 percent as sweet as sucrose, so you’ll end up using a bit more of it for the same amount of sweetness, making it slightly more expensive than sucrose -- but still well worth it for your health.
Use raw, organic honey in moderation or avoid it completely as it is 70 percent fructose which is higher than HFCS. However the fructose is not in its free from so that moderates the damage. But each teaspoon of honey has nearly four grams of fructose so you will want to carefully add the total grams of fructose (including fruits) and keep them under 15 grams per day.
Use regular stevia in moderation, but avoid stevia-based sweeteners like Truvia and PureVia because they have undergone more processing.
Lo Han is another excellent natural herbal sweetener.
Exercise can be a very powerful tool to help control fructose in a number of ways. If you are going to consume fructose it is BEST to do so immediately before, during or after INTENSE exercise as your body will tend to use it directly as fuel and not convert it to fat Additionally exercise will increase your insulin receptor sensitivity and help modulate the negative effects of fructose. Lastly exercise will also help to blunt your appetite and control your sweet tooth.
If you have insulin issues, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or if you’re overweight, I suggest you avoid all sweeteners, including stevia, since any sweetener can decrease your insulin sensitivity.
Tai Chi Helps People with Arthritis of the Knee
by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Monday, March 08, 2010
(NaturalNews) Tai Chi can reduce pain and improve function in people who suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee, according to a study conducted by researchers from Tufts University and published in the journal Arthritis Care and Research.
Tai Chi is a traditional form of Chinese exercise that involves slow, rhythmic movements. The study was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Researchers conducted the study on 40 people over the age of 55 who were suffering from arthritis of the knee. Half the participants were assigned to either a twice-a-week Tai Chi class, while half were assigned to a twice-a-week general wellness and stretching class. All participants were instructed to repeat their Tai Chi or stretching exercises at home for 20 minutes per day. At the beginning and end of the study, they filled out questionnaires about their pain, mental state, quality of life and other health-related information.
All exercises used in the study were designed to avoid aggravating arthritis of the knee.
After 12 weeks, participants in the Tai Chi group reported a 75 percent reduction in pain and a 72 percent increase in their ability to perform daily tasks, such as climbing stairs. These numbers were significantly higher than those of the control group. Participants in the Tai Chi group also reported significantly less depression and better health than patients in the control group.
Thirty-six weeks after the conclusion of the study, fewer than half of the participants were still doing the exercises they had been assigned. By this time, there was little difference in pain, ability to perform daily tasks, or other health measures between the two groups. People who had been in the Tai Chi group still had significantly lower depression scores than people who had been in the stretching group, however.
Osteoarthritis patients seeking to try Tai Chi should be sure to inform their instructors about their arthritis or other health conditions.
Sources for this story include: www.guardian.co.uk.
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP) recall leaves food consumers wondering: What is this stuff?
by Mike Adams
Monday, March 08, 2010
(NaturalNews) Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP) is one of most common soy-based food "fillers" used to make literally thousands of processed food products. It's found in veggie burgers, gravy mixes, soups and many other grocery products. Last Thursday, one of the largest producers of HVP in the United States, Las Vegas-based Basic Food Flavors Inc., was the subject of an FDA consumer safety warning announcement. Salmonella had been found contaminating the company's HVP production equipment, the FDA said, and a nationwide recall was initiated that now includes products from Trader Joe's, Safeway, McCormick and many other companies.
See the FDA list of recalled products here:
Most Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein isn't purchased directly by consumers; it's used by food production companies as an ingredient in mainstream processed foods. So it shows up in thousands of grocery products -- and most consumers are not aware they're eating this ingredient. In fact, many consumers are, for the first time, asking, "What is HVP?"
Beware of what's in your groceries
I wrote about HVP in my 2004 book, "Grocery Warning," which warned consumers about a dozen potentially hazardous food ingredients. HVP was just one of many ingredients mentioned as a potential source of hidden monosodium glutamate (MSG).
MSG, of course, is a potentially dangerous neurotoxin used to flavor countless processed food products. It's used in soups, salad dressings, processed meats, gravy mixes, flavored snack chips and virtually every popular brand of beef jerky. It is considered an "excitotoxin" by Dr. Russell Blaylock, a neurosurgeon who has written extensively about MSG and its damaging effects on human neurology.
According to Blaylock, MSG can promote eating addictions, obesity, brain cancer, endocrine system disorders, infertility and many serious neurological disorders. That's why it's so disturbing that MSG is hidden in so many natural-sounding ingredients.
In my Grocery Warning book, I warned readers to avoid all ingredients that contain the words "hydrolyzed" or "autolyzed." In addition, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) can also be a source of hidden MSG.
But the most common source of hidden MSG is yeast extract -- a sneaky little ingredient found in huge numbers of so-called "natural" foods.
The dirty little secret of the "natural" foods industry
HVP, TVP and yeast extract are very common ingredients in the natural / vegetarian food industry. Most of the popular veggie burgers, for example, contain HVP, TVP or yeast extract. And that makes them a suspected source of hidden MSG.
Even the big snack food companies get in on this act: A bag of "Natural Doritos" is made with yeast extract, too. (http://www.naturalnews.com/019355.html)
Also see MSGExposed.com: http://www.msgexposed.com/doritos-e...
As far as veggie burger companies go, I'm going to say this bluntly and boldly: In my opinion, many of the larger corporate foods companies are selling little more than chemical additives and unhealthy fillers while calling them "vegetarian" foods. This is why I personally avoid virtually processed veggie burgers and other vegetarian "meat" alternatives. There are a few exceptions to this -- just read the ingredients labels to see who's using HVP, TVP or yeast extract.
The twisted minds at the FDA...
What's really interesting about this HVP recall is that the FDA only considers HVP dangerous when it's possibly contaminated with salmonella. When HVP is sterile, on the other hand, the FDA considers it "safe."
The FDA is so ignorant about the safety of food additive chemicals that it actually believes aspartame and MSG are safe for human consumption. It's bizarre: While tens of millions of Americans are poisoning their brains with diet sodas, the FDA goes crazy over a virtually miniscule risk of salmonella contamination in TVP -- an ingredient that's usually cooked anyway (which destroys the salmonella).
Why isn't the FDA worried about MSG, aspartame, sodium nitrite (causes cancer) or yeast extract? The FDA's position on food safety boils down to this:
The FDA's philosophy of food safety:
#1) Dead foods are safer than living foods, so KILL IT!
#2) Chemicals are safe, but bacteria are dangerous.
This philosophy explains how the FDA ends up trying to outlaw raw milk while allowing MSG and aspartame on the GRAS list (Generally Recognized As Safe).
Raw milk is dangerous, they say. Why? Because there might be something living in there. You know, probiotics and that kind of thing. Scary! So the FDA wants everything as dead as possible. (Including you, most likely.)
In fact, the FDA describes instant, ready-to-eat food mixes as substances that have not gone through a "validated kill process."
Once the foods are dead, they're presumed safe even if they're loaded with neurotoxic chemicals and cancer-causing substances. So a hot dog made with sodium nitrite (a cancer-causing chemical found in most hot dogs) is considered perfectly safe as long as the hot dog is dead!
But raw almonds are considered a threat to public health and must now all be chemically fumigated or irradiated in the USA. (http://www.naturalnews.com/022035.html)
Are you getting the picture yet? HVP, TVP, MSG, aspartame, sodium nitrite and other chemical additives are all A-okay with the FDA. They're only scrutinized when they become contaminated with bacteria. It's the bacteria that freaks out the FDA, not the chemicals!
The lesson to the food companies in all this is quite simple: You can stuff practically any hazardous, cancer-causing, brain-damaging chemical you want into processed food products as long as the whole mixture is cooked until its dead. At that point, you may sell it for human consumption, even if it causes cancer.
The FDA's outright failure on food safety
Have you ever seen the FDA take urgent action to ban an unsafe food ingredient used by the big food corporations?
It almost never happens. And the really bizarre part is that many of today's most dangerous food additives were never subjected to safety testing by the FDA or any other agency -- they were simply grandfathered in and labeled safe (GRAS) solely because they had been historically used by the food companies for such a long period of time.
This is how poisons like MSG got into the food supply. Aspartame, of course, is a whole different story of corruption and collusion. But the truth is, there remain hundreds of dangerous chemicals used in food products that are never scrutinized by the FDA. HVP just barely scratches the surface of this story.
Action items: What you can do right now to protect yourself
#1) READ all food ingredients labels.
#2) AVOID foods made with any of the following ingredients:
• Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
• Textured Vegetable Protein
• Yeast Extract
• Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
• Aspartame
• Sodium nitrite
#3) PROTECT your nervous system with superfoods and nutritional supplements that support healthy brain function: Omega-3 oils, antioxidants, trace minerals and of course astaxanthin (http://www.naturalnews.com/026325_a...).
#4) SHARE this story with family and friends who need to know the truth about what's really in the foods they buy. Most consumers have no idea what's found in the foods they're eating. Most people don't read food labels, and as a result they end up eating all kinds of chemical ingredients that would shock them if they learned the truth.
#5) LEARN more by reading stories here on NaturalNews about common chemical food additives:
Contamination scare leading to food recalls in Canada
By Angela Mulholland, CTV.ca News Staff
Date: Friday Mar. 5, 2010
The recall in the U.S. of a commonly used food additive because of a risk of salmonella poisoning has sparked the recall of a number of food products in Canada -- and could lead to many more.
The additive is a flavour enhancer called hydrolyzed vegetable protein. It's a common ingredient used in processed foods including soups, sauces, hot dogs, gravies, seasoned snack foods, dips and dressings.
Some batches of the additive made by a company called Basic Food Flavors Inc. have tested positive for salmonella bacteria.
Because of the health worry, a number of food items are already being recalled in Canada. Certain T. Marzetti-brand veggie dips were pulled from the shelves this week, as were Tim's Cascade Snacks Hawaiian Kettle Style Potato Chips in Sweet Maui Onion flavour, and its Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion Rings.
The Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. says last month, it analyzed samples at Basic Food Flavors' Las Vegas facility and found a bacteria strain called Salmonella Tennessee in the company's processing equipment. The company is now recalling all HVP it's produced since mid-September, 2009.
So far, no illnesses have been reported. But the FDA has asked a variety of food companies to recall more than 30 products in the U.S. And it says it doesn't know how many more products might still need to be pulled.
"We expect this to get larger over the next several days -- actually several weeks," Jeff Farrar, the FDA associate commissioner of food safety told reporters in a conference call Thursday.
Not all products containing the questionable HVP will need to be recalled. Food items that are meant to be cooked likely won't be affected, since cooking generally kills salmonella.
Eating food contaminated with salmonella can cause salmonellosis, which can cause serious and sometimes deadly infections in young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.
In otherwise healthy people, salmonellosis can cause short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Farrar notes that the risk to consumers of getting sick is "very low," since HVP generally represents just one per cent of the total ingredients in a product.
Yet while the risk from this recall is small, Farrar said it is just one more reason why Congress should pass new food safety legislation that would give the FDA more power.
That legislation, called the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, would allow the FDA to force companies to recall products rather than to wait for them to do it voluntarily. It would also require companies to keep better records, and it would boost the number of inspections of food facilities, especially those handling risky foods.
"This situation clearly underscores the need for new food safety legislation to equip FDA with the tools we need to prevent contamination," he said in a news release.
The U.S. consumer advocacy group, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, also says this latest recall is more proof that the FDA needs more authority to ensure the food supply is safe.
"Most Americans would be stunned to learn that FDA doesn't even have the authority to make recalls like these mandatory," the group said in a news release.
The CSPI also urged the passing of the food safety legislation, "so that the agency can help prevent contamination in the first place, rather than chase down tainted products long after they've left the manufacturer."
Over the last several years, the U.S. has been hit with a number of high-profile foodborne outbreaks involving spinach, tomatoes and peanuts. The 2009 peanut salmonella scare alone forced the recall of 3,200 products and sickened 600 people.
Canada too, has had its own food contamination scares, most notably a listeriosis outbreak traced to contaminated cold cuts from a Maple Leaf Foods plant that killed 22 people and sickened many more.
In Canada, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food can, under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act, order a recall if the Minister believes it poses a health risk to the public, though such action is rarely taken since most companies issue their own voluntary recalls.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it is "monitoring the effectiveness" of these latest recalls. It says consumers with questions can call the agency at 1-800-442-2342.
America's Deadliest Sweetener Betrays Millions, Then Hoodwinks You With Name Change
Posted by: Dr. Mercola
March 02 2010
Aspartame producer Ajinomoto is launching a new initiative that will rebrand the sweetener as “AminoSweet”.
Aspartame is used in many foods and beverages marketed as low calorie or sugar-free. However, its reputation has been clouded somewhat by studies that have investigated reports of ill effects.
Just to remind you, the side effects of aspartame can include:
Change in vision
Convulsions and seizures
Nausea and vomiting
Joint pain
It can cause many, many other problems as well.
Dr. Mercola's Comments: Aspartame is the most controversial food additive in history, and its approval for use in food was the most contested in FDA history. In the end, the artificial sweetener was approved, not on scientific grounds, but rather because of strong political and financial pressure. After all, aspartame was previously listed by the Pentagon as a biochemical warfare agent!
It’s hard to believe such a chemical would be allowed into the food supply, but it was, and it has been wreaking silent havoc with people’s health for the past 30 years.
The truth is, it should never have been released onto the market, and allowing it to remain in the food chain is seriously hurting people – no matter how many times you rebrand it under fancy new names.
The Deceptive Marketing of Aspartame
Sold commercially under names like NutraSweet, Canderel, and now AminoSweet, aspartame can be found in more than 6,000 foods, including soft drinks, chewing gum, table-top sweeteners, diet and diabetic foods, breakfast cereals, jams, sweets, vitamins, prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
Aspartame producer Ajinomoto chose to rebrand it under the name AminoSweet, to “remind the industry that aspartame tastes just like sugar, and that it’s made from amino acids – the building blocks of protein that are abundant in our diet.”
This is deception at its finest: Begin with a shred of truth, and then spin it to fit your own agenda.
In this case, the agenda is to make you believe that aspartame is somehow a harmless, natural sweetener made with two amino acids that are essential for health and present in your diet already.
They want you to believe aspartame delivers all the benefits of sugar and none of its drawbacks. But nothing could be further from the truth.
How Aspartame Wreaks Havoc on Your Health
Did you know there have been more reports to the FDA for aspartame reactions than for all other food additives combined?
In fact, there are over 10,000 official complaints, but by the FDA’s own admission, less than 1 percent of those who experience a reaction to a product ever report it. So in all likelihood, the toxic effects of aspartame may have affected roughly a million people already.
While a variety of symptoms have been reported, almost two-thirds of them fall into the neurological and behavioral category consisting mostly of headaches, mood alterations, and hallucinations. The remaining third is mostly gastrointestinal symptoms.
This video will familiarize you with some of the terrifying side-effects and health problems you could encounter if you consume products containing this chemical.
Unfortunately, aspartame toxicity is not well-known by doctors, despite its frequency. Diagnosis is also hampered by the fact that it mimics several other common health conditions, such as:
Multiple sclerosis
Parkinson's disease
Alzheimer's disease
Multiple chemical sensitivity
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Attention deficit disorder
Panic disorder
Depression and other psychological disorders
Lupus Diabetes and diabetic complications
Birth defects
Lyme disease
How Diet Foods and Drinks CAUSE Weight Problems
In recent years, food manufacturers have increasingly focused on developing low-calorie foods and drinks to help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid obesity. Unfortunately, the science behind these products is so flawed, most of these products can actually lead to increased weight gain!
For example, researchers have discovered that drinking diet soda increases your risk of metabolic syndrome, and may double your risk of obesity – the complete opposite of the stated intention behind these “zero calorie” drinks.
The sad truth is that diet foods and drinks ruin your body's ability to count calories, and in fact stimulate your appetite, thus boosting your inclination to overindulge.
Unfortunately, most public health agencies and nutritionists in the United States recommend these toxic artificial sweeteners as an acceptable alternative to sugar, which is at best confusing and at worst harming the health of those who take their misguided advice.
Even More Toxic Dangers of Aspartame
Truly, there is enough evidence showing the dangers of consuming artificial sweeteners to fill an entire book -- which is exactly why I wrote Sweet Deception. If you or your loved ones drink diet beverages or eat diet foods, this book will explain how you've been deceived about the truth behind artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose -- for greed, for profits, and at the expense of your health.
As mentioned earlier, almost two-thirds of all documented side effects of aspartame consumption are neurological.
One of the reasons for this side effect, researchers have discovered, is because the phenylalanine in aspartame dissociates from the ester bond. While these amino acids are indeed completely natural and safe, they were never designed to be ingested as isolated amino acids in massive quantities, which in and of itself will cause complications.
Additionally this will also increase dopamine levels in your brain. This can lead to symptoms of depression because it distorts your serotonin/dopamine balance. It can also lead to migraine headaches and brain tumors through a similar mechanism.
The aspartic acid in aspartame is a well-documented excitotoxin. Excitotoxins are usually amino acids, such as glutamate and aspartate. These special amino acids cause particular brain cells to become excessively excited, to the point that they die.
Excitotoxins can also cause a loss of brain synapses and connecting fibers. A review conducted in 2008 by scientists from the University of Pretoria and the University of Limpopo found that consuming a lot of aspartame may inhibit the ability of enzymes in your brain to function normally, and may lead to neurodegeneration.
According to the researchers, consuming a lot of aspartame can disturb:
The metabolism of amino acids
Protein structure and metabolism
The integrity of nucleic acids
Neuronal function
Endocrine balances
Furthermore, the ester bond in aspartame breaks down to formaldehyde and methanol, which are also toxic in their own right. So it is not surprising that this popular artificial sweetener has also been found to cause cancer.
One truly compelling case study that shows this all too well was done by a private citizen named Victoria Inness-Brown. She decided to perform her own aspartame experiment on 108 rats over a period of 2 years and 8 months.
Daily, she fed some of the rats the equivalent (for their body weight) of two-thirds the aspartame contained in 8-oz of diet soda. Thirty-seven percent of the females fed aspartame developed tumors, some of massive size.
How to Ditch Artificial Sweeteners, and Satiate Your Sweet Tooth
If you suffer from sweet cravings, it’s easy to convince yourself you’re doing the right thing by opting for a zero-calorie sweetener like aspartame. Please understand that you will do more harm than good to your body this way.
First, it’s important to realize that your body craves sweets when you’re not giving it the proper fuel it needs.
Finding out your nutritional type will tell you exactly which foods you need to eat to feel full and satisfied. It may sound hard to believe right now, but once you start eating right for your nutritional type, your sweet cravings will significantly lessen and may even disappear.
Meanwhile, be sure you address the emotional component to your food cravings using a tool such as the Meridian Tapping Technique (MTT). More than any traditional or alternative method I have used or researched, MTT works to overcome food cravings and helps you reach dietary success.
And, if diet soda is the culprit for you, be sure to check out Turbo Tapping, which is an extremely effective and simple tool to get rid of your soda addiction in a short period of time.
Non-Acceptable Alternative Sweeteners
I have written a few articles on fructose earlier this year, and I will be writing many more, so please be aware that I am absolutely convinced that fructose ingestion is at the core of our obesity epidemic.
And I’m not only talking about high fructose corn syrup, which is virtually identical to table sugar. The only major difference between the two is HFCS is much cheaper so it has contributed to massive increase in fructose ingestion, far beyond safe or healthy.
Please understand you need to keep your fructose levels BELOW 25 grams per day. The best way to do that is to avoid these “natural” sweeteners as they are loaded with a much higher percentage of fructose than HFCS.
Fruit Juice
Please note that avoiding these beyond 25 grams per day is crucial, even if the source is fresh, raw, and organic. It just doesn’t matter, fructose is fructose is fructose…
Acceptable Alternative Sweeteners
For those times when you just want a taste of something sweet, your healthiest alternative is Stevia. It’s a natural plant and, unlike aspartame and other artificial sweeteners that have been cited for dangerous toxicities, it is a safe, natural alternative that's ideal if you’re watching your weight, or if you’re maintaining your health by avoiding sugar.
It is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar and truly has virtually no calories.
I must tell you that I am biased; I prefer Stevia as my sweetener of choice, and I frequently use it. However, like most choices, especially sweeteners, I recommend using Stevia in moderation, just like sugar. In excess it is still far less likely to cause metabolic problems than sugar or any of the artificial sweeteners.
I want to emphasize, that if you have insulin issues, I suggest that you avoid sweeteners altogether, including Stevia, as they all can decrease your sensitivity to insulin.
Lo han is another sweetener like Stevia. It’s an African sweet herb that can also be used, but it’s a bit more expensive and harder to find.
So if you struggle with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or extra weight, then you have insulin sensitivity issues and would benefit from avoiding ALL sweeteners.
But for everyone else, if you are going to sweeten your foods and beverages anyway, I strongly encourage you to consider using regular Stevia or Lo han, and toss out all artificial sweeteners and any products that contain them.
If You Know what's Good for You ... (Part 1)
19 February 2009
If You Know what's Good for You ... (Part 2)
01 August 2009