Reprinted with Permission
Originally printed in Townsend Letter for Doctor and Patients, January, 2000 (pp. 52-57)
H. J. Roberts, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.C.C.P.
The habitual consumption of “diet” products containing the chemical aspartame not only risks aspartame disease but also clinical addiction. Thirty-three (5.6 percent) of 540 aspartame reactors in the author’s recent series found it difficult or impossible to discontinue them because of severe withdrawal effects. They or their reporting relatives (especially parents of afflicted children) specifically used the terms “addict” and “addiction.” Others who used comparable terms were excluded even though they experienced similar withdrawal symptoms. The FDA and members of Congress have been repeatedly urged by me and thousands of outraged aspartame reactors to declare aspartame products an “imminent public health hazard,” and remove them from the market. The mounting evidence for their causation or aggravation of headache, seizures, depression, many neurologic disorders (most notably multiple sclerosis), visual difficulty, allergies, diabetic complications, and a host of other conditions – coupled with the potential for addiction – can be ignored no longer.
“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by the right names.” Chinese Proverb
“I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.” Patrick Henry (Speech to the Virginia Convention, 1775)
Over half the adult population currently consumes products containing aspartame (NutraSweet®, Equal®). A multibillion-dollar industry aggressively promotes thousands of items containing this chemical sweetener that consumers use in prodigious amounts to avoid sugar or lose weight… even though the latter intent often proves a delusion.
I have described many serious side effects and medical/public health hazards attributable to aspartame products (1-4). The neurologic, psychologic, eye, endocrine, metabolic and pediatric ravages in my data base of over 1,200 aspartame reactors, comprised of both patients and correspondents, are impressive. Additionally, it is my increasing conviction that aspartame products can cause, aggravate or accelerate migraine (5), seizures (6), multiple sclerosis (3), diabetes and its complications (7), Alzheimer’s disease (8,9), and even brain tumors(10). The clinical and scientific basis for these assertions have been detailed previously.
Unfortunately, another tragic problem has been neglected: addiction to aspartame products. Persons consuming large amounts not only may suffer aspartame disease, but also have difficulty stopping them because of violent and prolonged withdrawal reactions… the hallmark of addiction. Recovered alcoholic patients repeatedly stated that they felt worse after avoiding aspartame than alcohol, and asserted that they had traded one addiction for another. My experience, coupled with more than 10,000 consumers who volunteered their complaints to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and manufacturers, reflects the magnitude of this widespread unrecognized affliction.
In view of the controversial nature and implications of this subject, clarification of my status at the outset is relevant. I practised many years as a primary care internist and medical consultant prior to encountering aspartame disease. I continue to remain corporate neutral – that is, no grants, monies or other inducements were received from industry, government or other institutions.
This report focuses on 33 persons (5.6 percent) among the most recent 540 aspartame reactors in my series. The terms “addict” or “addiction” were specifically used either by patients or reporting relatives and friends – notwithstanding the absence of these words in my 9-page Aspartame Reaction Questionnaire Survey (3). Persons using other terms implying addiction (e.g., “severe craving”) were excluded notwithstanding the suffering of withdrawal symptoms.
There were 22 females and 11 males. Most were between 25 and 50 at the time of consultation or correspondence. Four children – ages 2-1/2, 3, 6, and 9-1/2 – were included (see Discussion).
The amounts of aspartame products consumed daily ranged up to six liters or 12 cans of sodas, 20 or more tabletop packets, and considerable gum. A number of persons gave the history of ingesting considerable iced tea mixes containing aspartame, especially in hot weather, prior to the onset of clinical aspartame disease.
The manifestations of aspartame disease and the pathos of such addiction appear in the case summaries. The withdrawal symptoms (e.g., severe irritability, tension, depression, tremors, nausea, sweating) usually abated promptly on resuming aspartame, along with an intense craving for these products. One woman noted: “This was as bad as when I quit smoking 13 years ago.” Examples of other pertinent clinical aspects are briefly cited.
• As with other addictions, denial and distortion were encountered. The mother of two young children stated: “I didn’t want to believe aspartame was the cause of my problems. Even though anything with it made me crave carbohydrates, I dismissed this as my imagination.”
• Several patients experienced severe withdrawal symptoms when they traveled abroad and were unable to purchase aspartame sodas. On the possibility these features represented caffeine withdrawal, they tried drinking more caffeine… but to no avail.
• Some developed severe reactions when they also drank alcohol. One stated: “My memory would just go completely.”
A. The anguished friend of an aspartame addict stated: “She could hardly walk. She could hardly see. She was already going to a neurologist because they thought she had multiple sclerosis. But she told me not to talk about it even though her physician already told her that aspartame was the problem, especially after he started researching its role in brain tumors – because two persons in her family died from brain tumors! When told aspartame would kill her, she said: ‘I’m addicted to it and can’t live without it. If they try to take it off the market, I’ll get it on the black market!’”
B. The wife of an addicted aspartame reactor wrote: “I’ve told my husband over and over again, as have several physicians, that his problems would probably go away if he got off aspartame. But he says he is addicted and can’t.” Provoked by her continued purchase of aspartame sodas, the daughter-in-law asked whether she would hand him a gun if he said he wanted to commit suicide. She responded: “Please don’t say anything else. It’s hard enough to watch him lose his memory, fall, and hardly be able to walk. I just want to make him happy.”
C. A mother stated: “My children are no longer allowed to drink diet sodas or anything else with aspartame in it. Unfortunately, I am addicted to it. I will try and wean myself – but boy, oh boy, it’s not going to be easy!” D. A previous alcoholic patient expressed concern that he had traded alcoholism for aspartame addiction. He observed in a letter: “There are MANY just like me. You will rarely see a recovered alcoholic without a drink in hand, day or night, whether it be coffee or soda… usually DIET. We can hardly keep sweeteners on hand at our meetings. MANY of us suffer from tremendous mood bouts. If aspartame has contributed to the difficulties I have had with depression and mood swings, I WANT TO KNOW!”
E. The wife of a man consuming up to six liters of diet cola daily concluded: “He is truly addicted and unable to help himself… When not drinking it, he is like a new person, or at least the person I once knew. But when he then drinks it after abstaining for a week (as a result of incredible determination), I see depression, verbal aggression, a sense of hopelessness, inability to sleep, poor concentration, trouble with eyesight, chest problems, and weight gain.”
F. A female correspondent with aspartame-related panic attacks and palpitations wrote: “I heard about this problem and will be taking the abstinence test. It will be hard because I am addicted to diet cola. Something has to be done! It seems to me that capitalism is getting in the way of our lives.”
G. A woman with an “addiction to diet cola” refused to admit the “ridiculous amounts I have been using, even to my husband. I have the symptom of always being thirsty from aspartame. What do I do?”
H. A woman with aspartame disease was misdiagnosed as having multiple sclerosis. She stated: “I am convinced that aspartame was at the root of my problem. It is hard to convey just how much of this stuff I was using. I used at least one large box of aspartame a week… for myself! After my husband heard on a radio broadcast that it was bad, he told me not to use it, and refused to buy it for me any longer. I then literally bought it weekly, hid it in the kitchen, and used it when he was out of the room. And people still don’t believe it is addictive???”
I. An addicted young man with longstanding symptoms he ascribed to aspartame sodas wrote: “I drank a lot of pop with aspartame when I was a kid in the 1980s, and felt bad. After reading a page on the net about insomnia, being lightheaded, having ringing in the ears, and feeling unreal ‘like I was on something,’ I stopped. But it’s hard to make yourself stop. It took about two months before I felt better. I think most people who drink diet pop get addicted to it… like me. At first you don’t seem to like the taste; then you crave it.”
J. A 28-year-old woman previously drank as much as two liters of an aspartame cola daily. She stated: “I was ‘addicted’ to it, and suffered terrible muscle spasms, vertigo, dizziness, nausea, depression, slurred speech, etc. I stumbled across an article about the dangers of aspartame, and was absolutely horrified. Within seven days after stopping, most of these symptoms disappeared. I have had no recurrences to date.”
K. A hospital pharmacist with considerable knowledge about addictive substances and drug abuse wrote: “I have been a chronic user of diet drinks for years, and always joked that I was ‘addicted’ to aspartame. Recently, I decided to stop them, but I can’t do it no matter how hard I try. When I’m not drinking these drinks, the people I work with and my family have all commented that I act as if I’m going through heroin withdrawal. I also experience many problems while drinking them, the most profound of which is joint pain” (see 11).
L. The mother of an aspartame addict gave a poignant followup of her daughter’s case, which I described previously (1, p. 98), when her addiction recurred. She had been incapacitated with aspartame disease as a 23-year-old student. In her own words, “My epileptic-type seizures, and drastic personality and intellectual changes were so severe as to end my marriage, nearly ruin my academic standing, and caused me to lose my job.” After stopping her excessive consumption of aspartame sodas, she evidenced clinical normalization, and then bought a beautiful home. The mother described her subsequent relapse.
“About eight months ago, unknown to me, she began drinking considerable diet soda. I learned a few days ago that she started drinking alcohol, plans to leave her fiance, and bought a motorcycle – exactly as she had done 12 years previously when drinking diet soda. Her aspartame addiction makes her totally irrational. She crusaded against aspartame for 12 years, and is now drinking it. I don’t know where to go for help, especially because most doctors I know think aspartame is just wonderful!”
M. A woman wrote: “I am probably one of the many ‘aspartame addicts’ you have come in contact with. I have had a terrible diet cola habit of drinking at least a 12-pack/day for many years. I would love to change because I believe my particular ailments could be related to aspartame. Where do I go from here? Please help!!”
N. The brother of a “recovered aspartame addict” related the details of his sibling’s case to a neighbor who was beginning to drink excessive amounts of diet sodas. He stated: “I am hoping that he doesn’t face severe withdrawal the way my brother did. After 5 or 6 bad bouts of withdrawal, he was finally able to kick the habit.”
O. An aspartame reactor invited her neighbors to a block party aimed at urging them to avoid aspartame which would not be on the premises. A “very addicted” woman with severe dermatitis and fatigue had tried to do so previously at the urging of her daughter, but resumed diet cola in two weeks. She went to the block party with a can hidden under her jacket… but was promptly spotted. She confessed: “I’m sorry, I just can’t break the addiction. I can’t get off of it!”
P. A 36-year-old computer programmer experienced many symptoms attributable to aspartame disease after he began using “a line of products containing aspartame.” He would ingest as much as three or four quarts of an instant iced tea in several flavors on weekend afternoons during the summer. Nearly one month of abstinence was required before his symptoms abated.
Q. A 47-year-old female sought consultation by the author for increasingly severe problems over the previous 1-1/2 years, during which time she consumed large amounts of aspartame. She began the day by drinking three cups of coffee to each of which an aspartame tabletop sweetener was added. She then ingested 10-12 glasses or cups of aspartame-sweetened beverages, and ate considerable amounts of aspartame puddings.
This patient gave a history of alcoholism and excessive amphetamine use decades earlier. (Amphetamines had been taken for extreme fatigue and weight reduction.) She joined Alcoholics Anonymous 20 years previously. She was now happily married, and had taken only a single social drink in five years.
Her main concern was increasing confusion and memory loss over the past year — especially because she prided herself on a “photographic memory.” During this time, she also suffered severe headaches (“never a problem before”), hearing difficulty (“as if my ears were covered”), “lightheadedness with staggering,” vertigo on lying down (“the room was actually spinning”), attacks of severe nervousness and agitation, intense hunger, a craving for sugar and sweets, intense muscle cramps, pains in the legs and thighs, aching and stiffness of various joints, marked intolerance to cold, and elevation of her blood pressure (noted for the first time). Dryness of the eyes became so bothersome that she required one bottle of artificial tears a week.
Another distressing symptom was severe depression. The patient considered committing suicide on several occasions. She had the good fortune of belonging to a circle of caring friends who thwarted such an action.
The family history was also pertinent. Both parents had been alcoholics. Her mother was “a potential diabetic,” and her nephew a juvenile diabetic.
After learning of the possible cause or aggravation of similar problems in other persons from aspartame, she promptly stopped all such products. She emphasized, however, that the ensuing “withdrawal symptoms” were far worse than those experienced after discontinuing alcohol or amphetamines. On a regimen of an appropriate diet, supportive measures and continued aspartame avoidance, her symptoms improved. She no longer needed the artificial tears. An entire subsequent visit was devoted to discussing her lifelong “fear of fat” that had initiated the use of aspartame products.
Addiction to aspartame products is as real as abuse of tobacco, alcohol and drugs. The foregoing experience of a single alerted physician attests to this clinical phenomenon. In effect, the United States has been the innocent victim of regulatory shortcomings related to the initial and continued approval of aspartame products.
To my knowledge, this is the first report that addresses aspartame addiction. I have challenged colleagues to cite comparable instances of gross denial in contemporary medicine concerning widely used drugs or chemicals classified “Generally Recognized As Safe” (GRAS). (Aspartame was developed initially as a drug to treat peptic ulcer.) Moreover, I have repeatedly asserted that aspartame should not have been approved for human use in view of the high incidence of brain and other tumors found in animal studies, and the absence of long-term trials in humans using “real world” products exposed to prolonged storage and heat.
The plight of aspartame addicts has been compounded by (a) footdragging of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) despite its own data base (12, 13), (b) the brainwashing of health professionals (especially doctors and dieticians) from constant reiteration by pro-industry advocates that aspartame disease does not exist, and (c) the refusal of some addictionologists even to consider this issue. The thousands of complaints volunteered to the FDA, along with my independent data on over 1,200 aspartame reactors, indicate the gravity of such disinformation.
Exclusion of Related Terminology
This report clearly underestimates the prevalence of aspartame addiction. I purposely excluded aspartame reactors who continued to consume large amounts despite debilitating symptoms because they used expressions other than “addict” and “addiction.” Some examples:
• Many aspartame reactors described their “unnatural craving” for aspartame products. It was not limited to diet sodas – e.g., a woman with a severe “craving” for aspartame chewing gum, especially after meals. In fact, the habitual chewing of such gum poses a unique great threat (see below).
• ”Recovered alcoholics,” and former smokers and substance abusers tended to use considerable amounts of aspartame products. One chain smoker averred that he became a “chain drinker” of diet sodas in this switch of addictions.
• An aspartame reactor referred to herself as “a 10-year-plus aspartame junkie.” Another stated she had been “a diet colaholic for 12 years.”
• Three women indicated that each was “hooked” on diet sodas for over a decade.
This correspondence from a 29-year-old woman with severe aspartame disease, who was referred by her physician to confirm the diagnosis, bridges the terminology of “addiction” and “craving.”
“As I do not use any sugar, I have used aspartame and saccharin. The disturbing phenomenon is that I now have intense and abnormal cravings for aspartame, and find myself using more and more of it… like an addictive cycle. Without it, food seems flat. I have tried eliminating it altogether, and find that this actually intensifies the cravings even a week later! I would like to know if you have ever heard of anything like this before, or have advice as to dealing with it. Besides the aspartame cravings, I have also continued to have inexplicable bouts of itchy skin, hives, and quite a bit of swelling in the face and legs. The legs are often numb, and I am extremely fatigued most of the time.”
The enormous consumption of aspartame products by these individuals also could be considered as part of their addiction.
• A 54-year-old woman was phoned by her daughter who had just learned about aspartame disease. “When I called her with the information, she had already taken 15 aspartame packets. Mother told me this was usual for her since the product came on the market.”
• One “huge consumer of aspartame” conjectured that such sodas are ideal for addiction because “they first quench thirst, and then cause thirst.” His side effects of dry mouth and dry eyes are experienced by many aspartame reactors (2-4, 14), even in the absence of marked sweating or hot weather.
The Female Preponderance
Female aspartame reactors consistently outnumbered men in prior analyses of both my data (2,3) and that of the FDA (12, 13). Some of the metabolic and endocrine factors that may contribute to this gender vulnerability have been discussed (2,3,8).
More women are trying to avoid aspartame during pregnancy on the advice of peers, chiefly out of concern for fetal harm (1-3). Obstetricians increasingly concur, albeit partly to avoid medicolegal situations predicated on the absence of informed consent. Unfortunately, some pregnant women in this series resumed aspartame products, notwithstanding their great misgivings, after experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms during attempted abstinence.
A 27-year-old woman with an “addiction” to aspartame products, especially a popular lemonade, suffered headache, irritability and dizziness. Attempting to become pregnant, she stated: “It will be the hardest to let go.”
The apparent addiction of four children was disconcerting. Their case histories warrant summary.
• A 9-1/2-year old boy exhibited “extreme hyperactivity.” Every time he opened the refrigerator and found only regular cola sodas, he would exclaim: “I can’t believe they didn’t get even one diet cola!”
• A 2-1/2-year-old girl had been weaned off baby fruit juices and begun on aspartame drinks to prevent sugar-induced dental problems. She developed an extensive rash that subsided after stopping aspartame. Her mother wrote: “For the first five days, she was like someone in withdrawal – aggressive and craving the substance.”
• A 6-year-old girl was diagnosed by a pediatric neurologist as having attention deficit disorder and a “mild encephalopathy of unknown origin.” Her mother drank an aspartame beverage during the pregnancy because of marked morning sickness and a severe yeast infection. She wrote: “Little did I realize what I was doing to myself, let alone my fetus who also developed the yeast infection. By the time she was three years old, we were both using sugar-free products – including yogurt, popsicles, gum, soda pop, candy, ice cream, pies, puddings and hot chocolate. (She also sneaked them in.) I developed a brain tumor (oligodendroglioma), and underwent surgery and radiation. Fortunately, my mom came across two articles on aspartame a year ago, after which we quit these products.”
• A 3-year-old girl repeatedly developed a rash and behavior problems after taking aspartame products. Her mother stated: “For at least five days after stopping them, she craved the former drink, and was extremely hyperactive and aggressive.”
Comments on Addiction
The continued heavy consumption of aspartame in these reactors qualifies as “substance abuse” relative to causing, aggravating or prolonging their physical, mental and behavioral disorders. As with other forms of chemical dependency, aspartame abusers are likely to deny or distort symptoms. The assertion that the addiction solely represents caffeinism is erroneous.
Health professionals and other groups recognize the numerous psychologic, sociologic, economic, medical and environmental complexities of substance abuse and addictive behavior. Unlike the well-known addiction to alcohol, tobacco and drugs, aspartame products continue to be marketed aggressively to uninformed consumers by a multibillion dollar industry. Most regard this “supplement” as safe because of its approval by the FDA. They include pregnant women, the fetus, young children, and patients with many diseases who are highly vulnerable to the ravages of this potent neurotoxin. Anthropologists could equate the matter with “our intoxicated destiny” (15).
In his classic description of “addictive eating and drinking,” Randolph (16) also emphasized that small quantities of a specific excitant can perpetuate an addiction response owing to the extreme degrees of specific sensitivity commonly involved. He included various sugars, alcoholic beverages and monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Consumer Pleas For Help and Outrage
As noted in the case summaries, aspartame addicts have pleaded for help because of their suffering. Some additional examples:
• A 39-year-old mother wrote: “How in the world do you get off aspartame? I’ve wanted to get off of the stuff for years.”
• A 40-year-old receptionist had consumed 4-6 cans of a caffeine-free diet cola plus two large diet colas with caffeine daily since their introduction. Every time she tried to stop, she experienced “terrible” withdrawal anxiety – with associated exhaustion, dizziness, palpitations, and presumed hypoglycemia attacks. She summarized her dilemma: “I just can’t seem to get off the treadmill!”
The outrage of these aspartame victims has been intense (3,4). Indeed, it generated several groups of consumer activists.
• A 28-year-old mother concisely expressed her anger: “In a sentence, I could say that aspartame effectively ruined my physical and emotional health for the better part of ten years.”
• A 28-year-old Australian woman “addicted” to diet cola wrote: “It is an absolute crime that this substance has been offered to an unsuspecting and ill-informed public. It must be stopped!”
• A male aspartame reactor reflected: “I guess it IS going to take a bloody epidemic of blindness, diabetes and multiple sclerosis to get this poison off the market.”
• A 43-year-old woman with multiple aspartame reactions – notably joint pain, loss of hair, severe fatigue, aggravated hypoglycemia, allergies, and mouth lesions – expressed extreme concern “about this unnerving ‘addiction’ to aspartame.”
Each of the three components of aspartame — phenylalanine (50%), aspartic acid (40%), and the methyl ester (10%) that promptly becomes free methyl alcohol (methanol) after ingestion – and their multiple breakdown products following exposure to heat or during storage are potentially neurotoxic and addictive (1 – 4). (They also have been invoked relative to the allergenicity and carcinogenicity of aspartame and its metabolities.) Some of the mechanisms may involve dopamine, cerebral cholecystokinin (CCK), serotonin, endorphins, other important neurotransmitters, insulin, and the unique permeability of the blood- brain barrier to phenylalanine.
The transformation of phenylalanine to dopamine and dopamine metabolites assumes relevance in addictive states. Addictive drugs flood synapses with dopamine, which carries a “pleasure message” from one nerve cell to another in the “reward pathway”… thereby creating a “high.” For instance, cocaine blocks the reuptake of dopamine, thereby acting as an indirect dopamine agonist. Such repeated rushes can result in desensitization of the brain to dopamine.
• During et al (17) demonstrated that changes in brain phenylalanine may selectively affect production of the dopamine molecule that becomes preferentially released into synapses.
• Myers and Melchior (18) found that a dopamine-dopaldehyde condensation product (tetrahydropapaveroline) caused rats to drink increasingly large amounts of alcohol solutions which they normally reject.
• Researchers have advanced the concepts that increased dopamine influences the addiction effects of cocaine; and that dopamine-receptor agonists themselves might be addictive in cocaine users (19).
The habitual chewing of aspartame gum poses a unique threat, as evidenced by the dramatic development of generalized symptoms in some aspartame reactors. Its flavor and sweetness can last 30 minutes, compared to about five minutes for sugar-sweetened gum. The chemical may be absorbed through the mucosa of the mouth (as used therapeutically with nitroglycerin), and via simple diffusion from the oropharynx directly into the brain. The latter phenomenon has been demonstrated with small molecules such as glucose, sodium chloride and ethyl alcohol (20).
The Methanol Issue
The chronic intake of free methanol in significant amounts is highly germane to aspartame disease and addiction, particularly for alcoholics. Six years before FDA approval of aspartame, Dr. Herbert S. Posner (21) of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences wrote a review titled, “Biohazards of Methanol in Proposed New Uses.” He stressed the failure to recognize the “delayed and irreversible effects on the nervous system” of methanol… at widely varying levels of exposure and at rather low levels.” Furthermore, he suggested “…when a safer compound is available, methanol should not be utilized.”
The daily intake of methyl alcohol from natural sources averages less than 10 mg (22). Aspartame beverages contain 55 mg methanol per liter, and nearly double as much in some carbonated orange sodas. Persons ingesting five liters a day can therefore consume over 400 mg methanol. These facts are pertinent: • Methyl alcohol is probably the first component of aspartame released within the small intestine, and rapidly absorbed. Blood and methanol concentrations correlate with aspartame intake. “Abuse doses” (100 mg/kg or more) ingested by normal subjects significantly elevate blood methanol concentrations, remaining detectable for eight or more hours (23).
• Humans are more vulnerable to the toxic effects of methanol than animals because several enzymes required for its metabolism have been lost during evolution.
• The toxicity of methanol is enhanced by its slow rate of oxidation – only one-seventh that of ethyl alcohol – occurring chiefly in the liver and kidneys. Even though the half life in human volunteers ingesting small amounts (1-5 ml) is about three hours, complete oxidation to carbon dioxide usually requires several days.
• The body attempts to detoxify methyl alcohol by oxidizing it to formaldehyde (a deadly neurotoxin and Class A carcinogen), and then to formate or formic acid within minutes. Formate and formaldehyde each may contribute to toxicity and nervous system/immune dysfunction through various mechanisms. One is the conjugation of formaldehyde with human serum albumin (F-HSA) to form a new antigenic determinant. Patients with multiple health complaints who had been exposed chronically to formaldehyde develop anti F-HSA antibodies and elevated Tal cells (antigen memory cells), consistent with sustained antigenic stimulation of the immune system (24).
• Concerning the methyl alcohol component of aspartame, Hugh C. Cannon, Associate Commissioner for Legislative Affairs of the FDA, wrote in a letter dated September 8, 1986: “The Agency has recently become aware, however, of clinical data that indicate that the toxic effects of methanol are due to formate accumulation and not to formaldehyde or methanol itself. Formate is the oxidation product of formaldehyde which is itself formed from the metabolism of methanol.”
The eye manifestations experienced by one-fourth of aspartame reactors (1 – 4) are probably at least partly due to methanol and its breakdown products. It is of interest that several persons had severe visual deterioration diagnosed as toxic amblyopia (including transient blindness diagnosed as optic neuritis) on different occasions following the excessive intake of either aspartame or alcohol.
Responsibility of the Health Professions
The medical profession must pursue this concern in conjunction with consumer advocates, elected officials and regulatory agencies. Such a commitment also extends to challenging the safety of proposed sweeteners being developed by food technologists, some up to 10,000 times sweeter than sucrose. My objection to the petition for approval of Neotame (25) provides a case in point.
Health professionals must protest the unbridled consumption of “diet” sodas and other aspartame products by children. The potential consequences include interference with brain development, abnormal behavior, cognitive problems, depression, seizures, headache, allergic disorders (asthma; severe eruptions), gastrointestinal complaints, anorexia with marked weight loss, and cross-sensitization to other chemicals such as monosodium glutamate (26). The use of aspartame- sweetened foods and beverages by young children, especially those with a morbid obsession about weight gain and obesity, incurs another risk: a life-long preference for sugars and sweets.
• A number of concerned teacher-correspondents attributed the increased frequency of attention deficit disorders and decline in school grades to the consumption of aspartame products. In my opinion, several prior industry-sponsored studies that concluded neither sugar (sucrose) nor aspartame affect children’s behavior and cognitive performance (27) are misleading because of the nature of their protocols.
• Neuropsychiatric reactions to aspartame candy and gum in children occurred within a unique social context: their consumption of Halloween gifts from thoughtful neighbors concerned about giving them conventional candy. The most frequent were headache, vomiting and tremors.
• Most physicians do not realize the aspartame content of many over- the-counter and prescription drugs and vitamin products intended for use by young children. They include tasty suspensions, and chewable tablets of antibiotics or analgesics.
ALL pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid aspartame products (28). In addition to risking addiction, the reasons include:
• Exposure of the fetus to considerable phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and free methyl alcohol
• Maternal malnutrition associated with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and reduced caloric intake
• The transmission of aspartame and its components via the mother’s milk
• Increasing the “allergic load”… thereby risking future hypersensitivity diseases
The FDA and elected officials have been warned repeatedly about the potentially disastrous effects of aspartame consumption by pregnant women and young children… but to little avail. Indeed, the FDA disregards its own data (12, 13). Alfred North Whitehead aptly asserted: “Where attainable knowledge could have changed the issue, ignorance has the guilt of vice.”
1. Roberts HJ. The Aspartame Problem. Statement for Committee on Labor and Human Resources, U.S. Senate Hearing on “NutraSweet”-Health and Safety Concerns, November 3, 1987. 83-178, U.S. Government Printing office, Washington,
1988:466-467. 2. Roberts HJ. Reactions attributed to aspartame-containing products: 551 cases. J Appl Nutr 1988; 40:85-94.
3. Roberts HJ. Aspartame (NutraSweet®): Is It Safe? Philadelphia, The Charles Press, 1989.
4. Roberts HJ. Sweet’ner Dearest: Bittersweet Vignettes About Aspartame (NutraSweet®). West Palm Beach, Sunshine Sentinel Press, 1992.
5. Roberts HJ. Aspartame and headache. Neurology 1995; 45:1631-1633.
6. Roberts HJ. Aspartame (NutraSweet®)-associated epilepsy. Clin Res 1988; 36:349A.
7. Roberts HJ. Complications associated with aspartame (NutraSweet®) in diabetics. Clin Res 1988; 3:489A.
8. Roberts HJ. Defense Against Alzheimer’s Disease: A Rational Blueprint for Prevention. West Palm Beach, Sunshine Sentinel Press, 1995.
9. Roberts HJ. Preclinical Alzheimer’s disease (Letter) Neurology 1997; 48:549-550.
10. Roberts HJ. Does aspartame cause human brain cancer? J Adv M 1991;4 (Winter):231- 241.
11. Roberts HJ. Joint pain associated with aspartame use. Townsend Letter for Doctors 1991; May:375-376.
12. Tollefson L, Barnard RJ, Glinsmann WH. Monitoring of adverse reactions to aspartame reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In Proceedings of the First International Meeting on Dietary Phenylalanine and Brain Function, ed by RJ Wurtman and E Ritter- Walker, Washington, D.C., May 8-10, 1987, 347-372.
13. Department of Health & Human Services: Summary of adverse reactions attributed to aspartame. April 20, 1995.
14. Roberts HJ. Aspartame-associated dry mouth (xerostomia). Townsend Letter for Doctors 1993; February:201-202.
15. Rudgley R. The Alchemy of Culture: Intoxicants in Society. London, British Museum Press, 1998.
16. Randolph, TG. The descriptive features of food addiction: addictive eating and drinking. Quart J Studies Alcohol 1956; 17:198-224.
17. During NJ, Acworth IN, Wurtman RJ. An in vivo study of dopamine release in striatum: The effects of phenylalanine. In Proceedings of the First International Meeting on Dietary Phenylalanine and Brain Function. ed by RJ Wurtman and E Ritter-Walker, Washington, D.C., May 8-10, 1987.
18. Myers RD, Melchior CL. Alcohol drinking: Abnormal intake caused by tetrahydropapaveroline in brain. Science 1977; f196:554-555.
19. Koob G. Cited by The Lancet 1998; 352:1290.
20. Maller O, Kare MR, Welt M, Bohrman H. Movement of glucose and sodium chlorine from the oropharyngeal cavity to the brain. Nature 1967; 213:713.
21. Posner HS. Biohazards of methanol in proposed new uses. J Toxic Envir Health 1975; 1:153-171.
22. Monte WC. Aspartame: Methyl alcohol and the public health. J Appl Nutr 1984; 36:42-54.
23. Stegink ID, Filer LJ Jr. Aspartame: Physiology and Biochemistry. New York, Marcel Dekker, Inc. 1984.
24. Thrasher JF, Broughton A, Micevich P. Antibodies and immune profiles of individuals occupationally exposed to formaldehyde. Six case reports. Am J Indust M 1988; 14:479-488.
25. Roberts HJ. Submission to FDA regarding Docket No. 981F-0052 (Food Additive Petition for Neotame), March 3, 1988.
26. Roberts HJ. Testimony: Analysis of Adverse Reactions to Monosodium Glutamate. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Bethesda, April 8, 1993.
27. Wolraich ML, Lindgren SD, Stumbo PJ, et al. Effects of diets high in sucrose or aspartame on the behavior and cognitive performance of children. N Engl J Med 1994; 330:301-307.
28. Roberts HJ. Aspartame effects during pregnancy and childhood. (Letter) Latitudes 1997; 3 (Number 1): 3.
It has long been known that memory declines with age, and that people who are active – people who exercise more – have less cognitive decline.
Now we have a clearer picture of why. It’s about the sugar.
A 2008 Columbia University study showed that rising blood sugar levels, a common occurrence with aging, affect a part of the brain critical to making new memories. [1,2],
Researchers looked at measures that typically change during aging: blood sugar and insulin levels rise, cholesterol levels rise, and obesity settles in. Researchers looked specifically at the impact of those factors on the hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped section of the brain that is critical for memory and learning. Researchers found that of all these factors, a rise in the blood glucose levels was the only one closely tied to decreasing activity in a memory-critical part of the hippocampus called the dentate gyrus.
Using high-resolution brain imaging, researchers showed that rising blood sugar levels selectively target the dentate gyrus. They mapped brain regions in 240 elderly subjects. They found a correlation between elevated blood glucose levels and reduced cerebral blood volume, or blood flow, in the dentate gyrus. Reduced blood flow is an indication of reduced metabolic activity and function in that region of the brain.
Researchers found the same association in aging rhesus monkeys and in mice.
“The paper identifies an etiology [cause] for normal age-related memory decline,” said senior study author Dr. Scott Small, an associate professor of neurology at the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. “Elevations in blood glucose levels differentially target the dentate gyrus part of the hippocampus implicated in aging and, as we age, we develop a slight but gradually worsening difficulty in handling blood sugar levels.”
Exercise helps to lower blood sugar levels, which is why older people who are more active, have less cognitive difficulties. With exercise, the muscles use up glucose in the bloodstream.
It’s not enough to deliver blood sugar to the brain efficiently. The sugar must get into the cells where it can be used. If you have become insulin resistant, your brain cells may not be efficient at taking up the glucose that’s delivered. About 1 in 3 Americans have at insulin resistance, which if it gets bad enough can lead to type II diabetes.
The findings suggest that maintaining blood sugar levels, even in the absence of diabetes, helps maintain aspects of cognitive health.
 Small, S.A., Annals of Neurology, December 2008, 64, 698-706
 American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists factsheet, accessed January 2009 at http://www.aace.com/meetings/consensus/irscc/irsfs.php
For several million years, humans existed on a diet of animals and vegetation. It was only with the advent of agriculture a mere 10,000 years ago – a fraction of a second in evolutionary time – that humans began ingesting large amounts of sugar and starch in the form of grains (and potatoes) into their diets. Indeed, 99.99% of our genes were formed before the advent of agriculture. In biological terms, our bodies are still those of hunter-gatherers.
Quantities of refined sugar came into the human diet after the process of making sugar by evaporating juice from sugar cane was developed in India about 500 BC.
Today’s average American teenager slurps down more than 120-170 pounds of sugar a year, depending upon whose statistics you believe.
We call sugar “empty calories,” but it is actually worse than that because sugar leaches the body of precious vitamins and minerals. The sudden shock of a heavy intake of sugar disrupts the pH balance of the blood which has a very narrow range of acceptability. The body then mobilizes neutral acids and minerals including sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium in an attempt to correct the pH balance. Eating sugar every day exacerbates the problem – producing a continuously over-acid condition, which means that more and more minerals are required from deep within the body to rectify the imbalance. Ultimately, so much calcium is taken from the teeth and bones that decay and general weakening begin.
Meanwhile, because the sugar intake produces a surge in insulin production, the body assumes that plenty of energy is readily available, so it stops burning fat and starts storing it. High insulin levels suppress the hormone glucagon and growth hormones that are responsible for burning fat and sugar and promoting muscle development, respectively. When the insulin surge causes too much blood sugar to be transported out of our blood, then blood sugar levels drop below normal. We feel tired and hungry, and are tempted to reach for another candy bar. Over time, the drain on the body from having to produce so much insulin to regulate blood sugar level leads first to low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) from having to produce so much insulin, then to insulin resistance (high insulin but normal blood sugar) from the excessive production of insulin, and then to type II diabetes, when insulin production can no longer keep up with demand.
Yet we are drawn to sugar because of a predisposition for sweet foods.
Seventeenth century Doctor James Hart warned that “sugar rots the teeth, making them look black, and, withal, causes many times a loathsome stinking breath.”
Sir Frederick Banting, the co-discoverer of insulin, noticed in 1929 in Panama that diabetes was common among sugar plantation owners who ate large amounts of their refined sugar. Among native cane-cutters he saw no diabetes; they chewed the raw cane that still had all the inherent nutrients.
In 1975, William Dufty wrote a landmark book, Sugar Blues, warning us that our sugar habit was deadly:
”Excess sugar eventually affects every organ in the body. Initially, it is stored in the liver in the form of glucose (glycogen). Since the liver’s capacity is limited, a daily intake of refined sugar (above the required amount of natural sugar) soon makes the liver expand like a balloon. When the liver is filled to its maximum capacity, the excess glycogen is returned to the blood in the form of fatty acids. These are taken to every part of the body and stored in the most inactive areas: the belly, the buttocks, the breasts and the thighs. When these comparatively harmless places are completely filled, fatty acids are then distributed among active organs, such as the heart and kidneys. These begin to slow down; finally their tissues degenerate and turn to fat. The whole body is affected by their reduced ability, and abnormal blood pressure is created.
“The parasympathetic nervous system is affected; and organs governed by it, such as the small brain [cerebellum], become inactive or paralysed. (Normal brain function is rarely thought of as being as biologic as digestion.) The circulatory and lymphatic systems are invaded, and the quality of the red corpuscles starts to change. An overabundance of white cells occurs, and the creation of tissue becomes slower. Our body’s tolerance and immunising power becomes more limited, so we cannot respond properly to extreme attacks, whether they be cold, heat, mosquitoes or microbes.
“The ‘quick’ energy we feel after eating sugar is based on the fact that refined sucrose is not digested in the mouth or the stomach but passes directly to the lower intestines and thence to the bloodstream. The extra speed with which sucrose enters the bloodstream does more harm than good.
“When sugars are eaten with other foods – perhaps meat and bread in a sandwich – they are held up in the stomach for a while. The sugar in the bread and the Coke sit there with the hamburger and the bun waiting for them to be digested. While the stomach is working on the animal protein and the refined starch in the bread, the addition of the sugar practically guarantees rapid acid fermentation under the conditions of warmth and moisture existing in the stomach. When starches and complex sugars (like those in honey and fruits) are digested, they are broken down into simple sugars called ‘monosaccharides’, which are usable substances-nutriments. When starches and sugars are taken together and undergo fermentation, they are broken down into carbon dioxide, acetic acid, alcohol and water. With the exception of the water, all these are unusable substances – poisons.
“When proteins are digested, they are broken down into amino acids, which are usable substances – nutriments. When proteins are taken with sugar, they putrefy; they are broken down into a variety of ptomaines and leucomaines, which are nonusable substances — poisons. Enzymic digestion of foods prepares them for use by our body. Bacterial decomposition makes them unfit for use by our body. The first process gives us nutriments; the second gives us poisons.”
Today around the world, diabetes is called the sugar disease.
“I’m concerned for virtually every country where there’s modernization going on, because of the diabetes that follows,” said Dr. Paul Zimmet, the director of the International Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia. “I’m fearful of the resources ever being available to address it.”
Sugar is addictive, and addictive substances are never easy to address.
We could easily list 100 ways sugar is destructive to the body – here are ten:
- Sugar consumption requires the body to produce more and more insulin to keep blood sugar levels in balance which eventually exhausts the body’s ability at which point we give a diagnosis of diabetes.
- Sugar dehydrates newborns.
- Sugar can suppress the immune system and impair defenses against infectious disease.[4,5],
- Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in the body: causes chromium and copper deficiencies and interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.
- Sugar can cause can cause a rapid rise of adrenaline, hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children.
- In Los Angeles juvenile rehabilitation camps, when children were put on a low sugar diet, there was a 44 percent drop in antisocial behavior.
- Sugar feeds cancer cells. Otto Warburg, Ph.D., won the Nobel Prize in medicine when he discovered that cancer cells use glucose (sugar) for growth. All cells have a requirement for glucose, but cancer cells consume as much as 4 to 5 times more glucose than normal, healthy cells. In fact, they’re unable to multiply rapidly without it.
- Sugar makes us stupid. The key to orderly brain function is glutamic acid, a vital compound directed by B vitamins. B vitamins are manufactured by symbiotic bacteria which live in our intestines. When refined sugar is taken daily, these bacteria wither and die, and our stock of B vitamins gets very low. Too much sugar and our ability to calculate and remember is lost.
- Sugar can elevate glucose and insulin responses in women who use oral contraceptives.
- Sugar can impair the structure of DNA.
One reason for everyone over 35 to avoid sugar: It is the most significant physical factor that accelerates aging. Call it the anti-fountain of youth. How? Sugar attaches itself to proteins and then forms new substances called advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). The higher the AGE levels, the faster we age. Sugar also produces free radicals which accelerate the aging process. And, rising blood sugar levels affect a part of the brain critical to learning and memory. It has been known that people who exercise don’t have as many cognitive problems as they age because exercise helps stabilize blood glucose levels. But new research confirmed that rising blood sugar is directly associated with decreased activity in the area of the brain’s hippocampus which controls memory and learning.
Where is refined sugar found? In the sugar bowl, the icing on the pastry, spaghetti sauce, candy, soda pop, flavored bottled waters, fruit juice, salad dressings, ketchup, in the coating on the French fries, baked beans, soups, cereals, cough syrup; these are obvious places. We also find it in some not so obvious places:
- MILK. Chances are better than 90% that the container of milk in your refrigerator is from the grocery store and it has been pasteurized and homogenized. Raw milk has sugar in the form of lactose which is absorbed slowly. In fact, drinking raw milk actually can reduce blood sugar levels. Heating milk however changes the lactose into beta lactose, an unnatural form of sugar which is absorbed very quickly, triggering a release of insulin. Pasteurized milk is mucus forming, raw is not.[14,15].
The thought of drinking milk straight from the cow probably horrifies you. “The germs will kill me!” you’ve been taught to think. Well, consider that for tens of thousands of years, that is exactly how mankind drank milk from animals. It wasn’t until people moved into the cities in the early 1900s that cows were shoved into confinement dairies with city filth and unnatural feed. “Sterilizing” milk seemed to have merit. But no longer. Since 1970, there are more documented cases of illness from pasteurized milk than from raw milk.
Dr. William Campbell Douglass wrote a book well worth reading entitled “The Milk Book” where he explains how pasteurization and homogenization creates a food with almost no positive nutritional value, and one high in a bad form of sugar. He also makes a compelling case that 80 years of pasteurized and homogenized milk set the stage for the rise in many chronic diseases we see today.
- BREADS, PASTAS & PASTRIES. Next time you see a hamburger, picture the meat patty sandwiched between two disks of sugar. Highly processed carbs like “enriched” breads (including hamburger buns) are so stripped of nutrients, fiber – anything that slows absorption – that the body processes them like sugar. Processed breads, etc., cause insulin levels to surge just as a candy bar would. So, think outside the bun and ask for that hamburger to be served on a plate please, with lettuce, onions and tomato on the side.
- LOW FAT FOODS. Fat gives taste. Remove the fat, and, well, the food is tasteless. So food manufacturers add sugar. Compare the labels for example as to sugar content on regular peanut butter with “low fat” peanut butter. There will be more sugar in the low fat version. Next, do the comparison with the low fat salad dressings. Low fat food will cause you to gain weight, not so much because of the calories in the extra sugar, but because of the insulin surge triggered. Also, without fat to give the stomach that “I’m satiated, I’m full” feeling, you want to eat more. Low fat foods can actually make you hungrier.
- ALMOST ALL MANUFACTURED FOOD. If you look on the label of almost any manufactured food, sugar appears somewhere in the list of ingredients. It may be called sugar, sucrose, glucose, galactose, or almost any other –ose, but it’s still sugar.
- NO SUGAR ADDED. The use of concentrated fruit juice is still another form of fructose (sugar).
All baby formulas contain added sugars; babies need the sugar to digest the proteins in cow’s milk or soy. Lactose as is the natural sugar in milk. Most organic brands use lactose extracted from organic milk, but global supply and demand has driven up the price. “Similac Organic” made headlines because it came out in 2006 using cane sugar, also called sucrose.
“I would be very concerned about this as a pediatrician,” said Dr. Benjamin Caballero, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and an expert in risk factors for childhood obesity. “The issue is that sweet tastes tend to encourage consumption of excessive amounts,” Dr. Caballero said. Evidence shows that babies and children will always show a preference for the sweetest food available, he said, and they will eat more of it than they would of less-sweet food.
In Europe, where sudden increases in childhood obesity are a pressing public health issue, sucrose-sweetened formulas will be banned by the end of 2009.
The Danish government has banned fortification – the addition of vitamins and minerals – of sugary breakfast foods so that manufacturers cannot appear to make sugary and fatty foods appear more healthy by merely sprinkling a few (usually synthetic) vitamins around.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Perhaps more ubiquitous in processed foods than refined sugar is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Although the industry’s television ads say it is natural, made from corn, and fine in moderation, experts strongly disagree. HFCS does not exist in nature, nor is it the fructose naturally found in fruits and honey. And the way it is used in so many products, most people far exceed moderate use.
Making HFCS requires a number of labor intensive steps, including high-velocity spinning and the introduction of three different enzymes to incite molecular rearrangements. The steps convert corn starch to glucose and then to fructose to form a clear, sweet syrup. Despite the lengthy process, it’s still cheaper than sugar because corn is such a highly subsided crop. Due to federal agribusiness subsidies, every dollar of profits earned by Archer Daniels Midland – the largest producer of HFCS – costs consumers $10 by some estimates. Of the $113.6 billion in taxpayer commodity subsidy payments distributed by the USDA between 1995 and 2004, corn drew $41.8 billion – more than cotton, soy, and rice combined. That leads people like author Michael Pollan to comment,
“You have high-fructose corn syrup showing up where sugar has never been – in bread, in pickles, in mayonnaise, in relish, in all these products – that they basically have found that if you sweeten anything, we will buy more of it. HFCS is a very convenient, cheap ingredient, because we subsidize the corn from which it’s made.”
And much of the corn from which HFCS is made is likely to be genetically modified. Additionally, two of the enzymes used to make the syrup – alpha-amylase and glucose-isomerase – are genetically modified (GM) to make them more stable at higher temperatures.
In 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine called for a moratorium on GM food, and mandatory labeling of GM food. The group said, “There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects.” The group’s White Paper cited numerous animal studies linking GM foods to altered structure and function of the liver, kidney, pancreas and spleen; decrease in infertility; an increase in asthma, allergy, and inflammation; and a difference in the way some 400 genes work that control protein synthesis and modification, cell signaling, cholesterol synthesis, and insulin regulation.
Since HFCS’s widespread introduction in the 1980′s, American obesity rates skyrocketed. The occurrence of new cases of type 2 diabetes has doubled over the past three decades. The rise in diabetes since 1980 is almost parallel to the increase in use of HFCS. The rise in diabetes since 1980 is almost parallel to the increase in use of HFCS. The percentage of overweight children in the United States has tripled since 1980.[21,22] Many people point the finger of blame at HFCS because it is in so many foods and beverages, and because the body must struggle to process it. The state of Florida even went so far as trying to ban HFCS from schools in 2006, but the legislation was never signed into law.
High fructose corn syrup is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar. HFCS blunts the body’s ability to recognize when it is full and increases a person’s appetite. The temporary spike of HFCS blocks the action of insulin, which typically regulates how body cells use and store sugar and other food nutrients for energy. There is a rise in uric acid in the bloodstream that occurs after fructose is consumed. If uric acid levels are frequently elevated, over time features of metabolic syndrome may develop, including high blood pressure, obesity and elevated blood cholesterol levels.
A key 2010 Princeton study found that when rats ate HFCS, they gained significantly more weight than those that ate table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same. And long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup led to abnormal increases in abdominal body fat, causing a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides and triggering risk factors for heart disease.
Researchers at Rutgers University discovered that beverages made with high fructose corn syrup contain high levels of reactive carbonyls, a free radical linked to tissue damage, the development of diabetes, and the occurrence of diabetes complications. A single can of soda contains about five times the concentration of reactive carbonyls than the concentration found in the blood of an adult person with diabetes.
HFCS also triggers the “browning reaction” where certain carbohydrate molecules bind with proteins and cause aging. It’s sometimes called the Maillard reaction. It changes the structure of enzymes and other proteins, resulting in tissue and organ damage. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, the browning reaction occurs with any sugar, but with fructose it happens seven times faster than it does with glucose.
As consumers learn more about HFCS, they are saying in surveys that they don’t want it. A 2007 International Food Information Council Foundation study found that 60 percent of American consumers said they were trying to consume less high fructose corn syrup. In January of 2009, consumers learned of another reason to avoid it – mercury. The scientific journal, Environmental Health, reported that nearly 50 percent of the commercial HFCS tested contained mercury, a neurotoxin. Products with mercury-laced HFCS included those by Quaker, Hershey’s, Kraft and Smucker’s. Mercury was most prevalent in HFCS-containing dairy products, followed by dressings and condiments. Consumption by teenagers can be up to 80 percent above average levels.
For decades, HFCS has been made using mercury-grade caustic soda produced in industrial chlorine (chlor-alkali) plants. While the FDA had evidence that commercial HFCS was contaminated with mercury four years ago, the agency did not inform consumers, help change industry practice, or conduct additional testing.
In 2009, researchers went looking for what has killed about one-third of the honey bees in the U.S. They looked at HFCS because it is fed to bees. They found that when HFCS is heated, it forms a toxin called hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). It is toxic to bees, and, studies in Sweden have linked HMF to DNA damage in humans. In addition, HMF breaks down in the body to other substances – daughter metabolites – potentially more harmful than the original substance.
High fructose corn syrup masquerades under the name crystalline fructose in Glaceau Vitamin Water and some energy drinks.
It pays to read labels.
As the American waistline enlarged, food producers came up with “no-calorie” sweeteners. A public relations war unmatched since the introduction of fluoride in city water supplies was begun.
Today, you can see the results of it fairly clearly.
Today, you’ll see endorsements for artificial sugars from various mainstream groups saying they are “considered ‘free foods’ because they don’t count as a carbohydrate, a fat or any other exchange.” Take for example the American Diabetes Association (ADA). This organization gives its endorsement to:
- Saccharin (Sweet’N Low)
- Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal)
- Acesulfame potassium (Sunett)
- Sucralose (Splenda)
The December 2006 issue of the ADA’s journal Diabetes has an article on a research study showing that an intake of 200 grams of sugar per day has no effect on insulin sensitivity.
Let’s look a bit behind the scenes
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) receives some of its funding from the aspartame manufacturers. So, too, do many medical journals which carry reports on the subject. The ADA’s corporate sponsors include Cadbury-Schweppes (the world’s largest candy maker), General Mills, Kraft Foods, and too many pharmaceutical companies to count. Conflicts of interest? That study which said there was no effect on insulin was conducted in 6 weeks time. Insulin sensitivity takes years to develop. And 13 people made up the study. Steven Hunter, lead researcher for the Belfast team, told Food Navigator USA, “Sugar has traditionally been linked to the development of diabetes. These findings challenge that thinking.” Does that sound like a valid study or a public relations ploy?
The ADA was founded in 1940 to provide “diabetes research, information and advocacy.” Since 1940 the number of people who have developed diabetes has skyrocketed. The effort does not sound very successful, does it? On their website, the ADA states the idea that eating sugar leads to Type II Diabetes is a myth. What does the ADA make of the September 2006 New York Times piece on how sugar is creating an epidemic of Type II Diabetes in India and around the world? The “sugar disease” they call it.
In November 2006, the New York Times front page questioned the ADA’s ethics. The organization took $23 million in 2005 from drug and food companies, especially food companies whose primary business is selling products high in calories. “Maybe the American Diabetes Association should rename itself the American Junk Food Association,” said Gary Ruskin, director of Commercial Alert, a consumer advocacy group.
Perhaps someone should inform the ADA that carbohydrates turn into sugar when digested.
It’s not just the ADA. Many of the so-called health organizations are beholden to corporate sponsors who are often big food and pharmaceutical companies. Public Relations or advertising masquerading as research keeps the messages confusing. People don’t know what change to make for the better, so they keep doing the same thing and that keeps the bottom line intact for the big food and pharmaceutical companies.
If the ADA won’t speak clearly about the dangers of refined sugar, it’s no wonder it endorses sugar substitutes.
Watch the full movie,
“Sweet Misery,” about
diet soda’s hidden secret.
The FDA has received more complaints about aspartame than any other food additive. Groups have demanded its recall. In 2006, the Ramazzini study – peer reviewed by 7 world experts – showed conclusively aspartame is a multipotential carcinogen causing leukemia, lymphoma, kidney cancer and cancer of the cranial peripheral nerves.
Dr. James Bowen recalls, “I was one of only two independent scientists who ever read the original aspartame toxicity studies from FDA files. They were done at only 1/1000th the legally requisite dose. In that minuscule dosage the rat brain cancer was the worst ever caused by any chemical ever tested at any dosage! When they marketed aspartame for soft drinks in 1983, the next six months saw a 10% jump in the US brain tumor rate, and also a 30% jump in the incidence of new cases of diabetes.”
Food and beverages containing phenylalanine, the major ingredient in aspartame, must be labeled due to the genetic disorder, phenylketonuria (PKU). People with this genetic disorder lack the enzyme needed to metabolize phenylalanine and therefore it accumulates in the body and, according to Dr. H. J. Roberts, can cause severe mental retardation.
Dr. H. J. Roberts has researched and written extensively about aspartame. He feels the so-called early-onset of Parkinson’s disease, Gulf War syndrome, and other neurological disorders are triggered by a generous consumption of diet soda.
Saccharin, cyclamate and acesulfame-K have all been shown to cause cancer in animals. For a time, the government required a label on saccharin, warning consumers that it could cause cancer.
The newest sugar substitute on the block is Splenda. To make Splenda, a molecule of sugar is chemically manipulated to accept three chlorine atoms. Natural sugar when turned into Splenda becomes a chlorocarbon, in the family of chlorodane, lindane and DDT. &”Splenda shares many similar characteristics to pesticides like DDT that can accumulate in your body fat and tissues,” warns Dr. Joseph Mercola. “It is impossible to predict the long-term consequences of ingesting this substance over many years. If you think that just because the FDA approved it, that it is safe … think again. I can assure you that it had far less review than Vioxx, which was approved by the FDA and that drug killed 55,000 people.”
In September 2008, James Turner, chairman of the national consumer education group Citizens for Health, publicized a report from scientists at Duke University. “Hundreds of consumers have complained to us about side effects from using Splenda and this study, published this past week in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part A, confirms that the chemicals in the little yellow package should carry a big red warning label,” said Turner.
Among the results in the study is evidence that, in the animals studied, Splenda reduces the amount of good bacteria in the intestines by 50%, increases the pH level in the intestines, contributes to increases in body weight and affects the P-glycoprotein (P-gp) in the body in such a way that crucial health-related drugs could be rejected. Turner noted that the P-gp effect “could result in crucial medications used in chemotherapy for cancer patients, AIDS treatment and drugs for heart conditions being shunted back into the intestines” rather than being absorbed by the body as intended.
“It is like putting a pesticide in your body,” Turner said. “A person eating two slices of cake and drinking two cups of coffee containing Splenda would ingest enough sucralose to affect the P-glycoprotein, while consuming just seven little Splenda packages reduces good bacteria.” The side effects occur after accumulated use. Turner also noted unmistakable evidence that Splenda is absorbed by fat, contrary to the claims of Johnson & Johnson. “The new study makes it clear that Splenda can cause you to gain weight and lose the benefits of medications designed to improve and protect your health,” he said. “The FDA should not continue to turn a blind eye to this health threat.”
On April 7, 2006, Citizens For Health filed a formal Petition with the FDA, demanding that the FDA revoke its approval of sucralose. The Federal Food and Drug Administration acknowledged receipt of the petition the day it was received, but has taken no action.
Refined sugar is the lesser of the evils.
To put it another way, if you must have a soda, don’t make it a diet soda. Remember that the typical 12-ounce can of soda pop has 10 teaspoons of sugar in it.
Fortunately, there are some safe sweeteners to choose from including stevia, lo-han, Just Like Sugar, and xylitol. For further reading on these sweeteners, see
Kicking the Sugar Habit
Stopping the sugar habit isn’t something most people can do cold turkey. Your best intentions can be defeated by sugar’s addictive impact on your brain.
In analyzing how rats react to sugar consumption, scientists have found similarities to the response to drugs like heroin and cocaine. When humans and rats eat sweets, their brain level of dopamine – a neurotransmitter that regulates reward and is at the heart of many addictive behaviors – increases.
If you have candida, it is almost impossible to kick the sugar habit until you knock down the fungus. Saying no to sugar when you have a candida overgrowth is like trying to put out a raging fire with a squirt gun.
If you want to give yourself a new lease on life without sugar, work with us to help you navigate the very real obstacles to quitting.
 Sugar Blues, by William Dufty, © 1975
 N.R. Kleinfield, “Modern Ways Open India’s Doors to Diabetes,” New York Times, September 13, 2006
 Gluconeogenesis in Very Low Birth Weight Infants Receiving Total Parenteral Nutrition. Diabetes, 1999 Apr;48(4):791-800.
 Sanchez, A., et al. Role of Sugars in Human Neutrophilic Phagocytosis, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Nov 1973;261:1180_1184. Also, Bernstein, J., al, Depression of Lymphocyte Transformation Following Oral Glucose Ingestion, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.1997;30:613
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 Quillin, Patrick. Cancer’s Sweet Tooth, Nutrition Science News. Ap 2000 Rothkopf, M.. Nutrition. July/Aug 1990;6(4).
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 Small, S.A., Annals of Neurology, December 2008, 64, 698-706
 Dr. William Campbell Douglass, Real Health Breakthroughs, March 2006 newsletter and The Milk Book-The Milk of Human Kindness is not Pasteurized, © 2003, page 42
 Armchair Science, London, April 1938
 Dr. William Campbell Douglass. The Milk Book-The Milk of Human Kindness is Not Pasteurized. 2003
 Julia Moskin, For an All-Organic Formula, Baby, That’s Sweet, New York Times, May 19, 2008
 May 14, 2009 interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, accessed at http://www.democracynow.org/2009/5/14/omnivores_dilemma_author_michael_pollans_new
 Fox, Caroline S; Pencina, Michael J. et al. Trends in the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus From the 1970s to the 1990s: The Framingham Heart Study. Circulation, Jun 2006; 113: 2914 – 2918.  Bray, G; Nielsen, SJ; Popkin B. Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2004; Vol. 79, No. 4, 537-543
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 Ogden CL, Carroll MD, et al. Prevalence of high body mass index in US children and adolescents, 2007–2008. JAMA, January 13, 2010;303(3):242–9.
 Bocarsly ME, Powell ES et al. High-fructose corn syrup causes characteristics of obesity in rats: Increased body weight, body fat and triglyceride levels. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. February 26, 2010
 Soda Warning? High-Fructose Corn Syrup Linked To Diabetes, New Study Suggests. Science Daily. August 23, 2007
 Sanda, Bill. The Double Danger of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts. Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2003.
 B LeBlanc, G Eggleston et al. Formation of hydroxymethylfurfural in domestic high fructose corn syrup and its toxicity to the honey bee (Apis mellifera), Journal of Agriculture and Food Science, 2009, 57, 736907376, DOI: 10.1021/jf9014526
 LJ Durling, L Busk, BE Hellman. Evaluation of the DNA damaging effect of the heat-induced food toxicant 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) in various cell lines with different activities of sulfotransferases. Food Chem Toxocology, January 20, 2009.
 Black RN, Spence M. Effect of Eucaloric High- and Low-Sucrose Diets With Identical Macronutrient Profile on Insulin Resistance and Vascular Risk. Diabetes, Vol. 55, No. 12, December 2006.
 Kleinfield, NR. Modern Ways Open India’s Doors to Diabetes. New York Times, September 13, 2006
 Santora, Marc. In Diabetes Fight, Raising Cash and Keeping Trust. New York Times, November 25, 2006
 www.dorway.com Also see the documentary “Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World,” available at amazon.com
 Abou-Donia, M; El-Masry E et al. Splenda alters gut microflora and increases intestinal p-glycoprotein and cytochrome p-450 in male rats, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. Part A, January 2008;71(21):1415-29.
The New York City Health Department launched a new ad campaign in September 2009, targeting liquid calories. In an attempt to get New Yorkers to think twice about what and how much they drink, the ads go right for the gross-out effect, showing soda and other sugary drinks turning into revolting frothy chunks of fat.
The press release says, “It’s hard to overeat without noticing it. By contrast, soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages can sneak up on you, adding hundreds of calories to your diet each day without ever filling you up. In a new effort to highlight the health impact of sweetened drinks, the Health Department is confronting New Yorkers with a bold question: Are you pouring on the pounds? The agency’s new public-awareness campaign includes posters in the subway system and a multilingual Health Bulletin.” The ads are scheduled to run for three months.
The campaign’s signature image – in which a bottle of soda, “sports” drink or sweetened iced tea turns to a blob of fat as it reaches the glass – is a stark reminder of how these products can lead to obesity and related health problems. The ads urge New Yorkers to cut back on sugary beverages and quench their thirst with water, seltzer or low-fat milk instead. Many people may stir a teaspoon or two of sugar into their coffee, but few realize that a 20-ounce bottle of soda can contain 16 ½ teaspoons of sugar.
“Sugary drinks shouldn’t be a part of our everyday diet,” said New York City Health Commissioner Thomas A. Farley. “Drinking beverages loaded with sugars increases the risk of obesity and associated problems, particularly diabetes but also heart disease, stroke, arthritis and cancer.”
On average, Americans now consume 200 to 300 more calories each day than we did 30 years ago. Nearly half of these extra calories come from sugar-sweetened drinks. When Health Department researchers surveyed adult New Yorkers about their consumption of soda and other sweetened drinks, the findings showed that more than 2 million drink at least one sugar-sweetened soda or other sweetened beverage each day – at as much as 250 calories a pop.
Rethink Your Drink
It’s no secret that soft drinks have gotten bigger over the years. Soda used to come in 6.5-ounce bottles. Today, 12-ounce cans are considered small and 20-ounce bottles are typical. A single super-sized soda can pack as many calories as three to four regular cans of soda.
Fruit juice is more nutritious than soda, and rarely consumed in such large portions, but it is just as rich in calories. Whole fruit has fewer calories and has plenty of fiber.
The NYC Health Department advises parents not to serve their kids punch, fruit-flavored drinks or “sports” and “energy” drinks. Most of them are low in nutrients and high in empty calories. The best way to stay hydrated while exercising is to drink water. Coffee and tea drinks also pack more calories than many consumers realize. New Yorkers are often surprised when they see how many calories are listed on menu boards for these popular drinks.
The Health Department recommends these simple strategies to avoid pouring on the pounds: If you drink coffee or tea, order it plain and flavor it yourself. If you order a sugar-sweetened beverage, ask for a “small.” When you shop for beverages, read the labels and choose products with fewer than 25 calories per 8-ounce serving. And if you enjoy sugar-sweetened beverages, make them an occasional treat and not a daily staple.
“When people count calories, they too often forget to include the liquid ones, said Cathy Nonas, director of the NYC Health Department’s Physical Activity and Nutrition Programs. “We need to start thinking of the sugar in sweetened drinks as unwanted, wasted calories. These calories provide no nutritional benefits and can lead to weight gain. Water and other zero-calorie beverages are a better choice.”
Soda and sweetened beverages are often the most common source of young people’s sugar intake. The average teenage male drinks an estimated 868 cans of soda pop each year. Overall, Americans are consuming twice as much soda pop as they did 25 years ago. And they’re spending $54 billion a year on it. That’s twice what we spend on books.
Soda is the subject of bans at schools and higher sales taxes for good reason, not just for the sugar content.
Weak Bones and Mineral Loss and Free Radicals
Soda drinkers are less likely to get sufficient vitamin A, calcium, or magnesium. Sugar depletes magnesium, and the high levels of phosphoric acid in soft drinks can combine with calcium and magnesium in the gut to cause a loss of these vital minerals.
Doctors are now seeing young people engaged in sports break their femur – also known as the thigh bone and the strongest bone in the human body – and some are questioning if the phosphorus in soda pop has weakened the bones more than anyone expected. Phosphoric acid gives that tangy aftertaste. Ever used Naval Jelly for removing rust? That’s phosphoric acid at work. There is some research suggesting cola consumption increases the amount of calcium measured in urine, meaning cola triggers calcium leaching out of bone.
Researchers at Rutgers University discovered in 2007 that beverages made with high fructose corn syrup contain high levels of reactive carbonyls, a free radical linked to tissue damage, the development of diabetes, and the occurrence of diabetes complications. Reactive carbonyls are elevated in the blood of individuals with diabetes and linked to the complications of that disease. Eating fructose can block the ability of insulin to regulate how body cells use and store sugar and other nutrients for energy, leading to obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
The Plastic Connection
A chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) is used to make plastics hard, and in 2008, Health Canada banned it from baby products. News reports prompted many people to trade in their polycarbonate #7 water bottles for glass, stainless steel, or “BPA-free” plastics. However, maximum exposure to BPA is thought to come from the linings of canned food, especially acidic foods like soda pop and tomato sauce.
Both Coca-Cola and Pepsi officials use BPA in the epoxy resin linings of their soda cans.
Evidence is accumulating that ongoing exposure to BPA might be contributing to a boatload of medical maladies. Effects at even low BPA exposure appear to include: prostate cancer, breast cancer, early puberty onset, alterations in gender-specific behavior, decreased sperm count, effects on fertility, effects on obesity and insulin resistance, behavioral issues including hyperactivity, increased aggressiveness, impaired learning and others. BPA mimics naturally occurring estrogen, a hormone that is part of the endocrine system, the body’s finely tuned messaging service.
The Endocrine Society concluded in 2009 that because of BPA’s hormonal action at trace levels, there may be no safe level of exposure.
University of Missouri biologist Fred Vom Saal explains the concern:
“It’s like putting a time bomb into the organs of your baby that later on in life are going to cause those organs to malfunction.”
Ninety-five percent of Americans were found to have BPA in their urine in a 2004 biomonitoring study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Southampton Study – Food Colorings and Hyperactivity
A much anticipated British study came out in September, 2007, looking at whether the colored dyes added to so many soft drinks, fruit drinks, and junk food, trigger hyperactivity in children. The connection has been suspected for decades.
Scientists from Southampton University tested more than 300 children, aged 3 and 8, by giving them fruit drinks containing a common mixture of food colorings and preservatives (sodium benzoate).
This was a double-blind-placebo-control study; the mixtures were designed to reflect what a typical child might eat in the course of a normal day. It is the largest trial of its kind to date.
Results clearly demonstrated an increase in hyperactivity. Most importantly, the study confirmed deterioration in behavior occurs in children in the general population, not just in those identified as suffering from hyperactivity.
As reported in one of Britain’s largest newspapers, The Guardian, September 6, 2007:
“Parents are to be warned of the dangers of giving their young children drinks, sweets and cakes containing specified artificial additives, as a result of new findings being made public for the first time today which confirm their link with hyperactivity and disruptive behaviour. “The government’s Food Standards Agency is taking the significant step of issuing revised guidance to consumers recommending that they steer clear of products containing certain E-numbers if their children are showing signs of hyperactivity or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD). “The release of the new public health advice follows the results of the biggest UK study into the links between hyper-activity and chemical food additives, which was commissioned by the government and published today in the medical journal The Lancet.
“But the move has confounded experts and health campaigners, who say the government had missed an opportunity to take a tougher line by banning the additives completely instead of placing a huge burden on parents. Adults are being advised to check for additives by scrutinising labels, yet many sweets and cakes are sold loose without labels, as is ice cream.
“… Professor Jim Stevenson, who headed the Southampton study, said: “We now have clear evidence that mixtures of certain food colours and benzoate preservative can adversely influence the behaviour of children…”
“Dr Andrew Wadge, the FSA’s chief scientist, said: “We have revised our advice to consumers: if a child shows signs of hyperactivity or AD/HD then eliminating the colours used in the Southampton study from their diet might have some beneficial effects.” “A spokesman for the Hyperactive Children’s Support Group said: “This research confirms what many of us have known for 30 years. But we seriously question the implementation of the new advice. Is it practical to expect parents to quiz headteachers about additives in school meals, or to ask parents about the contents of party bags?”
Other concerned parties were quick to pile on:
“… Such additives are derived from industrial textile dyes and are used entirely for cosmetic purposes; to make junk food appealing. These additives are completely unnecessary and are banned under organic standards. … The FSA’s reaction is totally inadequate. It is surely time for the agency to take a lead role in addressing this issue through new policies to prevent the use of food additives unless they are required for food-safety reasons.
“As with the issues of pesticide residues and genetically modified food, the FSA is still giving the benefit of the doubt to the food industry over artificial food ingredients, even when there are rising public health concerns.”
Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, also chimed in:
“The overwhelming majority of our additive intake today has been part of the diet of humans for generations: yeast, salt, sugar, baking powder. But thousands of other additives, derived from both natural and synthetic sources, have recently become commonplace in western eating. What are these substances doing to our bodies and our minds? We are just beginning to find out. …
“The packaged food industry and the fast food industry are dependent on the use of such additives to prevent spoilage, to allow the transport of products long distances, and to maintain uniformity. Any finding that such additives pose a threat to human health will threaten the financial health of these industries. And that is why so few large-scale studies have been conducted. The absence of adequate information greatly benefits the producers of industrial food. In the United States there is an extremely cozy relationship between the food industry and the government agencies that are ostensibly regulating it.”
Back in the United States, the Feingold Association, an advocacy group concerned with children and diet, reminded its members that food colorings are not just in soda and fruit drinks:
“Children also consume food dye in their toothpaste, their shampoo (through the scalp), their hand lotion (through their skin), their cereal, their juice drinks, their mac ‘n cheese, etc. In fact, in 1977 the National Academy of Sciences did a huge study on 12,000 people and determined that most people in the United States eat up to an average of 317 mg of food dyes per day. The amount children in the UK consume is likely to be close to that.
“As far as we know, the reason that they did not use BHA, BHT, or TBHQ, is that these preservatives have already been removed from most food for children in the UK. Possibly, therefore, the children consume much more sodium benzoate than American children.
A Norwegian study in 2006 showed that teenagers who drank the most soda (an average of four or more glasses a day) scored highest on measures of behavioral difficulties, hyperactivity, mental distress and overall mental health problems. The researchers pointed out that children with high soda consumption are more likely to skip meals and eat less nutrient-dense foods than children with lower consumption, thus making them more likely to develop nutritional deficiencies. “These findings make a strong comment about the need to make soft drinks less available in schools, homes and events for kids,” said lead researcher Lars Lien. “Together with all the other compelling evidence of detrimental effects of sugar, I think the evidence from this study strengthens the call to make changes as a society.”
Preservatives and DNA Damage
Sodium benzoate is a preservative. It prevents mold and thereby gives a product a long shelf life. Because so many food “products” are no longer fresh, preservatives are widely used in the processed food industry. It is most often found in soft drinks, vinegar, and mouthwash.
Sodium benzoate has already been the subject of concern about cancer. When mixed with the additive vitamin C in soft drinks, it forms benzene, a carcinogenic substance. Benzene damages bone marrow and can cause anemia because of a decrease in red blood cells. It can also cause excessive bleeding and depress the immune system. Surveys have found unlawfully high levels of benzene in some soft drink brands.
Professor Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology and biotechnology at Sheffield University, rang a loud warning bell about it in 2007. He tested the impact of sodium benzoate on living yeast cells in his laboratory. What he found alarmed him: the benzoate was damaging an important area of DNA in the “power station” of cells known as the mitochondria.
“These chemicals have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it: they knock it out altogether. The mitochondria consumes the oxygen to give you energy and if you damage it – as happens in a number if diseased states – then the cell starts to malfunction very seriously. And there is a whole array of diseases that are now being tied to damage to this DNA – Parkinson’s and quite a lot of neuro-degenerative diseases, but above all the whole process of ageing. The food industry will say these compounds have been tested and they are completely safe. By the criteria of modern safety testing, the safety tests were inadequate. Like all things, safety testing moves forward and you can conduct a much more rigorous safety test than you could 50 years ago.”[12,13]
Food colorings in soft drinks are there solely for cosmetic reasons – they make the product look appealing.
A large, non-industry sponsored study published in 2010 found that people who had a sugary drink or two a day, compared to people who one sugary drink a month, had a 26 percent increased risk of diabetes, and a 20 percent increased risk of metabolic syndrome.
When researchers adjusted for body mass, those numbers fell – but only by about half, which means even slim people can get diabetes if they regularly consume sugary drinks: soda, sweetened tea, sports drinks, “juice” drinks, vitamin waters, and “energy” drinks.
In fact, drinking just one 12-ounce serving of soda per day increased a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes by about 15%.
This meta-analysis pooled data from 11 studies that involved more than 300,000 participants who were followed from four to 20 years.
“What’s really important is a very clear, significant positive association with the risk of type 2 diabetes,” said researcher Vasanti Malik, ScD, a fellow in the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health. “There are a lot of factors that contribute to type 2 diabetes, but this is one modifiable factor that would be very easy for people to change.”
The kinds of drinks or the kinds of sugar – sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, or fruit juice concentrates – were not studied separately, but the authors say their metabolic effects are essentially the same. A 100 percent juice drink is not considered sugar-sweetened.
The American Beverage Association disputed the study’s results. “It is overly simplistic, and simply misleading, to suggest that reducing or eliminating sugar-sweetened beverages from the diet will uniquely lower incidence of serious health conditions such as diabetes or metabolic syndrome,” Dr. Maureen Storey, senior vice president for science policy for the American Beverage Association, said. “There is a critical flaw in the design of this meta-analysis in that the authors focus solely on the impact of one calorie source – sugar-sweetened beverages – on weight, rather than looking at all sources of calories.”
Malik said the individual studies accounted for known differences between the two groups of people that might explain the different rates of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
“Sure, people who drink soda tend to be less physically active, they might eat more saturated fat,” she said. But even after the researchers accounted for weight differences, the association between sweetened drinks and diabetes persisted, she said.
As word starts to reach the mainstream about the negative health affects of soda, more people are turning to “flavored water” which is seen by the global drinks industry as the latest “super-product.”
“This is the beginning of the end for colas,” said Mark Ritson, a marketing professor at the Melbourne Business School. “And Coca-Cola knows it. … All beverage companies are desperately getting into this market. They are offering a sweeter, ‘better’ alternative to water.” 
Perceptually, flavored waters seem healthier than soda. But consumer beware: they are usually loaded with sugar and problematic additives.
A study by a group of British dentists into the corrosive effects of flavored sparkling water drinks was published in the International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry in 2007.
” ‘We are seeing an increase in children with tooth tissue loss associated with erosion,’ says Catriona Brown, a consultant paediatric dentist at the Birmingham Dental Hospital. Although the group looked at flavoured sparkling waters – carbonated water contributes more to erosion than still water – it wasn’t the carbonation that caused the biggest problem with erosion, but the fruit flavouring and acids, such as citric and malic acid, that were added to the drinks. ‘We were surprised at how low the pH we found was,’ says Dr Brown. (The lower the pH, the more acidic something is.) Different flavourings made a difference, the dentists found – the worst was lemon-and-lime flavouring. ‘But they all showed acidic tendency,’ says Brown. ‘There is an indication that these drinks are potentially erosive and people should recognise that.’ “
Diet Sodas Are Anything But
The worst choice among the offerings in the soda pop shelves is the diet soda. “But I don’t want to gain weight,” you say. Think again. Diet sodas actually contribute to weight gain. This is a prime example of the triumph of marketing over knowledge.
The findings of eight years of solid research on diet soda and weight gain was reported to the American Diabetes Association at its annual meeting in 2005.
Sharon P. Fowler, MPH, and colleagues at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, looked at eight years of data from 1,550 people aged 25 to 64. “What didn’t surprise us was that total soft drink use was linked to overweight and obesity,” Fowler reported. “What was surprising was when we looked at people only drinking diet soft drinks, their risk of obesity was even higher. There was a 41 percent increase in risk of being overweight for every can or bottle of diet soft drink a person consumes each day.”
A Purdue University study released in 2008 reported that rats on diets containing the artificial sweetener saccharin gained more weight than rats given sugary food. The rats appeared to experience a physiological connection between sweet tastes and calories, which drove them to overeat.
Other researchers have found that any kind of sweet taste signals body cells to store carbohydrates and fats, which in turn causes the body to crave more food.
Sweet tastes promote the release of insulin, which blocks the body’s ability to burn fat. This is an adaptive response, because for millions of years sweet tastes have meant that blood glucose levels are about to rise, and when there is excess sugar, it ought to be stored for times when food is not readily available. Artificial sweeteners have the same effect on insulin: sweet diet drinks will increase insulin and thus the storage of fat. In diet sodas though, no sugar is provided by the beverage, so the consumer stores away glucose already present in the blood. Now that glucose is not available for energy. Blood sugar takes a dive, the person likely feels lethargic, and then feelings of hunger kick in. The consumer eats more, and gains weight. The consumer may reach for another diet soda or even a candy bar to get that pick-me-up feeling.
No published study has demonstrated that drinking diet soda will cause a person to lose weight.
There are a few other bad actors at work too. Diet soda often contains sodium, which exacerbates thirst. Caffeine is often added to provide that sugar rush – you are trading a sugar high for a caffeine buzz. But the complications of caffeine consumption and addiction are well documented – fatigue due to adrenal exhaustion, insomnia, chronic anxiety, hormonal imbalance, etc.
Watch the full movie,
“Sweet Misery,” about
diet soda’s hidden secret.
Aspartame and Splenda
Perhaps most importantly, diet soda contains a synthetic sweetener, most likely aspartame or Splenda.
One 12 ounce diet soda contains about 180 mg of aspartame, or 15 mg of aspartame per ounce, which equals approximately 4 and a half packets of NutraSweet.
In 1991 the National Institutes of Health listed 167 possible side-effect symptoms of aspartame. It is in soda pop, over the counter medicines, chewing gum, breath strips and many more edible products. The FDA receives more complaints about aspartame than any other food additive. But it has never been banned. The reasons for that lay in a tangled web of politics and money woven throughout the history of aspartame approval.
At the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine, we order pure aspartame with which to make antigens. Note on the far right of the label – “WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.” (click image to enlarge)
Unfortunately, all the current attention on obesity has caused many people to think that diet sodas are a better alternative than regular soda. Even the William J. Clinton Foundation has recommended diet soda as an alternative in schools. Unfortunately, this is an uninformed approach, given the well-documented dangers of sugar substitutes.
For those of us who live in hot climates like Arizona, diet sodas may present a special danger if they have been exposed to hot temperatures, such as sitting outside the back door of a convenience store in summer. There is some evidence that storing diet soda in elevated temperatures promotes rapid deterioration of aspartame into poisonous methyl alcohol (methanol) as well as formic acid and a brain tumor agent called diketopiperazine (DKP). Methanol is better known as wood alcohol, a deadly poison. According to the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network, when ingested, methanol breaks down into formaldehyde which is “known to cause cancer, accumulating slowly without detection in the body.”
Methanol is a deadly poison that can cause serious tissue damage. Some of the symptoms of methanol poisoning are headaches; numbness of the arms, hands, legs, or feet; dizziness; depression; blurred vision; nausea; and stomach pain. The body lacks the specific enzymes necessary to detoxify it. A 12 ounce aspartame-sweetener soft drink is said to have about 10 mg of methanol.
Dr. H. J. Roberts, a physician and renowned aspartame researcher, explains that when the amino acids in aspartame are consumed in their natural state in foods, they are digested and released into the bloodstream slowly, buffered and balanced by other amino acids. However, especially when aspartame is consumed in beverages, the body is suddenly flooded with phenylalanine and aspartic acid, which can cross into the brain unimpeded and cause significant disturbances. Dr. Richard Wurtman, Professor of Neuroendocrinology at MIT, notes that an adult drinking four to five aspartame-sweetened soft drinks a day is getting enough phenylalanine into the brain to disrupt neurotransmitter function, which can produce can produce depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, headaches, high blood pressure, increased appetite and possibly seizures.
Sandra Cabot, MD, author and international lecturer, explains it this way:
“When you ingest the toxic chemical aspartame, it is absorbed from the intestines and passes immediately to the liver where it is taken inside the liver via the liver filter. The liver then breaks down (metabolizes) aspartame to its toxic components-phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol. This process requires a lot of energy from the liver making less energy available for fat burning and metabolism, which will result in fat storing and elevated blood sugar levels. Excess fat may build up inside the liver cells causing ‘fatty liver’ and when this starts to occur it is extremely difficult to lose weight. In my vast experience any time that you overload the liver you will increase the tendency to gain weight easily. … The Trocho Study in Barcelona (l998) showed that the formaldehyde converted from the free methyl alcohol accumulates in the cells and damages DNA with most toxicity in the liver but substantial toxicity in the adipose tissue (fat cells). … So as far as product liability is concerned, you have companies selling an excitoneurotoxic carcinogenic drug to the population as a sugarfree diet product knowing full well this government-approved artificial sweetener is actually causing the obesity it’s marketeers claim to be preventing. They also know that aspartame is addictive and that the methanol component is classified as a narcotic.”
Dr. Morando Soffritti, received the Irving J. Selikoff Award in April, 2007 for outstanding contributions to the identification of environmental and industrial carcinogens
Dr. Morando Soffritti and researchers at Italy’s Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences performed several studies on aspartame. One study was conducted for 36 months using 1,800 rats. It concluded that aspartame is a multipotential carcinogen, with effects evident even at a daily dose of 20 mg/kg bw. Cancers produced included leukemia, lymphoma, kidney, and cranial peripheral nerves. This prodigious work was peer reviewed. Most recently, researchers gave aspartame to pregnant rats and to their offspring. Researchers found that after the dose was adjusted for the smaller body weights of the rats, there was a slightly increased risk of cancer among those rats which were given about 40 percent of what the FDA has deemed a maximum accepted daily dose of aspartame. And when life-span exposure to aspartame begins during fetal life, its carcinogenic effects are increased. 
These studies were done on rats, but suggest a danger to unborn babies and especially to children, including the newly identified risk of breast cancer as the child ages. Dr. Philip Landrigan, Chairman of Community and Environmental Medicine at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, says, “Exposures occurred at relatively low doses. If a 20 kg child drinks two cans of diet soda a day the child is bringing into his body a 400 mg of aspartame. Just two cans of drink we’re already exposing the child to a biologically significant dose. Parents of young children should think very, very carefully about giving drinks and other foods to their children that are sweetened with aspartame and for that matter other artificial sweeteners.”
With little fanfare, Ajinomoto, the Japanese company that makes aspartame, announced in 2010 the sweetener would now be called “AminoSweet.” The company said, “the name AminoSweet is appealing and memorable.”
As public awareness grew that aspartame is dangerous, a new artifical sweetener, Splenda, began to replace aspartame as the “sugar-free” additive of choice in soda pop.
Dr. James Bowen, researcher and biochemist, has reported:
“Splenda/sucralose is simply chlorinated sugar; a chlorocarbon. Common chlorocarbons include carbon tetrachloride, trichlorethelene and methylene chloride, all deadly. Chlorine is nature’s Doberman attack dog, a highly excitable, ferocious atomic element employed as a biocide in bleach, disinfectants, insecticide, WWI poison gas and hydrochloric acid. In test animals Splenda produced swollen livers, as do all chlorocarbon poisons, and also calcified the kidneys of test animals in toxicity studies. Chlorocarbon poisoning can cause cancer, birth defects, and immune system destruction.”
Can Diet Soda Cause Heart Attacks?
Research presented at the 2011 American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference concluded there could negative consequences associated with consuming too many sugar substitutes.
“This study suggests that diet soda is not an optimal substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages, and may be associated with a greater risk of stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death than regular soda,” the researchers said. This is the first time diet soda has been officially linked to vascular events.
Some critics argued that since the participants voluntarily reported how much diet soda they consumed, the results did not come from a rigorously controlled setting.
“There is no scientific evidence to support the idea that diet soda uniquely causes increased risk of vascular events or stroke,” said Dr. Maureen Storey, senior vice president of science policy for the American Beverage Association. Storey pointed out that this information comes from a research paper abstract presented at a conference, and was not in a study reviewed for publication by experts in the field. Also, the study authors did not control for weight gain or for family history of stroke.
The study did not say what exactly about diet soda may be responsible for heart disease. Enough associations lead one to suspect a causative association, but cause and effect are definitely tricky to prove. Some experts point to aspartame as being the problem. Dr. H. J. Roberts has said that aspartame causes an irregular heart rhythm and interacts with all cardiac medications. He says it damages the cardiac conduction system and can cause sudden death. He says aspartame also can be responsible for “numerous misdiagnoses include arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.”[26,27]
A 2007 study in the American Heart Association journal Circulation looked at more than 6,000 healthy people, who showed no signs of metabolic syndrome, and then followed up. After four years, 53 percent of people who drank an average of one or more soft drinks per day developed metabolic syndrome. Those who drank one or more diet soft drinks a day were at a 44 percent higher risk. Metabolic syndrome is often a forerunner of heart disease.
The American Beverage Association disputed the study’s results, saying that the study proves no link between soft drinks and increased risk of heart disease.
Benzene and Pesticides
Exposing soft drinks to heat can also raise levels of benzene. This chemical has been identified as a Class A carcinogenic by the Environmental Protection Agency causing both acute and chronic health effects. Its use as an additive in gasoline is now limited, but it is an important industrial solvent and precursor in the production of drugs, plastics, synthetic rubber, and dyes.
Many who served in the Gulf War drank diet sodas that had been exposed to hot temperatures in Kuwait and Iraq; questions have been raised whether soda pop played a role in the sickness called Gulf War Syndrome that plagued so many returning vets.
And in related news, there may be more chemicals in that aluminum can of soda than one would think. The sale of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo soft drinks have been banned in parts of India because the beverages contained pesticide residues more than 20 times the “acceptable” amounts.
Common sense tells you there is a problem with diet foods. Despite how much of them America has consumed in the last 15 years, obesity has become epidemic. Read the labels on so-called “health food” bars and you will find they too are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners. The belief that these bars and diet sodas are healthy for you demonstrates how clearly marketing hype dictates what people are willing to believe.
Teens Consume Twice as Much ‘Liquid Candy’ as Milk
Sodas represent a mixed bag of problems – the sugar, caffeine, acid, preservatives, food colors, empty calories. But let’s look a little more broadly at how they can undermine health. Researchers often suggest that soda use is indicative of an overall pattern of poor food choices. And that can show up in many different ways. One child many be diagnosed with AD/HD when she is actually suffering from severe nutritional imbalances that demand nutrient dense food. Another child may break his femur on the soccer field.
Dr. Bess Dawson-Hughes, a bone-disease expert at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, said, “I’m particularly concerned about teenage girls. Most girls have inadequate calcium intakes, which makes them candidates for osteoporosis when they’re older and may increase their risk for broken bones today.”
Truth is, soda is bad news, no matter how you look at it. Consumer beware.
So, where does that leave parents who want to break their kids of the soda habit? With an easy alternative! Use club soda; it is inexpensive, effervescent and does not have the sugar of tonic water. Then add some fruit juice for taste – this is like making a fruit-flavored sparkling water. A member of the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine staff successfully switched her kids over years ago to club soda with freshly squeezed citrus – you can always find fresh citrus at the grocery store. When you use lemon or lime, if it tastes a bit too tart, add a few drops of stevia or xylitol to taste, to balance the tartness with a little sweetness. Stevia and xylitol are truly natural sweeteners that do not spike insulin levels like refined table sugar, and do not have the dangerous make-up of the synthetic sweeteners.
The press release from the University of Southampton can be found athttp://www.soton.ac.uk/mediacentre/news/2007/sep/07_99.shtml
The Southampton published study in its entirety can be found at
McCann, Barrett, Cooper, et al; Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial The Lancet DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61306-3
 Center for Science in the Public Interest, Liquid Candy
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 Eric Schlosser, The Guardian, September 6, 2007
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 Lars Lien, MD, MSc, Nanna Lien, PhD, et al; Consumption of Soft Drinks and Hyperactivity, Mental Distress, and Conduct Problems Among Adolescents in Oslo, Norway, American Journal of Public Health, October 2006, Vol 96, No. 10
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 Martin Hickman, Caution: Some soft drinks may seriously harm your health, The Independent, May 27, 2007
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 News Release. American Beverage Association Statement on Diabetes Care Paper. October 27, 2010
 Emine Saner, The new formula for H20, The Guardian, July 11, 2007
 Fowler, S.P. 65th Annual Scientific Sessions, American Diabetes Association, San Diego, June 10-14, 2005; Abstract 1058-P. Sharon P. Fowler, MPH, University of Texas Health Science Center School of Medicine, San Antonio.
 S.E. Swithers, T.L. Davidson. A Role for Sweet Taste: Calorie Predictive Relations in Energy Regulation by Rats. Behavioral Neuroscience. February 2008, Volume 122, Number 1, doi: 10.1037/0735-7044.00.0.000
 Lim, Unhee; Subar, Amy. Consumption of Aspartame-Containing Beverages and Incidence of Hematopoietic and Brain Malignancies. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. September 2006;15(9):1654–9
 Position statement from Sandra Cabot, MD, of Mission Possible, Australia, posted at http://www.dorway.com/missionpossiblemain2.html, Accessed July 2007
 Morando Soffritti, Fiorella Belpoggi, et all; First Experimental Demonstration of the Multipotential Carcinogenic Effects of Aspartame Administered in the Feed to Sprague-Dawley Rats, Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 114, Number 3, March 2006 And, Morando Soffritti, Fiorella Belpoggi, et al; Life-Span Exposure to Low Doses of Aspartame Beginning during Prenatal Life Increases Cancer Effects in Rats , Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 115, Number 9, September 2007
 James Bowen, M.D., The Lethal Science of Splenda, May 2005, accessed at http://www.wnho.net/splenda_chlorocarbon.htm
 Amy Rolph. A diet-soda stroke? Study says zero-calories equals risk. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. February 10, 2011
 Press Release. There is no scientific evidence to support the idea that diet soda uniquely causes increased risk of vascular events or stroke. American Beverage Association. February 9, 2011
 Roberts HJ. Reactions to aspartame containing products: 551 cases. J Appl Nutr. l988;40:86-94
 Roberts HJ. Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic. West Palm Beach, Sunshine Sentinel Press, 2001
 Dhingra R, Sullivan L et al. Soft drink consumption and risk of developing cardiometabolic syndrome on middle-aged adults in the community. Circulation. 2007;116:480-488
 Diet, sugary sodas alike linked to heart disease factors. CNN. July 24, 2007
 Press release. Liquid Candy. Center for Science in the Public Interest. October 21, 1998
These two foods get a boatload of press these days. But consumer beware: Many times reporters and “nutrition experts” repeat the same old mantra over and over. For years you heard eggs were bad, then the experts changed their mind. For years they said a high carbohydrate diet was good, then it was bad. And so on. Doesn’t anyone really know? Yes, but it is hard to cut through all the marketing hype.
Machete in hand, lets get down to what you need to know about red meat and salmon.
Salmon is supposedly chock-full of healthy omega-3s, and you can’t eat enough of it. Right?
Most of the salmon you get in restaurants is farmed because it is cheaper than wild caught. Since September 2004, U.S. supermarkets have been required to label salmon as farmed or wild. Many supermarkets carry just farmed salmon because the wild caught can cost $20 a pound or more.
What are you getting when eat farmed salmon?
- In 2003, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a report demonstrating the dangers of higher levels of PCBs in farmed salmon compared to wild salmon. When farmed salmon samples from U.S. grocery stores were tested, the farmed salmon was found to contain 16 times the PCBs found in wild salmon, 4 times the levels in beef, and 3.4 times the levels found in other seafood. Other studies done in Canada, Ireland and Britain have produced similar findings. EWG warned that farmed salmon pose an increased risk for cancer.1 PCBs are persistent, cancer-causing chemicals that were banned in the United States in 1976. They end up in animal fat. Farmed salmon tend to have up to twice the fat of wild salmon.
- In 2004, it was reported that levels of persistent, organic contaminants such as PCBs, dioxins, and several chlorinated pesticides are significantly higher in farm-raised salmon than in wild Pacific salmon and that salmon raised on European farms have significantly greater toxic contaminant loads than those raised on North and South American farms.2 It was also reported that farm raised salmon contain significantly higher levels of PBDEs than wild salmon. PBDEs are flame-retardant additives used widely in electronics and furniture. PBDEs are endocrine disrupters, and are also suspected to play a role in cancer formation.3 We tend to store these toxins in our fatty tissues. Since most of us are getting fatter rather than leaner, we are accumulating more of these toxins all the time.
- In 2005, it was reported that health risks (based on a quantitative cancer risk assessment) associated with consumption of farmed salmon contaminated with PCBs, toxaphene, and dieldrin were higher than risks associated with exposure to the same contaminants in wild salmon.4
- In 2009, it was reported that consumption of farmed fish may provide a means of transmission of “mad cow disease” to humans because some farmed fish are fed byproducts from rendered cows, an unnatural source of food for fish. University of Kentucky neurologist Robert P. Friedland and colleagues called for government regulators to ban feeding cow meat or bone meal to fish until this common practice can be shown to be safe. 4a
Where does the chemical contamination come from? Some, like the PBDEs, have become ubiquitous in the environment. Others tend to be concentrated in the food fed to farmed fish.
Farmed fish are typically fed a diet of fish flakes made from corn, cereal grains, oil, ground up fish – and sometimes ground up cow parts – plus additives like red dye to give them a stronger orange color.
Farmed fish are raised in the watery equivalent of a feedlot; they call them aquafarms and there is much discussion about how aquafarming may be polluting the oceans and therefore the wild fish as well. What we do know is that the crowded conditions require farmed fish to be dosed with antibiotics and exposed to more concentrated pesticides than their wild kin. Sulfa drugs and tetracycline used to prevent infectious disease epidemics are added to food pellet mixes.
In the wild, salmon absorb carotenoids from eating pink krill. In the aquafarm, their color comes from canthaxanthin, a synthetic pigment manufactured by Hoffman-La Roche.5
It is an unnatural diet which causes the farmed salmon’s omega-3 levels to drop way off. And here is a very important piece of information to take away from this discussion: farm-raised fish contain much higher amounts of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fats than wild fish.
Inflammation plays a big role in many of today’s chronic illnesses including arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, obesity, stroke, lupus and cancer.
When you have an injury or when germs get to you, the body responds with inflammation to sanitize and heal. Nature designed inflammation to be a valuable coping mechanism for those few occasions you would need it in life. Mankind was originally a hunter-gatherer society and he routinely ate lots of omega-3s which kept inflammation in check.
But today, we eat far too many omega-6s. How many salads did you eat in the last 20 years thinking you were doing a good thing? Chances are, the salad dressing was made with a vegetable oil and these oils are naturally high in omega-6s. So, too, are many fried foods and convenience foods. So our omega-6/omega-3 balance is way off. Most researchers agree that if you have been eating the Standard American Diet, you have an omega-6/omeg-3 ration of 20:1. The hunter-gatherers of long ago had something much closer to 2:1 or 1:1.
When your body is constantly irritated, there is a proliferation of white blood cells that eventually starts to attack organs and tissues. Inflammation takes on a life of its own and becomes a permanent condition. This type of chronic inflammation often has no outward symptoms that conventional medicine will detect for you. You may never know you have problem until one day you are diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease or suffer a heart attack. But in the meantime your body looks around for something to help you – and it chooses cholesterol.
Inflammation at work inside your blood vessels is a bit like hitting a golf ball in a tile bathroom. Lots of nicks. The body says, “Quick, we need Band-Aids here, send out the nurse!” And the nurse arrives in the form of cholesterol to lay a soothing layer over those nicks. Now you have a situation where all those omega-6s you ate in your salmon and salad dressing are raising your cholesterol level. Too often, conventional medicine prescribes a statin drug to merely stifle the body’s ability to produce cholesterol. Better to look at why the body needs so much cholesterol and lessen the need.
Red meat is supposedly bad for you because it is full of saturated fat and “gives you cholesterol.” There are two very fundamental facts to keep in mind:
- Cattle, like all other ruminants, developed eating green leafy plants, mostly grass. They ate virtually no grain. Omega-6 fatty acids come mainly from grains. Grain-fed beef can have omega-6/omega-3 ratios that exceed 20:1. Grass-fed beef ratios are about 1:1.
- White saturated fat develops when cattle are fed grain.
Those who blamed beef for health problems overlooked the implications of feeding of grain to the animals we eat – red meat, fowl, and fish. Grain causes a dramatic reduction of omega-3 fatty acids in the American diet. You could say saturated fat is a modern man-made creation. The much-reviled but naturally-occurring saturated fat found in red meat and eggs is what mankind has eaten for centuries. It has no strong links with disease, while industrially produced trans fats do.
Cholesterol levels are also wrongly blamed on naturally occurring saturated fats. Foods high in omega-6 fatty acids or arachidonic acid, like farm-raised salmon or commercially raised beef, irritate the lining of blood vessels. This triggers an inflammation response and the body sends white blood cells and other immune fighters to the scene.
As early as 1906, Upton Sinclair’s classic book The Jungle made many people realize the shameful way in which animals raised for human consumption meet the end of their lives. Some would say it hasn’t gotten much better.
In 2006, Michael Pollen gave us a first-hand account of a modern day feedlot and its impact on human health in his wonderful book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma:
“Cows raised on grass simply take longer to reach slaughter weight than cows raised on a richer diet, and the modern meat industry has devoted itself to shortening a beef calf’s allotted time on earth. What gets a steer from 80 to 1,100 pounds in 14 months is enormous quantities of corn, protein and fat supplements, and an arsenal of new drugs. … The feedlot is a city built upon America’s mountain of surplus corn – or rather, corn plus the various pharmaceuticals a ruminant must have if it is to tolerate corn. … Cows fed corn get fat quickly. Yet this corn-fed meat is demonstrably less healthy for us, since it contains more saturated fat and less omega-3 fatty acids than the meat of animals fed grass. A growing body of research suggests that many of the health problems associated with eating beef are really problems with corn fed beef. Modern day hunter-gathers who subsist on wild meat don’t have our rates of heart disease. In the same way ruminants are ill adapted to eating corn, humans in turn may be poorly adapted to eating ruminants that eat corn. … The economic logic behind corn is unassailable, and on a factory farm there is no other kind. Calories are calories, and corn is the cheapest, most convenient source of calories on the market. Of course it was the same industrial logic – protein is protein – that made feeding rendered cow parts back to cows seem like a sensible thing to do, until scientists figured out that this practice was spreading mad cow disease. … Compared to all the other things we feed cattle these days, corn seems positively wholesome. And yet it too violates the biological or evolutionary logic of bovine digestions. … Virtually all of the cows are sick. Between 15 and 30 percent of feedlot cows are found at slaughter to have abscessed livers; Dr. Mel told me that in some pens the figure runs as high as 70 percent. … Most of the antibiotics today end up in animals feed. … In this new man-made environment, new acid-resistant strains of E. coli have evolved. … The problem with these bugs is that they can shake off the acid bath in our stomachs – and then go on to kill us.”6
Pollen does a very artful job of connecting the dots that reveal how the health of these animals is inextricably linked to human health. A growing body of research suggests that many of the health problems associated with eating beef are really problems with corn fed beef. As Pollen says, “In the same way ruminants have not evolved to eat grain, humans may not be well adapted to eating grain-fed animals.”
“Nutrition experts” blame the rise in heart disease on red meat because of saturated fat. But other cultures who ate meat from grass-fed cattle didn’t know what heart disease was. Red meat is not bad, it’s the grain-fed, commercial cattle with 20:1 ratios of omega-6s to omega-3s that are the problem.
A landmark study reported by Harvard researchers in 2010 [i] found that eating processed meat such as bacon, sausage or processed deli meats, is associated with a 42% higher risk of heart disease and a 19% higher risk of type 2 diabetes. In contrast, the researchers did not find any higher risk of heart disease or diabetes among individuals eating unprocessed red meat, such as from beef, pork, or lamb.
Processed meats contained, on average, 4 times more sodium and 50% more nitrate preservatives. “This suggests that differences in salt and preservatives, rather than fats, might explain the higher risk of heart disease and diabetes seen with processed meats, but not with unprocessed red meats,” the study’s authors wrote. Dietary sodium (salt) is known to increase blood pressure, a strong risk factor for heart disease. In animal experiments, nitrate preservatives can promote atherosclerosis and reduce glucose tolerance, effects which could increase risk of heart disease and diabetes
For the first time, the research establishment is clearly being told they need to study natural meats and adulterated meats as two different entities. You can’t paint ‘em all with the same brush of blame.
Additionally, conditions in big feedlots are also breeding grounds for E.coli and superbugs, especially in the resulting hamburger where a single animal infected with E. coli can contaminate tens of thousands of pounds of ground beef.
The hormones fed cattle for growth are also very suspect. It is thought children are entering puberty earlier than ever before because of all the hormones they consume from commercial cattle and chicken.
Corn fed, commercial beef also has lower levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). You might notice when you go into the health food store, CLA is something they sell you for weight loss. The meat of grass fed cattle contains CLA; the meat of grain-fed cattle does not. It is thought this is one of the many links in the obesity epidemic.
So…. Before the days of modern industry, meat and fish had abundant supplies of omega-3s. But these days, most of the available salmon and the grain fed beef have but a tiny amount of this important nutrient. The Essential Fatty Acids like omega 3 are sort of like Vitamin C – your body can’t make it so you must get it from what you eat. And without it, your risk of disease skyrockets.
If your health is important to you, think twice before you say that grass fed meat or wild salmon is too expensive. What is good health worth to you?
Analysis of PCBs in Farmed versus Wild Salmon, Environmental Working Group, July 30, 2003
2Hites, R. A.; Foran, J. A.; Carpenter, D. O.; Hamilton, M. C.; Knuth, B. A.; Schwager, S. J. Science 2004, 303, 226-229.
3 Ronald A. Hites, Foran, Schwager, et all, Global Assessment of Organic Contaminants in Farmed Salmon, Environmental Science and Technology, August, 2004
4 Jeffery A. Foran, Carpenter, Hamilton, et all, Risk-Based Consumption Advice for Farmed Atlantic and Wild Pacific Salmon Contaminated with Dioxins and Dioxin-like Compounds, Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol 113, May 2005
4a Robert P. Friedland, Robert B. Petersen, Richard Rubenstein; Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and Aquaculture, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Volume 17, Number 2, June 2009, pages 277-279
5 George Mateljan Foundation, Is there any nutritional difference between wild-caught and farm-raised fish? Is one type better for me than the other?, http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=96
6 Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma-A Natural History of Four Meals, Penguin Press, 2006, pages 72-82
In October, 2008, General Mills announced plans to remove added monosodium glutamate, MSG, from all 80 of its Progresso soups. Its major competitor, Campbell Soups, began airing commercials promoting the absence of MSG from its soups. It’s a new battle in the soup wars, and it reflects on-going consumer concerns about this common flavor enhancer and preservative.
Critics, by the way, point out the soup companies are using “yeast extract” instead of MSG. And what’s found in yeast extract? MSG.
It’s tough for food manufacturers to give up MSG because it makes food taste sooooo good.
Cooks around the world remain dedicated to MSG, even though they may not know it by that name. As hydrolyzed soy protein or autolyzed yeast, it adds flavor to the canned chicken broth, to packs of onion soup mix, to cheese Goldfish crackers and low-fat yogurts. In regions of the world where meat and meaty flavors have been out of reach for most cooks, MSG has long filled the gap because meat and MSG work beautifully together. Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, the fallback rub for pork shoulder or flank steak is Goya Sazón: MSG and salt, cut with garlic, cumin and annatto. Accent, which is largely MSG, was introduced in 1947 and quickly became a staple for American home cooks.
If you have ever wondered what makes spicy tuna rolls so much tastier than plain California rolls, the MSG in it is likely why.
MSG is made by fermenting starch, corn, sugar beets, molasses, or sugar cane to free naturally occurring glutamate. Sodium salts of glutamate are then created that can be used to make foods more intensely flavorful. Glutamate itself is a naturally occurring amino acid found in many protein-rich foods, including cheese, milk, meat, walnuts, and mushrooms. Broccoli is naturally rich in MSG. So are mushrooms and parmesan cheese. This amino acid is also produced by the body and used in metabolism. MSG is also one of the 20 amino acids contained in our bodies. Without MSG, we would be very different creatures, or not exist at all.
But Mother Nature never reckoned that we would add so much processed free glutamic acid to our foods.
In the late 1960s, people began connecting their “Chinese restaurant headache” with having eaten food with MSG. The additive was blamed for problems ranging from brain lesions, Parkinson’s, headaches, flushing, and heart palpitations. In 1978, MSG was supposed to have been removed from baby food after the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Academy of Sciences expressed concerns.
An international research review in 1987 by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concluded MSG was safe. In 1995 the FDA issued a large-scale review by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, and the conclusion was that glutamates are not a health risk for the vast majority of consumers.
“There was simply no clinical evidence for any of (the fears),” said Marion Nestle, author and professor of nutrition at New York University.
Exciting Brain Cells to Death
But many do not agree. Many believe, and have non-industry sponsored studies to back it up, that MSG is a slow poison.
MSG is blamed for a range of serious neurological and physiological disorders. Studies have identified both MSG and aspartame as excitotoxins, substances that overstimulate the neurotransmitters to the point of cell damage.
Dr. Russell Blaylock, author and international expert on the subject of excitotoxins explains:
“Excitotoxins have been found to dramatically promote cancer growth and metastasis. In fact, one aspartame researcher noticed that, when cancer cells were exposed to aspartame, they became more mobile, and you see the same effect with MSG. When you increase the glutamate level, cancer just grows like wildfire, and then when you block glutamate, it dramatically slows the growth of the cancer.
“We discovered that outside of the brain, there are numerous glutamate receptors in all organs and tissues. The entire GI tract, from the esophagus to the colon, has numerous glutamate receptors. The entire electrical conducting system of a heart is replete with all sorts of glutamate receptors. The lungs, the ovaries, all the reproductive systems and sperm itself, adrenal glands, bones and even calcification are all controlled by glutamate receptors. They act and operate exactly like the glutamate receptors in the brain. So, when you’re consuming MSG, the level of glutamate in the blood can rise as high as 20-fold. You get very high glutamate levels in the blood after eating a meal containing MSG. You’re stimulating all of the glutamate receptors. That’s why some people get explosive diarrhea, because it stimulates the receptors in the esophagus and small bowel. Others may develop irritable bowel, or if they have irritable bowel, it makes it a lot worse. If they have reflux, it makes that a lot worse. The thing about the cardiac conduction system glutamate receptors is this may explain the rise in sudden cardiac death.
“(Baby food manufacturers) said they would (remove MSG), but they didn’t. What they did is take out pure MSG and substitute it with hydrolyzed protein and caseinate. If you look at most toddler foods, they all have caseinate hydrolyzed protein broth, a significant source of glutamate. We’re destroying the nervous systems of these babies.
“Soybeans, naturally, have one of the highest glutamate levels of any of the plant products. When you hydrolyze it, you release the glutamate, in the soy protein isolates. The glutamate levels are higher than a lot of what you’ll find in MSG products, yet the vegetarians are just eating it like it’s the healthiest thing in the world. There was a 25-year study done, which looked at people who consumed the most soy products, and they followed them for 25 years and did serial CT scans. They found out that the people who consumed the most soybean products had the greatest incidence of dementia and brain atrophy.”
Dr. Blaylock also understands how excitotoxins fuel chronic inflammation, the underlying mechanism of most chronic diseases:
“When you are eating a lot of glutamate, it makes pesticides more neurotoxic, it makes mercury more neurotoxic, so you are magnifying the toxicity of every environmental toxin by eating these foods.
“And this is what moms need to hear: early exposure alters the genetic activation of the inflammatory process. The glutamate is long gone, but it turned on a free-radical-generating process that lasts for a long period of time. A recent study showed that if you fed an animal MSG early in life for about six doses, when it reached adolescence, these animals were still generating high levels of free radicals in the walls of their arteries at an age equivalent in humans to ages twenty and twenty-four. This explains why we are seeing ‘adult’ diseases in young people.”
It has been suggested that the growing incidence of autism may be related to the processed free glutamic acid, MSG, found in vaccines. MSG is used in some vaccines as a stabilizer. Some vaccines include thimerosal, a preservative that contains mercury. Both mercury and MSG are suspected of being causative factors in autism, and, they may be interactive. A 2000 study concluded that:
“In the absence of glutamate, neurons are unaffected by acute exposure to mercury, suggesting that neuronal dysfunction is secondary to disturbances in astrocytes (Brookes, 1992). Co-application of nontoxic concentrations of MeHg [methyl mercury] and glutamate leads to the typical appearance of neuronal lesions associated with excitotoxic stimulation (Matyja and Albrecht, 1993).”
Jack L. Samuels, President of the “Truth in Labeling Campaign,” is one of the advocates against MSG. He says it is as if MSG finds the weak link in one’s body:
“It appears that once people experience an adverse reaction from MSG, they are MSG-sensitive from that point forward. Furthermore, it appears that once people become MSG-sensitive, their tolerance for MSG becomes less and less over time. It is almost as if overexposure to MSG destroys some protective mechanism in the body. Clearly, as the level of MSG increases in our food supply, more and more people are becoming MSG sensitive.
“Glutamic acid is associated with the recent increases in neurodegenerative disease. It has been linked to Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Scerosis (ALS), Multiple Sclerosis, and Huntington’s Disease. Research links MSG to migraine headaches, heart irregularities, seizures, asthma, sudden death of young athletes, ADD, ADHD, and more. There appears to be no question that MSG is the main contributor to the obesity epidemic, primarily due to the brain damage that MSG causes, and there is growing evidence that it is the probable cause for the diabetes epidemic, and the high incidence of autism. A recent study by He et al. also confirms that daily use of MSG will lead to weight gain.
“MSG, in my opinion, is the cause of the epidemic of irritable bowel syndrome, and before long, will be shown to be directly related to neurodegenerative diseases.”
As Mr. Samuels points out, the FDA seems hypocritical in regards to MSG. In one room, the FDA is approving glutamate blocking drugs, while down the hall, another arm of the same agency “is busy approving food ingredients that contain MSG, and disregarding the mislabeling of MSG on many products.”
Drugs to Block Glutamate versus Not Eating It
The glutamate blocking drug, Namenda, is actively being used to treat moderate to severe cases of Alzheimer’s Disease. Glutamate plays a key role in memory and learning, but excess glutamate can lead to the disruption of nerve cell communication or nerve cell death. So the drug attempts to block the brain’s reception of glutamate.
There is another glutamate blocking drug, Rilouzole (Rilutek), being used for ALS and Huntington’s Disease. A glutamate blocking drug will be introduced in the relatively near future for treatment of Schizophrenia. These drugs all come with side effects.
MSG is also blamed, in part, for the obesity epidemic. In 1969, John W. Olney, M.D. published a study in which he found that monosodium glutamate, given to mice, resulted in obesity and other neuroendocrine disorders due to lesions in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. In studies around the world, scientists create obese mice and rats to use in diet or diabetes test studies. They inject them subcutaneously (under the skin) with 4 mg of MSG per gram of body weight every other day from the first day they are born until they are two weeks old. The MSG triples the amount of insulin the pancreas creates, causing rats to become obese. Want a fun Google exercise? Go to the National Library of Medicine at www.pubmed.com and type in the words ‘MSG Obese.’ Read a few of the 150 or so medical studies that appear.
|MSG shows up in:
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
Autolyzed Plant Protein
Vegetable Protein Extract
MSG is simply hiding in plain sight. It thrives in the industrial food world, where it is known affectionately to scientists as E621. According to USDA guidelines, “labeling is required when MSG is added as a direct ingredient.” But other glutamates – the hydrolyzed proteins, the autolyzed yeasts and the protein concentrates, which the USDA acknowledges are related to MSG – must be identified under their own names.
Alternatively, they may also be included under umbrella terms, like vegetable broth or chicken broth. Thus, these ingredients are now routinely found in products like canned tuna, canned soup (vegetable broth usually contains hydrolyzed soy protein), low-fat yogurts and ice creams, chips, and virtually everything ranch-flavored or cheese-flavored.
No large-scale clinical research has been done since the FDA’s 1995 review.
 Interview September 27, 2006, with Mike Adams of Natural News. Go to the source at www.BlaylockReport.com
 Aschner et al. Methylmercury alters glutamate transport in astrocytes. Neurochem Int. Aug-Sep, 2000; 37(2-3):199-206.
 Jack Samuels, MSG’s EFFECT ON NEUROLOGICAL FUNCTION, Paper presented at the Weston A. Price Annual Convention, San Francisco, California November 8, 2008
 Olney JW. Brain Lesions, Obesity, and Other Disturbances in Mice Treated With Monosodium Glutamate. Science, 1969, 164: 719-21.
By Samuel S. Epstein, MD
rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) is a genetically engineered, potent variant of the natural growth hormone produced by cows. Manufactured by Monsanto, it is sold to dairy farmers under the trade name POSILAC. Injection of this hormone forces cows to increase their milk production by about 10%. Monsanto has stated that about one third of dairy cows are in herds where the hormone is used.
Monsanto, supported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), insist that rBGH milk is indistinguishable from natural milk, and that it is safe for consumers. This is blatantly false:
- rBGH makes cows sick. Monsanto has been forced to admit to about 20 toxic effects, including mastitis, on its Posilac label.
- rBGH milk is contaminated by pus, due to the mastitis commonly induced by rBGH, and antibiotics used to treat the mastitis.
- rBGH milk is chemically, and nutritionally different than natural milk.
- Milk from cows injected with rBGH is contaminated with the hormone, traces of which are absorbed through the gut into the blood.
- rBGH milk is supercharged with high levels of a natural growth factor (IGF-1), which is readily absorbed through the gut.
- Excess levels of IGF-1 have been incriminated as a cause of breast, colon, and prostate cancers.
- IGF-1 blocks natural defense mechanisms against early submicroscopic cancers.
- rBGH factory farms pose a major threat to the viability of small dairy farms.
- rBGH enriches Monsanto, while posing dangers, without any benefits, to consumers, especially in view of the current national surplus of milk.
The risks of cancer to consumers and particularly their children, including those enrolled in the National School Lunch Program, are undisputable.
The Cancer Prevention Coalition filed a Citizen Petition to the FDA requesting labeling of rBGH milk and other dairy products. You will find the full text of this and more than 60 references on the CPC website:
What’s In Your Milk (2006)
Introduction by Ben Cohen,
Co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
Foreword by Jeffrey M. Smith,
author of the bestseller Seeds of Deception
This book is a unique resource on rBGH milk. It presents Dr. Epstein’s trailblazing scientific publications since 1989, which have played a major role in influencing other nations, including Canada, 24 European nations, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan to ban rBGH milk. The book also presents: the author’s editorials and letters to major newspapers, and correspondence with the FDA, Congressman John Conyers, and other key members of Congress and the Senate.
Epstein details evidence of interlocking conflicts of interest between Monsanto and the White House, the American Medical Association and American Cancer Society. He also details evidence of Monsanto’s white collar crime; the suppression and manipulation of information on the veterinary and public health dangers of rBGH milk; and evidence of Monsanto’s “Hit Squad,” which attempted to stifle and discredit him.
Of compelling interest is the story behind Fox Television’s firing of Jane Akre, a veteran journalist, following her in-depth interview on rBGH with Dr. Epstein, his subsequent day-long deposition by Monsanto on her behalf, her subsequent litigation against Fox, and Fox’s successful counter suit.
Monsanto’s corporate recklessness, compounded by FDA’s complicity and refusal to require labeling of rBGH milk, more than justify the rejection of any assurances of its safety. Of further interest is the critical relevance of this information to the ongoing growing concerns and debate on genetically engineered foods, including irrefutable evidence discrediting the “trust us” safety assurances of Monsanto, and other industries.
The book also presents resource materials, including listings of national and international anti-biotech, public health, veterinary and animal rights activist groups. Also listed are rBGH-free U.S. dairy producers, such as Horizon Organic, and Swiss Valley Farms.
Endorsements include: Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Democrat, House Judiciary Committee; Mark Achbar, Executive Producer of the multiple prize-winning documentary The Corporation; Ronnie Cummins, National Director, Organic Consumers Association; and Dr. Joseph Mercola, founder of the world’s most visited natural health website.
The book is available from Trafford Publishing, www.trafford.com/06-0676, or by calling Trafford’s Order Desk at 888-232-4444 or 250-383-6864, and subsequently at amazon.com and main bookstores.
Dr. Epstein is professor emeritus of environmental medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, and Chairman of the international Cancer Prevention Coalition. He is the author of 270 scientific publications, and author or co-author of 12 books. These include the prize winning 1978 The Politics of Cancer, the 1995 The Safe Shopper’s Bible, and the 2005 Cancer-Gate: How to Win the Losing Cancer War. He is recipient of multiple awards, including the 1998 Right Livelihood Award (the Alternative Nobel Prize) for “incomparable contributions to cancer prevention, and for his leadership role in warning of the dangers of rBGH milk;” the 2000 Project Censored Award (the Alternative Pulitzer Prize); and the 2005 Albert Schweitzer Golden Grand Medal “for Humanitarianism, and International Contributions to Cancer Prevention.”
Dr. Epstein is currently Chairman of the nation-wide Cancer Prevention Coalition.
British chef and food advocate Jamie Oliver was named the 2010 TED Prize winner. You may recognize him from his many cookbooks or the ABC show, “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.” His brash style entertains while revealing the dire state of the American food culture. He advocates for a nutrition revolution.
In one episode of his ABC show, he asked children at an elementary school in West Virginia to identify fresh, whole food. He held up a potato, cauliflower, broccoli, mushroom, beet, eggplant, and tomatoes. The children could not correctly name the foods. They guessed that the tomatoes were potatoes.
Oliver talks to parents and policy makers too. “The food your kids get every day is fast food… pizza for breakfast… if you don’t have knives and forks in your school you are endorsing fast food because it is hand held… If the kids don’t know what this stuff is, then they will never eat it. Guess what will fix that? We’ve got to start teaching kids in school about food, period.” Oliver suggests that every kid ought to graduate high school having learned how to shop for, and prepare, 10 good meals.
The TED Prize is awarded annually to
“…an exceptional individual who receives $100,000 and, much more important, ‘One Wish to Change the World.’ Designed to leverage the TED
community’s exceptional array of talent and resources, the Prize leads to collaborative initiatives with far-reaching impact.”
Jamie Oliver’s “One Wish to Change the World” unveiled at the TED Conference, February, 2010.
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. Begun in 1984, it is a non-profit community of some of the world’s most influential thinkers and do-ers. Previous TED Prize winners have included Bono, Bill Clinton and Dave Eggers.
The TED prize gives Oliver a public stage upon which to express his wish in front of an audience of people empowered to help him make that change.
Oliver’s wish: “To educate every child about food, to inspire families to cook again, and to empower people everywhere to fight obesity.” But simply stating that doesn’t do justice to Oliver’s unique style. Watch him make his own case; it is now a TED video – look to the right, click on the video, and it will play.
It is estimated that one out of every three children in the United States is obese. “Diet related disease is the biggest killer in the U.S. today,” Oliver said. We need to reboot and make tangible change.”
Oliver points out that the school lunch system is largely run by accountants, not local food experts, and budgets are tight. The result is cafeteria food that consists of cheap, highly processed foods. Many schools use little or no fresh foods at all. To encourage children to drink more milk, many schools offer flavored milk high in sugar. This too is a highly processed, sugar-laden food, often loaded with fructose, the major culprit for the obesity epidemic.
What happens at home is as important as what the children see and get at school, according to Oliver. Families can learn the joys of cooking again. And adults in policy making positions can do a lot to break the dependency on fast food and get America hooked on eating healthfully.
Child obesity has become so serious in America that military leaders are viewing the epidemic as a threat to national security. Obesity is the #1 reason why applicants fail to qualify for service.
The issue is also causing heartbreak for some military families that have always had a son or daughter in the service. Today, otherwise excellent recruit prospects, with generations of military service in their family, are being turned away because they are just too heavy.
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 8, 2010
“It’s incredibly exciting to welcome Jamie Oliver to join our line-up of change catalysts,” the TED organization said. “And exciting, too, to know that our existing winners are going to stay at the heart of the TED community, as we continue working to realize their inspirational visions for a better future.” Oliver asked the TED community to provide the talent, hard work, and other resources needed to make the wish come true, including:
• Help to establish a good-nutrition foundation, with funding, office space and facilities
• Partners to create a traveling food theater troupe to teach kids about food and cooking in an entertaining way, and to provide basic instruction for parents and food professionals
• A partner to build and maintain a fleet of trucks for the traveling food theater
• Establishment of a network of corporate partners to invest in cooking and food education for their customers, and to champion honest food labeling
• Partners to equip and run community kitchens, and food suppliers to provide fresh ingredients
• Education experts, graphic designers, artists and writers to develop and produce creative, fun teaching materials
• Communications and marketing expertise to develop strong and effective messages for the movement
• Web designers to create a website and online social networks and communities to bring people together
• New supply and distribution pathways for fresh and healthful foods
• Establishment of a food range to generate a sustainable income for the campaign
• Corporate partners to invest in cooking and food education for their customers and to champion honest food labeling
My hope is that millions more people will learn, as so many have already, that it is a happier, healthier life that is built around eating good food, together with family and friends.”
- Chef Jamie Oliver
The average American child views perhaps 40,000 television commercials per year, many whetting their appetite for “junk” food. Kids are probably thinking taste, and maybe the toy that comes with the food. Moms and dads are probably thinking cost and convenience.
We were not taught to think the nutritional quality of food was really all that important. We don’t judge what we put in our mouths with the same discrimination as, say, what supplies we have for the first day of school, or what suit of clothes we wear for an important business meeting.
But now, evidence of years of a processed, convenience food diet surrounds us. Many kids in school are overweight and increasingly, they are sick. Some schools offer “peanut free” tables because so many students are allergic to that classic “kid food.” Other students can’t eat bread, another classic “kid food.” What’s happening?
A combination of social and economic changes in the last 80 years or so has dramatically changed human nutrition. Several patterns reveal themselves when you take a good look at what makes up a few of our favorite kid foods:
One of Britain’s biggest newspapers, The Guardian, got an idea to look at what goes into a strawberry milkshake.
At home, you would likely use strawberries, cream, sugar or honey, and a tad bit of vanilla extract. Just four ingredients.
The Guardian plucked their shake from the menu of an unnamed “big fast food company.” They found not a single strawberry or ounce of milk. Their article was entitled: 59 Ingredients in a Fast Food Strawberry Milkshake.1
“The phrase “artificial strawberry flavour” offers little hint of the scientific wizardry that can make a highly processed food taste like a strawberry: milkfat and nonfat milk, sugar, sweet whey, high-fructose corn syrup, guar gum, monoglycerides and diglycerides, cellulose gum, sodium phosphate, carrageenan, citric acid, E129 and artificial strawberry flavour.
“And what does that “artificial strawberry flavour” contain?
“Just these few yummy chemicals: amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamyl valerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl heptylate, ethyl lactate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate, ethyl nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerate, heliotropin, hydroxyphrenyl- 2-butanone (10% solution in alcohol), ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butyrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbonate, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, rose, rum ether, undecalactone, vanillin and solvent.”
So that’s 40 chemicals for strawberry flavor and 19 more for, well, the milkshake part of it.
Let’s randomly pluck out a chemical from the “milkshake” recipe: E129. http://www.ukfoodguide.net/e129.htm we read:
E129 – Allura Red AC, FD&C Red 40
“Orange-red colour used in sweets, drinks and condiments, medications and cosmetics, A red synthetic azo dye introduced in the early eighties to replace Amaranth, E123, in the United States of America where E123 is prohibited.
“May have slightly less allergy/intolerance reaction by aspirin intolerant people and asthmatics than most of the azo dyes, although those with skin sensitivities should be careful. Allura red has also been connected with cancer in mice.
“Not recommended for consumption by children.
“Banned in Denmark, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria and Norway.”
Not recommended for children? But still legal to be in the product.
At the very popular theme park in Hershey, Pennsylvania USA, kids can buy a wide variety of “Flavor Burst Syrups” to put on their soft-serve vanilla ice cream:2
Butterscotch – Water, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, E405 propylene glycol alginate, E412 guar gum, E413 tragacanth, E414 acacia, E415 xanthan gum, modified corn starch, E150 caramel color, E331 sodium citrate, artificial flavor, E211 sodium benzoate, E202 potassium sorbate (as a preservative), E129 FD&C Red #40, E133 FD&C Blue #1.
Black Cherry – Water, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, E330 citric acid, E405 proplylene glycol alginate, E412 guar gum, E413 tragacanth, E414 acacia, E415 xanthan gum. Modified corn starch, E150 caramel color, E331 sodium citrate, artificial flavor, E211 sodium benzoate, E202 potassium sorbate (as a preservative), E129 FD&C Red #40, E133 FD&C Blue #1.
Raspberry – Water, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, E330 citric acid, E405 propylene glycol alginate, E412 guar gum, E413 tragacanth, E414 acacia, E415 xanthan gum, E1442 modified corn starch, artificial flavor, E150 caramel color, preservative (E211 sodium Benzoate), E129 FD&C Red #40, E133 FD&C Blue #1.
Strawberry – Water, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, E330 citric acid, E405 propylene glycol alginate, E412 guar gum, E413 tragacanth, E414 acacia, E415 xanthan gum, modified corn starch, E296 malic acid, E211 sodium benzoate & E202 potassium sorbate (as preservatives), natural & artificial flavors, E129 FD&C Red #40, E133 FD&C Blue #1.
Blueberry – Water, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, E330 citric acid, E405 propylene glycol alginate, E412 guar gum, E413 tragacanth, E414 acacia, E415 xanthan gum, E1442 modified corn starch, natural & artificial flavors, preservatives (E211 sodium benzoate, E202 potassium sorbate) E129 FD&C Red #40, E133 FD&C Blue #1.
Tropical Orange – Water, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, E330 citric acid, E405 propylene glycol alginate, E412 guar gum, E413 tragacanth, E414 gum acacia, E415 xanthan gum, E1442 modified corn starch, natural & artificial flavors, preservatives (E211 sodium benzoate),EL10, FD&C Yellow #6.
Consumer groups in Great Britain have been gaining traction in efforts to remove unhealthy additives from food.
As reported in the British newspaper, The Guardian, May 8, 2007:
“Sainsbury’s will next month become the first major supermarket chain to ban artificial colours and flavourings from its own-label soft drinks … The chain says the ban is the result of “overwhelming” demand from parents…”4
Then in September, 2007, the British “Southampton/McCann Study” landed with a big splash worldwide. A team of researchers demonstrated that common preservatives, like sodium benzoate, and common food colorings, made from petroleum, do indeed cause hyperactivity in kids.
In February, 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced a stunning reversal of its long standing position that additives had no effect on children’s behavior:
“…[the Southampton/McCann study] was a carefully conducted study in which the investigators went to great lengths to eliminate bias and to rigorously measure outcomes … the overall findings of the study are clear and require that even we skeptics, who have long doubted parental claims of the effects of various foods on the behavior of their children, admit we might have been wrong.”
And so begins a pattern – there’s lots of “stuff” on the grocery store shelf that may not be recommended for good health but is legally there. And there are lots of government agencies, industry-funded groups, and mainstream medicine organizations who are slow to accept what seems obvious to so many parents – children’s health is very much linked to the food and chemicals they ingest.
Real food elements have given way to sweeteners and laboratory flavors which give taste to otherwise bland processed food, or prolong shelf life, or make distribution easier. Industry claims these elements are safe; scientists and consumer watchdog groups often argue otherwise. It is very telling that consumer pressure, more than government initiative, is leading the charge for removal of food additives in Britain and trans fats in the United States.
Most baby boomers ate lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as a kid, and “peanut-free” tables at school were unheard of.
The subject of allergic reactions seems to have kicked into high gear about 1995. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends delaying the introduction of peanuts until a child is 3 years of age, especially if there is a family history of food allergies.
Medical journals explain that a severe peanut allergy kills either by laryngospasm (instantaneous swelling and closing of the vocal cords) or by anaphylactic shock, which sets in minutes or hours after exposure and is usually associated with a catastrophic drop in blood pressure.
But medical journals have been unable to explain why kids increasingly seem to have allergies to peanuts.
We do have a theory put forth by some parents and medical practitioners that the problem is not so much an allergy as it is a toxic reaction.
Almonds and walnuts have strong, hard shells that protect them, and like most nuts, they grow on trees. But the peanut is actually a legume that grows underground. It has a soft and porous skin. When the environment surrounding the peanut becomes warm, humid and wet, as it does in most regions of the U.S. where peanuts are commonly grown, a fungal growth occurs. Thus the crops are often heavily sprayed with pesticides. That’s the first whammy to a child’s immune system. The second is the mold.
Peanuts contain high amounts of mold, which produce one of the most deadly carcinogens known to man: Aflatoxin.
Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring mycotoxin produced by two types of mold: Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. Aspergillus flavus is common and widespread in nature. Aflatoxin can contaminate virtually any grain, fruit or vegetable that has been stored in conditions permitting the growth of mold. Peanuts seem to be especially vulnerable.
The mold occurs in soil, decaying vegetation, hay, and grains undergoing microbiological deterioration and invades all types of organic substrates whenever and wherever the conditions are favorable for its growth. Favorable conditions include high moisture content and high temperature.
Photos from http://www.ars.usda.gov/main/docs.htm?docid=3499
Light green = Aspergillus flavus
Dark green = Aspergillus parasiticus
In 1993 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified AFB1 and mixtures of aflatoxins as Group 1 carcinogens – potent substances that can cause cancer in humans. It manifests as liver cancer.
Chinese medicine sheds light on the toxic reaction theory:
“What few consider is that antibiotics, originally derived from mold, are very similar to mold in their fundamental nature. According to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, mold and antibiotics are both very cold and damp. Therefore, there is a fundamental relationship between mold allergy and antibiotic allergies. A person with one of these allergies is almost certain to have both of these allergies, whether or not they register on allergy tests. Antibiotic use and abuse are the predominant causes of mold allergy. People who truly understand allergies know that there is a direct relationship between toxicity and allergy. A toxic load that overwhelms the body typically becomes an allergy. Allergy is a logical response of the body to a toxic situation. The message to reduce or avoid toxins makes sense, and this is the message allergies try to communicate.”5
Anecdotal evidence is that the Maranatha brand of peanut butter does not cause the allergic reaction because it comes from organic Valencia peanuts grown in the dry soil of New Mexico. The company claims their products are virtually free of mold.
If you don’t have a child with allergies, how do peanuts rank as kid food? They are an inexpensive source of tasty protein. Peanuts are a good source of potassium, magnesium, zinc and selenium, all important minerals. They also supply B vitamins, vitamin E and fibre. Studies have shown that peanuts contain resveratrol, the antioxidant that produces red wine’s heart-protective effects.
The downside? Peanuts tend to contain a lot of mold. Peanuts are a heavily pesticided crop. They are relatively high in omega-6 compared to omega-3 fatty acids and most kids already eat too many foods high in omega-6. Most conventional brands of peanut butters contain hydrogenated oils and emulsifiers – and lots of sugar.
Other nuts are made into butters and can usually be substituted for peanut butter. Almond and cashew butter for example have a much better omega 6:3 fatty acid ratio.
What you are likely to find in a box of breakfast cereals is a bunch of “extruded” grains.
Cereal makers first create a slurry of the grains and then put them in a machine called an extruder. The grains are forced out of a little hole at high temperature and pressure. Depending on the shape of the hole, the grains are made into little o’s, flakes, animal shapes, or shreds (as in Shredded Wheat or Triscuits), or they are puffed (as in puffed rice). A blade slices off each little flake or shape, which is then carried past a nozzle and sprayed with a coating of oil and sugar to seal off the cereal from the ravages of milk and to give it crunch.6
Paul Stitt worked at Quaker Foods decades ago where he saw with his own eyes a company study on rats which died quickly eating Puffed Wheat.
“I came across a little flyer that the company has published in 1942. It contained a report on a study in which four sets of rats were given special diets. … The rats which received the whole wheat lived more than a year on the diet. The rats who got nothing but water and vitamins lived for about eight weeks, and the animals on white sugar and water lived for a month. But Quaker’s own laboratory study showed that rats given vitamin, water and all the Puffed Wheat they wanted died in two weeks. It wasn’t a matter of the rats dying of malnutrition; results like these suggested that there was something actually toxic about the Puffed Wheat itself. Proteins are very similar to certain toxins in molecular structure, and the puffing process of putting the grain under 1500 pounds-per-square-inch of pressure, and then releasing it, may produce chemical changes which turn a nutritious grain into a poisonous substance.
“I was shocked, so I showed the report to Dr. Clark, who shared my concern. His predecessor, Dr. Graham, had published the report, and begged the company not to continue producing Puffed Wheat.”7
But the cereal had made the company $9 million the previous year so it wasn’t about to disappear from the shelf. As Stitt points out, we have known however about the animal toxicity of extruded cereals since at least the 1940s when Quaker performed this unpublished rat study.
Another unpublished experiment was carried out in the 1960s. Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation relates the details:
“Researchers at Ann Arbor University were given 18 laboratory rats. They were divided into three groups: one group received corn flakes and water; a second group was given the cardboard box that the corn flakes came in and water; the control group received rat chow and water. The rats in the control group remained in good health throughout the experiment. The rats eating the box became lethargic and eventually died of malnutrition. But the rats receiving the corn flakes and water died before the rats that were eating the box! (The last corn flake rat died the day the first box rat died.) But before death, the corn flake rats developed schizophrenic behavior, threw fits, bit each other and finally went into convulsions. The startling conclusion of this study is that there was more nourishment in the box than there was in the corn flakes.”8
Just about all dry cereals that come in boxes are extruded cereals.
Good source of fiber? Well, federal guidelines recommend women get 28 grams of fiber per day. Look at the label on the box and you find that Special K serves up less than 1 gram of fiber. You would be doing well to find a cereal with 4-6 grams of fiber per serving.
And of course cereals have long been criticized for their high sugar content. A diet high in sugar contributes to insulin resistance and chronic inflammation.
Fast Food Chicken
McDonalds introduced McNuggets in 1983 and they became wildly popular with kids. One would think that chicken McNuggets are made primarily of chicken, right?
Nope. A McDonald’s Chicken McNugget is 56% corn. There is more corn than chicken in a McNugget.
The ingredients, as stated by the McDonalds corporation, are:9
|Chicken McNuggets®/Chicken Selects® Premium Breast Strips/Sauces
White boneless chicken, water, food starch-modified, salt, chicken flavor (autolyzed yeast extract, salt, wheat starch, natural flavoring (botanical source), safflower oil, dextrose, citric acid, rosemary), sodium phosphates, seasoning (canola oil, mono- and diglycerides, natural extractives of rosemary). Battered and breaded with: water, enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), yellow corn flour, food starch-modified, salt, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium lactate), spices, wheat starch, whey, corn starch. Prepared in vegetable oil ((may contain one of the following: Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, partially hydrogenated corn oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness), dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent). CONTAINS: WHEAT AND MILK
Michael Pollen, author of the Omnivore’s Dilemma, dissected the McNugget this way:
“Of the thirty-eight ingredients it takes to make a McNugget, I counted thirteen that can be derived from corn:
- the corn-fed chicken itself
- modified cornstarch (to bind the pulverized chicken meat)
- mono-, tri-, and diglycerides (emulsifiers, which keep the fats and water from separating)
- lecithin (another emulsifier)
- chicken broth (to restore some of the flavor that processing leeches out)
- yellow corn flour and more modified cornstarch (for the batter)
- cornstarch (a filler)
- vegetable shortening
- partially hydrogenated corn oil
- and citric acid as a preservative
“A couple of other plants take part in the nugget: There’s some wheat in the batter, and on any given day the hydrogenated oil could come from soybeans, canola, or cotton rather than corn, depending on the market price and availability.
“According to the (ingredients) handout, McNuggets also contain several completely synthetic ingredients, quasiedible substances that ultimately come not from a corn or soybean field but from a petroleum refinery or chemical plant. These chemicals are what make modern processed food possible, by keeping the organic materials in them from going bad or looking strange after months in the freezer or on the road. Listed first are the “leavening agents”: sodium aluminum phosphate, mono-calcium phosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, and calcium lactate. These are antioxidants added to keep the various animal and vegetable fats involved in a nugget from turning rancid.
“Then there are “anti-foaming agents” like dimethylpolysiloxene, added to the cooking oil to keep the starches from binding to air molecules, so as to produce foam during the fry. The problem is evidently grave enough to warrant adding a toxic chemical to the food: According to the Handbook of Food Additives, dimethylpolysiloxene is a suspected carcinogen and an established mutagen, tumorigen, and reproductive effector; it’s also flammable.
“But perhaps the most alarming ingredient in a Chicken McNugget is tertiary butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ, an antioxidant derived from petroleum that is either sprayed directly on the nugget or the inside of the box it comes in to “help preserve freshness.” According to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, TBHQ is a form of butane (i.e. lighter fluid) the FDA allows processors to use sparingly in our food: It can comprise no more than 0.02 percent of the oil in a nugget. Which is probably just as well, considering that ingesting a single gram of TBHQ can cause ‘nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse.’ Ingesting five grams of TBHQ can kill.”10
Let’s take a second look at some of those ingredients.
• McNuggets are fried in hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, making for a concoction of very unhealthy trans fats.
• ”Spices” is a loosely regulated term that can include dangerous substances like MSG, the excitotoxin known as “the Chinese restaurant headache.” Neither the labels nor company website clarifies whether MSG is used; Dr. Joseph Mercola and others say it is plentiful in a number of McDonald’s products.
• Dextrose, from corn, is a sugar.
• The “enriched flour” in the breading has been stripped of so much fiber and bran that the body registers this highly processed carb as sugar.
• Sodium aluminum phosphate is a type of acid used in the baking powder. If you are looking to avoid Alzheimers tomorrow by not ingesting aluminum today, this would be on your Do Not Eat list.
All that, and 510 calories for a 10-piece serving of McNuggets.
And oh yes, you’ll get a sauce for dipping with your McNuggets. Depending upon which one you choose, you will be adding to your calories and the list of ingested ingredients:
• red 40, yellow 5, or yellow 6
• corn syrup solids
• high fructose corn syrup
In 2003, a federal judge weighed in on McNuggets after two obese New York teenagers sued McDonalds. Judge Robert Sweet dismissed the suit saying it is not the place of the law to protect people from their own excesses. “They cannot blame McDonald’s if they, nonetheless, choose to satiate their appetite with a surfeit of supersized McDonald’s products.”
However, in recognition of just how far removed processed “products” can be from real food, the judge said that when an item is substantially less healthy than it appears, a seller may be held liable for the resulting harm. “Rather than being merely chicken fried in a pan,” he wrote of McNuggets, they are “a McFrankenstein creation of various elements not utilized by the home cook. … It is at least a question of fact [whether a reasonable consumer would know that a McNugget] contained so many ingredients other than chicken and provided twice the fat of a hamburger.”11
Lest you think the chicken sandwich is significantly different than, or better than, the McNugget, check this out:12
|Chicken Selects® Premium Breast Strips:
Chicken breast strips, water, seasoning [salt, monosodium glutamate, carrageenan gum, chicken broth, natural flavor (plant and animal source), maltodextrin, spice, autolyzed yeast extract, chicken fat, polysorbate 80], modified potato starch, and sodium phosphates. Breaded with: wheat flour, water, food starch-modified, salt, spices, leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate), garlic powder, onion powder, dextrose, spice extractives and extractives of paprika. Prepared in vegetable oil ((may contain one of the following: Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, partially hydrogenated corn oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness), dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent). CONTAINS: WHEAT
What you don’t read on the label that also may come in your chicken: arsenic.
According to independent test results released in 2006 by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), brand name chicken sold in American supermarkets and fast food restaurants are widely contaminated with arsenic.
• Nine out of ten American children eat at a McDonald’s at least once a month.
• One out of every five public schools in the United States now serves brand name fast food.
• Children who are obese at 13 have a 90% chance of being overweight at 35 years old.
• One out of every three toys given to children in the U.S. every year is from a fast food restaurant.
“It has been claimed that none – or at least very little – of the arsenic put into chicken feed makes its way into the meat. But arsenic levels in chicken meat are a lot higher than previously acknowledged. That was the conclusion of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists, writing in 2004 in Environmental Health Perspectives, a journal of the National Institutes of Health. So, we set out to do something the federal government had never done. We tested for arsenic in the chicken meat that people mostly eat.”13
IATP tested chicken products from Foster Farms, Trader Joe’s, Gold’n Plump, Perdue, Smart Chicken, and Tyson Foods and found 55 percent carried detectable arsenic. Fast food chicken products included in the test were McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Arby’s, Subway, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Church’s and Popeyes; 90 percent contained detectable levels of arsenic.
For decades, arsenic has been routinely put into chicken feed to kill vermin and make the animals grow bigger, faster.
Arsenic causes cancer even at the low levels currently found in our environment. Evidence suggests arsenic also contributes to other diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and declines in intellectual function.
Birds sold under organic labels may not legally be given arsenic.14
Meanwhile Consumer Reports was looking at the bacteria count in chicken in 2006. Investigators for the independent consumer group tested 525 whole broiler chickens from leading brands including Perdue, Tyson, Pilgrim’s Pride, and Foster Farms, as well as organic and other brands raised without antibiotics.
“CR’s analysis of fresh, whole broilers bought nationwide revealed that 83 percent harbored campylobacter or salmonella, the leading bacterial causes of foodborne disease. That’s a stunning increase from 2003, when we reported finding that 49 percent tested positive for one or both pathogens.”15
Both salmonella and campylobacter colonize the birds’ intestines usually without harm to the birds. But when a chicken is slaughtered, feathers, guts, and waste water, which should be discarded during processing, are routinely “recycled” back to the layer and broiler houses as feed. Industry experts believe that along with unclean slaughtering and processing techniques, this enforced cannibalism is leading to the rampant salmonella epidemic in U.S. poultry plants.16
Finally there is the problem of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics are used to promote growth and to combat infections that come from the crowded, stressful conditions found on many large animal-production facilities.
Investigators reported that 84% of the salmonella organisms analyzed and 67% of the campylobacter were resistant to one or more antibiotics. Studies published in 2001 in The New England Journal of Medicine indicated that many food-borne and other illnesses in people no longer respond to the usual antibiotics.17,18
In Canada, the use of hormones in chicken feed has been banned since the 1960s.
There is some good news in this picture. Major U.S. commercial chicken producers have been removing antibiotics from chicken feed since the FDA banned the use of Baytril®,a drug similar to Cipro®, in 2005.
The American cowboy and small farmer raising cattle on the open range got swallowed up by corporate America. In their place, we have uniform fast food burgers all over the world.
Eric Schlosser’s meticulously researched book, Fast Food Nation, describes what went wrong in the process:
“American meat production has never before been so centralized: thirteen large packinghouses now slaughter most of the beef consumed in the United States.
“The E. coli O157:H7 bacterium is a newly emerged pathogen … This strain of E. coli was most likely responsible for some human illnesses thirty or forty years ago. But the rise of huge feedlots, slaughterhouses, and hamburger grinders seems to have provided the means for this pathogen to become widely dispersed in the nation’s food supply.
“A nationwide study published by the USDA in 1996 found 78.6 percent of the ground beef contained microbes that are spread primarily by fecal material. The medical literature on the causes of food poisoning is full of euphemisms and dry scientific terms: aerobic plate counts, MacConkey agar, and so on. Behind them lies a simple explanation for why eating a hamburger can now make you seriously ill: There is shit in the meat.
“To be infected by most food borne pathogens, such as Salmonella, you have to consume a fairly large dose – at least a million organisms. An infection with E. coli O157:H7 can be caused by as few as 5 organisms. A tiny uncooked particle of hamburger meat can contain enough of the pathogen to kill you.
“For years the meatpacking industry has managed to avoid the sort of liability routinely imposed on the manufacturers of most consumer products. Today, the U.S. government can demand the nationwide recall of defective softball bats, sneakers, stuffed animals and foam rubber toy cows. But it cannot order a meatpacking company to remove contaminated, potentially lethal ground beef from fast food kitchens and supermarket shelves.”19
Warning bells began to ring more than 20 years ago and keep ringing:
• 1982 – dozens of children got sick from hamburgers contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 sold at McDonald’s restaurants in Oregon and Michigan.
• 1993 – the infamous Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak where more than 700 people got sick, 200 were hospitalized and 4 died.
• 2007 – Topps Meat Company of New Jersey recalled 21.7 million pounds of ground beef because of E. coli contamination that brought forth reports in 8 states of sickened people.
• 2008 – largest beef recall in U.S. history; USDA recalled 143 million pounds of beef produced by Westland/Hallmark Meat Company after a U.S. Humane Society video showed the plant had used sick animals, unfit for human consumption.
The CDC estimates that 20 cases of E. coli O157:H7 and 38 cases of Salmonellosis actually occur for every case that is reported to federal public health authorities.20
E. coli O157:H7, once inside the human body, can release powerful “Shiga toxins” that attack the lining of the intestine. In a small percentage of people, especially children, Shiga toxins enter the bloodstream and can lead to seizures, neurological damage, strokes, kidney failure, anemia, internal bleeding, and the destruction of vital organs.
Ground beef, the stuff of hamburgers, is especially problematic. “Even if you assume that only 1 percent [of the cattle] are infected, that means three or four cattle bearing the microbe are eviscerated at a large slaughterhouse every hour,” and a single animal infected with E. coli can contaminate 32,000 pounds of ground beef, Schlosser documented.
America has not responded by cleaning up feed lots or by putting tough oversight mechanisms in place. Rather, the focus was put on cooking hamburgers more to kill what pathogens may be lurking within.
If you cook it, are you safe? Two of the four children who died in the Jack-in-the-Box outbreak had not eaten hamburgers themselves; they became infected through contact with a playmate who had eaten a tainted hamburger.21 Cooking eggs and meat at high temperatures (overcooking by another definition), produces a chemical compounds called PhIP or HCAs, which studies increasingly link to breast cancer.22
McDonald’s and Jack in the Box introduced tougher safety rules for their suppliers; however, these are private initiatives, the test results are not public.
The modern American hamburger is also implicated in fueling the obesity epidemic and triggering early puberty in children.
Many cattle are fed the same muscle-building androgens, usually testosterone surrogates, abused by some athletes. Federal law prohibits you from buying and self-medicating with these steroids, but they are administered to U.S. cattle on a massive scale.
According to the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures Relating to Public Health, the use of growth hormones in beef production poses a potential risk to human health. The Committee also questioned whether hormone residues in the meat of “growth enhanced” animals and can disrupt human hormone balance, causing developmental problems, interfering with the reproductive system, and even leading to the development of breast, prostate or colon cancer.23
Children, pregnant women and the unborn are thought to be most susceptible. Hormone residues in beef have been implicated in the early onset of puberty in girls, which could put them at greater risk of developing breast and other forms of cancer.
The European Union does not allow the use of hormones in cattle production, has prohibited the import of hormone-treated beef since 1988, and has banned all beef imports from the US. What does that tell you about the beef you get at fast food places or typical American grocery store? Remember when Oprah Winfrey was sued for saying that, based on what she’d learned about meat production in the United States, she was never going to eat another hamburger? That is political clout and intimidation; that is not the government looking out for your health. You have to look out for your own health.
How can hamburgers have contributed to the obesity epidemic? Because commercially grown cattle are not fed their natural diet. Imagine the cowboy out on the range; visualize those cows eating grass and roaming (and pooping) over large acreage of sun washed prairie. Now fast forward to a crowded feedlot where the animals stand in their own manure, and are fed corn and grain. (They can also be fed dead pigs, horses, poultry and chicken manure which consumer advocates feel risks the human variation of mad cow.)
The feedlot diet is higher in fat and calories and contains less of the nutrients that have nourished human health for tens of thousands of years.
Compared to naturally grass fed beef, feedlot (“grain-finished”) beef contains
• less vitamin A and vitamin E
• a worse omega-3:omega-6 ratio
• less conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
• more fat and calories24
Grass-fed beef is lower in total fat. A 6-ounce steak from a steer that has eaten nothing but grass can have 100 fewer calories than a 6-ounce steak from a feedlot steer. If you eat a typical amount of beef (66.5 pounds a year), switching to lean grassfed beef can save you 17,700 calories a year – without requiring any willpower, just a change in your shopping habits.25
Meat and dairy products from grass-fed ruminants are the richest known source of a good fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has been shown to promote weight loss. When ruminants are raised solely on fresh pasture, their meat and milk contain three to five times more CLA than products from animals in the feedlots.26 When cattle are taken off pasture and fed corn and grain in a feedlot, their CLA levels plummet.
CLA is also in the milk fat from dairy cows. But milk drinkers are unlikely to take in much CLA from milk because confinement dairying methods, which are the norm in American agriculture, deny cows green growing grass, without which they cannot produce CLA.
So part of the obesity equation appears to be the loss of CLA in our diets.
More and more children are developing chronic illness, and in many cases, a dietary imbalance of omega-3 to omega-6 plays a part. Conventional beef contains a 1:4 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 while grass-only diets produce a healthier 2:1 ratio.27 (Combine the typical grass fed burger with the typical French fry cooked in vegetable oil, and you worsen the omega-3 to omega-6 imbalance because vegetable oils are also high in omega-6s. In fact, add to that a salad with a vegetable oil-based salad dressing. Now do you see a pattern emerging of how years of such a diet is an engraved invitation to health problems?)
Omega-3s are formed in the chloroplasts of green leaves and algae. Sixty percent of the fatty acids in grass are omega-3s. When cattle are taken off omega-3 rich grass and shipped to a feedlot to be fattened on grain, they begin losing their store of this beneficial fat. Each day that an animal spends in the feedlot, its supply of omega-3s is diminished.
The omega fats are called “essential fatty acids” because, like vitamin C, our bodies cannot make them. We must get them from foods we eat. And the Standard American diet, hamburgers included, are providing less and less of the right balance.
Consider some of the research coming to light:
• In animal studies, these essential fats have slowed the growth of a wide array of cancers and also kept them from spreading.28
• In a Finnish study, women who had the highest levels of CLA in their diet, had a 60 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those with the lowest levels.29
• People who have ample amounts of omega-3s in their diet are less likely to have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat. They are 50 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack.30
• Omega-3s are essential for your brain as well. People with a diet rich in omega-3s are less likely to suffer from depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder (hyperactivity), or Alzheimer’s disease.31
Cattle, like all other ruminants, developed eating green leafy plants, mostly grass. They ate virtually no grain. Those who blame red meat for health problems overlook the implications of feeding of grain to the animals we eat; they overlook how different today’s feedlot beef is from that which mankind ate for tens of thousands of years.
Ketchup & Mayo
And what goes well with hamburgers? A big dollop of ketchup, of course. What is it? Well, one-third of ketchup is usually sugar. (And while we’re here, how about the bun? Usually made of processed flour, stripped of nutrients, to which a half-teaspoon of sugar is added so the yeast can make it rise.)
In 1981, Congress ordered the USDA to issue new standards for federally financed school lunch programs. One of the USDA’s proposals was to classify ketchup as a vegetable. The suggestion was widely ridiculed; the proposal was killed.
The good news here is, most ketchup is still made from real tomatoes and so it contains some healthy lycopene. Some studies show that organic varieties contain more of it.
Organic ketchups are also more likely to use sugar rather than the less healthy corn syrups.
Mayonnaise is typically made from unhealthy vegetable oils – too high in omega-6 fatty acids – with a big dollop of preservatives, flavoring agents, and thickeners.
You can make your own with olive oil. It will last about a week and may require a “taste-bud readjustment” before acceptance sets in.
Or just use sour cream instead – kids love sour cream.
Both of these are condiments – meant to be used sparingly.
In 1930, the average dairy cow produced 12 pounds (about a gallon and a half) of milk per day. In 1988, the average was 39 pounds per day. This was accomplished by selective breeding to obtain dairy cows that produced a lot of pituitary hormones, thereby generating large amounts of milk. Today rBGH, a genetically engineered copy of a cow’s naturally occurring growth hormone, is used to produce more milk, bringing the average up to 50 pounds (over 6 gallons) of milk per day.
In 1993, the FDA gave Monsanto corporation approval to market the first such hormones under the trade name “Posilac®”, and no labeling was required in consumer products. Bovine growth hormone was the flagship product in Monsanto’s campaign to take command of the ultra-high-stakes biotechnology industry.
There was strong and broad opposition from scientists, farmers, consumers and other governments. The FDA relied on a study done by Monsanto in which rBGH was tested for 90 days on 30 rats. (A standard cancer test of a new human drug requires two years of testing with several hundred rats.) The study was never published, and the FDA stated the results showed no significant problems. Critics argue the approval came after pressure from Monsanto’s lobbyists.
A key health concern is that animals given rBGH produce more insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Studies, have linked high levels of IGF-1 in humans who consume rBGH milk with breast, prostate, colon and other cancers.
|“Your Milk on Drugs – Just Say No!” by Institute for Responsible Technology
Cows treated with rBHG have more mastitis which increases amounts of pus in milk. Commercial dairies aren’t concerned about germs in the pus however, because the milk will be pasteurized. But mastitis is treated with antibiotics, increasing the antibiotics residues which are present in milk fed to consumers. From time to time, we get proof antibiotics do make it into milk. The Wall Street Journal in December, 1989, found that 20% of the milk had illegal antibiotics present. This number was confirmed in a May 1992 Consumers Reports study; the Center for Science in the Public Interest found 38% of the milk to be adulterated with illegal antibiotics. It raises the question whether some farmers purposefully use antibiotics they know the government does not test for.
The ever louder grumbling about this adulteration got the ear of two top-notch, well respected investigative reporters in Florida.
In 2001, Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, were fired from the Fox News station in Tampa after months of controversy surrounding their investigative report on rBGH use in Florida dairies. “Fox 13 didn’t want to kill the story revealing synthetic hormones in Florida’s milk supply,” Wilson said. Instead, “We were repeatedly ordered to go forward and broadcast demonstrably inaccurate and dishonest versions of the story. We were given those instructions after some very high-level corporate lobbying by Monsanto and also, we believe, by members of Florida’s dairy and grocery industries.”33
The reporters lost their jobs, but the consumers got the message.
In February 2007, the Organic Consumers Union, the Cancer Prevention Coalition, and the Family Farm Defenders, filed a joint petition asking the FDA to require cancer risk warning labels on all U.S. milk produced with rBGH. They also asked the FDA to suspend rBGH approval due to “imminent hazard.” The FDA did not respond, but the marketplace did. Costco, WalMart, Kroger, and others stopped buying milk and dairy products made from milk with rBHG in it.
In 2009, Monsanto sold Posilac to Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly and Company.
Organic milk is produced without the use of synthetic hormones. U.S. sales of it soared since Monsanto introduced rBGH into milk. Despite the fact the FDA stands behind the genetically engineered hormone, it is banned in all 25 European Union nations, Canada, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.
The rBGH controversy pales in comparison however to the raw versus pasteurized milk controversy.
One of the most visible advocates for healthy milk is Sally Fallon, head of the non-profit Weston A. Price Foundation:
Dr. Weston A. Price performed time-honored research on the impact of foods on human health. He traveled the world to study isolated peoples. With photographs, he illustrated the physical degeneration that occurs when people abandoned nourishing traditional diets in favor of modern convenience foods. Dr. Price published his findings in the book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.
“The source of most commercial milk is the modern Holstein, bred to produce huge quantities of milk–three times as much as the old-fashioned cow. She needs special feed and antibiotics to keep her well. Her milk contains high levels of growth hormone from her pituitary gland, even when she is spared the indignities of genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone to push her to the udder limits of milk production.
“Pasteurization destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamins C, B12 and B6 … Pasteurization was instituted in the 1920s to combat … diseases caused by poor animal nutrition and dirty production methods. But times have changed and modern stainless steel tanks, milking machines, refrigerated trucks and inspection methods make pasteurization absolutely unnecessary for public protection.
“Inspection of dairy herds for disease is not required for pasteurized milk.
“Pasteurization destroys friendly bacteria and allows pathogenic bacteria to proliferate.
“Both raw and pasteurized milk harbor bacteria but the bacteria in raw milk is the healthy bacteria of lactic-acid fermentation while the bacteria in pasteurized milk is the bacteria of spoilage. And the overall bacteria count of milk produced under clean conditions is much lower than that of pasteurized milk. Both raw and pasteurized milk contain E. coli, normally a benign microorganism. The most likely source of the new strains of virulent E. coli is genetically engineered soy, fed to cows in large commercial dairies.
“Children fed raw milk have more resistance to TB, scurvy, flu, diphtheria, pneumonia, asthma, allergic skin problems and tooth decay. In addition, their growth and calcium absorption is superior.”
Pasteurization extends the shelf-life of milk products. It has become as much a part of our commercial food heritage as the E. coli and antibiotics in the cattle feedlots:
“Pasteurization was done at the end of the 1800s as a temporary solution until filthy urban dairies could find a way to produce cleaner milk. But instead of cleaning up milk production, dairies used pasteurization as a way to cover up dirty milk. As milk became more mass produced, pasteurization became necessary for large dairies to increase their profits. So the public then had to be convinced that pasteurized milk was safer than raw milk. Soon raw milk consumption was blamed for all sorts of diseases and outbreaks until the public was finally convinced that pasteurized milk was superior to milk in its natural state. … As the dairy industry has become more concentrated, many processing plants have switched to ultrapasteurization, which involves higher temperatures and longer treatment times. The industry says this is necessary because many microorganisms have become heat resistant and now survive ordinary pasteurization.”37
Some might argue that milk still needs to be pasteurized to avoid tuberculosis. Dr. Ron Schmid, author of The Untold Story of Milk, sorted out the issue:
“The link of tuberculosis and milk in the public mind dates back to [the 1880s and Robert Koch who] announced his discovery of the tubercle bacillus as the cause of TB. … Hailed as the greatest scientist of his day, Koch announced a few years later that he had found exactly the same bacillus in the sores of tubercular cows and their milk. Meanwhile, Pasteur discovered that heat treatment of milk – later named pasteurization – would kill the tuberclebacilli and presumably save children from tuberculosis. These announcements were met with great excitement everywhere, for pasteurization promised to be the solution to the whole problem of tuberculosis. The promise was illusory, and the disease would not be controlled until the advent of antibiotics in the 1940s (and many still die of tuberculosis, in spite of the use of antibiotics). But significantly, in the years following Koch’s and Pasteur’s discoveries, great commercial possibilities opened up. Large sums of money were invested in the fledgling business of pasteurization – the foundation of the modern dairy industry.”
“In 1901, however, Dr. Koch announced that a prolonged series of experiments had proved that the human and the bovine tubercle bacilli were neither identical nor transmissible, and that humans had little to fear from the bovine bacillus. “The human subject is immune against infection with bovine bacilli,” he wrote. “Human tuberculosis differs from bovine, and cannot be transmitted to cattle.” This announcement too had great impact and although it sparked tremendous controversy, earned Koch the Nobel Prize four years later. But by then, pro-pasteurization proponents had taken action to refute Koch’s findings. … Today, it is accepted … human tuberculosis is spread primarily by inhalation. … It was the advent of modern, closed-system milking machines, starting in the 1920s, and not pasteurization, that reduced the spread of the human strain of tuberculosis in milk to nearly zero.”38
Milk straight from the cow was used medicinally by doctors early in the 1900s. Dr. J. R. Crewe at the Mayo Foundation used raw milk in the treatment of a wide variety of serious chronic diseases, and that he reported no problem, even with patients who were very ill. However, at that time the medical profession was not treating millions of people with immunosuppressive drugs.
Laws regarding the sale of unpasteurized milk vary from state to state. Arizona has one small dairy in Queen Creek that sells organic, raw milk. People travel for miles to buy it. In the fall of 2006, a bill was submitted to the Arizona Legislature proposing to ban the sale of raw milk except at the farm. The bill would have put the dairy out of business. State Senator Carolyn Allen advised the United Dairymen of Arizona to drop the bill because she expected a very large protest from consumers.
Beware of “low-fat” milks. Non-fat dried milk is added to 1% and 2% milk. Unlike the cholesterol in fresh milk, which plays a variety of health promoting roles, the cholesterol in non-fat dried milk is oxidized and it is this rancid cholesterol that promotes heart disease.
Homogenization also feeds heart disease. The process strains fat particles through tiny pores under great pressure. Milk fat contains an enzyme called xanthine oxidase (XO), some of which survives the pasteurization process and, thanks to homogenization, is now able to pass through the gut wall into the bloodstream intact. When foreign XO enters the bloodstream it creates havoc by attacking plasmalogen within artery walls. Plasmalogen is a tissue that makes up 30 percent of human heart muscle and artery wall cells. The attacks cause loss of plasmalogens, with resultant oxidative attack on artery walls. The body’s protective mechanisms respond to the damage by scarring and laying down cholesterol plaques (like band-aids) which subsequently become calcified. We call this thickening and hardening of the arteries, and subsequent blockage of blood flow, arteriosclerosis.
Finally, there is the issue of what breed of cow supplies your milk – raw or not. Most milk now comes from Holsteins and Friesians, newer breeds of cows that have a mutated form of casein, a protein found in the milk-solids (but not in the butter or whey). Casein is also used in many foods as a binding agent. Holsteins and Friesians generally give milk that contains a small but significant amount of beta-casein type A1, which behaves like an opiate and which epidemiological studies have implicated in heart disease, Type 1 diabetes, autism and schizophrenia. Evidence suggests that mutated beta-casein appears to act as a histamine releaser. It has been found to cause neurological impairment in animals and people, particularly autistic and schizophrenic changes. It also interferes with the immune response. Older breeds of cows – Jerseys, Asian, and African – have beta-casein type A2.
A Final Note
There are common patterns among the practices of modern chicken, beef, and milk processing, and the challenges to human health that have resulted. When we traded the small, local farmer, for bigness, uniformity, and high technology, we lost much more than we realized at the time. We traded milk and strawberries for food coloring and additives we can’t pronounce; now we are forced to face the unintended consequences.
Often, public pressure is what motivates change in the marketplace. Moms and dads have more ability than they probably realize when it comes to taking charge of their children’s health. How we decide to spend our money on food is an economic force more powerful than industry lobbyists.
Inquiring Minds Who Want to Learn More – Recommended Watching and Reading:
The Meatrix is an award-winning trilogy of creative cartoons to explain many of the issues discussed above.
In 2004, Peter Jennings of ABC News aired a special report entitled “How To Get Fat Without Trying,” a surprisingly candid look at the role of government policy and food industry in selling unhealthy food to kids. As of August 2007, you can access the 5-part report on You Tube entitled “The Food Industry Is Deceiving You.”
• Consumers think it is their fault they are overweight, but it is not that simple. The food industry and the government are at fault.
• Farmers today grow twice as much food as we need. Abundance has become the enemy.
• Farm subsidies are given out with no thought as to the health impact on the public. Fruits and vegetables receive less than 1 percent of the subsidies.
• Corn is the most heavily subsidized crop. We consume nearly three times more corn in the form of corn sweeteners than we do in all other forms combined.
• Soybeans are another example of how massive government subsidy contributes to obesity. Most soybean consumption is in the unhealthy form of soybean oil.
• If Americans were to follow a healthy diet, the USDA says nearly twice the number of acres of fruits and vegetables would have to be planted.
• Processed foods are typically made from a mixture of high fructose corn syrup, water, flour, starch, fat, artificial colorings and flavorings. You can make almost anything out of that – pudding, beverages and all kinds of snack foods that are dirt cheap to produce.
• When you look at the products introduced by industry in recent years, one thing is abundantly clear; the vast majority is food that Americans should be eating less.
• In the 1960s and 1970s we consumed healthier snacks like milk and fruit. In the last decade we are consuming high fat, salty snacks like chips.
• Americans are snacking all day long and consuming more calories. The food industry spends $33 million a year to promote that behavior; it is a deliberate strategy to sell more food.
• A person must walk for 6 hours to burn off a McDonalds meal; exercise alone is not the answer.
• Since “reduced fat” products have come on the market, Americans have gained more weight because sugar was often substituted for fat.
• Most of what is marketed to kids is unhealthy. It has changed cultural expectations to where children think they should be eating this kind of food all the time.
• Television ads are designed to generate a “nag factor” because they know children will pester parents for it, and parents dislike arguing with their children about food.
• One-fourth of elementary school children already have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or some other marker for heart disease.
• The modern kid diet may be condemning them to a lifetime of illness so why are TV ads allowed to be aimed at children?
• America has no restrictions regarding food advertising and children. Italy prohibits all ads during cartoon shows, Australia prohibits advertising to shows for preschoolers, Norway and Sweden prohibit all TV advertising to children under 12.
• In the 1970s the U.S. Federal Trade Commission proposed restrictions but ran into a political buzz saw powered by the food and television broadcasting lobbies.
• Since then, obesity had become the most pressing heath problem for children and adults in America.
• The obesity situation is like the tobacco situation decades ago when the government finally stepped in and discouraged what led to poor health.
In May 2006, Eric Schlosser and co-author Charles Wilson released a children’s book entitled Chew On This. “We felt that kids needed to hear the other side of the story. The eating habits that a person develops as a child are difficult to break later. And if a child is obese by the age of thirteen, he or she is likely to remain obese for life. The nutritional education of American children shouldn’t be left to the fast food, junk food, and soda companies.”
Recommend the video over the book because it shows film of three generations of cats raised by Dr. Pottenger. The cats who ate a feline’s natural diet of raw meat remained healthy. Cats fed cooked meat (do you feed your pets processed kibble?) produced unhealthy offspring. By the third generation, the cats fed cooked meats had visible body deformities and were largely unable to reproduce. This gives wonderful, clear-cut understanding of the impact of unnatural diets on a living species.
This is a landmark work in human nutrition. Dr. Weston A. Price traveled the world – from Alaska to Africa, from Switzerland to South America – studying what native populations ate and their resulting state of health. Native Eskimos, who don’t eat vegetables, for example, experienced no cancer and little illness. His photographs document the ravages of sugar and white flour on human health.
Why do some people shop at health food stores and pay extra for grass-fed beef? Jo Robinson’s book will explain. She advocates pasture-feeding of animals and documents how human health is directly impacted by the health of animals raised for human consumption.
The phrase, Got Milk?, will take on a whole new meaning after you learn how pasteurization and homogenization change milk. These two well researched, easy to read books were written by experts, Dr. Ron Schmid and Dr. William Campbell Douglass, respectively.
http://brightspot.org/eee/index.shtml (movies about the nutrition change in a Kansas elementary school program).
www.ppnf.org/ (website of the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation)
www.WestonAPriceFoundation.org (website devoted to understanding of human nutrition)
www.NorthStarBison.com (website of a Wisconsin company that ships grassfed meats to your door)
www.organicconsumers.org (website of the Organic Consumers Association, a consumer watchdog group for organic food standards, irradiation, and genetic modification of food)
The 59 ingredients in a fast-food strawberry milkshake, The Guardian, April 24, 2006
ADHD and Food Additives Revisited, AAP Grand Rounds 2008;19;17. Accessed February 2008 at http://www.feingold.org/Research/PDFstudies/AAP08.pdf
Heidi Hawkins, MAc, Lac, Mold Allergy, Acupuncture Today, April, 2004, Vol. 05, Issue 04
Sally Fallon, Dirty Secrets of the Food Processing Industry, presentation to the annual conference of Consumer Health of Canada, March, 2002 and accessed at http://www.westonaprice.org/modernfood/dirty-secrets.html
Paul Stitt, Beating the Food Giants, Natural Press paperback, pages 40-42
Sally Fallon, Dirty Secrets of the Food Processing Industry
, accessed August 23, 2007
Michael Pollen, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Penguin Press, 2006, p. 112-114
As reported in the New York Times, January 23 and February 3, 2003
. Accessed August 23, 2007
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Playing Chicken: Avoiding Arsenic in Your Meat, April, 2006
Ibid, page 6
Dirty Birds, Consumer’s Union investigation, Consumer Reports, January 2007; online edition
Karen Davis, Ph.D., Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry, 1996
White DG, Zhao SH et al. The Isolation of Antibiotic-Resistant Salmonella from Retail Ground Meats
. NEJM 345;16:1147-54 (Oct 18, 2001).
Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation, Houghton Mifflin, 2001, Chapter 9
CDC, Foodborne Infections 5 (electronic version) available at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/foodborneinfections_g.htm
Safe Tables Our Priority, Ten Years After the Jack-in-the-Box Outbreak –Why Are People Still Dying From Contaminated Food?, February, 2003, accessed at http://www.safetables.org/pdf/STOP_Report.pdf
Deliang Tang, Jason Liu, et al; Grilled Meat Consumption and PhIP-DNA Adducts in Prostate Carcinogenesis
, Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 16, 803-808, April 1, 2007. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-06-0973. Also, Amit Ghoshal, Cindy D. Davis, et al; Possible mechanisms for PhIP-DNA adduct formation in the mammary gland of female Sprague-Dawley rats
, Oxford Journals, Volume 16, Number 11, Pp. 2725-2731
The Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures Relating to Public Health. “Assessment of Potential Risks to Human Health from Hormone Residues in Bovine Meat and Meat Products
.” European Commission, April 30, 1999.
Abbott, Basurto, et al; Enhanced nutrient content of Grass Fed Beef: Justification for Health Benefit Label Claim, College of Agriculture, California State University, Chico, University of California Cooperative Extension Service
Jo Robinson, http://www.eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm
Dhiman, T. R., G. R. Anand, et al. (1999). “Conjugated linoleic acid content of milk from cows fed different diets
.” J Dairy Sci 82(10): 2146-56. Interestingly, when the pasture was machine-harvested and then fed to the animals as hay, the cows produced far less CLA than when they were grazing on that pasture, even though the hay was made from the very same grass. The fat that the animals use to produce CLA is oxidized during the wilting, drying process. For maximum CLA, animals need to be grazing living pasture.
French P, Stanton C, Lawless F., O’Riordan EG, Monahan FJ, Caffrey PJ and Moloney AP. Fatty acid composition, including conjugated linoleic acid, of intramuscular fat from steers offered grazed grass, grass silage, or concentrate-based diets
. 2000 J. Anim. Sci. 78:2849-2855. Also Duckett SK, Wagner DG, Yates LD, Dolezal HG, May SG. Effects of time on feed on beef nutrient composition
. J Anim Sci 1993. 71;2079-2088.
Rose, D. P., J. M. Connolly, et al. (1995). “Influence of Diets Containing Eicosapentaenoic or Docasahexaenoic Acid on Growth and Metastasis of Breast Cancer Cells in Nude Mice
.” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 87(8): 587-92.
Ip, C, J.A. Scimeca, et al. (1994) “Conjugated linoleic acid. A powerful anti-carcinogen from animal fat sources.” p. 1053. Cancer 74(3 suppl):1050-4.
Siscovick, D. S., T. E. Raghunathan, et al. (1995). “Dietary Intake and Cell Membrane Levels of Long-Chain n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and the Risk of Primary Cardiac Arrest
.” JAMA 274(17): 1363-1367.
Simopolous, A. P. and Jo Robinson (1999). The Omega Diet. New York, HarperCollins.
Francesca Lyman, MSNBC interview, March 29, 2001 Also, Shiv Chopra, M Feeley, et al; rBST (NUTRILAC) “GAPS ANALYSIS” REPORT By rBST INTERNAL REVIEW TEAM, Health Protection Branch, Health Canada, April 21, 1998. Accessed at http://www.nfu.ca/gapsreport.html
Rampton, Sheldon and Stauber, John. “Monsanto and Fox: Partners in Censorship
.” PR Watch, Second Quarter 1998, Volume 5, No. 2.
Carolyn Dimitri and Catherine Greene, Recent Growth Patterns in the U.S. Organic Foods Market, Economic Research Service/USDA
Lori Lipinksi, Milk: It Does a Body Good?, Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2003
Ron Schmid, ND; The Untold Story of Milk, New Trends Publishing, Chapter 15
Food and Nutrition
Low Dose Chemotherapy