Dieticians Gone Wild…And why we All need to keep our thinking caps On

usda my plate

Welcome back and lordy, lordy, it would appear that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) has sold out, like clueless girls pulling up their shirts so a schlameel far away can cash in on the spectacle. Read this excellent article from our favorite food advocate, Robyn O’Brien, about their recent national conference:

http://www.foodrevolution.org/blog/dieticians-trade-group-exposed/

As Robyn explains, the dieticians were treated to nutritional advice from (SARCASM MINE) paragons of health, wellness, and GMO transparency Coca-Cola, with their “Balancing Act” pamphlet. It emphasizes “energy balance”, and recommends burning 100 calories by gardening for 19 minutes, playing soccer for 13 minutes, or climbing stairs for 10 minutes. The pamphlet also reminds readers that soda and juice can all help meet hydration needs.  What Coca Cola fails to mention, despite the fact that almost 70% of our country is overweight or obese, is the role that sugar plays in disease.

They call for moderate exercise followed by ingesting enough junk food to negate the benefits an “energy balance”? The ingredients in Coke include artificial colors, aspartame, and a couple of acids (from http://eatlocalgrown.com/article/12212-what-chemicals-are-really-in-coca-cola-s-coke-soda.html#!). Issues with prolonged Coke ingestion include Ca depletion, osteoporosis, weight gain, and leaving the body in an acidic state and hence vulnerable to disease. I am not a dietician, but I am going to proclaim that Coke is nasty and has no business being considered healthy in any sense of the word (I welcome a rebuttal to this logic from the credential endowed). My concern here is that professionals in the nutrition world were told that this stuff can meet hydration requirements, and there is the thus the possibility that someone will pass this wisdom along in their professional capacity.

Which brings me to my next point.

Just because someone has an impressive professional credential does not mean they will give you advice that is in the best interests of you or your family, and not because they are being dishonest or malicious. Instead, there may be limitations to their knowledge, it may be dated, they may be oblivious or biased in certain directions, etc. My point being that you must consider whatever anyone with a credential recommends for your health with a critical mind because they are not perfect. I can’t emphasize the points below enough:

–          Do not just accept the status quo as being the best option simply because “that’s how it has always been, so how bad could it be” (spoiler alert: in some cases, pretty bad)

–          Do not accept that because someone has a credential that they are above being asked questions, defending their position, and even being disagreed with; after all, it’s your body and your life

Just as an example of the lack of blind trust we should have in government agencies and experts, a prominent Harvard University professor has compiled a new report that slams the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its failure to honestly and ethically approve new drugs. Set to be published in a special issue of the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, the damning report declares that the FDA “cannot be trusted,” noting that virtually all new drugs approved by the agency over the past 30 years are little or no better than existing drugs already on the market. Read the whole post here:

http://www.naturalnews.com/043265_FDA_Big_Pharma_Harvard_University.html#ixzz2nrs3114k

Also see the link below from a Mom who thinks that her lack of critical thinking and questioning the status quo led to her son getting autism:

http://gaia-health.com/gaia-blog/2013-02-26/how-i-gave-my-son-autism/

One could argue whether, or not, there is “incontrovertible scientific proof” that she gave her son autism. However let’s see the forest for the trees. The totality of what happened to her son from the time he was in the womb through the first few years of his life represents the status quo and is concerning. It seemed that the medical professionals had blinders on and were concerned only with what they were doing, getting their bit done, and not the cumulative effect of what all the procedures, chemicals, medications, vaccines, antibiotics, etc. could have on a tiny, young body. Would the outcome have been different if the child had a different medical history? We’ll never know. However what she points out quite poignantly is that she did not approach each and every medical decision with a critical mind and will spend the rest of her days regretting that fact. Her thinking cap was NOT on.

Which brings me to my final point!

I love it when courageous men and women put their thinking caps on and stare down the status quo (which likely does not make a lot of sense, but is making entrenched interests a lot of cents). I’ve mentioned such courageous people in this blog, such as Prof. Brene Brown , Robyn O’Brien, and Dr. Mark Hyman. Now I’d like to add Dr. David Perlmutter to the list. His book Grain Brain (Hachette Books, 2013) is all the rage amongst the Nutritionista set (yeah, like me), and hopefully it will gain mainstream acceptance as well. He turns around the status quo by expertly pointing out the following:

–          Per Dr. George Mann (researcher with the Framingham Heart Study):  The diet heart hypothesis that suggests that a high intake of fat or cholesterol causes heart disease has been repeatedly shown to be wrong, and yet, for complicated reasons of pride, profit, and prejudice, the hypothesis continues to be exploited by scientists, fund-raising enterprise, food companies, and even governmental agencies. (See USDA My Plate dietary recommendation above for proof!) The public is being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century. [p.78]

–          Not only is the high carb, low fat useless for preventing heart disease, the notions that the intake of high dietary fat = high body fat and high dietary cholesterol = high body cholesterol ARE WRONG! Both have to do with our addiction to carbs. [p. 72]

–          What the high carb, low fat diet does do is starve our brains of required cholesterol and fat, leading to higher incidents of neurological diseases like dementia and ADHD. Furthermore, recent findings indicate that gluten, and a high-carbohydrate diet, are among the most prominent stimulators of inflammation pathways that reach the brain. This is very concerning because researchers have known for some time now that the cornerstone of all degenerative conditions, including brain disorders, is inflammation. [p.33]

The net is that the USDA My Plate ideal diet starves the brain of necessary fat and cholesterol (note that fat is not even included in the plate!) and bathes it in carbs and gluten which lead to inflammation.

STATUS QUO = BLOWN.

I highly recommend that you get your hands on this book because it is full of much more fascinating information that is worthy of consideration. I don’t know if I an on board with the elimination of all grains and starches at this point, but his hypothesis that they should be limited and that good fats and cholesterol need to be present in substantial quantities, makes sense. How can you resist an opener like this:

Your brain…

weighs three pounds and has one hundred thousand miles of blood vessels.

contains more connections than there are stars in the Milky Way.

is the fattest organ in your body.

could be suffering this very minute without your having a clue.

Pardon me while I get back to my hard-boiled eggs for breakfast…

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Wheat and Gluten and Carbs, Oh My…

Dr P

Welcome and oh my, indeed, because we are learning more about the impact of modern wheat on our bodies, and it is not good.  (Note that modern wheat is very different from the heritage wheat of our ancestors [1]). As pointed out in the excellent article below by Dr. David Perlmutter, the concern is not just for the gluten-intolerant, but for all humans:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/12/10/wheat-threatens-all-humans-new-research-shows.html

As Dr. Perlmutter explains:

–          While gluten makes up the lion’s share of protein in wheat, research reveals that modern wheat is capable of producing more than 23,000 different proteins, any one of which could trigger a potentially damaging inflammatory response. One protein in particular is wheat germ agglutinin (WGA). WGA is classified as a lectin—a term for a protein produced by an organism to protect itself from predation.

–          It is precisely the ability of WGA to bind to proteins lining the gut that raises concern amongst medical researchers. When WGA binds to these proteins, it may leave these cells less well protected against the harmful effects of the gut contents.

–          WGA may also have direct toxic effects on the heart, endocrine, and immune systems, and even the brain. In fact, so readily does WGA make its way into the brain that scientists are actually testing it as a possible means of delivering medicines in an attempt to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

–          It is particularly alarming to consider the fact that there is a move to actually genetically modify wheat to enhance its WGA content. (As if we need another reason to reject GMO’s!)

Dr. Perlmutter makes very compelling arguments which are worthy of consideration. I am delving further into this topic by reading his book on the subject, Grain Brain. I will provide a more thorough report next week. Can’t say I am thrilled about this information because girlfriend loves her pasta and bread! However I don’t love these things more than my gut health and cognitive function, so changes will be made in the W Cubed household.

In the meantime, though, I believe reducing or eliminating grain and gluten deserves a spot on our Healthy Eating Tips List. In fact, I am sliding it into the middle:

First Layer:  Protect your gut health, digestion and immunity

–          Eliminate antibiotic and hormone-containing foods such as conventional meats and dairy; choose meats and dairy that are free of these nasties or go fully organic

–          Eliminate GMO’s primarily from processed foods containing conventional corn, high fructose corn syrup (AKA corn sugar) and soy

–          See 10/28/13 Blog Post (How to Keep Calm and Eat Healthier) for details

Second Layer:  Protect your pancreas’ ability to regulate blood sugar and prevent fatty liver disease

–          Eliminate artificial sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup (AKA corn sugar) and reduce the amount of refined sugar, especially from energy and soft drinks

–          See 10/31/13 Blog Post (Keeping in Calm and Healthy, Part Deux) for details

Third Layer:  Protect your and your children’s ability to think and concentrate

–          Eliminate artificial colors, flavors and additives especially from sodas, candies and processed foods

–          See 11/14/13 Blog Post (Why kids go berzerk after eating glowing orange mac ‘n cheese) for details

*New* Fourth Layer: Protect your gut and brain health

–          Reduce or eliminate gluten and wheat products

–          Will elaborate on this more next week!

Fifth Layer: Protect your body against disease by maintaining a basic, or alkaline, blood pH

–          Mitigate foods which cause your body to be acidic and feast on ones which make it alkaline, such as ripe fruits and vegetables

–          See 11/21/13 Blog Post (It’s all very basic…as in pH > 7…get it?) for details

Sixth Layer: Combine foods for maximum assimilation because “you are what you digest” (not only what you eat)

–          Follow food combining rules in which certain combinations of foods are not consumed at the same time to enable rapid digestion and prevent rotting and purifying in the gut (which is as bad as it sounds!)

–          See 12/5/13 Blog Post (Food Combining…It’s a Thing) for details

Interesting stuff! I hope this information helps you all on your journeys to fantastic health. Eat well and prosper, my friends!

[1] http://www.naturalnews.com/043043_einkorn_wheat_gluten_intolerance_celiac_disease.html#

Food Combining…It’s a Thing, My Friends

9067b80bc1e4e0014d63ae77645797a0

Welcome, health fans! Let’s continue to delve into healthy eating habits. Before we discuss the topic of food combining, let’s review the first 4 layers of the onion that we peeled back in previous posts because they lay the foundation for healthy eating:

First Layer:  Protect your gut health, digestion and immunity

–          Eliminate antibiotic and hormone-containing foods such as conventional meats and dairy; choose meats and dairy that are free of these nasties or go fully organic

–          Eliminate GMO’s primarily from processed foods containing conventional corn, high fructose corn syrup (AKA corn sugar) and soy

–          See 10/28/13 Blog Post (How to Keep Calm and Eat Healthier) for details

Second Layer:  Protect your pancreas’ ability to regulate blood sugar and prevent fatty liver disease

–          Eliminate artificial sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup (AKA corn sugar) and reduce the amount of refined sugar, especially from energy and soft drinks

–          See 10/31/13 Blog Post (Keeping in Calm and Healthy, Part Deux) for details

Third Layer:  Protect your and your children’s ability to think and concentrate

–          Eliminate artificial colors, flavors and additives especially from sodas, candies and processed foods

–          See 11/14/13 Blog Post (Why kids go berzerk after eating glowing orange mac ‘n cheese) for details

Fourth Layer: Protect your body against disease by maintaining a basic, or alkaline, blood pH

–          Mitigate foods which cause your body to be acidic and feast on ones which make it alkaline, such as ripe fruits and vegetables

–          See 11/21 Blog Post (It’s all very basic…as in pH > 7…get it?) for details

Fifth Layer: Combine foods for maximum assimilation because “you are what you digest” (not only what you eat)

–          Follow food combining rules in which certain combinations of foods are not consumed at the same time to enable rapid digestion and prevent rotting and purifying in the gut (which is as bad as it sounds!)

Now that you have eliminated many undesirable things from your diet, it is time to ensure that the whole, organic, non-GMO foods which are eaten are properly digested and assimilated. In order to properly discuss this topic, I am going to refer mainly to The Beauty Detox Solution, by Kimberly Snyder, C.N. Recall that I touched upon the topic of food combining when I reviewed Healing with Whole Foods  by Paul Pitchford as there is a discussion of this approach in Chapter 19 of that book as well. I found that the principles outlined in both books to be in agreement, though Paul’s treatment of the subject was more detailed and Kimberly’s a bit more accessible.

Kimberly refers to properly combining foods as Beauty Food Pairing because she argues that the minimum amount of energy should be used for digestion so that the maximum amount can be available for regenerative processes that enhance our health and beauty from the cellular level. She explains that Beauty Food Pairing is based on the science of how food digests optimally in the body. Different foods digest with different enzymes, and some call for more acidic or more alkaline environments. She references Dr. Herbert Shelton, the foremost expert on food combining, who spent years studying the way digestive enzymes work to help break down foods. As Dr. Shelton explains, “Every student of physiology is well aware that the digestive enzymes have certain well-defined limitations and that different digestive juices are secreted for use in digesting different kinds of food substances.” [1]

There are 7 main rules associated with Beauty Food Pairing:

Beauty Rule #1 – Our bodies can properly digest only one concentrated, non-water-containing food at a time. The stomach secretes different kinds of juices when we eat different kinds of foods. Non-concentrated foods are much simpler for the body to digest than concentrated foods. We can handle most concentrated foods pretty well, but we can eat only one type at a time in order to maximize digestion.

–          Concentrated foods are foods that do not contain any water, like proteins (fish and seafood, chicken, meat, seeds, nuts, dairy except for butter, protein powders, eggs ) and starches (grains, starchy vegetables like potatoes, breads, cereals, pasta, crackers )

–          Non-concentrated foods are ripe fruits and non-starch vegetables

Beauty Rule #2 – Per Rule #1, Proteins and Starches don’t mix. This one is a toughie for me because I love the taste of combinations like spaghetti and meatballs, eggs and toast, meat and potatoes. Kimberly notes that the reason for this is:

–          Concentrated protein requires and acidic environment to be broken down, an environment that includes hydrochloric acid and an enzyme called pepsin

–          Concentrated starch begins breaking down with an enzyme called ptyalin (salivary amylase) which can act only in an alkaline medium

She reminds us that acids and bases neutralize each other, so not much gets digested if the environment in the stomach is essentially neutral. This inefficient digestive process can go on for hours, consuming energy and leaving us tired. Ever feel the need for a nap after a big, complicated meal? Healthy food should leave us energized, not wiped out! Also, if food hangs around for too long in our 98.6 degree body, then the proteins will become putrefied and the carbs will become fermented, leading to gassiness, bloating and/or heartburn.  On the other hand, if food passes through our system quickly, it will provide maximum nutrition and energy without the bloating.

The goal of rapid digestion and assimilation is behind the other rules as well, which you can learn more about by delving into this fantastic book:

Beauty Rule #3 – Vegetables are neutral because they are alkaline, non-concentrated, and easy to digest. Eat many and often! Pairing vegetables with 1 concentrated food is a great idea.

Beauty Rule #4 – Mixing two starches is okay because they are easier to digest than proteins.

Beauty Rule #5 – Mixing two types of animal proteins is not okay because they are comprised of complex chains of amino acids and are therefore the hardest food group to break down.

Beauty Rule #6 – Fats should be eaten moderately with protein (animal and plant) but are okay to eat with carbohydrates.  Fat mixes well with starches but has somewhat of an inhibiting effect on the digestion of protein. Yay as one of my favorite snacks is avocado toast, which is toast + Vegenaise + avocado slices. Kimberly also sings the praises of avocados in the book, so I think this snack is a keeper.

Beauty Rule #7 – Fruit should be eaten only on an empty stomach because they digest so easily and should not hang around with other harder to digest foods.

Kimberly makes many good suggestions throughout the book, such as foods to avoid, how to cleanse and transition to a healthier diet, eating light to heavy throughout the day, incorporating digestive enzymes and probiotics, recipes for nutritious meals (including Glowing Green Juices and Smoothies), and so on. I am incorporating several of them and have to say, I am feeling lighter and more energetic. Of all the books I’ve recommended, I’d say this one is very well-written, easy to understand, and offers the most practical advice. I highly recommend this book! You can also learn about her approach on her website: http://www.kimberlysnyder.net/ .

That wraps up our nutrition post for today! Eat well and prosper, my friends!

[1] Herbert M. Shelton, Food Combining Made Easy (San Antonio, TX: Willow Publishing, 1982), 56.

It’s all very basic…as in a pH > 7…get it??

food medicine

Namaste! Let’s continue to discuss healthy practices we can implement one by one, like peeling back the layers of an onion. First, we will review past posts on this topic and then we will talk chemistry, as in acids and bases.  Recall that we covered the following in previous posts:

First Layer:  Protect your gut health, digestion and immunity

–          Eliminate antibiotic and hormone-containing foods such as conventional meats and dairy; choose meats and dairy that are free of these nasties or go fully organic

–          Eliminate GMO’s primarily from processed foods containing conventional corn, high fructose corn syrup (AKA corn sugar) and soy

–          See 10/28/13 Blog Post (How to Keep Calm and Eat Healthier) for details

Second Layer:  Protect your pancreas’ ability to regulate blood sugar and prevent fatty liver disease

–          Eliminate artificial sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup (AKA corn sugar) and reduce the amount of refined sugar, especially from energy and soft drinks

–          See 10/31/13 Blog Post (Keeping in Calm and Healthy, Part Deux) for details; also Dr. Oz did a great show on this yesterday [1]

Third Layer:  Protect your and your children’s ability to think and concentrate

–          Eliminate artificial colors, flavors and additives especially from sodas, candies and processed foods

–          See 11/14/13 Blog Post (Why kids go berzerk after eating glowing orange mac ‘n cheese) for details

Fourth Layer: Protect your body against disease by maintaining a basic, or alkaline, blood pH

–          Mitigate foods which cause your body to be acidic and feast on ones which make it alkaline

I found this advice in several places, though I will source the information for today’s post from The Beauty Detox Solution, Harlequin Books, 2011, by Kimberly Snyder, C.N., because she does a great job explaining why this is important.

First, Kimberly provides a refresher about pH, which stands for the “power of hydrogen,” and reflects the concentration of hydrogen ions in any given solution. The pH scale goes from 0 to 14, where 7 is defined as neutral, below 7 as acidic and above 7 as basic or alkaline. This is relevant because all foods leave either an alkaline or acidic residue in the bloodstream due to whether they contain more alkaline or acidic minerals. Note that this is not related to the taste or character of a food. Lemons, for example, are acidic because they contain citric acid when they are whole, but when digested in our body, they leave an alkaline residue. On the other hand, dairy milk itself has an alkaline pH, but when digested it leaves an acidic residue in the body. Not entirely intuitive so it’s important to learn what types of foods leave what types of residues.

Kimberly then explains that different areas of our body have different pH requirements. For instance, our tissues should be slightly alkaline, whereas our colon should be slightly acidic. When all areas of the body are averaged together, the ideal blood pH comes out to be slightly alkaline – 7.365, to be exact (p. 24). If there is a persistent excess of acidity in our bodies, then poor health, disease, premature death, inflammation, stiffness, tissue degeneration, water retention, bloating and more undesirable things can result (p.26). In order to understand why this is the case, she references The pH Miracle, by Dr. Robert Young, as he states, “The pH level of our internal fluids affects every cell in our bodies. The entire metabolic process depends on an alkaline environment. Chronic acidity corrodes body tissue, and if left unchecked will interrupt all cellular activities and functions, from the beating of your heart to the neural firing of your brain. In other words, acidity interferes with life itself. It is the root of all sickness and disease.” He goes on to say that “this process of acid waste breakdown and disposal could be called ‘the aging process’”.

In other words, alkaline blood enables one to fight disease, toxemia and aging, where physical examples of aging include premature lines and wrinkles; acne; dark under-eye circles; limp, bodiless or otherwise unhealthy hair; and brittle nails. Putting all of that off, while feeling better, sounds like a plan to me!  Kimberly recommends that to accomplish this, we should strive to consume 80% alkaline-forming foods and 20% acid-forming foods. The good news for the veggie lovers is that only fresh, ripe fruits and vegetables (except for starchy ones like taters) leave a truly alkaline residue. The bad news for everyone else is that all other foods are, in varying degrees, acidic. Here’s a handy list:

Very Alkaline Foods

Ripe fruits, greens, sprouts, other vegetables (excluding starchy varieties)

Very Acidic Foods

Alcohol, animal protein, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, dairy products, drugs (such as antibiotics, steroids), nicotine, processed foods, refined sugar, sodas

Okay, so I am sorry to report that everything that is fun is acidic and therefore needs be consumed in moderation, but that is how Mother Nature rolls! The alcohol part is particularly tragic for anyone, such as myself, who resides in CO, where the making and consuming of beer is taken VERY SERIOUSLY. For example, restaurants here host beer-pairing dinners and the local burger joint lists burger/beer pairings. It’s serious.

Nonetheless, I started paying more attention to maintaining an alkaline pH, and do indeed feel more energetic.  I start the day with fresh-squeezed lemon juice in warm water and also put even more fresh greens than before in my face.

The net is that this is a great book full of valuable health information. Kimberly also provides a great explanation of optimal food combining, which I will review in next week’s post. If all of this resonates with you, then I encourage you not to wait and get the book!

And that’s a wrap for this week! All the best, my friends! Don’t forget to check out our Pinterest Boards for lots of great recipes, health, and wellness info – http://www.pinterest.com/wcubedorg/.

[1] http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/diet-soda-ruining-your-metabolism

Why kids go berzerk after eating glowing orange mac ‘n cheese…the answer may surprise you

colbert

Greetings Health Fans! Welcome back. I would like to continue providing recommendations for healthier eating today. Recall that I compared to cleaning up our diets like peeling back the layers of an onion because there are several things to be done and dealing with one at a time can be helpful. In previous postings, I covered the first 2 layers:

First Layer:  Protect your gut health, digestion and immunity

–  Eliminate antibiotic and hormone-containing foods such as conventional meats and dairy; choose meats and dairy that are free of these nasties or go fully organic

–  Eliminate GMO’s primarily from processed foods containing conventional corn, high fructose corn syrup (AKA corn sugar) and soy

–  See 10/28/13 Blog Post (How to Keep Calm and Eat Healthier) for details

Second Layer:  Protect your pancreas’ ability to regulate blood sugar and prevent fatty liver disease

–  Eliminate artificial sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup (AKA corn sugar) and reduce the amount of refined sugar, especially from energy and soft drinks

–  See 10/31/13 Blog Post (Keeping in Calm and Healthy, Part Deux) for details

Peeling back the first two layers is a huge accomplishment and will go a long way toward protecting your gut, pancreas and liver health.  Better digestion, immunity, and blood sugar regulation will result. Now we will move on to the next layer.

Third Layer:  Protect your and your children’s ability to think and concentrate

-Eliminate artificial colors, flavors and additives especially from sodas, candies and processed foods

I was surprised to learn it’s not just sugar that causes kids to go berzerk. Studies have been done which link the artificial crap in processed foods (like glowing orange Kraft Mac and Cheese, bright kids’ medicines and vitamins) to behavior changes in kids. The information I will provide on this topic was sourced from The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O’Brien, Broadway Books, 2009.  Robyn refers to one such pivotal study as The Southampton Shocker, which was published in an online edition of The Lancet.

In September 2007, a research team from the U.K.’s University of Southampton’s School of Psychology and Medicine shocked much of the conventional medical community with their dramatic findings about the effects on children of artificial colors and preservatives. The researchers studied 153 three-year-olds and 144 eight-year-olds, which is an impressively large number as previous studies had included perhaps dozens only. The children were chosen from the general residential population of Southampton, England, and they represented the full spectrum of childhood behavior, from normal through hyperactive. For six weeks, the kids were given a diet free of the additives the study was focusing on. The kids were also given something to drink each day: One group got a mix of artificial colors and the preservative sodium benzoate, which is used in most sodas and soft drinks. The other group got a “neutral” drink free of these substances, known as a placebo. Note also that both drinks looked and tasted the same, so neither the children nor their families know which group they were in. Furthermore the researchers who handed out he drinks did not know either, which made this a double-blind study.

After the children were given the drinks, their behavior was described by their parents and teachers, as well as an observer from the study who watched them at school. The results were strikingly clear. The children who consumed the mix of food coloring and sodium benzoate were significantly more hyperactive: they moved more, they were more impulsive, and they had trouble keeping focusing their attention on a particular topic. (The researchers pointed out that this does not mean that artificial food additives will prevent all hyperactive disorders as many influences are at work, but this at least is one a child can avoid.) Interesting, huh?

Robyn quotes other studies which reached the same conclusion:

–          One published in The Australian Paediatric Journal in 1988

–          One published in the British  Archives of Disease in Childhood in 1993

–          An  Australian study of tartrazine (AKA E102 or FD&C Yellow #5 in the aforementioned glowing mac ‘n cheese) in 1994 which indicated that this additive affected children’s sleep, mood, and behavior

–          A Brazilian study of tartrazine in 2007 which suggested that it could cause serious health problems in rats, elevating white blood cells which could also play a major role in provoking allergic reactions

Finally, an Australian study published in the May 24, 2008 edition of the British Medical Journal followed up on the Southampton Shocker. In this double-blind study, 297 children aged three to nine years were included, none of whom had ever been diagnosed with ADHD.  Yet even these normal children, when given a mix of synthetic colors and sodium benzoate that “approximated that found in 56 gram bags of sweets” (or about two two-ounce bags of candy), displayed increased hyperactive behavior.

The net: avoid the processed foods and drinks with ingredient lists a mile long that require an advanced degree in chemistry to decipher! Focus on food from the produce and meat sections, as free of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and GMO’s as possible.

And now a final note before wrapping up. Notice how none of these studies were done in the US? Another example of how we are not informed of the facts and get fed the most artificial, damaging slop that the rest of the world won’t tolerate. However, if we take a stand, our voices will be heard! The good news is that Kraft is finally considering removing the most damaging artificial colors from its mac ‘n cheese, as they do in other parts of the world ALREADY:  http://naturalsociety.com/kraft-remove-artificial-colors-macaroni-cheese-products/.

That’s all for this week! Keep up the good work and happy wholesome eating!

The skinny on the High Fructose Corn Syrup in your soft drink! (It’s a big deal)

Keep Calm

Greetings, one and all! I’d like to stick with the Keep Calm and Eat Healthier theme for today and complete the discussion on sweeteners, specifically High Fructose Corn Syrup, which is bad stuff. Kind of like Lord Voldemort. Read on to see why!

Recall the steps I posted previously to achieve a healthier diet. I recommended the following up to this point:

First protect your gut health, digestion and immunity

Eliminating antibiotic and hormone-containing foods such as conventional meats and dairy; choose meats and dairy that are free of these nasties or go fully organic

Eliminating GMO’s primarily from processed foods containing conventional corn, corn syrup (AKA corn sugar and high fructose corn syrup) and soy; choose whole GMO-free foods, ideally fresh proteins and vegetables

Second protect your pancreas’ ability to regulate blood glucose and prevent fatty liver disease

–  Eliminating artificial sweeteners and reducing the amount of refined sugar, especially from energy and soft drinks

I discussed several sweeteners already but did not touch upon high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). I will now. This stuff is doubly bad because not only is it a manufactured sweetener, but it is very likely from GMO Bt-corn, a Franken-food. It makes most lists I’ve seen for additives to avoid, such as the one below:

http://www.takepart.com/photos/food-additives-avoid/monosodium-glutamate-msg?cmpid=foodinc-fb

I will refer to Chapter 9 in Dr. Edward Aronoff’s book Toxic Food, Healthy Food: Your Survival Guide to Healthy Eating and Better Nutrition, Three Came Home Publishing, 2011, to explain why HFCS is so undesirable.

HFCS is insidious because it has been put into our food in increasing quantities for the past 35 years, starting in the 1970’s, mainly because it was cheaper than sugar and the government wanted to counteract rising food prices. It can be found in soft drinks, fruit drinks, cookies, ketchup, jams, frozen dinners, ice cream and baked goods, to name a few. As Dr. Aronoff explains, it may be “cheaper”, but it exacts a high price in other ways because the standard American diet is typically loaded with processed foods full of sugar and salt and devoid of fiber and many nutrients and this is the perfect recipe for an explosion of chronic disease. Now when you add HFCS, the explosion takes on the proportion of an atomic bomb (p. 56).

I don’t think he is exaggerating with this analogy. If you were born before 1980, then you probably can’t remember so many people with food allergies, obesity issues, asthma, and chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes when you were growing up…right? I can’t. HFCS hit the scene in the 70’s, antibiotics and hormones after, and then GMO’s in the 90’s. Now, 30 years later, SO MANY OF US, ESPECIALLY KIDS, ARE SICK! Diet devoid of nutrition = disease perhaps??? But I digress…

Here’s why it is dangerous – HFCS, when eaten in excess, cannot be handled by the liver and is turned into triglycerides. Unlike glucose from natural foods, fructose from HFCS is converted to fat instead of glycogen in the liver. Let’s repeat that for emphasis – unlike glucose from natural foods, fructose from HFCS is converted to fat instead of glycogen in the liver (see paragraph below for more on glycogen). Over years of excessive HFCS intake, the liver will develop fatty deposits called fatty liver disease, which is often a silent liver disease. It resembles alcoholic liver disease but occurs in people who drink little or no alcohol. The major problem with this condition is that the fat in the liver, along with the inflammation and liver damage, can lead to liver cirrhosis and permanent damage to the liver, causing an inability of that vital organ to perform its necessary functions. This negative process can lead to weight gain and Type 2 diabetes, and suggests why two-thirds of our society is becoming overweight or obese (p.65).

Let’s review some biology to understand this situation – sugar is necessary because your body needs it to supply its cells with energy. In the best case, simple sugars come from the metabolism of starches and carbohydrates which are broken down slowly. When you consume food, your body metabolizes the sugar that’s ingested and gets it ready to put into the nerve and fat cells. If you have more sugar than your cells need, your body stores the sugar as glycogen in the liver and the muscles to be used later. When the blood sugar begins to fall, a hormone released by the pancreas called glucagon tells the liver to release the glycogen as glucose. Alternatively, when the blood sugar rises, the pancreas releases a hormone called insulin to metabolize the blood sugar (page 30 – 31).  That’s our body staying in balance and is all well and good. However, the ingestion of HFC S bypasses the bloodstream and pancreas entirely as it winds up as fat in the liver. Big difference.

HFCS has been associated with obesity for the reasons above, but also high blood pressure and cancerous tumor growth (p. 57). Reports link sweetened soft drinks to weight gain, diabetes, and in turn, hypertension. It has also been shown by UCLA researchers that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to make the tumor bigger and spread faster.

And now, here are the results from an interesting study regarding obesity which takes the limelight off of HFCS and onto the number of carbohydrate calories consumed with regards to the obesity epidemic. I am not sure what to make of this study but wanted to mention it because they do bring up a good point about the large amount of grains in the American diet. I agree that this is also likely not ideal:

http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/R-D/Have-starch-from-grains-and-fat-but-not-fructose-been-significant-contributors-to-obesity#!

The Corn Refiners Association rejoiced at this result, but we should not let them off the hook because as we discussed above, HFCS is not healthy for a variety of reasons, and the possible correlation between it, fatty liver disease, and obesity being just one. Today, sweeteners made from corn rack up $4.5 Billion in annual sales, accounting for 55% of the sweetener market. The consumption of HFCS climbed from 0 consumption in 1966 to 62.6 pounds per person in 2001. In order to combat the bad press, the name is being changed on labels to CORN SUGAR to make it sound innocent and just like any other natural sugar. It ain’t, my friends. Thus, we must take matters into our own hands, read labels carefully, and make decisions accordingly. Like putting the crap with HFCS back down, walking over to the produce aisle, and grabbing fresh fruits and vegetables!

And now for an unabashed plug: For recipe ideas with fresh fruits and veggies and other healthy ingredients, check out or Pinterest Boards at http://www.pinterest.com/wcubedorg/boards/!!

gmo

Keeping it Calm and Healthy…Part Deux

Keep Calm

Greetings and salutations, my friends! I’d like to continue discussing steps to dramatically improve our health and well being. Recall in my last post I compared this to peeling back the layers of an onion, one by one. The first layer involves protecting your gut health by doing the following:

Eliminating antibiotic and hormone-containing foods such as conventional meats and dairy; choose meats and dairy that are free of these nasties or go fully organic

Eliminating GMO’s primarily from processed foods containing conventional corn, corn syrup (AKA corn sugar and high fructose corn syrup) and soy; choose whole GMO-free foods, ideally fresh proteins and vegetables -> see my last blog post for lists of companies who specialize in Non-GMO foods

It may take some time and willpower to implement these changes, but be patient with yourself and you will get there, and it WILL be worth it. A lot of label reading, new menu planning, reprioritizing and ideally more fresh food preparation will be involved. Go for it and May the Force be With You!

The second layer involves saving your pancreas:

–  Eliminating artificial sweeteners and reducing the amount of good old refined sugar, especially from energy and soft drinks; my advice is to step away from the sugar/caffeine/artificial everything bomb (that every part of your body besides your taste buds hates) and grab some old-fashioned water or herbal tea (which every part of your body will love)

The average American consumes an average of 158 lbs of refined sugar a year, which plays havoc with our health. I’ll be the first to admit that it is tough to eliminate sweets completely – I am a total sucker for pastries. The important thing is to consider sweets an occasional treat instead of a daily ritual, because no one here is perfect.  I will elaborate as to why 158 lbs a year is too much by reviewing a book by Dr. Edward Aronoff called Toxic Food, Healthy Food: Your Survival Guide to Healthy Eating and Better Nutrition, Three Came Home Publishing, 2011.

Dr. Aronoff covers a lot of ground within the 64 chapters of this book. He discusses foods to eliminate/moderate (sweeteners, meat, dairy, coffee), scientific studies which support the correlation between diet and disease (diabetes, obesity, coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, arthritis, celiac disease, food allergies), chemicals in our food, pesticides in our water, recommended foods for all age groups (newborns, toddlers, 3 – 5 year olds, pre-teens, teens, adults), and healing your body with whole food nutrition. Whew – there’s a lot of great information in here, but we are going to focus on the sweeteners only in this post. If you would like to learn more about the other topics, I would recommend reading this book in its entirety.

First of all, sugar addiction is real and something relied upon by the junk food dealers manufacturers. Refined sugar affects the same brain chemicals, e.g. serotonin, that morphine, heroin and amphetamines do (page 79). Therefore if you consume a great deal of sugar every day, going cold turkey will be tough. Please refer to other resources to break a serious sugar habit. My goal here is to convince you to take that important step.

Some biology to start – sugar is necessary because your body needs it to supply its cells with energy. In the best case, simple sugars come from the metabolism of starches and carbohydrates which are broken down slowly. When you consume food, your body metabolizes the sugar that’s ingested and gets it ready to put into the nerve and fat cells. If you have more sugar than your cells need, your body stores the sugar as glycogen in the liver and the muscles to be used later. (Note: this is important and we will come back to it when we discuss high fructose corn syrup and why it is evil.) When the blood sugar begins to fall, a hormone released by the pancreas called glucagon tells the liver to release the glycogen as glucose. Alternatively, when the blood sugar rises, the pancreas releases hormone called insulin to metabolize the blood sugar (page 30 – 31).  That’s our body staying in balance and is all well and good.

Since the average American eats 158 lbs of sugar a year, not all is well and good. Refined sugars enter the blood stream rapidly, not slowly like metabolized starches and carbs, so the pancreas may become over reactive at the constant barrage and will secrete too much insulin and will drive the blood sugar down too much, resulting in low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include fatigue, nervousness, headaches, mood swings, depression, cold sweats, and so on (page 32). Eventually the constant consumption of refined sugars in sodas, breakfast cereals, candies, pastries (!), ice cream, coffee and alcohol can exhaust the pancreas to the point where it can’t control the metabolism of blood glucose. This can bring on Type 2 diabetes. Apparently many people are killing their pancreas in this way because we have a diabetes epidemic on our hands – 1 in 3 Americans have been diagnosed, and there be many more undiagnosed cases. Kicking the sugar habit is more important now when ever, especially with kids!

Quick side bar here about newborns, because the sugar addiction can begin with infant formulas. The sad fact is they are full of sugar – tens of grams of it – and their little pancreas’ just can’t handle it (page 36). Formulas which have GMO soy, GMO corn syrup and sugar are just bad news all around and set our children up for a lifetime of health issues. Is it any wonder more children than ever are obese, diabetic, and have attention-deficit disorders? It is quite possibly the crap food that they are fed starting at birth!

As if refined natural sugar isn’t bad enough, now we have artificial varieties which are even worse. In Chapter 7, Dr. Aronoff describes them all. We have:

Sucralose, trade name SPLENDA: Hey this was discovered while trying to develop a new insecticide. That in itself should send you running and screaming away. Nothing remotely similar to chemist-made sucralose is found in nature, despite the natural sounding name. There have been some complaints by users of Sucralose of skin disorders, anxiety, swelling, wheezing and coughing, but no long-term human studies have been done to prove whether it is dangerous or not (here’s one for plausible deniability!). My advice is to stay far away from this franken-crap!

Saccharin, trade name SWEET N’ LOW: Saccharin was banned in 1911 but was lifted because of sugar rationing during WWI. This stuff has been studied and the results are scary. Even the FDA indicated that saccharin caused bladder cancers, though it was not clear what component of it was hazardous, so nothing was done (par for the FDA course). In 1977, a study was done in Canada and concluded that: “Saccharin is carcinogenic for the urinary bladder in rats and mice and most likely carcinogenic in human beings. The neoplasm’s of the urinary bladder are malignant and invade and metastasize.”  Sounds great. I’ll pass.

Aspartame, trade names NUTRASWEET and EQUAL: Robyn O’Brien spent quite a bit of time on this one in her book The Unhealthy Truth, which I reviewed previously. She elaborated on the numerous studies that have been done which indicate how dangerous this sweetener is to health, and the only reason that it sits on store shelves is because of corporate corruption and a dereliction of duty by the FDA, plain and simple. A whole book has even been written by Dr. H.J. Roberts, called Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic. This is seriously bad stuff, likely a carcinogen, that has no place in our grocery stores. Stay far, far, away from this crap which has no business being called food.

So there you have some food for thought about sweeteners! The net is to stay far away from the artificial stuff and moderate your intake of the real stuff. The goal is to consume much, much less than 158 lbs a year!

The one topic I did not get a chance to address today is high fructose corn syrup. We’ll save that one for next week because it is also very important and deserves a complete treatment.

Happy aspartame-free eating!