Processed food is perhaps the most damaging aspect of most people’s diet, contributing to poor health and chronic disease. One of the primary culprits is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the dangers of which I touch on in virtually every article on diet I write.
The second culprit is partially hydrogenated soybean oil.
These two ingredients, either alone or in combination, can be found in virtually all processed foods and one can make a compelling argument that the reliance on these two foods is a primary contributing factor for most of the degenerative diseases attacking Americans today.
Part of the problem with partially hydrogenated soybean oil is the trans fat it contains. The other part relates to the health hazards of soy itself. And an added hazard factor is the fact that the majority of both corn and soybeans are genetically engineered.
As the negative health effects from trans fats have been identified and recognized, the agricultural- and food industry have scrambled to come up with new alternatives.
Partially hydrogenated soybean oil has been identified as the main culprit, and for good reason. Unfortunately, saturated fats are still mistakenly considered unhealthy by many health “experts,” so rather than embracing truly healthful tropical fats like coconut oil, which is mostly grown outside the US. The food industry has instead turned to domestic US alternatives offered by companies like Monsanto, which has developed modified soybeans that don’t require hydrogenation.
Americans consume more than 28 billion pounds of edible oils annually, and soybean oil accounts for about 65 percent of it. About half of it is hydrogenated, as soybean oil is too unstable otherwise to be used in food manufacturing. One of the primary reasons for hydrogenating oil is to prolong its shelf life. Raw butter, for example, is likely to go rancid far quicker than margarine.
The process also makes the oil more stable and raises its melting point, which allows it to be used in various types of food processing that uses high temperatures.
Hydrogenated oil1 is made by forcing hydrogen gas into the oil at high pressure. Virtually any oil can be hydrogenated. Margarine is a good example, in which nearly half of the fat content is trans fat. The process that creates partially hydrogenated oil alters the chemical composition of essential fatty acids, such as reducing or removing linolenic acid, a highly reactive triunsaturated fatty acid, transforming it into the far less reactive linoleic acid, thereby greatly preventing oxidative rancidity when used in cooking.
In the late 1990’s, researchers began realizing this chemical alteration might actually have adverse health effects. Since then, scientists have verified this to the point of no dispute.
Beware that there’s a difference between “fully hydrogenated” and “partially hydrogenated” oils. Whereas partially hydrogenated oil contains trans fat, fully hydrogenated oil does not, as taking the hydrogenation process “all the way” continues the molecular transformation of the fatty acids from trans fat into saturated fatty acids. Fully hydrogenated soybean oil is still not a healthy choice however, for reasons I’ll explain below. The following slide presentation explains the technical aspects relating to the hydrogenation process.
The Health Hazards of Trans Fats Found in Partially Hydrogenated Oil
The completely unnatural man-made fats created through the partial hydrogenation process cause dysfunction and chaos in your body on a cellular level, and studies have linked trans-fats to:
Cancer, by interfering with enzymes your body uses to fight cancer
Chronic health problems such as obesity, asthma, auto-immune disease, cancer, and bone degeneration
Diabetes, by interfering with the insulin receptors in your cell membranes Heart disease, by clogging your arteries (Among women with underlying coronary heart disease, eating trans-fats increased the risk of sudden cardiac arrest three-fold!)
Decreased immune function, by reducing your immune response Increase blood levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol, while lowering levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol
Reproductive problems by interfering with enzymes needed to produce sex hormones Interfering with your body’s use of beneficial omega-3 fats
As usual, it took many years before conventional health recommendations caught up and began warning about the use of trans fats. Not surprisingly, as soon as the FDA required food manufacturers to list trans fat content on the label — which took effect on January 1, 2006 — the industry began searching for viable alternatives to appeal to consumers who increasingly began looking for the “No Trans Fat” designation. It didn’t take long before Monsanto had tinkered forth a genetically engineered soybean that is low in linolenic acid, which we’ll get to in a moment.
Beware that some food manufacturers have opted to simply fool buyers — a tactic allowed by the FDA as any product containing up to half a gram of trans fat per serving can still legally claim to have zero trans fat2. The trick is to reduce the serving size to bring it below this threshold. At times, this will result in unreasonably tiny serving sizes, so any time you check a label and a serving is something like 10 chips or one cookie, it probably contains trans fats.
The Health Hazards of Soybeans
Besides the health hazards related to the trans fats created by the partial hydrogenation process, soybean oil is, in and of itself, NOT a healthy oil. Add to that the fact that the majority of soy grown in the US is genetically engineered, which may have additional health consequences. When taken together, partially hydrogenated GE soybean oil becomes one of the absolute worst types of oils you can consume.
Years ago, tropical oils, such as palm and coconut oil, were commonly used in American food production. However, these are obviously not grown in the US. With the exception of Hawaii, our climate isn't tropical enough. Spurred on by financial incentives, the industry devised a plan to shift the market from tropical oils to something more "home grown." As a result, a movement was created to demonize and vilify tropical oils in order to replace them with domestically grown oils such as corn and soy.
The fat in soybean oil is primarily omega-6 fat. And while we do need some, it is rare for anyone to be deficient as it is pervasive in our diet. Americans in general consume FAR too much omega-6 in relation to omega-3 fat, primarily due to the excessive amount of omega-6 found in processed foods. Omega-6 fats are in nearly every animal food and many plants, so deficiencies are very rare. This omega-6 fat is also highly processed and therefore damaged, which compounds the problem of getting so much of it in your diet. The omega-6 found in soybean oil promotes chronic inflammation in your body, which is an underlying issue for virtually all chronic diseases.
What About Organic Soybean Oil?
Even if you were fortunate enough to find organic soybean oil, there are still several significant concerns that make it far from attractive from a health standpoint. Soy in and of itself, organically grown or not, contains a number of problematic components that can wreak havoc with your health, such as:
Goitrogens – Goitrogens, found in all unfermented soy whether it's organic or not, are substances that block the synthesis of thyroid hormones and interfere with iodine metabolism, thereby interfering with your thyroid function.
Isoflavones: genistein and daidzein – Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen, which is a plant compound resembling human estrogen, which is why some recommend using soy therapeutically to treat symptoms of menopause. I believe the evidence is highly controversial and doubt it works.
Typically, most of us are exposed to too much estrogen compounds and have a lower testosterone level than ideal, so it really is important to limit exposure to feminizing phytoestrogens. Even more importantly, there's evidence it may disturb endocrine function, cause infertility, and promote breast cancer, which is definitely a significant concern.
Phytic acid -- Phytates (phytic acid) bind to metal ions, preventing the absorption of certain minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc -- all of which are co-factors for optimal biochemistry in your body. This is particularly problematic for vegetarians, because eating meat reduces the mineral-blocking effects of these phytates.
Sometimes it can be beneficial, especially in postmenopausal women and in most adult men because we tend to have levels of iron that are too high which can be a very potent oxidant and cause biological stress. However, phytic acid does not necessarily selectively inhibit just iron absorption; it inhibits all minerals. This is very important to remember, as many already suffer from mineral deficiencies from inadequate diets.
The soybean has one of the highest phytate levels of any grain or legume, and the phytates in soy are highly resistant to normal phytate-reducing techniques such as long, slow cooking. Only a long period of fermentation will significantly reduce the phytate content of soybeans.
Natural toxins known as "anti-nutrients" -- Soy also contains other anti-nutritional factors such as saponins, soyatoxin, protease inhibitors, and oxalates. Some of these factors interfere with the enzymes you need to digest protein. While a small amount of anti-nutrients would not likely cause a problem, the amount of soy that many Americans are now eating is extremely high.
Hemagglutinin -- Hemagglutinin is a clot-promoting substance that causes your red blood cells to clump together. These clumped cells are unable to properly absorb and distribute oxygen to your tissues.
Worst of All — Genetically Engineered Soybean Oil
The genetically engineered (GE) variety planted on over 90 percent of US soy acres is Roundup Ready — engineered to survive being doused with otherwise lethal amounts of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide. The logic behind Roundup Ready crops such as soy is that you can decrease the cost of production by killing off everything except the actual soy plant.
However, animal studies reveal there may be significant adverse health effects from these GE soybeans, including progressively increased rates of infertility with each passing generation. By the third generation, virtually all the hamsters in one feeding study were found to be infertile. Second-generation hamsters raised on GE soy also had a five-fold higher infant mortality rate.
We now also have other Monsanto-made soy crops to contend with. Responding to the growing demand for healthier diets, Monsanto launched Vistive low-linolenic soybeans in 2005. Most soybeans contain roughly seven percent linolenic acid. The new varieties contain one to three percent. As explained by Monsanto3:
“The oil from these beans can reduce or virtually eliminate trans fat in processed soybean oil... Vistive low-linolenic soybeans have lower levels of linolenic acid. Because of these lower levels, which were achieved through traditional breeding practices4, the oil produced by Vistive low-linolenic seeds does not require hydrogenation, the process that is used to increase shelf life and flavor stability in fried foods, baked goods, snack products and other processed foods.”
Yet another soybean variety created by Monsanto is the high stearate soybean, which also has the properties of margarine and shortening without hydrogenation. But are these soybeans any better or safer than either conventional soybeans or Roundup Ready soybeans, even though they don’t have to go through partial hydrogenation, and therefore do not contain trans fat? No one knows.
Another Hazard of GE Soybeans: Glyphosate
I keep stacking health risks upon health risks, and here’s another one: Research has shown that soybean oil from Roundup Ready soy is loaded with glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup — the broad-spectrum herbicide created by Monsanto.
According to a report in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, the highest MRL for glyphosate in food and feed products in the EU is 20 mg/kg. GE soybeans have been found to contain residue levels as high as 17 mg/kg, and malformations in frog and chicken embryos occurred at 2.03 mg/kg.5 That's 10 times lower than the MRL.
This is an alarming finding because glyphosate is easily one of the world's most overlooked poisons. Research published in 2010 showed that the chemical, which works by inhibiting an enzyme called EPSP synthase that is necessary for plants to grow, causes birth defects in frogs and chicken embryos at far lower levels than used in agricultural and garden applications.6 The malformations primarily affected the:
Midline and developing brain
When applied to crops, glyphosate becomes systemic throughout the plant, so it cannot be washed off. And once you eat this crop, the glyphosate ends up in your gut where it can decimate your beneficial bacteria. This can wreak havoc with your health as 80 percent of your immune system resides in your gut (GALT – Gut Associated Lymph Tissue) and is dependent on a healthy ratio of good and bad bacteria. Separate research has also uncovered the following effects from glyphosate:
To Avoid Harmful Fats of All Kinds, Ditch Processed Foods
If you want to avoid dangerous fats of all kinds, your best bet is to eliminate processed foods from your diet. From there, use these tips to make sure you're eating the right fats for your health:
Use organic butter (preferably made from raw milk) instead of margarines and vegetable oil spreads. Butter is a healthy whole food that has received an unwarranted bad rap.
Use coconut oil for cooking. It is far superior to any other cooking oil and is loaded with health benefits.
Be sure to eat raw fats, such as those from avocados, raw dairy products, olive oil, olives, organic pastured eggs, and raw nuts, especially macadamia nuts which are relatively low in protein. Also take a high-quality source of animal-based omega-3 fat, such as krill oil.
Following my comprehensive nutrition plan will automatically reduce your trans-fat intake, as it will give you a guide to focus on healthy whole foods instead of processed junk food. Remember, virtually all processed foods will contain either HFCS (probably made from genetically engineered corn) and/or soybean oil — either in the form of partially hydrogenated soybean oil, which is likely made from GE soybeans, loaded with glyphosate, or from one of the newer soybean varieties that were created such that they do not need to be hydrogenated. They’re ALL bad news, if you value your health.
Chlorella, single-celled fresh water algae, is often referred to as a near-perfect food, with a wide range of health benefits.
A recent study investigated the effects of chlorella on methylmercury transfer to fetuses during pregnancy. Pregnant mice were fed diets containing either 0% or 10% chlorella powder, along with methylmercury in their drinking water.
Two neonates were randomly selected from each mother mouse within 24 hours of birth, and examined for mercury in the blood, brain, liver, and kidneys. The mothers were also examined for mercury. According to the study1:
"The blood and brain [mercury] levels of both neonates and mothers in the [chlorella powder] diet group were significantly lower...
The results obtained here revealed that continuous [chlorella powder] intake suppressed [methylmercury] transfer to the fetus, in addition to effective suppressing [methylmercury] accumulation in brains of the mothers."
Methylmercury is a neurotoxic compound widely used in industrial applications. It accumulates in fish, which has led to widespread advisories against fish consumption by pregnant women. In fetuses and developing infants it can have negative effects on attention span, language, visual-spatial skills, memory and coordination. An estimated 60,000 children each year are born at risk for neurological problems due to methylmercury exposure in the womb.
Do You Need to Detox?
Heavy metal toxicity, just like chemical toxicity, has become one of the most pressing health hazards of our day. Whether you recognize it or not, your body is assailed by chemicals and heavy metals on a daily basis. The two primary sources of mercury exposure are:
Dental fillings (mercury amalgams, better known as 'silver fillings')
The average individual has eight amalgam fillings, from which they could absorb up to 120 micrograms of mercury per day. For comparison, estimates of the daily absorption of mercury from fish and seafood is 2.3 micrograms, and from all other foods, air, and water is 0.3 micrograms per day. Adults with four or more amalgams run a significant risk of mercury-related health problems from them, while in children as few as two amalgams will contribute to health problems.
It's important to realize that mercury and other heavy metals accumulate in your body, and your levels therefore increase with age. Such bioaccumulation also pose a direct threat to the developing fetus in pregnant women, as mentioned above.
While detoxing was once considered a 'fad,' in today's world, regular detoxing has become more or less a necessity, especially if you're planning a pregnancy. It's wise for most people to proactively remove metals from their body before becoming plagued by symptoms. If you already have symptoms (see below), then ridding your body of metals may help resolve them.
Cilantro can be used as a synergetic aid along with chlorella. It's particularly useful to take when consuming seafood.
Chlorella's effectiveness was demonstrated in a study last year2, where mice given chlorella along with methylmercury excreted approximately twice the amount of methylmercury in their urine and feces, compared to mice not treated with chlorella.
Signs and Symptoms of Mercury Toxicity
As mercury and other heavy metals build up in your body over time, they can produce chronic symptoms that you might never associate with your love for sushi, or your dental fillings. Mercury is especially damaging to your central nervous system (CNS), and studies show that mercury in the CNS causes psychological, neurological, and immunological problems. Some of the symptoms of mercury build-up and toxicity include: Fatigue - Aching joints - Depression, irritability, anxiety - Digestive distress and reduced ability to properly assimilate and utilize fats - Impaired blood sugar regulation - Female reproductive problems such as menstrual difficulties, infertility, miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, pregnancy-induced hypertension and premature birth - Neuron degeneration - Central nervous system damage - Kidney damage.
Mercury Testing: What You Need to Know
Traditional mercury testing involves testing either your hair, blood, urine, or stool. Challenge tests that implement a chelating chemical, such as DMPS or DMSA, are also commonly used. However, all of these tests have drawbacks. They primarily measure total mercury load — and inaccurately at that. But most importantly they don’t give you any information about the forms of mercury in your system or how efficiently you are getting rid of them.
Traditional mercury tests don’t answer questions like, how much of your mercury load is from the seafood you eat? How much from amalgams? How well are your kidneys and liver eliminating it?
The two principal forms of mercury accumulate differently in your body, and are eliminated by different pathways. For example, mercury levels in your hair only reflect the mercury from the fish you eat. But mercury levels in your urine reflect the mercury coming from your dental fillings (plus some of the fish-based methylmercury that has broken down into inorganic mercury). The only way to determine if there is a problem is to compare your hair and urine levels with levels in your blood. So, if mercury testing is to be meaningful, it must measure both of the following:
Exposure level: Overall mercury level for each of the two main forms of mercury (methylmercury, related to your fish/seafood consumption, and inorganic mercury, related to dental amalgam exposure)
Excretion ability: How well your body is getting rid of each kind of mercury, regardless of your overall mercury level
A newer testing method called “mercury speciation ”does just this — it measures both of these factors. This test uses blood, urine and hair to give you a more comprehensive picture of how your body is eliminating mercury and where the process may be blocked. This information can be immensely helpful in preparing a successful detoxification plan. For more information about mercury speciation testing, refer to my recent interview with Dr. Shade below.
How to Use Chlorella
Preferably, you'll want to take it in the morning. Many chlorella products are sold in small tablets, typically 500 mg each, which means you should take several tablets a day. According to Ginny Banks, an expert in functional foods and nutraceuticals:
"It's not something that you just take occasionally like some herbs or some supplements. Chlorella is something you want to be taking every day… You need to be getting at least 4 grams each day of chlorella to get the benefits that it provides."
I recommend starting with a lower dose and slowly work your way up to 4 grams. Taking it with food can help alleviate nausea. Mild diarrhea may also occur. For more information and guidance on detoxing mercury, please see my full protocol.
To Get the Health Benefits, Make Sure You're Getting a Good Product
One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a chlorella product is its digestibility. The key to its detoxing abilities lies within the membrane of this single cell, but the cell wall of chlorella is actually indigestible to humans.
"Broken cell wall" is the term most often used to describe that it has been rendered digestible. If a product does not specify that the cell wall has been broken, you're likely flushing your money down the toilet as the chlorella will simply pass right through you without doing you any good. And detox is certainly not the only benefit that you'll miss out on.
Chlorella has a number of other health benefits. The web site GreenMedInfo has assembled a list of studies 3 that found evidence of over 40 different health conditions that chlorella can help to prevent or ease. Here's a sampling of some of the health benefits associated with this green algae:
Repairing nerve tissues Increasing your energy levels
Enhancing your immune system
Normalizing your blood sugar
Normalizing your blood pressure
Promoting healthy pH levels in your gut, which in turn helps good bacteria to thrive
Removing potentially toxic metals from your body
It is important to realize that any mercury detoxification is a marathon and NOT a sprint. You do NOT want to do this quickly. Even if you believe you are healthy you want to start this process SLOWLY as you could easily cause severe flare ups. I am one of the healthiest people I know and when I did my program I did it over six months. Some people may need to do it far more slowly and may need a few years to effectively eliminate the mercury safely.
Your Most Important Goal: Removing the Source of Exposure
The very first goal is to plug the hole in your leaking ship. You must remove your source of mercury exposure, whether it’s primarily from the seafood you eat or from amalgams (or both). Mercury speciation testing, as described above, can help you identify which source is problematic. There is little point in embarking on a major detox mission if you continue exposing yourself to the offender... that’s like trying to bail water out of a sinking boat. Avoid the consumption of contaminated fish and seafood. Most fish and seafood are now contaminated, unfortunately, but some types are worse than others. Avoiding fish is relatively easy, but having your amalgams removed is more involved and costly and must be done with great care. You should do this ONLY with the help of a qualified biological dentist as you can become quite ill if your amalgams are extracted incorrectly.
However, if you have a mouthful of amalgams it is no mystery that you have exposure that ideally needs to be addressed. Just be very careful about jumping from the frying pan into the fire and have your mercury amalgam fillings removed by a non-biological dentist like I did. That mistake caused very serious damage to my kidneys that still troubles me 20 years later. You can find a trained and qualified dentist from the following list:
International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology (IAOMT)
International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine (IABDM)
Holistic Dental Association
Dental Amalgam Mercury Solutions (DAMS)
Huggins Applied Healing
A new Coca-Cola ad campaign focuses on the mistaken belief that beating obesity is a matter of counting calories. This theory has been found to be patently false. All calories are NOT the same, and obesity is the result of consuming too many of the wrong type of calories
Carbs (fructose and grains) affect the hormone insulin and leptin, which are very potent fat regulators. Fats and proteins affect insulin to a far lesser degree
While soda consumption in the US has declined by 40 percent in the last 10 years, consumption of artificially sweetened “diet” beverages has risen in that same time
Research published in 2011 found that people who drank two or more diet sodas a day experienced waist size increases that were six times greater than those of people who didn't drink diet soda
Research from 2005 found drinking more than two cans of diet soda a day increased risk of obesity by more than 57 percent. Drinking more than two cans of regular soda per day increased obesity risk by just over 47 percent
A new Coca-Cola ad campaign that encourages people to come together to fight obesity is drawing fire from consumer advocates and obesity experts.1, 2
Coke says it’s trying to make consumers more aware of the healthy choice beverages Coke makes; critics say Coke is simply doing damage control.
There can be no doubt that soda is one of the primary beverages responsible for skyrocketing obesity rates. As Dr. Sanjay Gupta told CNN:3
"...the scientific community has ...reached a consensus that soft drinks are the one food or beverage that's been demonstrated to cause weight gain and obesity. And if we're going to deal with this obesity epidemic, that's the place to start."
Granted, no one is forcing anyone to drink them, but there simply has not been enough public education about the dangers of excessive fructose consumption. In fact, the industry has fought tooth and nail to minimize or flat out deny these health dangers, very similar to the tobacco industry denying the risk of lung cancer..
A perfect example of this ongoing denial is Coca-Cola’s reply to the video below, The Real Bears, produced by CSPI. The company called the short-film “irresponsible” and “grandstanding” that will not help anyone “understand energy balance.”
I cannot think of any instance where you might need a soda in order to maintain correct “energy balance.” You can achieve optimal health without any added sugar or artificial sweeteners. In fact, if you want to understand energy balance, read up on how to become fat-adapted rather than being a sugar burner. This requires cutting out virtually all added sugars.
Still, their vehement refusal to accept responsibility for leading you astray does not surprise me. Just take a look at the history of Coca-Cola’s advertising, and you’ll quickly realize that this leopard is not about to change its spots anytime soon. Two sites offering this history lesson include Arandilla’s “Coca-Cola Advertising Through the Years” blog4, and NPR’s blog page5, “Vigor, Brain Power and Other Health Claims From Coke’s Advertising Past.”
Now, Coca-Cola, the leading beverage brand in the world, realizes it’s losing the information war and is trying to shift your attention to its 180 different no- and low-calorie beverages. Well, this certainly is NOT going to address the obesity problem. On the contrary, artificial sweeteners have been shown to produce even MORE weight gain than regular sugar and even high fructose corn syrup.
Evidence of just how behind-the-times Coca-Cola is, their brand new multi-million dollar campaign focuses on the sentiment that:
"...beating obesity will take action by all of us, based on one simple, common-sense fact: All calories count, no matter where they come from. ...And if you eat and drink more calories than you burn off, you'll gain weight."4
This “conventional wisdom” has been firmly debunked by science. Not all calories count equally. And the “calories in, calories out” hypothesis for maintaining weight has equally been shown to be incorrect. It is in fact FAR more important to look at the source of the calories than counting them.
In short, you do not get fat because you eat too many calories and don't exercise enough. You get fat because you eat the wrong kind of calories. At the end of the day, your consumption of carbohydrates, whether in the form of grains and sugars (especially fructose), will determine whether or not you're able to manage your weight and maintain optimal health. This is because these types of carbs (fructose and grains) affect the hormone insulin, which is a very potent fat regulator. Fats and proteins affect insulin to a far lesser degree. Kudos to The Atlantic5 for calling Coca-Cola on its misleading tactics in its recent article titled, Coke’s Unconscionable New Ad:
"Coca-Cola's latest attempt to position itself against the rising tide of concern about the role of sodas in the obesity epidemic is unconscionable, because of this statement: 'All calories count. No matter where they come from including Coca-Cola and everything else with calories.'
For Coca-Cola to suggest that all calories are equal flies in the face of reality as best as we can determine it... Coca-Cola wants us to ignore the considerable research confirming that sugary soda is a major contributor to obesity, and that it has no nutritional value... Coca-Cola could use its considerable advertising muscle to promote healthy exercise, yes, but when it does so as a ploy to confuse the public about the dangers of its products, that's not a public service, that's unethical.”
The video above is from Youtube and is available to the public for information and entertainment purposes only.
Mercola.com does not own and did not produce this video.
Why Calorie Counting Doesn’t Work
Dr. Robert Lustig, an expert on the metabolic fate of sugar, explains that fructose is 'isocaloric but not isometabolic.' This means you can have the same amount of calories from fructose or glucose, fructose and protein, or fructose and fat, but the metabolic effect will be entirely different despite the identical calorie count. This is a crucial point that must be understood.
Fructose is in fact far worse than other carbs because the vast majority of it converts directly to FAT, both in your fatty tissues, and in your liver. And this is why counting calories does not work... As long as you keep eating fructose and grains, you're programming your body to create and store fat.
Furthermore, research by Dr. Richard Johnson, chief of the Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension at the University of Colorado and author of The Sugar Fix and The Fat Switch, demonstrates that large portions of food and too little exercise are NOT solely responsible for why you are gaining weight. Rather it’s fructose-containing sugars that cause obesity – not by calories, but by turning on your “fat switch,” a powerful biological adaptation that causes cells to accumulate fat in anticipation of scarcity (or hibernation). According to Dr. Johnson, based on his decades of research:
“Those of us who are obese eat more because of a faulty 'switch' and exercise less because of a low energy state. If you can learn how to control the specific 'switch' located in the powerhouse of each of your cells – the mitochondria – you hold the key to fighting obesity.”
According to Beverage Digest, soda consumption in the US has been on a steady decline since 1998.6 A recent article in The Atlantic7 shows consumption of soda “in freefall,” with US consumption having declined by 40 percent since 2003. Unfortunately, many are simply switching to no- or low-cal beverages, which Coca-Cola is now trying to boost, and quite frankly, if I had to choose between these two evils, I’d choose regular soda, as artificial sweeteners are even worse for your long-term health, and have been linked to increased weight gain when compared to calorie-containing sweeteners.
No- or Low-Cal Beverages CONTRIBUTE to Obesity Problem
While soda consumption has gone down, consumption of artificially sweetened “diet” beverages has risen in that same time, according to an October 11, 2012 report by USA Today.8 The industry has effectively convinced people that diet drinks are a healthier choice because they lack any calories. However, if you’re concerned about your weight and health, switching to artificial sweeteners is NOT a wise move.
Mounting research shows that diet soda is not a "guilt-free" treat at all. For example, two studies published in 2011 linked diet soda to poor health outcomes. In one study, people who drank two or more diet sodas a day experienced waist size increases that were six times greater than those of people who didn't drink diet soda. A second study that found that aspartame (NutraSweet) raised blood sugar levels in diabetes-prone mice.
As you may know, your waist size is not only a matter of aesthetics, but also a powerful indicator of a build-up of visceral fat, a dangerous type of fat around your internal organs that is strongly linked with type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Your waist size is a far more accurate predictor of your heart risks than your body mass index (BMI). Nearly eight years ago, research by Sharon P. Fowler, MPH9 (who was also involved in the newer studies noted above) found that your risk of obesity increases by 41 percent for each can of diet soda you drink in a day. Furthermore, for diet soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:
36.5 percent for up to 1/2 can per day
57.1 percent for more than 2 cans per day
For regular soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:
26 percent for up to 1/2 can per day
32.8 percent for 1 to 2 cans per day
47.2 percent for more than 2 cans per day
How Decreasing Sugar Intake Can Impact Body Weight
In related news, recently published research10 shows that decreasing sugar consumption can help you lose weight. The researchers examined outcomes from 71 studies on sugar consumption and body fat. The duration of included studies ranged from two weeks to one year. According to the authors:
“In trials of adults with ad libitum diets (that is, with no strict control of food intake), reduced intake of dietary sugars was associated with a decrease in body weight (0.80 kg/1.8 lb); increased sugars intake was associated with a comparable weight increase (0.75 kg/1.7 lb).
Isoenergetic exchange of dietary sugars with other carbohydrates showed no change in body weight . Trials in children... in relation to intakes of sugar sweetened beverages after one year follow-up in prospective studies, the odds ratio for being overweight or obese increased was 1.55 (1.32 to 1.82) among groups with the highest intake compared with those with the lowest intake. Despite significant heterogeneity in one meta-analysis and potential bias in some trials, sensitivity analyses showed that the trends were consistent and associations remained after these studies were excluded.”
Skyrocketing Obesity is Related to Misleading You on Health Issues
Obesity is the result of inappropriate lifestyle choices, and unfortunately, our government has done an abysmal job at disseminating accurate information about diet and health. It’s one thing for corporations to put out misleading ads – honesty is not in the self-interest of the processed food and beverage industry. It’s another when the government falls in line with for-profit deception and becomes a propagator of corporate propaganda. And this is exactly what has happened... For example, conventional advice that is driving public health in the wrong direction includes:
Cutting calories: Not all calories are created equal, and counting calories will not help you lose weight if you're consuming the wrong kind of calories
Choosing diet foods will help you lose weight: Substances like Splenda and aspartame may have zero calories, but your body isn't fooled. When it gets a "sweet" taste, it expects calories to follow, and when this doesn't occur it leads to distortions in your biochemistry that may actually lead to weight gain
Avoiding saturated fat: The myth that saturated fat causes heart disease has undoubtedly harmed an incalculable number of lives over the past several decades, even though it all began as little more than a scientifically unsupported marketing strategy for Crisco cooking oil. Most people actually need at least 50 percent of their diet to include healthful saturated fats such as organic, pastured eggs, avocados, coconut oil, real butter and grass-fed beef in order to optimize their health
Reducing your cholesterol to extremely low levels: Cholesterol is actually NOT the major culprit in heart disease or any disease, and the guidelines that dictate what number your cholesterol levels should be to keep you "healthy" are fraught with conflict of interest -- and have never been proven to be good for your health
This is just a tiny sampling of the misleading information on weight and obesity disseminated by our government agencies. A more complete list of conventional health myths could easily fill an entire series of books. The reason behind this sad state of affairs is the fact that the very industries that profit from these lies are the ones funding most of the research; infiltrating our regulatory agencies; and bribing our political officials to support their financially-driven agenda through any number of legal, and at times not so legal, means.
Could Warning Labels Be Part of the Answer?
According to Dr. Harold Goldstein, executive director of the non-profit group The California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA), “43 percent of the increase in daily calories Americans consumed over the last 30 years came from sugary drinks.” The CCPHA has published a list of seven things soda makers could do to create “meaningful change,” such as11:
Cease all advertising of sugary drinks to children under 16
Add warning labels to containers stating the link between soda consumption and obesity, diabetes and tooth decay, just like cigarettes must declare its connection to lung cancer
Declare number of teaspoons of sugar the container contains, in large print
Quit marketing sports drinks as healthy beverages
You Can Avoid Becoming a Statistic
Perhaps one of the most powerful scientific discoveries to emerge in the past several years is that the old adage “a calorie is a calorie” is patently false. Furthermore, the idea that in order to lose weight all you have to do is expend more calories than you consume is also false... The research clearly demonstrates that even if you control the number of calories you eat, if those calories come from fructose, you are at increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome, or prediabetes, which includes insulin resistance, fatty liver, high blood pressure and high triglycerides.
Conventional thinking tells us that metabolic syndrome is the outcome of obesity, which is simply the result of eating too many calories and not exercising enough. However, Dr. Johnson’s research, discussed above, shows that a high fructose diet is the key to developing metabolic syndrome, and that as soon as you throw fructose into the mix, “calories in versus calories out” is no longer a functional equation.
In short, avoiding fructose in all its forms, along with other sugars, is imperative in order to avoid “flipping the fat switch” that can trigger your body to accumulate excess fat. So please, do yourself and your family a favor, and don’t get swept up in Coca-Cola’s multi-million dollar ad extravaganza. The entire campaign is based on flawed, inaccurate, misleading, and patently false conventions of thinking.
Let's not forget: Coca-Cola spent $1.2 million to defeat California Proposition 37 last November, which would have required genetically engineered (GE) foods to be labeled as such (which could have included soda containing GE high fructose corn syrup). That, in and of itself, is proof positive that Coca-Cola has no concern for health conscious consumers.
Your Bowl of Soup May Contain a Toxic Ingredient — Melamine
Posted by Mary West
On a chilly wintry evening, nothing is as appetizing as a steaming bowl of soup. But scientists have found that if the bowl is made of melamine, heat can cause the chemical to leach out into the soup, entering the body and potentially increasing the risk of health problems. This discovery adds to the evidence indicating that eating for health not only involves the choice of food but also the choice of dishes in which the food is served.
What is melamine?
Melamine is a chemical used to make cooking utensils and some types of dishes, in addition to paper and plastic products. Regular low-dose exposure to this chemical has been associated with kidney and bladder stones, along with kidney failure and cancer in animal studies.
In 2008, a scandal in China involving melamine occurred when the powdered form of this chemical was added to infant formula to increase the protein content. This fiasco led to the illness of 300,000 babies, six of whom died.
Study raises concerns
In the recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers worked with two groups of participants who ate hot soup from either a ceramic bowl or a melamine bowl. Their urine was tested before the meal and every two hours after eating the meal up to 12 hours. They found that 8.35 mcg of melamine was excreted in the urine of these who used a melamine bowl and only 1.31 mcg was excreted in the urine of those who used a ceramic bowl.
Is this quantity enough to cause harm? It is not known, but the researchers conclude that it does raise enough concern to warrant further studies, especially when the melamine is exposed to heat through microwaving or through holding hot foods.
Another factor to be aware of is that the amount leached into food when exposed to heat will vary from brand to brand. So the results from this one brand may be better or worse than other brands, the authors point out.
An expert speaks out
While melamine has only been the subject of a few studies, it is a toxic substance and should be dealt with cautiously in regard to public health, asserts Dr. Ken Spaeth, director of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Center at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York. He explains that melamine can leach out of dishes if the food is particularly acidic or if the dishes are damaged, as well as when the tableware is used to serve or reheat hot foods.
Spaeth considers the high levels of melamine from the study to be a pretty strong link. “It’s reasonable to have some concerns of what exposure could be happening, and the impact it could have on human health,” he says.
Study: Both Exercise and Whey Augment Human Growth Hormone Production, Which Can Keep Your Body Young
February 01, 2013
By Dr. Mercola
Exercising on an empty stomach has been shown to have a number of health and fitness benefits as the combination of fasting and exercising maximizes the impact of cellular factors and catalysts that force the breakdown of fat and glycogen for energy, effectively forcing your body to burn fat without sacrificing muscle mass
High-intensity interval training boosts your body's natural production of human growth hormone (HGH), a synergistic, foundational biochemical that addresses the serious muscle loss and atrophy that typically occurs with aging
New research has shown that not only does exercise increase HGH concentrations, but you can influence its production nutritionally through the intake of whey protein
When participants ran on a treadmill for 90 minutes, then consumed whey protein during their recovery, they had an increased HGH response after completing a second bout of intense exercise
Once you hit the age of 30, you enter what's called "somatopause," at which point your levels of HGH begin to drop off quite dramatically; this decline of HGH is part of what drives your aging process, so maintaining your HGH levels gets increasingly important with age
Exercise is one of the “golden tickets” to preventing disease and slowing the aging process. One reason for this is because exercise is one of the most effective ways to regain insulin and leptin sensitivity and reverse insulin and leptin-resistance, which is a key to staying healthy as you get older.
But another reason why exercise is sometimes regarded as a real-life fountain of youth is because, when done intensely, it boosts your body's natural production of human growth hormone (HGH), a synergistic, foundational biochemical that addresses the serious muscle loss and atrophy that typically occurs with aging.
Intermittent fasting has many of the same benefits, including dramatically boosting HGH and optimizing insulin- and leptin sensitivity, which I’ll discuss more toward the end of this article.
Recent research1 also shows that ingesting carbohydrates (sucrose) with added whey protein isolate during short-term recovery from 90 minutes of treadmill running increases the growth hormone response to a second exhaustive exercise bout of similar duration.
However, I’ve previously discussed the issue of implementing an exercise and diet plan based on your desired goal, either:
Athletic performance, or
Health, longevity and reproductive success
If you are seeking to optimize competitive athletics, then carb-loading as used in the featured study can be useful. However it is not a wise strategy if you’re seeking long-term optimal health, as that requires a different approach. Avoiding carbs then becomes paramount, along with making sure you’re using only high quality protein sources. (Clearly, competitive athletes could also improve if they used high quality organic, grass-fed whey rather than the far inferior whey protein isolate.)
Interestingly, in the wake of Lance Armstrong being stripped of his seven titles and banned from cycling for life after being found guilty of doping, one study known as the Goldman Dilemma, showed that more than half of Olympic-level athletes would gladly use a drug that would kill them within five years as long as it guaranteed them a gold medal.2
To most people, however, this would be an unacceptable exchange. The featured approach clearly will not kill you in five years, and I suspect most of the adverse longevity consequences are reversible, but in my opinion carb-loading is not ideal for long-term health.
Why Carb-Loading is Not Recommended if You Exercise for Longevity
The idea behind carb-loading is to saturate yourself with carbs so your muscles will have plenty of glycogen to go on while you exercise. This works fine for really fit athletes that have an intense workout regimen. They also have the muscle mass that could accommodate large glucose surges as muscles can rapidly utilize glucose. Additionally most athletes have optimized insulin and leptin signaling and are exercising which also allows them to better use the carbs.
However, I believe it is totally inappropriate for the vast majority of non-athletes that exercise casually, or just to get healthy as their muscle mass isn’t as well developed and their insulin and leptin signaling is typically impaired. Another point to consider in this study is that, while whey is great for stimulating muscle protein synthesis, I disagree with the use of whey protein isolate as whey protein concentrates are clearly superior.
As I'll discuss below, the focus on carbs is one of the most detrimental pieces of advice that is still widely promoted to athletes and non-athletes alike, and there are FAR better ways to boost HGH production than what was tested in the featured study, in which participants ran for 90 minutes with a four-hour long break in between repeated session.
First, it’s important to remember that what you eat can either add to or detract from your exercise benefits, and if you're devoting the time to exercise for health and longevity, you'd be well advised to harness your meals to support your goals, not detract from them.
First and foremost, contrary to popular advice, to maximize the benefits of exercise you'll want to avoid fructose and other sugars unless you are engaged in intensive and prolonged cardio exercises that will allow you to burn these sugars, especially fructose, and not store them as fat.
However, exercise, which in and of itself improves insulin and leptin sensitivity, will NOT completely compensate for excessive use of fructose. This means that most casual exercisers and those seeking to improve their body composition and optimize health and fitness rather than boost athletic performance or competitiveness, need to ditch the energy drinks, sports drinks, most energy bars and even "healthy" drinks like vitamin water, as these will effectively sabotage your exercise benefits.
Fructose, which is found primarily in the form of high fructose corn syrup, is particularly detrimental as it tricks your body into gaining weight by turning off your body's appetite-control system. This happens because fructose does not appropriately stimulate insulin, which in turn does not suppress ghrelin (the "hunger hormone") and doesn't stimulate leptin (the "satiety hormone").
The end result is that you end up eating more, causing uncontrolled accumulation of sugar metabolites in your liver, which then leads to insulin resistance. Fructose also rapidly leads to decreased HDL ("good" cholesterol), increased LDL ("bad" cholesterol), elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure – i.e. classic metabolic syndrome. And if that's not bad enough, fructose has shown to increase the levels of TNF-α, a pro-inflammatory cytokine known to inhibit fat burning and promote muscle wasting.
Eating Whey Protein During Your Exercise Recovery May Boost HGH
Your production of vital human growth hormone increases by up to 771 percent during a high-intensity, interval workout like Peak Fitness because you are stimulating your fast twitch muscle fibers, which are rarely used during most exercise programs. The higher your levels of HGH, the healthier and stronger you will be.
Once you hit the age of 30, you enter what's called "somatopause," at which point your levels of HGH begin to drop off quite dramatically. This decline of HGH is part of what drives your aging process, so maintaining your HGH levels gets increasingly important with age.
Some athletes choose to inject HGH for its performance enhancing potential, though it is a banned substance in nearly every professional sport. I do not recommend injecting HGH however, due to the potential side effects, the cost and, more importantly, its potential to cause more long-term harm than good. Besides, as we now know, taking such risks is unnecessary because if you eat and exercise correctly, you will naturally optimize your HGH.
What You Eat in the Two to Three Hours After You Exercise is Extremely Important
After an intense workout, there's an exercise recovery phase of two to three hours during which you have to be somewhat careful about what foods you choose to eat. Specifically, in order to promote HGH release, you do need to restrict sugar intake post-exercise (although carbs can benefit those more interested in fast recovery, such as professional athletes). Fitness veteran Phil Campbell explains:
"What we recommend... is to get 25 grams of protein afterwards within that 30-minute golden window. There is a lot of research to support that, but there's also some research done by Dr. John Ivy of the University of Texas, a great researcher on a young cyclist who made recovery. They're not looking at growth hormone or maximizing growth hormone. They're trying to get to recover as quickly as possible so they can cycle several days in a row.
They showed that getting a ratio of 4:1 carbs to protein is better for recovery... 4:1 starts recovery faster. If you're going after recovery, that's the best strategy... [if] you're not looking for growth hormone, that is.
But on the other side, if your goal like most middle-aged adults and older is to maximize growth hormone, and to get this wonderful hormone circulating for that full two hours in the surging window for going after body fat (just about like you're doing cardio for two hours), you can do that. ...if you throw too many carbohydrates in... then that releases the hormones called somatostatin. That, for whatever reason, just shuts down growth hormone. That's clear in the research."
So it's important to avoid carbs, especially sugar or fructose-containing foods, in the two hours after your workout, and this includes sports drinks, to be sure you're getting the full HGH benefits. Consuming whey protein, however, appears to be nearly ideal, as it is a protein that assimilates very quickly, and will get to your muscles within 10-15 minutes of swallowing it, supplying your muscles with the right food at the right time to stop the catabolic process in your muscle and shift the process toward repair and growth.
Whey Helps With Muscle-Building, Too
An important review found that consumption of ~20–25 grams of a rapidly absorbed protein, such as whey protein, may serve to maximally stimulate muscle building after resistance exercise in young healthy individuals;3 high-quality leucine-rich proteins, such as whey, may be particularly important for the elderly to maximize muscle protein synthesis as well. Further, consuming whey not only immediately following your workout but also for up to 48 hours after resistance exercise may still offer some benefit:4
"...since resistance exercise increases MPS for up to ~48 h [hours] consumption of dietary amino acids 24-48 h post-exercise recovery would also likely convey the same synergistic effects on MPS [muscle protein synthesis] as those that are observed when amino acids are provided immediately after resistance exercise. The synergistic enhancement of pre-existing resistance exercise-induced elevations in MPS by protein provision is greatest immediately post-exercise and wanes over time, but may still be present up to 48 h later.
We have recently shown that feeding 15 g of whey protein, a less than optimally effective dose of protein for maximizing MPS, ~24 h after acute resistance exercise results in a greater stimulation of ...protein synthesis than the same dose provided at rest. ...We propose that there is, at least in young individuals, an extended 'window of anabolic opportunity' beyond the immediate post-exercise period that persists for at least 24 h..."
A recent study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise demonstrated that consuming whey protein (20g protein / serving) 30 minutes before resistance training also boosts your body's metabolism for as much as 24 hours after your workout.5 In practical terms, consuming 20 grams of whey protein before exercise and another serving afterward will most likely yield the double benefit of increasing both fat burning and muscle build-up at the same time.
Intermittent Fasting: Another Way to Boost HGH Naturally
Just as combining whey protein with high-intensity exercise appears to work together synergistically to boost HGH production, so too does exercising while in a fasted state. Research has found that fasting raised HGH by 1,300 percent in women and 2,000 percent in men!6 And the combination of fasting and exercising maximizes the impact of cellular factors and catalysts (cyclic AMP and AMP Kinases), which force the breakdown of fat and glycogen for energy.
It’s important to realize that this fitness-enhancing strategy is more about the timing of meals, as opposed to those fad plans where you essentially “starve” yourself for several days in a row.
On intermittent fasting, the longest time you'll ever abstain from food is 36 hours, although 14-18 hours is more common. You can also opt to simply delay eating. For example, skipping breakfast may be just the step to get you off a plateau in your fitness routine. Personally, I've revised my own eating schedule to eliminate breakfast and restrict the time I eat food to a period of about six to seven hours each day, which is typically from noon to 6 or 7 pm.
For more information on healthy, safe intermittent fasting, read this.
Intermittent Fasting for General Health and Longevity
There's plenty of research showing that fasting has a beneficial impact on longevity in animals. There are a number of mechanisms contributing to this effect. Normalizing insulin sensitivity is a major one as insulin sensitivity is critical for the activation of the mTOR pathway, which along with IGF-1 plays an important part in repairing and regenerating your tissues including your muscles and thereby counteracting the aging process. The fact that it improves a number of potent disease markers also contributes to fasting's overall beneficial effects on general health.
Even if you take the exercise component out, modern science has confirmed there are many good reasons for fasting, including:
Normalizing your insulin sensitivity, which is key for optimal health as insulin resistance (which is what you get when after prolonged periods of over-secreted and elevated insulin) is a primary contributing factor to nearly all chronic disease, from diabetes to heart disease and even cancer
Normalizing ghrelin levels, also known as "the hunger hormone"
Promoting human growth hormone (HGH) production, which plays an important part in health, fitness and slowing the aging process
Lowering triglyceride levels
Reducing inflammation and lessening free radical damage
Tying it All Together
Whether you seek to optimize your athletic performance or health and longevity, incorporating 1-3 sessions of high-intensity exercises per week will help you achieve your aims by significantly boosting HGH production. Adding intermittent fasting can kick it up another notch. The same cannot be said for your diet, however.
Whereas carb-loading can be useful for professional athletes, those seeking health and longevity will not benefit from this strategy. On the contrary, severely limiting sugars and grains is part and parcel of any diet designed to optimize overall health and prevent chronic disease. Furthermore, it’s important to note that consuming fructose within two hours prior to or after high-intensity exercise will nullify HGH production... So carb-loading while doing Peak Exercises will amount to wasted effort.
The Pain Relief Solution Your Doctor May Not Know About
Posted by Joshua Corn
Do you have stiff joints, sore muscles or general aches and pains that just never seem to go away? I know from personal experience just how frustrating dealing with chronic pain can be, which is why I want to share with you the solution that helped me.
Unfortunately, many doctors address chronic pain with band-aid solutions like painkillers or steroids. What your doctor may never tell you is that there could be an underlying cause for your aches and pains, for which there is a natural remedy that is both safe and permanent .
The current mainstream medical mentality on treating joint pain has spurred a multibillion-dollar industry for Big Pharma. However, their painkilling drugs are far from an ideal solution. Studies show that long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like aspirin, ibuprofen and Celebrex, actually weakens joints. And the prescription painkiller, Vioxx, claimed as many as 55,000 lives before being banned. It makes me wonder, is the next Vioxx lurking out there?
The Traditional Route Didn’t Work So Well for Me
A few years ago I started to experience significant, unexplained joint and muscle pain. I went the traditional route first, seeing one doctor after another, but every test came back negative. Two years went by with very little progress, and I knew that surgeries, steroids and painkillers were not the long-term solution I was seeking. What none of my doctors knew was that I was suffering from chronic, low-grade body-wide inflammation – an affliction that causes body-wide symptoms such as pain and stiffness.
Glucosamine Worked Great…But It Wasn’t Enough
During this time I was taking a high quality glucosamine and chondroitin supplement, which is an extensively studied combination proven to be effective for natural joint health support. It worked pretty well, however, it just wasn’t getting the job done for my excruciating pain. That’s when I decided to “hit the books” to learn what other natural solutions were out there that could help.
I Looked at Virtually Every Natural Option for Pain Relief
Determined to find a solution, I read volumes on natural healing and nearly every research paper ever published on joint and muscle pain. I learned that the underlying cause of these issues is often chronic bodywide inflammation. Normally, inflammation is part of the natural healing process, but when inflammation becomes chronic, that’s when real problems start. Many people unknowingly suffer from “invisible” widespread inflammation. But I’ve learned that by putting an end to this inflammation, while at the same time taking nutrients to fortify your joints, you can end pain and discomfort and begin healing your body from the inside out.
It’s Not Just Cartilage That Protects Your Joints
Glucosamine and chondroitin are known to work together to protect and rebuild cartilage, but it turns out that this is only half the battle. Surrounding your cartilage is a thick gel-like substance called synovial fluid, which acts as a lubricant, shock absorber and nutrient carrier. A major component of this fluid is hyaluronic acid (also known as HA). Your ability to produce HA declines with age and compromises the synovial fluid. Research shows that supplementing with HA can actually replenish synovial fluid, leading to enhanced cushioning and protection for your joints.
3 Letters That Rid Your Body Of Inflammation
My research helped me to discover the role that a compound called methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, plays in keeping inflammation at bay. MSM is a natural form of sulfur, which is an essential building block for joints and cartilage. Most of us lack MSM because it’s been processed out of many foods. Amazingly, MSM provides powerful relief from swelling, inflammation and pain by allowing harmful substances that have accumulated in the tissues to flow out and healing nutrients to flow in. Additionally, studies have shown that MSM works with glucosamine to protect and rebuild cartilage.
I Found What Truly Is the Spice of Life
As I continued to read about natural ways to reduce inflammation, I learned about the amazing benefits of curcumin, a component of the spice, turmeric, which is commonly used in curries. Research shows that curcumin inhibits the synthesis of inflammatory substances in the body. One exciting study found that those taking curcumin showed:
• A 58 percent decrease in overall reported pain and stiffness
• A 16-fold decline in C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation
• A 63 percent reduction in the use of OTC drugs such as ibuprofen
• A 300 percent improvement in emotional well being
A Little Ginger Goes a Long Way
Ginger has many of the same anti-inflammatory and pain reduction benefits as curcumin, however it affects the body in ways that complement curcumin’s benefits. In two different clinical studies that I reviewed, physicians found that 75% of patients with joint pain and 100% of patients with muscle pain experienced significant relief from pain and swelling after taking ginger!
Nature’s Gift for Easing Joint Pain
New research suggests that an age-old herbal remedy, called boswellia, may be nature’s “gift” to joint pain sufferers. Boswellia has emerged as a powerful pain and inflammation fighter capable of providing significant and rapid relief, In a gold standard research study conducted at UC Davis, boswellia was shown to ease knee pain and stiffness within just seven days. And in another study just completed this year, researchers found that boswellia inhibits the production of key inflammatory molecules, which helps to prevent the breakdown of cartilage.
What Do Pineapples Have to Do with Joint Pain?
Pineapples have been used for centuries to reduce inflammation and pain. It turns out that an enzyme found in pineapples, called bromelain, is capable of reducing pain, inflammation and healing time. Amazingly, some studies show that bromelain can reduce knee pain as effectively as over-the-counter pain medications.
The Cherry on Top of the Joint Pain Solution
One of the most exciting things I learned in my research was that tart cherries provide amazing healing and pain relief benefits. Tart cherries contain unique anti-inflammatory compounds that specifically target muscle tissue. According to researchers at Oregon Health & Science University, “Tart cherry juice may be a safer way to treat muscle pain and inflammation than over-the-counter pain relievers.” Another amazing study suggests that eating even a small amount of tart cherries helps to significantly improve muscle recovery after exercise.
A review of U.S. healthcare expenses by the Institutes of Medicine1 has revealed that 30 cents of every dollar spent on medical care is wasted, adding up to $750 billion annually.
The report identifies six major areas of waste: Unnecessary services; inefficient delivery of care; excess administrative costs; inflated prices; prevention failures; and fraud.
"Apart from the economic toll these deficiencies place, they also result in patients having to suffer needlessly. Some studies have indicated that in 2005, about 75,000 deaths could have been averted if each state had delivered healthcare at the quality and efficiency levels of the best performing state," Medical News Today reports.2
According to The Washington Times:3
"'Health care in America presents a fundamental paradox,' says the report from an 18-member panel of prominent specialists, including doctors, business people and public officials. 'The past 50 years have seen an explosion in biomedical knowledge, dramatic innovation in therapies and surgical procedures, and management of conditions that previously were fatal...
Yet, American health care is falling short on basic dimensions of quality, outcomes, costs and equity.'
...If banking worked like health care, ATM transactions would take days, the report says. If home building were like health care, carpenters, electricians and plumbers would work from different blueprints and hardly talk to each other.
If shopping were like health care, prices would not be posted and could vary widely within the same store, depending on who was paying. If airline travel were like health care, pilots would be free to design their own preflight safety checks – or not perform one at all."
America's Health Care System Must Transform
That the health care system in the United States is hopelessly inadequate and ineffective is obvious. Statistics place the US health care system among the top three leading causes of death in the US – an irony that never ceases to amaze me...
Furthermore, Americans spend more on health care than citizens of any other country, up to 1.5 times more per person, yet we rank 50th in life expectancy and 47th in infant mortality. These are absolutely dismal outcomes from the most expensive health care system in the world!
According to Medical News Today:4
"The Committee said that aiming for just incremental upgrades and alterations carried out by individual hospitals or health care providers will have little impact on improving the nation's overall health care service...
The only way the USA's healthcare system can really improve is to transform it into a learning system that continuously improves itself by 'systematically capturing and broadly disseminating lessons from every care experience and new research discovery...'
The report urges insurance providers, professional societies, researchers, and health economists to work together to find ways of measuring quality performance and to design new payment models and incentives that reward quality rather than volume."
That would be a good start. But we cannot ignore the all-pervasive influence of the pharmaceutical industry on our health care system. Conflicts of interest that affect not only the quality but also the cost of care are rampant throughout the entire system, starting with our medical education. Doctors today are trained to prescribe drugs and to treat symptoms, and are taught virtually nothing about nutrition and fitness, which are cornerstones for good health. Ultimately, if we want to improve the health care system, we must address the blind reliance on drugs as the number one strategy for disease prevention and treatment.
Medicare Bill "Upcoding" Costs Tax Payers $1.1 Billion Annually
In related news, an investigation conducted by the Center for Public Integrity found "upcoding" Medicare bills cost taxpayers about $1.1 billion annually.
"Between 2001 and 2010, doctors increasingly moved to higher-paying codes for billing Medicare for office visits while cutting back on lower-paying ones, according to a year-long examination of about 362 million claims. In 2001, the two highest codes were listed on about 25 percent of the doctor-visit claims; in 2010, they were on 40 percent. Similarly, hospitals sharply stepped up the use of the highest codes for emergency room visits while cutting back on the lowest codes," The Washington Post reports.5
However, while Medicare fraud is becoming increasingly common, it's worth noting that the pharmaceutical industry as a whole is the biggest defrauder of all.6 From over-pricing and false claims for medical services, to gross misconduct and mismanaged care of senior citizens in nursing homes, the pharmaceutical industry leads the pack in health care fraud and abuse. It's been that way for decades. That's why the U.S. government has repeatedly enacted new laws – in 1986, 1996, 2009, and 2010 – to crack down on offenders.
The 1986 legislation strengthened a Civil War-era fraud law, the False Claims Act, with incentives for private citizens to report fraud and abuse of government programs by corporate America.7 This law enabled "whistleblowers" to expose corporate criminals whose crimes had previously gone undetected. But it didn't stop these crimes, so a decade later Congress created the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control (HCFAC) program, which provides for huge fines and prison sentences for health care fraud and abuse.
Enacted with the passage of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and administered jointly by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS), this program has returned over $18 billion to the Medicare Trust Fund since 19978 – most of which came from pharmaceutical companies. It, too, helped root out previously undetected corporate criminals, as well as those committed by individuals, hospitals and other health service providers.
Still, the fraud went on. So, in 2009, Congress enacted yet another enforcement tool under the Affordable Care Act and the formation of the Health Care Fraud Prevent & Enforcement Team (HEAT). In 2010 alone, the DOJ and HHS reported they'd collected a total of $4 billion as a result of judgments and settlements involving Medicare.9
The bulk of these funds are from drug companies, making the pharmaceutical industry the new government fraud leader, surpassing the former top fraud perpetrator, the defense industry.10 That's why HHS and the DOJ decided in 2010 to form yet another committee to address just drug company crimes: The Pharmaceutical Fraud Pilot Project (PFPP),11 with the goal of rooting out pharmaceutical, biologic, and medical device fraud.
It's quite clear that the fraud and deceit against Medicare by Big Pharma is so great that no amount of anti-fraud agencies seem capable of stopping it. This is evidenced by the fact that many drug companies are repeat offenders. Fines for illegal activities appear to be viewed as the cost of doing business... Is it any wonder then that some of the drug companies repeatedly caught defrauding the Medicare system are also listed in AllBusiness.com's Top Corporate Criminals of the 1990s?
Big Pharma's Offshore Fraud Strategy
Over the past few years, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers, AstraZeneca, and Abbott Laboratories have all paid huge sums to settle civil and criminal allegations of illegal sales and marketing practices. Most recently, GlaxoSmithKline plead guilty in the largest health fraud settlement in US history. The company was fined $3 billion to resolve criminal and civil liability charges related to illegal drug marketing andwithholding information about health hazards associated with its diabetes drug Avandia.
Proving that illegal business practices are standard practice within the pharmaceutical industry, Forbes12 recently reported that many pharmaceutical companies are now being investigated for using bribes to boost sales outside the US as well. Referred to as "emerging markets," these potential consumers are located in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) makes it illegal to bribe foreign officials to win business, but nonetheless it happens – as evidenced by Pfizer, the world's largest drugmaker, which paid $60.2 million to the U.S. in August to settle charges that the company bribed an assortment of government health officials, including doctors, in China, Russia, Italy, Bulgaria, Croatia, Servia, and Kazakhstan.
According to Forbes:
"The company had something of a 'frequent flyer' program for bribery. 'Pfizer subsidiaries in several countries had bribery so entwined in their sales culture that they offered points and bonus programs to improperly reward foreign officials who proved to be their best customers,' said Kara Brockmeyer, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Unit."
Have You Taken Control of Your Health?
As you can see, there's no shortage of evidence that the US health care system is in need of urgent transformation. Hundreds of thousands are killed by medical care itself, while others are walking around with far less than stellar health due to conventional treatments. Rates of chronic diseases are through the roof, and we're facing epidemics of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression and too many others to list. As a whole, Americans are not healthy – they're tired, depressed, stressed out and often in pain.
As patients, many people have taken their health into their own hands by abandoning this fatally flawed medical model and embracing holistic modalities that can help heal on a body-wide level.
It's important to remember that the more you take responsibility for your own health – in the form of nurturing your body to prevent disease – the less you need to rely on the "disease care" that passes for health care in the United States. If you carefully follow some basic health principles – simple things like exercising, eating whole foods, sleeping enough, getting sun exposure, and reducing stress in your life – you will drastically reduce your need for conventional medical care, which in and of itself will reduce your chances of suffering ill side effects.
I recently completed the first major revision of my Nutrition Plan, which can guide you, step by step, toward optimal health. It's now significantly improved and contains a number of updated recommendations, such as the addition of fermented vegetables as a source of healthful probiotics; and using intermittent fasting and high intensity exercise to really optimize your health.
The Plan is divided into three stages: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. If you realize you're already doing all the things included in the beginner's phase, then it may be time to move on to the next phase.
I strongly recommend reviewing the revised Nutritional Plan whenever your schedule allows. It is a very detailed and comprehensive program – it's basically an entire book, in multi-media format, as we've now added lots of informative videos to it as well. If you're new to the site, I encourage you to go through it from the beginning as it is one of the most powerful tools to truly allow you and your family to take control of your health.
After you've reviewed the plan, feel free to add your feedback or comments about the plan in the Vital Votes section on the re-launch page.
Yes, You Can Influence Your Doctor as Well...
In the event you do need medical care, seek a health care practitioner who will help you move toward complete wellness by helping you discover and understand the hidden causes of your health challenges... and create a customized and comprehensive – i.e. holistic – treatment plan for you.
What's more, you can have an impact on your doctor's tendency to recommend natural alternatives, as when you inquire about them, some health care providers do in fact listen. Remember, when you do go to the doctor, know that it's OK to ask questions and opt for less medical intervention while choosing a more natural way of healing your body.
If your physician is not open to such options, it may be time to find one who is, who can help coach you and your family to take control of your health.
Early intervention with minimally invasive dentistry can eliminate 80 percent of future dental interventions on the vast majority of patients
By identifying hypocalcific areas and using a miniature air abrasion tip to clean out those pits, fissures and grooves, removes the initial decay. The area is then sealed with glass ionomer. The end result is that those teeth tend to not decay in the future
Tooth decay is primarily driven by the symbiotic relationship between bacteria and acidity, which creates a pathogenic bioflora in your mouth. If you’re continually lowering the pH in your mouth, you start losing calcium, which is necessary for strong healthy teeth. Calcium deficiency leads to porosity in the teeth, which allows plaque that has turned pathogenic to attack the tooth more thoroughly
The three main components of minimally invasive dentistry comprises dietary prevention (creating a healthy bioflora in your mouth and body), dental prophylaxis (baking soda; oil pulling), and minimally invasive restorations, which will help prevent ever needing more invasive procedures like root canals, crowns, bridges and implants
It’s very difficult to achieve high-level physical health if your dental health isn’t effectively addressed. I’ve been involved with alternatives to regular dentistry for quite some time. I think many people fail to appreciate how important dentistry is to our total health.
Most tend to separate these two components, but both need to be considered as working in tandem.
Contrary to conventional dentistry, minimally invasive dentistry, like biological dentistry, is not about “drilling and filling;” creating an endless loop of revisits and retreating the same tooth again and again.
Instead, by using dietary prevention to create a healthy cavity-fighting bioflora in your mouth; dental prophylaxis such as brushing and irrigating with baking soda, and oil pulling; combined with minimally invasive restorations starting as early as possible, you can prevent about 80 percent of future dental problems.
Minimally Invasive Dentistry — A Valuable Aspect of Biological Dentistry
Dr. Tim Rainey is a true pioneer in biological dentistry, and is a big proponent of and leader in what’s termed “minimally invasive dentistry.”
“Basically, I knew that the way that we were preparing teeth back then was dead wrong; that you couldn’t go in and justify destroying massive amounts of tooth structure,” Dr. Rainey says. “...We need to be much more conservative.”
After dental school, the training and dogma of which he rebelled against, he began investigating alternatives to the standard “drill and fill” dogma. After reading a hallmark article by a Japanese researcher back in 1977, he began to put everything together:
How tooth decay actually occurs, what the tooth looks like on the inside, how the decay looks like, and finally, what could be done to minimize the damage being done to the tooth while trying to restore it.
“It took me about until 1983 to really understand what was really going on within the teeth. I’m talking several years there. I’m talking about dissecting hundreds, if not thousands, of teeth...
I realized two things. Number one, we did not even have a rudimentary understanding of the decay process in the teeth. Number two, everything that we’ve been taught about tooth structure and anatomy was just dead wrong.
By 1985, I had actually published the article on how to address 80 percent of all decay, which is in the chewing surface of the back teeth. That’s where most decay starts. We had a rather crude rudimentary way of going in and treating these teeth,” he says.
Minimally Invasive Restorations Can Last a Lifetime
The first patient he used his newly devised procedure on was the daughter of one of his class mates from dental school. The girl received these minimally invasive restorations in 1983 or ’84. Today, she is Dr. Rainey’s lead hygienist, and those restorations are still there, and those teeth have never decayed or broken down.
This is in stark contrast to what happens with most conventional fillings, especially if the dentist uses amalgam (about half of which is mercury, despite being deceptively referred to as “silver filling”). When you drill into the tooth with a high speed drill, and then stuff amalgam or other incompatible material in there, you can be almost certain that you will need additional work on that tooth down the road as the tooth begins to crack and the tooth structure fails.
“The average is somewhere around 14 to 15 years before the breakdown of the first restoration in the tooth and then somewhere around eight years for the second restoration,” Dr. Rainey says.
“Then you’re into the tooth has fractured, you start getting decay in between the teeth. That’s the root. That will destruct your teeth. Decay starts breaking down the teeth, and then you start getting into crowns and root canals. Here you have a whole series of manmade iatrogenic (dentistry-caused) 'disasters,' which fuels the future generations of dentists. It also fuels 80 percent of what all dental practice is about, that is repairing previous dentistry.”
By using early diagnosis and early intervention with minimally invasive dentistry, Dr. Rainey and other dentists trained in his techniques have eliminated 80 percent of future dentistry on the vast majority of their patients who are privileged to grow up in a practice such as theirs. As someone who has struggled with my own dental health, this sounds absolutely extraordinary. That equates to phenomenal savings in terms of money, pain, and emotional anguish, if you happen to be afraid of the dentist chair.
“Remember, there are several other people throughout the world who are now doing this. It has a very profound effect. We’re talking about something that the evidence of information has been out there approaching 30 years – three decades. Dental patients found out about it like they did in alternative medicine... They seek me out from all over. We have patients coming in from Canada. We haven’t even counted the number of states; I would say something around 30 states,” Dr. Rainey says.
“Of course, there are easier and simpler ways to do dentistry! You start these kids off very early. You eliminate the decay... and guess what? They don’t have much decay later on. We call it bulletproofing the teeth; where we go in, identify the defective pit, fissures, and grooves in the teeth, and clean those out.
There are several different types of materials that we can use. My preference is for glass ionomer cement... Not only do those chewing surfaces on those teeth never decay, but the interproximal areas are gaining some degree of protection because you’re removing the nidus of the infection, which is the bacteria within the teeth that are causing decay. You don’t have that bolus of xbowel bioactivity there to lead off into decay.”
Understanding Tooth Structure
The tooth is covered with a layer of lipoprotein, laden with calcium phosphate that comes and goes — eating and drinking, especially acidic foodstuffs and beverages, remove it, while saliva puts it back. Beneath that is an extremely hard and dense layer of enamel, which is about 0.2 millimeters, or 200-400 microns thick. Inside of that hard layer, the tooth structure becomes much softer. These parts all form the structural integrity of the tooth.
When you bite down on the tooth, the stress is transferred through the entire tooth down into the root, which deforms slightly. This is part of its natural stress-relieving mechanism. During the formation of the tooth can form little pits, fissures and grooves that may be hypocalcific — a defect that causes the enamel to be softer than normal and susceptible to decay.
“In the ideal world, you do not have decay start down in these pits and fissures, because you have a natural oil-based organic plug that seals that tooth,” Dr. Rainey explains. “However, in the real world what happens is as these teeth are finalizing development, you’ll get what we call 'hypocalcified enamel.' Now, if you put acid in that area, then you start getting a calcium deficit. That’s the beginning of decay in teeth.”
He identifies those areas, and using a miniature air abrasion tip that is very precise and focused, cleans out those pits, fissures and grooves. This removes the initial decay. Then he seals it with glass ionomer. The end result is that those teeth tend to not decay in the future.
Why Decay Occurs
Tooth decay is primarily driven by the symbiotic relationship between bacteria and acidity, which creates a pathogenic bioflora in your mouth. If you’re continually lowering the pH in your mouth, you start losing calcium, which is necessary for strong healthy teeth. Calcium deficiency leads to porosity in the teeth, which allows plaque that has turned pathogenic to attack the tooth more thoroughly. Once certain types of bacteria are able to penetrate the enamel, they put out enzymes that begin to break down the collagen of the inner structure of the tooth.
“That’s where you get cavitation, which is the loss of tooth structure to the point where you have a hole in that tooth,” Dr. Rainey explains.
One of the most important things Dr. Rainey instructs his patients to do is to use nothing but baking soda on their teeth at night.
“The pathogenic bacteria must have an acidic environment. Then you have the bacteria – the probiotic bacteria – that live in a neutral environment. You’re going to have X number of bacteria regardless of what you do. So, why not promote the non-pathogenic bacteria by neutralizing the acidity with baking soda at night, which has profound effects on the overall oral health of the individual?” Dr. Rainey says.
You can brush with it, use it as a mouth rinse, and even dissolve a little in the water you use in your WaterPik or HydroFloss.
To brush: Wet your toothbrush and dip it into the baking soda. Brush as usual. Your teeth should feel smooth when finished
To rinse: About a teaspoon in a small glass of water is sufficient. Just swish it around in your mouth and spit out
To floss: Dissolve a small amount of baking soda in water and fill your irrigation instrument. Make sure not to let it dry inside your water pik as it will cause buildup and eventually render the tool useless. So, always keep water in your irrigation tool, and instead of storing it standing up, store it upside-down in a glass of baking soda and water, as the baking soda will prevent harmful bacteria from proliferating. Once a week, drain it all out and rinse it thoroughly with water
In the mornings, you could use toothpaste containing calcium and phosphate salts, or even hydroxyapatite, which can help remineralize your teeth.
“Since the Pro-Enamel [toothpaste], I’ve believed that almost all of the toothpastes out there now have calcium of some form in them. The magic is the calcium phosphate. You want those present, so they can precipitate back into the teeth as amorphous hydroxyapatite... You’re rebuilding an amorphous crystal of enamel, because of all the interactions of the enzymes, calcium, phosphate, and everything else that goes on within your mouth.
Where you really mess this up is by getting it too acidic. That’s where the baking soda comes in.
We use it in our cancer patients, where they have a real deficit of calcium and phosphate in their saliva – people who have problems. The brand name of it, as a prescription item, is called Caphoso®. You actually get it in a calcium solution, a phosphate salt solution. You mix those together, and then you rinse with them.” That;s the building block of enamel, and what it takes to remineralize enamel.
Promote Beneficial Oral Bacteria with Fermented Foods
To promote a beneficial oral bioflora he also recommends taking Evora tablets while you’re trying to change the bacterial balance in your mouth. Eating fermented foods, such as cultured yoghurt made from raw organic milk (AVOID store-bought yoghurts as they are worthless in terms of probiotics. Most are loaded with sugars and other detrimental ingredients, and all of them are pasteurized), or fermented vegetables, which you can easily and inexpensively make at home.
According to Dr. Rainey, any type of probiotics will naturally help get rid of harmful Strep mutans. This includes Lactobacillus and bacteria that are bioactive in high concentrations of lactic acid.
To Pull or Not to Pull...
Another interesting technique that can help improve your oral health is oil pulling. The technique is thousands of years old, and it’s an ancient Ayurvedic Indian tradition. To perform it, you vigorously swish an oil in your mouth, “pulling” it between your teeth for 20-30 minutes. You can use a number of oils for this, but sesame, sunflower or coconut oil are commonly used. Dr. Rainey is also working extensively with ozonated oils.
Oil pulling is thought to remove pathogenic bacteria, improve oral hygiene, and help detoxify your system. Dr. Rainey agrees the technique can be beneficial. A drawback is that it is time consuming. You need to go at it for quite some time in order to get results. It’s not like swishing with mouthwash for 30 seconds. Ideally, you’ll want to reach close to 30 minutes.
The Three Main Components of Minimally Invasive Dentistry
Contrary to conventional dentistry, minimally invasive dentistry, like biological dentistry, is not about “drilling and filling;” creating an endless loop of revisits and fixing old dental work until there’s nothing left to work with. It comprises three main components:
Dietary prevention (creating a healthy bioflora in your mouth and body)
Dental prophylaxis (baking soda; oil pulling)
Minimally invasive restorations
As for dental prophylaxis, the simplest thing is just adding baking soda to your nightly oral hygiene. Ideally, add it to your dental irrigator, and brush with it. You can also use oil pulling in conjunction with this. They’re not mutually exclusive. You can combine the two, because it will provide a sort of organic matrix plug, which helps combat dental decay. And ultimately, you want to change the bioflora in your mouth, which is done through your diet. Fermented foods are key. A high-quality probiotic supplement may suffice if you really cannot stand fermented foods. I urge you to at least try some fermented veggies though, as they are, for most people, the most palatable. I think they’re delicious!
The next step, (where, ideally, you’d start your kids off) would be to see a dentist trained in minimally invasive dentistry. Kids treated with the NovaMin or baking soda air abrasion process to clean the pits and fissures and then seal them with glass ionomer, receive significant protection against future decay.
How to Find a Biological and Minimally Invasive Dentist
At present, there are a number of dentists trained in Dr. Rainey’s techniques. Several of them are in California and Florida. There’s also one in Beirut, Lebanon, and in New Zealand. To locate a qualified dentist, you can contact Dr. Rainey’s office at www.jtimrainey.com, or call 361-526-4695.
If there’s no minimally invasive dentistry practice in your area, or within reasonable travel distance, the following links can help you to find a mercury-free, biological dentist. These may not be trained in Dr. Rainey’s minimally invasive dentistry technique, but are trained to treat your oral and physical health as a cohesive whole. If you’re considering removing amalgam, you also need to make sure it’s done by biological dentist that’s been properly trained to do it safely, as removing amalgam can lead to severe and acute mercury poisoning:
Consumers for Dental Choice
International Academy of Biological Dentistry & Medicine (IABDM)
Dental Amalgam Mercury Solutions (DAMS). E-mail them at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 651-644-4572 for an information packet
Huggins Applied Healing. You’ll need to fill out a form and they will connect with you to find a suitable dentist in your area
Holistic Dental Association
International Association of Mercury Safe Dentists
Fact: Washing your hands with soap and water is a great way to prevent the spread of infectious disease. Doctors and nurses discovered this decades ago when they found that by simply washing their hands in between patients, the incidence of infections in hospitals was greatly reduced.
Fiction: Using antibacterial soaps, hand sanitizers and common household cleaners to kill germs is a good way to protect yourself and your family from illnesses such as the flu and common cold.
In what I consider one of the biggest marketing coups of the last decade, antibacterial products have become ubiquitous in our society and have spread faster than the germs they supposedly protect us from. These days, antibacterial dispensers are located in office buildings, schools, restaurants, airports — you name it. But in reality, they may do more harm than good.
Our society has been brainwashed into believing that the more sterile we are able to make things, the better. This could not be farther from the truth. And unfortunately, we've become a nation of germophobes, afraid to touch innocuous objects and afraid to touch each other. Worse yet, we're indoctrinating our children into thinking the same thing — slathering them with antibacterial everything, and making them afraid to touch anything "dirty." It would be one thing if this behavior was making us healthier — but guess what — it's not!
Certainly, basic sanitation practices are essential to preventing the spread of infectious disease, but that's where it ends.
According to a University of Michigan study, use of soaps containing triclosan, the active ingredient in most antibacterial products, are no more effective than plain soap at preventing infectious illness symptoms or reducing bacteria on the hands. Triclosan is a known toxin that has been linked to impaired muscle function and heart problems. The Michigan reseachers concluded that using antibacterial products can actually make you sicker, by creating bacteria resistant germs and by rendering antibiotics less effective. The results of this study don't surprise me at all.
Mainstream medicine is founded on a faulty concept known as the "germ theory of disease," which supposes that microorganisms (germs) are the cause of all infectious disease. But there is a gaping hole in this theory. The germ theory makes the assumption that a healthy human body is completely sterile, or germ-free. But we now know that a healthy human body is actually brimming with microorganisms, which are absolutely essential to digestion, nutrient assimilation and immune function. So to try to quarantine yourself from germs that your body has adapted to and may even depend upon makes no sense.
Well enough is enough. We don't need to spend the extra money and expose ourselves to toxins to "protect" ourselves. Of course, advertisers will continue to promote antibacterial products as a godsend for health and safety, but that doesn't mean you have to listen.
By all means, wash your hands frequently. But instead of using antibacterial hand soap, use a natural cleanser like castile soap. Instead of using toxic household cleaning products, opt for any of the many eco-friendly brands out there. And perhaps most importantly, learn how to boost your immune system naturally with fermented foods and probiotics, vitamin D, mushrooms and other healing foods and supplements — so you can fight off the bad germs without killing off the good ones!
Eating Smart When Dining Out -
02-18-2013, 08:18 PM
Eating Smart When Dining Out
February 04, 2013
By Dr. Mercola
Do you regard eating out as a bit of a respite from your daily life? A time to let someone else do the cooking, and perhaps treat yourself to something more indulgent that you don’t normally eat?
Restaurant chains are on to this sentiment, and they’ve responded by offering customers increasingly decadent dishes that are simply not good for your health. I’m talking about:
A milk shake that has a slice of apple pie blended in (Johnny Rockets)
Country fried steak served with pancakes, potatoes, gravy and syrup (nearly a days’ worth of calories in one meal, thanks to IHOP)
A massive portion of macaroni and cheese that has two days’ worth of sodium (Uno Chicago Grill)
A slice of chocolate cake that weighs nearly one pound and contains 26 teaspoons of added sugar (Maggiano’s Little Italy)1… and the list goes on and on
Media reports often focus on the calorie content of such massive meals, along with the saturated fat and sodium. Clearly, overeating to this extent can easily pack on the pounds, especially if your eating out is not just a “treat” but more of a daily routine … But there’s more to these meals than simply extra calories, fat and salt …
Do You Know Where Most Restaurant Food Comes From?
Eating the food at nearly every fast food chain (except maybe Chipotle and a few other restaurants committed to sustainable, organic suppliers) and even most sit-down restaurants means you are likely consuming feedlot animal meat – flesh that comes from animals raised in crowded unsanitary conditions, fed massive doses of antibiotics and unnatural "frankenfeed" full of genetically modified (GM) crops and some other truly disturbing ingredients.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the decidedly unhealthy practices that go on at a CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation).
The problem begins at the massive CAFOs where the beef, chicken or pigs are fed genetically modified corn and soybeans and excessive grains in general (which are not the natural diet of these animals), along with the following almost unbelievable feed ingredients:
Plastics -- for the many animals whose digestive systems need roughage to pass food through them, the CAFOs now use plastic pellets.
Meat from members of the same species -- CAFOs turn farm animals into cannibals. Scientific research has linked this practice to the spread of both mad cow disease and avian bird flu.
Manure and animal feces-- this can include cattle manure, swine waste, and poultry waste. It also includes wood, sand, rocks, dirt, sawdust and other non-food substances.
Roxarsone -- more commonly known as arsenic, which until recently was put into chicken and pig feed to control intestinal parasites that might cause them to eat less and grow slower. Chicken litter (containing the arsenic that passes through the birds) is also collected from chicken CAFOs and fed to feedlot cattle, for some apparent reason that defies common sense.
Animal byproducts -- categorized as "animal protein products," this includes rendered feathers, hair, skin, hooves, blood, internal organs, intestines, beaks and bones, dead horses, euthanized cats and dogs, and road kill.
Chemical-Laden Food is the Norm, Not the Exception
A burger or a chicken sandwich from a fast-food restaurant is not equal, nutritionally, to the equivalent you would make at home … nearly always the fast-food version will contain a staggering variety of additives, flavoring, coloring, and other chemicals that give it that “fast-food” flavor …For instance, only about half of a Chicken McNugget is actual chicken. The rest is a mix of corn-derived fillers and additives (most likely genetically modified), along with a slew of synthetic chemicals, including:
Dimethyl polysiloxane, a type of silicone with anti-foaming properties used in cosmetics and a variety of other goods like Silly Putty
Tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), a petroleum-based product with antioxidant properties
You probably expect this from McDonald’s, but toxic unknowns like high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives and MSG can lurk in food from even the finest of restaurants. Many restaurants actually buy processed frozen foods that are simply heated or cooked in the microwave, and then passed off as "home cooked." This is something you'd expect from a cafeteria or fast-food joint, but it occurs even at five-star eateries.
Other tricks of the restaurant trade not specifically mentioned above include passing off inexpensive fish such as pollock as something more expensive, like cod. Or, Maryland-style crab cakes made from crab that came from Vietnam. Most fish in restaurants is also farm-raised, which you definitely want to avoid.
Due to all of the added sugars and other ingredients, studies have shown that eating fast food just twice a week can make you gain 10 pounds, but even more shocking it DOUBLES your risk of developing insulin resistance.2 Insulin resistance, as I've discussed on many occasions, is one of THE primary driving factors behind many chronic diseases, including diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Ask Questions BEFORE You Go …
Many restaurants have their menus online and it can be helpful to identify what you want to eat before you go to the restaurant. If possible, choose a restaurant known for their high-quality standards, such as buying produce locally and in season, or serving raw and/or organic foods.
Ideally, you'd want to opt for wholly organic- or raw food restaurants, but they can be few and far in between. At the other end of the spectrum are fast-food chains, which should be avoided at all costs.
For restaurants that fall somewhere in the middle, call ahead and speak to a manager, chef or owner ahead of time. Most servers are typically clueless about where the food they are serving actually comes from, or what’s in it, which is why calling ahead is so important. If you wait until you’re already there, the server will likely head into the kitchen to get your questions answered, but you’ll have no way of truly verifying their responses. Some questions to ask ahead of time would include:
Where does the bulk of their food come from (A CAFO? A food wholesaler? An organic farm?)
Is the beef grass-fed?
Do they use organically raised, free-range chicken?
Is the fish wild-caught?
Are organic ingredients available?
Are full ingredients lists for menu items available?
Do they use MSG?
Does the sauce (or any other condiment) contain high fructose corn syrup?
Do they use genetically modified (GM) ingredients? (Remember, typically anything containing corn, soy, canola, or any of their derivatives are GM varieties UNLESS certified organic)
More Tips for Eating Out at a Restaurant
I urge you to take your health to the next level and seek out the restaurants in your area that are making a commitment to using seasonal, sustainable ingredients and preparing meals in a healthy way. These restaurants are out there, and the more people who support them the more they will continue to grow. Calling ahead and asking questions is even an excellent way to open up a discussion about the need for a truly high-quality restaurant in your area. If your goal is simply to avoid overeating or taking in excess calories, you can use some of these common tips:
Ask your server to put half of your meal in a to-go box before they bring it to the table
Split an entrée with a friend
Avoid entrees described as “crispy,” “breaded,” “fried,” or “smothered” and opt for those that are steamed instead
Order first so you’re not influenced by your dining companions’ choices
Tailor your meal how you want it, such as swapping a potato side for a veggie or asking for your fish to be steamed instead of fried
Many local businesses would be glad to hear about your concerns over food quality and your desires for a higher standard, and will work with you to come up with a solution – especially if they get calls like this often …
Ideally Prepare Most of Your Meals at Home
I have long stated that if you want to be optimally healthy, you, a family member or someone you hire needs to take the time to prepare your meals from scratch. This way, you can be sure you're getting unprocessed, high-quality food made with ingredients you trust.
I am also fond of saying that if you fail to plan you are planning to fail, so each night before bed, plan what you're going to eat the following day so you can avoid having to rely on purchasing unhealthy restaurant meals. Even better, make a weekly meal plan each weekend, and buy all the ingredients you need for that week's meals ahead of time so you’re prepared.