Where's the Beef?

Sorry, I just couldn’t resist. The United States Department of Agriculture has issued a public health alert for about 14,800 pounds of missing ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli. Reuters reports:
The alert came after a trailer containing the ground beef was reported stolen by Texas American Food Service Corporation, the USDA said in a statement.

The firm, based in Fort Worth, Texas, does business as American Fresh Foods. A company spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.

Symptoms of E. coli 0157:H7 illness, the strain associated with the alert, include potentially severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and dehydration. Children, the elderly and people with poor immune systems are most vulnerable.
You know, over the past couple of years E. coli has gotten a lot of press. It’s about time we learn more about it, especially since it apparently runs wild in our food supply. Here are some highlights—or should I say lowlights—from Wikipedia. Take a look:
Escherichia coli (pronounced E. coli), is a bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded animals. Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some, such as serotype O157:H7, can cause serious food poisoning in humans, and are occasionally responsible for costly product recalls…

…E. coli normally colonizes an infant's GI tract within 40 hours of birth, arriving with food or water or the individuals handling the child. In the bowel, it adheres to the mucus of the large intestine. Wild-type E. coli has no growth factor requirements; it can synthesize all the components of its cell from glucose. It is the primary facultative organism of the human GI tract. As long as these bacteria do not acquire genetic elements encoding for virulence factors, they remain benign commensals…

…Certain strains of E. coli, such as O157:H7, O121 and O104:H21, are toxigenic (some produce a toxin very similar to that seen in dysentery). They can cause food poisoning usually associated with eating unwashed vegetables and contaminated meat (contaminated during or shortly after slaughter or during storage or display). O157:H7 is further notorious for causing serious, even life threatening complications like Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). The usual countermeasure is cooking suspect meat until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (70 °C), or is "well done"; the alternative of careful inspection of slaughtering and butchering methods (to make sure that the animal's colon is removed and not punctured) has apparently not been systematically tried. This particular strain is linked to the 2006 United States E. coli outbreak of fresh spinach.
In keeping with today’s science lesson, here are a couple pictures of the E. coli bacteria. Enjoy, well, not really. Just have a look:

I see, it’s all so clear now, E. coli, the classic love-hate relationship.

Healthy or Costly?

The gripe that healthy food is more expensive than unhealthy food is debatable, but usually, the proof is found in the pudding. So, get a load of this chart from the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, via The Los Angeles Times:
Personally, I think it’s easy to live within your means and eat healthfully. The problem is $0.99 snack cakes and fast-food value menus are far more accessible and have million-dollar marketing campaigns behind them. What do you think?

We Should All Cut the Salt...

Reminds me of that Bob Dylan song, “Everybody must get…” You know how it goes, but seriously, Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D. thinks we all should cut back on the salt. Jill Daly of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:
The hidden store of salt lies in processed foods, says Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., nutritionist and director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Weight Management Center.

That's where most people double their recommended daily dose of 2,300 to 2,500 milligrams of salt.

"Ten percent comes from table salt; 75 percent comes from processed foods, like ketchup, soy sauce," she says, adding that by putting soy sauce on sushi, a healthy dish becomes a hazard.

She says a quick reading of a product's label reveals the high salt content of condiments, canned soups, rice and noodle mixes, macaroni and cheese, frozen foods, cereals, breads and deli meats.

Among those urging FDA action to reduce excess salt in food at a recent hearing in Washington, D.C., was the American Medical Association.

"The need for immediate action is clear," said Dr. Stephen Havas, AMA vice president for science, quality and public health. "The deaths attributed to excess salt consumption represent a huge toll -- the equivalent of a jumbo jet with more than 400 passengers crashing every day of the year, year after year."
Great quote by Dr. Havas. Now, I’ve talked about it before, but, it always bears repeating. Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of salt, and, he also thinks we should do our best to avoid it. Here’s a conglomeration of his comments on salt. Enjoy:
Salt addiction has developed throughout civilization in the last 5000 years, creating a worldwide epidemic of high blood pressure and resultant strokes. Besides fatigue, cravings, and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, salt use gradually deadens your taste1…

…High salt intake, and resultant high blood pressure later in life, does not merely increase the risk and incidence of stroke. It also can lead to kidney failure, congestive heart failure, and heart attack. Salt consumption is linked to both stomach cancer and hypertension.2 For optimal health, I recommend that no salt at all be added to any food…

…High salt intake also contributes to flushing your bone mass down the toilet bowl. Excessive stimulation of bone turnover also causes an increase in bone breakdown and remodeling, which can lead to osteoarthritis and calcium deposits in other tissues. The presence of this bone material in the urinary tract also lays the foundation for calcium-based kidney stones.
Salt content, is a major reason why I hardly eat any processed or canned foods—Yuck!
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Alcohol, Calories, Bellies

The alcohol-Eat to Live conundrum. It’s a puzzling one. As Eat to Livers we want to eat and live healthfully, but, how does booze fit into the equation? Does it even? Dr. Fuhrman discusses alcohol in his book Eat to Live. Here’s a snippet:
It is much wiser to avoid the detrimental effects of alcohol completely and protect yourself from heart disease with nutritional excellence. For example, even moderate alcohol consumption is linked to higher rates of breast cancer and to occurrence of atrial fibrillation.1 Avoid alcohol and eat healthfully if possible, but if that one drink a day will make you stay with this plan much more successfully, then have it.
Reasonable advice—works for me. I don’t drink a lot, but I do drink. When you’re young and single, not drinking can become a social handicap. Now, the reason why I don’t drink very often is because I’m firmly aware of the adverse health effects. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Dietary Factors That Induce Calcium Loss in the Urine2
animal protein
refined sugar
aluminum-containing antacids
drugs such as antibiotics, steroids, thyroid hormone
vitamin A supplements
15 Common Migraine Triggers
dairy and cheese
salted or pickled foods
fermented foods
smoked meats
monosodium glutamate
nuts food
hydrolyzed protein
baked goods
For most people, the worst side effect of booze is consuming all those excess calories and in Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman explains, they go right to your gut. Check it out:
Moderate drinking has been associated with a lower incidence of coronary heart disease in more than forty prospective studies. This only applies to moderate drinking—defined as one drink or less per day for women, and two drinks or less for men. More than this is associated with increased fat around the waist and other potential problems.3 Alcohol consumption also leads to mild withdrawal sensations the next day that are commonly mistaken for hunger. One glass of wine per day is likely insignificant, but I advise against higher levels of alcohol consumption.
Now, it’s always cool when Dr. Fuhrman’s points get echoed somewhere else. Like this report for example. Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times investigates the claim, Calories From Alcohol Go to Your Midsection. Take a look:
In general, drinking causes weight gain primarily because alcohol slows the body’s ability to burn fat for energy, not to mention that it increases appetite. The effects of alcohol on the midsection are complicated, but studies show pretty clearly that beer, wine and spirits have a greater effect on belly fat in adults who drink sporadically than in people who drink regularly but in small amounts.

In one study published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2003, a group of scientists followed more than 2,300 drinkers and nondrinkers and found — after controlling for a number of variables — that those who averaged a single drink per day had the lowest levels of abdominal fat. Those who drank occasionally but had four or more drinks in one sitting had the greatest levels. Several studies have shown similar results.
The investigation concludes that excessive drinking is the likely to cause unsightly belly fat. So, with all this being said, next time your out with friends and one of them offers to buy you a drink, at least you’ve got the facts. Personally, I’ll take a gin martini on the rocks!
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Soda Surcharge, Will it Work?

San Francisco’s mayor wants to charge stores a fee for selling soft drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. Jesse McKinley of The New York Times reports:
In a move he says is necessary to trim the city’s waistline, the decidedly slim mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, has proposed charging big stores a fee when they sell sugar-sweet soda.

The proposal, which was reported by The San Francisco Chronicle on Monday, would put an as yet-to-be-defined surcharge on all drinks with high-fructose corn syrup, which puts the sweet pop in most nondiet sodas and many other food products. The syrup also puts on the pounds, something city officials say strains the health care system…

…Mr. Keane said that if Mr. Newsom really wanted to fight the fat, he would take on computer and video game companies, which Kevin Keane, a senior vice president of the American Beverage Association, said lured children inside when they should “be outside burning calories.”

Mr. Newsom, a Diet Coke man who exercises regularly, already earned the ire of beverage companies with a ban this year on bottled water at City Hall, where staff members now drink filtered and cooled tap water. The soda proposal will be introduced to the Board of Supervisors early next year, Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for the mayor, said, and would affect only large retailers, not mom-and-pop stores. As for levies on other child-friendly delicacies, Mr. Ballard added, “The mayor has no intention of imposing a fee on pizza.”
Let’s start with the easy issue first. You don’t have to be a medical expert to know high-fructose corny syrup (HFCS) is a scourge. Dr. Fuhrman explains in Disease-Proof Your Child:
Obesity rates have risen in tandem with soda consumption in the United States, and in the last twenty years the consumption of soft drinks by teenagers had doubled.1 Twelve to nineteen-year-old boys consume thirty-four teaspoons of sugar a day in their diet, and about half of that comes from soft drinks. Children start drinking soft drinks at a very young age, and advertisements and promotions by the soft drink manufacturers are aggressively marketed to the young.
The claim that obesity numbers parallel the rate of soft drink-consumption certainly bolsters Mayor Newsom’s proposal. With that being said, this chart is a must read:

Source: Data from the National Soft Drink Association, Beverage World,
published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (www.cspinet.org).

Now, the heart of the matter is will this additional fee dissuade customers from buying soft drinks; logic would tell you that if retailers are paying a surcharge they will no doubt pass the cost onto consumers—sounds similar to cigarette taxes. Check this out from Tobacco Free Kids:
Studies, and experience in state after state, show that higher cigarette taxes are one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking among both youth and adults. Every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes will reduce youth smoking by about seven percent and overall cigarette consumption by about four percent.
We all know the proof is in the pudding. Feast your eyes on this chart. It’s certainly in the same vein as the obesity-soda consumption chart above. Take a look:

This surcharge doesn’t sound like an unfair proposition, especially when you apply the cigarette-tax-logic, which most people seem to agree with. Now, Water for Life USA Blog provides other reasons why soda is bad, here’s three:
pH of Soda = pH of Vinegar
For one, soda, no matter who makes it, is the most acidic beverage you can buy, with a pH of about 2.5, about the same as vinegar. Why does that matter? Acid oxidizes whatever it comes in contact with. If you put soda or vinegar on metal, it will rust it quickly.

Drink Soda, Leach Calcium
If you drink soda, which also contains high levels of phosphorous, you will leach calcium from your bones. Dr. Michael Murray from the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine concluded, “It appears that increased soft drink consumption is a major factor that contributes to osteoporosis.” Furthermore, Dr. Elson Haas, author of The Detox Diet states, “Tooth loss, periodontal disease, and gingivitis can be problems, especially with a high phosphorus intake, particularly from soft drinks.”

Soda Will Dissolve your Tooth Enamel
Weak bones is just the beginning. According to Dr. James Howenstein. author of A Physician’s Guide to Natural Health Products That Work, the high sugar content of soda is awful. He states, “”In an interesting experiment the sugar from one soft drink was able to damage the white blood cells’ ability to ingest and kill bacteria for seven hours.” Dr. Marion Nestle from his book Food Politics states, “Sugar and acid in soft drinks so easily dissolve tooth enamel.”
And just like soda, cigarettes also pose dangers outside of the most salient, that being cancer. About.com breaks down a list of other smoking hazards. A few of note:
  • Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin in red blood cells, preventing affected cells from carrying a full load of oxygen.
  • The carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene binds to cells in the airways and major organs of smokers.
  • The body produces antioxidants to help repair damaged cells.
  • Smokers have lower levels of antioxidants in their blood than do nonsmokers.
Clearly, it’s pretty hard to classify soda as less harmless than cigarettes. So, if a tax helps reduce the number of smokers, then why not impose a penalty fee on soft drinks. All indications seem to favor its success. And after all, the cigarette companies are still making millions.
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Diet and Acne...Uh Duh!

In the spring ParentDish blogged about research suggesting that milk consumption can actually make teenage acne worse. Here’s a bit of the post:
According to the research, teens who drank a pint of milk or more a day were nearly 50% more likely to develop pimples that those who rarely or never drink milk. Analysis of over 47,000 teenage diets revealed that skim milk drinkers were at most risk for acne (raising the risk by 44%), followed by whole milk drinkers who were 12% more likely to develop the unsightly stuff.
For more, get check out this excerpt from The Daily Mail. It broke the story in May. Take a look:
The US researchers looked at the teenage diet of more than 47,000 women and then compared dairy product intake with cases of acne.

Analysis of the results revealed a clear link between milk and skin problems.

Worst off were those who regularly drank skimmed milk, with two half-pint glasses a day raising the risk of the condition by 44 per cent.

Those who drank a pint of whole milk a day were 12 per cent more likely to develop acne, while semi-skimmed milk increased the risk by 16 per cent.

Overall, those who regularly drank milk were 22 per cent more likely to have suffered from acne than those who rarely or never drank the white stuff.
Clearly, diet has A LOT to do with the development and severity of acne, but, not everyone agrees. Get a load of this commenter to the ParentDish post:
I can't believe that we are still discussing dietary issues relating to acne. I thought that went out in the 60's. If the Harvard researcher doesn't believe in human consumption of milk that's his choice. We have teenagers allready drinking too much soda and other empty caffeine bererages. I had serious acne as a teenager my brother didn' tand we ate the same diet. Acne is genetically related as to the size of the pores and amount of oil secreted. Nurse in Dairyland.
Yeah—spell check much! That’s all we need is more talk about diet having nothing to do with disease, and, the genetics is all to blame. Very silly thinking! I now quote Dr. Fuhrman:
Patients are told that food has nothing to do with the disease they develop. Dermatologists insist that food has nothing to do with acne, rheumatologists insist that food has nothing to do with rheumatoid arthritis, and gastroenterologists insist that food has nothing to do with irritable and inflammatory bowel disease. Even cardiologists have been resistant to accept the accumulating evidence that atherosclerosis is entirely avoidable. Most of them still believe that coronary artery disease and angina require the invasive treatment of surgery and are not reversible with nutritional intervention. Most physicians have no experience in treating disease naturally with nutritional excellence, and some physicians who don’t know about it are convinced it is not possible.
Sounds a lot like the “Nurse in Dairyland.” Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, genetics are a factor, but, they’re not all that. He explains:
Both patients and physicians act as though everyone’s medical problems are genetic, or assumed to be the normal consequence of aging. They believe that chronic illness is just what we all must expect. Unfortunately, the medical-pharmaceutical business has encouraged people to believe that health problems are hereditary and that we need to swallow poisons to defeat our genes. This is almost always untrue. We all have genetic weaknesses, but those weaknesses never get a chance to express themselves until we abuse our body with many, many years of mistreatment. Never forget, 99 percent of your genes are programmed to keep you healthy. The problem is that we never let them do their job.

Most chronic illnesses have been earned from a lifetime of inferior nutrition, which eventually results in abnormal function or frequent discomfort. These illnesses are not beyond our control, they are primarily genetic, and they are not the normal consequence of aging. True, we all have our weakest links governed by genetics; but these links need never reveal themselves unless our health deteriorates. Superior health flows naturally as a result of superior nutrition. Our predisposition to certain illnesses can remain hidden.
Now, how about some current events? Followhealthlife reader Anet sent this article over. Dermatoligists contend diet has nothing to do with acne, but, research seems to prove otherwise. Cynthia Graber of The Boston Globe investigates:
Dr. William Danby, a dermatologist in Manchester, New Hampshire, and an assistant professor at Dartmouth Medical School, had been conducting his own investigations. From 1973 to 1980, he kept a detailed log of his patients' diets in a quest to understand the root of their acne. After compiling thousands of patient surveys, he noticed a trend: Those who consumed the most dairy also had the most severe acne. "I had some serious cases," he says. "One was a gal who was an identical twin. She and her sister were raised in Scotland. She took the creamy top of everything; she loved milk and had awful acne. Her sister would drink minimal amounts of the bottom and had no acne."

Without waiting for a peer-reviewed scientific study - though that, too, would come - Danby began counseling patients by the late 1970s to avoid all dairy for six months. Danby says it has worked for many of his patients: "Another guy was 61, the son of an ice cream dealer. He had acute acne all over his back at 61. When I told him he had to stop dairy, he nearly cried. A year later, he was free of fresh lesions…"

…SO WHY HAVE DOCTORS been taught for so long that there's no link? The anti-diet hypothesis that Treloar and Danby struggle against arose solely from two studies from the late 1960s and early 1970s. "I got the papers, and I reviewed them," says Treloar, "and they wouldn't be published today. They just don't meet the standards."

One compares real chocolate bars with fake ones and was conducted at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine with funding from the Chocolate Manufacturers Association. But that's comparing sugar with sugar, as Treloar says, and the fake chocolate bars were also loaded with trans fats known to trigger inflammation. The other study examines sugar in the diet of a small group, but, Treloar says, does not take into account what we know now about how glycemic loads from other foods such as white flour and potatoes affect insulin levels.

At the time, the studies seemed to debunk two popular theoretical culprits - chocolate and sugar - and so they stuck. By the 1970s, all dermatologists were being inculcated with the prevailing view that food has no relationship to acne. Since then, most research about food and acne other than the dairy studies has been conducted outside the United States.
Hey, I’m just a know-nothing blogger, but dairy farming is big business and we all know how big business influences government—right? I don’t know, just saying.

Listeria con Queso

It seems Peregrina Cheese Corporation might have a cheese contamination on their hands. EMaxHealth is on it:
Commissioner Patrick Hooker today warned consumers not to consume certain “Queso Fresco, Fresh Cheese,” made by Peregrina Cheese Corp., 342 Ten Eyck St., Brooklyn, New York 11206 due to possible Listeria contamination.

The product is contained in a foil wrapped, 14 oz. net weight package with a code of 3973. The consumer warning affects all packages with this code.

A routine sample of the cheese, taken by an inspector from the Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services on November 27, 2007, was subsequently tested by the Department’s Food Laboratory and discovered to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
I just threw up in my mouth a little—EGAD!

Cruciferous Mistletoe

Mistletoe might be a leafy green, but, it’s hardly health-promoting. Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times insists eating mistletoe is a bad idea. More from the report:
In studies of hundreds of cases of accidental ingestion over the years, there were no fatalities and only a handful of severe reactions. One study published in 1996 looked at 92 cases of mistletoe ingestion and found that only a small fraction of patients showed any symptoms. Eight of 10 people who consumed five or more berries had no symptoms, and 3 of the 11 people who consumed only leaves had upset stomachs…

…Mistletoe is not deadly. But it can be hazardous, so don’t eat it.
Since the holiday season is upon us, just how did all this mistletoe kissing stuff get started? This video answers the question:

Darn, and I was going to toss some mistletoe in my salad—fizzle sticks!

Allergies: Too Scared for School

School children from Vaughan, Ontario are too scared to go to school. Why? Eggs and peanuts. ParentDish is on it:
St. Stephen Catholic School had been screening students' lunches to make certain that none of these foods were brought to school, but stopped. The school board contends that it is impossible to check every child's lunchbox, but the parents of the allergic students say that the school had been doing just that, ever since it opened in 2002. They just want the school to reinstitute the checks it was doing previously.

"At school," said one eleven-year-old, "I'm afraid because I don't really know some of the food with eggs and milk look like, and most of the time the kids won't spot it because if it's like a candy or something, they'll just eat it." A complaint has been filed with the Ontario Human Rights Commission claiming discrimination against the kids.

Meat Ups Lung Cancer Risk

Alright, if you Eat to Live, you probably get this question a lot, “So, what are you vegan?” For me, the answer is no—I eat fish—because according to Dr. Fuhrman a near-vegetarian diet and a vegetarian diet are pretty similar. Here’s a quote:
Is a vegetarian diet healthier than a diet that contains a small amount of animal products? We do not know for sure. The preponderance of evidence suggests that either a near-vegetarian diet or a vegetarian diet is the best, especially for patients with heart disease. In the massive China-Oxford-Cornell Project, reduction in heart disease and cancer rates continued to be observed as participants reduced their animal-food consumption all the way down to 1.7 small servings per week. Under this level, there is not enough data available.
And, meat isn’t all bad. Vegans you might want to pay attention to this post, The Healthy Way to Integrate Meat Into Your Diet, it’ll help you figure out what supplements you need to ensure you’re probably nourished. Some points of interests:
  • Plant foods do not contain B12 (all vegans should take B12).
  • Some people have a need for more taurine, and may not get optimal amounts with a vegan diet. (Some vegans need to take a taurine supplement, or they could get a blood test to assure adequacy).
  • Some vegans may not produce ideal levels of DHA fat (from the conversion of short-chain omega-3 fats) found in such foods as flax and walnuts, if they don't eat fish. I advocate that vegans and people who do not eat fish should supplement with DHA or get a blood test to assure adequacy.
But the problem is—and Dr. Fuhrman would agree—people go berserk with the whole protein thing, especially animal protein. So, this begs the question, Do You Need Animal Protein? Dr. Fuhrman discusses it here:
Today, the average American consumes 100 to 120 grams of protein per day, mostly in the form of animal products. People who eat a completely vegetarian diet (vegan) have been found to consume sixty to eighty grams of protein a day, well above the minimum requirement.1 Vitamin B12, not protein, is the missing nutrient in a vegan diet.

In modern times, the plant foods we eat are well washed and contain little bacteria, bugs, or dirt, which would have supplied B12 in a more natural environment such as the jungle or forest. To assure optimal levels of B12 in our diet, we require some form of B12 supplementation when eating a diet with little or no animal products.
Now eating too much animal protein—or meat—can usher in a lot of serious health problems; most notably cancer and heart disease. Dr. Fuhrman briefly talks about the cancer-heart disease-meat connection here. Take a look:
Plasma apolioprotein B is positively associated with animal-protein intake and inversely associated (lowered) with vegetable-protein intake (e.g., legumes and greens). Apolioprotein B levels correlate strongly with coronary heart disease.2

A recent study from New Zealand that investigated heterocyclic amines in meat, fish, and chicken found the greatest contributor of HCAs to cancer risk was chicken.3
Dr. Fuhrman isn’t the only one talking about the link between various cancers and consumption of animal products. Get a load of this new study, apparently meat raises lung cancer risk. Maggie Fox of Reuters reports:
People who eat a lot of red meat and processed meats have a higher risk of several types of cancer, including lung cancer and colorectal cancer, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.

The work is the first big study to show a link between meat and lung cancer. It also shows that people who eat a lot of meat have a higher risk of liver and esophageal cancer and that men raise their risk of pancreatic cancer by eating red meat.

"A decrease in the consumption of red and processed meat could reduce the incidence of cancer at multiple sites," Dr. Amanda Cross and colleagues at the U.S. National Cancer Institute wrote in their report, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine.
Aren’t you happy you avoid red meat? In the end, I guess it’s important to remember, that while you don’t necessarily have to be vegan or vegetarian, according to Dr. Fuhrman, its best to limit how much meat you eat. One more quote:
Today the link between animal products and many different diseases is as strongly supporting in the scientific literature as the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. For example, subjects who ate meat, including poultry and fish, were found to be twice as likely to develop dementia (loss of intellectual function with aging) than their vegetarian counterparts in a carefully designed study.4 The discrepancy was further widened when past meat consumption was taken into account. The same diet, loaded with animal products, that causes heart disease and cancer also causes most every other disease prevalent in America including kidney stones, renal insufficiency and renal failure, osteoporosis, uterine fibroids, hypertension, appendicitis, diverticulosis, and thrombosis.5
So, when people ask you if you miss the proverbial standard American double-cheese burger, you shouldn’t have to fake a sigh and pretend that you do—I don’t!
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High Blood Sugar and Polyps

“White pasta, white rice and white bread are just like sugar,” Dr. Fuhrman explains, “These nutrient-deficient foods are absorbed too rapidly, which raises glucose, triglyceride, and insulin levels in your blood.” And high blood sugar is bad for polyp recurrence. Megan Rauscher of Reuters explains:
People found to have elevated insulin or blood sugar levels at the time of colonoscopy to remove polyps face an increased risk of developing recurrent polyps, including advanced polyps -- the type with a high likelihood of progressing to cancer, research shows.

What's concerning is that the levels of blood sugar that produce this increased risk are actually not very high; they are "right at the border" of what doctors would consider "pre-diabetes," Dr. Andrew Flood of University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, noted in comments to Reuters Health.

For this reason, doctors and patients may want to consider more aggressive management of blood sugar than they might otherwise among people who have already had one or more polyps removed, Flood said.
I hate to sound like a low-carb lemming, but, it sure seems like a good idea to avoid all that refined bread-like junk—egad!

Unhappy Report Card Meals

Whoa boy! This is real bad. A school in Seminole County, Florida promises free HAPPY MEALS for kids who get good grades—egad! ParentDish isn’t too happy about the ADVERTISING ON REPORT CARDS either. Take a look:
In Seminole County, Florida, McDonald's is doing their part to help ensure kids get good grades. They've agreed to give kids a free happy meal if they get good grades. It says so right there on the report card envelope. Wait, what? Yep, you heard that right. McDonald's has arranged to put their ad offering free food for good grades on the envelope the school district uses to send report cards home.

In exchange for putting their ad, complete with a picture of a Happy Meal, on the envelopes, McDonald's paid for the printing of the report cards. Sounds like a fair deal, eh? Actually, it sounds like a great deal for McDonald's -- reaching 27,000 kindergarten through fifth-grade students for next to nothing.
Rewarding little scholars with cancer-food? The parents in this school district should grab pitchforks and torches and storm the principles office. Dr. Fuhrman makes it clear. Food shouldn’t be a reward, especially bad food. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
Children are responsible for deciding how much they eat. If they are in an environmental of healthful foods they will have no problem regulating variety and timing. They can choose what they eat, when they eat, and if they will eat. Don’t use food as a reward or punishment. Don’t offer a treat because the child was good or ate well. Offer healthy treats as part of the normal well-balanced diet.
Buy the kid a toy, take him to the movies, or read her a story, but fast food! Shame on McDonalds for going along with this—oh, wait—its all about the Benjamins, not the little Bens and Bettys.

Bacteria Gets Popular

Foods with so-called “healthy” bacteria are all the rage lately. Dairy-based foods containing probioics are everywhere. Lindsey Tanner of the Associated Press reports:
These products contain probiotics, or "friendly" bacteria similar to those found in the human digestive system.

There are supplement pills, yogurts, smoothies, snack bars and cereals, even baby formula and chocolate. Sold by major names like Dannon and Kraft, they're spreading like germs on grocery store shelves and in supermarket dairy cases.

And they come with vague health claims of "regulating your digestive health" or "strengthening your body's defenses."

Experts say probiotics are generally safe, and in some cases might be helpful. More research is needed, and it's a hot new area, reflecting a growing understanding of the role that naturally occurring intestinal bacteria play in health. This week, the National Institutes of Health is hosting a conference where top scientists will discuss recent advances.
Personally, I don’t buy into the hype. Actually, this reminds me of a mind-boggling conversation I overheard at the gym. Okay boys and girls. Grab a seat, its story time. Here’s what happened.

I was at the gym a few months ago, running on the treadmill and next to me were these two portly guys about my age. I'm running along minding my own business, while they're let’s call it, “power-walking,” because at twenty-something jogging was evidently too taxing.

So I overhear them talking and the larger of the two mentions he's on the Atkins Diet, which isn't surprising because he's doughy and unhealthy looking. So naturally I'm ignoring most of the gibberish coming out of his mouth, but all of a sudden he tells his buddy, "Dude you got to eat butter. Butter is like so important. It’s like the only source of a certain bacteria that allows us to digest normally."

What! Ah yes, I can see the evolutionary chart now: ape, ape walking upright, caveman, modern man, modern man churning butter. Unbelievable! People’s general level of nuttiness and gullibility never ceases to amaze me.

When I told Dr. Fuhrman about this, he just sighed and said, “Nonsense.” I’m inclined to agree, how about you?

How Much Water Does It Take...

Hopefully this will help you make more informed food choices. Virtual Water shows us just how much water it takes to make many typical American foods. I found these two very startling. Take a look:

Another Milk in the Wall

Get a load of this. In one school there are actually lunch wardens patrolling the lunchroom to make sure all kids finish their milk. A concerned ParentDish is on it:
I had a parent ask me for some advice about a situation at her daughter's school. The girl, a kindergartener, eats lunch in the cafeteria most days, where she gets the same amount of food and milk as kids twice her age. While she likes milk and is used to drinking it at home, she doesn't always finish it.

The problem is, there are staff members who wander around the cafeteria shaking milk cartons and telling kids to finish their milk. The mother is concerned because she attributes, at least in part, her own weight issues to always being told as a child to finish everything on her plate. Naturally, she doesn't want her daughter to develop the same sorts of issues.
“We don’t need no thought control…Teachers leave them kids alone,” goes the classic Pink Floyd song. I don’t like the idea of a totalitarian cafeteria and the fact that it surrounds milk—double-yuck! As Dr. Fuhrman explains, milk is way overrated:
Milk and cheese are the foods Americans encourage their children to eat, believing them to be healthy foods. Fifty years of heavy advertising by an economically powerful industry has shaped the public's perception, illustrating the power of one-sided advertising, but the reality and true health effects on our children is a different story. Besides the link between high-saturated-fat foods (dairy fat) and cancer, there is a body of scientific literature linking the consumption of cow's milk to many other diseases.
How do you feel about these milk-pushers? I don't like it one bit!

Acrylamides...Still Bad

Honestly, at first I thought an acrylamide was some sort of prehistoric crustacean, but actually they are nasty compounds that develop from…wait…I’ll let Dr. Fuhrman explain:
Frying and overcooking leads to the highest levels of acrylamide, the highest of which are found in fried chips, such as potato chips and French fries. Acrylamide is one of the most potent cancer-causing agents. It is found in highest amounts in carbohydrates cooked at high temperatures. European governments permit 10 parts per million (ppb) of acrylamide in packaged foods, but U.S. standards are more lax. For example, Kellogg’s Rice Crispies contain 110 ppb and Pringles original crisps contain 1,480 ppb. Sugar-coated breakfast cereals have even higher levels than Rice Crispies.
Clearly avoiding them is a smart move, and, here’s more reason too. A Dutch study has determined that heavy cooking causes cancer. We Like It Raw is on it:
The Dutch study followed the 120,000 volunteers - 62,000 of whom were women - for 11 years after their initial questionnaire, during which time 327 of them developed endometrial (womb) cancer, and 300 developed ovarian cancer…

…Analysis of these findings suggested that those who ate 40 micrograms of acrylamide a day - equivalent to half a pack of biscuits, a portion of chips or a single packet of crisps - were twice as likely to fall prey to these cancers compared with those who ate much less acrylamide.
Now, before you freak out. Dr. Fuhrman reminds us that acrylamides are just one of many cancer-causing compounds we’re exposed to. He talks about it:
Much has been said and written about whether authorities should attribute thousands or millions of deaths to acrylamide consumption. However, this argument is almost irrelevant because toxic agents, nutritional excesses, and nutritional deficiencies act in concert to establish a cellular environment favorable for cancer development. Acylamide is not the only toxic substance we come in contact with. So, when we add it to all the others, the combination becomes a serious problem contributing to our nation’s dismal cancer statistics.

Corn Syrup vs. Table Sugar

Diet Blog is all over an interesting study comparing how table sugar and corn syrup affect appetite. Check it out:
They took 31 young men and gave them various sugar blends - such as High Fructose Corn Syrup, table sugar, and other glucose and fructose blends.

All sugar mixtures had the exact same number of calories.

One and a half hours later, the men were told to eat as much pizza as they wish.

The outcome: There was no difference in food intake or reported appetite whether they consumed the corn syrup or table sugar. These results are similar
Now, they’re both garbage foods, but, it’s interesting nonetheless. Here Dr. Fuhrman talks about why sugar and corn syrup are bad. Take a look:
Regrettably, our human desire for sweets is typically satisfied by the consumption of products containing sugar, such as candy bars and ice cream—not fresh fruit. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimates that the typical American now consumes an unbelievable 32 teaspoons of added sugar a day.1 That’s right, in one day…

…Summarizing fifteen epidemiological studies, researchers concluded that diets containing refined grains and refined sweets were consistently linked to stomach and colon cancer, and at least twelve breast cancer studies connect low-fiber diets with increased risks.2 Eating a diet that contains a significant quantity of sugar and refined flour does not just cause weight gain, it also leads to an earlier death…

…Refined sugars include table sugar (sucrose), milk sugar (lactose), honey, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, corn sweeteners, and fruit juice concentrates. Even the bottled and boxed fruit juices that many children drink are a poor food; with no significant nutrient density, they lead to obesity and disease2…

…High fructose corn syrup is not only fattening, but this inexpensive and ultra-concentrated sugar has no resemblance to real food made by nature. It is another experiment thrust upon our unsuspecting children with unknown dangerous consequences.
Yuck to both of them! I don’t touch either of them anymore. All part of my…to be continued…soon!
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Keeping Junk-Food Out School...Problems

Well, officials want to get junk-food and soft-drinks out of schools, but the road to doing so is not so clear. Kim Severson of The New York Times investigates:
They are optimistic about their chances because there is more public interest than ever in improving school food and because leaders in the food and beverage industry have had a hand in creating the new standards.

But that intense corporate involvement, along with exemptions that would allow sales of chocolate milk, sports drinks and diet soda, has caused a rift among food activists who usually find themselves on the same side of school food battles.

“This pits ideals about what children should eat at school against the political reality of large food corporations insisting their foods be available to children at all times,” said Marion Nestle, a professor at New York University and the author of two recent books on food politics and diet. “The activists want vending machines out of schools completely.” Dr. Nestle has taken no public stand on the measure.

The nutrition standards would allow only plain bottled water and eight-ounce servings of fruit juice or plain or flavored low-fat milk with up to 170 calories to be sold in elementary and middle schools. High school students could also buy diet soda or, in places like school gyms, sports drinks. Other drinks with as many as 66 calories per eight ounces could be sold in high schools, but that threshold would drop to 25 calories per eight-ounce serving in five years.
I’ve got a question—why the heck, is there any corporate involvement here! You can’t trust corporations to have kids’ best interests at heart. One word, McDonald’s.

Vita-Coffee for Kids?

Here’s the stupid item of the month. Let’s get kids hooked on folic acid-fortified coffee! ParentDish is all over this nonsense. Take a peek:
Voyava Republic has joined forces with the Mexican coffee producer La Selva to deliver folic acid-fortified coffee to underprivileged elementary school students in Chiapas, Mexico.

Apparently, many poor children in that state already drink one or more cups of coffee each day, so why not give them a little nutritional boost along with their caffeine? After all, folic acid is good for kids, right? Yeah, but coffee isn't.

"It doesn't seem like a good idea, given that coffee isn't an adequate drink for children," the Chiapas state health department said in a statement. "It's well known that high levels of caffeine can cause problems like nervousness, irritability and anxiety."
I weep for the children of Mexico.