Archive for the ‘Diet’ Category
World Renown Heart Surgeon Speaks Out On What Really Causes Heart Disease
We physicians with all our training, knowledge and authority often acquire a rather large ego that tends to make it difficult to admit we are wrong. So, here it is. I freely admit to being wrong. As a heart surgeon with 25 years experience, having performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries,today is my day to right the wrong with medical and scientific fact.
I trained for many years with other prominent physicians labelled “opinion makers.” Bombarded with scientific literature, continually attending education seminars, we opinion makers insisted heart disease resulted from the simple fact of elevated blood cholesterol.
The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.
It Is Not Working!
These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated.
The long-established dietary recommendations have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which dwarf any historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire economic consequences.
Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before.
Statistics from the American Heart Association show that 75 million Americans currently suffer from heart disease, 20 million have diabetes and 57 million have pre-diabetes. These disorders are affecting younger and younger people in greater numbers every year.
Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.
Inflammation is not complicated — it is quite simply your body’s natural defence to a foreign invader such as a bacteria, toxin or virus. The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders. However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process, a condition occurs called chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial.
What thoughtful person would willfully expose himself repeatedly to foods or other substances that are known to cause injury to the body? Well, smokers perhaps, but at least they made that choice willfully.
The rest of us have simply followed the recommended mainstream diet that is low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates, not knowing we were causing repeated injury to our blood vessels. This repeated injury creates chronic inflammation leading to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity.
Let me repeat that: The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine.
What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils, like soybean, corn, and sunflower oil that are found in many processed foods.
Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding – you kept this up several times a day, every day for five years. If you could tolerate this painful brushing, you would have a bleeding, swollen infected area that became worse with each repeated injury. This is a good way to visualize the inflammatory process that could be going on in your body right now.
Regardless of where the inflammatory process occurs, externally or internally, it is the same. I have peered inside thousands upon thousands of arteries. A diseased artery looks as if someone took a brush and scrubbed repeatedly against its wall. Several times a day, every day, the foods we eat create small injuries compounding into more injuries, causing the body to respond continuously and appropriately with inflammation.
While we savor the tantalizing taste of a sweet roll, our bodies respond alarmingly as if a foreign invader arrived declaring war. Foods loaded with sugars and simple carbohydrates, or processed with omega-6 oils for long shelf life, have been the mainstay of the American diet for six decades. These foods have been slowly poisoning everyone.
How does eating a simple sweet roll create a cascade of inflammation to make you sick?
Imagine spilling syrup on your keyboard and you have a visual of what occurs inside the cell. When we consume simple carbohydrates such as sugar, blood sugar rises rapidly. In response, your pancreas secretes insulin whose primary purpose is to drive sugar into each cell where it is stored for energy. If the cell is full and does not need glucose, it is rejected to avoid extra sugar gumming up the works.
When your full cells reject the extra glucose, blood sugar rises producing more insulin and the glucose converts to stored fat.
What does all this have to do with inflammation? Blood sugar is controlled in a very narrow range. Extra sugar molecules attach to a variety of proteins that in turn injure the blood vessel wall. This repeated injury to the blood vessel wall sets off inflammation. When you spike your blood sugar level several times a day, every day, it is exactly like taking sandpaper to the inside of your delicate blood vessels.
While you may not be able to see it, rest assured it is there. I saw it in over 5,000 surgical patients spanning 25 years who all shared one common denominator — inflammation in their arteries.
Let’s get back to the sweet roll. That innocent looking goody not only contains sugars, it is baked in one of many omega-6 oils such as soybean. Chips and fries are soaked in soybean oil; processed foods are manufactured with omega-6 oils for longer shelf life. While omega-6’s are essential – they are part of every cell membrane controlling what goes in and out of the cell – they must be in the correct balance with omega-3’s.
If the balance shifts by consuming excessive omega-6, the cell membrane produces chemicals called cytokines that directly cause inflammation.
Today’s mainstream American diet has produced an extreme imbalance of these two fats. The ratio of imbalance ranges from 15:1 to as high as 30:1 in favor of omega-6. That’s a tremendous amount of cytokines causing inflammation. In today’s food environment, a 3:1 ratio would be optimal and healthy.
To make matters worse, the excess weight you are carrying from eating these foods creates overloaded fat cells that pour out large quantities of pro-inflammatory chemicals that add to the injury caused by having high blood sugar. The process that began with a sweet roll turns into a vicious cycle over time that creates heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and finally, Alzheimer’s disease, as the inflammatory process continues unabated.
There is no escaping the fact that the more we consume prepared and processed foods, the more we trip the inflammation switch little by little each day. The human body cannot process, nor was it designed to consume, foods packed with sugars and soaked in omega-6 oils.
There is but one answer to quieting inflammation, and that is returning to foods closer to their natural state. To build muscle, eat more protein. Choose carbohydrates that are very complex such as colorful fruits and vegetables. Cut down on or eliminate inflammation-causing omega-6 fats like corn and soybean oil and the processed foods that are made from them.
One tablespoon of corn oil contains 7,280 mg of omega-6; soybean contains 6,940 mg. Instead, use olive oil or butter from grass-fed beef.
Animal fats contain less than 20% omega-6 and are much less likely to cause inflammation than the supposedly healthy oils labelled polyunsaturated. Forget the “science” that has been drummed into your head for decades. The science that saturated fat alone causes heart disease is non-existent. The science that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol is also very weak. Since we now know that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, the concern about saturated fat is even more absurd today.
The cholesterol theory led to the no-fat, low-fat recommendations that in turn created the very foods now causing an epidemic of inflammation. Mainstream medicine made a terrible mistake when it advised people to avoid saturated fat in favor of foods high in omega-6 fats. We now have an epidemic of arterial inflammation leading to heart disease and other silent killers.
What you can do is choose whole foods your grandmother served and not those your mom turned to as grocery store aisles filled with manufactured foods. By eliminating inflammatory foods and adding essential nutrients from fresh unprocessed food, you will reverse years of damage in your arteries and throughout your body from consuming the typical American diet.
Dr. Dwight Lundell is the past Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery at Banner Heart Hospital , Mesa , AZ. His private practice, Cardiac Care Center was in Mesa, AZ. Recently Dr. Lundell left surgery to focus on the nutritional treatment of heart disease. He is the founder of Healthy Humans Foundation that promotes human health with a focus on helping large corporations promote wellness. He is also the author of The Cure for Heart Disease and The Great Cholesterol Lie.
Why Eating Quick, Cheap Food is Actually More Expensive
I WAS IN THE GROCERY STORE YESTERDAY. While I was squeezing avocados to pick just the right ones for my family’s dinner salad, I overheard a conversation from a couple who had also picked up a fruit.
“Oh, these avocados look good, let’s get some.”
Then looking up at the price, they said, “Two for five dollars!” Dejected, they put the live avocado back and walked away from the vegetable aisle toward the aisles full of dead, boxed, canned, packaged goods where they can buy thousands of calories of poor-quality, nutrient-poor, factory-made, processed foods filled with sugar, fat, and salt for the same five dollars. This is the scenario millions of Americans struggling to feed their families face every day.
The odd paradox is that food insecurity — not knowing where the next meal is coming from or not having enough money to adequately feed your family — leads to obesity, diabetes, and chronic disease. Examining this paradox may help us advocate for policies that make producing fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole other foods cheaper, while rethinking the almost $300 billion in government subsidies that support the production of cheap, processed food derived from corn and soy.
At the same time, a Food Revolution, along the lines of that advocated by Jamie Oliver, a radical chef, can help Americans take back their table and their health from a food industry that has driven us to eat more than 50 percent of our meals out of the home compared to less than 2 percent 100 years ago. And most of those meals eaten at home are produced in plants, not grown on plants, are from a food chemist’s lab, not a farmer’s field. Cooking and eating whole fresh foods at home, can be cheaper, more fun, and simpler than most people think.
So I would ask you to consider: Have you ever made poor food choices because of cost? What is the REAL cost of this cheap food — the cost in dollars, on our health, on our environment, and even on the fraying fabric of our social and family systems?
This is what you need to remember:
- The true cost of unhealthy food isn’t just the price tag — in fact, the real costs are hidden.
- Eating healthy doesn’t have to cost more.
Sure, it seems cheaper to eat a burger, fries, and a soda from McDonald’s than to eat a meal of whole foods, but there are healthier options. Let me review why the true costs of eating unhealthy food are hidden, and give you some suggestions that will help you save money and suffering by eating well for less. Poverty or financial limitations do not preclude eating well, creating health, and avoiding disease.
Let’s start by looking at how our economy and public policy are geared toward the production of cheap, unhealthy food.
Government Policy Supports the Production of Unhealthy Food
Unhealthy food is cheaper because our government’s policies support its production. We’re spending nearly $30 billion a year to subsidize corn and soy production. Where do those foods go? Into our food supply as high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated soybean oil (trans fats), that are the foundation of almost all fast food and processed foods that are “manufactured” by the food industry.
Since the 1970s — when our agricultural policies where changed to support corn and soy farmers — we’re consuming, on average, an extra 500 calories (mostly in the form of cheap, artificial high-fructose corn syrup) per person.
When you eat unhealthy foods like these, the costs of medical visits, co-pays, prescription medications, and other health services skyrocket.
Corn and soy are also used to feed cattle for the production of meat and dairy. In fact, 70 percent of the wheat, corn, and soy farmed in this country is used to feed animals used for our food. The world’s cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people — more than the entire human population on Earth!
So, when our government helps pay for these foods — well, of course they’re cheaper! That explains the low price tag. But what about the OTHER costs to you?
The Hidden Costs of Eating Poorly
We all know that bad foods are bad for your health. It turns out they are also bad for the national pocketbook. For example, one expert has estimated that healthcare costs related to obesity are $118 billion per year. That’s nearly 12 percent of total healthcare expenditures — and more than twice that caused by smoking! Seventy-two percent of Americans are overweight and over one third are medically obese. One in three children born today will be diabetic in their lifetime and the life expectancy of our population is declining for the first time in human history.
A report from the Worldwatch Institute called Overfed and Underfed: The Global Epidemic of Malnutrition documented the real costs of obesity related to poor diet — and this does NOT include the other effects of poor diet such as heart disease, cancer,diabetes, dementia, autoimmune diseases, and osteoporosis. Here were some of the conclusions of that report:
- Obese people account for a disproportionate share of health-related absences from work.
- Obesity accounts for 7 percent of lost productivity due to sick leave and disability.
- 7 percent of all of North Carolina’s healthcare expenditures are related to obesity.
- Obese people visit their physicians 40 percent more than normal weight people.
- Obese people are 2.5 times more likely to require drugs prescribed for cardiovascular and circulation disorders.
- Liposuction is the Number 1 form of cosmetic surgery in the US, with 400,000 operations a year.
- Over 100,000 people a year have gastric bypass surgery.
According to a recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine (i), we’re spending about $20,000 per person for each extra year of life gained from medical interventions like drugs and surgery … as if that’s something to be proud of!
That doesn’t even take into account the $282 billion in costs resulting from medical interventions that go wrong — hospital infections, medical errors, deaths from drug reactions, bedsores, or unnecessary surgeries.
And what if that $20,000 per year was given to each person during his or her lifetime to support better nutrition, lifestyle, and stress management? My guess is that we would save trillions of dollars in health care expenditures on chronic disease!
As these numbers prove, the costs of eating fast, junk, and processed foods are often deferred until later. And that’s the key point: When you go to McDonald’s for a cheap burger and fries, you might immediately compare that lower price to whole organic foods which are more expensive in the short term. But the total cost isn’t reflected in how much you pay for your meal in the immediate moment, it’s the cumulative cost of what those decisions cost you over a lifetime.
For example, when you eat unhealthy foods like these, the costs of medical visits, co-pays, prescription medications, and other health services skyrocket. There are other non-economic costs of eating poorly as well. You reduce your ability to enjoy life in the moment due to increased fatigue, low-grade health complaints, obesity, depression, and more.
The biggest advantage of eating well now is not just preventing disease and costs later, but simply enjoying each day to its fullest. You can make that happen. Eating well doesn’t have to cost more.
It’s true that there are very few, if any, subsidies for the production of produce or healthier alternative foods. And the same government agency that supports the production of the ingredients for junk food provides less than $300 million for education on healthy nutrition.
But change is in the air. Dean Ornish, MD, has shown that a program to teach people to eat better, exercise, and learn stress reduction can prevent heart disease and reduce the need for heart bypass or other treatments. Insurance companies are starting to take notice as some cover the costs for that program. Paying $5,000 for such a program now, Medicare has finally recognized, is better than paying $50,000 later for a cardiac bypass operation.
A number of us advocated last year that a “health council” be established to coordinate and develop national polices that create and support health for Americans. This was part of the health reform bill and the National Council on Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health was created by executive order of the President in June. Drs. Dean Ornish, Memhet Oz, Michael Roizen and I, among others, have been nominated to be on a 25-member advisory council that helps guide the council. The council is made up of all the cabinet secretaries in charge of departments that in some way affect our health — agriculture, health, transportation, environment, trade, labor, and more — and will be chaired by the Surgeon General. This provides a way to influence national policies to support and create health — including our food and agriculture polices — for the first time.
The idea that you can save money by eating well is further supported by studies like the one published by the American Dietetic Association (ii) that shows eating well to lose weight is actually cheaper — or at the worst, no more expensive — than eating poorly! The authors of the study concluded that “adopting a lower-energy, nutrient-dense diet did not increase dietary costs over time. Consequently, cost should not be a barrier in the adoption of a healthful diet.”
That’s powerful evidence that eating well is not just good for your body, it’s good for your wallet, too! Here are some ideas to get you started.
Four Tips to Start Eating Healthy for Less Today
- Listen to Gandhi. Yes, Gandhi! He said that we should never mistake what is habitual for what is natural. Case in point: Some Chinese are very poor and yet they eat extremely well — small amounts of animal protein, with an abundance of vegetables.
- Be willing to learn. We have to learn new ways of shopping and eating, new ways of ordering our priorities around our health and nutrition that supports our well-being, even if it is hard at the beginning.
- Do your research. There are ways to find cheaper sources of produce, whole grains, beans, nuts, and lean animal protein. You just need to seek them out. It doesn’t all have to be organic. Simply switching from processed foods to whole foods is a HUGE step in the right direction.
- Make an effort. Eating healthy does take more planning. It may require you to find new places to hunt and gather for your family. You might have to reorder your priorities regarding where you spend your money and your time so that you can make healthier eating choices.
Remember, eating healthy foods without spending a lot is possible-and you can do it.
To your good health,
Mark Hyman, MD
(i) Cutler D.M., Rosen A.B., and S. Vijan. 2006. The value of medical spending in the United States, 1960-2000. N Engl J Med. 355(9): 920-7.
(ii)Raynor, H.A., Kilanowski, C.K., Esterli, I., et al. 2002. A cost-analysis of adopting a healthful diet in a family-based treatment program. J Am Diet Assoc.102(5): 645-650, 655-656.
By Christopher Wanjek | LiveScience.com
A spoonful of sugar might make the medicine go down. But it also makes blood pressure and cholesterol go up, along with your risk for liver failure, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
Sugar and other sweeteners are, in fact, so toxic to the human body that they should be regulated as strictly as alcohol by governments worldwide, according to a commentary in the current issue of the journal Nature by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
The researchers propose regulations such as taxing all foods and drinks that include added sugar, banning sales in or near schools and placing age limits on purchases.
Although the commentary might seem straight out of the Journal of Ideas That Will Never Fly, the researchers cite numerous studies and statistics to make their case that added sugar — or, more specifically, sucrose, an even mix of glucose and fructose found in high fructose corn syrup and in table sugar made from sugar cane and sugar beets — has been as detrimental to society as alcohol and tobacco.
Sour words about sugar
The background is well-known: In the United States, more than two-thirds of the population is overweight, and half of them are obese. About 80 percent of those who are obese will have diabetes or metabolic disorders and will have shortened lives, according to the UCSF authors of the commentary, led by Robert Lustig, M.D. [Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology] And about 75 percent of U.S. health-care dollars are spent on diet-related diseases, the authors said.
Worldwide, the obese now greatly outnumber the undernourished, according to the World Health Organization. Obesity is a public health problem in most countries. And chronic diseases related to diet such as heart diseases, diabetes and some cancers — for the first time in human history — kill more people than infectious diseases, according to the United Nations.
Less known, and still debated, is sugar’s role in obesity and chronic disease pandemic. From an evolutionary perceptive, sugar in the form of fruit was available only a few months of the year, at harvest time, the UCSF researchers said. Similarly, honey was guarded by bees and therefore was a treat, not a dietary staple.
Today, added sugar, as opposed to natural sugars found in fruits, is often added in foods ranging from soup to soda. Americans consume on average more than 600 calories per day from added sugar, equivalent to a whopping 40 teaspoons. “Nature made sugar hard to get; man made it easy,” the researchers write.
Many researchers are seeing sugar as not just “empty calories,” but rather a chemical that becomes toxic in excess. At issue is the fact that glucose from complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, is safely metabolized by cells throughout the body, but the fructose element of sugar is metabolized primarily by the liver. This is where the trouble can begin — taxing the liver, causing fatty liver disease, and ultimately leading to insulin resistance, the underlying causes of obesity and diabetes.
Added sugar, more so than the fructose in fiber-rich fruit, hits the liver more directly and can cause more damage — in laboratory rodents, anyway. Some researchers, however, remained unconvinced of the evidence of sugar’s toxic effect on the human body at current consumption levels, as high as they are.
Economists to the rescue
Lustig, a medical doctor in UCSF’s Department of Pediatrics, compares added sugar to tobacco and alcohol (coincidentally made from sugar) in that it is addictive, toxic and has a negative impact on society, thus meeting established public health criteria for regulation. Lustig advocates a consumer tax on any product with added sugar.
Among Lustig’s more radical proposals are to ban the sale of sugary drinks to children under age 17 and to tighten zoning laws for the sale of sugary beverages and snacks around schools and in low-income areas plagued by obesity, analogous to alcoholism and alcohol regulation.
Economists, however, debate as to whether a consumer tax — such as a soda tax proposed in many U.S. states — is the most effective means of curbing sugar consumption. Economists at Iowa State University led by John Beghin suggest taxing the sweetener itself at the manufacturer level, not the end product containing sugar.
This concept, published last year in the journal Contemporary Economic Policy, would give companies an incentive to add less sweetener to their products. After all, high-fructose corn syrup is ubiquitous in food in part because it is so cheap and serves as a convenient substitute for more high-quality ingredients, such as fresher vegetables in processed foods.
Some researchers argue that saturated fat, not sugar, is the root cause of obesity and chronic disease. Others argue that it is highly processed foods with simple carbohydrates. Still others argue that it is a lack of physical exercise. It could, of course, be a matter of all these issues.
Although given a bad rap by the media, eggs are one of the most nutritious foods.
Eggs are high in protein, rich in omega 3 fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E) and contain a range of vitamins and minerals including Folic acid, B12, Selenium, Zinc, Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Magnesium. When eaten with the yolk loose, the yolk contains enzymes that help the body digest it.
(Being so rich in nutrition and easy to digest makes loose egg yolk one of the perfect first food for babies.)
The quality of the egg depends directly on the health of the chicken that laid it. Thus chickens raised in factory farms, never seeing the light of day, in dirty and cramped conditions, produce eggs that are vastly inferior to those laid by stress-free chickens who spend their days freely roaming, pecking at the dirt and eating insects and worms.
Many people believe just by purchasing “organic” eggs that they are getting the best eggs available. While organic eggs do contain far less toxins, are more nutritious, and are significantly less likely to contaminated with Salmonella than non-organic eggs, the organic label says nothing about how the chickens are raised. Thus, the quality of the eggs from one organic farm can be quite different from those on another farm.
The Organic Egg Score Card can help you find the best and the worst organic eggs available.
Even Better than simply Organic Eggs are Pastured Eggs:
Pastured chicken eggs means that they are from free roaming, insect and worm eating, compost, grass, and dirt pecking hens.
Comparing Pastured vs. Commercial Organic Eggs, Pastured Eggs Have:
5 times more Vitamin D
2/3 more Vitamin A
2 times more Omega-3 Fatty Acids
3 times more Vitamin E
7 times more Beta-carotene
If this is not enough convincing enough, here is some research comparing pastured eggs to factory farmed hens that further support pastured eggs as the most nutritious egg option:
- Pastured eggs had 50% more folic acid and 70% more vitamin B12 than eggs from factory farm hens. (1974 – The British Journal of Nutrition)
- Pastured eggs in Greece contained 13 times more omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids than U.S. commercial eggs. (1988, Artemis Simopoulos, co-author of The Omega Diet)
- Pastured eggs had higher omega-3s and vitamin E than eggs from caged hens. (1998 study in Animal Feed Science and Technology)
- Eggs from pastured birds had 10% less fat, 34% less cholesterol, 40% more vitamin A, and four times the omega-3s compared to the standard USDA data. This study also tested pastured chicken meat and found it to have 21% less fat, 30% less saturated fat, and 50% more vitamin A than the USDA standard. (1999 study by Barb Gorski at Pennsylvania State University)
- Eggs compared from two groups of Hy-Line variety hens, with one kept in standard crowded factory farm conditions and the other on mixed grass and legume pasture. The eggs had similar levels of fat and cholesterol, but the pastured eggs had three times more omega-3s, 220% more vitamin E, and 62% more vitamin A than eggs from caged hens. (2003 study by Heather Karsten at Pennsylvania State University)
- Pastured eggs had roughly half the cholesterol, 50% more vitamin E, and three times more beta-carotene. (2005 MotherEarth News study of four heritage-breed pastured flocks in Kansas)
For any of you who spent time with kids on Halloween and watched some O.D. on candy, you are well aware of the drug like effects of sugar. I found it very interesting to watch the dramatic behavior change in some kids. While some just had a few pieces, others binged as if they couldn’t get enough, became rude and unruly, unable to control themselves.
We joke that kids “get high” on candy, and often even “O.D.” on it. But as jest is usually based on truth, sugar is addictive and this fact was recently supported by an article in the Bloomberg Report.
“We consistently found that the changes we were observing in the rats binging on sugar were like what we would see if the animals were addicted to drugs.” The animals also showed withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, shakes and tremors, when the effect of the sugar was blocked with a drug. The scientists, moreover, were able to determine changes in the levels of dopamine in the brain, similar to those seen in animals on addictive drugs.
While this article makes some powerful statements about sugar, it is misleading in that it also refers to fatty foods being addictive without suggesting research to support this statement, as all fatty foods referred to are exceptionally high in sugar and thus it is far more likely that fat contributes little to the addictive nature of these foods, but rather the addiction lies entirely upon the body’s response to sugar.
A 2007 French experiment suggests that SUGAR may be even MORE ADDICTIVE than COCAINE, as it showed that rats prefer water sweetened with saccharine or sugar to hits of cocaine — exactly the opposite of what existing dogma would have suggested.
If you think a little sugar is ok for your child, think again. Would you ever approve of your child doing a little cocaine?
ORAL TESTIMONY TO THE USDA DIETARY GUIDELINES COMMITTEE
By Sally Fallon Morell, President The Weston A. Price Foundation July 8, 2010
The proposed 2010 Dietary Guidelines perpetuate the mistakes of previous guidelines in demonizing saturated fats and animal foods rich in saturated fatty acids such as egg yolks, butter, whole milk, cheese, fatty meats like bacon and animal fats for cooking. The current obesity epidemic emerged as vegetable oils and refined carbohydrates replaced these healthy, nutrient-dense traditional fats. Animal fats supply many essential nutrients that are difficult to obtain from other sources. Furthermore, basic biochemistry shows that the human body has a very high requirement for saturated fats and cholesterol in all cell membranes; if we do not eat saturated fats, the body will simply make them from carbohydrates, but excess carbohydrate increases blood levels of triglyceride and small, dense LDL and compromises blood vessel function. High-carbohydrate diets, moreover, fail to satisfy the appetite as well as diets rich in traditional fats, leading to higher caloric intakes and often to bingeing and splurging on empty foods, resulting in rapid weight gain.
The proposed guidelines will perpetuate existing nutrient deficiencies present in all American population groups, including deficiencies in vitamins A, and D, found in animal fats, vitamins B12 and B6 found in meat and seafood, as well as minerals like iron and zinc. Low intakes of vitamin K2, moreover, are associated with increases in the risk of osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer, and the main sources of vitamin K2 available to Americans are egg yolks and full-fat cheeses.
By restricting healthy animal fats in school lunches and diets for pregnant women and growing children, the Guidelines will perpetuate the tragic epidemic of learning and behavior disorders. The nutrients found in most abundantly and in some cases exclusively in animal fats—including choline, cholesterol and arachidonic acid—are critical for the development of the brain and the function of receptors that modulate thinking and behavior. Studies show that choline from egg yolks and liver help the brain make critical connections and protect against neurotoxins; animals studies suggest that if choline is abundant during developmental years, the individual is protected for life from developmental decline. The National Academy of Sciences recommends 375 mg per day for children nine through thirteen years of age, 450 mg for pregnant women and 550 mg for lactating women and men aged fourteen and older. These amounts are provided by four or five egg yolks per day—but that would entail consuming 800-1000 mg cholesterol, a crime by USDA standards. The committee referred to this as the “choline problem.” Pregnant women and growing children especially need to eat as many egg yolks as possible—yet the Guidelines demonize this nutrient-dense food.
Choline is also essential to liver health. As the prevalence of obesity has grown to reach epidemic proportions, “fatty liver disease” has emerged as one of its casualties. It is estimated 40 percent of obese Americans have fatty liver. One of the most common ways to induce this disease in animals is to feed them diets deficient in choline and methionine, an amino acid found abundantly in meat. Restricting animal foods in our children’s meals will thus aggravate the consequences of the obesity epidemic.
The Guidelines lump trans fats together with saturated fats—calling them Solid Fats—thereby hiding the difference between unhealthy industrial trans fats and healthy traditional saturated fats. Trans fats contribute to inflammation, depress the immune system, interfere with hormone production, and set up pathological conditions leading to cancer and heart disease, whereas saturated fats fight inflammation, support the immune system, support hormone production and protect against cancer and heart disease.
The vitamins and fatty acids carried uniquely in saturated animal fats are critical to reproduction. The 2010 Guidelines will increase infertility in this country, already at tragically high rates.The 2010 proposed Guidelines represent a national scandal, the triumph of industry clout over good science and common sense. It must be emphasized that the Guidelines are not based on science but are designed to promote the products of commodity agriculture and—through the back door—encourage the consumption of processed foods. For while the USDA food police pay lip service to reducing our intake of refined sweeteners, trans fats, white flour and salt, this puritanical lowfat prescription ultimately leads to cravings and indulgence in chips, sweets, sodas, breads, desserts and other empty food-and-beverage- like products just loaded with refined sweeteners, trans fats, white flour and salt.
While the ship of state is sinking under a health crisis of enormous proportions, the USDA proposed Guidelines simply rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Without more sensible recommendations, the trend to obesity, learning disorders, chronic disease and infertility will accelerate.
The Weston A. Price Foundation proposes starting over and adopting our Healthy 4 Life Dietary Guidelines, based on four food groups, always with an emphasis on quality through pasture-based feeding and organic, pesticide-free production methods:
Every day, eat high quality, whole foods to provide an abundance of nutrients, chosen from each of the following four groups:
Avoid: foods containing refined sweeteners such as candies, sodas, cookies, cakes etc.; white flour products such as pasta and white bread; processed foods; modern soy foods; polyunsaturated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and fried foods.
Sally Fallon Morell,
President The Weston A. Price Foundation