Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Avoid These 7 Foods and You're Off To A Healthier New Year

Posted by: Dr. Mercola
December 29 2009 | 82,641 views

1. Canned Tomatoes

The expert: Fredrick vom Saal, PhD, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A

The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Acidity -- a prominent characteristic of tomatoes -- causes BPA to leach into your food.

2. Corn-Fed Beef

The expert: Joel Salatin, co-owner of Polyface Farms and author of books on sustainable farming

Cattle were designed to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feed their animals corn and soybeans, which fatten up the animals faster for slaughter. A recent comprehensive study found that compared with corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

3. Microwave Popcorn

The expert: Olga Naidenko, PhD, a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group

Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize -- and migrate into your popcorn.

4. Nonorganic Potatoes

The expert: Jeffrey Moyer, chair of the National Organic Standards Board

Root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil. In the case of potatoes they're treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they're dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting.

5. Farmed Salmon

The expert: David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany

Nature didn't intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT.

6. Milk Produced with Artificial Hormones

The expert: Rick North, project director of the Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers.

7. Conventional Apples

The expert: Mark Kastel, codirector of the Cornucopia Institute

If fall fruits held a "most doused in pesticides contest," apples would win. And increasing numbers of studies are starting to link a higher body burden of pesticides with Parkinson's disease.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Genetically Modified Foods Pose Huge Health Risk By Institute for Responsible Technology , Your Consumer Safety Partner - May 20, 2009

LOS ANGELES -- This week, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) called on “Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.” They called for a moratorium on GM foods, long-term independent studies, and labeling. AAEM’s position paper stated, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. They conclude, “There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation,” as defined by recognized scientific criteria. “The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies.”

More and more doctors are already prescribing GM-free diets. Dr. Amy Dean, a Michigan internal medicine specialist, and board member of AAEM says, “I strongly recommend patients eat strictly non-genetically modified foods.” Ohio allergist Dr. John Boyles says “I used to test for soy allergies all the time, but now that soy is genetically engineered, it is so dangerous that I tell people never to eat it.”

Dr. Jennifer Armstrong, President of AAEM, says, “Physicians are probably seeing the effects in their patients, but need to know how to ask the right questions.” World renowned biologist Pushpa M. Bhargava goes one step further. After reviewing more than 600 scientific journals, he concludes that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are a major contributor to the sharply deteriorating health of Americans.

Pregnant women and babies at great risk

Among the population, biologist David Schubert of the Salk Institute warns that “children are the most likely to be adversely effected by toxins and other dietary problems” related to GM foods. He says without adequate studies, the children become “the experimental animals.”

The experience of actual GM-fed experimental animals is scary. When GM soy was fed to female rats, most of their babies died within three weeks—compared to a 10% death rate among the control group fed natural soy. The GM-fed babies were also smaller, and later had problems getting pregnant.

When male rats were fed GM soy, their testicles actually changed color—from the normal pink to dark blue. Mice fed GM soy had altered young sperm. Even the embryos of GM fed parent mice had significant changes in their DNA. Mice fed GM corn in an Austrian government study had fewer babies, which were also smaller than normal.

Reproductive problems also plague livestock. Investigations in the state of Haryana, India revealed that most buffalo that ate GM cottonseed had complications such as premature deliveries, abortions, infertility, and prolapsed uteruses. Many calves died. In the US, about two dozen farmers reported thousands of pigs became sterile after consuming certain GM corn varieties. Some had false pregnancies; others gave birth to bags of water. Cows and bulls also became infertile when fed the same corn.

In the US population, the incidence of low birth weight babies, infertility, and infant mortality are all escalating.

Food designed to produce toxin

GM corn and cotton are engineered to produce their own built-in pesticide in every cell. When bugs bite the plant, the poison splits open their stomach and kills them. Biotech companies claim that the pesticide, called Bt—produced from soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis—has a history of safe use, since organic farmers and others use Bt bacteria spray for natural insect control. Genetic engineers insert Bt genes into corn and cotton, so the plants do the killing.

The Bt-toxin produced in GM plants, however, is thousands of times more concentrated than natural Bt spray, is designed to be more toxic, has properties of an allergen, and unlike the spray, cannot be washed off the plant.

Moreover, studies confirm that even the less toxic natural bacterial spray is harmful. When dispersed by plane to kill gypsy moths in the Pacific Northwest, about 500 people reported allergy or flu-like symptoms. Some had to go to the emergency room.
The exact same symptoms are now being reported by farm workers throughout India, from handling Bt cotton.[xiii] In 2008, based on medical records, the Sunday India reported, “Victims of itching have increased massively this year . . . related to BT cotton farming.”

GMOs provoke immune reactions

AAEM states, “Multiple animal studies show significant immune dysregulation,” including increase in cytokines, which are “associated with asthma, allergy, and inflammation”—all on the rise in the US.

According to GM food safety expert Dr. Arpad Pusztai, changes in the immune status of GM animals are “a consistent feature of all the studies.” Even Monsanto’s own research showed significant immune system changes in rats fed Bt corn. A November 2008 by the Italian government also found that mice have an immune reaction to Bt corn.

GM soy and corn each contain two new proteins with allergenic properties, GM soy has up to seven times more trypsin inhibitor—a known soy allergen, and skin prick tests show some people react to GM, but not to non-GM soy. Soon after GM soy was introduced to the UK, soy allergies skyrocketed by 50%. Perhaps the US epidemic of food allergies and asthma is a casualty of genetic manipulation.

Animals dying in large numbers

In India, animals graze on cotton plants after harvest. But when shepherds let sheep graze on Bt cotton plants, thousands died. Post mortems showed severe irritation and black patches in both intestines and liver (as well as enlarged bile ducts). Investigators said preliminary evidence “strongly suggests that the sheep mortality was due to a toxin. . . . most probably Bt-toxin.” In a small follow-up feeding study by the Deccan Development Society, all sheep fed Bt cotton plants died within 30 days; those that grazed on natural cotton plants remained healthy.

In a small village in Andhra Pradesh, buffalo grazed on cotton plants for eight years without incident. On January 3rd, 2008, the buffalo grazed on Bt cotton plants for the first time. All 13 were sick the next day; all died within 3 days.

Bt corn was also implicated in the deaths of cows in Germany, and horses, water buffaloes, and chickens in The Philippines.

In lab studies, twice the number of chickens fed Liberty Link corn died; 7 of 20 rats fed a GM tomato developed bleeding stomachs; another 7 of 40 died within two weeks. Monsanto’s own study showed evidence of poisoning in major organs of rats fed Bt corn, according to top French toxicologist G. E. Seralini.

Worst finding of all—GMOs remain inside of us

The only published human feeding study revealed what may be the most dangerous problem from GM foods. The gene inserted into GM soy transfers into the DNA of bacteria living inside our intestines and continues to function. This means that long after we stop eating GMOs, we may still have potentially harmful GM proteins produced continuously inside of us. Put more plainly, eating a corn chip produced from Bt corn might transform our intestinal bacteria into living pesticide factories, possibly for the rest of our lives.

When evidence of gene transfer is reported at medical conferences around the US, doctors often respond by citing the huge increase of gastrointestinal problems among their patients over the last decade. GM foods might be colonizing the gut flora of North Americans.

Warnings by government scientists ignored and denied

Scientists at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had warned about all these problems even in the early 1990s. According to documents released from a lawsuit, the scientific consensus at the agency was that GM foods were inherently dangerous, and might create hard-to-detect allergies, poisons, gene transfer to gut bacteria, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged their superiors to require rigorous long-term tests.[xxvii] But the White House had ordered the agency to promote biotechnology and the FDA responded by recruiting Michael Taylor, Monsanto’s former attorney, to head up the formation of GMO policy. That policy, which is in effect today, denies knowledge of scientists’ concerns and declares that no safety studies on GMOs are required. It is up to Monsanto and the other biotech companies to determine if their foods are safe. Mr. Taylor later became Monsanto’s vice president.

Dangerously few studies, untraceable diseases

AAEM states, “GM foods have not been properly tested” and “pose a serious health risk.” Not a single human clinical trial on GMOs has been published. A 2007 review of published scientific literature on the “potential toxic effects/health risks of GM plants” revealed “that experimental data are very scarce.” The author concludes his review by asking, “Where is the scientific evidence showing that GM plants/food are toxicologically safe, as assumed by the biotechnology companies?”

Famed Canadian geneticist David Suzuki answers, “The experiments simply haven’t been done and we now have become the guinea pigs.” He adds, “Anyone that says, ‘Oh, we know that this is perfectly safe,’ I say is either unbelievably stupid or deliberately lying.”

Dr. Schubert points out, “If there are problems, we will probably never know because the cause will not be traceable and many diseases take a very long time to develop.” If GMOs happen to cause immediate and acute symptoms with a unique signature, perhaps then we might have a chance to trace the cause.

This is precisely what happened during a US epidemic in the late 1980s. The disease was fast acting, deadly, and caused a unique measurable change in the blood—but it still took more than four years to identify that an epidemic was even occurring. By then it had killed about 100 Americans and caused 5,000-10,000 people to fall sick or become permanently disabled. It was caused by a genetically engineered brand of a food supplement called L-tryptophan.

If other GM foods are contributing to the rise of autism, obesity, diabetes, asthma, cancer, heart disease, allergies, reproductive problems, or any other common health problem now plaguing Americans, we may never know. In fact, since animals fed GMOs had such a wide variety of problems, susceptible people may react to GM food with multiple symptoms. It is therefore telling that in the first nine years after the large scale introduction of GM crops in 1996, the incidence of people with three or more chronic diseases nearly doubled, from 7% to 13%.

To help identify if GMOs are causing harm, the AAEM asks their “members, the medical community, and the independent scientific community to gather case studies potentially related to GM food consumption and health effects, begin epidemiological research to investigate the role of GM foods on human health, and conduct safe methods of determining the effect of GM foods on human health.”

Citizens need not wait for the results before taking the doctors advice to avoid GM foods. People can stay away from anything with soy or corn derivatives, cottonseed and canola oil, and sugar from GM sugar beets—unless it says organic or “non-GMO.” There is a pocket Non-GMO Shopping Guide, co-produced by the Institute for Responsible Technology and the Center for Food Safety, which is available as a download, as well as in natural food stores and in many doctors’ offices.

If even a small percentage of people choose non-GMO brands, the food industry will likely respond as they did in Europe—by removing all GM ingredients. Thus, AAEM’s non-GMO prescription may be a watershed for the US food supply.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Health Canada seeks input on adding anti-cancer drug to junk food

By The Canadian Press
Ottawa wants to know what you think about its unusual proposal to put a cancer-fighting drug into junk food.

Health Canada is inviting public comments until February 21 on its idea to have small amounts of the enzyme asparaginase put into foods like potato chips and french fries. On its website, Health Canada says its scientists have finished a detailed safety assessment on the enzyme and haven't found any health or safety concerns.

At issue is the chemical acrylamide, which is found as a cooking byproduct in the production of foods like french fries and potato chips and has been linked to cancer in animals.

Research suggests asparaginase reduces acrylamide production.

Health Canada notes the enzyme is used in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and Denmark, and has been given a favourable evaluation by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives.

Have your say here. Do you agree that drugs should be approved for use in our food supply?
I can't help but wonder, wouldn't it make more sense to encourage healthy eating through better choices and to mandate the manufacturing of junk food to be non-cancer causing?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Statement on Genetically Modified Organisms in the Environment and the Marketplace

In the mid 1980s, primary care physicians, and subsequently their rheumatology colleagues, began to see a number of chronically ill individuals with severe pain syndromes affecting muscle tissue, accompanied by abnormally high eosinophil counts. In time, it became clear that a new disease entity had arisen, which was eventually called "eosinophilia myalgia syndrome." Some dozens of people died from this illness and several thousands remain permanently disabled.

What took a long time to understand about this condition was its cause. It was eventually discovered that, in the early 1980s, one of the first industrially produced and commercially marketed amino acids, tryptophan, had begun to be manufactured by a novel process, in Japan, utilizing genetically modified bacteria. In an unexpected twist of fate, the genetically modified but poorly controlled bacteria had created an undetected, and highly toxic, dimerization of the tryptophan molecule. This toxic molecule was undetected in pre-market testing, and so the new product was deemed "biologically equivalent" to existing, conventionally produced tryptophan. Unfortunately for the individuals who ingested it, their bodies responded very differently to the altered amino acid, and they suffered severe illness and even death as a result.

Fast forward a few years, and we discover that without any real public input or debate, and with essentially no human trials, our infant soy formula is now created with genetically modified plant material, our corn chips are made from insect resistant, genetically modified corn, and our veggie burgers contain altered soybeans. Current estimates suggest that fully 60% of products in Canada's grocery stores have genetically modified ingredients. Our children and our grandchildren are growing up on them.

Is this a bad thing? No one knows. There have been no significant human trials of any size or length, nor does it appear that any are currently funded. We do know, from studies of soybeans modified to withstand higher doses of glyphosate pesticide, that the content of phytonutrients in those soybeans is altered from concentrations in conventional soybeans. What does this mean for health effects? Again, we do not know.

What we increasingly understand, however, is that the biological systems in all of us are complex, and in children they are particularly vulnerable and sensitive, as well as profoundly dependent on proper nutrition for full and successful development. We believe, therefore, that if there is any question about the safety and bio-equivalence of new foodstuffs being brought to the market, we must not expose humans to these foods until careful trials have been completed and their results made widely available.

What is more, we have real concerns about the relationships among living organisms. We are concerned about what it means to introduce what are essentially newly created species, some of which contain a chimeric blend of genes from entirely different creatures, into our world. We have seen the effects of chemical and nuclear contamination of the environment, and have real fears that biological contamination with newly minted organisms may be even more threatening to the natural order. We urge caution. What is the rush?

We must resist the drive for quick profit, and review the implications of our new-found abilities. We must carefully consider the ethical implications of patent rights being extended to our basic foodstuffs, restricting to a few large seed producers the right to grow and produce these foods. To be fed in a way that is truly sustainable, we must preserve not only a stable, abundant and safe food supply, but also a safe planet to grow it on, and safe children to enjoy it.

The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) recognizes that the use of genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms under carefully controlled conditions (e.g., in closed laboratory environments, or within individual persons) offers considerable benefit for human health, both now and in the future.

However, CAPE has grave concerns about the environmental release of genetically modified (GM) crops and products; we call for the immediate suspension of all such releases, and for current patents on such life forms and living processes to be suspended or rescinded.

CAPE calls for an immediate and comprehensive public enquiry into the effect of GM organisms on ecosystem stability, food security and human health.

Patents on life-forms and living processes threaten equitable food distribution, encourage biopiracy of indigenous knowledge and genetic resources, violate fundamental human rights, and impede medical and scientific research. Patented GM crops intensify corporate control over food production, curtail biodiversity, and limit the autonomy of farmers, obstructing the development of sustainable, community-based agriculture that is the cornerstone of a stable food supply around the world.

We believe, in any case, that existing life forms such as organisms, seeds, cell lines and genes are discoveries and therefore cannot and should not be patented. Further, we believe that such living entities are part of the common heritage of humankind; we do not believe that any person or persons should be allowed to genetically modify any organism, seed, or cell line to obstruct their propagation in any way.

Current techniques for genetic modification produce novel organisms, but these techniques are unreliable and unpredictable; many life forms generated by them are inherently dysfunctional and disruptive. Furthermore, the expression of any viable organisms is highly dependent on ecological context; to date, no comprehensive analysis has been carried out examining the influence of context on any GM organism.

Current analyses of GM crops show that they generally yield less than conventional crops.

The real hazards of GM organisms to human and ecosystem health are becoming ever more apparent. For example, the horizontal spread of antibiotic resistance marker genes from GM crops can compromise the treatment of life-threatening infectious diseases. The cauliflower mosaic viral promoter, widely used in GM crops, may enhance horizontal gene transfer and has the potential to generate new pathogenic viruses. GM crops containing natural biocides (e.g., Bt toxin) harm beneficial insects, and leave residues deep in the soil, which can selectively encourage resistance among predator species.

We urge the Canadian government to take into account all scientific evidence related to GM organisms, and to act in accordance with the precautionary principle in regulating their production and use. We urge the Canadian government to negotiate a strong and effective International Biosafety Protocol. We urge the Canadian government to ensure that biosafety considerations, at both the national and international level, take precedence over trade and financial agreements established by the World Trade Organization.

Finally, we urge that research into sustainable, organic agricultural methods and techniques be intensified and extended on a global scale. Many sustainable, community-based agricultural systems already exist around the world, completely adapted to local ecosystems; they generate high and sustained yields, and have neutral or positive ecological impacts. Ongoing research reveals that organic growing methods, using conventional seeds and crop lines, can enhance soil structure, reduce nitrogen pollution, and generate adequate and secure income for farmers while freeing them from dependency on costly external inputs.

We believe that the enhancement, expansion, and promotion of these methods and techniques offers the single best hope to our global culture of engendering a safe, equitably distributed, and secure food supply for present and future generations. It also promises to demonstrate, once and for all, that the creation of GM organisms is entirely unnecessary.

WindsorEats Supports Organic Turkeys in Ontario

WindsorEats Supports Organic Turkeys in Ontario

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Canada’s Natural Health Industry

by author Michelle Hancock
Twenty years ago a natural health aficionado typically frequented one-stop shops that sold everything—herbs, cosmetics, bulk foods, and a few trusted vitamin lines. But the past two decades have seen a major shift.

Now organics are sold in major supermarkets, everybody seems to grow their own herbs, and almost 18,000 nutritional supplements have exploded into venues such as grocery stores and drug stores.

“No longer do you expect to see just one multivitamin at a mainstream pharmacy,” says Penny Marrett, president and CEO of the Canadian Health Food Association. “Now the consumer expects to see a whole range of product. They walk in and start asking questions. They’ve done their research and may need more answers.”

Natural health products (NHPs)—including vitamins, minerals, herbal remedies, homeopathic medicines, and traditional Chinese medicines—now represent a $2.5 billion industry in Canada. A more educated public, dissatisfaction with mainstream health care, and increasing acceptance by health care practitioners are three factors giving NHPs their modern thrust.

Industry purists may yearn for the good old days, but Marrett says there are huge opportunities ahead in this still-growing industry.

Purchase power

According to a 2005 Ipsos-Reid study, 71 percent of Canadians use an NHP regularly, and 77 percent of Canadians agree that NHPs can promote good health.

The latest industry statistics, released in July 2009, indicate that profits, exports, and the number of businesses involved in NHPs and functional foods—foods with added health benefits—have all experienced notable growth. NHPs and functional foods generated $3.7 billion in revenue in 2007, $732 million was exported, mostly to the US, and $148 million was spent on research and development (R&D).

Research based

The science generated from R&D excites Marrett, who says this is part of why the industry is gaining credibility. Vitamin D is a good example. As a result of good research, many organizations including the Canadian Cancer Society now recommend it, a message that has been communicated well to the public. In turn, more acceptance and interest mean a greater political strength.

“Our industry is gaining its voice on public policy and we need to strengthen that voice,” she tells alive. A strong voice is important, for example, in governmental matters. Currently, ‰ the ongoing implementation of federal NHP regulations is a challenge that is creating additional cost and adding uncertainty.

“We’re going to make sure that the regulations are implemented fairly, properly, and reasonably. We’re not there yet,” says Marrett. “But we’ll be there before five years are out.”

The media factor

The media is another factor related to the growing public interest in NHPs. “What’s going to sell next? I don’t know. A better person to ask is Dr. Oz,” jokes Lou Liberatore, owner of The Healthy Bug in Halifax. “Look at acai juice. We’ve carried it from day one, and it sold okay. But now that Dr. Oz mentioned it, it’s huge.”

Since news of the swine flu hit the scene, many retailers report increased sales of products geared toward building immunity, although official health agencies point out that no natural products are approved to fight the virus. Immune-boosting vitamins C and D are just two nutrients sold everywhere, from traditional health food stores and whole food markets to corner supermarkets and big box stores.

“Natural health retailers are one of the best places [to buy them] because they’ll have greater variety and choice than pharmacies and mass retailers,” says Marrett. They also have better informed sales staff to help consumers choose the right products for them.

Consumer comparison
For brands offered in both traditional and mass market stores, consumers have the luxury of comparing price. As to what makes one brand different or better than another, the advice to consumers is, ask. And if a particular clerk doesn’t know, find one who does or who is willing to find out for you.

“It confuses people,” says Craig Walker of 1st Choice Health in St. Albert, Alberta, of overlapping brands and products. He notes that manufacturers have raised the question, “How premium can a product be if you can find it at a discount store?”

Economic pinch

“It’s hardest for the senior community,” he adds. “Many of them are unfortunately stuck with what they can afford. They’re buying cheap products and not getting the results. Now we’ve created a person who doesn’t believe in the NHP industry. If there’s any kind of program that manufacturers should look into, it’s assisting seniors.”

At the moment, however, it’s not only seniors who are feeling the economic pinch. Although there are no concrete statistics, Marrett says the industry has been affected in the sense that people are being more selective and cautious about buying.

“I’m hopeful that as consumers feel more confident, they’ll go back to their purchasing practices,” she says. “I see a very strong, growing, vibrant, innovative industry that is responding to Canadians’ needs, Canadians who are seeking the best possible health for themselves and their loved ones.”

Help near and far

Walk into your corner natural health store and, guaranteed, most people have stories to tell about how their lives have been changed by some form of complementary alternative medicine.

Whether the changes are small or large, that’s where this industry’s heart shines. Whether the changes are made one-on-one or brought about through organized charity, it’s all about providing help.

In 2008 the Health First Network, Canada’s largest association of NHP retailers, raised more than $46,000 for Vitamin Angels. This organization fights malnutrition, a condition responsible for one-third of childhood mortality worldwide.

Their support extends to the violence-ravaged reaches of Third World countries where armed guerilla forces steal food from delivery trucks, but whether out of disinterest or divine design, they let vitamin supplies through.

Giving may be nothing new to the NHP industry, but the scope of this giving is an example of how the industry has evolved—and continues to evolve—for the better. H

When Michelle Hancock isn’t writing, she can often be found browsing the shelves of her local health food store in Vancouver, BC.

Source: alive #325, November 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Child diabetes blamed on food sweetener

Source:Times Online
Scientists have proved for the first time that a cheap form of sugar used in thousands of food products and soft drinks can damage human metabolism and is fuelling the obesity crisis.

Fructose, a sweetener derived from corn, can cause dangerous growths of fat cells around vital organs and is able to trigger the early stages of diabetes and heart disease.

It has increasingly been used as a substitute for more expensive types of sugar in yoghurts, cakes, salad dressing and cereals. Even some fruit drinks that sound healthy contain fructose.

Experts believe that the sweetener — which is found naturally in small quantities in fruit — could be a factor in the emergence of diabetes among children. This week, a new report is expected to claim that about one in 10 children in England will be obese by 2015.

Previous studies of the potentially adverse impact of fructose have focused on rats, but the first experiment involving humans has now revealed serious health concerns.

Over 10 weeks, 16 volunteers on a strictly controlled diet, including high levels of fructose, produced new fat cells around their heart, liver and other digestive organs. They also showed signs of food-processing abnormalities linked to diabetes and heart disease. Another group of volunteers on the same diet, but with glucose sugar replacing fructose, did not have these problems.

People in both groups put on a similar amount of weight. However, researchers at the University of California who conducted the trial, said the levels of weight gain among the fructose consumers would be greater over the long term.

Fructose bypasses the digestive process that breaks down other forms of sugar. It arrives intact in the liver where it causes a variety of abnormal reactions, including the disruption of mechanisms that instruct the body whether to burn or store fat.

“This is the first evidence we have that fructose increases diabetes and heart disease independently from causing simple weight gain,” said Kimber Stanhope, a molecular biologist who led the study. “We didn’t see any of these changes in the people eating glucose.”

Natural fructose represents 5%-10% of the weight of any fruit. Its use in processed foods stems from a discovery in 1971 that synthesised a 55% fructose and 45% glucose syrup from maize, creating an ingredient cheaper and six times sweeter than cane sugar.

High-fructose corn syrup, or glucose-fructose syrup, is listed as an ingredient in many food and drink products in Britain, although it is virtually impossible for consumers to know the quantity and ratio of fructose used. Barry Popkin, professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina, and a US government adviser on health policy, said: “Historically, we never consumed much sugar. We’re not built to process it. ”

Rejecting the California research, a spokesman for the Food and Drink Federation, a UK industry trade group, said: “It makes no sense to highlight one single ingredient as a cause of obesity.”

Monday, December 14, 2009

Aspartame is, by far, the most dangerous substance on the market that is added to foods.

Mercola | Dec. 13, 2009

Aspartame is the technical name for the brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. It was discovered by accident in 1965 when James Schlatter, a chemist of G.D. Searle Company, was testing an anti-ulcer drug.

Aspartame was approved for dry goods in 1981 and for carbonated beverages in 1983. It was originally approved for dry goods on July 26, 1974, but objections filed by neuroscience researcher Dr John W. Olney and Consumer attorney James Turner in August 1974 as well as investigations of G.D. Searle's research practices caused the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to put approval of aspartame on hold (December 5, 1974). In 1985, Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle and made Searle Pharmaceuticals and The NutraSweet Company separate subsidiaries.

Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death.(1) A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include: Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain.

According to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting of aspartame:(2) Brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, parkinson's disease, alzheimer's, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia, and diabetes.

Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. The book "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," by James and Phyllis Balch, lists aspartame under the category of "chemical poison." As you shall see, that is exactly what it is.

What Is Aspartame Made Of?

Aspartic Acid (40 percent of Aspartame)

Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, a professor of neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississippi, recently published a book thoroughly detailing the damage that is caused by the ingestion of excessive aspartic acid from aspartame. Blaylock makes use of almost 500 scientific references to show how excess free excitatory amino acids such as aspartic acid and glutamic acid (about 99 percent of monosodium glutamate (MSG) is glutamic acid) in our food supply are causing serious chronic neurological disorders and a myriad of other acute symptoms.(3)

How Aspartate (and Glutamate) Cause Damage

Aspartate and glutamate act as neurotransmitters in the brain by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much aspartate or glutamate in the brain kills certain neurons by allowing the influx of too much calcium into the cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells. The neural cell damage that can be caused by excessive aspartate and glutamate is why they are referred to as "excitotoxins." They "excite" or stimulate the neural cells to death.

Aspartic acid is an amino acid. Taken in its free form (unbound to proteins) it significantly raises the blood plasma level of aspartate and glutamate. The excess aspartate and glutamate in the blood plasma shortly after ingesting aspartame or products with free glutamic acid (glutamate precursor) leads to a high level of those neurotransmitters in certain areas of the brain.

The blood brain barrier (BBB), which normally protects the brain from excess glutamate and aspartate as well as toxins, 1) is not fully developed during childhood, 2) does not fully protect all areas of the brain, 3) is damaged by numerous chronic and acute conditions, and 4) allows seepage of excess glutamate and aspartate into the brain even when intact.

The excess glutamate and aspartate slowly begin to destroy neurons. The large majority (75 percent or more) of neural cells in a particular area of the brain are killed before any clinical symptoms of a chronic illness are noticed. A few of the many chronic illnesses that have been shown to be contributed to by long-term exposure to excitatory amino acid damage include:

* Multiple sclerosis (MS)
* Memory loss
* Hormonal problems
* Hearing loss
* Epilepsy
* Alzheimer's disease

* Parkinson's disease
* Hypoglycemia
* Dementia
* Brain lesions
* Neuroendocrine disorders

The risk to infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and persons with certain chronic health problems from excitotoxins are great. Even the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), which usually understates problems and mimics the FDA party-line, recently stated in a review that:

"It is prudent to avoid the use of dietary supplements of L-glutamic acid by pregnant women, infants, and children. The existence of evidence of potential endocrine responses, i.e., elevated cortisol and prolactin, and differential responses between males and females, would also suggest a neuroendocrine link and that supplemental L-glutamic acid should be avoided by women of childbearing age and individuals with affective disorders."(4)

Aspartic acid from aspartame has the same deleterious effects on the body as glutamic acid.

The exact mechanism of acute reactions to excess free glutamate and aspartate is currently being debated. As reported to the FDA, those reactions include:(5)

* Headaches/migraines
* Nausea
* Abdominal pains
* Fatigue (blocks sufficient glucose entry into brain)
* Sleep problems
* Vision problems
* Anxiety attacks
* Depression
* Asthma/chest tigShtness.

One common complaint of persons suffering from the effect of aspartame is memory loss. Ironically, in 1987, G.D. Searle, the manufacturer of aspartame, undertook a search for a drug to combat memory loss caused by excitatory amino acid damage. Blaylock is one of many scientists and physicians who are concerned about excitatory amino acid damage caused by ingestion of aspartame and MSG.

A few of the many experts who have spoken out against the damage being caused by aspartate and glutamate include Adrienne Samuels, Ph.D., an experimental psychologist specializing in research design. Another is Olney, a professor in the department of psychiatry, School of Medicine, Washington University, a neuroscientist and researcher, and one of the world's foremost authorities on excitotoxins. (He informed Searle in 1971 that aspartic acid caused holes in the brains of mice.)

Phenylalanine (50 percent of aspartame)

Phenylalanine is an amino acid normally found in the brain. Persons with the genetic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot metabolize phenylalanine. This leads to dangerously high levels of phenylalanine in the brain (sometimes lethal). It has been shown that ingesting aspartame, especially along with carbohydrates, can lead to excess levels of phenylalanine in the brain even in persons who do not have PKU.

This is not just a theory, as many people who have eaten large amounts of aspartame over a long period of time and do not have PKU have been shown to have excessive levels of phenylalanine in the blood. Excessive levels of phenylalanine in the brain can cause the levels of seratonin in the brain to decrease, leading to emotional disorders such as depression. It was shown in human testing that phenylalanine levels of the blood were increased significantly in human subjects who chronically used aspartame.(6)

Even a single use of aspartame raised the blood phenylalanine levels. In his testimony before the U.S. Congress, Dr. Louis J. Elsas showed that high blood phenylalanine can be concentrated in parts of the brain and is especially dangerous for infants and fetuses. He also showed that phenylalanine is metabolised much more effeciently by rodents than by humans.(7)

One account of a case of extremely high phenylalanine levels caused by aspartame was recently published the "Wednesday Journal" in an article titled "An Aspartame Nightmare." John Cook began drinking six to eight diet drinks every day. His symptoms started out as memory loss and frequent headaches. He began to crave more aspartame-sweetened drinks. His condition deteriorated so much that he experienced wide mood swings and violent rages. Even though he did not suffer from PKU, a blood test revealed a phenylalanine level of 80 mg/dl. He also showed abnormal brain function and brain damage. After he kicked his aspartame habit, his symptoms improved dramatically.(8)

As Blaylock points out in his book, early studies measuring phenylalanine buildup in the brain were flawed. Investigators who measured specific brain regions and not the average throughout the brain notice significant rises in phenylalanine levels. Specifically the hypothalamus, medulla oblongata, and corpus striatum areas of the brain had the largest increases in phenylalanine. Blaylock goes on to point out that excessive buildup of phenylalanine in the brain can cause schizophrenia or make one more susceptible to seizures.

Therefore, long-term, excessive use of aspartame may provid a boost to sales of seratonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac and drugs to control schizophrenia and seizures.

Methanol (aka wood alcohol/poison) (10 percent of aspartame)

Methanol/wood alcohol is a deadly poison. Some people may remember methanol as the poison that has caused some "skid row" alcoholics to end up blind or dead. Methanol is gradually released in the small intestine when the methyl group of aspartame encounter the enzyme chymotrypsin.

The absorption of methanol into the body is sped up considerably when free methanol is ingested. Free methanol is created from aspartame when it is heated to above 86 Fahrenheit (30 Centigrade). This would occur when aspartame-containing product is improperly stored or when it is heated (e.g., as part of a "food" product such as Jello).

Methanol breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde in the body. Formaldehyde is a deadly neurotoxin. An EPA assessment of methanol states that methanol "is considered a cumulative poison due to the low rate of excretion once it is absorbed. In the body, methanol is oxidized to formaldehyde and formic acid; both of these metabolites are toxic." They recommend a limit of consumption of 7.8 mg/day. A one-liter (approx. 1 quart) aspartame-sweetened beverage contains about 56 mg of methanol. Heavy users of aspartame-containing products consume as much as 250 mg of methanol daily or 32 times the EPA limit.(9)

Symptoms from methanol poisoning include headaches, ear buzzing, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, weakness, vertigo, chills, memory lapses, numbness and shooting pains in the extremities, behavioral disturbances, and neuritis. The most well known problems from methanol poisoning are vision problems including misty vision, progressive contraction of visual fields, blurring of vision, obscuration of vision, retinal damage, and blindness. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, causes retinal damage, interferes with DNA replication and causes birth defects.(10)

Due to the lack of a couple of key enzymes, humans are many times more sensitive to the toxic effects of methanol than animals. Therefore, tests of aspartame or methanol on animals do not accurately reflect the danger for humans. As pointed out by Dr. Woodrow C. Monte, director of the food science and nutrition laboratory at Arizona State University, "There are no human or mammalian studies to evaluate the possible mutagenic, teratogenic or carcinogenic effects of chronic administration of methyl alcohol."(11)

He was so concerned about the unresolved safety issues that he filed suit with the FDA requesting a hearing to address these issues. He asked the FDA to "slow down on this soft drink issue long enough to answer some of the important questions. It's not fair that you are leaving the full burden of proof on the few of us who are concerned and have such limited resources. You must remember that you are the American public's last defense. Once you allow usage (of aspartame) there is literally nothing I or my colleagues can do to reverse the course. Aspartame will then join saccharin, the sulfiting agents, and God knows how many other questionable compounds enjoined to insult the human constitution with governmental approval."(10) Shortly thereafter, the Commissioner of the FDA, Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr., approved the use of aspartame in carbonated beverages, he then left for a position with G.D. Searle's public relations firm.(11)

It has been pointed out that some fruit juices and alcoholic beverages contain small amounts of methanol. It is important to remember, however, that methanol never appears alone. In every case, ethanol is present, usually in much higher amounts. Ethanol is an antidote for methanol toxicity in humans.(9) The troops of Desert Storm were "treated" to large amounts of aspartame-sweetened beverages, which had been heated to over 86 degrees F in the Saudi Arabian sun. Many of them returned home with numerous disorders similar to what has been seen in persons who have been chemically poisoned by formaldehyde. The free methanol in the beverages may have been a contributing factor in these illnesses. Other breakdown products of aspartame such as DKP (discussed below) may also have been a factor.

In a 1993 act that can only be described as "unconscionable," the FDA approved aspartame as an ingredient in numerous food items that would always be heated to above 86 degree F (30 degree C).

Diketopiperazine (DKP)

DKP is a byproduct of aspartame metabolism. DKP has been implicated in the occurrence of brain tumors. Olney noticed that DKP, when nitrosated in the gut, produced a compound that was similar to N-nitrosourea, a powerful brain tumor causing chemical. Some authors have said that DKP is produced after aspartame ingestion. I am not sure if that is correct. It is definitely true that DKP is formed in liquid aspartame-containing products during prolonged storage.

G.D. Searle conducted animal experiments on the safety of DKP. The FDA found numerous experimental errors occurred, including "clerical errors, mixed-up animals, animals not getting drugs they were supposed to get, pathological specimens lost because of improper handling," and many other errors.(12) These sloppy laboratory procedures may explain why both the test and control animals had sixteen times more brain tumors than would be expected in experiments of this length.

In an ironic twist, shortly after these experimental errors were discovered, the FDA used guidelines recommended by G.D. Searle to develop the industry-wide FDA standards for good laboratory practices.(11)

DKP has also been implicated as a cause of uterine polyps and changes in blood cholesterol by FDA Toxicologist Dr. Jacqueline Verrett in her testimony before the U.S. Senate.(13)


(1) Department of Health and Human Services, Report on All Adverse Reactions in the Adverse Reaction Monitoring System, (February 25 and 28, 1994).
(2) Compiled by researchers, physicians, and artificial sweetner experts for Mission Possible, a group dedicated to warning consumers about aspartame.
(3) Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, by Russell L. Blaylock, M.D.
(4) Safety of Amino Acids, Life Sciences Research Office, FASEB, FDA Contract No. 223-88-2124, Task Order No. 8.
(5) FDA Adverse Reaction Monitoring System.
(6) Wurtman and Walker, "Dietary Phenylalanine and Brain Function," Proceedings of the First International Meeting on Dietary Phenylalanine and Brain Function., Washington, D.C., May 8, 1987.
(7) Hearing Before the Committee On Labor and Human Resources United States Senate, First Session on Examing the Health and Safety Concerns of Nutrasweet (Aspartame).
(8) Account of John Cook as published in Informed Consent Magazine. "How Safe Is Your Artificial Sweetner" by Barbara Mullarkey, September/October 1994.
(9) Woodrow C. Monte, Ph.D., R.D., "Aspartame: Methanol and the Public Health," Journal of Applied Nutrition, 36 (1): 42-53.
(10) US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, No. 84-1153 Community Nutrition Institute and Dr Woodrow Monte v. Dr Mark Novitch, Acting Commissioner, US FDA (9/24/85).
(11) Aspartame Time Line by Barbara Mullarkey as published in Informed Consent Magazine, May/June 1994.
(12) FDA Searle Investigation Task Force. "Final Report of Investigation of G.D. Searle Company." (March 24, 1976)
(13) Testimony of Dr Jacqueline Verrett, FDA Toxicologist before the US Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, (November 3, 1987).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Health eHome: How Healthy Is Your Home

TAKE a virtual stroll through the Health eHome for 30 minutes and visit each room in the house filled with everything you need to know about hidden toxins and their healthy alternatives.
Health eHome
Content is from an educational collaboration between WebMD Editorial and Healthy Child Healthy World


On A Budget-What Are The Most Important Things To Buy Organic

I was reading an article on healthychild.org about what items to buy if you can't afford to go 100% organic. The suggestions were to avoid the 'Dirty Dozen' which include peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, imported grapes, spinach, pears, lettuce, and potatoes.

The article also mentions buying organic meat and dairy to avoid eating animal products that may have been exposed to hormones or antibiotics.

The one thing this article doesn't mention is the importance of avoiding genetically modified foods. The four major crops that are GMO include corn, cottonseed, soy and now sugar beets. When buying condiments or processed foods, they will almost always have GMO ingredients.

I found a great selection at Zehr's and good prices too for things like peanut butter, jam, mayo, salad dressing, cereals, snacks for the kids lunches such as granola bars and other assorted baked snack goods.

My local butcher sells clean meat, eggs, cheese, local honey and baked goods which is not only good for my health but good for the local economy.

As much as I always try to cook using all natural ingredients and from scratch, there are times where an easy meal is necessary. The major food chains do carry some organic meals, such as Amy's frozen pizza or burritos. Add a salad and you have a quick organic meal.

When on a budget it is possible to eat organic and natural foods. It just takes a bit of research and prioritizing.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Million Baby Crawl For Toxic Chemical Policy Reform

Support Seventh Generations virtual rally to raise awareness about toxic chemicals in household items.

Close friend of agriculture chief now a Monsanto lobbyist

By: Timothy P. Carney
Examiner Columnist
December 2, 2009

Jerry Crawford, an Iowa lawyer and lobbyist with deep ties to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, recently registered as the Washington representative for Monsanto, a biotechnology and agrichemical giant that embodies the "special interests" President Obama planned to drive from the temple of federal government.

The Des Moines Register calls Crawford a "well-connected, high-profile Des Moines lawyer" and "Democratic power broker."

Examine his record, and you see what the paper means. Crawford was once chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party. He was the Iowa chairman for the presidential campaigns of Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry. In 2008, he was Hillary Clinton's Midwest campaign chairman.

Of greater significance today, he is also a "longtime Vilsack friend and adviser," a "Vilsack ally," a "top Vilsack insider," and "a guru for and a big friend of Gov. Tom Vilsack," according to the Register.

In 1998, Crawford got in near the ground floor of Vilsack's rise in politics, putting his reputation and wealth behind the long shot gubernatorial candidate. Crawford hosted at least one fundraiser for Vilsack that year, which netted $23,000.

Questions arose early in Vilsack's tenure about conflicts regarding Crawford's work as a lobbyist and his closeness to Vilsack. A 1999 Register article reported that Vilsack, before firing members of the gambling commission disliked by the casinos, had raised $17,000 from gambling interests. "Most of the $17,000 Vilsack received came from Jerry Crawford, a lawyer for the Iowa Greyhound Association," the article reported.

At play here is not likely a quid pro quo or bribery, but just a close friendship: Crawford donates to his friend's campaign, and Vilsack takes his friend's calls on state issues. But this chumminess is exactly how special interest politics works. And the chumminess runs deep.

In 2001, as Vilsack ran for re-election, Crawford was Vilsack's top individual donor, giving him $31,000. When Vilsack traveled the Midwest stumping for Kerry in 2004, Crawford was one of Gov. Vilsack's two travel mates, according to CNN.

So, Sen. Kerry, Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary Vilsack are all tight with Crawford. And Vilsack and Hillary Clinton, Crawford told me, are "good friends, and have been for a long, long time."

Although Obama was Crawford's third choice in 2008 (after Vilsack and then Clinton), Crawford still ponied up a $10,000 check for the Obama Victory Fund last August. This contribution didn't violate Obama's no-lobbyist-cash pledge because Crawford was lobbying only state government (with Monsanto as a client), not the federal government.

But now Crawford has registered to represent Monsanto in Washington on "Competition/antitrust issues within the agricultural industry; environmental laws, regulations and policies related to the agricultural industry," according to a Nov. 10 filing. Monsanto is a multinational corporation most famous for its genetically modified seeds and for its herbicide Roundup. The company is also a leading member of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, which in 2001 named Vilsack governor of the year.

This situation -- the agriculture secretary's top fundraiser, top donor and longtime confidant serving as a Monsanto lobbyist -- would seem to create an awkward situation for the Obama administration given the president's pledges to crush lobbyist influence. Crawford tells me he hasn't met with anyone yet on Monsanto's behalf. I called and e-mailed Vilsack's office Monday asking if he would meet with Crawford in the future if Crawford requested a meeting. By Tuesday evening, Vilsack's office hadn't responded.

Monsanto's lobbying army already has made an incursion into the Obama administration. The top food safety adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services is Michael Taylor, Monsanto's former vice president for government affairs. As I reported in my column on Friday, Obama has nominated Isi Siddiqui to be his agriculture trade representative; Siddiqui is the vice president for regulatory affairs and a former lobbyist at CropLife America, which is a pro-pesticide lobbying coalition of which Monsanto is a prominent member.

Monsanto, lying at the intersection of agriculture and biotechnology, is deeply dependent on government favor. The company stands to benefit from the House's global warming bill, which subsidizes biofuels and gives carbon credits to farmers who control weeds with herbicides rather than tilling the ground. Also, the company constantly fights to ward off new regulations on pesticides and genetically modified food.

Monsanto is a poster boy for special interests and is a favorite target of the environmental Left. With Secretary Vilsack's fundraiser, donor and confidant carrying its flag, Monsanto figures to have even more clout in Washington.

Timothy P. Carney, The Examiner's lobbying editor, can be reached at tcarney@washingtonexaminer.com. He writes an op-ed column that appears on Friday.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The 6 Weirdest, Scariest Processed Foods

By Brad Reed | Alternet | Dec. 6, 2009

Once upon a time, some brave scientists had a noble dream of ridding our food of the plague of nutrients.

Today, at the start of the 21st century, the miracle of food processing has brought that dream closer to reality than ever before. From vitamin-free "blueberry bits" to spray-can cheese to avocado-free guacamole, food scientists have worked tirelessly to bring us new and exciting foods that contain as little nutrition as possible. Even apparently "healthy" foods such as soups have been ingeniously overloaded with so much salt you feel as if you’re eating French fries.

In this article, we’ll provide a handy guide to six uniquely unnatural processed foods that will hopefully serve as a blueprint for humanity’s eventual triumph over the tyrannical fist of Mother Nature.

1. Spray-Can 'Easy Cheese'

Dipping a butter knife into a tub of cheese spread and putting it on a cracker takes a lot of time and effort. Thankfully for all of us, the wizards at Kraft have developed a product that ensures we’ll never again run the risk of hurting our wrists trying to spread processed cheese. Kraft’s Easy Cheese cans combine the soulless tastelessness of its cheese products with the convenience and simplicity of whipped cream cans.

The most interesting aspect of Easy Cheese is its remarkable consistency. Normally, cheese comes in a solid state when kept at room temperature and only becomes liquid when melted at high temperatures. Easy Cheese, on the other hand, has a Goldilocks-like "not too solid, not too viscous" quality that makes it easy to spread on food without having it drip on your clothing.

According to an exposé in Wired magazine, Easy Cheese achieves this amazing texture by containing lots of unhealthy crap, such as the stain-removing chemical trisodium phosphate and a healthy dose of canola oil that keeps the cheese from solidifying. Oh, and they also load Easy Cheese with about twice the amount of salt you'd normally find in natural cheddar cheese.

But the best ingredient in Easy Cheese is calcium phosphate, which is used as a calcium supplement. "But wait," you say. "Why does a cheese product need calcium added artificially?" Well, as Wired speculates, the sodium phosphate could actually negate the calcium in the natural cheese. Thus, Kraft had to put in an additive that would make up for the calcium that's taken away through food processing. Genius!

2. Oreo Cookie Death Filling

It’s rare to encounter a food that makes you say, "If only this were as healthy as frosting!" And yet, the filling in Oreo cookies manages to accomplish just that.

You see, typical frosting is made mostly from butter, milk, sugar and vanilla extract. No one will ever accuse it of being good for you, but at least you're eating fairly natural fats. Oreo stuffing, on the other hand, is basically sugar-flavored Crisco. Seriously, that’s what you’re consuming when you eat an Oreo.

Oreos' death filling is so bad it even inspired an ill-fated lawsuit in California a few years back that tried to stop the sale of Oreos to children. While the suit was eventually dropped, it did introduce trans fats to the public consciousness and helped spearhead the campaign to make food companies indicate on their labels whether their products contained any trans fats, so it wasn’t a total waste.

That said, I think the best way to stop people from eating Oreos wouldn’t be to ban them outright but to force Kraft to rebrand them to reflect their actual ingredients. So let’s say you mandate that Kraft label its cookies "Criscoroes" and have the package depict a kid gorging himself in a tub of vegetable shortening. Yum!

3. Condensed Soups

Ah, soup. It’s the food mom used to feed us when we were sick. Every child has fond memories of being nursed back to health by sipping at the warm, nutritious broth of chicken noodle soup. Of course, mom probably didn’t realize at the time that she was setting you up for a future of high blood pressure and kidney failure. Because if she fed you condensed soup from a can, she was loading your young body up with insanely high amounts of sodium.

How insanely high, you ask? Well, consider that a mere half-cup of Campbell’s Vegetable Soup contains a heart-stopping 890 mg of sodium, or roughly 37 percent of your daily recommended sodium intake. But wait, there’s more! The typical Campbell’s soup can contains one-and-a-half cups of soup, meaning that one can of soup contains more than 90 percent of your daily recommended sodium intake.

To be fair to Campbell’s, it does have a "Healthy Request" brand of soup that contains roughly half the salt of Campbell's other soups. Still, one of soup’s supposed key virtues is that it isn’t a cheeseburger. In other words, when you buy a bowl of soup you shouldn’t have to "request" a healthy version of it.

4. Spam

Spam was really a major miracle of food science, as it solved a mystery that humanity had been trying for centuries to figure out: namely, how to make meat-flavored Jell-O. Developed in the 1930s, Spam is derived primarily from pork shoulder meat (seriously) and combined with water, sugar, sodium nitrate (of course) and copious amounts of salt. The result is a meat-like goo that derives 80 percent of its calories from fat and that delivers a whopping 790 mg of sodium per two-ounce serving.

Spam first hit the big-time during World War II when its highly preserved state made it the ideal food to feed to our protein-needy soldiers fighting over in Europe. Now there's a fine tribute to our fighting boys! Thanks for risking your butts against the Nazis, fellas, now here’s a mound of pork slime! When you think about it, it’s remarkable that more of our troops didn’t defect to the German army, which assuredly would have offered them generous helpings of bratwurst, knockwurst and schweineschnitzel in exchange for changing sides. The fact that Americans bravely suffered through Spam prior to fighting the Battle of the Bulge adds yet another heroic chapter to the Greatest Generation’s legacy.

5. Artificially Flavored Blueberry Bits

Frozen waffles are fairly non-nutritious. Indeed, the only real way to get any sort of vitamins in your waffles each morning is to buy blueberry waffles that contain….

But, hang on! It turns out those aren’t blueberries at all! They’re more like…well, just what are they? An apt description would be "purple globs of sugary goo," but they’re actually called "artificially flavored blueberry bits." Their ingredients include sugar, dextrose, soybean oil, soy protein, salt, citric acid, cellulose gum, artificial flavor, malic acid, Red 40 Lake, Blue 2 Lake and…that’s it. Notice anything missing? Oh yeah: blueberries!

For a long time, companies such as Aunt Jemima parent Pinnacle Foods were able to get away with implying that these little unfruity lumps were actual blueberries, as the box for Aunt Jemima’s blueberry waffles had pictures of actual blueberries strewn across it. But the threat of a lawsuit from Center for Science in the Public Interest made Pinnacle decide to tell people that their waffles didn’t contain any actual blueberries.

What makes the development of fake blueberries so exciting is the number of possibilities it opens up for other fake fruits. Picture artificial strawberry strips, made mostly of bacon and high-fructose corn syrup. Or perhaps artificial melon mounds made of solidified vegetable oil and dextrose monohydrate. Or the coup de grace, artificial artificial blueberry bits, made with NutraSweet and artificial soy protein. Not one natural ingredient, baby!

Kraft’s Avocado-Free Guacamole

This right here may be the pinnacle of processed food magic. Kraft has managed to make a food product without an actual main ingredient, akin to tomato-free tomato sauce or potato-free baked potato. Yes, there are no avocados in Kraft’s guacamole. Then what is it made of, you ask? How about some modified food starch, coconut and soybean oils, corn syrup, food coloring…in other words, you’re eating green-colored oil.

As with a lot of phony processed foods, the avocado-free guacamole compelled somebody to sue the product’s manufacturer for false advertising. In this case, California resident Brenda Lifsey got upset because she thought Kraft’s guacamole "didn’t taste avocadoey." She then looked at the ingredients, and lo and behold, "there was almost no avocado in it."

Kraft’s response to Lifsey’s lawsuit was a masterwork of poor corporate spin, as a company spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times, "We think customers understand that it isn't made from avocado." Well actually, no. Customers tend to buy guacamole with the understanding that it will be made from, oh, I don’t know, avocados. This is akin to a Viagra spokesperson saying, "We think customers understand that our pills won’t really give them erections."

For the record, Kraft is no longer selling congealed green oil as "guacamole" but rather as "guacamole-flavored dip." It’s an improvement, I suppose, though I think somebody should file a suit against Kraft that prevents the company from ever again describing its products as "foods."

Pregnant Women¹s Bodies Polluted With Chemicals Found In Consumer Products

Press Release
* Trillium Organics
Straight to the Source

[Editor's Note: Be sure to check out the study referenced below.]

The "Earliest Exposures" study, a research project conducted by Washington Toxics Coalition in collaboration with the Commonweal Biomonitoring Resource Center and the Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition found pregnant women's bodies were polluted with chemicals found in consumer products. This first-of-its kind study investigated the living environment of nine fetuses through testing the blood and urine of the nine mothers taking part in the biomonitoring study. Tests measured the levels of five chemical groups, including phthalates, mercury, perfluorinated compounds or "Teflon chemicals," bisphenol A (BPA), and the flame retardant tetrabromobisphenol A.

The women, all in their second trimester, were all found to have BPA, phthalates, mercury, and "Teflon chemicals" in their bodies. Cause for concern is that these toxic chemicals, known to disrupt development and hormonal systems cross the placenta and are absorbed by the fetus. They not only hinder fetal development, but the growing fetus has limited ability to detoxify these foreign substances.

Of the more than 80,000 chemicals found in consumer products today, only approximately 200 have been tested for safety since the inception of The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976. Until more strict regulations govern the use of ingredients in consumer products, consumers can take an active role in lowering their toxic exposure. Start by purchasing Phthalate and BPA free products, switching from flame retardant clothing and bedding to organic, and substituting conventional body care for third-party certified organic body care.

Karen Ciesar, Founder and Formulator of Trillium Organics states, "I am sadly not surprised at these findings. The pervasiveness of petrochemicals in the modern world makes avoiding exposures a task which requires research and vigilance. Luckily, there are many non-profit organizations dedicated to informing consumers, some of my favorites are; SafeCosmetics.org (searchable database of cosmetic safety), Healthystuff.org (searchable database of family product safety), HealthychildHealthyworld.org, a comprehensive and informative site about environmental exposures, OrganicConsumers.org (an activist website about all issues surrounding Organic, food, personal care and fibers). It takes some time and effort to find safe products for your family, but every green purchasing choice you make increases your child's chance at a healthy future in a greener world."

Trillium Organics has recently been endorsed by the Organic Consumers' Association as a "brand to trust" in their recent BUYcott campaign. Trillium Organics has been a leader in the movement for clean, safe personal care since 1994.

For further information


Heather LaVine
Trillium Herbal Company, Inc.
185 E. Walnut Street
Sturgeon Bay , WI 54235
Ph: 920-746-5207

Sunday, December 6, 2009

All Natural Homemade Spa Treatments

"If you wouldn't eat it, don't wear it or use it on your skin."

Just two of the many awesome all natural home beauty recipes by Spa Index. For more recipes see:http://www.spaindex.com/HomeSpa/HomeSpa.htm


Ginger invigorates, and oil soothes. Try this double dose for dry skin.

2-inch piece of fresh ginger
2 teaspoons light sesame oil
2 teaspoons apricot kernel oil
2 teaspoons vitamin E oil
½ cup cocoa butter

Preheat oven on lowest setting. Finely grate the ginger just enough so that you have about an 1/8 teaspoon of ginger "juice." To obtain the juice, squeeze the freshly grated ginger over a small bowl. Place the ingredients (including the ginger) in a glass container and heat just until the cocoa butter is melted and the oils are blended. Pour into a clean, dry container and store in a cool dry place. You can add a few drops of orange or other essential oil for a nice twist.

Strip it Off! Pore Cleaning Strips
This recipe makes a pore cleaning "strip" which works similarly to those sold in popular drugstores.

1 T Knox unflavored gelatin
1-1/2 T milk

Mix two ingredients and microwave for 10 seconds to slightly warm. Using a clean cosmetic brush, apply to nose and chin area. Avoid delicate eye area. Rinse brush immediately. Allow mixture on nose and chin to dry for 10-15 minutes. Mixture will dry quite stiff and form a "stiff film." Peel off the film and stare at all the little porcupine quills that used to be in your nose pores (one of the chief entertainment factors with B'Strips!).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Campbell's Soup BPA levels 'unsafe'

Some of the soup made by iconic manufacturer Campbell's has been found to contain higher Bisphenol A (BPA) levels than US federal guidelines deem as safe.

The brand, which was given instant kudos when it was immortalised by artist Andy Warhol, is under pressure to look at chemicals used in the soup's production.

A test of canned soups in the December issue of Consumer Reports found levels of the chemical BPA in brands such as Campbell's and Progresso were double the limit set by federal guidelines.

BPA is used in clear plastic bottles and food-can liners.

It has been restricted in Canada and some US states because of potential health effects which has prompted the Food and Drug Administration to look at what it thinks are safe levels of exposure to it.

The highest levels of BPA in the study were found in the canned green beans and canned soup.

Canned Del Monte Fresh Cut Green Beans Blue Lake had the highest BPA levels for a single sample.


Why organic cotton tampons?

I've been in a slow but steady switch to organic over the past few years and have been considering feminine hygiene products to be my next switch. I finally looked into it and found the following product online. It lists $8.00 for a box of 16 tampons and $4.95-$5.95 for pads. Cheaper then I expected. And the blurb on Dioxin below makes that extra three or so dollars spent every month worth it.

Natracare tampons were developed as a direct response to health and environmental concerns about dioxin pollution caused by chlorine bleaching, the extensive use of pesticide spraying on conventionally grown cotton, and the use of rayon and other synthetics in tampons.

Many women are unaware that rayon and rayon-cotton blends are widely used in the manufacture of tampons. Rayon is commonly chlorine-bleached, and is a highly absorbent fibre. Dioxin, a toxic carcinogen, is a by-product of all chlorine bleaching methods and is also found throughout the environment in varying levels as a by-product of pesticide spraying and pollution from incinerators. Dioxin has been found to collect in the fatty tissues of animals, including humans and should, therefore, be a real concern for women. Published scientific reports have shown that evidence is growing that even low levels of dioxins may be linked to cancer, endometriosis, low sperm counts and immune system suppression. Considering a woman may use as many as 11,000 tampons in her lifetime, she may be subjecting herself to additional dioxin exposure.

Natracare tampons are made from only certified organic 100% cotton and are the only fully certified organic cotton tampons available in the world today. They are non-chlorine bleached and women can be reassured that they do not contain synthetic materials, such as rayon, or chemical additives such as binders or surfactants. Certified organic cotton removes the risk of direct exposure to residues from chemical pesticides and fertilisers used on traditional cotton.
The site where these products are listed:


(I will probably visit my local health food store and purchase any items from them. I just included the link for those who are comfortable with online shopping or those who like to see what products are out there.)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Scientist Jeopardizes Career by Publishing Paper Criticizing GMOs

* By Ken Roseboro, ed.
The Organic and Non-GMO Report, November 2009
Straight to the Source

To Subscribe to the Non-GMO Report call 1-800-854-0586 or visit http://www.non-gmoreport.com/

Agro-ecologist Don Lotter published a paper titled "The Genetic Engineering of Food and the Failure of Science" in the 2009 edition of the peer-reviewed International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food.

The paper makes a damning case against genetically modified foods, saying the technology is based on obsolete science, that biotechnology companies such as Monsanto have too much influence on government regulators and "public" universities, and that university scientists are ignoring the health and environmental risks of GM crops. Lotter calls the introduction of GM foods the "largest diet experiment in history."

Lotter has a Ph.D. in agro-ecology from the University of California, Davis, and a master of professional studies in international agricultural and rural development from Cornell University. He has taught environmental science, soil science, plant science, entomology, and vegetable crop production for Santa Monica College, Imperial Valley College, and UC-Davis.

Lotter does not have a tenured position and is currently working on an agricultural project in Tanzania. He half-jokingly describes his paper as "career destroying" because he says it will be difficult to find a position at a US university due to the general recognition at most US universities that GM foods are safe and will help "feed the world."

If you thought publishing the paper would jeopardize your prospects for finding a position, why did you write the paper?

DL: I'm proud of the paper. This topic should be taught at universities. There is an enormous gap in public knowledge about this issue.

The science of genetic engineering is based on the one gene-one protein doctrine. Please describe this and why you think it is flawed.

DL: When they discovered the technology there was a simplified view that genes were in charge of the production of proteins. It is the entire basis for going forward with genetic engineering technology.

Then the Human Genome Project showed that humans have fewer genes than simple organisms, but we also have one to two million proteins. This discovery put an end to the one gene-one protein doctrine.

But by then there had been a massive investment in transgenics. The industry moved ahead with all their PR of "feeding the world" without any scientific basis for their technology. The doctrine has crumbled away, yet the industry has gone on.

In your paper you say that the process of genetically engineering foods is also deeply flawed. Can you give some examples of why that is the case?

DL: The promoter gene used in genetically engineered crops, the cauliflower mosaic virus, is a powerful promoter of inter-species gene exchange. Scientists thought it would be denatured in our digestive system, but it's not. It has been shown to promote the transfer of transgenes from GM foods to the bacteria within our digestive system, which are responsible for 80% of our immune system function; they are enormously important. This is a huge flaw, but not even the biggest in crop transgenics.

The process of splicing genes into plant genomes, transgenics, causes serious genetic damage-mutations, multiple copies of the transgenic DNA, gene silencing. The ramifications of this damage, incredibly, have never been elucidated or even explored for that matter.

Do you think the increase in food allergies we are seeing may be due to GM foods?

DL: Yes, there is evidence pointing to it. The industry is powerful enough to stop any labeling legislation. Without labeling they can't track these problems. We know that after the introduction of GM soy in Britain, there was an increase of soy allergies there.

In your paper, you write that the lack of oversight of GM foods has been a major failure of US science leadership. What makes you believe this?

DL: In the early 1980s, the biotech companies were successful in getting to oversee the regulation of GM foods. The scientific community should have stepped in, and said this is a radical technology, but it didn't.

There has also been a restructuring of the relationship between industry and universities. The Bayh-Dole Act (which gives universities intellectual property control of their inventions) made universities more dependent on industry.

Universities saw transgenics as a big money source, and scientists who objected were harassed or pushed out.

Do you think any US university would fund studies on GM food safety?

DL: No, they are not doing that. Anyone who tries to conduct research looking at GM food safety is given trouble.

Universities should have a mandate to find problems with GM foods.

We need federal money to look at non-proprietary solutions, such as organic farming systems, to the world's problems, and we should see whether proprietary approaches (i.e. GM foods) cause problems.

Unfortunately, non-proprietary solutions don't get funding.

We can show that organic farming systems promote drought resistance; the Rodale Institute did this research. But if a GM crop had been found to resist drought, there would have been major news headlines saying that it will save the world.

Is the safety of GM food considered a given at US universities?

DL: Absolutely. The debate is not there. US scientists have abdicated their responsibility on this issue. They know problems exist but they don't want to talk about them. Most scientists say we need GM foods to feed the world.

Some social scientists are saying there are problems (with GM foods).

I think undergraduate groups will bring the debate over GM foods to universities.

What type of agricultural approaches do you think will solve the world's food production challenges?

DL: The IAASTD (International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development) report said that we can produce food using agro-ecological methods and successful green revolution methods. The report didn't include transgenics.

The report was signed by 60 countries, but the US didn't sign it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Scientists 'grow' meat in laboratory

The move towards artificially engineered foods has taken a step forward after scientists grew a form of meat in a laboratory for the first time.

Researchers in the Netherlands have created what was described as soggy pork and are now investigating ways to improve the muscle tissue in the hope that people will one day want to eat it.

No one has yet tasted the product, but it is believed the artificial meat could be on sale within five years.

Vegetarian groups welcomed the news, saying there was “no ethical objection” if meat was not a piece of a dead animal.

Mark Post, professor of physiology at Eindhoven University, said: “What we have at the moment is rather like wasted muscle tissue. We need to find ways of improving it by training it and stretching it, but we will get there.

“This product will be good for the environment and will reduce animal suffering. If it feels and tastes like meat, people will buy it.

“You could take the meat from one animal and create the volume of meat previously provided by a million animals.”

The scientists extracted cells from the muscle of a live pig and then put them in a broth of other animal products. The cells then multiplied and created muscle tissue. They believe that it can be turned into something like steak if they can find a way to artificially "exercise" the muscle.

The project is backed by the Dutch government and a sausage maker and comes following the creation of artificial fish fillets from goldfish muscle cells.

Meat produced in a laboratory could reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with real animals.

Meat and dairy consumption is predicted to double by 2050 and methane from livestock is said to currently produce about 18 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gases.

It was supported by animal rights campaigners. A spokesman for Peta said: “As far as we’re concerned, if meat is no longer a piece of a dead animal there’s no ethical objection.”

However the Vegetarian Society said: “The big question is how could you guarantee you were eating artificial flesh rather than flesh from an animal that had been slaughtered.

“It would be very difficult to label and identify in a way that people would trust.”

The advent of meat grown for consumers could reduce the billions of tons of greenhouse gases emitted each year by farm animals and help meet the United Nation’s predictions that meat and dairy consumption will double by 2050.

However, the latest breakthrough is certain to cause concern amongst the anti-GM lobby.

Last week Prince Charles, a fierce opponent of GM food, warned that people were creating problems by “treating food as an easy commodity rather than a precious gift from nature”.

His comments came as the results of a survey commissioned by the Food Standards Agency revealed concerns about long-term health and environmental impacts of genetically modified products.

It showed shoppers want to be told when meat and milk from cows is genetically modified through clear labelling.

GM supporters say they are aware of risks associated with "engineered" food but believe it benefits the Third World.

Nick Britten
The Telegraph

Saturday, November 28, 2009

How To Read Food Labels-Including UPC Codes on Produce-Tell The Difference Between Organic and GMO

The ingredients on food labels are the most important items you will read on a product. Some are so small you can barely read without glasses.

Reading labels are confusing and very misleading. It’s no wonder most people don’t read the small print. Most people don't read food labels, just the large front labels, exactly what manufacturing and food industry wants you to read.

Here are just some examples of what you see on the front labels: fortified with calcium, nutritional, help reduces cholesterol, no fat, low sodium, no artificial coloring and the list goes on.

You need to understand and interpret these ingredients and nutrition information on food labels before going shopping. You need to know if the products have any added ingredients such as Food Additives.If the list of ingredients is long, the product will have no doubt food additives in the product, and you're risking your health by eating it. When you read a label and see “spices”, “no artificial ingredients”, “no preservatives”, “all natural ingredients” and “real fruit flavors” -- BEWARE!!

Statements like this DO NOT mean there are no harmful ingredients in the product. The manufacturer hopes you'll think there are no harmful ingredients, but as you will see from the following example, it's not true.

Soup example: A well-known soup company has these ingredients in their chicken noodle soup. I typed this right off the label:

Chicken Stock, cooked chicken meat, carrots, enriched egg noodles (wheat flour, egg white solids, whole egg solids, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), celery, water, contains less than 2% of the following ingredients: Modified wheat starch, salt, chicken fat, monosodium glutamate (MSG), modified food starch, sugar, soy protein concentrate, onion powder, flavoring, sodium phosphates, spice extract, dehydrated parsley, chicken flavor (contains chicken stock, chicken powder, chicken fat), dehydrated garlic, spice, beta carotene for color.

Phew!!! 3 mins later.

Here is my chicken noodle soup:

* Organic chicken breast
* Organic Carrots
* Organic Celery
* Onion
* Oregano
* Basil
* Pepper
* Sea Salt
* Whole Wheat Extra Wide Noodles

My ingredients in my soup took only 30 seconds to type and the ingredients of the can soup took over 3 mins.
This soup label has a long list of unwanted food additives, that don’t belong in your soup. Here are few explanations of some of the ingredients in this soup:

* Thiamine mononitrate (synthetic Vit. B1) – false sense of nutritional value
* MSG – flavor enhancer
* Modified food starch – a thickening agent
* Soy protein concentrate – a filler
* Sodium phosphates - buffer

Here is another example of food labels:

In this pizza, the list shows that the two biggest ingredients are wheat flour and water. For the other main ingredients, the company gives a percentage (%). The product is 7% tomato, 6% cheese, 5% ham, 5% Pepperoni, 4% Monterey Jack cheese, 3% spicy beef and 2% bacon.

Percentages can sometimes be quite hard to imagine. So here's what they look like in a picture. The long orange rectangle represents all the ingredients in the pizza (the full 100%). The colored bars on the left show you the proportion of the total pizza made up by each type of meat - ham is 5%, Pepperoni is 4%, beef is 3% and bacon is 2%.

UPC Codes on Produce

Do you know what it all means?
Have you ever notice the food labels on your produce – fruit and vegetables? Produce now carry a sticker called “price look-up codes (PLUs). This tells the clerk the price, but not only that, it can help YOU. These stickers tell you how fruits and vegetables were grown. There are more than 1,300 PLU codes currently assigned to produce. Here is what they mean:

You would have either a 4 or 5 digit codes. Below is a chart that will help you identify how produce is grown.

5 digits
Starting w/ no. 9

4 digits
Starting w/ no. 3 or 4

Genetically Modified
5 digits
Starting w/ no. 8

i.e. A conventionally grown banana has a PLU of 4011, an organic banana is 94011 and GM banana is 84011.

To see a database of PLU codes, go to www.plucodes.com,

The Healthy Eating Guide

Also, check out our friends at The Healthy Eating Guide for more information on how to read food labels, and also some great easy healthy recipes and other healthy eating guidelines and tips.

As you look for healthier foods, you can easily find the right products just by reading nutrition food labels. Here is a summary of reading a nutrition fact label.

* A serving size is a measured amount of food or drink, such as 2 to 3 ounces of meat or 1 cup of milk.

* Serving sizes are standardized so that nutrient levels in each serving are comparable. Consumers and dietitians may use serving sizes to determine how much of the recommended daily levels of certain substances (vitamins, minerals, fats, calories, cholesterol) a particular food represents.

* Serving sizes may vary depending on how certain foods are prepared (e.g., raw, cooked, canned).

* Serving sizes should not be confused with portion sizes or helpings of food, which are the amounts of food typically served or eaten during a meal or snack.

* Portions can vary from meal to meal or person to person. Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, serving sizes are usually much smaller than portion sizes.

* Most foods are sold and consumed in larger portions than is recommended by government standards. For example, the average bagel consists of two serving sizes, pasta is almost five servings and a steak may be two and a quarter servings.

Source and read more:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Article in the Mail Online says'Healthy' School Lunchs Have as much Sugar as 10 Donuts

Interested, as I pack school lunches 5 days out of the week, I wanted to know what 'seemingly healthy' choices were duping me into thinking they were good for my kids but in reality laden with sugar. As I read the Mail's article I realized that my definition of healthy and the consumer watchdog surveyor are very different.

The five items in the snapshot include Robinson's Fruit Shoot orange juice. If a 'consumer watchdog' can't differentiate between fruit juice and fruit drink, we are all in trouble nutritionally. Second, the fruit strings, which I will assume as equivalent to our fruit rollups and not considered a fruit source in my books. In my books fruit strings or rollups are considered candy.
The third item I had to google because I didn't have a clue as to what a Munch Bunch Double Up fromage frais was. Again, the food item is not even close to a healthy choice just because the packaging says 'calcium' on it.

The writer of this article calls the Dairylea Lunchables Ham 'n' Cheese Crackers the saviour of the choices. With a chemical ingredients list as long as my arm, I don't see it as a health saviour at all.
And finally the last sample item, Kellogg's Frosties cereal bars. Kellogg's says it's a healthy choice because it's a low fat alternative to chocolate.
I think I'll stick to my definition of 'seemingly healthy.'
My snapshot lunch: 100% pure apple juice (Oasis), One organic yogurt, One container filled with cut up kiwi and strawberries, One whole wheat bagel with organic cream cheese, One container of cut up cucumbers with ranch dressing dip.

Read the article here: