Friday, April 16, 2010

Russia says genetically modified foods are harmful

Apr 16, 2010 17:26 Moscow Time
Vegetables. ©

Russia has started the annual Days of Defence against Environmental Hazards from the 15th of April to the 5th of June with the announcement of sensational results of an independent work of research. Scientists have proved that Genetically Modified Organisms are harmful for mammals. The researchers discovered that animals that eat GM foodstuffs lose their ability to reproduce. Campbell hamsters that have a fast reproduction rate were fed for two years with ordinary soya beans, which are widely used in agriculture and those contain different percentages of GM organisms. Another group of hamsters, the control group, was fed with pure soya, which was found with great difficulty in Serbia because 95 percent of soya in the world is transgenic.

Concerning the experiment carried out jointly by the National Association for Gene Security and the Institute of Ecological and Evolutional Problems, Dr. Alexei Surov has this to say. “We selected several groups of hamsters, kept them in pairs in cells and gave them ordinary food as always,” says Alexei Surov. “We did not add anything for one group but the other was fed with soya that contained no GM components, while the third group with some content of Genetically Modified Organisms and the fourth one with increased amount of GMO. We monitored their behavior and how they gain weight and when they give birth to their cubs. Originally, everything went smoothly. However, we noticed quite a serious effect when we selected new pairs from their cubs and continued to feed them as before. These pairs’ growth rate was slower and reached their sexual maturity slowly. When we got some of their cubs we formed the new pairs of the third generation. We failed to get cubs from these pairs, which were fed with GM foodstuffs. It was proved that these pairs lost their ability to give birth to their cubs,” Dr. Alexei Surov said.

Another surprise was discovered by scientists in hamsters of the third generation. Hair grew in the mouth of the animals that took part in the experiment. It’s unclear why this happened. The researchers cannot understand why a programme of destruction is launched when animals take GMO foodstuffs. They say that this can be neutralized only by stopping to eat these foods. Consequently, scientists suggest imposing a ban on the use of GM foods until they are tested for their bio-security. The results of Russian scientists coincide with those of their colleagues from France and Austria. For one, when scientist proved that GM maize was harmful for mammals, France banned immediately its production and sale. The scientists who carried out the experiment say that it’s too early to make far-reaching conclusions about the health hazards of the GMO. They insist that there is a need to carry out comprehensive research. They suggest implementing the project, “Safety Gene Technology” at the innovation centre, “Skolkovo” which is being set up near Moscow.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shocking Sugar Content of Common Food Products

By: Dr.Mercola

This Summer Tomato blog offers many eye-opening facts on the sugar content of common foods.

She writes:

"Refined sugars and high-fructose corn syrup are considered by many experts to be the biggest contributors to obesity and poor health in Western civilization.

In her book What To Eat, Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at NYU, suggests that any food that contains more than 15 grams of sugar per serving is closer to dessert than anything else."

Here is a partial list of the foods Summer Tomato posted:


Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut -- 10 grams

Ben & Jerry’s vanilla ice cream -- 16 grams

Starbucks caffè latte grande (16 oz) -- 17 grams

Subway 6″ sweet onion teriyaki chicken sandwich -- 17 grams

Yoplait original yogurt -- 27 grams

Vitamin Water (20 oz bottle) -- 33 g

Oscar Mayer Lunchables crackers, turkey & American cheese -- 36 grams

Coca-Cola Classic 12 oz can -- 39 grams

California Pizza Kitchen Thai chicken salad -- 45 g

Jamba Juice blackberry bliss 16 oz -- 49 g

Odwalla SuperFood 450 ml bottle -- 50 g

Starbucks caffe vanilla frappuccino grande (16 oz) -- 58 g

Summer Tomato March 25, 2010

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Modern science has shown that the obesity epidemic isn’t simply about lack of self-control, but rather a phenomenon driven by biochemical changes that have altered the way your body regulates energy.

What has caused these biochemical changes to occur on such a mass scale?

Well, the list above is a big part of the explanation.

It’s hard to imagine, but a vast array of modern processed foods contain more sugar than a glazed doughnut! Sugar in some form is present in nearly every packaged product, from spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, and peanut butter, to mayonnaise and ketchup, just to name a few.

This outrageously excessive sugar consumption has caused people’s appetite regulation system to go awry. Leptin, the hormone responsible for satiety, isn’t working properly anymore in a majority of people.

It has now become clear that limiting sugar – and fructose in particular -- in your diet is a key to longevity for a number of reasons.

For example, according to Dr. Richard Johnson, author of The Sugar Fix, about 25 percent of all Americans consume over ½ a pound of added sugars a day, and this statistic dovetails nicely with the statistics showing that one in four Americans is either pre-diabetic or has type 2 diabetes.

Diabetics have, on average, a reduced lifespan of about 15 years.

How Sugar Can Make or Break Your Health

Your blood glucose levels rise slightly every time you eat. This is natural. However, excessive sugar consumption will typically cause your blood glucose levels to become excessively elevated and then stay that way.

It is a well proven fact that sugar increases your insulin and leptin levels and decreases receptor sensitivity for both of these vital hormones. This can lead to:

* High blood pressure and high cholesterol
* Heart disease
* Diabetes
* Weight gain
* Premature aging

One of the puzzle pieces you need to understand in order to really see the correlation between heart disease and sugar consumption is that dietary sugar raises your small, dense LDL cholesterol levels. This is the type of cholesterol that correlates with heart disease. Dietary fat, on the other hand, raises your large, buoyant LDL, which is harmless.

Turns out the “conventional wisdom” to avoid dietary fat to avoid heart disease has led millions astray by focusing on the entirely wrong food. If you want to reduce your risk of heart disease, you simply must curb your sugar consumption.

And today, this dietary vigilance needs to begin more or less from birth. Even infant formulas and jarred baby food contains excessive amounts of sugar and high fructose corn syrup!

As your child grows, savvy marketing wizards would have you believe that feeding your child cereal each morning is a recipe for good health. But nothing could be further from the truth… On average, just one serving of a typical children’s breakfast cereal equates to more than 90 percent of the daily sugar intake for sedentary girls aged 9 to 13.

Regardless of the “healthy fiber” content of the cereal, consuming that much sugar is not going to promote good long-term health.

For adults struggling with weight- and health problems, the anti-fat craze has created an entire new breed of high-risk diet foods.

Reducing fat content in food tends to make it taste bland, and so sugar was added to low-fat foods to improve palatability -- in the form of either HFCS or sucrose. This is one of the absolute worst combinations for your health…

Please understand, the health dangers of sugar on human physiology are certain, and the evidence that fructose is the WORST of the bunch is growing. (For an in-depth review of the particulars that make fructose even more damaging than regular sugar, please review this recent article.)

Simple sugars have been observed to aggravate asthma, exacerbate mental illness, cause mood swings, provoke personality changes and aggression, nourish nervous disorders, cause diabetes and speed up heart disease, grow gallstones, cause hypertension and arthritis, and that’s just the beginning.

In short, excessive sugar consumption, and fructose in particular, will kill you prematurely, one way or another.

Avoiding sugar, on the other hand, will help you control your insulin and leptin levels, which will help you to feel and look younger, longer.

What Can You Do About Those Sugar Cravings?

Interestingly, and well worth remembering, is that cravings for candy, junk food or fast food, and excessive hunger are likely connected and caused by the near identical mechanisms.

Refined sugar is in and of itself more addictive than cocaine, but that does not fully explain the phenomenon of being hungry or having food cravings even though you’ve just eaten.

This is where the hormone leptin – also known as the “obesity hormone” -- comes into play again.

Leptin appears to reduce cravings for sweet foods by targeting taste receptors on the tongue. Therefore, it is possible that a lack of leptin, or your body's failure to respond to the hormone due to leptin-resistance or defects in your leptin receptors, may contribute to the so-called 'sweet tooth' that affects so many people.

Leptin, which is produced by your fat cells, is an integral part of your weight regulation. When fat cells are “full,” leptin sends signals to your brain to reduce hunger so you can stop eating.

However, once you become leptin-resistant, your brain can no longer hear these signals, and so the sensation of hunger is not shut down. This typically leads to overeating and gaining excessive amounts of weight.

How to Right Your Biochemistry Again

You become leptin resistant in the same way you become insulin resistant, meaning most people do not have insufficient amounts of leptin, but rather too much.

So, how do you reduce your leptin levels and regain your leptin sensitivity?

As discussed above, limiting your sugar intake is a given. But in addition to that, one of the most effective ways to reduce your leptin levels is through physical exercise. It’s true, diet and exercise really do go hand-in-hand if you want to get your body back into homeostasis and optimize your health.

Sugar Guidelines and Acceptable Sugar Alternatives

Ideally, I recommend that you avoid sugar as much as possible. This is especially important if you are overweight or have diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.

I realize you don’t live in a perfect world, and following rigid dietary guidelines is not always practical or even possible. However, cutting out sodas, sweetened beverages of all kinds, and limiting your consumption of processed foods will take you a very long way, and is something most people can do.

These are the most common sources of more or less hidden sugar, so by avoiding them, you can significantly reduce your sugar consumption.

As a standard guideline, I strongly recommend you limit your fructose consumption to 25 grams per day, and limit your fructose from fruit to 15 grams per day. This is to account for the inevitable hidden sources of sugar or fructose you will consume during an average day.

For a convenient list of the fructose content of various fruits, please see this previous article that also discusses fruit consumption in more detail.

Lastly, if you want to use an added sweetener occasionally, this is what I recommend:

1. Use the herb stevia, flavored versions are particularly helpful and tend not to have the bitter aftertaste. French vanilla and English toffee are two of my favorites.
2. Use organic cane sugar in moderation
3. Use organic raw honey in moderation

Avoid ALL artificial sweeteners, which can damage your health even more quickly than sugar and HFCS.

I also do not recommend agave syrup since most forms are a highly processed sap that is almost all fructose. Your blood sugar will spike just as it would if you were consuming regular sugar or HFCS. Agave has gained meteoric popularity due to a great marketing campaign, but any health benefits present in the original agave plant are typically processed away.

For more information about agave, please see my previous in-depth report on this topic.

Likewise, honey is very high in fructose. Although its fructose content varies, it typically contains about the same amount as HFCS, or more. So even though honey contains many other beneficial nutrients, you’ll want to use honey very sparingly.

Aside from the herb Stevia, perhaps your safest sugar alternative is to use pure glucose.

You can buy pure glucose (dextrose) as a sweetener for about $1 a pound. It is only 70 percent as sweet as sucrose, so you’ll end up using a bit more of it for the same amount of sweetness, making it slightly more expensive than sucrose—but still well worth it for your health as it has ZERO grams of fructose. Remember, glucose can be used directly by every cell in your body and as such is far safer than the metabolic poison fructose.

It should be apparent by now that if you want to be healthy, you simply must get used to reading labels, which I’ve addressed in many previous articles, and become familiar with the sugar and fructose content of everything you eat.

MPs listen to Canadians ahead of industry on GM Crops

Groups applaud MPs for moving Bill C-474 to Committee for study

Ottawa. Thursday, April 15, 2010 – Last night, Parliament passed Private Members Bill C-474 through second reading, in spite of intense pressure from the biotech industry. The Bill, which would require analysis of potential harm to export markets before the sale of new genetically modified (GM) seeds, will now be studied by the House of Commons Agriculture Committee.

“Finally MPs are taking steps to protect farmers from the economic chaos that GM crops can cause,” said Terry Boehm, President of the National Farmers Union, “GM contamination has already seriously damaged major export markets for Canadian flax farmers and would threaten the markets for our alfalfa and wheat growers."

The NDP and Bloc Quebecois supports the Bill and last night Liberal Party MPs voted to allow the Bill to go to this next stage. The Conservative Party strongly opposes the Bill, though two B.C. Conservative MPs voted in favour. The Bill was introduced by Alex Atamanenko, NDP Agriculture Critic and MP for B.C. Southern Interior.

“Last night, the majority of MPs listened to Canadians instead of the biotech industry,” said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, “MPs will now have the opportunity to study and debate this Bill. We are witnessing the first substantive debate in Parliament over the negative impacts of GM crops.”

The biotech industry lobbied vigorously to stop the upcoming debate at Committee. Yet the strength of public and farmer concern over GM crops was apparent to MPs. Over 9000 thousand letters were sent from constituents in the past month asking MPs to support the Bill. At least 6 MPs were also presented with petitions.

Bill C-474 was supported by the National Farmers Union, which urged Parliamentarians and all Canadians, to support the Bill. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture took a cautious stance in favour of moving the Bill forward, to encourage debate at Committee.

“The current GM flax contamination crisis shows the value of this Bill. And the threat of GM alfalfa has made the Bill an urgent necessity,” said Sharratt. Canadian flax export markets closed in October 2009 when GM contamination was detected.

“We will not stand by and watch farmers struggle alone against the corporate juggernaut of biotechnology,” said Sharratt, “The time when Canadians are expected to accept GM crops without question, is over.”

For more information: Terry Boehm, National Farmers Union, 306 255 2880; Lucy Sharratt, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, 613 241 2267 ext.6. C

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

ANH-USA Victory! Supplements Are Exempted From Codex Language in Food Safety Bill

Alliance for Natural Health

The FDA Food Modernization Act (S. 510), also referred to as the “Food Safety” bill, has been modified to exempt dietary supplements from language that otherwise creates a slippery slope toward U.S. harmonization with Codex Alimentarius. ANH-USA worked to protect the natural health community from this dangerous provision that threatened access to high quality, therapeutic supplement doses by working with key senators to modify the language, now for the second time.

The most worrisome provision of the bill initially required the Food and Drug Agency (FDA) to recommend that U.S. foreign Herbal supplementstrading partners harmonize with Codex. This odd language was no doubt very intentional. How could we recommend harmonization to other countries if we rejected it for the U.S.? So in effect we were committing ourselves to a much more restrictive regulatory regime for supplements.

As the Senate moved forward with the Food Safety bill, Senator Harkin (D-IA), committee chair, working closely with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), promised to see what could be done to make absolutely clear this legislation was not intended to impact our access to dietary supplements. At that time, Senator Harkin modified the Codex provision, asking the FDA to consider “whether and how” to recommend U.S. foreign trading partners harmonize. This was a very important change and a tremendous show of support from both Senators, but we were still concerned that the inclusion of Codex language in the bill could be used to support future U.S. harmonization with Codex standards on dietary supplements.

ANH-USA worked with our allies in the Senate over the past several months to include additional language providing stronger protection for supplements. New language has now been added specifically stating, “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect the regulation of dietary supplements.”

The Codex Alimentarius was initially developed to establish international food safety standards and regulate ingredients of food products. However, there is great concern that if the U.S. harmonizes with Codex standards, which are expected to follow Europe’s increasing ban on supplements, our access to supplements will be lost and even our food standards may be compromised. Although ANH-USA considers the new exemption a huge victory, it only applies to dietary supplements. The U.S. is still at risk of harmonization with other Codex food standards.

ANH-USA is especially grateful to Senators Harkin and Hatch for their leadership, continued dedication to the natural health community, and most recently, their show of support protecting our supplements from Codex harmonization. The Senate is expected to take up the Food Safety bill any day now. As the legislative process moves forward we will keep our members up to date on our efforts and where appropriate, we’ll ask for your help to protect supplements from increased government intrusion. The House version of the Food Safety bill, already passed, is especially worrisome. We will continue to make every effort, with your help, to ensure that the House version does not become law.

Monday, April 12, 2010

If mainstream medicine really works, why are Americans so unhealthy?

If mainstream medicine really works, why are Americans so unhealthy?

KFC set to unleash bunless Double Down sandwich on America

Michael Bolen
Yahoo! Canada
First there was the Double Big Mac. Then came the Baconator. Now KFC is triumphantly laying claim to the World's meatiest and - in our opinion - most nutritionally-challenged sandwich. Their recipe? Two strips of bacon, two slices of cheese and a healthy dollop of the Colonel's Sauce all sandwiched between (insert drum roll please) two thick and juicy filets of deep-fried chicken.

That's right, this sandwich is so serious it doesn't need a bun. But don't think the lack of carbs means this sandwich will be slimming.

Weighing in at 540 calories the fast-food innovation packs 32g of fat and nearly 1400mg of sodium. Too be fair, that's barely half of the Baconator's 970 calories and 60g of fat, but what the Double Down lacks in calories it makes up for in sheer audacity. To sandwich three types of fat between two slabs of fat required an almost heroic disregard for the current trend toward healthy eating. That said, KFC isn't trying to market this artery-clogger to the health conscious.

The ad for the Double Down features hungry young men complaining about the lack of filling fast-food fare on the market - as if longing for a new chicken champion. The product was originally tested on a select midwestern audience - so the fast food purveyor clearly isn't expecting to find fans amongst the L.A. hot yoga crowd. But for those who do want to try the new creation, but lack the requisite death wish, KFC is offering a grilled version.

If you're wondering how one goes about consuming the double down, have no fear, KFC has thought of everything. Both versions come lovingly wrapped in a paper sheath. Not everybody, however, is concerned with making the sandwich easy to eat. Some adventurous fast foodies have already begun experimenting with the bunless burger. Behold: the Double Double Down.

In an attempt to garner goodwill ahead of the Sandwich's April 12 U.S. release, KFC is donating "unneeded" buns to food banks around the nation. Although this seems dangerously reminiscent of donating muffin stumps, it would probably be even more vindictive to force the actual sandwich upon America's homeless and hungry. Unfortunately, there is still no word on whether the Double Down is coming to Canada, but considering the hype it seems likely we won't have to wait long.

Regardless of the danger the Double Down poses to our arterial well-being, the sandwich is generating unprecedented buzz on both sides of the border. KFC doesn't usually advertise a product ahead of release, but the fast-food giant made an exception because it wanted "fans to have time to arrange their schedules in advance" in order to try the "legendary sandwich." And while the "legendary" moniker may be a bit hasty, it does seem safe to say that this culinary trailblazer will be sparking conversation, and indigestion, for months to come.