Although this video may seem a little over the top, I think it is a beautiful depiction of what soda is doing to this and future generations. And as a side note, I believe that soda wasn’t as harmful until we replaced sugar with high fructose corn syrup. I think all sugary beverages are bad for our health (cavities, obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease), but drinks sweetened with HFCS contain so much more concentrated, and unnatural levels of sweetener, that our bodies can’t even handle what most people would say is “moderation”. Soda is the modern day cigarette.
I read this article with such hope and anticipation, but unfortunately ended up feeling disappointed. This seems like more of a symptom rather than a cause of the disease. If it is a cause, why didn’t they discuss how it began? Are people with FMS born with this problem? If so, why don’t most of us get symptoms until we are older? I still believe FMS is a neuro-endo-immune disorder, affecting much of the autonomic nervous system, which could cause this and all the other symptoms experienced with FMS. Before I give this possible theory any credence I would need to learn how and why some of us developed this condition. I appreciate all studies in this field, but this one doesn’t really provide many answers. I hope there is more to come…
Oh my… where to begin? Ok, first let’s talk about your credentials as a nutritionist and scientist. Oh, that’s right, you have none. Well I am a nutritionist, and can tell you that when I work with clients who are overweight, almost all of them drink diet soda. In fact the most current studies show that at least 40% of people who drink diet soda remain overweight. And there are over 100 studies that show a link between diet soda consumption and obesity, kidney problems, osteoporosis, migraines, increased stroke risk, and yes cancer. (http://search.medscape.com/news-search?newSearch=1&queryText=diet+soda+)
Out of all the “unhealthy” foods and drinks I urge my clients to quit- guess which one they resist quitting the most? Yep, you probably guessed it- diet soda. Why is that you ask? Well, let me explain the “scientific” reason to you. Aspartame is addictive. It is addictive because it actually raises certain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine (if you need an explanation of what they are- please look it up) to an unnatural high level, which tells your brain it is pretty happy and content. But once the affect starts to wear off, your brain starts to feel unhappy and craves more. And if you even doubt this process, go a day or 2 without drinking diet soda and see how you feel. You might assume it is the caffeine, but that is only part of it. Otherwise, why are so many people unable to give up their diet soda, but can quit other forms of caffeine more easily? By the way, anything you are addicted to, is not good for you, because it chemically alters your brain chemistry. Do people ever get addicted to broccoli, or apples, or oatmeal? No, never… So, Adam, please feel free to take your chances on drinking a completely unnatural, chemical concoction that has lots of evidence that it can harm your health. But stop telling other people that it is fine. I think the FDA should take action against you like they do against natural health products that claim to cure. If anything you are doing more harm than any of those people are. Isn’t it ironic that the FDA doesn’t care if people claim something that is clearly bad for you is ok, but they can arrest a farmer who claims that eating natural cherries is healthy for you. Yes, that is an agency you should put your trust in.
This is pretty big news about diet soda and the increased risk of stroke and heart disease. Although the experts in the article can’t say why diet soda increases the risk, there is a neurologist named Russell Blaylock who has been saying for years that aspartame (and other artificial chemicals) is an “excitotoxin” which over stimulates the brain and can lead to events such as migraines and stroke. I truly think diet soda is worse than regular soda (which is bad too), and have had the hardest time trying to get my nutrition clients to give it up. It is one of the most addictive substances I run into in my field- a clear sign it has to be bad for the brain.
This study shows that when mice eat a high fat diet for a long time, it changes the brain’s reward center, so that they crave more fat. This is probably the biggest obstacle people have to deal with when wanting to lose weight. It is also my main frustration when working with weight loss clients. I know that many people are not going to be able to lose the weight, and keep it off, because they will constantly be fighting cravings for more.
I have come to the conclusion that most people in this country have eaten a diet so unnaturally high in sugar and fat, that now their brain’s reward center is so accustomed to this high, that anything less makes them feel depressed, or unsatisfied, hence keeping them on a constant cycle of cravings. And this is why so many of us are unable to lose weight and keep it off for long.
This is why I also think so many people are on antidepressants. They are physically depressed, mostly due to this unhealthy diet cycle of over-indulgence and then deprivation. Neurotransmitters get caught on this roller coaster of highs and lows and eventually they burn out or require more octane to get back the level they are used to.
If caught early enough, I think many can turn this around and recover. But it requires a lot of discipline and some initial suffering. You have to cut out any refined and artificial sugars and fats, and eat a very healthy, natural diet for quite awhile. At the same time, physical activity will help maintain the brain’s neurotransmitters at a level of pleasure that can replace the sense of loss from the fat and sugar being eliminated.
I also believe people will need to still eat some sugars and fats in order to avoid too big of a neurotransmitter crash, but they should come from natural sources, ie fruits, meats, vegetables, etc. It also helps to find other sources of pleasure during the first stages so the brain doesn’t feel deprived.
There is also a drug being developed for weight loss that raises the neurotransmitter dopamine. This allows the brain to still feel satisfied, even if deprived of chemicals that previously provided this stimulus. So by taking this drug while changing the diet to less sugar and fat, the brain still feels good and cravings become much weaker.
I don’t usually recommend drugs, in fact I usually warn against them. But for some people, this drug, used temporarily, and combined with the right balance of a healthy diet and exercise, could help many people get over that hurdle to losing weight and keeping it off. The drug is called Concentra. It is not available yet, but the company has applied with the FDA and expects to be on the market in 2011 or 2012.
Again, my first recommendation is to change your diet and lifestyle as young as possible. Even if you are older, first go the natural path of lowering your consumption of high levels of fat and sugar, and add high nutrient foods like homemade soups, dark greens and a variety of fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins and fats. But if you have been addicted for years to things like diet sodas, and junk food pizzas and fries, and you have tried everything to no avail, then this drug may be a potential option for you.
This study also should be a warning to parents to try their best to keep their children off this cycle of cravings and on the path of healthy eating.
Getting close to 50 is definitely bringing on less than desirable changes for me. My gray hair is getting more difficult to color and maintain, my wrinkles are getting stronger everyday and I am gaining weight around my middle. I know I am not alone, but nonetheless I am struggling to get through this transition.
So in the midst of this metamorphosis called aging, I am happy to report some good news. The doctor who wrote this article believes that a little extra belly fat, in women, is a good thing. And from all the research I have done on hormones and longevity, I have to agree with her. I still don’t like it when I see my “love handles” spilling over the sides of my jeans, but I am finding solace in knowing that it is part of a natural process that’s intended to protect and prepare me for what’s to come.
The most recent studies on longevity cite that people with 10-20 extra pounds on them live the longest. And most interestingly, after age 65, the thinnest people have the highest mortality rate. It makes sense to me. Fat serves many life-sustaining purposes on our bodies. For women, fat is used to create more estrogen, which is essential for maintaining strong hearts, bones and brains. Fat insulates aging bones from fractures. It also is one of the main ingredients in the myelin sheath, which is the fatty substance that covers our nerves.
Over the last couple of decades fat undeservedly became the taboo of the 3 main food groups. Some poorly designed studies, based on faulty assumptions, blamed fat as the reason for the growing obesity problem in this country. Now, many scientists have realized that they over-generalized the fat hypothesis, and have found that most of our excess weight is coming from artificial fats like trans- fats and too many simple carbs in the diet in the form of junk food (also our sedentary lifestyles play a major role here).
Fat, we have come to learn, is crucial to good health. It helps to make our skin more supple, balances our hormones, and as previously mentioned, keeps our bones, heart and nervous system working smoothly. But like everything in life, there is a delicate balance required for optimal health. Too much fat, of course, can be unhealthy. The message here is to include fat in your diet, but consume it in its most natural form. Healthy meats (grass fed is best), dairy from animals allowed to graze outside, eggs (yolks are extremely good for your health), nuts, avocado and fish are some of the best sources of good fats. Moderation is also important to remember. That means do not eat meat everyday, and do not make fat the bulk of your calories. Balance, as always, is key.
So enjoy some fat. And if, like me, you are starting to look like your mother, try to remember that nature is doing her job. It’s normal to mourn the loss of your younger, svelte body. But as in all types of loss, you will need to eventually accept it and move on. And remember you are in good company!
Yet another study saying that humans are exposed to more BPA than previously thought and at levels that are damaging our hormonal health. At this point, there seems to be more than enough studies showing the harmful effects of BPA and that our country should be taking action. But no. There remains a lurking controversy that is blocking our regulatory systems from banning this ubiquitous substance. The main controversy underlying the determination of whether or not BPA is bad for us is that some schools of science say the human body can metabolize and excrete the substance just fine, while others say we cannot.
It is frustrating to me to know that there are people, in the scientific community no less, who believe that humans were built to metabolize and detoxify everything equally. In fact it is amazing that we let any scientist assert this and not fire him from his job! I can think of so many obvious examples that the human body has demonstrated that it cannot metabolize “everything” that it seems criminal to suggest anything else.
The most glaring obvious point is medicinal drugs. We know that different people metabolize drugs differently. Whereas some people barely notice the effects of the drug, others have such negative reactions they almost die. Or how about food allergies? Why can most people eat peanuts without a problem, yet others can go into anaphylactic shock? And how about if someone ingests 2 tylenol for a headache? Taking 2-5 Tylenol pills usually can help get rid of pain, but 30 can kill you. Enough said.
Yet still some scientists believe that the human body can defend itself against most substances it encounters. Which miraculously is somewhat true. The human liver and detoxification system are quite powerful in defending us from many toxins. But today, with more than 50,000 new manmade chemicals bombarding us on a regular basis, even the powerful liver cannot keep up. And what about people with liver or kidney diseases, or alcoholics, or diabetics and many other people with compromised detoxification systems. I think that we would find that the scientists who claim that the liver can detoxify everything, have a financial interest in making this assertion.
Fortunately there seem to be enough scientists interested in exposing the truth about BPA and continue to present data that proves it is a harmful chemical that should be banned or at the very least restricted. In the meantime, we should all lower our exposure to BPA by avoiding unnecessary use of plastics. And you should consume natural substances that are known to help metabolize this substance more quickly. Natural soy products, folate from dark greens and seaweed, fresh water and teas that are known detoxifiers like dandelion and green tea can help.
Many of us in the natural health world have suspected for awhile now that one of the main flaws with modern medicine is that it often suppresses the natural activity of the immune system. Vaccines and antibiotics are great examples of this. This article points out that modern medicine, with its ability to stop all sorts of infections, may inadvertently stop the body from having fevers, which according to this theory, may be helpful in preventing cancer.
There are some scientists in the USA experimenting with giving cervical cancer patients a form of a bacterial infection called Listeria, hoping to ignite the immune system so it will become hyper-vigilant and attack the cancer cells as well. The article also points to some stories recently that show that high heat played a role in making cancers disappear, seemingly overnight.
There are a few cancer clinics that are now employing the use of heat treatments like far-infrared saunas and other forms of hyperthermia to help destroy cancer cells. This may also explain why radiation therapy often puts some cancers into remission.
The bottom line here may be that, once again, our over use of high tech medicine may be impeding our natural abilities to maintain good health.
This study is pretty monumental in terms of establishing a real, verifiable difference between kids with autism, and those without. They have found mitochondrial dysfunction in kids with autism. This information helps on so many levels in furthering our understanding and possibly the treatment and prevention of autism.
First off, the test that can indicate mitochondrial dysfunction is simply a blood test. So that could become an easy diagnostic tool to help identify kids with autism more readily. Secondly, showing that the mitochondria is damaged in these kids, and specifically in certain complexes, can lead to better treatments. And the last point of this study, which is extremely important, is that mitochondria dysfunction is caused by “environmental stressors”. The study points out that certain environmental toxins, when exposed to in utero or after birth, could cause autism. Knowing this will hopefully move us further in the direction of cutting down on unnecessary chemicals in our environment.
This is the key that everyone seems to want to avoid or dance around. The growing amount of toxins that we are all exposed to are too much for our bodies to process and ultimately they can cause all sorts of damage, especially to the mitochondria. Many neurological diseases such as Alzheimers, bipolar, and Parkinsons all have damage to the mitochondria. And each have been linked to exposures to certain toxic chemicals such as pesticides, solvents and many others. I suspect many other neurological and auto immune disorders have mitochondria damage at the root too.
This is why vaccines may contribute to autism. It is probably not the virus itself, but rather the chemical preservatives (like mercury) and the chemical adjuvants, that are the tipping points for already chemically overloaded babies. And the next generation is only going to get worse.
This also supports why avoiding certain chemicals and processed food can help kids with autism. Not only do they lower their toxic load, but by eating nutrient dense foods, they may boost their own natural detoxification systems and strengthen their immune and nervous systems.
I am certain other studies will follow that will try to negate this one, especially those funded by drug companies, or by manufacturers of chemicals. But I think the time is coming when we can no longer deny or ignore the role toxic chemicals play in our health and the health of the planet. We need more innovation to clean up our act and still continue to enjoy some of the conveniences and products we have grown accustomed to. And we all need to cut back on our consumption of disposable items such as plastic water bottles, plastic bags, and cheap products that have a very short usefulness span. Autism is just one of the many wake up calls we are getting everyday. Hopefully studies like this will continue to expose the dangers of environmental toxins and force our government and others to take action.
The science is finally starting to pour in on food addiction. As these reports explain, food high in calories, like sugar and fat, seem to affect our brain circuitry similar to drugs; causing many of us to become addicted and overeat as a result.
I wrote a paper 8 years ago explaining how food is addictive. The evidence has been around for awhile now, but as usual, studies are behind. Also, none of the studies discuss the real culprits behind food addiction- artificial food additives.
For the most part, natural forms of fat and sugar, left intact in the foods they come in are not really addictive. But extracted and concentrated, these ingredients become more powerful and act on the brain’s reward center like drugs. So, for example, eating fat that comes in fish, or chicken, won’t have much impact on our reward center, and we won’t get “addicted”. But adding a manipulated, isolated fat, like a “trans fat” to sugar, tells our brains that we ate much more fat than normal, and that sends a louder message to the reward center of the brain.
High Fructose Corn Syrup is another example of this process. This extracted form of sugar is much more concentrated than the sugar you would find say in an apple or a banana. When ingested, this sugar tells our neurotransmitters that it just consumed a very high level of sugar and the reward center gets higher than if the sugar was ingested intact along with many other nutrients and cofactors.
Unfortunately, as these studies reveal, eating this way often, and early in life, sets the stage for a lifelong battle of overeating. And as a Nutritionist, I can tell you that I have worked with many people that are unable to ever recover. But some do. The key to making real, long lasting change is to over haul your diet. Cleansing your system of processed, artificial foods can help clear the palate and over time can lower your brain’s need for the high rewards from foods it was getting.
It won’t be easy, and you will have to be consistent. Here are some natural foods that can help ease this transition and move the change along:
- bone broths (home made soups made from bones and meat of the animals)
-any vegetable you want to eat
- some natural forms of fat (in moderation): real butter, goat cheese, guacamole, nuts, but butters, coconut oil, olive oil (not heated)
- fruit, but only 1 a day until the sugar cravings are under control
If you are really struggling with sugar (which is the most common craving), try some raisins, or other fruits, or eat a small amount of fat. Then, over time, wean off the sugar altogether. The goal is to go 2 weeks without sugar (except in the form of fruit), trans fats and other processed foods, and you should be able to lower and maybe even eliminate food cravings for these junk foods. Once your cravings get under control, overeating will too.
There are also some natural supplements that can help. But these vary due to individual needs.