Why 26 Million People in the US Suffer Diabetes

October 25, 2013 by  
Filed under Unhealthy Food, Unhealthy Body

This is curated content supplied from Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website mercola.com. I am sharing this content, adding my own interpretation, because it is, to say the very least, absolutely shocking.

Diabetes has increased by 700% in the last 50 years and now affects some 26 million people in the U.S. This has happened because these people chose to consume unhealthy food products foisted upon them by the unscrupulous practices of the multi-billion dollar food industry.

Our food culture, supported by government subsidies and riddled with unhealthy chemicals and substances is the primary driver of diabetes and disease rather than the driver of health.

First, let’s make sure we understand the true meaning of Type 2 diabetes. It is NOT a disease of blood sugar, but a disorder of insulin resistance and leptin signaling.

Before I comment on the functions that insulin and leptin serve, I’d like to share comments made by Dr. Mercola as to why tainted foods supplied by agribusinesses cause diabetes.

The excessive consumption of fructose in the typical western diet is a major factor in the rise of diabetes. .

Your body uses glucose as energy whereas fructose breaks down into a variety of toxins that can devastate your health.

Dr. Mercola quotes from a book titled The Fat Switch, written by Dr. Johnson, who identifies the bodily damage cause by fructose:

  • It elevates uric acid.
  • It leads to insulin resistance.
  • It tricks your body into gaining weight by deceiving your metabolism.
  • It causes what is known as the metabolic syndrome (weight gain and abdominal obesity), as well as decreased HDL (the good cholesterol) and increased LDL (the bad cholesterol), elevated triglycerides (blood sugar content), and high blood pressure.
  • It metabolizes like ethanol (similar to alcohol) which causes fatty liver diseases.

Unhealthy foods, like corn, soybeans and wheat, are heavily subsidized, all of which have been identified as underlying causes of diabetes.

The corn industry produces High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), apparently the number one source of calories in the U.S. It appears in anything from processed foods. diet foods, infant formulas to soft drinks (sodas).

To make things worse, the diet most commonly recommended for sufferers of diabetes is the exact opposite to what actually works.

The common recommendation emphasizes high complex carbohydrate and low saturated fat. The truth is that, except for legumes, diabetics should eliminate grains and sugars for foods like, protein, green veggies, and healthy fats. The most important change is to eliminate fructose from the diet.

So, if you are still here, what is it that our common, modern diet does to cause diabetics?

  • Fructose is the major underlying cause of diabetes. It triggers a powerful biological switch that causes weight gain.
  • Insulin decreases the level of glucose in your blood stream. When blood sugar becomes elevated, insulin is meant to store the extra energy for future consumption. It’s supposed to direct the extra energy for storage. A small amount is stored in the liver as glycogen, while the majority is stored as fat, your main energy supply.
  • Leptin regulates our appetite and body weight. It essentially tells us when to eat, how much to eat, and when to stop eating.
  • Diabetes is caused by insulin resistance and poor leptin signaling. This is caused by substances like fructose.

What is the Solution?

According to Dr. J. Mercola, diabetes is very much reversible. The key is a change in diet.

 

 

The Real Secret to Reduce Fat Fast

October 24, 2013 by  
Filed under A Healthy Body

The secret on how to reduce fat fast centers on nutrition and an exercise program that improves your lean body mass so that your metabolism can burn more calories. There just aren’t any “miracle” cures; they are a fantasy.

I keep saying it over and over. You can flatten your stomach only when you implement the following requirements:

  • Planning, goal setting and commitment.
  • Good nutrition.
  • Regular exercise.

Goals are the means by which you do what you know as apart from knowing what to do. The goals you set for yourself should be the result of proper planning. You then need commitment to start and stick with your program. Do not take water over your head by making radical changes to your lifestyle all at once; you will not be able to handle the many issues that come with changing ingrained habits. Implement a single change per week but make it a permanent change.

The most effective approach to commitment is to write your goals as if you have already achieved them and then to create images in you sub-conscious mind of how you look and feel with your acquired achievements. Create “live” images and visualize them every single day until they are firmly entrenched in your mind. This is the secret method by which you can program yourself to get rid of stomach fat. You will, for example, have a vivid image in your mind that tells you not to eat junk food. When tempted, your sub-conscious mind will kick in and cause you to act in accordance with your mental images. “I don’t eat junk food”. Believe me; this is effective as long as you continually visualize your goals and the images you have created about yourself.

If you have tried and failed with various diet programs, you may as well accept that it is physiologically impossible to permanently reduce stomach fat by starving yourself. Your body has an inbuilt defense mechanism that kicks in automatically when you start a conventional diet program based solely on a reduced calorie intake. You will lose muscle as well as fat and your body metabolism will slow down as your body tries to conserve its energy. When this happens, fat loss ceases abruptly.

If you react by reducing your calorie intake further, your metabolism will slow down further. It is a battle you cannot win and you will give up and put your body weight back on again. Slashing your calorie intake without doing some exercises simply slows your metabolism, deceases your lean body mass (muscle vs. fat ratio) and triggers you body’s starvation response.

Fat loss and weight loss are NOT the same. The only solution to permanent fat loss is to combine proper nutrition with exercises that improve your lean body mass. An increased muscle to fat ratio will boost your metabolism which, in turn, will burn fat. The more muscle you acquire, the more calories your body will burn. With this combination, you can easily establish the calorie deficit that IS needed in order to burn your belly fat.

To get rid of stomach fat, you must reduce your intake of saturated fat and refined sugars and eat a variety of natural, unprocessed foods with plenty of fiber. Eat small but frequent meals and drink plenty of water. The fluid in which all metabolic processes occur is plain water.

How To Lose Tummy Fat in Our Modern Society

October 24, 2013 by  
Filed under A Healthy Body

As you advance in age, you probably come to a stage when you look at yourself in a mirror and quietly ask: “What happened?” You have trouble getting comfortable when sitting down and when lying down to sleep. You get flustered as soon as you have to walk uphill and you are having trouble with your shoe laces. We can smile and accept these minor inconveniences but there is a far darker side to the issue of excessive body fat. It is now a recognized fact that obesity is a worldwide epidemic. It has spread from America to Europe and now into Asia. It is caused by a convenience lifestyle characterized by lack of physical activity and poor nutrition. Sadly, it is accompanied by some 30+ health issues that include diabetes, cancer, coronary heart problems, osteoporosis and many other “modern” diseases.

We have lost just about every aspect of living in a “traditional” society where physical labor and the growth and consumption of natural foods were the foundations of daily life. Modern industrial societies produce stress and time conflicts between work and family and we succumb to the need for relaxation and “quick fixes”. Need I mention anything more than the typical evening in front of a TV set with junk foods like ice cream, potato chips and unhealthy soft drinks?

Fast food outlets like McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Donut King, Swenson and many others have spread worldwide and into Asia. They are obviously not the sole suppliers of unhealthy foods; the processed food industry that stock our typical supermarket shelves with plastic wrapped processed foods are a major cause for the prevalence of obesity. We don’t exercise and we simply eat the wrong things. However, let’s be honest and not blame them. They don’t force us to eat their food products.

Starting regular exercises to lose weight may seem impossible, so you may have tried diet programs or slimming supplements. The sad truth is that neither diet programs, nor slimming supplements work. You need to improve your lean body mass (muscle o fat ratio) in order to boost your metabolic rate so it can burn more excess fat. If you don’t believe this, then consider that a weight loss program based solely on a calorie deficit triggers what is called a “starvation mechanism” in your body that will stop your weight loss progress dead in the tracks. Your body will simply try to preserve energy by burning less fat.

Many of us come to the stage where we feel the need to pursue fat loss in order to lose weight.
It is never too late to get started with fat loss. Getting started is the only essential step in finishing something. You need to plan and acquire some knowledge about nutrition and exercise. Most importantly, you MUST commit yourself to action. There is no need to embark on some life changing program that is going to turn your entire life upside down. Make small changes, make them permanent and progress slowly. You have the rest of your life to accomplish what you want; the main thing is that you make this something a commitment.

Forget diets, there are sound reasons why they don’t work and you can find these reasons my post titled The Real Secret to Reduce Fat FastChange your nutrition as a step-by-step progression, start some form of exercise that will build up your lean body mass so that your metabolism is restored to the stage where it will burn belly fat. Explore this blog and find the secret to reprogramming your sub-conscious mind with images that naturally and effortlessly guide you towards success. Accept permanent fat loss as a challenge and make the journey a fun one.

There are a variety of resources on this website that can help. Check out the table of post for a full list of my articles on nutrition, fat loss and exercise. resources.

Good Fats vs. Bad Fats

October 24, 2013 by  
Filed under A Healthy Diet

In this article, I want to identify what type of fats you should include in your diet and the fats that you should endeavor to avoid if you want to burn fat faster. I also want to clear some commonly held misconceptions about fats in general.

Let’s start with some basics. The three macro-nutrient pillars are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The proportion in which they occur within a certain portion of food determines not only the amount of calories you consume but also the fat burning effects of the foods you consume. A complete “spec sheet” would list calories, carbs, protein, fats and fiber contained within a certain weight or volume of a particular food item. You should be aware that calories are more concentrated in fats than they are in carbs or protein. One gram of fat contains 9 calories, twice the amount normally contained in carbohydrates.

Your body needs about 20 grams of saturated fats per day in order to function properly and this includes the normal functioning of the brain cells and the production, maintenance and repair of body cells. They also enable the body to metabolize vitamins so they can be absorbed by our body cells. In addition, fats help our sugar and insulin metabolism and therefore contribute to weight loss and weight maintenance.

This essential need includes fats the body itself cannot produce so it must come from the foods we consume. The fats found in plants and animals are known as dietary fats, hence the importance of what you eat as the body produces its own fat when you consume more calories than the body needs. A good nutritional plan should include a moderate, measured amount of saturated fats to cure hunger cravings and place more emphasis on poly and monounsaturated fats which increase good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol while also preventing certain types of cancer. Trans fatty acids, which occur in abundance with fried take-away food and processed foods products, should be avoided at all costs. It is worth noting that trans fats were declared illegal in the U.S. in mid-2015.

The key to a healthy diet is to substitute good fats for bad fats and avoid trans fats as far as is possible.

Commonly held misconceptions

Nutrition advice fed to us over the last few decades have made us believe that the more fat you eat, the more weight and body fat you will acquire. This is just not true and the advice is misguided. After decades of misleading information telling us that saturated fat causes coronary heart disease, current research has proven that this is not true. There is NO connection between cholesterol in foods and the level of cholesterol in a person’s blood stream.

Before I discuss the fats in more detail, I should also point out how misguided diet information fed to us for decades have caused a great deal of harm. We were told to lower our total fat intake and increase our intake of carbohydrates – cereals, vegetables and fruits.  It is now a well established fact that, while people in general have lowered the amount of calories they get from fat, obesity and its accompanying diseases have increased sharply since the 1960s. Why is this so?  You need look no further than our excessive consumption of unnatural, processed sugars and bad fats.

Composition of fats

Basic biology tells us that all fats have the same amount of calories, but they vary in their chemical compositions. Fats are made of chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms.  The saturation refers to whether all the available spaces on the carbon chain are bonded to hydrogen atoms, or if there are any hydrogen atoms missing. Based on these compositions, fats are classified as saturated, unsaturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

  • Saturated fats have all of their carbon atoms filled (saturated) with hydrogen.
  • Monounsaturated fats have one space missing a hydrogen atom, instead containing a double bond between two adjacent carbon atoms.
  • Polyunsaturated fats have more than one hydrogen atom missing in the carbon chain and therefore contain more than one double bond.
  • Omega-3 fats are named because of the existence of a double bond in the 3rd space from the end of the carbon chain.
  • Omega-6 fats derive the name from their molecular structure which has a double bond in the 6th space from the end of the carbon chain.

The bad fats

Trans fats (hydrogenated fats).  We need to distinguish between healthy trans fats that occur in animals and artificially, man-made hydrogenated fats.

The healthy animal fats occur in cattle, sheep and goats. However, be aware that the quantities of healthy trans fats in the meat and dairy products that come from these animals are greatly reduced when the animals are raised on grain and soy products. A healthier amount exists only in grass fed animals.

The bad trans fats are those that occur in abundance in products like margarine, sweets, cookies, cakes, cake icing, doughnuts and potato chips and in the partially hydrogenated oils that exist in most processed foods, junk foods and deep fried foods. These fats are known to increase unhealthy levels of LDL cholesterol and lower the level of good HDL cholesterol, as well as causing heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

These fats are made by heating liquid vegetable oils in the presence of hydrogen gas, a process called hydrogenation. This process uses harsh chemical solvents like hexane (a component of gasoline), high heat and pressure. The process also adds a metal catalyst before the liquid is deodorized and bleached. The purpose is to produce vegetable oils and shortenings that are economical and less likely to spoil in storage. You can detect the presence of trans fat in food products from the inclusion of the words partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated on the food label.

These hydrogenated oils cause inflammation inside your body which, in turn, causes deposition of cholesterol as a healing agent on artery walls.  The end result is clogged arteries, a major cause of heart disease.

The good fats

Saturated fats. These fats occur in meat cuts, cheese, whole milk, butter, cheese, ice-cream, poultry with skin and also in coconut, palm and palm kernel oils. However, as I mentioned earlier, you body needs about 20g of saturated fat on a daily basis in order to function properly.

Monounsaturated fat (MUFA). This type of fat is found olive, peanut and canola oils and in foods such as nut butters, peanuts, almonds, pecans and hazelnuts as well as avocados, pumpkin and sesame seeds. Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fats improve blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. Research also shows that MUFAs may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.

Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA). The two major categories of polyunsaturated fats are Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. It is very important to distinguish between the two.

Omega-3  fats. These fats are very healthy. The body uses Omega-3 fats to produce hormone like substances that are anti-inflammatory. They reduce the risk of death by heart attack and also lower triglycerides in the blood. These fats occur naturally in fatty cold water fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, herrings and in canola, flaxseed and soybean oils as well as walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, chia seeds (Flavia) and flax seeds.

Omega-6 fats. These fatty acids can be found in most seed oils such as corn, soybean, sunflower and safflower oils as well as peanuts and avocados.

The Omega-6 fats may reduce the total level of good and bad cholesterol, but they also occur in hormone-like substances that promote inflammation. From a nutritional viewpoint, it is important to consume Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats close to the recommended ratio of 4:1. Regrettably, our typical western diet provides a ratio as high as 15:1 or 20:1, an Omega-6 consumption that is far too high. This is known to increase inflammation in the body which is the underlying cause of many diseases. In addition, too much Omega-6 fats block the crucial Omega-3 fats.

Summary

Good nutrition does not mean that you need to eliminate all bad fats but to find a healthy balance between what is good and bad. Your fat burning foods should include healthy fats, a limited amount saturated fat and preferably no trans fat.

For more information on this subject, read an accompanying post titled Fats and Cholesterol.

Fats and Cholesterol

October 24, 2013 by  
Filed under A Healthy Diet

Let’s explore the relationship between fats and cholesterol. After all, we all know that fat causes an increased level of cholesterol in our arteries which is bad for our health. Is it this simple? No, it certainly is not. Many of us were brought up in the belief that high blood cholesterol levels were caused by the consumption of foods like egg yolks, cheese, liver and crustaceans. Scientific studies have subsequently shown that there is a very weak relationship between the amount of cholesterol contained in food items and your blood cholesterol level.

The truth is that the biggest influence on blood cholesterol is not the amount of fat you eat but the mix of fats in your diet. I have written a separate blog post about the good and the bad fats. The bad fats are saturated fats and trans fats (hydrogenated fats) while the good fats are the unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats).

What is cholesterol?
In scientific terms, cholesterol is a waxy steroid of fat (an organic compound). It is one member of a family of chemical compounds known as lipids. The more common name for lipids is fats. Five major classes of lipoproteins have been identified. Two (LDL and HDL) are commonly measured by blood tests and are linked to risks for coronary heart disease.

  • Sterols (cholesterol and some hormones)
  • Fat soluble vitamins (A, E, K)
  • Glycerol esters (dietary and body fats)
  • Sphingolipids (components of cell membranes)
  • Fatty acids (saturated and unsaturated)

Cholesterol is not synonymous with fat but, as can be seen in the above list, it is a special type of lipid. It is essential for life because your body membranes need it. It is also the substance that your body uses to make vitamin D, steroid hormones such as estrogen, testosterone and, most significantly, bile acids for digestion.

Low density lipoprotein (LDL) is composed largely of lipid (triglyceride and cholesterol) with only a small amount of protein. LDL-cholesterol is generally deposited in tissues, including the artery wall. High levels of LDL-cholesterol are associated with increased health risks. An LDL level less than 130 mg/100 ml of blood is desirable.

High density lipoprotein (HDL) contains less cholesterol and more protein. Higher HDL-cholesterol levels are associated with reduced risk for coronary heart disease. Some of the HDL cholesterol is converted to bile acids in the liver. Both cholesterol and bile acids are then secreted (separated from your body fluids) into the intestine.

How does cholesterol appear in your body?
Cholesterol, as well as fat, does not dissolve in water or blood. In order to transport these substances throughout the body, they are packaged into particles called lipoproteins. The different types of lipoproteins also explain the difference between good and bad cholesterol.

  • Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) carry cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body. Cells latch onto these particles and extract fat and cholesterol from them. When there is too much LDL cholesterol in the blood, these particles can form deposits on the walls of the coronary arteries and other arteries throughout the body. Such deposits, called plaque, can narrow arteries and limit blood flow. When plaque breaks apart, it can cause a heart attack or stroke. Because of this, LDL cholesterol is often referred to as bad, or harmful, cholesterol.
  • High-density lipoproteins (HDL) scavenge cholesterol from the bloodstream, from LDL, and from artery walls and ferry it back to the liver for disposal. Think of HDL as the garbage trucks of the bloodstream. HDL cholesterol is often referred to as good, or protective, cholesterol.
  • Triglycerides make up most of the fat that you eat and that travels through the bloodstream. As the body’s main vehicle for transporting fats to cells, triglycerides are important for good health. But as is the case for so many things, an excess of triglycerides can be unhealthy.

Where does cholesterol come from?
Although you can and do obtain cholesterol from foods, your body is capable of making all the cholesterol you need. The pool of cholesterol in blood comes from two sources:

  • Cholesterol contained in the foods you eat. Major dietary sources of cholesterol include cheese, egg yolks, beef, pork, poultry, fish, and shrimp.
  • Cholesterol manufactured inside your body.

As already mentioned above, the primary influence on blood cholesterol level is the mix of fats that you eat, not the dietary fats themselves. The important issue is the amount of cholesterol in your bloodstream.

To fully comprehend what I just wrote in the previous paragraph, you need to understand that cholesterol is made in the liver and intestine from fragments of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. The typical western diet provides approximately one third of the cholesterol the body needs on a daily basis (300-500 mg). The balance is manufactured in your liver (700-900 mg).

How does the body use cholesterol?
Cholesterol is withdrawn from blood for use in cell membranes; in tissues such as heart, liver or muscle; and for making hormones and bile acids.

How is it transported?
Cholesterol, being a lipid, does not mix with water. In order to travel through the blood, a watery system, cholesterol is coated with protein. The resulting macro-molecule is a lipoprotein. Lipoproteins are carriers for transporting cholesterol throughout the body.

Where does it go?
Unlike fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, cholesterol cannot be used for energy. Small amounts of cholesterol can be used up making hormones and vitamin D. However, the major substance made from cholesterol is bile acids. Formed in the liver, bile acids are secreted into the intestine where they help digest fat. Some of the bile acids are excreted with waste from the digestive tract. Most of the bile acids are recycled and reused. The body excretes approximately 1,000-1,400 mg cholesterol each day. One way cholesterol-lowering drugs act is to bind bile acids so they cannot be recycled. This continually drains cholesterol from the body to make new bile acids. Some types of dietary fiber may also act this way.

In general, the lower your LDL and the higher your HDL, the better your chances of preventing heart disease and other chronic conditions.

For more information about fats, refer to my blog post Good Fats vs. Bad Fats.

You may be also interested in watching the following video, presented by Dr. Ron Rosedale (courtesy articles.mercola.com/videos.aspx).

10 Foods That Will Harm Your Health

October 24, 2013 by  
Filed under Unhealthy Food, Unhealthy Body

Food shopping, like many of our daily activities, involve decisions, decision, decisions…. Our modern life style often prevents us from making good nutritional decisions. There’s not enough time, convenience takes precedence, old habits dictate. As far as nutrition is concerned, the ugly truth is that poor decisions will play havoc with your health. Have you ever stopped and considered the research you do and the decisions you make about your nutrition and compared these decision with those you undoubtedly make in regard to your most valuable possessions, e.g. you house, car, computer or washing machine etc. You would not knowingly put toxic substances into your car engine, or infect your computer with viruses, would you? Neither would you knowingly tolerate termites eating their way into your home. Yet, this is exactly what a great many people do to the most precious possession they have – their own body. The foods produced by our modern day food industries – who have existed less than the last 5% of human existence – are the main cause of modern day diseases like coronary heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, and others. Moreover, they are the cause of what has now become a worldwide epidemic – obesity. The food producers stock our supermarket shelves with unhealthy and outright poisonous foods, often with false and totally misleading labeling. False advertising is supposedly illegal in most countries but this law does not seem to apply to the food industry. However, you do have a choice; you are under no obligation to consume these foods.

You just need to make sound decisions when you stand at the doorstep of your supermarket, or when you are ordering your take-away food for lunch or fast food at a restaurant or food stall. So, let’s reveal the food choices you should limit or not consume at all if you care about your health and well being. Beware that this is a LONG blog post. It is full of depressing information but ends with some recommendations on the type of decisions you can make to better look after yourself and your family.

Beware These Foods

Wheat

The wheat produced today is not the wheat our forefathers consumed. Instead, it is a genetically modified and scientifically engineered food product that has been developed and “refined” over the last 50 years. Tragically, it has also been observed that the history of wheat parallels the history of modern day chronic disease and obesity. To quote Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D. (Huffington Post, 18 Feb 2012) “There are 3 reasons why wheat products, not just gluten, in parallel with sugar consumption, is a major contributor to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, depression and so many other modern ills.” This new modern wheat is different in three important ways:

  1. It contains a super Starch, a substance that contains high levels of a starch called amylopectin A which is very fattening.
  2. It contains a form of gluten that causes several inflammatory diseases like diabetes and obesity.
  3. It contains forms of an addictive drug that causes hunger feelings and makes you more hungry.

Gluten itself can trigger inflammation, obesity and chronic disease in several major ways.

  1. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation that can lead to insulin resistance. This, in turn, may cause weight gain and diabetes as well as autoimmune diseases, irritable bowel, reflux, cancer, depression, osteoporosis and more.
  2. Low-level inflammation reactions to gluten trigger the same problems even if you don’t have full-blown celiac disease but just have elevated antibodies.
  3. Recent research has also revealed that adverse reactions to gluten may result from problems in very different parts of the immune system than those implicated in celiac disease. This means that people can be gluten-sensitive without having celiac disease or gluten antibodies and still have inflammation and many other symptoms.
  4. Wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) present in whole wheat causes body inflammation as well. It can lead to heart attacks.

Sugar

There is little doubt that sugar, as far as nutrition goes, is public enemy number one. If in doubt, watch the video that appears in my blog post titled “The Uncomfortable Truth About Sugars“. Food products rich in sugar are cakes, biscuits, muffins, bagels, fruit juices, soft drinks and also breads.

Artificial Sweeteners

These substances are most commonly added to soft drink products. The greatest fallacy is their presence in the “diet drinks” and “sports drinks”, often advertised as “health drinks”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame and saccharin actually cause greater weight gain than sugar. The dishonesty of drink suppliers does stop there either

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), a sweetener first manufactured in Japan as early as 1965. Also called glucose/fructose, it is a substance that has undergone enzymatic processing to convert glucose into fructose to improve the sweetness. Fructose is essentially a toxic substance that our bodies do not digest properly. HFCS is a very common additive in all sorts of foods. Check your food labels and you will find that it commonly appears in packaged and processed foods.
  • Aspartame, made up of aspartic acid and synthetically modified phenylalanine which, in this sweetener, creates methanol. The methanol easily enters sensitive body tissue like brain and bone marrow where an enzyme converts it into a substance which damages proteins and DNA. Certain studies claim this toxin aids in the development of dementia like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson disease. Stay clear of it.
  • Splenda (sucralose) is an artificial sweetener that contains no elements of natural sugar. In fact, it contains a degree of chlorine. Splenda destroys healthy essential gut bacteria.

Soy Products

For many years, I believed the hype about soy milk being a healthy drink. The truth is the most soybeans that enter the food chain today are genetically modified in order to withstand high levels of pesticide. The ONLY soy products which are healthy are those made from organic soy that has been properly fermented. Unfermented soy products have, in numerous scientific studies, been linked to immune system degradation, thyroid problems, cognitive damage, reproductive disorders and infertility, even cancer and heart disease. The damaging ingredient in unfermented soy is called glyphosate and can be found in products like protein bars, soups and sauces, baked goods, breakfast cereals, dietary supplements and bottled fruit drinks. It is simply amazing that soy industry representatives, either active within regulatory bodies or influencing such bodies, have been able to hide the ugly truth from the public. Food producers even get away with using synonym names for soy to label their products; names like bouillon, natural flavor or textured plant protein.

Processed Meats

A 2011 review, produced by the World Cancer Research Fund, which was based on more than 7,000 clinical studies, found that processed meats are unhealthy and should be entirely excluded from your diet. These foods include deli meat like sausages, salami and ham. The problem with these foods is the origin of the meats used and the chemical processes used to prepare the foods. Most meats used originate from animals raised in feed lots where they are given growth hormones, antibiotics and other drugs meant to promote their growth despite deplorable living conditions. These meats contain sodium nitrite which is a preservative that also contains an agent that destroys microorganisms that might carry disease. Good for the animals, maybe, but read on to discover what it does inside your body. Nitrates are converted in your body into cancer producing chemicals (nitrosamines) which are linked to colon, stomach and pancreatic cancers. And it doesn’t stop there. Most deli products may also contain harmful chemicals that do not originate in animal feed lots but are produced during the manufacturing process. These include:

  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs). Many deli products are smoked as a curing process and excess smoke generated during this process can transfer PAHs to the meat. PAHs are known cancer producing chemicals.
  • Heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These compounds are created when meats, or other foods, are cooked at high temperatures. They are associated with stomach, colon and breast cancers.
  • Advanced glycation products (AGEs). Again, these compounds are formed when foods are cooked at high temperatures and particularly when grilled or fried without water. AGEs absorbed in your body increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and disease.

See separate blog post about Advanced Glycation End Products here. Further References .If You Eat Processed Meats, Are You Risking Your Life at Mercola.com.

Vegetable Oils and Margarine

Vegetable oils include palm oil, soybean oil, corn oil and even canola oil. I choose to quote Mike Geary, a Certified Nutrition Specialist and originator of The Truth About ABS program, who explains the dangers of hydrogenated oils and margarine in a no-nonsense fashion . “Hydrogenated oils are industrially produced, chemically altered oils subjected to extremely high pressure and temperature, with added industrial solvents such as hexane for extraction, and have a metal catalyst added to promote the artificial hydrogenation, followed by bleaching and deodorizing agents…..and somehow the FDA still allows this crap to pass as food. These oils aren’t even worthy of your lawnmower, much less your body! They’ve been linked to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more. Even small quantities have been shown in studies to be dangerous. If you care about your health, check the ingredients of everything you buy, and if you see partially hydrogenated oils of any kind, margarine, or shortening, protect yourself and your family by choosing something else.” If you don’t believe him, then allow me to quote Dr. Mercola, in his article on foods to avoid: “Of all the destructive foods available to us, those made with heated vegetable oils are some of the worst. These oils may be healthy in their natural stage but are anything but healthy after the manufacturing process they undergo to become commercially available.” Oxidized cholesterol is introduced into your system every time you eat something cooked in vegetable oil. The oil you use for cooking should be stable enough not to change its chemical structure when heated. Processed vegetable oils DO change their chemical structure and become oxidized (rancid). This oxidization converts good cholesterol to bad cholesterol. In introduces oxidized cholesterol into your blood and this will cause build-up of plaque like substances in your arteries. The manufacturing process for vegetable oils also introduces trans fats which happen to be the worst fat you can consume. And, finally, you should be aware that many of these commercial oils are made from genetically modified crops Further Reference: Why Hydrogenated Oils Should be Avoided at All Costs”.

Foods Packaged in Grease Proof Food Wrappers

The best example of foods packaged in these types of toxic materials may be microwave popcorns. Chemicals in a group called perfluoroalkyls which contain perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) are embedded in grease proof food wrappers in order to stop grease leaking through the wrapper. Bodies like the Environmental Protection Agency has classified these chemicals as “likely carcinogens” and claimed that PFOA causes reproductive risks for humans. Various researches have also linked PFCs to health dangers like infertility, thyroid disease, cancer, immune system damage and increase LDL cholesterol levels. So, how do you protect yourself from this type of industrial food packaging assault? Be aware that these substances occur in non-stick cookware, foods sold in grease-proof food packaging such as fast foods and microwave popcorn.

Canned Foods

The problem here is the protective coating applied to canned food containers. The epoxy resin used contains Bisphenos A (BPA), a chemical widely used in the manufacturing of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy raisins. This chemical is linked to reproductive abnormalities, breast and prostrate cancers, diabetes and heart disease. The canned foods identified as high risk are acidic foods which can cause the chemical to leach into the food stored. Canned tomatoes have been identified as the acidic food product most likely to be contaminated. BPA can leach into the food you consume from products such as polycarbonate tableware, food storage containers, water bottles, and baby bottles. The leakage is said to depend on the temperature of the liquid stored and the age of the container. To minimize exposure to this chemical, do NOT microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers , avoid canned foods, and choose glass, porcelain or stainless containers as a preference.

Fruit Juices

A great many people would consider fruit juices a healthy addition to their nutrition. However, I caution you to read the label to determine the sugar content in juice you purchase. In many cases, it is as high as 10%. Such a ratio of sugar would put the juice into the same category as Coke or Pepsi.

Table Salt

The problem with table salt is that it is a processed product, not a natural product. Processed salt contains 98% sodium chloride to which has been added chemicals such as iodine, moisture absorbents and, in some European countries, fluoride. By contrast, natural, unprocessed salt is made up of 84% sodium chloride. The remaining 16% of its content are natural minerals such as silicon, phosphorous and vanadium.

Further Bad News

I have outlined a large range of foods which are best avoided if you care about your health. To add to the list, and I apologize if this blog post is getting just a bit depressing, recent research has revealed another range of poisonous substances that may well have found their way into your food supplies. The following substances are banned in most countries but, depending in which country you live, may well appear in common foods you purchase.

  • Ractopamine. This substance is banned in the EU and China. However, various consumer reports have found this substance in 20% o all pork products.
  • Antibiotics. Recent studies have found that no less than 80% of supermarket meats in the U.S. contain antibiotics which damage your gut flora.
  • rBGH. This substance commonly appears in milk production in the U.S. This substance has been banned in Canada, EU, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Israel because it the levels of the hormone IGF-1 which, in turn, increases the risk of cancers.
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Although more than 50 countries around the world require GMO foods to be labeled, and many countries have banned such foods, GMO foods are NOT labeled in the U.S. The disturbing fact is that close to 90% of soy, corn, canola and sugar beet products in the U.S. are not genetically modified. A 2012 study on animals revealed that GMO foods revealed serious health risks from the consumption of GMO foods, including the development of tumors and liver damage.
  • Potassium bromate. This substance appears in breads and was identified by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSP), a non-profit Washington based consumer advocate group, as a potential cancer risk in 1991. This substance has been banned in several countries.

The horrible truth is that the best way to avoid foods that are bad for your health, is to steer clear of food products labeled as “health claims”. Such labeling is often a blatant scam that promotes “whole grains” in processed foods that are full of sugar and wheat.

 

AGEs Cause Premature Aging and Disease

October 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Unhealthy Food, Unhealthy Body

AGEs stands for “Advanced Glycation End Products, a term which prompts an immediate further question: “What is glycation?”

Disclaimer

I am neither a medical expert, nor a nutritionist. However, I can read and I can pass on information provided by qualified experts. Medical science is not static, so I urge you to surf the Internet to verify, question or comment on what I am saying. I should also mention that I have not attempted to explain the biochemistry associated with AGEs as I am in no way qualified to do so. Let’s concentrate only on the essentials of AGEs.

What Is Glycation?
In biological terms, it is the bonding of protein and fat (lipid) molecules with sugar molecules. Some experts explain it as a process in which glucose molecules attach themselves to hemoglobin in a destructive process called glycation. Hemoglobin is the protein molecule in red blood cells. These molecules carry oxygen to body tissues and expel carbon dioxide. To summarize:

  • Glycation interferes with your body’s cellular functions.
  • Glycation is mainly caused by the presence of high blood sugar levels.
  • Glycation affects the ability of your red blood cells to carry oxygen to your organs.

So far, this probably does not make any practical sense. However, the damage these processes cause should wake you up and pay attention.

Skin Problems Caused by Glycation
Let’s start with the skin problems. Glycation causes glucose molecules to attach themselves to skin proteins like collagen and elastin which are the proteins that give people a youthful complexion. The sugar molecules cause the skin proteins to become discolored and weak which then causes skin wrinkles and skin sag. Smoking exasperates the damage as a recipe for premature aging.

Diseases Caused by Glycation
There are many more serious issues at stake here:

  • Detructive effects of your blood vessels – primarily damage to collagen in blood vessel walls – which can cause high blood pressure, heart disease or strokes.
  • Microvascular effects –like damage to the pancreas – that can cause diabetes.
  • The formation of plaque-like substances in your brain cells and nerve tissue – a pre-cursor or cause for memory loss, dementia or the dreadful Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Nerve damage which can affect hearing and eye sight.

AGEs are formed by food you eat or formed naturally inside your body (in technical terms, when sugar molecules attach to protein or fat molecules without an enzyme).
The lining of blood cells are particularly sensitive as are blood capillaries of the kidneys and eyes, brain and nerve cells. As already said, they are a major cause for skin wrinkles and sagging skin tissue.

Nutritional Aspects of Glycation
It is the presence of glucose (sugar) molecules in your blood stream which, in combination with certain foods and cooking processes, that cause glycation.

  • Animal foods high in fat and protein are more susceptible to the formation of AGEs.
  • Browned and roasted foods like fried meats and packaged foods.
  • Modern diets are largely heat-processed and, as a result, contain high levels of AGEs.
  • Cooking of food at high temperatures without water (frying) causes the sugar in foods to bind with the proteins or fats to form AGEs.

How To Protect Yourself and Minimize Glycation

  • Reduce or eliminate sugars from your diet, particularly High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and fructose.
  • Cook meats at lower temps. Cook in broth.
  • Do NOT eat the crispy skin from turkey or pork. It is as bad as your fried breakfast bacon.
  • Avoid or reduce the amount of “browned” foods you consume. These include brown bread, browned or grilled meat, bacon, crispy brown cookies, donuts, chips, and crackers.
  • Minimize the amount of sodas and sweetened drinks that you consume, including sweetened fruit juices.
  • Avoid processed foods – they often have high sugar content.
  • Avoid browned, roasted, grilled or fried foods.
  • Avoid dark colored sodas as they contain caramel coloring.
  • Endeavor to keep your blood sugar level at or below 90 mg/dl.
  • Avoid or minimize grains – especially wheat and corn (they raise blood sugar levels). Don’t eat brown breads because they are baked or fried. Don’t eat donuts, muffins, pastries and bagels.

The End Benefits
Make these simple change and you will feel leaner, stronger, more alert and in a better mood. You will also sleep better, your joints will be stronger and your sex drive will improve.

Where To From Here
You will find several blog posts about nutrition on this site and I am progressively adding more.
I do it because of personal interest and because I am getting horrified discovering what the farm, fish, processed food and drink industries have done to an entire generation of people. The effects of the unhealthy foods we are sold is a worldwide obesity epidemic. If in doubt, just look around you.

Learning how to buy or access healthy foods and how to prepare healthy meals would require an entire book. Let’s leave this to the experts who are telling the truth and ignore the misleading propaganda and advertisements that you are exposed to every day, on TV and in magazines and newspapers. Fortunately, I have found experts who tell the truth in print and via easy to absorb videos.

The road towards a healthy diet and a healthy body involves 85% nutrition and 15% exercise. The first step is to acquire a sound eating plan.

I always place “diets” inside quotation marks because the term itself is contradictory. The word has two separate meanings, but is too often interpreted as a reduction in the amount of food you consume. This is entirely unnecessary. By eating the right kinds of food, you can actually eat more and still lose weight.