Think Fast Food Is Bad for You? You’re Right – and the Packaging Is Even Worse! (Study Shows)

 

By April McCarthy | Prevent Disease

Grease-proof packaging has helped make pizzas, burgers, and tacos on-the-go a less messy proposition. However, a new study in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters has found that some fast-food packaging from across the U.S. contains a variety of fluorinated compounds — a few of which have been linked to potential health effects.

Mitigating the problem of pharmaceuticals in drinking water has been an ongoing health issue for decades. But levels of a widely used class of industrial chemicals are now officially linked with cancer and other health problems — polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) — exceed federally recommended safety levels in public drinking-water supplies. Part of those toxic levels comes from waste.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, some studies in humans have suggested that long-chain, per- and PFASs, are associated with developmental problems in children, decreased fertility and an increased cancer risk. In 2000, the U.S. started phasing out some long-chain PFASs, which had commonly been used in a wide range of products to make them stain-resistant or waterproof, for example.

But other countries still produce them, and some manufacturers have replaced them with shorter-chain PFASs or variations of long-chain PFASs. The potential health effects of these smaller compounds are unclear, although preliminary studies have raised concerns. Previous research has shown that substances in food packaging can migrate into food and, when discarded in landfills, could contribute to elevated levels of PFASs in the environment. How much depends on type of PFAS, temperature and other factors.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in early 2016 that it would withdraw its approval for three chemicals used to make grease, stain, and water repelling food packaging and consider banning seven food additives used in both “artificial” and “natural” flavors.

To find out how widely used PFASs are in fast-food packaging, Laurel Schaider of the Silent Spring Institute and her colleagues tested more than 400 paper wrappers, paperboard containers and cups from fast-food restaurants across the U.S. They detected fluorine — an indication of fluorinated compounds — in nearly half of the food contact papers overall and 20 percent of the paperboard containers. Wrappers for Tex-Mex food, desserts and breads were the most likely to contain fluorine.

PFOA is a processing aid for manufacturing fluoropolymers, which are used in the electronics, textiles and automotive industries, to name a few, for their heat, water, oil and stain resistant properties.

A more detailed analysis of a subset of 20 samples found that perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a long-chain PFAS currently being phased out in the U.S., was among the packaging compounds. Determining what the findings mean for consumers is difficult, however. The PFASs occurred at a wide range of concentrations, suggesting that some of them were not specifically added to the packaging but came from older, recycled materials or other undetermined sources. The researchers say this could lead to the persistence of some of the compounds, even if phased out, for many years to come.

Drinking tap water contaminated with PFOA is also a serious health risk. The highest measured levels of PFOA in human blood in the US, other than factory exposures, are in people who have consumed PFOA contaminated tap water in West Virginia and Ohio. These people had PFOA levels in their blood 100 times higher than the levels found in the water, and far higher than the average person in the US.

“These compounds are potent immunotoxicants in children and recent work suggests drinking-water safety levels should be much lower than the provisional guidelines established by EPA,” said Elsie Sunderland, senior author of the study and associate professor at both the Harvard Chan School and SEAS.

Read more great articles at Prevent Disease.

Best Foods and Herbs To Cleanse and Detox Your Kidneys

 

By Dena Schmidt | New Paradigm

The kidneys play a crucial role in filtering out waste products and toxins from the blood. Without this detox process, harmful toxins would remain in the body and our health would quickly break down.

Because of this, keeping the kidneys in top shape is crucial to overall well-being. A balanced diet, plenty of clean water, and regular cleansing with natural herbs and juices are key to supporting and maintaining kidney health. The following are some of the top foods and herbal remedies that can help detox the kidneys and keep them functioning at a high level:

1. Cranberry

Cranberries, cranberry juice and cranberry extract are well known for their effectiveness in healing bladder infections and keeping the urinary tract healthy. However, they can also support kidney health by helping to eliminate toxins, bacteria and calcium oxalate – a main ingredient of kidney stones.

2. Cabbage

This cruciferous vegetable is loaded with phytochemicals, which help to eliminate harmful free radicals in the blood. Cabbage is also high in the vitamins C, K, folic acid and B6; however, it is also low in potassium, so it is gentle on the kidneys.

Fact: 26 million Americans have disease of the kidneys – and most don’t even know it

3. Beets

Beets and beet juice are high in beneficial compounds, phytochemicals and antioxidants. Consuming beets helps to raise the acidity level of the urine to assist in clearing away potentially harmful buildup in the kidneys.

4. Dark Berries

Dark-colored berries get their rich hue from their high content of flavonoids. Blueberries, blackberries, dark grapes, and cherries are just a few examples. Their healing compounds are antioxidants and support health by promoting better blood flow, a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease, less inflammation, and detoxifying effects in the blood and tissues.

Did you know that high blood pressure and diabetes are the two leading causes of kidney disease?

5. Herbal Detox

The top herbs for kidney detox include parsley, goldenrod, dandelion root, horsetail and celery root. Some of these herbs are available in tea and supplement form, while others can be easily added as seasonings to your favorite dishes.

6. Lemon

Lemon juice is naturally acidic, so it can assist in raising citrate levels just as beets do. Squeezing lemon juice into water for a hot or cold beverage and drinking it regularly is an easy and effective way to support kidney health.

7. Vegetable Juicing

Juicing has surged in popularity in the past decade due to its potent health benefits. While fruit juice is nutritious, juicing vegetables (or a combination of both) can be even more healthy and cleansing. Vegetables contain less sugar and in some cases more vitamins than fruit.

While berries, apples and pineapples are loaded with nutrients, adding dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and chard can boost the nutritional impact of your juices. Cucumber, celery, lettuce, zucchini and carrots are also excellent additions. Adding some of the other ingredients discussed here such as cranberry juice, herbs, beets and lemon juice can also enhance the effects of a juice cleanse.

The kidneys are among the body’s main defenses against toxins, so treat them well! Make the foods, beverages and herbs discussed here a regular part of your diet and enjoy the health benefits.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8093138

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22150656

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22946853

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15638071

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20170379

Read more great articles at New Paradigm.

CBD-Infused Cannabis Milk Soothes Anxiety And Is Hitting Stores Soon

CBD-infused cannabis milk is both nourishing and tasty. Is this the new craze?

Credit: Rawligion

Credit: Rawligion

For a long time, green juice and green smoothies were considered to be the ‘peak’ of what one seeking to nourish their body could consume. While both offer numerous benefits, there’s a newly created beverage that is bound to become the populace’s favorite.

Whereas THC – the component in marijuana responsible for getting you ‘high’ – is illegal in most U.S. states, cannabidiol (CBD) is not. In fact, CBD oil is renowned for its many medicinal effects. One of the many chemical compounds found within cannabis, CBD is non-psychoactive and has been proven in studies to benefit anxiety. Though science has not yet confirmed this, CBD is also reported to benefit one’s mood, sleep, pain, immune response, and hormone regulation. CBD is also widely used as a natural treatment for seizures.

Because CBD oil is even listed on the U.S. National Cancer Institute’s website as a potential ‘cure’ for cancer, the company Rawligion (based in London) included it in its new 100% organic hemp drink. The drink Relax consists of 100% organic hemp milk containing CBD, hemp seeds, cashews, dates, coconut oil, vanilla, and water. Created by Michael Isted, a psychotherapist and development consultant for Rawligion, the drink is intended to help people feel calm and well-nourished.

Credit: Rawligion

Credit: Rawligion

Cannabidiol seeds do not get one high and are very nutrient-rich. Research shows that cannabis seeds contain a healthy 3:1 balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (too many omega-6 fatty acids contribute to inflammation), as well as a rich source of nutrients including calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, D, and E. Additionally, the cannabis seed is a complete protein, meaning it contains all essential amino acids.

The drink, produced by Rawligion and LoveHemp – a UK-based CBD oil distributor, is expected to hit stores in the London area soon. Though the raw drink will not be distributed far and wide as of yet (it’s difficult to keep a live food drink of that quality fresh for long periods of time), this product might inspire others elsewhere to produce and market similar drinks. Who knows, you might even be able to make your own version

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!


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When You Eat Pickles Often, Something Surprising Will Happen To Your Brain

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When You Eat Pickles Often, Something Surprising Will Happen To Your Brain

by

Food for thought might just have a whole new meaning to it and in a more literal sense. We all hold a widely held conception that fish helps our brains develop and this study shows exactly that, but there might be a new super brain food on the block that could help your brain work better and it is readily accessible everywhere. Pickles.

However, not all pickles can have such a positive impact on the brain. A study done by the college of William and Mary in Virginia revealed that naturally fermented foods such as dilled pickles can provide you with a huge boost of serotonin which is a chemical responsible for managing our moods.

For people who have had an experience with depression or anxiety disorder, pickles could be just the thing to boost serotonin levels in your body like what most pharmaceutical antidepressants aim to do.

Gut and Anxiety

According to Dr Michael Gershon, author of The Second Brain, the gut is actually somewhat like our body’s second brain having as many neurotransmitters as the brain! However, unlike our brain that controls what we feel and how we make decisions, the gut makes decisions from swallowing, digesting to nutrient absorption and elimination.

What’s also fascinating about our gut is that it communicates with our main brain with very profound results as researchers are finding more evidence that problems in the gastrointestinal system send signals to our brain triggering a bout of mood changes which explains why people with bowel disorders suffer from depression and anxiety much easier.

Pickles And Euphoria

The GABA neurotransmitter is a bunch of neurons in our brain that controls motor movements, vision and they also regulate anxiety. And by putting a pickle into your mouth, it actually does a lot to your gut as well as your brain. Fermented foods such as dilled pickles have healthy bacteria in them called probiotics and there is much research done on the relationship between anxiety disorders and probiotics.

In one research done by the University of College Cork, Ireland, rats were used to study the potential benefits of introducing probiotics into their systems during a stressful situation such as maternal separation. Researchers studied that probiotic treatment is able to regulate their behavior and their abnormal immune response. Results like this fully support the hypothesis that probiotics have the potential to change our moods as well as strengthening our immune systems.

Researchers studied that probiotic treatment is able to regulate their behavior and their abnormal immune response. Results like this fully support the hypothesis that probiotics have the potential to change our moods as well as strengthening our immune systems.

To further prove the point that pickles actually does make people less stressed out, a study done by Maryland University studied the dietary habits of 700 students and found out that people who had fermented products in their diets suffered less social anxiety.

Eat More Fermented Products

Other than dilled pickles, there are also alternatives to look out for to get those good bacteria into your gut so that you keep your mind stable as well. Foods that you can consider are Yogurt, Sauerkraut, Dark chocolate, miso soup, Tempeh and Kimchi.

On top of the digestive benefits of eating fermented products, there are a few things to take note when eating these foods that are also pretty high in sodium. Eating pickles as a snack is good and having just one is fine. Researchers from Turkey were actually found out that people with gastric cancer ate more pickles than cancer free participants in the survey. So it’s best not to eat too much of a good thing and have it in moderation.

Leaked Podesta Emails Confirm Suspicions About Aspartame Dangers

By Dr. Mercola

Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are typically used to sweeten so-called “diet” foods and beverages in lieu of sugar or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The idea is that reducing your calorie consumption will result in weight loss.

However, research has completely demolished this notion, showing that artificial sweeteners actually have the converse effect; they actually lower appetite suppressant chemicals and encourage sugar cravings and sugar dependence, thereby raising your odds of unwanted weight gain.

Research has repeatedly shown that artificial sweeteners promote insulin resistance and related health problems just like regular sugar does, including cardiovascular disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

While poor diet is a major driver of Alzheimer’s in general (the primary culprits being sugar/fructose and grains, especially gluten), the key mechanism of harm here appears to be methanol toxicity — a much-ignored problem associated with aspartame in particular.

In a previous interview, toxicology expert Woodrow Monte, Ph.D., (author of the book “While Science Sleeps: A Sweetener Kills”) explains the links between aspartame and methanol toxicity and the formation of toxic formaldehyde.

Newly Leaked Emails Discuss Rumsfeld’s Involvement in Aspartame Approval

John Podesta’s leaked emails have turned up a number of damning pieces confirming the collusion between the soda industry and high level officials within the U.S. government, including Hillary Clinton.

In a recent batch of leaked emails, Donald Rumsfeld’s involvement in the approval of aspartame is discussed.  Rumsfeld served as White House chief of staff from 1974 to 1975. He was also secretary of defense from 1975 to 1977, and again from 2001 to 2006.

In 1976, Rumsfeld became CEO of the drug company G.D. Searle & Company, which was trying to get aspartame approved by the FDA.

To put the email chain into context, in 2013 the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) filed a petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requesting the agency “amend the standard of identity” for milk and other dairy products.

This change would allow them to add aspartame to chocolate milk, which is a primary milk product served with school lunches, without labeling it as a low-calorie drink. I wrote about this in my article, “Big Dairy Petitions FDA to Allow Unlabeled Use of Aspartame in Dairy Products.”

Former Head of FDA Reveals His Concerns About Aspartame

At that time, Wendy Abrams, founder of Cool Globes Inc., an organization dedicated to raising awareness of climate change, forwarded correspondence to Podesta that she’d received from Don Kennedy.

Kennedy is a former head of the FDA and current editor-in-chief of Science Magazine. In his email correspondence with her, he shares his concerns about aspartame’s potential toxicity:

“The whole sweeteners issue has interested me since my early time at FDA … A little later, still during my time as Commissioner I was called on by Don Rumsfeld, who introduced himself as the CEO of Searle …

[W]e told him that we would look carefully at the evidence and rely on our expert committee structure as usual. 

Aspartame continued to attract concerned critics, and we at FDA saw no resumption of Searle’s effort to get it approved. I looked up one piece on that history, which I append below. Not a very nice story.

‘In 1985 Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle, the chemical company that held the patent to aspartame, the active ingredient in NutraSweet.

Monsanto was apparently untroubled by aspartame’s clouded past, including a 1980 FDA Board of Inquiry, comprised of three independent scientists, which confirmed that it ‘might induce brain tumors.’

The FDA had actually banned aspartame based on this finding, only to have Searle Chairman Donald Rumsfeld … vow to ‘call in his markers,’ to get it approved’ … “

Aspartame ‘Blew Holes in Their Brains’

In her correspondence with Kennedy, Abrams also noted her own adverse reactions to NutraSweet, noting that:

“… I think it is poison … Doctors will swear to me it is fine, and I will tell them, maybe I’m the only person in the world who reacts like this, but clearly it affects me, and then they’ll tell me again, it is fine. They are so brainwashed by the propaganda, they refuse to believe anything contrary. 

I also have a friend who worked for the researchers at University of Chicago (which has a top rated neurology dept [sic]) and the doctors there said when they gave NutraSweet to lab mice, it literally blew holes in their brains.”

In a subsequent email, Kennedy tells Abrams that: “Rumsfeld has a lot to answer for in his next life.”

Children Are at Increased Risk

As is often the case, children are particularly susceptible to damage from artificial sweeteners.

A recent study14 evaluating how much artificial sweetener is actually absorbed into the blood when consumed by children versus adults found that children had DOUBLE the concentration after drinking a 12-ounce can of diet soda compared to the adults. As reported by Science Daily:

“The same research team previously found that these artificial sweeteners were also present in breast milk when mothers ingested foods, drinks, medicines or other products that contained artificial sweeteners.

Since infants have less ability to clear substances from their blood stream via the kidneys (lower glomerular filtration rate up to age 2 years), the authors speculate that the infants’ artificial sweetener blood levels may be proportionately even higher.

These results are important because early life exposure to artificial sweeteners may influence a child’s future taste preferences, diet and metabolic fate.”

Research Reveals Surprising Mechanism of Harm

Research published in the journal Nature in 2014 revealed a previously unknown mechanism by which artificial sweeteners make you pack on unwanted pounds and disrupt your metabolic function. Most importantly, this study proved causation.

In recent years, we’ve learned that gut microbes play a significant role in human health. Certain gut microbes have been linked to obesity, for example, and as it turns out, artificial sweeteners disrupt your intestinal microflora, thereby raising your risk of obesity, diabetes and other related problems.

Specifically, the researchers found that artificial sweeteners alter metabolic pathways associated with metabolic disease. Decreased function was observed in pathways associated with the transport of sugar in the body.

Artificial sweeteners were also found to induce gut dysbiosis and glucose intolerance in otherwise healthy people. Of the artificial sweeteners tested, saccharin (Sweet’N Low) had the strongest impact, followed by sucralose and aspartame.

Glucose intolerance is a well-known precursor to type 2 diabetes, but it also plays a role in obesity, because the excess sugar in your blood ends up being stored in your fat cells.According to the authors of this widely publicized study:

“[W]e demonstrate that consumption of commonly used non-caloric artificial sweeteners formulations drives the development of glucose intolerance through induction of compositional and functional alterations to the intestinal microbiota …

Collectively, our results link non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) consumption, dysbiosis and metabolic abnormalities, thereby calling for a reassessment of massive NAS usage.”

Another study, published in PLOS One, also found that when rats were fed aspartame, it shifted their gut microbiota, causing it to produce propionate — short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) involved in sugar production — which resulted in elevated blood sugar.

Diet Soda May Impact Your and Your Child’s Fertility

Recent research also suggests artificially sweetened drinks may affect your fertility. It found a connection between saccharin and sucralose consumption and reduced fertility rates among women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. These artificial sweeteners also raised the risk of a woman’s embryo having at least one deformity. Professor Dr. Adam Balen, chairman of the British Fertility Society (BFS), told The Daily Telegraph:

“This is a very interesting study that suggests the false promise of artificial sweeteners that are found in soft drinks and added to drinks, such as coffee, may have a significant effect on the quality and fertility of woman’s eggs and this may further impact on the chances of conception. These findings are highly significant to our population. There should be more scrutiny of food additives and better information available to the public and, in particular, those wishing to conceive.”

‘Diet’ Soda Is a Fraud

False advertising is prohibited by federal law, and the term “diet” is only permitted on brands or labels when it is not false or misleading. In light of the research demonstrating that artificial sweeteners actually raise your risk of obesity rather than combat it, the consumer group U.S. Right to Know (US RTK) has asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the FDA to investigate Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc. and other companies for false advertising.

In its 2015 citizen petition to the FDA, US RTK asked the agency to issue warning letters to Coca-Cola and Pepsi, concluding that the beverages are misbranded because the use of the term “diet” is false and misleading. In another letter, the group urged the agency to stop Coca-Cola Company from making “illegal claims that its artificially sweetened sodas prevent, mitigate or treat obesity,” noting that Coca-Cola has made such claims on at least eight occasions.

For example, Coca-Cola Company announced that its No. 1 “global commitment to fighting obesity” is to “offer low- or no- calorie beverage options in every market.”

However, if artificially sweetened beverages promote obesity rather than fight it — which research clearly indicates — then Coca-Cola’s commitment is anything but helpful. Nor is it supported by science. I listed a sampling of studies clearly refuting the industry’s “diet” claims in my previous article, “Aspartame Update: Coke Illegally Claims Diet Soda Can Combat Obesity.”

Most recently, The New York Times32 reported on a new study showing water clearly beats diet soda for weight loss. Eighty-one overweight women diagnosed with type 2 diabetes ate the same diet, with one exception. Half drank diet beverages five times a week while the other half drank plain water.

Six months later, the group that drank water had lost an average of 14 pounds. The diet soda group lost an average of 11.5 pounds. The water group also saw greater improvements in measures of diabetes severity, such as fasting insulin and postprandial glucose. All of this is right in line with previous research showing artificial sweeteners promote weight gain and worsen diabetes.

Expect More Artificial Sweeteners in Pepsi Products

PepsiCo is now vowing to reduce the amount of sugar they add to their drinks.  According to a recent announcement, at least two-thirds of its drinks will contain 100 calories or less from added sugar per 12-ounce serving by 2025. But while this may sound like good news, it simply means that more artificial sweeteners will be used.

Indeed, the company has stated it will achieve this sugar-reduction goal by introducing more artificially sweetened drinks and reformulating existing beverage recipes. Considering artificial sweeteners are more damaging than sugar, this means the company’s products will become even more harmful than they already are.

As you may recall, just last year Pepsi announced it would stop using aspartame. The decision came on the heels of declining diet beverage sales following a string of bad press discussing mounting health concerns.

Alas, by September 2015 the company reintroduced aspartame, claiming consumers were demanding more choices. Whether that’s true or not is impossible to tell, but another, and more likely incentive, is that PepsiCo is simply trying to hedge their bets should a tax on sugary beverages actually go through.

Reclaim Your Health by Ditching ‘Diet’ Drinks and Snacks

When you add together the various routes of harm — from confusing your body with sweet taste without calories, altering your gut bacteria for the worse, impairing your fertility and, who knows, maybe even “blowing holes in your brain” — it becomes easy to see how artificial sweeteners have likely played a role in worsening the obesity and diabetes epidemics since their emergence in our food supply, and how they may be undermining health in a myriad of unsuspected ways.

I strongly recommend avoiding ALL artificial sweeteners, and to read food labels to make sure you’re not inadvertently consuming them. They’re added to some 6,000 different beverages, snacks and food products, so there’s no telling where they might be hiding.

As for safer sweetener options, you could use stevia or Lo Han, both of which are safe natural sweeteners. Keep in mind, however, that if you struggle with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or extra weight, then you have insulin sensitivity issues and would probably benefit from avoiding all sweeteners, including natural ones.

Unfortunately, just like sugar, artificial sweeteners can cause you to become addicted to them. If you find you have trouble quitting diet soda or other artificially sweetened products, I suggest trying Turbo Tapping.

This is a version of the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) that is specifically geared toward combating sugar cravings. For instructions, please see the article, “Turbo Tapping: How to Get Rid of Your Soda Addiction.” The video below with EFT practitioner Julie Schiffman also demonstrates how to use EFT to fight food cravings of all kinds.

If you still have cravings after trying EFT or Turbo Tapping, you may need to make further changes to your diet. My updated nutrition plan can help you do this in a step-by-step fashion. Last but not least, if you experience side effects from aspartame or any other artificial sweetener, please report it to the FDA (if you live in the United States). It’s easy to make a report — just go to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator page, find the phone number for your state, and make a call reporting your reaction.