Thursday, February 28, 2013

10 Lies and Misconceptions Spread By Mainstream Nutrition


Waking Times
Dr. Mercola

There’s no shortage of health myths out there, but I believe the truth is slowly but surely starting to seep out there and get a larger audience. For example, two recent articles actually hit the nail right on the head in terms of good nutrition advice.

Shape Magazine features a slide show on “9 ingredients nutritionists won’t touch,”1 and authoritynutrition.com listed “11 of the biggest lies of mainstream nutrition.”

These health topics are all essential to get “right” if you want to protect your health, and the health of your loved ones, which is why I was delighted to see both of these sources disseminating spot-on advice. I highly recommend reading through both of them.

Here, I will review my own top 10 lies and misconceptions of mainstream nutrition—some of which are included in the two featured sources, plus a few additional ones I believe are important.

Lie # 1: ‘Saturated Fat Causes Heart Disease’

As recently as 2002, the “expert” Food & Nutrition Board issued the following misguided statement, which epitomizes this myth:

“Saturated fats and dietary cholesterol have no known beneficial role in preventing chronic disease and are not required at any level in the diet.”

Similarly, the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine recommends adults to get 45–65 percent of their calories from carbohydrates, 20-35 percent from fat, and 10-35 percent from protein. This is an inverse ideal fat to carb ratio that is virtually guaranteed to lead you astray, and result in a heightened risk of chronic disease.

Most people benefit from 50-70 percent healthful fats in their diet for optimal health, whereas you need very few, if any, carbohydrates to maintain good health… Although that may seem like a lot, fat is much denser and consumes a much smaller portion of your meal plate.

This dangerous recommendation, which arose from an unproven hypothesisfrom the mid-1950s, has been harming your health and that of your loved ones for about 40 years now.

The truth is, saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources provide the building blocks for cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances, without which your body cannot function optimally. They also act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Dietary fats are also needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption, and for a host of other biological processes.

In fact, saturated is the preferred fuel for your heart! For more information about saturated fats and the essential role they play in maintaining your health, please read my previous article The Truth About Saturated Fat.

Lie # 2: ‘Eating Fat Makes You Gain Weight’

The low-fat myth may have done more harm to the health of millions than any other dietary recommendation as the resulting low-fat craze led to increased consumption of trans-fats, which we now know increases your risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease—the very health problems wrongfully attributed to saturated fats…

To end the confusion, it’s very important to realize that eating fat will not make you fat!

The primary cause of excess weight and all the chronic diseases associated with it, is actually the consumption of too much sugar — especially fructose, but also all sorts of grains, which rapidly convert to sugar in your body. If only the low-fat craze had been a low-sugar craze… then we wouldn’t have nearly as much chronic disease as we have today. For an explanation of why and how a low-fat diet can create the very health problems it’s claimed to prevent, please see this previous article.

Lie # 3: ‘Artificial Sweeteners are Safe Sugar-Replacements for Diabetics, and Help Promote Weight Loss’

Most people use artificial sweeteners to lose weight and/or because they’re diabetic and need to avoid sugar. The amazing irony is that nearly all the studies that have carefully analyzed their effectiveness show that those who use artificial sweeteners actually gain more weight than those who consume caloric sweeteners. Studies have also revealed that artificial sweeteners can be worse than sugar for diabetics.

In 2005, data gathered from the 25-year long San Antonio Heart Study showed that drinking dietsoft drinks increased the likelihood of serious weight gain, far more so than regular soda.3 On average, each diet soft drink the participants consumed per day increased their risk of becoming overweight by 65 percent within the next seven to eight years, and made them 41 percent more likely to become obese. There are several potential causes for this, including:

Sweet taste alone appears to increase hunger, regardless of caloric content. Artificial sweeteners appear to simply perpetuate a craving for sweets, and overall sugar consumption is therefore not reduced—leading to further problems controlling your weight.

Artificial sweeteners may disrupt your body’s natural ability to “count calories,” as evidenced in studies such as this 2004 study at Purdue University,5 which found that rats fed artificially sweetened liquids ate more high-calorie food than rats fed high-caloric sweetened liquids.

There is also a large number of health dangers associated with artificial sweeteners and aspartame in particular. I’ve compiled an ever-growing list of studies pertaining to health problems associated with aspartame, which you can find here. If you’re still on the fence, I highly recommend reviewing these studies for yourself so that you can make an educated decision. For more information on aspartame, the worst artificial sweetener, please see my aspartame video.

Lie # 4: ‘Your Body Cannot Tell the Difference Between Sugar and Fructose’

Of the many health-harming ingredients listed in the featured article by Shape Magazine—all of which you’re bound to get in excess if you consume processed foods—fructose is perhaps the greatest threat to your health. Mounting evidence testifies to the fact that excess fructose, primarily in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), is a primary factor causing not just obesity, but also chronic and lethal disease. In fact, I am convinced that fructose is one of the leading causes of a great deal of needless suffering from poor health and premature death.

Many conventional health “experts,” contend that sugar and fructose in moderation is perfectly okay and part of a normal “healthy” diet, and the corn industry vehemently denies any evidence showing that fructose is metabolically more harmful than regular sugar (sucrose). This widespread denial and sweeping the evidence under the carpet poses a massive threat to your health, unless you do your own research.

As a standard recommendation, I advise keeping your total fructose consumption below 25 grams per day. For most people it would also be wise to limit your fructose from fruit to 15 grams or less. Unfortunately, while this is theoretically possible, precious few people are actually doing that.

Cutting out a few desserts will not make a big difference if you’re still eating a “standard American diet”—in fact, I’ve previously written about how various foods and beverages contain far more sugar than a glazed doughnut. Because of the prevalence of HFCS in foods and beverages, the average person now consumes 1/3 of a pound of sugar EVERY DAY, which is five ounces or 150 grams, half of which is fructose.

That’s 300 percent more than the amount that will trigger biochemical havoc.

Remember that is the AVERAGE; many actually consume more than twice that amount. For more details about the health dangers of fructose and my recommendations, please see my recent article Confirmed—Fructose Can Increase Your Hunger and Lead to Overeating.

Lie # 5: ‘Soy is a Health Food’

The meteoric rise of soy as a “health food” is a perfect example of how a brilliant marketing strategy can fool millions. But make no mistake about it, unfermented soy products are NOT healthful additions to your diet, and can be equally troublesome for men and women of all ages. If you find this recommendation startling then I would encourage you to review some of the many articles listed on my Soy Index Page.

Contrary to popular belief, thousands of studies have actually linked unfermented soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility—even cancer and heart disease.

Not only that, but more than 90 percent of American soy crops are genetically modified, which carries its own set of health risks.6 I am not opposed to all soy, however. Organic and, most importantly, properly fermented soy does have great health benefits. Examples of such healthful fermented soy products include tempeh, miso and natto. Here is a small sampling of the detrimental health effects linked to unfermented soy consumption:

Breast cancer
Brain damage
Infant abnormalities
Thyroid disorders
Kidney stones
Immune system impairment
Severe, potentially fatal food allergies
Impaired fertility
Danger during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Lie # 6: ‘Eggs are a Source of Unhealthy Cholesterol’

Eggs are probably one of the most demonized foods in the United States, mainly because of the misguided idea implied by the lipid hypothesis that eating egg yolk increases the cholesterol levels in your body. You can forget about such concerns, because contrary to popular belief, eggs are one of the healthiest foods you can eat and they do not have a detrimental impact on cholesterol levels. Numerous nutritional studies have dispelled the myth that you should avoid eating eggs, so this recommendation is really hanging on by a very bare thread…

One such study, conducted by the Yale Prevention Research Center and published in 2010, showed that egg consumption did not have a negative effect on endothelial function – a measure of cardiac risk – and did not cause a spike on cholesterol levels. The participants of the Yale study ate two eggs per day for a period of six weeks. There are many benefits associated with eggs, including:

One egg contains 6 grams of high quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids

Eggs are good for your eyes because they contain lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants found in your lens and retina. These two compounds help protect your eyes from damage caused by free radicals and avoid eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts

Eggs are a good source of choline (one egg contains about 300 micrograms), a member of the vitamin B family essential for the normal function of human cells and helps regulate the nervous and cardiovascular systems. Choline is especially beneficial for pregnant mothers as it is influences normal brain development of the unborn child

Eggs are one of the few foods that contain naturally occurring vitamin D (24.5 grams)

Eggs may help promote healthy hair and nails due to their high sulphur content Eggs also contain biotin, calcium, copper, folate, iodine, iron, manganese, magnesium, niacin, potassium, selenium, sodium, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, vitamin E and zinc

Choose free-range organic eggs, and avoid “omega-3 eggs” as this is not the proper way to optimize your omega-3 levels. To produce these omega-3 eggs, the hens are usually fed poor-quality sources of omega-3 fats that are already oxidized. Omega-3 eggs are more perishable than non-omega-3 eggs.

Lie # 7: ‘Whole Grains are Good for Everyone’

The use of whole-grains is an easy subject to get confused on especially for those who have a passion for nutrition, as for the longest time we were told the fiber in whole grains is highly beneficial. Unfortunately ALL grains, including whole-grain and organic varieties, can elevate your insulin levels, which can increase your risk of disease. They also contain gluten, which many are sensitive to, if not outright allergic. It has been my experience that more than 85 percent of Americans have trouble controlling their insulin levels — especially those who have the following conditions:

Overweight
Diabetes
High blood pressure
High cholesterol
Protein metabolic types

In addition, sub-clinical gluten intolerance is far more common than you might think, which can also wreak havoc with your health. As a general rule, I strongly recommend eliminating or at least restricting grains as well as sugars/fructose from your diet, especially if you have any of the above conditions that are related to insulin resistance. The higher your insulin levels and the more prominent your signs of insulin overload are, the more ambitious your grain elimination needs to be.

If you are one of the fortunate ones without insulin resistance and of normal body weight, then grains are fine, especially whole grains—as long as you don’t have any issues with gluten and select organic and unrefined forms. It is wise to continue to monitor your grain consumption and your health as life is dynamic and constantly changing. What might be fine when you are 25 or 30 could become a major problem at 40 when your growth hormone and level of exercise is different.

Lie # 8: ‘Milk Does Your Body Good’

Unfortunately, the myth that conventional pasteurized milk has health benefits is a persistent one, even though it’s far from true. Conventional health agencies also refuse to address the real dangers of the growth hormones and antibiotics found in conventional milk. I do not recommend drinking pasteurized milk of any kind, including organic, because once milk has been pasteurized its physical structure is changed in a way that can actually cause allergies and immune problems.

Important enzymes like lactase are destroyed during the pasteurization process, which causes many people to not be able to digest milk. Additionally, vitamins (such as A, C, B6 and B12) are diminished and fragile milk proteins are radically transformed from health nurturing to unnatural amino acid configurations that can actually worsen your health. The eradication of beneficial bacteria through the pasteurization process also ends up promoting pathogens rather than protecting you from them.

The healthy alternative to pasteurized milk is raw milk, which is an outstanding source of nutrients including beneficial bacteria such as lactobacillus acidophilus, vitamins and enzymes, and it is, in my estimation, one of the finest sources of calcium available. For more details please watch the interview I did with Mark McAfee, who is the owner of Organic Pastures, the largest organic dairy in the US.

However, again, if you have insulin issues and are struggling with weight issues, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer or high cholesterol it would be best to restrict your dairy to organic butter as the carbohydrate content, lactose, could be contribute to insulin and leptin resistance. Fermented organic raw dairy would eliminate the lactose issue and would be better tolerated. But if you are sensitive to dairy it might be best to avoid these too.

Lie # 9: ‘Genetically Engineered Foods are Safe and Comparable to Conventional Foods’

Make no mistake about it; genetically engineered (GE) foods may be one of the absolute most dangerous aspects of our food supply today. I strongly recommend avoiding ALL GE foods. Since over 90 percent of all corn grown in the US is GE corn, and over 95 percent all soy is GE soy, this means that virtually every processed food you encounter at your local supermarket that does not bear the “USDA Organic” label likely contains one or more GE components. To avoid GE foods, first memorize the following list of well-known and oft-used GE crops:

Corn, Canola, Alfalfa (New GM crop as of 2011), Soy, Cottonseed, Sugar derived from sugar beets

Fresh zucchini, crookneck squash and Hawaiian papaya are also commonly GE. It’s important to realize that unless you’re buying all organic food, or grow your own veggies and raise your own livestock, or at the very least buy all whole foods (even if conventionally grown) and cook everything from scratch, chances are you’re consuming GE foods every single day… What ultimate impact these foods will have on your health is still unknown, but increased disease, infertility and birth defects appear to be on the top of the list of most likely side effects. The first-ever lifetime feeding study also showed a dramatic increase in organ damage, cancer, and reduced lifespan.

Lie # 10: ‘Lunch Meats Make for a Healthy Nutritious Meal’

Lastly, processed meats, which includes everything from hot dogs, deli meats, bacon, and pepperoni are rarely thought of as strict no-no’s, but they really should be, if you’re concerned about your health. Virtually all processed meat products contain dangerous compounds that put them squarely on the list of foods to avoid or eliminate entirely. These compounds include:

Heterocyclic amines (HCAs): a potent carcinogen, which is created when meat or fish is cooked at high temperatures.

Sodium nitrite: a commonly used preservative and antimicrobial agent that also adds color and flavor to processed and cured meats.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): Many processed meats are smoked as part of the curing process, which causes PAHs to form.

Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs): When food is cooked at high temperatures—including when it is pasteurized or sterilized—it increases the formation of AGEs in your food. AGEs build up in your body over time leading to oxidative stress, inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease.

This recommendation is backed up by a report commissioned by The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF). The review, which evaluated the findings of more than 7,000 clinical studies, was funded by money raised from the general public, so the findings were not influenced by vested interests. It’s also the biggest review of the evidence ever undertaken, and it confirms previous findings: Processed meats increase your risk of cancer, especially bowel cancer, and NO amount of processed meat is “safe.” A previous analysis by the WCRF found that eating just one sausage a day raises your risk of developing bowel cancer by 20 percent, and other studies have found that processed meats increase your risk of:

Colon cancer by 50 percent
Bladder cancer by 59 percent
Stomach cancer by 38 percent
Pancreatic cancer by 67 percent

Processed meats may also increase your risk of diabetes by 50 percent, and lower your lung function and increase your risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If you absolutely want or need a hot dog or other processed meats once in awhile, you can reduce your risk by:

Looking for “uncured” varieties that contain NO nitrates

Choosing varieties that say 100% beef, 100% chicken, etc. This is the only way to know that the meat is from a single species and does not include byproducts (like chicken skin or chicken fat or other parts)

Avoiding any meat that contains MSG, high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, artificial flavor or artificial color

Ideally, purchase sausages and other processed meats from a small, local farmer who can tell you exactly what’s in their products. These are just some of the health myths and misconceptions out there. There are certainly many more. The ones listed above are some of the most important ones, in my view, simply because they’re so widely misunderstood. They’re also critical to get “right” if you want to protect your health, and the health of your loved ones.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Dead, Lifeless Food

FDA aims to sterilize our food through the Food Safety Modernization Act

Food Riot Radio
by Brad Jordan

After two years of delay, the Food Safety Modernization Act is finally about to go into effect. The FDA is moving forward with rules that are supposed to make food in the United States the safest in the world.

Hailed as the most sweeping overhaul of farm and food policy since the Great Depression, some fear the law will actually make our food supply less safe by regulating small, organic farmers out of business and leaving it in the hands of a few mega farmers and processors.

“So what exactly is the government going to do to make our food safer?” I was wondering the other day. While I hoped for the labeling of GMO’s and the removal and the word “natural” from products that aren’t natural, I knew the FDA would come up with an idea like putting port-a-potties with sinks in the middle of farm fields. And sure enough, that’s exactly what they did. With that, they also want food heated at higher temperatures to kill any bacteria that may be present, good or bad, and a host of other ill-conceived ideas that will prevent us from accessing nutrient-dense foods.

I recently spoke with Judith McGeary, founder of Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the rights of independent farmers, ranchers, and homesteaders. Judith is also an attorney, a farmer, and a Weston A. Price Foundation chapter leader in Austin, Texas.

McGeary has been following the Food Safety Modernization Act since it was first proposed a couple of years ago. Initially she feared the coming food safety regulations would be so costly for small farmers that they’d go out of business. Since then, farms with less than half a million dollars in annual sales have been exempted from the legislation.

But after reviewing the FDA’s proposed rules, she is still leery for several reasons.

Pay up, I’ll protect you

First, half a million dollars in sales might sound like a lot, but farmers only keep 10 to 15 percent of that in profits. That means it could cost farmers making as little as $50,000 a year as much as $10,000 annually to comply with the new rules. That’s a fifth of their income eaten up by regulation.

Second, the state, with all its power, could wave its magic wand and declare an “outbreak or emergency” and “un”exempt farmers earning even less than $50,000.

Third, on top of the cost in dollars, the law will cost farmers time. Farmers, especially small farmers who can’t afford legal counsel, don’t have time to mull through and comply with 1200 pages of new rules and regulations, many of which are vague and poorly written. Tracking the origin and destination of every crop sold, for example, isn’t going to benefit the farmer or the consumer of local foods. It may help the government hire another unnecessary worker to come and check the farmers’ books though, so why not?

As if filling out paperwork wasn’t bad enough, the agency wants to tell farmers what they can and cannot use to fertilize their crops, right down to the type of compost they can use.

“The FDA seems to be scared of anything that was ever part of an animal. If you don’t follow their instructions to the letter, which includes extensive documentation of how the compost was made, you have to treat compost — including worm castings — as if it were raw animal manure and wait 9 months in between putting the compost down and harvesting the crop. In practice, this is a death knell for the use of many types of compost, which are vital to growing food sustainably,” McGeary said.

This intrusive, restrictive approach to compost is a stark contrast to the agency’s attitude about the spraying of toxic chemicals on food, which doesn’t seem to concern it much at all.

What does all this mean for consumers? Well, expect local, sustainable food prices to go up. Thanks FDA, for making their lives harder and mine more expensive.

If it’s alive, they want it dead

The FDA’s solution to eliminating any possibility of dangerous pathogens is to kill everything. In addition to pasteurizing juices and other processed and packaged foods, the agency would like all “fresh” fruits and vegetables to be irradiated. Yes, that means zapped with radiation. While potentially killing deadly bacteria, this process also kills living enzymes and good bacteria that help build our immune systems. Is this what consumers really want? A bunch of irradiated bags of lettuce that have gone through a giant processing plant, leaving green leaves stripped of the nutrients they once contained? I for one, don’t.

It seems, as usual, the government is making things worse instead of better. A simple way to curb contamination would be to stop subsidizing the mega farms that are causing the problem. Let the free markets figure it out. I think I know what type of farm would win. The local, sustainable farmers have more incentive to do what is right for the consumer and the environment, because they rely on the consumer – not government subsidies – for their paychecks.

If more people took ownership of themselves, and the food they were eating, we wouldn’t need government officials intervening. Yes, that means, getting up off of your ass and visiting the farmer, or at least giving him a call to discuss how your food is being made. If more consumers started talking to their farmers directly and holding them accountable, they’d have more of an incentive to provide good quality, nutrient-dense foods. I mean if I walked on to the farm and saw chemicals being sprayed on the crops, I wouldn’t buy his products. If, after talking to a few people who worked on the farm, I learned the smell in the air was coming from a shit lagoon up around the bend, I wouldn’t buy his products. See where I’m going?

It all starts with food

After reading Harry Brown’s book this weekend, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World, I realize bold action is required in order for change to occur in our lives. So, if you’re eating irritated, chemically fabricated, pre-packaged foods, take action today, and start eating nutrient dense, non-processed, whole foods. Visualize how it will feel and taste eating homemade stews made from real bone stock, butter from freshly milked grass-fed cows, and pasture raised chicken eggs cooked in lard on your cast iron skillet. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. If you can’t visualize how fantastic these foods will taste, visualize a Lean Cuisine cooking away in your microwave, with its rubber stamped FDA approval. Then ask yourself if bold action is required. Is it time for a change? Is it time to eat free or die?

If your answer is yes to any of the following, do some research, find out where you can get raw milk (email me, if you have to) and pasture-raised chicken eggs. Once you have these items, take a deep breath, and realize your life is about to change. Crack open an egg and disregard the white that surrounds the golden orange yolk, and put that yolk in a blender, add another if you’re feeling wild. Pour in a couple cups of fresh, grass fed, milk from your bottle, where the cream sits a couple inches on top. Blend up some of nature’s most perfect foods.

Now, pour that concoction into a glass and walk in front of mirror. Put on a podcast from foodriotradio.com. I recommend the Mark Baker interview, for extra inspiration. Now look at yourself, with your beady little eyes. Realize this is the beginning. This is the first day of the rest of your life. Grab that glass with both hands because they’ll be sweaty and you’ll be anxious and you don’t want to drop what you’ve worked so hard for. Throw that drink back and take a big swallow. Set it down and look at yourself again. See the sparkle in your eye? Feel the change taking place in your body? Now you feel the power of food. It feels good, doesn’t it? You feel alive for the first time in years. The awakening has occurred. You’ve been baptized into the real food movement. Now go spread the word to others and grow the revolution because its message is finally here. Freedom baby, freedom.

Listen to Brad’s interview with Judith McGeary here.

Oceanographer Warns That BP Oil Disaster Created a New Fault Which Could “Release Oil Indefinitely”

Intel Hub
by JG Vibes

The BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico hasn’t been in the news much over the past year, but the clean up is far from over and many have warned that the problem was never really resolved.

Just recently, an oceanographer appeared on multiple mainstream media outlets to warn of the possibility that the BP oil disaster opened up a new fault, and could be leaking oil into the ocean indefinitely.

NBC reported that:

“A persistent, mysterious “oil sheen” in the Gulf of Mexico near the site of BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster grew to more than seven-miles long and one-mile wide during a recent stretch of calm seas, based on aerial observations made by a former NASA physicist turned environmental activist.”

“We had maybe three or four days (of calm weather) and that’s all it took for the stuff to build up considerably,” Bonny Schumaker, the physicist who now runs the non-profit On Wings of Care, which makes regular flights over regions of the Gulf affected by the 2010 oil spill.

In a flight report from Jan. 27 posted on the group’s website, she described the oily expanse as “huge.”

Schumaker first noticed the sheen in September 2012, when it was also reported by BP to the National Response Center, the point of contact for all oil spills and other discharges into the environment.

Since then, BP has inspected the well site four times with underwater robots and found it secure.

However, since BP has been in charge of their own investigation it is very possible that they are taking measures to cover up the situation and make it appear to be less of a problem.

Later in the article the source of this oil sheen is discussed, and the possible implications are revealed:

“Schumaker first noticed the sheen in September 2012, when it was also reported by BP to the National Response Center, the point of contact for all oil spills and other discharges into the environment.

Since then, BP has inspected the well site four times with underwater robots and found it secure.

The concern, he noted, is trying to sort out its source. “The chemical data are a bit ambiguous.”

Some analyses he’s seen suggest the presence of drilling fluid, which is consistent with what Schumaker has heard. But other analyses, from other sources that he said he’s privy to, find no drilling fluid.

In that case, it’s possible that the wreckage in 2010 somehow opened up a new fault on the seafloor.

That possibility is inconsistent with BP’s findings, but would nevertheless indicate potential for an indefinite release of oil.”

It is no surprise that this possibility conflicts with BP’s findings, and it is important to mention that so far BP’s findings and predictions have been far from trustworthy. At this time though, there have been few other realistic explanations put forward as to why these new slicks are continuing to materialize.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

FDA approves first GMO flu vaccine containing reprogrammed insect virus

Natural News

A new vaccine for influenza has hit the market, and it is the first ever to contain genetically-modified (GM) proteins derived from insect cells. According to reports, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the vaccine, known as Flublok, which contains recombinant DNA technology and an insect virus known as baculovirus that is purported to help facilitate the more rapid production of vaccines.

According to Flublok's package insert, the vaccine is trivalent, which means it contains GM proteins from three different flu strains. The vaccine's manufacturer, Protein Sciences Corporation (PSC), explains that Flublok is produced by extracting cells from the fall armyworm, a type of caterpillar, and genetically altering them to produce large amounts of hemagglutinin, a flu virus protein that enables the flu virus itself to enter the body quickly.

So rather than have to produce vaccines the "traditional" way using egg cultures, vaccine manufacturers will now have the ability to rapidly produce large batches of flu virus protein using GMOs, which is sure to increase profits for the vaccine industry. But it is also sure to lead to all sorts of serious side effects, including the deadly nerve disease Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GSB), which is listed on the shot as a potential side effect.

"If Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) has occurred within six weeks of receipt of a prior influenza vaccine, the decision to give Flublock should be based on careful consideration of the potential benefits and risks," explains a section of the vaccine's literature entitled "Warnings and Precautions." Other potential side effects include allergic reactions, respiratory infections, headaches, fatigue, altered immunocompetence, rhinorrhea, and myalgia.

According to clinical data provided by PSC in Flublok's package insert, two study participants actually died during trials of the vaccine. But the company still insists Flublok is safe and effective, and that it is about 45 percent effective against all strains of influenza in circulation, rather than just one or two strains.

FDA also approves flu vaccine containing dog kidney cells

Back in November, the FDA also approved a new flu vaccine known as Flucelvax that is actually made using dog kidney cells. A product of pharmaceutical giant Novartis, Flucelvax also does away with the egg cultures, and can similarly be produced much more rapidly than traditional flu vaccines, which means vaccine companies can have it ready and waiting should the federal government declare a pandemic.

Like Flublok, Flucelvax was made possible because of a $1 billion, taxpayer-funded grant given by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to the vaccine industry back in 2006 to develop new manufacturing methods for vaccines. The ultimate goal is to be able to quickly manufacture hundreds of millions of vaccines for rapid distribution.

Meanwhile, there are reportedly two other GMO flu vaccines currently under development. One of them, which is being produced by Novavax, will utilize "bits of genetic material grown in caterpillar cells called 'virus-like particles' that mimic a flu virus," according to Reuters.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Leading Geneticist: Human Intelligence is Slowly Declining

Natural Society
by Mike Barrett

Would you be surprised to hear that the human race is slowly becoming dumber, and dumber? Despite our advancements over the last tens or even hundreds of years, some ‘experts’ believe that humans are losing cognitive capabilities and becoming more emotionally unstable. One Stanford University researcher and geneticist, Dr. Gerald Crabtree, believes that our intellectual decline as a race has much to do with adverse genetic mutations. But there is more to it than that.

According to Crabtree, our cognitive and emotional capabilities are fueled and determined by the combined effort of thousands of genes. If a mutation occurred in any of of these genes, which is quite likely, then intelligence or emotional stability can be negatively impacted.

“I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000 BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas, and a clear-sighted view of important issues. Furthermore, I would guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues,” the geneticist began his article in the scientific journal Trends in Genetics.

Further, the geneticist explains that people with specific adverse genetic mutations are more likely than ever to survive and live amongst the ‘strong.’ Darwin’s theory of ‘survival of the fittest’ is less applicable in today’s society, therefore those with better genes will not necessarily dominate in society as they would have in the past. Support: 16 Foods that Store for 15 Years

While this hypothesis does have some merit: are genes really the primary reason for the overall cognitive decline of the human race? If humans really are lacking in intelligence more than before, it’s important to recognize other possible causes. Let’s take a look at how our food system plays a role in all of this.

It’s sad, but true; our food system today is contributing to lower intelligence across the board.

The Water Supply, Fluoride is Lowering Your IQ

Researchers from Harvard have found that a substance rampant in the nation’s water supply, fluoride, is lowering IQ and dumbing down the population. The researchers, who had their findings published in the prominent journal Environmental Health Perspectives, a federal government medical journal stemming from the U.S National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, concluded that ”our results support the possibility of adverse effects of fluoride exposures on children’s neurodevelopment”.

“In this study we found a significant dose-response relation between fluoride level in serum and children’s IQ…This is the 24th study that has found this association”.

One attorney, Paul Beeber, NYSCOF President, weighs in on the research by saying:

“It’s senseless to keep subjecting our children to this ongoing fluoridation experiment to satisfy the political agenda of special-interest groups. Even if fluoridation reduced cavities, is tooth health more important than brain health? It’s time to put politics aside and stop artificial fluoridation everywhere”.

Pesticides are Diminishing Intelligence

One study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that pesticides, which are rampant among the food supply, are creating lasting changes in overall brain structure — changes that have been linked to lower intelligence levels and decreased cognitive function. Specifically, the researchers found that a pesticide known as chlorpyrifos (CPF) has been linked to ”significant abnormalities”. Further, the negative impact was found to occur even at low levels of exposure.

Lead researcher Virginia Rauh, a professor at the Mailman School of Public Health, summarized the findings:

“Toxic exposure during this critical period can have far-reaching effects on brain development and behavioral functioning.”

Processed Foods, High Fructose Corn Syrup Making People ‘Stupid’

Following 14,000 children, British researchers uncovered the connection between processed foods and reduced IQ. After recording the children’s’ diets and analyzing questionnaires submitting by the parents, the researchers found that if children were consuming a processed diet at age 3, IQ decline could begin over the next five years. The study found that by age 8, the children had suffered the IQ decline. On the contrary, children who ate a nutrient-rich diet including fruit and vegetables were found to increase their IQ over the 3 year period. The foods considered nutrient-rich by the researchers were most likely conventional fruits and vegetables.

Interestingly, one particular ingredient ubiquitous in processed foods and sugary beverages across the globe -high fructose corn syrup – has been tied to reduced IQ. The UCLA researchers coming to these findings found that HFCS may be damaging the brain functions of consumers worldwide, sabotaging learning and memory. In fact, the official release goes as far to say that high-fructose corn syrup can make you ‘stupid’.

Gene mutations may have something to do with our ongoing decline in intelligence, but let’s stop to think for a moment what we’re doing to ourselves to make this decline even more prominent.

Related:   This is your brain on sugar: UCLA study shows high-fructose diet sabotages learning, memory

Sunday, February 17, 2013

GMO fail: Monsanto foiled by feds, Supreme Court, and science

Grist
by Tom Laskawy

It’s been a good week if you enjoy a little GMO schadenfreude. The FDA has reportedly bowed to public pressure to extend the comment period on its approval of genetically engineered salmon, and Illinois, Maryland, and Iowa are the latest states to buck GMOs by introducing labeling bills into state legislature.

Even the Supreme Court has an opportunity to take Monsanto down a peg. On Feb. 19, the court will hear arguments in a patent infringement case between an Indiana farmer and Monsanto (I covered it in detail here). If Monsanto prevails, it’ll move a few more paces towards agricultural monopoly; if it loses, the company will take a couple steps back. It’s encouraging that the Supreme Court chose to hear the case over the solicitor general’s urging to dismiss it, but Monsanto could have an inside man: As in other Monsanto-related cases, former Monsanto-lawyer-turned-Supreme-Court-Justice Clarence Thomas has no plans to recuse himself.

But GMOs took the biggest punch this week from academia: Tom Philpott highlights a USDA-funded study [PDF] by University of Wisconsin scientists who found that several types of GMO seeds (including Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready varieties) actually produce a lower yield than conventional seeds. Only one seed — a corn that produces its own pesticide to combat the corn borer — offers any significant yield benefit. In other words, planting most genetically modified seeds results in less harvest per acre than planting non-genetically modified seeds.

The researchers looked at 20 years of data from test plots in Wisconsin from 1990-2010, both on research plots and on plots in participating farmers’ fields. Philpott flags a key point from the study:

Then there’s the question of so-called “stacked-trait” crops — that is, say, corn engineered to contain multiple added genes — for example, Monsanto’s “Smart Stax” product, which contains both herbicide-tolerant and pesticide-expressing genes. The authors detected what they call “gene interaction” in these crops — genes inserted into them interact with each other in ways that affect yield, often negatively. If multiple genes added to a variety didn’t interact, “the [yield] effect of stacked genes would be equal to the sum of the corresponding single gene effects,” the authors write. Instead, the stacked-trait crops were all over the map. “We found strong evidence of gene interactions among transgenic traits when they are stacked,” they write. Most of those effects were negative — i.e., yield was reduced.

This matters because stacked-trait crops are a favored approach to combat the superweeds and bugs that are part and parcel of years of GMO crops. But the more you stack, the worse your yield. The scientists also found evidence of a “yield penalty” that comes simply from the act of manipulating plant genes.

In short, the more one meddles with plant genes, the worse yields get; when you change multiple genes at once, yields drop even further. This should give pause to those who see GMO seeds as the means to address more complex problems like drought tolerance, nutritional value, or plant productivity. These are traits involving dozens, if not hundreds, of genes. This study suggests genetic manipulation of food crops at such a scale is a losing game.

A few years ago, the Union of Concerned Scientists published a report with a similar conclusion, but this is one of the first rigorous attempts to establish through controlled experiments the yield benefit (or penalty) of GM seeds. The UW scientists do note that they determined that GM seeds do provide farmers with lower “yield risk”; essentially, that farmers are less likely to face catastrophic crop losses when using GMO seeds. But there are other conventional techniques that researchers have concluded can support yield, reduce environmental harm, and increase farmer income without having to pay big bucks to biotech companies.

Not that we should expect biotech companies to just roll over: With five such companies controlling nearly 60 percent of the global seed business, it may be impossible for farmers to find sufficient conventional seed. (Learn how the seed business became so consolidated in the Center for Food Safety’s new report “Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers.”)

But we should take what we can get. Between Supreme Court justices who may be fed up with the company’s aggressive intellectual property tactics and farmers who could get fed up with its ineffective intellectual property, Monsanto’s stumbles could mean a few sure steps forward for food growers and eaters.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Refusing Smart Meters to Protect Your Health and Privacy

Waking Times
by Anna Hunt

Smart meters are being deployed by electric companies worldwide, replacing old, yet functioning analog meters, because it gives them a way to interact with the homes of their customers, monitor electricity consumption, and offer “smart home” control and functionality. Oh, and let’s not forget that they also save money. At least this the big sales pitch they are giving us.

By providing detailed information about the energy usage in your home, smart meters can alert you if your new smart refrigerator suddenly becomes an electricity hog and needs to be serviced, if your kids had a party when you were off on a business trip, or if you forgot to turn off your smart stove before you left for work.

Goodbye Privacy – Hello Big Brother

Depending on the functionality of the meter, the smart meter may be able to track how much electricity is used within each room of the home, as well as how much is used by the various new smart appliances in your house. Just as the smart meters can communicate wirelessly with devices such as TV sets or tablets to show you your electrical consumption, they also communicate this information with the power company, which keeps records about the volumes and patterns associated with your daily life.

Below is a video that explores the privacy implications of this data exchange. With this information, whoever has access to the data can get a pretty clear picture of your life: how much time you spend out of the house and at what time of the day; when you watch TV the most; when you are on vacation; if it looks like you’re running a business out of your home; and so forth. The implications for personal surveillance are staggering.



Governments, law enforcement agencies, and even companies will be able to access the data housed by the electric company (which the government is already doing to enforce business licenses). The implications are even more serious considering that such intimate personal data about your daily life can be easily intercepted by hackers as it is broadcast over the radio waves.

Electromagnetic Radiation and Your Health

This short video that shows a resident measuring the radio signals sent from the smart meter using microwave radiation. This man decided to make this video because within 3-months of the installation of a new smart meter, the shrubbery around the smart meter mysteriously died, although it thrived around the old electrical meter without any problems and continues to thrive a certain distance beyond the meter.



Advocates of smart meters will tell you that the wireless radiation emitted by these devices is within “safe levels,” often referencing ‘decades of research,’ much of which has been funded by the companies that make the smart meters. Unfortunately, many are beginning to suffer with insomnia, headaches and other illnesses after the installation of a smart meter.

In May of 2011, the World Health Organization official recognized that wireless radiation such as emitted by “smart meters” is a possible carcinogen. – source

What Can You Do?

Are you going to allow the power company to install a radiation-emitting surveillance device on your home?

Here’s an interview with a woman from Illinois that refused to have one installed on her house, informed the electric company of her decision by writing, yet was eventually arrested when the police and electric company crew came once again to install the meter on her house.



Power companies will typically install these devices on your home based on “implied consent” unless you make it clear that you do not grant permission for them to switch out your old meter or add any new device to your home. Some utilities companies, for example PG&E in California, are charging “opt-out” fees of customers refusing the smart meters, in an attempt to dissuade people from opting out as well as to cover “the cost of paying workers to read the analog meters each month.” (source)

The opposition to smart meters is growing everyday as more people learn about the sinister implications of these devices.

In Texas, Republican Senator Dennis Bonnen has threatened to draft legislation that would allow all residents to opt-out from the Public Utility Commission’s smart meter’s initiative.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tetanus Vaccine Causes New Disease: New Vaccines Worse?

Gaia Health
by Heidi Stevenson

The tetanus vaccine causes a new disease known both as Hughes syndrome and antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). It’s an autoimmune condition that can attack any part of the body, though is best noted for heart attacks and killing fetuses. It’s likely that APS will become more common with the new generation of vaccine adjuvants now being produced.

The sufferers of (APS) are mostly women, and its diagnosis is often made as a result of multiple pregnancy losses. As is typical of new diseases, research is focused on finding a genetic cause, in spite of the fact that the connection with vaccines is well known and documented.

As the name implies, APS is a condition in which phospholipids, natural and necessary substances required by every part of the body, is seen as an infectious agent by the immune system. So, this substance that exists in every cell becomes subject to attack. Symptoms include:

Blindness
Cardiovascular:
Deep vein thrombosis (clots in veins)
Phlebitis
Thrombocytopenia (deficiency of blood platelets, causing bleeding & bruising)
Atherosclerosis
Pulmonary embolus (clots in the lungs)
Heart valve abnormatilies
Stroke
Headaches & migraines
Miscarriages
Neurological disorders:
Epilepsy
Chorea (sudden uncontrollable jittery movements)
Transverse myelitis (inflammation of the spinal cord)
Multiple sclerosis
Cognitive dysfunction
Skin disorders, including mottling, ulcers, and necrosis

APS can also be diagnosed—more accurately, misdiagnosed—as lupus erythematosus, which is another vaccine-induced condition.

APS and Vaccines

One study calls Hughes syndrome the “classical antiphospholipid syndrome”[1]. That study refers to similarities between plasma protein beta-2-glycoprotein-I (β2GPI), which is attacked in APS, and the tetanus vaccine. That is, the tetanus antigen has parts that are virtually identical to β2GPI, which is found virtually everywhere in the body.

Another study documents how APS can be induced in laboratory animals with tetanus vaccination[2]. Many large number of other studies document and investigate the connection between vaccines and antiphospholipid syndrome[3,4,5,6,7,8].

These studies leave little doubt that APS is caused by vaccines. That should come as little surprise, since it was first identified as a disease during the 1980s. If this disease existed prior to vaccines, it was so rare that it was unknown. Now, it can take its place among a growing list of vaccine-induced conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, macrophagic myofasciitis, multiple sclerosis, autism, and siliconosis. The list keeps growing and many believe that all these conditions should be included under a single name, autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants, or ASIA.

Article Addendum

In a rather humorous exchange, the head of the APS Foundation of America objected to the use of their website as a reference—though it was, as it was heavily referenced for the effects of APS, though not for its focus on anything but vaccines as the cause. I removed the reference, as demanded, but a new one to the site is now going up. It’s number 9 in Sources. She offered it as proof that APS goes back to 1906, so therefore could not be caused by vaccines. So what does the article state?

In discussing the history of APS, the article states that in 1906 Wasserman and coworkers “developed serological reactions for the diagnosis of syphilis utilizing phospholipid-rich tissues as antigens[9]“. In other words, they developed symptoms as a result of the injection of phospholipids in 1906. It now stands as the earliest proof of the likely causal link between vaccines and APS.

A tip of the hat to the head of the APS Foundation of America, unintentional though the offer of documentation is!

Why New Generation Vaccines Are Especially Worrisome

Phospholipids are a primary part of your body, forming part of the membrane of every cell, among other functions. They’re under attack in APS. As can be seen with regard to tetanus vaccine, APS can be induced by the antigen when the epitope—the part of the antigen forming the pattern that autobodies are designed to attack—is similar to a particular part of the body.

What’s frightening is that phospholipids are becoming a primary ingredient of vaccines in the form of a new generation of adjuvants made via recombinant DNA by diddling with a part of pathogenic bacteria called outer membrane vesicles (OMVs). You can read more about them in New Generation of Vaccine Adjuvants: Worst Ever?

OMVs allow for designer vaccine antigens and adjuvants. OMV adjuvants are, of course, being promoted as the safest ever developed. That safety claim is based on the fact that they’re so much like the body already. This is the same claim that’s been used to promote squalene, which, as we’ve recently seen with the tragic cases of narcolepsy in children after the squalene-laced flu vaccine, Pandemrix, was unleashed in Europe, can devastate lives. Gaia Health explained the issue in How the Flu Vaccine Causes Narcolepsy.

Squalene is a lipid. That’s what makes it so dangerous. OMVs are even more precisely analogous to human tissue, because they are not only lipids, they are phospholipids—which are precisely what the body attacks in APS. Therefore, we can anticipate that there will be ever-more cases of APS as we see the approval of ever-more OMV-based vaccines, which are in the pipeline now.

Have no doubt: these vaccines will be approved. The first one, Cervarix, is already out there—and it’s been deemed safe, in spite of evidence to the contrary.

People with APS are suffering from phospholipid antibodies that are erroneously destroying parts of the eye, cardiovascular system, brain, nerves, skin, reproductive system—in short, any part of the body. This self-destruction is induced by vaccine technologies. These technologies are presumed safe without adequate, if any, testing. Just how many people must suffer before this travesty is ended? When will the clearly mad purveyors of these technologies step back and question what they’re doing?

The fact is that there are not just one, but several generations of people who don’t even know what good health is. Worse, each successive generation is growing sicker than the previous one. And worst of all, the vaccine junta is not only unconcerned, it’s massively gearing up this vaccine arms race against the human race.

Genetically Engineered Meat, Coming Soon to a Supermarket Near You

Common Dreams
by Bruce Friedrich

If you’re one of the 91 percent of Americans who opposes genetically engineered (GE) meat, you may have limited time to act: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed approval of the first-ever GE animal, called “AquAdvantage Salmon.” If this first approval proceeds, the process is likely to become top secret in the future: we won’t find out about new GE animals until after they’re approved for human consumption, and they won’t be labeled. Welcome to the new world of genetically engineered meat — unless we act now.

The Process

The problems begin with FDA’s bizarre decision to consider GE meat using its “New Animal Drug Approval” (NADA) process, a process designed for evaluation of new animal drugs (hence the name), not genetically engineered animals. The GE salmon themselves are, according to this analysis, the animal drug. As food blogger Ari LeVaux explains on Civil Eats, “the drug per se is AquaBounty’s patented genetic construct... Inserted at the animal’s one-cell stage, the gene sequence exists in every cell of the adult fish’s body.”

Of course, NADA was not designed to analyze the human health or environmental consequences of new animal drugs, and because the animals are the drugs in this process, their welfare is also ignored. In all three areas, there is ample reason for concern.

Human Health

Since they aren’t consumed by humans, new animal drugs are not evaluated for their human health impact, so perhaps it’s unsurprising that FDA’s analysis in this area has been almost nonexistent. Health and consumer rights advocates have raised alarms, noting among other concerns, that: 1) these animals will require massive doses of antibiotics to keep them alive in dirty, crowded aquaculture conditions, and we don’t know these antibiotics’ effect on human health; 2) the limited testing that has been conducted was carried out by or for AquaBounty and included shockingly small sample sizes; and 3) what studies have been done indicated increased allergic potential and increased levels of the hormone IGF-1, which is linked to various cancers — an outcome ignored in FDA’s approval according to the Consumers Union, Food & Water Watch, and the Center for Food Safety.

Our Environment

The process of examining new drugs’ environmental impact is also lax, so it’s also not surprising that FDA bungled this analysis as well. As just one glaring example, the agency looked only at how one small pilot project in Canada and Panama will affect U.S. waters, ignoring its legal obligations to consider the likelihood of salmon escaping as the pilot program expands—an expansion the company has already announced.

Similarly, FDA suggests that the GE salmon’s lack of fear and rapacious appetite means that they could not survive escape. Another possibility, ignored by FDA and feared by environmental groups including Friends of the Earth, is that escapees would “wreak havoc on the ecosystem.” The Center for Food Safety (CFS) points out that every year “millions of farmed salmon escape, outcompeting wild populations for resources and straining ecosystems.” Regarding GE salmon, CFS continues: “Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences notes that a release of just sixty GE salmon into a wild population of 60,000 would lead to the extinction of the wild population in less than 40 fish generations.” FDA totally ignores this scenario and its vast implications for our aquatic ecosystems.

Animal Welfare

Animal welfare is the one area where we might expect NADA to do a passable job because the process is supposed to guarantee drug safety in the target animal. Sadly, FDA ignored animal welfare in its decision to recommend approval of GE meat, perhaps because it considers the GE animals to be drugs, not animals. In 2010, the American Anti-Vivisection Society and Farm Sanctuary detailed more than a dozen concerns with the AquAdvantage salmon, any one of which should have precluded approval. Yet, in its proposal, FDA ignored animal welfare concerns entirely.

Here are just a few of our concerns, none of which were addressed in FDA’s proposal:

Although AquaBounty supplied limited animal welfare data, its own application indicates that it engaged in “extensive culling” of deformed, diseased, dying, and dead fish from its analysis. This would be like studying smoking’s impact only on long-distance runners who had shown no signs of cancer or heart disease.

All aquaculture causes physical deformities and makes fish sick; nevertheless (and even after culling the sickest animals), the limited data supplied by AquaBounty indicates that AquAdvantage fish are even sicker and more prone to abnormalities and death losses than other farmed fish

Even within these parameters, there were problems with the studies. For example, sample sizes provided were tiny and included limited data, and all analysis was done by the company (do you recall how this worked out with the tobacco companies?).

Salmon in the wild are remarkable animals, swimming thousands of miles, including up streams and waterfalls; and of course, they feel pain and have similar cognitive, emotional, and behavioral complexity to other animals. AquAdvantage salmon will be crammed into tanks in grossly unnatural conditions, and slaughter will be completely unregulated (see video below). Imagine living your entire life, day and night, in an elevator with 20 other people — you can’t even stand up; you live in a pile of everyone else’s limbs and excrement. That’s aquaculture.

Brave New World

The scariest thing about approving GE animals through NADA is that once a type of technological drug advance is approved (here, genetic animal engineering), future approvals become much easier and much less transparent: the process that protects corporate drug development secrets will protect the GE process, resulting in reduced scrutiny and no transparency at all for future approvals. The American public will probably not even find out about future GE animals until after they’re approved for sale. As Friends of the Earth notes, FDA’s approval “will open the floodgates for other genetically engineered animals, including pigs and cows, to enter the food supply.”

Conclusion

FDA’s process for approving genetically engineered meat is rotten to the core, and the effects of such a bad process on human health, our environment, and animals cannot be overstated. In the 2010 process, FDA received more than 400,000 comments and letters from more than 300 health, consumer advocacy, environmental, animal protection, and other organizations. All were ignored. We have one more chance before litigation becomes necessary. Click here to take action.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Nearly Half of All US Farms Now Have Superweeds

Mother Jones
By Tom Philpott

Last year's drought took a big bite out of the two most prodigious US crops, corn and soy. But it apparently didn't slow down the spread of weeds that have developed resistance to Monsanto's herbicide Roundup (glyphosate), used on crops engineered by Monsanto to resist it. More than 70 percent of all the the corn, soy, and cotton grown in the US is now genetically modified to withstand glyphosate.

Back in 2011, such weeds were already spreading fast. "Monsanto's 'Superweeds' Gallop Through Midwest," declared the headline of a post I wrote then. What's the word you use when an already-galloping horse speeds up? Because that's what's happening. Let's try this: "Monsanto's 'Superweeds' Stampede Through Midwest."

That pretty much describes the situation last year, according to a new report from the agribusiness research consultancy Stratus. Since the 2010 growing season, the group has been polling "thousands of US farmers" across 31 states about herbicide resistance. Here's what they found in the 2012 season:

Superweeds: First they gallop, then they roar. Graph: Stratus

• Nearly half (49 percent) of all US farmers surveyed said they have glyphosate-resistant weeds on their farm in 2012, up from 34 percent of farmers in 2011.

• Resistance is still worst in the South. For example, 92 percent of growers in Georgia said they have glyphosate-resistant weeds.

• But the mid-South and Midwest states are catching up. From 2011 to 2012 the acres with resistance almost doubled in Nebraska, Iowa, and Indiana.

• It's spreading at a faster pace each year: Total resistant acres increased by 25 percent in 2011 and 51 percent in 2012. • And the problem is getting more complicated. More and more farms have at least two resistant species on their farm. In 2010 that was just 12 percent of farms, but two short years later 27 percent had more than one.

So where do farmers go from here? Well, Monsanto and its peers would like them to try out "next generation" herbicide-resistant seeds—that is, crops engineered to resist not just Roundup, but also other, more toxic herbicides, like 2,4-D and Dicamba. Trouble is, such an escalation in the chemical war on weeds will likely only lead to more prolific, and more super, superweeds, along with a sharp increase in herbicide use. That's the message of a peer-reviewed 2011 paper by a team of Penn State University researchers led by David A. Mortensen. (I discussed their paper in a post last year.)

And such novel seeds won't be available in the 2013 growing season anyway. None have made it through the US Department of Agriculture's registration process. The USDA was widely expected to award final approval on Dow's 2,4-D/Roundup-resistant corn during the Christmas break, but didn't. The agency hasn't stated the reason it hasn't decided on the product, known as Enlist, but the nondecision effectively delays its introduction until 2014 at the earliest, as Dow acknowledged last month. Reuters reporter Carey Gillam noted that the USDA' delay comes amid "opposition from farmers, consumers and public health officials" to the new product, and that these opponents have "bombarded Dow and US regulators with an array of concerns" about it.

So industrial-scale corn and soy farmers will likely have to muddle along, responding in the same way that they have been for years, which is by upping their herbicide use in hopes of controlling the rogue weeds, as Washington State University's Charles Benbrook showed in a recent paper (my post on it here). That means significant economic losses for farmers—according to Penn State's Mortensen, grappling with glyphosate resistance was already costing farmers nearly $1 billion per year in 2011. It will also likely mean a jump in toxic herbicides entering streams, messing with frogs and polluting people's drinking water.

For a good idea of what's in store, check out this piece in the trade mag Corn & Soy Digest on "Managing Herbicide-Resistant weeds." Here's the key bit—note that "burndown" means a complete flattening of all vegetation in a field with a broad-spectrum herbicide such as paraquat, an infamously toxic weed killer that's been banned in 32 countries, including those of the European Union:

For those with a known resistance problem, it’s not uncommon to see them use a fall burndown plus a residual herbicide, a spring burndown before planting, another at planting including another residual herbicide, and two or more in-season herbicide applications. “If you can catch the resistant weeds early enough, paraquat does a good job of controlling them. But once Palmer amaranth [a common glyphosate-tolerant weed] gets 6 ft. tall, you can't put on enough paraquat to kill it," [one weed-control expert] says.

But of course there's another way. In a 2012 study I'll never tire of citing, Iowa State University researchers found that if farmers simply diversified their crop rotations, which typically consist of corn one year and soy the next, year after year, to include a "small grain" crop (e.g. oats) as well as offseason cover crops, weeds (including Roundup-resistant ones) can be suppressed with dramatically less fertilizer use—a factor of between 6 and 10 less. And much less herbicide means much less poison entering streams—"potential aquatic toxicity was 200 times less in the longer rotations" than in the regular corn-soy regime, the study authors note. So, despite what the seed giants and the conventional weed specialists insist, there are other ways to respond to the accelerating scourge of "superweeds" than throwing more—and ever-more toxic—chemicals at them.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

ASPARTAME HAS BEEN RENAMED AND IS NOW BEING MARKETED AS A NATURAL SWEETENER

World Truth News

Artificial sweeteners especially aspartame has gotten a bad rap over the years, most likely due to studies showing they cause cancer. But not to worry Ajinomoto the company that makes

Aspartame has changed the name to AminoSweet. It has the same toxic ingredients but a nice new sounding name. And if you or your child happens to be allergic to Aspartame, well don’t take it personally it’s just business.

Despite the evidence gained over the years showing that aspartame is a dangerous toxin, it has remained on the global market . In continues to gain approval for use in new types of food despite evidence showing that it causes neurological brain damage, cancerous tumors, and endocrine disruption, among other things.

Most consumers are oblivious to the fact that Aspartame was invented as a drug but upon discovery of its’ sweet taste was magically transformed from a drug to a food additive. HFA wants to warn our readers to beware of a wolf dressed up in sheep’s clothing or in this case Aspartame dressed up as Aminosweet.

Over 25 years ago, aspartame was first introduced into the European food supply. Today, it is an everyday component of most diet beverages, sugar-free desserts, and chewing gums in countries worldwide. But the tides have been turning as the general public is waking up to the truth about artificial sweeteners like aspartame and the harm they cause to health. The latest aspartame marketing scheme is a desperate effort to indoctrinate the public into accepting the chemical sweetener as natural and safe, despite evidence to the contrary.

Aspartame was an accidental discovery by James Schlatter, a chemist who had been trying to produce an anti-ulcer pharmaceutical drug for G.D. Searle & Company back in 1965. Upon mixing aspartic acid and phenylalanine, two naturally-occurring amino acids, he discovered that the new compound had a sweet taste. The company merely changed its FDA approval application from drug to food additive and, voila, aspartame was born.

G.D. Searle & Company first patented aspartame in 1970. An internal memo released in the same year urged company executives to work on getting the FDA into the “habit of saying yes” and of encouraging a “subconscious spirit of participation” in getting the chemical approved.

G.D. Searle & Company submitted its first petition to the FDA in 1973 and fought for years to gain FDA approval, submitting its own safety studies that many believed were inadequate and deceptive. Despite numerous objections, including one from its own scientists, the company was able to convince the FDA to approve aspartame for commercial use in a few products in 1974, igniting a blaze of controversy.

Food Manufacturers are Fraudulently Diluting High-Quality Food with Inferior Quality Junk


Washington's Blog

In a predictable trend, food manufacturers are fraudulently diluting high-quality food with inferior quality items.  As ABC News reports:

A new scientific examination by the non-profit food fraud detectives the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), discovered rising numbers of fake ingredients in products from olive oil to spices to fruit juice.

“Food products are not always what they purport to be,” Markus Lipp, senior director for Food Standards for the independent lab in Maryland, told ABC News.

In a new database to be released Wednesday, and obtained exclusively by ABC News today, USP warns consumers, the FDA and manufacturers that the amount of food fraud they found is up by 60 percent this year.

In addition, 70% of all ground beef was found to contain “pink slime”.

Butchers use “meat glue” to create “bigger” cuts of beef, chicken, lamb and fish, even though it leads to much higher levels of food poisoning:


British hamburgers were found to contain horse meat and pork … and it could happen in the U.S. as well.

Indeed, modern red meat is arguably not really meat at all.

And selling genetically modified food without labeling them as such is arguably food fraud as well, since a large majority of Americans want genetically modified foods to be labeled, genetically engineered foods have been linked to obesity, cancer, liver failure, infertility and all sorts of other diseases (brief videos here and here), and the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t even test the safety of such foods.

Bad Policy Made Food Fraud Predictable

This trend was predictable because food manufacturers have been trying to hide food inflation in various ways.

The inflation in food prices, in turn, has been caused by quantitative easing – printed in an attempt to hide bank fraud – and the use of the printed money for wild speculation by the big banks has driven up food and related commodity prices.

And – instead of fighting for safer food – the Department of Justice and FDA often target whistleblowers and do everything they can to cover up wrongdoing. The Department of Agriculture is no better. And the Feds are treating people who expose abuse in factory farms as potential terrorists … and the states want the same power.

Monday, February 4, 2013

ASPARTAME IS LINKED TO LEUKEMIA AND LYMPHOMA IN NEW LANDMARK STUDY ON HUMANS

World Truth TV

As few as one diet soda daily may increase the risk for leukemia in men and women, and for multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma in men, according to new results from the longest-ever running study on aspartame as a carcinogen in humans. Importantly, this is the most comprehensive, long-term study ever completed on this topic, so it holds more weight than other past studies which appeared to show no risk. And disturbingly, it may also open the door for further similar findings on other cancers in future studies.

The most thorough study yet on aspartame - Over two million person-years

For this study, researchers prospectively analyzed data from the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study for a 22-year period. A total of 77,218 women and 47,810 men were included in the analysis, for a total of 2,278,396 person-years of data. Apart from sheer size, what makes this study superior to other past studies is the thoroughness with which aspartame intake was assessed. Every two years, participants were given a detailed dietary questionnaire, and their diets were reassessed every four years. Previous studies which found no link to cancer only ever assessed participants' aspartame intake at one point in time, which could be a major weakness affecting their accuracy.

One diet soda a day increases leukemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphomas

The combined results of this new study showed that just one 12-fl oz. can (355 ml) of diet soda daily leads to:
- 42 percent higher leukemia risk in men and women (pooled analysis)
- 102 percent higher multiple myeloma risk (in men only)
- 31 percent higher non-Hodgkin lymphoma risk (in men only)

These results were based on multi-variable relative risk models, all in comparison to participants who drank no diet soda. It is unknown why only men drinking higher amounts of diet soda showed increased risk for multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Note that diet soda is the largest dietary source of aspartame (by far) in the U.S. Every year, Americans consume about 5,250 tons of aspartame in total, of which about 86 percent (4,500 tons) is found in diet sodas.

This new study shows the importance of the quality of research. Most of the past studies showing no link between aspartame and cancer have been criticized for being too short in duration and too inaccurate in assessing long-term aspartame intake. This new study solves both of those issues. The fact that it also shows a positive link to cancer should come as no surprise, because a previous best-in-class research study done on animals (900 rats over their entire natural lifetimes) showed strikingly similar results back in 2006: aspartame significantly increased the risk for lymphomas and leukemia in both males and females. More worrying is the follow on mega-study, which started aspartame exposure of the rats at the fetal stage. Increased lymphoma and leukemia risks were confirmed, and this time the female rats also showed significantly increased breast (mammary) cancer rates. This raises a critical question: will future, high-quality studies uncover links to the other cancers in which aspartame has been implicated (brain, breast, prostate, etc.)?

There is now more reason than ever to completely avoid aspartame in our daily diet. For those who are tempted to go back to sugary sodas as a "healthy" alternative, this study had a surprise finding: men consuming one or more sugar-sweetened sodas daily saw a 66 percent increase in non-Hodgkin lymphoma (even worse than for diet soda). Perhaps the healthiest soda is NO SODA AT ALL.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Google LDN!

Google LDN ! Parts 1-3
by Joseph Wouk





Antidepressants for Pregnant Women: “Large Scale Human Experiment”

Natural Society
by Elizabeth Barrett

We’re not the first to remark on the dangers of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in pregnant women, and we won’t be the last. These antidepressants are having untold effects on unborn children, and subsequently their mothers. Worst of all, Big Pharma is aware of it and chooses to look the other way.

It’s a “large scale human experiment,” said Dr. Adam Urato, the assistant professor of maternal-fetal medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. He says drug companies have overstated the benefits of these drugs, while sugarcoating the risks—all in the name of the almighty dollar.

“Study after study shows increased rates of newborn complications in those babies who were exposed to SSRIs in-utero,” says Dr. Urato. “The Federal Drug Administration [in the US] and Health Canada have put out warnings specifically regarding this issue.” Still, the drugs remain one of the most popular on the market—for everyone including pregnant women.

Not only do these drugs increase the risk of a premature birth, but also miscarriage, and even autism. These facts have been demonstrated again and again. Around 40 studies have linked SSRIs and premature birth.

So, why do mothers keep taking them? Because they are told by their doctors that it will lead to a better “pregnancy result”. Doctors (and therefore their patients) are scared that a woman off of antidepressants is a depressed woman, and a depressed woman won’t only have a miserable pregnancy but may also be at a greater risk of suicide, or simply not caring for themselves while carrying their infant.

But, as Urato says, “There really is not a shred of evidence to support that.” Still, the belief exists.

Alternative Treatments

There are natural and effective ways of treating depression, but it’s understandable that an individual who has been medicating themselves for months and even years would be reluctant to go off of their medication. Depression is scary. And withdrawing from SSRIs can cause even greater symptoms as the body, once again, has to correct the damage that’s been done.

Exercise, some type of non-invasive therapy (not likely from a psychiatrist), a proper diet, and other treatments like acupuncture and yoga have shown to be effective at battling depression. Supplementing with vitamin D and omega-3s may also be the solution. Best of all, they come without side effects. For pregnant women, whose emotions may already be “all over the place”, coming off a drug they depend on may be frightening, but staying on the drug should be even scarier.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Top US Healthcare Giant: GMOs Are Devastating Health

Natural Society
by Anthony Gucciardi

Just days after a leading genetically modified organism (GMO) researcher spoke out against GMOs and how many pro-GMO ‘scientists’ are in bed with Monsanto or carry their own GMO patents, the largest managed healthcare provider in the United States is now publicly speaking out against GMOs. In a recent newsletter, the Kaiser Permanente company discussed the numerous dangers of GMOs in a recent newsletter and how to avoid them.

Explaining how GM ingredients have been linked to tumors and organ damage in rats in the only lifelong rat study available, the newsletter highlighted how the only real long- term research indicates that GMOs are a serious health danger. The newsletter, which you can view here, states:

“Despite what the biotech industry might say, there is little research on the long-term effects of GMOs on human health. Independent research has found several varieties of GMO corn caused organ damage in rats. Other studies have found that GMOs may lead to an inability in animals to reproduce.”

Top Health Giant Says Buy Organic for Proper Health

The newsletter then goes on to tell readers how they can avoid GMOs in their food through buying high quality organic and looking for other non-GMO indicators. It is important to remember the organic labeling meanings when shopping organic, however, which this newsletter unfortunately does not address. Make sure you know which ‘level’ of organic you are consuming:

Products labeled ‘100% organic’ – These items are made with 100% organic ingredients and are the highest quality organic products you can purchase. No GMOs are allowed.

Labeled ‘organic’ — These products are to contain at least 95% organic ingredients overall. Still no GMOs are allowed. ‘Made with ‘organic ingredients’ — This is the lowest form of organic content. This label is only required to contain 70% organic ingredients, meaning that the remaining 30% can be conventional. The conventional items, however, are not allowed to contain GMOs. These products don’t qualify for the USDA seal, whereas the previous two do. You can also look for the ‘Non-GMO Verified’ logo on food items to be sure that they are GMO free.

But why does a major corporation care that you are eating GMOs? Well the fact of the matter is that the research (and common sense — eating pesticide factories mixed with the DNA of viruses isn’t going to end well) indicates GMOs are causing problematic health conditions across the board. Of course the issue lies in the fact that GMOs are not immediately considered as a cause and actually influence disease through a series of complications that are not easy to trace. But as the only lifelong study has showed us, 50% of male and 70% of female rats died prematurely when consuming GMOs.

And the bottom line is that this is costing Kaiser Permanente. If members of the healthcare juggernaut were to switch to high quality organic foods free of GMOs, pesticides, mercury-containing high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners, then Kaiser would be dishing out millions upon millions less for healthcare costs.

More and more organizations and individuals alike are speaking out against GMOs and the effects of GMO consumption as the evidence becomes more and more clear on a daily basis. Perhaps next time Monsanto tries to push a new outlandish creation into the food supply they will be met with crushing opposition thanks to a global increase in awareness

Mothers Taking Antidepressants 2x more Likely to Have Autistic Child, Study Says

Natural Society

Reported statistics vary, but about 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder. The condition can manifest itself as severe mental retardation or mild behavioral issues. But it’s the rate of autism and it’s steady increase over the past several decades that has researchers searching for a cause or even contributing factors. Researchers at Kaiser Permanente Northen Caroline may have found one cause to add to the list – mom’s antidepressant use.

Their study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, looked at children who were diagnosed with autism and a random group of undiagnosed children. Then, they compared the mothers’ medical records.

What they found was that a pregnant mother’s anti-depressant use was linked to a higher incidence of autism. This is a correlation.

Mothers who took antidepressants during pregnancy were twice as likely to give birth to a child with autism. The risk was significantly increased when the mother took anti-depressants in the first trimester. Then, the risk was three times higher.

“Our results suggests a possible, albeit small, risk to the unborn child associated with in utero exposure to SSRIs,” said Lisa Croen, lead researcher.

SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors represent the most commonly prescribed mental health drugs on the market. An estimated one-in-ten Americans take these anti-depressants. In other words, if all research pointed an accusing finger at anti-depressants, the pharmaceutical makers would take a major hit.

The researchers are cautious to put a dent in the profits of Big Pharma, telling people to carefully weigh the risks of anti-depressants with the benefits, saying that untreated depression has its own risks. (Maybe they aren’t aware of the evidence that says anti-depressants can actually make people more depressed and lead to suicidal thoughts.) What’s more, anti-depressants have been shown to hasten the thickening of arteries, contributing to heart disease.

What they fail to mention is that depression can often be successfully treated with diet, exercise, and natural solutions. Vitamin D, yoga, and acupuncture are just a few natural alternatives—ones that don’t come with unpleasant side effects like increased autism risk or suicidal tendencies. Choose holistic treatment for depression instead of harmful medication.

Garlic Proven 100 Times More Effective Than Antibiotics, Working In A Fraction of The Time

Prevent Disease
by April McCarthy

A significant finding from Washington State University shows that garlic is 100 times more effective than two popular antibiotics at fighting disease causing bacteria commonly responsible for foodborne illness.

Their work was published recently in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy a follow-up to the author's previous research in Applied and Environmental Microbiology which conclusively demonstrated that garlic concentrate was effective in inhibiting the growth of C. jejuni bacteria.

Garlic is probably nature's most potent food. It is one of the reasons people who eat the Mediterranean diet live such long healthy lives. Garlic is also a powerful performer in the research lab.

"This work is very exciting to me because it shows that this compound has the potential to reduce disease-causing bacteria in the environment and in our food supply," said Xiaonan Lu, a postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the paper.

One of the most interesting of the recent findings is that garlic increases the overall antioxidant levels of the body.

Scientifically known as Allium sativa, garlic has been famous throughout history for its ability to fight off viruses and bacteria. Louis Pasteur noted in 1858 that bacteria died when they were doused with garlic. From the Middle Ages on, garlic has been used to treat wounds, being ground or sliced and applied directly to wounds to inhibit the spread of infection. The Russians refer to garlic as Russian penicillin.

"This is the first step in developing or thinking about new intervention strategies," saif Michael Konkel, a co-author who has been researching Campylobacter jejuni for 25 years.

"Campylobacter is simply the most common bacterial cause of food-borne illness in the United States and probably the world," Konkel said. Some 2.4 million Americans are affected every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with symptoms including diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain and fever.

The bacteria also are responsible for triggering nearly one-third of the cases of a rare paralyzing disorder known as Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Diallyl disulfide is an organosulfur compound derived from garlic and a few other genus Allium plants. It is produced during the decomposition of allicin, which is released upon crushing garlic

Lu and his colleagues looked at the ability of diallyl sulfide to kill the bacterium when it is protected by a slimy biofilm that makes it 1,000 times more resistant to antibiotics than the free floating bacterial cell. They found the compound can easily penetrate the protective biofilm and kill bacterial cells by combining with a sulfur-containing enzyme, subsequently changing the enzyme's function and effectively shutting down cell metabolism.

The researchers found the diallyl sulfide was as effective as 100 times as much of the antibiotics erythromycin and ciprofloxacin and often would work in a fraction of the time.

Two previous works published last year by Lu and WSU colleagues in Applied and Environmental Microbiology and Analytical Chemistry found diallyl sulfide and other organosulfur compounds effectively kill important food-borne pathogens, such as Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli O157:H7.

"Diallyl sulfide may be useful in reducing the levels of the Campylobacterin the environment and to clean industrial food processing equipment, as the bacterium is found in a biofilm in both settings," Konkel said.

"Diallyl sulfide could make many foods safer to eat," said Barbara Rasco, a co-author on all three recent papers and Lu's advisor for his doctorate in food science. "It can be used to clean food preparation surfaces and as a preservative in packaged foods like potato and pasta salads, coleslaw and deli meats."

"This would not only extend shelf life but it would also reduce the growth of potentially bad bacteria," she said. The natural substance could also be derived without artificially introducing harmful chemicals to disruptive its disease-reducing abilities.

Ironically, many researchers think that antibiotics may be just one of several factors that contribute to intestinal blockage in young children.