15 September 2010
The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) has been trying for years to make high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which I prefer to call the ‘Corn Refiners Association Product’ (CRAP), as acceptable as all other forms of sugar. As more and more studies show that CRAP (HFCS) is a major cause of the recent dramatic increases in obesity, diabetes and other ‘metabolic diseases’ in the US, UK and other westernised countries, consumers are getting the message and are abandoning CRAP laden foodstuffs in their droves.
Does the CRA give up? No sirree! The CRA think that if they change its name, the gullible public won’t notice. According to the Associated Press, CRA is now petitioning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow it to change the name of the highly-processed, controversial sweetener to ‘Corn Sugar’, which they fervently believe will make it more acceptable.
No matter how you look at it, CRAP (HFCS) is a highly-processed, unnatural form of refined sugar that inflicts a heavy burden on the liver. Besides being derived from corn, most of which is genetically-modified (GM), HFCS is linked to metabolic syndrome, heart disease and type-2 diabetes. If that weren’t bad enough, a study last year also found that much of the HFCS contains high levels of toxic mercury caused by the chemical refining process necessary to produce the HFCS. Nearly a third of the HFCS-containing breads, cereals, sodas and other consumer foods tested as part of the study showed up positive for mercury.
Despite the overwhelming evidence showing that HFCS is harmful to health, the CRA is determined to change its image. With millions of acre of corn to get rid of somehow, they can’t afford not to. Consumption of HFCS has reached a 20-year low, and shows no sign of picking up. So the CRA have a new marketing slogan which claims that ‘whether it's corn sugar or cane sugar, your body can't tell the difference. Sugar is sugar’.
Oh yes it can – otherwise our bodies wouldn’t get sick from eating it!
The best forms of sugar are those which occur naturally, and in their whole form. That said, the main cause of sugar’s adverse effects on health lie in the fructose content, not the glucose. So it is better to cut down on even very sweet fruits and honey which are fructose (levulose) rich. If you must sweeten anything, use stevia leaf extract. Better still learn to like the naturalness of foods without adding sweetener.
So whether it’s called High Fructose corn Syrup or Corn Sugar, it’s the same thing, with the same results. As Shakespeare wrote: ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’. Similarly, HFCS by any other name will still be CRAP.
07 April 2010
You may have heard on the news today about this latest study, which didn't find much benefit from forcing five portions of fruit and veges down. I was not surprised as all the ones before it are detailed in Chapter 8 of Trick and Treat. But it was good of the media to report it. 'Bad news' like this is generally missed.
There have been several studies since the '5-a-day' message was first trumpeted. None so far has found much, if any benefit from eating so much vegetation. This latest one is by far the biggest - but its findings are much in line with the earlier studies.
Wouldn't it have been better if the diet dictocrats had thought to do a study before they told us all to eat so much!
The abstract to the latest study is below.
I have written a full article explaining why it's NOT a good idea to eat 5-a-day.
* * * * * *
Paolo Boffetta, et al. Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Overall Cancer Risk in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) JNCI 2010 [e-pub ahead of print]
Background: It is widely believed that cancer can be prevented by high intake of fruits and vegetables. However, inconsistent results from many studies have not been able to conclusively establish an inverse association between fruit and vegetable intake and overall cancer risk.
Methods: We conducted a prospective analysis of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort to assess relationships between intake of total fruits, total vegetables, and total fruits and vegetables combined and cancer risk during 1992–2000. Detailed information on the dietary habit and lifestyle variables of the cohort was obtained. Cancer incidence and mortality data were ascertained, and hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using multivariable Cox regression models. Analyses were also conducted for cancers associated with tobacco and alcohol after stratification for tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking.
Results: Of the initial 142 605 men and 335 873 women included in the study, 9604 men and 21 000 women were identified with cancer after a median follow-up of 8.7 years. The crude cancer incidence rates were 7.9 per 1000 person-years in men and 7.1 per 1000 person-years in women. Associations between reduced cancer risk and increased intake of total fruits and vegetables combined and total vegetables for the entire cohort were similar (200 g/d increased intake of fruits and vegetables combined, HR = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.96 to 0.99; 100 g/d increased intake of total vegetables, HR = 0.98, 95% CI = 0.97 to 0.99); intake of fruits showed a weaker inverse association (100 g/d increased intake of total fruits, HR = 0.99, 95% CI = 0.98 to 1.00). The reduced risk of cancer associated with high vegetable intake was restricted to women (HR = 0.98, 95% CI = 0.97 to 0.99). Stratification by alcohol intake suggested a stronger reduction in risk in heavy drinkers and was confined to cancers caused by smoking and alcohol.
Conclusions: A very small inverse association between intake of total fruits and vegetables and cancer risk was observed in this study. Given the small magnitude of the observed associations, caution should be applied in their interpretation.
CONTEXT AND CAVEATS
The association between high intake of fruits and vegetables and reduction in overall cancer risk is not conclusively established.
European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort study was conducted between 1992 and 2000. Diet and lifestyle data were self-reported by the participants. Cancer incidence and mortality data were obtained from country-specific national and regional registries. Association between overall cancer risk and high intake of total fruits, total vegetables, and total fruits and vegetables combined was assessed. Estimated cancer risks were adjusted for smoking, alcohol consumption, and many other variables.
High intake of vegetables, and fruits and vegetables combined, was associated with a small reduction in overall cancer risk. The association was stronger in heavy alcohol drinkers but was restricted to cancers caused by smoking and drinking.
This study reveals a very modest association between high intake of fruits and vegetables and reduced risk of cancer.
The inverse association between overall cancer risk and high intake of fruits and vegetables was weak. Errors inherent to self-reported dietary habits may have resulted in bias.
11 March 2010
This short article was published in the Daily Mail today. It's a long time since I blogged, so I thought I'd include it for your enjoyment.
The statin manufacturers have always denied that their products have side effects. They have been so convincing that many doctors have simply refused to hear their patient's complaints.
Now there is a new cholesterol-lowering drug in the offing. I don't propose to discuss the merits or otherwise of lowering cholesterol; I'm sure you kmnow my feelings on that. I just want to show you how this new drug is being promoted: "free of the side-effects associated with statins."
So after denying that statins had side effects, the fact that they have is going to be used to launch this new drug.
I wonder what side effects this new drug will have. There are always some.
Here' the article:
New 'statin' without the side effects
Cholesterol levels declined by a third in patients taking eprotirome tablets, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The drug was free of the side-effects associated with statins, including muscle and liver problems, depression, loss of libido and difficulty sleeping. Eprotirome, which is still several years away from the market, is unlikely to replace statins. But it could be given to the hundreds of thousands who cannot tolerate the drugs. It also lowers levels of other harmful blood fats that are not combated by statins, but are known to raise the risk of heart disease.
17 February 2010
This has got to be one of the best studies I have ever seen - as a demonstration of how to waste time and money. As well, no doubt, as providing 'evidence' to frighten the less knowledgeable of the populace into cutting down on saturated animal fats to prevent obesity and osteoporosis (NOTE: Corn oil is not an animal fat and is not saturated - but I doubt that will stop someone using it as 'evidence' against them.)
I have never been a fan of extrapolating animal dietary studies to Homo sapiens. We have quite different reactions to foods. As you can read, these 'scientists' obviously share my views. But, after admitting that animal studies like this don't mimic human conditions, these 'scientists' conduct a trial on mice which, they say, serves as a model for humans!
Can anyone, please, tell me:
1. In what way does it have any relevance to anything other than, perhaps, female C57Bl/6J mice?
2. Do female C57Bl/6J mice even suffer from osteoporsis?
3. Should we care??
4. How on earth they get this cr*p published??
The abstract is below (I've got a PDF of the whole paper if anyone would like it)
Ganesh V. Halade, M. Rahman, Paul J. Williams and Gabriel Fernandes. High fat diet-induced animal model of age-associated obesity and osteoporosis.The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry February 2010, [Article in Press, Corrected Proof]
Osteoporosis and obesity remain a major public health concern through its associated fragility and fractures. Several animal models for the study of osteoporotic bone loss, such as ovariectomy (OVX) and denervation, require unique surgical skills and expensive set up. The challenging aspect of these age-associated diseases is that no single animal model exactly mimics the progression of these human-specific chronic conditions. Accordingly, to develop a simple and novel model of post menopausal bone loss with obesity, we fed either a high fat diet containing 10% corn oil (CO) or standard rodent lab chow (LC) to 12-month-old female C57Bl/6J mice for 6 months. As a result, CO fed mice exhibited increased body weight, total body fat mass, abdominal fat mass and reduced bone mineral density (BMD) in different skeletal sites measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. We also observed that decreased BMD with age in CO fed obese mice was accompanied by increased bone marrow adiposity, up-regulation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ, cathepsin k and increased proinflammatory cytokines (interleukin 6 and tumor necrosis factor α) in bone marrow and splenocytes, when compared to that of LC fed mice. Therefore, this appears to be a simple, novel and convenient age-associated model of post menopausal bone loss, in conjunction with obesity, which can be used in pre-clinical drug discovery to screen new therapeutic drugs or dietary interventions for the treatment of obesity and osteoporosis in the human population. (Emphasis added)
04 February 2010
When I wrote my first book, The Calorie Fallacy, in 1993, I included a chapter about the lack of weight loss benefit from such exercises as jogging. Apart from my Fluoride book, all of my books since then have included a chapter about the lack of evidence that exercising has much significant benefit to health. Even though I like to think of myself as an athlete, I recognise the difference between being 'fit' and being 'healthy'. Many people seem to think of the two words are synonymous, but they aren't. You can be fit enough to run a marathon, but drop dead of a heart attack walking to the start. The classic example is Jim Fixx, who started the jogging craze with his book, The Complete Book of Running, in 1977. He died of a heart attack while jogging!
Now, according to a study reported in the Daily Telegraph, the secret is out: "millions of people who strive to keep fit by jogging, swimming or going to the gym are wasting their time."
The article says: Researchers have discovered that the health benefits of aerobic exercise are determined by our genes - and can vary substantially between individuals.
Around 20 per cent of the population do not get any significant aerobic fitness benefit from regular exercise, according to an international study led by scientists at the University of London.
For these people, regular jogging and gym work will do little to ward off conditions like heart disease and diabetes which aerobic exercise is generally thought to resist.
Researchers say they would be better off abandoning their exercise regime and focusing on other ways of staying healthy - such as improving their diet or taking medication.
In the first chapter of Trick and Treat, I talked about how the ‘health industry’, and the pharmaceutical industry in particular, invented scares and ‘diseases’ so that they could capitalise on selling 'treatments' for those conditions.
The latest scam,‘The Swine Flu Pandemic’ scare, was one of the greatest medical scandals of the century, and was engineered to increase the profits of the drug companies, says the European Council's health chief, Dr Wolfgang Wodarg.
The council is to begin an investigation into the role of the drug companies, and how they influence ‘independent’ authorities such as the World Health Organization, after they passed a resolution from Wodarg, chairman of the Council’s health committee. Dr Wodarg, who is an epidemiologist and former health director in Germany, has followed the swine flu (H1N1 virus) pandemic story unfold. “It is one of the greatest health scandals of the century,” he says. “We have had a mild flu – and a false pandemic.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus a pandemic last year, and health authorities around the world ordered in huge stocks of vaccines. The UK's chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, predicted 65,000 deaths in the UK, and convinced the government to place a £1bn order for swine flu vaccine. In the event, a mere 251 people in the UK have died from the virus, and the government is now desperately trying to offload vast stocks of the redundant vaccine.
Wodarg claims that governments have sealed contracts with drug companies that are triggered when a virus is classified as pandemic. “In this way the producers of vaccines are sure of enormous gains without having any financial risks. So they just wait until the WHO says ‘pandemic’ and activates the contracts.” As things stand with the contracts with the drugs companies, governments have no choice but to pay up.
And what do we do with all the unwanted, useless, vaccines? We give them to third-world countries - who are very unlikely to have a need for them!
19 January 2010
The UK media have been full of a story which illustrates well how we are put in fear unnecessarily - and irresponsibly.
Shyam Kolvekar, a consultant heart surgeon at University College London Hospitals has said that butter should be banned to protect the nation's health. Warning of the dangers of other foods high in saturated fat, he advises people to eat less red meat, take low-fat milk and switch to olive and sunflower oil. He went on to warn that:
"Saturated fat is blamed for a third of the 200,000 premature deaths from heart disease a year. . . By banning butter and replacing it with a healthy spread the average daily sat-fat intake would be reduced by eight grams."BUT: That's not what the evidence shows!
Mr Kolvekar may be a good heart surgeon, but he is obviously not an expert in nutrition and its effects on health. In its report of this story, the BBC shows Mr Kolvekar operating on an Indian Hindu - in the UK. Indians have been using ghee (clarified butter) for centuries - without getting blocked arteries. Mr Kolvekar said when he became a consultant cardiac surgeon eight years ago the bulk of bypass operations he did were on older people. Now he is seeing people in their 40s and 50s needing triple bypasses. So are Indians eating more ghee than they did just eight years ago? Of course not!
In 1967 Dr S. L. Malhotra, reported that in Madras, the population was vegetarian, living mainly on rice. The principal fat in their diet was polyunsaturated peanut oil. Malhotra compared the Madrasis with a population who lived near Udaipur in the north. Their religion allowed them to eat meat and their fat intake was almost entirely from animal sources. They cooked with ghee and had probably the highest butterfat consumption in the world.
Present-day wisdom would predict that the vegetarians would have the lower rate of heart disease, but Malhotra found the opposite: the vegetarian Madrasis had 15 times the death rate from heart attacks compared with the northern Indians even though those in Udaipur ate 9 times as much fat - and that fat was animal fat.
Twenty years later, a paper in the Lancet noted an increase in heart-attack deaths amongst the latter group. By this time their diet had been made 'healthier' by replacing the traditional ghee in their diets with margarine and refined vegetable oils. This was confirmed 10 years later by a third study which found that reducing saturated fat did not reduce heart disease risk.
The truth is that arteries are not blocked by eating ghee, but by adopting our 'healthy' western diet. This is backed up by many studies showing that south Asians in the UK have higher heart disease rates than they do in India.[4-5]
People who have had one heart attack are invariably told by their doctors to cut out butter and use polyunsaturated margarines instead. But there is no evidence that this will prolong their lives. Quite the opposite. As long ago as 1965 survival rates were studied in patients eating different fats and oils.
In this study, patients who had already had one heart attack were assigned to one of three groups, who were given polyunsaturated corn oil, monounsaturated olive oil or saturated animal fats respectively. Blood cholesterol levels were lowered by an average of 30% in the polyunsaturated group, while there was no change in the other two groups. At first sight, therefore, it seemed that men in the polyunsaturated group had the best chance of survival. However, at the end of the two-year trial only 52% of the polyunsaturated group were still alive and free of a fresh heart attack. Those on the monounsaturated olive oil fared little better: 57% survived and had no further attack. But those eating the saturated animal fats fared the best with 75% surviving and without a further attack.
The hypothesis that saturated fats raise cholesterol and clog arteries was proposed in the 1950s, but has never been verified and confirmed - and it isn't for want of trying. There is not now, and there never has been any evidence that saturated fats are harmful in any way. In fact all the evidence points the other way. If any fats should be banned, it's the processed vegetable margarines and cooking oils.
1. Malhotra SL. Serum lipids, dietary factors and ischemic heart disease. Am J Clin Nutr 1967; 20: 462-475.
2. (No authors listed.) Ghee, cholesterol, and heart disease. Lancet 1987; 2: 1144-1145.
3. Singh RB, et al. Low fat intake and coronary artery disease in a population with higher prevalence of coronary artery disease: The Indian paradox. J Am Coll Nutr 1998; 17: 342-350.
4. McKeigne P M, Marmot M G, Adelstein A M, et al. Diet and risk factors for
coronary heart disease in Asians in Northeast London. Lancet 1985; ii: 1086.
5. Raheja BS. Obesity and coronary risk factors among South Asians. Lancet 1991; 337: 971.
6. Rose GA, et al. Corn oil in treatment of ischaemic heart disease. Br Med J 1965; 1: 1531-33.
07 January 2010
The Daily Mirror published an article on 6 January 2010 about a new study showing that, for an expectant mother, the traditional English breakfast of fried eggs and bacon was the best for supplying the choline necessary for her fetus's proper brain development. But, when I looked into it, higher levels of choline are beneficial for everyone. For example, it turns out that a fried English breakfast is even good for the heart!
With blankets of snow all around, and drifts to dig out, it made my day! My article is here