Sally Fallon Morell takes on the Diet Dictocrats
Vitamin A and Hearing Loss
In these pages, we often report on vitamin A—that most necessary of all nutrients, found in very high levels in primitive diets but declared toxic by modern dietary authorities. Vitamin A supports vibrant health in so many ways—from formation and development of the fetus to hormone production to healthy eyes, skin and bones. A new report summarizes research showing that vitamin A supports a preventive, therapeutic and even regenerative role in hearing loss, and can even allay tinnitus—ringing in the ears. For example, a French study from as early as 1823 found that hearing levels were better among those who consumed the most vitamin A and also vitamin B12 from various foods, including red meat. A 1984 European study reported a 5-15 decibel improvement in patients with age-related hearing loss when given vitamins A and E. Other researchers reported that vitamin A deficiency results in a decline in the number of sensory cells in the nose, tongue and inner ear. A 1993 study reported in Science found that vitamin A can stimulate the regeneration of mammalian auditory hair cells. In 2009, Japanese researchers found that adults with the highest blood serum levels of vitamin A and carotenoids have the lowest risk for hearing loss. And, in 2014, researchers determined that vitamin A deficiency during pregnancy, especially during the early stages of fetal development “may predispose offspring to inner ear malformations and sensorial hearing loss.” These studies and several others are detailed in a fascinating report by Bill Sardi at knowledgeofhealth.com, May 21, 2014.
Mom’s Diet and Future Behavior
More and more research is confirming what WAPF has been saying all along—that a pregnant mom’s diet affects not only the growth and physical health of her infant, but also mental performance and behavior. One new study reveals that pregnant mothers with unhealthy diets are more likely to have children with behavioral problems. The study involved more than twenty-three thousand mothers and children participating in the ongoing Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. They found that an unhealthy prenatal diet consisting of higher intake of processed meats, refined cereals, sweet drinks, and salty snacks predisposed offspring to more behavioral problems, whereas a healthy diet, consisting of higher intake of “vegetables, fruit, high-fiber cereals, and vegetable oils,” was associated with fewer behavioral problems in the children. (The study does not elaborate on the makeup of those “vegetable oils” but a diet higher in fruit and vegetables is a marker for a diet in which real foods predominate.) Pre-pregnancy risk drinking was associated with child behavior problems at eighteen and thirty-six months, even after controlling for prenatal and postnatal alcohol use (Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2014 Jul 23). In related news, researchers at the University of Adelaide found that women who consistently ate “high-fat, high-sugar foods”—of course those would be industrial fats—and take-out foods were about 50 percent more likely to have a preterm birth (Journal of Nutrition, September, 144 (9):1349-1355).
The same Norwegian study cited above suggested that the diet of children may affect their behavior. Children who ate more unhealthy foods, defined in the study as chips, buns, cakes, waffles, chocolate, cookies, sweets, soda, ice cream, popsicles, bread with jam or honey, pizza, and soda with artificial sweeteners, had higher levels of internalizing behaviors such as worry, sadness, crying and anxiety, as well as externalizing behaviors, including aggression, tantrums, hyperactivity and defiant behavior. In comparison, children who ate more traditional or healthy foods, defined as “white fish, oily fish, boiled and raw vegetables, fruit, bread with fish products, eggs, bread with meat, Norwegian brown cheese, and fish products” (could that be cod liver oil?) had lower levels of these problem behaviors (Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2014 Jul 23).
Diet Sodas and Weight Gain
Use of diet sodas, sweetened with non-caloric sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharin, has increased enormously over the last twenty-five years, as consumers try to steer clear of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. About 30 percent of American adults regularly consume these sweeteners. But a recent review study by Susie Swithers, Purdue University professor of psychological sciences and a behavioral neuroscientist, found that consumption of diet soft drinks increases the likelihood of overeating. One large study found that people who drink artificially sweetened sodas are more likely to experience weight gain than those who drink non-diet sodas. Other studies found that those who drink diet soda have twice the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, often a precursor to cardiovascular disease, than those who abstained (Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, 24(9):431–441, September 2013).
Toxic Toilet Paper
We all know about hormone-like compounds in plastic water bottles. Chemicals such as BPA, PCBs and phthalates have been linked to conditions like endocrine disruption and cancer. But few realize that these compounds are also in toilet paper! A 2004 study published in the UK found very high concentrations of these xenoestrogens in toilet paper. Of course, you don’t drink toilet paper, but who knows whether the compounds are absorbed through the skin. And the study found that these estrogen-pretenders do pass into wastewater and warned that toilet paper “should not be mixed with biological waste e.g. for co-composting or co-fermentation in order to derive organic fertilizers” (Gehring M and others in Popov V and others, eds. Waste Management and the Environment II. Southampton, UK, 2004).
Born in 1899, Miss Susannah Mushatt Jones has survived two World Wars, twenty-two U.S. presidents, the Great Depression, the Cold War and the birth of the telephone, radio, TV and Internet. Still alive and well at age one hundred fifteen, Miss Susie is New York City’s oldest resident. Miss Susie abstains from alcohol and smoking, but relatives credit her longevity to bacon. “She eats it every single morning,” says her goddaughter Valerie Price. Price does not eat bacon herself and doesn’t recommend it—such is the power of propaganda over observation in today’s modern world. But maybe her goddaughter is right, maybe that bacon will catch up with Miss Susie one day (aol.com, July 9, 2014)!