NO LISTERIA HYSTERIA
The merest suspicion that a raw milk product contains a pathogen like listeria generates widespread press coverage and finger wagging from health officials, but a new study that found listeria hiding inside the tissue of romaine lettuce gets nary a comment. Scientists at Purdue University found Listeria monocytogenes internalized in all major tissue types of the hypocotyl (stem of the germinating seed)—and these were seeds grown in greenhouse conditions! “Common sanitization practices may not be sufficient in killing bacteria,” said the researchers. “The bacteria could live within lettuce in every stage of the plant growth process, residing inside plant tissue.” Furthermore, “exposing lettuce to the bacteria could lead to infection of plant tissue in as little as thirty minutes.” However, there is no need to panic. The researchers pointed out that they used an inoculum containing millions of listeria cells to soak their seeds, the concentration of cells declined gradually over the time of the study, that listeria only infect at high doses, and there have been no listeria outbreaks linked to leafy greens (Purdue Agriculture News, March 29, 2017). Exactly the same things could be said for experiments where listeria is added to raw milk—but you never read such assuring words in the mainstream press.
VITAMIN A FOR COGNITIVE FUNCTION
At WAPF, we pride ourselves on keeping up with research on vitamin A. A new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, indicates that adequate vitamin A is required in utero and after birth for any positive impact on neurological development. Researchers tested over fifteen hundred children in Bangladesh on intelligence, memory and motor function. They found no impact among children whose mothers received vitamin A supplementation in utero, and no impact among children who received vitamin A supplementation after birth. But the children who received both interventions had significantly better performance in reading, spelling and math computation. The study report referenced four trials in South Asia showing benefit to infant survival when the babies received vitamin A supplementation immediately after birth. The researchers noted that there were no side effects, only benefits, from giving vitamin A to pregnant mothers and newborns (Am J Clin Nutr 2017;106:77-87). But in the U.S., medical personnel warn pregnant moms not to take vitamin A, and even not to eat liver!
WHAT A CHEESY IDEA!
The great increase in the need for orthodontics to fix tooth crowding and overbites has a lot of folks wondering why. Since it couldn’t possibly be the modern diet’s baneful effects, scientists have grasped at some pretty lame explanations. In Dr. Price’s day, scholars insisted that tooth crowding was caused by race mixing; today the explanation is soft foods that have “decreased chewing demands.” Now a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Volume 114, Number 34) blames one soft food in particular: cheese! According to the author David Katz, “At least in early farmers, milk did not make for bigger, stronger skull bones.” We wonder which “early farmers” Katz looked at. Did he look at the Swiss farmers of Dr. Price’s day who had wide facial structures eating a diet of raw cheese and sourdough bread? Or the Maasai herders with their brilliant smiles living on fermented milk products and blood? Remember, if even one example contradicts the theory, the honest scientist must go back to the drawing board and come up with another theory. Katz needs to visit some WAPF families where modern children are growing up with beautiful wide jaws on a diet of soft foods like raw milk, raw cheese, pȃté, eggs and cod liver oil.
Sales of fluid milk continue their relentless decline. According to USDA data, U.S. milk sales are down by 11 percent by volume since 2000, and 14 percent in dollar terms in just one year. The industry blames a decline in breakfast cereal consumption and the advent of “plant-based milk substitutes,” especially almond milk and coconut milk. Highly processed “specialty milks” such as acidophilus milk and lactose-reduced milk and flavored milks (loaded with sugar) served to school children have taken up some of the slack, and the industry is looking to “innovations” like A2 milk and milk with pureed fruit added to boost sales. Some, like Judy Vona, president at Dairy Maid Dairy in Frederick, Maryland, have even suggested that school children might drink more milk if they were allowed to have milk that contained more fat—a suggestion that was quickly slapped down by a representative of the Child Nutrition Division of the Maryland State Department of Education. Not one government official involved in the dairy industry is willing to state the obvious: processed, pasteurized milk is making more and more people sick. Milk today is the number one allergy and many doctors recommend against it. Meanwhile, sales of raw milk are soaring, a fact that the dairy folks refuse to mention. There is one piece of good news in all these trends: soy milk sales have tanked, down 50 percent since 2013 (Wall Street Journal, August 10, 2017).
LOTS OF PAIN, NO GAIN
Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are the most profitable drugs in history. Nearly one-third of adult Americans currently take a statin medication—a number that Big Pharma would like to increase to one hundred percent. Statins are expensive and have many serious side effects, including mitochondrial dysfunction, muscle weakness and breakdown, crippling back pain, brain fog, memory loss, dementia and cancer. All this to prevent heart attacks. . . except they don’t. A recent study published in the British Medical Journal looked at the mortality benefit from taking a statin medication for two to six years. Their literature review found that if you take a statin medication for two to six years to prevent your first heart attack—this is called primary prevention—your death will be postponed by an average of three days and five hours. If you take a statin for two to six years after you have had a heart attack—this is called secondary prevention—your death will be postponed for just over four days (BMJ Open, Volume 5, Issue 9). How many people are willing to take an expensive drug that ruins your quality of life for two to six years just to add three or four days of life to the human carcass? No one, of course, unless they are cleverly deceived.
Steven E. Nissen, MD, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, has made a good living promoting statin drugs and the cholesterol theory of heart disease. In spite of ever-mounting evidence that these drugs do nothing but make people miserable, he is upset at the growing numbers of “statin deniers.” According to Nissen, “People on the Internet with little or no scientific expertise suggest that statins are harmful while peddling ‛natural’ remedies for elevated cholesterol levels.” Blaming the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994, which takes oversight of dietary supplements out of the hands of the FDA, Nissen claims that “. . . consumers are easily seduced by claims of a cure through supplements or fad diets. . . What research does show is that discontinuation or nonadherence to statins can have deadly consequences. Physicians need to work together with the media to educate the public about the dangers of statin denial. . . we are losing the battle for the hearts and minds of our patients” (Annals of Internal Medicine, August 15, 2017). Perhaps statin drugs have affected Nissen’s memory. In 2013 Nissen stated, “The science was never there for the LDL [cholesterol] targets. Past committees made them up out of thin air” (NY Times, November 12, 2013).
BREAST CANCER PROTECTION
Scientists attending a conference of the European Society of Cardiology in Barcelona, Spain, learned about findings from a longitudinal study of more than one million patient records. Women with high cholesterol levels—with a “diagnosis of hyperlipidaemia”— enjoy significant protection against breast cancer, and lower overall mortality as well. Women with high cholesterol were 45 percent less likely to develop breast cancer (http://congress365.escardio.org/Presentation/156396#.WbbkhL0ntD8). The rational person would conclude from this survey that women should not try to lower their cholesterol levels, but these were cardiologists whose thinking processes are different from those of the average person. Their conclusions: it’s the statin drugs they assume these women are taking that are protecting them from breast cancer. Said researcher Dr. Paul Carter, “I don’t think at the moment we can give statins to prevent or reduce mortality from breast cancer per se. But a positive result in a clinical trial could change this and it is an exciting and rapidly progressing field.” We don’t need a crystal ball to predict that just such a study will appear within the next few years to give physicians yet another reason to prescribe statin drugs.
Now that cannabis and its cousins CBD oil, hemp and hemp oil have flooded the alternative health scene as the new miracle drugs for everything from headaches to cancer, consumers need to take these claims with a large dose of plain old salt. The link between marijuana use and increased probability of developing schizophrenia has emerged in over thirty different scientific studies over the past twenty years. In one study, scientists interviewed fifty thousand members of the Swedish army about their drug use and followed up with them later in life. Those who were heavy consumers of cannabis at age eighteen were over 600 percent more likely to receive a schizophrenia diagnosis over the next fifteen years than those who were non-users. Many of these studies indicate that the risk is higher when drug use begins before the age of twenty-one, a time when the human brain is developing rapidly and is particularly vulnerable (schizophrenia.com). For those who insist that hemp does not contain psychoactive compounds, consider this quote from Herodius about the ancient Scythians: “The Scythians take the seed of the said hemp plant, and, creeping under the carpets, enter into the enclosure, and then throw the seeds on the flaming stones. The seed burns immediately, and spreads around such a vapour and so much of it that there is no Greek tepidarium which produces a greater effect. And the Scythians, meanwhile, as they are beside themselves from the effects of that most powerful sudorific, shout with joy” (Histories IV.7) Much of the cannabis effect comes from raising dopamine to unnatural levels, with subsequent burnout. How much better to raise dopamine levels naturally and steadily, and produce your own mild endogenous cannabinoids by eating butter and broth.
We’ve all heard about efforts to produce genetically engineered red meat in a laboratory, but a team of scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) food structure research group in Australia is hoping to go one better with “the personalized fabrication of smart food systems.” Team leader Dr. Amy Logan looks forward to the day when we can “hit a button on a machine to receive a blob of food tailored just for you, precisely calculated for your daily needs based on everything from your sweat right down to your genetic code.” According to the European Food Information Council, such personalized nutrition will “help prevent society-wide diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and malnutrition.” The research is focusing on how to create food-like substances with “a nice structure” instead of “food-like sludge” using 3D printing. According to Dr. Logan, “The vision we have is that in twenty years time, someone would wake up in the morning, their physiological markers will have already been measured in a really unintrusive way, potentially through their sweat while they’ve been sleeping using biosensor technology. It’s already conveyed that information to a software system that’s linked to this, what we’re calling a ‛food generator,’ that’s sitting on their kitchen bench, and that will be what generates this structured food that has their nutrients for the day” (CSIROscope, August 1, 2017). We are not making this up. All these mad scientists need to prepare themselves for the shock of people preferring bacon and eggs for breakfast.
Terrence McCarthy says
You are so on target, Sally. Been a WAPF guy since 1997. Still weigh what I weighed as a senior in college. Still run every day. And thanks to you–and my mom, a nutritionist–I still cook everything from scratch. My wife and I canned 35 quarts of tomatoes yesterday.
I live in California where growing cannabis is legal. I bought a strain of cannabis high in CBD and have made it into a salve. Got to say as a 66 year old runner, some of my joints ache. The salve seems to help. I would be interested if your team could address this issue. Is this science or mass hysteria.
Much appreciate your guidance over the past 20 years.