Sally Fallon Morell takes on the Diet Dictocrats
DIRECT ROLE FOR VITAMIN A
Here at WAPF, we keep our members abreast of research on vitamin A—a maligned but vital nutrient. Vitamin A is critical for fetal growth and development, for hormone creation, for neurological function, for normal reproduction, and for healthy eyes, skin and bones—to name just a few of its functions. A recently-published study suggests that vitamin A may play a more direct role than was previously known in certain physiological functions, including sperm cell formation, the development of the central nervous system and the regulation of hemoglobin production in the embryo. Vitamin A is involved in nuclear receptor signaling pathways, a process that activates genes in the human body (J Biol Chem. 2011 Jan 28;286(4):2877-85). What this means is that vitamin A plays a critical role in genetic expression, and implies that many so-called heredity conditions might be due to vitamin A deficiency. Unfortunately, there are millions of dollars out there for genetic research, but not a cent for a campaign to tell people to eat vitamin A-rich foods like liver, cod liver oil and butter and egg yolks from pastured animals.
ACUTE FLACCID MYELITIS
The term may be unfamiliar, but it describes a “polio-like” paralysis that afflicted over one hundred children in 2014. Following flu-like symptoms, children end up with one or more limbs paralyzed or even with complete paralysis from the neck down. MRI scans show distinctive damage to a specific part of the spinal cord, a classic feature of polio. Researchers are at a loss to explain the disease. If it is caused by a virus, why do most members of a family escape the disease while others contract it? “Maybe it’s the host, and the virus is a trigger that sets off the paralysis. . . Maybe it’s something in their genetic makeup,” says Priya Duggal, a genetic epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University (“Mystery paralysis in children is perplexing parents—and researchers,” Washington Post, March 3, 2015). Others point to exposure to pesticides and neurotoxins like DDT as cause of sudden onset paralysis. And what do viruses and toxins have in common? Both deplete vitamin A or interfere with vitamin A pathways. Could vitamin A deficiency—rather than genetic makeup—be the key factor that determines whether a child becomes paralyzed after exposure to viruses or toxins? One thing’s for sure, researchers will continue to roam around in the dense forest of genetic epidemiology for a long time before they admit that something as simple as cod liver oil and butter could protect our children from deadly disease.
FEEL GOOD WITH BEEF
A 2010 study looked at the extent to which the high prevalence of mental disorders is related to habitual diet in over one thousand women ages twenty to ninety-three years randomly selected from the population (Am J Psychiatry. 2010 Mar;167(3):305-11 ). “One of the hypotheses that I had during my PhD was that increased intake of animal foods would be toxic and would be associated with more mental disorders,” said principal author Felice Jacka. “This did not turn out to be the case. In our study, out of every single dietary food grouping that I looked at, including vegetables, fruits, salads, beans, etc., the strongest correlate of mental health was red meat intake. Consistently, women who have less than the recommended intake of red meat seem to be in an increased risk for common mental disorders (like anxiety and depression) and bipolar disorder. Women only need a small amount (a palm-sized serving) three or four times a week.” These are pretty profound results, especially today, with the constant barrage of propaganda urging us to eat no red meat or to eat less. Red meat provides complete amino acids, zinc, iron and omega-3 fatty acids—all important for depression and anxiety.
TOXIC OXALATE CRYSTALS
Green smoothies are all the rage these days, as a way to “cleanse the body” and “improve the diet.” The problem is that the recommended ingredients for such concoctions are foods high in oxalates, such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard and arugula—often as high as 10 percent of the dry weight. Oxalic acid is an extremely acidic organic acid that traps heavy metals like mercury and lead, and deposits them in a variety of tissues throughout the body—so much for leafy greens being “alkaline” and “cleansing” to the body. William Shaw, PhD, reports consistently finding high urine oxalate levels in kidney stone patients consuming a lot of raw spinach or green smoothies. Other side effects of oxalates include reproductive problems, reduced calcium in bones and teeth, anemia, immunosuppression, stroke, atherosclerosis, endothelial cell dysfunction and fibromyalgia. Urine tests consistently show high oxalate levels in individuals with autism, kidney disease, fibromyalgia and vulvodynia (http://www.townsendletter.com/Jan2015/green0115.html).
END OF THE JUNK-FOOD ERA?
For years, Big Food has described the art of cooking as a necessary inconvenience, one that can be circumvented by opening a can of soup or putting a frozen dinner in the microwave. But recently consumers have returned to cooking real foods, and the industry is feeling the effects. All the major industrial food producers—ConAgra, Kraft and Kelloggs— reported sluggish sales for 2014. One factor for the decline is the strong U.S. dollar, which makes overseas sales worth less when converted to U.S. currency. But the main reason is a “mounting distrust of so-called Big Food, the large food companies and legacy brands on which millions of consumers have relied. . . for so long.” Meanwhile, the number of farmers markets jumped 180 percent since 2006, to a total of over eight thousand. Food hubs have jumped in number by 280 percent since 2007 (http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/02/has-big-food-passed-its-sell-date). And, of course, there’s the “Postum effect,” in which sales decline because customers die off—it was an older generation that embraced processed foods, and they are plagued with health problems. Is the junk-food era coming to an end? Stay tuned.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) rightly has a bad reputation— animal studies associate this engineered sugar with everything from weak ligaments to weight gain. The industry tried to get FDA approval for a name change—they wanted to call HFCS “corn sugar,” but FDA did the right thing for once and said no. So the Corn Refiners Association just went ahead and changed the name anyway—to “fructose.” So beware of any product containing “fructose,” or “crystalline fructose,” even those declaring “No high fructose corn syrup” on the label. General Mills’ Vanilla, Chocolate and Cinnamon Chex boxes all claim “No high fructose corn syrup” but list “fructose” in the ingredients (www.thesleuthjournal.com/chex-nefarious-simply-not-true/).
FIGHTING THOSE “ANTI-DAIRY” FOLKS
The dairy industry spent thirty-four million dollars on its “GOT MILK?” milk mustache campaign in California—one dollar for every person living in the state. The result: milk consumption declined. The nation’s largest milk processor, Dean Foods, has closed twelve dairy processing plants since 2012, sending shock waves throughout the industry. Consumption of pasteurized fluid milk continues its steady decline of one to three percent per year. But the milk industry is trying again, this time with a social media campaign by the Milk Processor Education Program, trumpeting the benefits of industrial milk. The association says it needs to act because attitudes about milk are deteriorating more rapidly “with vegan groups, non-dairy competitors and other perceived enemies getting louder online.” (The “perceived enemies” of course are the advocates for raw milk.) The campaign is intended to “drown out” milk’s detractors with positive posts about milk on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere—that means paid trolls will post pro-milk messages (finance.yahoo.com/news/milk-industry-fights-back-against-anti-dairy-folks-170243538—finance.html). Our message for the industry: it’s not going to work. No amount of advertising or social media can resurrect the reputation of nature’s perfect food, completely ruined by industrial processing. Industrial milk is hard to digest, highly allergenic, associated with many diseases, and it tastes bad.
ASPARTAME BAD NEWS
As little as one diet soda daily may increase the risk for leukemia in men and women, and for multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in men, according to researchers who analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study for a twenty-two-year period. These findings accord with a 2006 study involving nine hundred rats, which found that aspartame significantly increased the risk for lymphomas and leukemia in both males and females (www.naturalnews.com/037772_aspartame_leukemia_lymphoma.html). In 2005, Dr. Stylianos Tsakiris, at the Medical School, University of Athens, showed that aspartame causes memory loss and learning impairment— with potentially disastrous consequences for children who consume aspartame in the form of diet colas and sugar-free gum. A recent study indicates that aspartame disrupts the healthy bacteria in the gut, which can interfere with normal blood sugar and insulin production, leading to hypoglycemia and diabetes. Finally, a new study from the University of Iowa on healthy postmenopausal women showed that drinking two or more diet drinks per day may increase the risk of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke (www.janethull.com/healthynews/blog/2014/09/study-shows-aspartamecauses-memory-loss/). All in all, the evidence is clear: we should avoid products containing aspartame like the plague.
Pineal gland calcification due to excessive fluoride exposure is a clinical risk factor in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disease, and insomnia as well as ADHD. But fluoride is not the only factor that can cause calcification of the pineal gland. In his book The Milk Book, William Campbell Douglass, MD, points out that pasteurized milk can also cause calcification of the pineal gland. Vitamin K, found in aged cheeses and poultry liver, protects against soft-tissue calcification throughout the body.
SALT AND HEART ATTACKS
Current U.S. dietary recommendations advise Americans ages fourteen to fifty to limit their sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day or one teaspoon of salt, and those over fifty and high-risk groups to cut back to 1500 mg daily or two-thirds of a teaspoon. But a large international study found that men and women who ate between 3,000-6,000 mg sodium (between 1.3 and 2.6 teaspoons) had a lower risk of major cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack, stroke or heart failure, and they also had a lower risk of dying over a four-year period compared with people who consumed more or less sodium (N Engl J Med. 2014 Aug 14;371(7):612-23). On average, American adults consume 3,400 mg sodium daily or one and one-half teaspoons of salt.
IGNORING DOCTOR PRICE
The old “ soft foods” theory of malocclusion and dental crowding has raised its head again in a report published in PLOS ONE (phys.org/news/2015-02-malocclusion-dental-crowding-arose-years.html). Noting that hunter-gatherers had almost no malocclusion and dental crowding, while the condition was common among the world’s earliest farmers, the authors state with assurance that the diet of the hunter-gatherer “was based on ‘hard’ foods like wild uncooked vegetables and meat, while the staple diet of the sedentary farmer is based on ‘soft’ foods like cereals and legumes. With soft cooked foods there is less of a requirement for chewing, which in turns lessens the size of the jaws but without a corresponding reduction in the dimensions of the teeth.” Sigh. . . there is just so much wrong with these conclusions, starting with the assumption that the hunter-gatherer did not cook his food. Quite the contrary, descriptions of hunter-gatherer populations indicate that they cooked a large part of their meats and virtually all their plant foods. And what about herding populations consuming “soft” foods like milk, yogurt and cheese? These groups are characterized by splendid facial development. And how do your genes know that you will be eating soft foods and therefore give you a more narrow jaw? And what about the rest of the face and body—how do soft foods affect their disrupted development? There is no discussion of the possibility that the diets of agriculturalists might be less nutrient-dense than that of hunter-gatherers, less rich in animal foods like fish and organ meats, for example. Any mention of nutrition would force these researchers to consider the work of Weston A. Price, and that would lead them down some very uncomfortable paths.