The Scheme to Intervene
The Federal government has issued draconian new guidelines for cholesterol-lowering to prevent heart disease. The guidelines are aimed at all Americans age 20 and over, with wastelines greater than 40 inches and whose LDL cholesterol levels are over 100. “Many more people are eligible for treatment under the new guidelines,” said one commentator, “because the population has gotten more overweight.” Recommendations include cutting intake of saturated fats to less than 7 percent of total calories and cholesterol intake to less than 200 mg per day. “At risk” individuals are encouraged to consume cholesterol-lowering margarines and salad dressings and to eat lots of grains, beans, fruits and vegetables—the kinds of foods that make many people gain weight. Most importantly, the government recommendations will make 36 million people candidates for cholesterol-lowering drugs—three times the number currently taking them. Drugs for cholesterol-lowering already constitute a huge market. Sales of Lipitor, for example, bring in more than $5 billion per year for Pfizer. With the new recommendations, pharmaceutical stock prices naturally have shot up. The more stringent guidelines and harsh tone of the report are said to be necessary because Americans are not taking prevention of heart disease seriously enough—which means that sales of cholesterol-lowering drugs and lowfat, cholesterol-lowering imitation foods are not increasing fast enough to please the multinational corporations that sell them. The guidelines are also well timed to stem the fallout from the publication of “The Soft Science of Dietary Fat,” an explosive exposé in the March 30 issue of Science. Author Gary Taubes points out that 50 years of mainstream nutritional research and hundreds of millions of research dollars have not proved that eating a lowfat diet will help you live longer. Taubes notes that the principal political supporter of the lowfat agenda was Senator George McGovern, who had spent some time on the severely lowfat Pritikin diet. . . before dropping out of the program. The McGovern Committee’s “Dietary Goals for the United States,” which almost single-handedly changed nutritional policy in the US, was written by a vegetarian, Nick Mottern, a former labor reporter with no background in nutrition. Thus have government, science and industry put their curse on healthy traditional foods and ushered millions of perfectly healthy Americans into the jaws of the medical care system.
The drugs that so many Americans now take to lower their cholesterol are called statins. They work by blocking an important enzyme the body uses to make cholesterol. Researchers say that statins are completely safe, even though study after study shows a correlation of statin use with increased risk of cancer, intestinal diseases, stroke, depression, accidents and suicide. In May, a retired physician participated in an interview on The People’s Pharmacy, a national radio show, to describe another side effect—memory loss. Dr. Duane Graveline said he experienced bouts of total amnesia while taking the drug. Spokesmen for Pfizer, the makers of the statin-drug Lipitor, say that there has never been a single case of amnesia reported in any of the clinical trials on the drug. (Emphasis ours.) Nevertheless, a warning of potential problems with memory, insomnia or depression is listed on the product label. Dr. Graveline says he would never take another statin drug and is concerned that doctors may attribute cognitive problems in their patients to aging or Alzheimers rather than consider that statin drugs might be the cause. (The May 28 issue of US News & World Report follows its article on the new guidelines with an article on Alzheimers, oblivious of the irony.) Even worse, he said, is the possibility that doctors may prescribe statins to people whose memory loss might be disastrous, such as airline pilots or school bus drivers.
Et Tu, Diabetes
The new guidelines do not spare diabetics, whose condition is now included as a risk factor that must be treated with lowfat diets high in grains and other carbohydrates. This comes in the wake of a study by Dr. James Hayes, an endocrinologist and director of the Limestone Medical Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Whereas most type-II diabetics are encouraged to get at least 60 percent of their calories from carbohydrates, he put his diabetic patients on an 1800-calorie diet with 50 percent of caloric intake from fat and just 20 percent from carbohydrates. Ninety percent of the fat content in the diets was saturated fat. The patients showed an impressive weight loss and normalization of blood parameters without ketosis.
They Got Milk
There may be pictures of peacefully grazing cows on the milk cartons, but the dairy business is actually big business, dominated by huge corporations that care only about profit and production, not about quality. In the US, 80 percent of dairy production is controlled by two companies—Parmalat and Suiza. Suiza just doubled in size with the purchase of Dean Foods Co. for about $1.5 billion (that’s billion) in stock and cash—and not a peep from the Justice Department. (Horizon, by the way, producer of “organic” milk, is owned by Suiza. After Suiza’s purchase, the farmers with Horizon contracts took a pay cut—after all, someone has to pay for these mergers.) Headquartered in Dallas, Suiza’s year 2000 income was almost $120 million on $6 billion in sales, and not all of it from milk products. The company also produces milk substitutes such as Second Nature, Mocha Mix and Sun Soy. With the purchase of Dean, the conglomerate will now sell pickles, dressings, dips and powdered products. Suiza entered the dairy business less than eight years ago. Since then, it has made 43 acquisitions—mostly by gobbling up small local dairies. The public remains in the dark because Suiza retains local brand names. The real question is, where does the money come from that allows a newcomer to the field to “get milk” so quickly and on such a large scale?
More Vitamin A Vagary
The theme we consistently return to in these pages is that of the fat-soluble vitamins. The absolute fundamental basis of good nutrition, according to the discoveries of Dr. Weston Price, is plentiful levels of vitamins A and D in the diet. These nutrients are found only in seafood and the organ meats, storage fat and butter fat of grass fed animals. This is the “greatest secret” that the Diet Dictocrats have managed to keep hidden from the people through a policy of fear and confusion. Recently an “expert” panel has recommended lowering the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for vitamin A to 700 mcg for women and has set an upper limit of 3000 mcg (about 10,000 IUs). The panel was headed by Dr. Robert Russell of Tufts University, who warned that intake over the “upper limit” may cause irreversible liver damage and birth defects. He also stated that vitamin A requirements can be met with half a cup of carrots daily. Here is both fear-mongering and confusion with a vengeance. While synthetic vitamin A—the kind added to most vitamin supplements and many food items—can indeed cause birth defects and liver damage, natural sources of vitamin A found in foods are well tolerated even at very high doses. In fact, high levels of natural vitamin A are important to prevent birth defects. There have been studies of individuals who have taken 300,000 IUs of vitamin A per day for over one year with no adverse effects. One 100-gram serving of liver contains over 36,000 IUs of vitamin A and 1 tablespoon of cod liver oil can contain over 30,000 IUs of this vital nutrient. During the 1940s and 1950s, pregnant women were routinely advised to take a tablespoon of cod liver oil daily and eat liver several times per week. There have been no associations of birth defects or liver damage with these dietary practices; in fact, they are associated with an easy pregnancy and robust good health in the infant. And although the government allows the food industry to call the carotenes in plant foods vitamin A, the Merck Manual clearly states that vitamin A is found only in animal foods. The carotenes in vegetables like carrots and spinach are the precursors to vitamin A. Some of them will be converted to true vitamin A in the intestinal tract. However, many common conditions can inhibit this conversion, including thyroid problems, liver damage and deficiency in a variety of nutrients. But even those individuals who convert carotenes easily would need to eat carrots and broccoli all day long in order to obtain the level of vitamin A that Dr. Price found in the diets of healthy primitive peoples.
When Cows Have Colds
Said to be caused by a virus, hoof-and-mouth disease (sometimes called foot-and-mouth disease) has caused a panic in Britain. The government seemed uncharacteristically prepared for the “surprise” outbreak in Devon, Cambria, Yorkshire and Somerset. Inspectors from the “Livestock Depopulation Program” arrived and quickly condemned whole herds which were then slaughtered and carried off, or left to rot and then burned in huge pyres, redolent of ancient sacrificial rites. Quarantines prevented movement between districts and tourists were warned away from rural areas. It all seems like the British government had gotten its act together after the mad cow scandal, but certain things don’t add up. First of all, why the panic for a disease that is no worse than a common cold? Few animals die from hoof-and-mouth disease and most recover within a couple of weeks. If the disease is caused by a fast-moving virus, why the funeral pyres which are the best way yet devised to spread viruses in the wind? Then there is the question of timing. The discovery of hoof-and-mouth and subsequent quarantine caused the cancellation of a huge demonstration in London to protest government actions against family farms and rural areas. And why did the UK government have trucks for removing animals readied and wood stockpiled long before the outbreak? Why did social workers visit the afflicted farms after the animals were confiscated to recommend that farmers “get out of farming?” Rumors that the virus was released deliberately have not died out with the waning fires. What it adds up to is a deliberate attack on small farms and on the political movement to protect small farms. Meanwhile, in the US, representatives from 26 agencies, including the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Commerce, Interior, Energy and Health and Human Services, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) met to discuss how they would handle an outbreak of hoof-and-mouth in America (NY Times, 4/17/01). The tenor of the meeting was that without the entire government working to contain it, the disease would spread like wildfire and cause a national disaster. At the meeting, the situation was played out like a military war game, with agency representatives acting out how they would react if foot-and-mouth broke out in Iowa. Participants said that the computer-generated model could not be controlled and that the disease spread to three states within 60 days, requiring 50,000 people to “contain” it. What actually needs to be contained are the overweening government agencies that use bogus health concerns to undermine small farmers while turning a blind eye to the massive health problems caused by corporate confined animal feeding operations.
The American Dental Association (ADA) has consistently maintained that mercury-based amalgam fillings are safe. But as more and more individuals report the resolution of health problems after having their mercury fillings removed, and as scientists discover the adverse effects that mercury can have on the brain, dentists are becoming reluctant to handle mercury or put it in their patients’ mouths. Yet in many states, licensing boards have revoked the permits of dentists who have advised their patients to use alternative materials like gold, porcelain or resin composite. Now dentists are fighting back with a lawsuit, filed in federal court in Greenbelt, Maryland, claiming that dental regulators who use “control of dental licenses to punish or to threaten punishment of dentists who criticize mercury amalgam,” are violating the dentists’ First Amendment rights. The plaintiffs want the court to order licensing boards to stop enforcing any policy that “prevents, limits or intimidates dentists” from discussing the controversy or advocating “mercury-free” dentistry. A spokesman for the ADA says that discussing mercury when patients are in the dentist’s chair would be a disservice to them. Other battles are taking place in individual states. In Maryland, the licensing board is proposing a new regulation stating that removing “serviceable mercury amalgam restorations” is unprofessional and stipulating that patients be told that “there are no verifiable systemic health benefits resulting from their removal.” In New York and Maine, on the other hand, state legislatures are debating bills that would require dentists to disclose to patients the makeup of their fillings. The New York bill would also ban dentists from using mercury to fill cavities in children and pregnant women. In Minnesota, Governor Jesse Ventura has appointed an alternative dentist to the state dental board. Ultimately all dentists will use alternatives to mercury because of that irresistible force—informed consumer demand.
Just as scientists are belatedly recognizing that cholesterol can be good, so have they recognized that bacteria can be friendly. According to an article in Newsweek (3/26/01), “It’s hard to imagine microbes as our allies. But mounting evidence suggests that these friendly flora aid digestion, ward off pathogens and help us process folic acid and other critical nutrients.” The friendly bacteria are the hundreds of strains of lactobacilli, which formerly were in our diets when we ate natural lacto-fermented foods such as sauerkraut and yoghurt. Actually, the medical profession used to understand this principle. At the Civil War Cemetery and Pest House in Lynchburg, VA, visitors learn that Dr. John Hay Terrill was able to reduce the death rate from small pox from 90 percent to 5 percent by giving his patients sauerkraut. As humans develop more and more resistance to antibiotics, health practitioners will return to nature’s natural antibiotics—the friendly flora in lacto-fermented foods.
The Vegan Cowboy
It’s no surprise that the American Dietetic Association supports vegetarian and vegan diets and it’s no surprise that the American Heart Association says that vegan diets can protect the heart. These groups have received funding from the food processing industry for years. What is a surprise is that the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has given its support to a meatless diet. In an official statement, representatives of the beef industry declared, “Like omnivorous diets, well planned vegetarian diets can meet dietary recommendations for essential nutrients,” hastening to add, “the more foods eliminated from the diet, the greater the risk for nutrient deficiencies” (Environmental News Network, 2001). Perhaps they neglected to examine the fallacies in the claim made by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine that vegetarians had 57 percent less heart disease, 40 percent less cancer and 50 percent less high blood pressure than meat eaters.” The fact that cattlemen have given overt support to the vegetarian agenda is proof of the extent to which the grain cartels have been able to deceive and manipulate.
While the vegan propaganda mill grinds away, two new studies point out the dangers of a meatless diet. In one, women who were infertile or had a history of miscarriages were treated with vitamin B12, a nutrient found only in animal products. Afterwards, many of the women conceived and carried their babies to term. One woman had suffered seven miscarriages before doctors discovered that she was deficient in vitamin B12. She went on to have three children after supplementation began (Journal of Reproductive Medicine 2001 46:209-212). B12 deficiency also leads to neurological problems in the elderly. Dr. George Newman, a renowned stroke expert at the medical center in Stoney Brook, Long Island, warns that “health conscious” individuals who have cut back on red meat because of American Heart Association recommendations are at risk for a “spinal cord syndrome that causes damage to the middle of the cord and usually is first noticed by difficulty walking; peripheral neuropathy, which causes numbness and tingling in the feet, and also makes walking difficult.” Another side effect of B12 deficiency is dementia. What’s truly demented is the whole concept of lowfat and vegetarian diets as healthy when in fact such diets cause suffering in all age groups.