Sally Fallon Morell takes on the Diet Dictocrats
The food puritans are hard at work pushing for a tax on salt, promising that even small reductions in salt intake could lead to reductions in heart attacks and stroke (foodnavigator.com, April 23, 2012). While admitting that salt is “a vital nutrient and is necessary for the body to function,” the anti-salt crowd wants us to reduce our consumption to 5 grams (1 teaspoon) per day, much less than the body needs to function. They promise that reducing salt intake around the world by 15 percent would prevent almost nine million deaths by 2015—where have we heard such promises before? (We heard them from the McGovern Committee in the late 1970s, promising that our ten greatest disease killers would be solved if only we’d use margarine instead of butter.) The salt reducers are touting a recent article published in the journal Stroke (2012 43:1200-1205), which claims “evidence for a strong relationship between excess sodium intake and increased stroke risk in a multi-ethnic population.” But what the study actually found was that the ratio of salt in the diets (sodium per kilocalorie of food) of all risk groups was the same. The big difference was found in the total kilocalories consumed per day, with the highest risk group consuming three times more food as the low risk group. Yet the authors place the blame on salt even after showing that sodium had no effect on systolic and diastolic blood pressure! Salt taxes have been used in the past, not to control disease but to control people, in places like France, China and India. It’s hard not to suspect a similar agenda in the recent calls to tax this most necessary of foods.
According to vaccination defenders, vaccines are not the cause of autism. This claim became harder to justify with the 2010 publication of a study conducted by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh, which revealed that many infant monkeys given standard doses of childhood vaccines developed symptoms of autism. The researchers found that young macaque monkeys given the typical CDC-recommended vaccination schedule from the 1990s and in appropriate doses for the monkeys’ sizes and ages, tended to developed autism symptoms, while their unvaccinated counterparts developed no such symptoms. MRI and PET scans showed pathological changes to the amygdala, which performs a primary role in the processing and memory of emotional reactions (Acta Neurobiol Exp (Wars) 2010;70(2):147-64). Included in the vaccine mix were several containing the mercury-based compound Thimerosal, which has been phased out of some vaccines but is still present in batch-administered influenza vaccines. Also administered was the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, which has been linked many times with autism and other serious health problems. The study was presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) in London, England, in May of 2012 and points to the need for more such investigations into the effects of immunizations. All other drugs must undergo safety testing prior to approval, but not the vaccinations we give to our vulnerable children (naturalnews.com, May 7, 2012).
DARK SIDE OF BETA-CAROTENE
A frequent theme in these pages is the need for robust levels of true vitamin A in the diet, vitamin A that comes from animal sources, not the precursors found in fruits and vegetables. Vegetarians insist that we can get all the vitamin A we need by converting beta-carotene into vitamin A in our own intestinal tracts, but researchers from Ohio State University have found that beta-carotene has a dark side. The team found that molecules derived from beta-carotene can block certain actions of the true vitamin A (Journal of Biological Chemistry, March 14, 2012, doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.325142). According to head researcher Earl Harrison, “These materials definitely have anti-vitamin-A properties, and they could basically disrupt or at least affect the whole body metabolism and action of vitamin A.” The discovery could explain why previous clinical trials have found that people who were heavily supplemented with beta-carotene had a higher incidence of lung cancer than participants who took no beta-carotene. Because vitamin A provides its health benefits by activating hundreds of genes, compounds contained in beta-carotene supplements could lower the activity of vitamin A. Says Harrison, ” . . . too much beta-carotene could paradoxically result in too little vitamin A” (nutraingredients.com, May 3, 2012). These findings do not mean you need to avoid fruits and vegetables, but they certainly show that we can’t depend on plant foods as a source of vitamin A; beta-carotene supplements pose real dangers, as may a diet high in beta-carotene-containing fruits and vegetables in the absence of animal sources of vitamin A.
The FDA has added two new warnings for cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, taken by more than twenty million Americans and grossing over one hundred thirty billion dollars for Pfizer over the years. The agency now required warning labels saying that statins can increase the risk for diabetes and memory loss. Reluctant to admit any problems with this modern wonder drug, Steven Nissen, chief of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic says, “These are nuances, tiny little tweaks to the label, and the bigger picture doesn’t change.” According to Nissan, “There are few drugs that have saved as many lives as statins. . . ” (www.reuters.com, February 28, 2012). Reference, please? Try as researchers may, they have not shown that statins save lives, they just lower cholesterol, with consequences ranging from crippling back pain to cancer. Diabetes is not a “tiny little tweak,” but a serious disease. As for cognitive impairment and memory loss, former astronaut Duane Graveline, MD, MPH, describes this tiny little tweak as follows: “The most important cognitive dysfunction mentioned [by the FDA] is transient global amnesia, followed by severe memory lapses, disorientation, confusion and increased forgetfulness. . . [Transient global amnesia] occurs without the slightest warning. Abruptly, within a matter of seconds, you lose completely the ability to formulate new memory and become completely non-functional. . . Can you imagine a pilot having one of these conditions in a new aircraft, one in which he has no recall for training. . . Or to a school bus driver or heavy equipment operator or to anyone requiring constant vigilance to suddenly experience transient global amnesia. This would be a nightmare situation.”
A CURE FOR TOOTH DECAY?
Tooth decay is emerging as the number one problem in children, even as young as two years of age. Dentists regularly see preschoolers with ten cavities at a time, and the problem is “so severe that they often recommend using general anesthesia because young children are unlikely to sit through such extensive procedures while they are awake” (New York Times, March 6, 2012). While dentists rightly warn parents about feeding sweets and fruit juice to children, their only real solution to the problem is drill and fill. The notion that teeth can heal themselves is completely foreign to the dental profession. Yet Julian D. Boyd, MD and C.L. Drain, DDS, of Iowa City have reported “numerous instances of definite arrest of caries in children. Teeth containing large cavities, which ordinarily would have an area of softened dentin surrounding the zone of destruction, were found instead to be very dense.” The doctors made the fascinating observation that all the children with arrested cavities were diabetics who had been put on a high-fat, low-carb diet for blood sugar control. The regimen consisted of “milk, cream, butter, eggs, meat, cod liver oil, bulky vegetables and fruits. The daily menu was designed to include approximately a quart of milk and cream daily.” Levels of vitamins and minerals in the diet were high. The doctors concluded that oral hygiene had little to do with dental health, and that resistance to dental decay was due mainly to a nutrient-dense diet during the period of growth. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, June 9, 1928. One can just imagine Dr. Price reading this article and receiving inspiration for his subsequent travels.
ARA AND AUTISM
Arachidonic acid (ARA) is a much maligned long-chain omega-6 fatty acid found in organ meats and meat fats. Accused of causing inflammation, ARA is given as yet another reason to avoid animal fats; but as reported in these pages, ARA plays many important roles in the body chemistry, one of which is to ensure tight cell-to-cell junctures needed for a healthy, non-porous gut, and beautiful, well-hydrated skin (http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/precious-yet-perilous). New research finds that ARA may ameliorate social impairment in individuals with autism—which makes sense since 11 percent of the brain is composed of ARA. Scientists examined the efficacy of large doses of ARA added to the omega-3 fatty acid DHA in a sixteen-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial involving thirteen subjects. They were examined on the Social Responsiveness Scale and the Aberrant Behavior Checklist-Community. The results showed improvement in social interaction with added ARA. How much better to just eat butter and other animal fats!
Soy is not only toxic in its own right; in addition, the way it is cultivated adds further toxins to the environment. The tragic proving ground for these two facts is the Argentinian Pampas, which used to be dotted with dairy and vegetable farms, but now is blanketed with large-scale genetically engineered soybean monoculture. Fifty-six percent of Argentina’s cultivated land is now planted with Roundup Ready soy beans with the result that 190 million liters of glyphosate (the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup) are sprayed in Argentina annually. The practice is leading not only to the dieoff of trees but also to serious disorders in human beings! The immediate symptoms in the spray zone are dizziness, allergic reactions, itching, mouth swelling and general malaise. People are warned to stay inside when spraying is underway, but they report getting sick anyway. Authorities are turning a deaf ear—why would they disrupt Argentina’s major export crop—but some scientists are speaking out. For example, Andres Carrasco of the Argentine Ministry of Science has found that glyphosate exposure can cause defects in the brain, intestines and hearts of amphibian fetuses, and these results can be applied to humans. The work of Carrasco and others indicates that soy causes endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, DNA damage, neurotoxicity and cancer—especially in the poorly nourished who are forced to eat a lot of soy.
GOOD NEWS FROM SWEDEN
From a low-carb, high-fat listserve we learn that in Sweden, over 25 percent of the population is now actively following a low-carb, high-fat diet. Sales of “lite” and lowfat products have slumped and many supermarket chains are introducing low-carb, high-fat sections—not always with full understanding of what that diet entails. Margarine can be had at under half price almost everywhere while butter is often sold out. There are even restaurants offering low-carb, high-fat alternatives and an institution offering certification in the dietary principles. Virgin coconut oil, although expensive, is seeing a huge increase. Bread sales are down 30 percent, with predictions of continued decline.
In an editorial published in the Des Moines Register (March 5, 2012), Daniel H. Gervich, MD, a board-certified infectious diseases and critical care medicine doctor, declared that feeding raw milk to babies is “child endangerment.” This outlandish claim was part of a larger rant against raw dairy. Fortunately, our own Sarah Pope, Tampa, Florida chapter leader and Healthy Home Economist blogger, succeeded in getting the Des Moines Register to publish a rebuttal. In it she noted that, “Parents seek a raw milk formula when their baby is failing to thrive on commercial formula. Many of these children suffer from severe constipation, eczema, reflux and other mild to severe digestive and developmental problems. Often, these parents feel abandoned by their pediatricians who only suggest a different brand of commercial formula or medications to cover the symptoms without actually resolving the ailment. Parents are relieved and delighted once they try homemade raw milk formula. Many report that their babies finally begin to sleep through the night. Such problems as reflux and eczema significantly improve and even disappear. Not even one parent has gone back to commercial formula after trying the homemade formula. The satisfaction rate for parents is at or near 100 percent.” For her full reply, visit http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/op-ed-refutes-doctorsraw-milk-child-endangerment-claim/.