Sally Fallon Morell takes on the Diet Dictocrats
We have often warned against breakfast cereals made of extruded grains; unpublished research indicates that these cereals can be extremely toxic to the nerves in the digestive system. Now we have a published study that gives a partial explanation for these effects. Researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research fed pigs either whole grain barley or oat groats, and these same grains in extruded form. The extruded grains resulted in lower gut bacteria diversity along with higher levels of pathogenic bacteria such as streptococcus. Grains that had not been extruded resulted in higher levels of bacteria producing beneficial lactic acid and butyric acid. Said the researchers: “This is the first study showing that cereal extrusion affects the microbiota composition and diversity towards a state generally thought to be less beneficial for health. . .” (Food and Function 2016;2).
MYTH OF THE CRISPR
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are created by hit-and-miss techniques involving “gene guns” that shoot DNA-coated metal or DNA-containing bacteria (usually E. coli) into a seed. The GMO seed industry has countered concerns about such imprecise methods by introducing a new process for gene editing called CRISPR, said to “precisely alter” the DNA of living organisms. However, a new study has found that the gene-editing technology can introduce hundreds of unintended mutations into a genome. Using the CRISPR technique to correct a gene that causes blindness in mice—a procedure that was successful—the researchers found that the entire genome had sustained more than fifteen hundred single-nucleotide mutations and more than one hundred larger deletions and insertions. None of these DNA mutations was predicted by computer algorithms that the researchers use to look for off-target effects (Nature Methods 2017). Of course, the best way to prevent blindness in any animal is to provide a pre-conception and pregnancy diet rich in vitamin A and cofactors, but such a sensible approach does not provide a lot of jobs for microbiologists.
GENETICS FOR THE BEFUDDLED
Greeks living in the mountainous villages of Zoniana and Anogia in Crete eat lots of fatty lamb and cheese, yet they have low rates of heart disease and are known for living well into old age. Of course, this has researchers scratching their heads because, as everybody knows “eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in the blood , and high levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood increase the risk of heart disease and stroke .” What are scientists to do when confronted with evidence that contradicts the reigning medical dogma? They retreat to the last refuge of the scoundrel: genetics. Genetic testing of all the villagers found a genetic variant unique to the inhabitants of these two villages, and since our DNA is “the operating instructions for each one of us which determine how we look and who we are ,” that must explain how the villagers can eat a terrible diet but still be healthy. What these findings do not explain is why so many other groups also have low rates of heart disease in spite of a diet high in animal fats: the inhabitants of France, Austria, Switzerland, Iceland, Finland, Ikaria, Okinawa and Sardinia, and the Inuit of Alaska and Canada. Do these groups also have a genetic variant that protects them? Or is the diet itself the something that protects them? (bbc.com/news/health-40047262).
A study from Ireland has caused more befuddlement among researchers. Scientists from University College Dublin have found that eating cheese, which is high in saturated fat, does not raise LDL-cholesterol. This is confusing to the researchers because “eating foods high in saturated fats like cheese can increase your risk of developing high blood cholesterol ” and “High blood LDL cholesterol is one of the main risk factors for heart disease and stroke . . . when there is too much LDL cholesterol in a person’s blood it sticks to the walls of arteries blocking blood flow [sigh, wrong again].” Furthermore, those who ate a lot of dairy foods had a lower body mass index, lower percentage of body fat, lower waist size and lower blood pressure. The explanation: “We have to consider not just the nutrients themselves but also the matrix in which we are eating them in and what the overall dietary pattern is, so not just about the food then, but the pattern of other foods we eat with them as well.” Seems like that explains everything. The scientists also found that those who consumed lowfat milk and yogurt tended to have higher intakes of carbohydrates and higher LDL-cholesterol levels (medicalxpress.com/news/2017-03-lots-cheese-cholesterol.html). Maybe the explanation for these strange findings is the fact that the whole theory is wrong; but so indoctrinated are most scientists that they never questioning the diet-heart theory itself, but only craft lame explanations for all the paradoxes.
ALL WRONG ABOUT SALT
When you eat too much salt, you become thirsty and drink water so as to dilute the amount of sodium chloride in the bloodstream, keeping sodium at the proper levels and excreting the excess. Or so the “salt equation” goes. Research by the Russians indicates that this theory may be all wrong. New studies of Russian cosmonauts, held in isolation to stimulate space travel, found that eating more salt made them less thirsty but paradoxically hungrier. Subsequent experiments found that mice burned more calories when they got more salt, eating 25 percent more just to maintain their weight. It seems that salt stimulates the production of more glucocorticoid hormones, which break down fat and muscle in the body. In addition, salt-detecting neurons in the mouth control the urge to drink, and more salt results in a lower sensation of thirst. “The work suggests that we really do not understand the effect of sodium chloride on the body,” said a study author. “These effects may be far more complex and far-reaching than the relatively simple laws that dictate movement of fluid, based on pressures and particles” (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/08/health/salt-healtheffects.html?_r=0). Still, these preliminary results suggest that increasing salt may be a useful strategy for weight loss, as long as the diet contains sufficient levels of fat to mitigate increased feelings of hunger.
A NATIONAL EMBARRASSMENT
The United States is twenty-seventh in the rate of infant mortality, behind Canada, Europe and even most countries in Eastern Europe, with over six deaths per one thousand live births. A baby born in the U.S. is nearly three times as likely to die during the first year of life as one born in Finland or Japan. Even though health care spending levels in the U.S are significantly higher than those of any other country in the world, a baby born in the U.S. is less likely to see his first birthday that one born in Hungary, Poland, or Slovakia. Researchers are scratching their heads for an explanation, noting that thirty-five hundred American babies die of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) each year. Of course, WAPF members know very well that the abysmal dietary advice given to expectant mothers results in poor health of the baby from day one, which will only go downhill as the baby imbibes poor quality breast milk or infant formula, followed by weaning on rice cereal, applesauce and Cheerios. On top of that, most U.S. babies get more than a dozen vaccinations before the age of one, starting with the HepB vaccine before leaving the hospital. Toxins—from Roundup to fluoride—in our food and water also take their toll.
BAD FOR BABIES
New research indicates that a number of medically approved practices adversely affect the health of our children. Conventional advice promotes dosing all pregnant women with folic acid, but too much folic acid in pregnancy increases the risk for autism (https://hub.jhu.edu/2016/05/12/too-much-folate-pregnant-autism/). This study also found that high levels of vitamin B12 in new moms—probably also associated with taking multivitamins—were also associated with autism, although other studies indicate that B12 deficiency is associated with a higher risk of preterm birth (Am J Epidemiol. 2017 Feb 1;185(3):212-223). Moms with low weight gain during pregnancy—restricted food intake during pregnancy is often encouraged by medical professionals—are 30 percent more likely to have babies who develop schizophrenia later in life (JAMA Psychiatry. 2017 Apr 1;74(4):339-349). High levels of glyphosate—the “safe” ubiquitous herbicide—in mothers are associated with shorter pregnancies and smaller babies (http://gmwatch.org/en/news/latest-news/17541-high-glyphosate-levels-in-mothers-leads-to-shorter-pregnancies-and-smaller-babies). The point is that many approved practices, such as the widespread use of herbicides, taking multivitamins, plant-based diets and discouraging weight gain during pregnancy take their toll on the next generation—the generation depending on us to do our homework and do the right thing to ensure their good health.
UNTRUTH IN LABELING
No product has garnered such widespread consumer disgust as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Consumption of high fructose corn syrup has been linked to liver damage, diabetes and blood sugar imbalances, and immune suppression. So what’s the beleaguered Corn Refiners Association to do? Change the way HFCS is labeled, of course. Manufacturers are now labeling high fructose corn syrup as fructose. Packaging on products such as General Mills Vanilla Chex cereal now states the product contains no high fructose corn syrup, while the ingredients list contains the simple word, “fructose.” This fructose is actually a manufactured sugar called HFCS-90, which is 90 percent pure fructose, created in factories by the enzymatic conversion of corn starch to sugar. (High fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, contains “only” 42 or 55 percent fructose.) The Corn Refiners Association states, “. . . HFCS-90 is sometimes used in natural and ‛light’ foods, where very little is needed to provide sweetness. Syrups with 90% fructose will not state high fructose corn syrup on the label [any more], they will state ‛fructose’ or ‛fructose syrup.’”
MORE ROLES FOR VITAMIN A
Vitamin A plays key roles in vision and in protecting against infection, and this is where most of the research on this important vitamin has focused. However, vitamin A is also essential for several regions of the brain, especially the hippocampus, needed for learning and memory, and the hypothalamus, necessary to maintain the body’s internal physiological balance, and control of body weight and food intake, among many other roles (World Rev Nutr Diet. 2016;115:98-108). In other words, plentiful vitamin A during growth and development will ensure excellent growth, normal sleep patterns, healthy weight, ease of learning and consistent focus—in short, everything a child needs to be healthy, happy and wise. That’s why giving liver, egg yolks and cod liver oil is so important for babies and children, feeding practices that conventional medicine discourages.
ANOTHER REASON TO TAKE COD LIVER OIL
Glaucoma, characterized by a specific structural alteration of the optic nerve, is the second leading cause of blindness in the world, afflicting nearly sixty-seven million people worldwide and causing almost seven million cases of blindness. Citing studies showing that vitamin A along with omega-3 fatty acids both provide protection against glaucoma, Chinese researchers conclude that “Cod liver oil, as a combined supplement of vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids, should be more effective than single supplement formulations” (Int J Ophthalmol. 2011;4(6):648-51). They call for “properly controlled, long-term clinical trials” to determine whether cod liver oil can prevent glaucoma, but for starters, we recommend they interview some WAPF-ers who have taken cod liver oil for many years.
NATURE TO THE RESCUE
Now for some welcome news. Scientists have discovered bacteria that can biologically degrade the widespread plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Other species can gobble up oil spills and radioactive waste. The field of bioremediation has a bright and important future.