YELLOW FATS REPORT 2009
According to this industry document, consumers are turning away from “active healthy spreads” like cholesterol-lowering margarine to more “balanced diet management and natural ingredients.” Or to put it another way, people are eating more butter, especially those over fifty-five years of age. Sales for the “total functional spreads category” in the UK remained flat, complained the manufacturer of the “functional” cholesterol- lowering spread Benecol, in spite of a recent EU health claim ruling, which confirmed that plant stanol esters in the product can lower cholesterol. While food manufacturers try to figure out which functional food ingredients “will triumph,” consumers are increasingly turning to real foods like butter, which in the UK grew 19 percent in sales in 2009 (article.com, December 2, 2009). Unfortunately, the choice that educated consumers are making is denied to families in the WIC program or children participating in USDA-approved school lunches.
BUTTER THOSE VEGETABLES!
Sweden seems to be the main source of iconoclastic research these days. Researchers in rural Sweden followed coronary heart disease morbidity and mortality in a group of over seventeen hundred rural men. The men filled out a dietary questionnaire and were then followed for twelve years, during which one hundred thirty-eight were hospitalized or died owing to coronary heart disease. Daily intake of fruit and vegetables was associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease only when combined with high dairy fat consumption, but not when combined with a low dairy fat consumption. Eating wholemeal bread or fish at least twice a week showed no association with the outcome (International Journal of Environmental Research Public Health 2009;6:2626-2638). Meanwhile, findings from a large European study indicate that animal fats from meat, eggs and dairy products do not increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2009 Sept;90:602-612).
MORE TRAGEDY TO COME?
Health official are mystified about reports of seemingly healthy young people dying from the flu. One case involved six-year-old Heaven Skyler Wilson. The child had rarely been sick, received annual check-ups and “was current on her vaccinations.” The day after coming down with a sore throat and a 103-degree temperature (for which her doctor prescribed “Tylenol and chicken broth”), she was rushed to the emergency room, unable to breathe. Two weeks later, ravaged with double pneumonia and a staph infection that deprived her brain of oxygen, she was disconnected from the respirator. Eighteen-year-old Walter Brooks died within two weeks of coming down with a slight fever. He developed a severe staph infection and had both of his legs amputated before his organs shut down. According to Beth Bell, an associate director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, many of the children who have died had no underlying medical condition but succumbed to a secondary bacterial infection. “Scientists are at a loss to explain why perfectly healthy young people might die from the flu” (Washington Post, November 11, 2009). However, anyone but a trained public official or a major media science writer can connect the dots. Dead sterile food, lack of beneficial gut flora, lowfat and wrong-fat diets, vitamin A and D deficiencies, vaccination after vaccination messing up the immune system, suppression of fever, kneejerk application of antibiotics for the slightest illness and then, the final blow, exposure to virulent Staph. aureus in the hospital. Such tragic outcomes will continue until the medical profession throws out the germ paradigm and wakes up to Mother Nature’s laws.
There is just no other word to describe it. Arizona’s health director has issued an edict forbidding participants in the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program from using their food stamps to purchase whole milk. They must buy lowfat, skim or soy milk. And only sixteen ounces of cheese is allowed per month (Arizona Daily Star, October 1, 2009). The program has also cut back on eggs, allowing only one dozen per month. Even during the austerity of the Second World War, British rationing regulations allowed one egg per child per day. More attacks on good nutrition come from Margo Wootan, nutrition policy director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the organization responsible for replacing healthy saturated fats with toxic trans fats in the American food supply. Wootan objects to local food for school lunches because the children might end up eating “full-fat cheese from a local farmer, and it’s still going to clog your arteries and give you heart disease” (USA Today, December 2, 2009). Obesity prevention is the other reason given for denying full-fat dairy products to children, but a recent Swedish study found that intake of saturated fat and full-fat milk was inversely associated with body mass index (http://gupea.ub.gu.se/dspace/handle/2077/20457)—in other words, children who consume saturated fats found in butter and whole milk end up thinner!
LATEST SATURATED FAT ATTACK
As consumers are becoming more likely to choose butter, and reports on the benefits of dairy fats are increasing, those invested in the notion that saturated fats are dangerous have created a bit of a media frenzy over a report from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2009;119(9):2577-2589). “Fat from certain foods including ice cream and burgers goes straight to the brain and tells you to eat more, new research reveals,” screamed one headline. “Saturated Fats May Override Appetite-Suppressing Signals,” said another. However, this study did not look at the fate of fats that the rats and mice actually ate. Instead, rodents were exposed to different fatty acids by direct injection into the brain, by infusion through the carotid artery or by oral gavage into the stomach—not exactly a real life situation. The researchers found that palmitic acid—a saturated fatty acid found in meat fats, butter and palm oil—was associated with impaired insulin and leptin signaling, both mechanisms involved in appetite regulation. According to the head researcher, Dr. Deborah Clegg, the effect of the palmitate lasted for about three days in the rodents, which “might explain why people are hungrier than normal on Monday morning following a weekend of over-indulgence on fatty foods” (Daily Mail, September 16, 2009). Palmitate is toxic when it accumulates in the cells. However, ordinarily it does not accumulate because it is effectively stored or burned for energy; what’s more, in ordinary situations, palmitate is specifically toxic to cells with metabolic defects, such as cancer cells. However, in surreal situations like this experiment, palmitate accumulated in healthy cells and provided Dr. Clegg with the hammer she needed to bash saturated fats and further her career.
FATS FOR THE BRAIN
While the cholesterol theory pushers try to make the case that cholesterol reduction can ward off dementia, the military has funded a study to really find out which foods are best for pilots—since the military has a lot invested in pilots, they wanted to find the truth. The University of North Dakota researchers found that forty-five pilots who ate the fattiest foods, such as butter or gravy, had the quickest response times in mental tests and made fewer mistakes when flying in tricky cloud conditions. Surprisingly, after those on the high-fat diet, those on the high-carbohydrate diet performed best, with the worst performance from those on the high-protein diet (denverpost. com, October 7, 2009). WAPF has consistently pointed out that a high-protein, lowfat diet is very unhealthy.
CHOLESTEROL AND LEUKEMIA
An alert member recently sent us a 1974 paper on cholesterol and leukemia—remember that this is before the anti-cholesterol agenda was being applied to every man, woman and child in the country. We can do no better than quote verbatim from the abstract: “Leukemia in mice and humans is accompanied by a marked deficiency of unesterified cholesterol in the surface membrane of leukemic cells as compared to normal leukocytes. This deficiency induces a significant reduction in their membrane microviscosity. Since cholesterol in the cell surface membrane is exchangeable with the cholesterol in the serum lipoproteins, concomitant to the cellular deficiency of cholesterol, the average levels of cholesterol in the blood serum of leukemic patients is substantially below the average normal level. Based on these observations and the effect of membrane microviscosity on biological functions, a working hypothesis that describes the role of cholesterol in the development and inhibition of leukemia is suggested. This hypothesis can also account for the effect of cholesterol and membrane microviscosity on various other cellular activities of leukocytes.” And from the conclusion: “A controlled reduction of cholesterol level in normal leukocytes may thus sensitize immune response processes or phagocytic activity above threshold level beyond which malignant transformation and the development of leukemia may occur. On the other hand, a controlled enrichment of cellular cholesterol in leukemic cells may prevent the development of latent leukemia and may hopefully remit leukemia in its active form” (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 1974;71:4229-4321). In other words, low cholesterol predisposes to leukemia and higher cholesterol prevents this terrible disease.
DARWIN WAS WRONG
According to Darwin, the appendix was a useless biological remnant, the remains of a larger structure called the cecum, which was used by now-extinct ancestors for digestion. Researchers have now found that not only does the appendix appear in nature much more frequently than previously acknowledged, but that it actually serves a critical function. According to researchers at Duke University Medical Center, the tiny organ provides a safe haven where good bacteria can hang out until they are needed to repopulate the gut after, for example, a bout of diarrhea (Science Daily, August 21, 2009). The presence of a reservoir of good bacteria provides more proof that homo sapiens lives in symbiotic relationship with gut bacteria. What we’d like to know is what antibiotic use does to the appendix—does it promote appendicitis, or lead to exhaustion through overuse?
MORE SUGAR BLUES
While the Diet Dictocrats rant against saturated fats ad nauseum, evidence for the dangers of refined sweeteners continues to grow. Researchers from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center have found that regular cola drinking is linked to diabetes in pregnancy (Diabetes Care, 2009 Dec;32(12):2236-2241). Another study found that a diet high in fructose increases the risk of developing high blood pressure (Science Daily, November 11, 2009). Girls who consume two or more eight-ounce servings of soft drinks a day at the age of five were more likely to be overweight than were girls with lower intake, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2009 October;90(4):935-942). Israeli scientists have found that people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease tend to drink larger quantities of soft drinks (foodnavigator-usa.com, September 25, 2009). According to data gleaned from the 1970 British Cohort Study, children who eat sweets and chocolate every day are more likely to be violent as adults (Science Daily, October 1, 2009). Sugar is not good for worms either. Researchers found that by adding just a small amount of glucose to the diet of C. elegans, the worms lost about 20 percent of their usual lifespan. The scientists traced the effect to insulin signals, which can block other life-extending molecular players. According to Cynthia Kenyon of the University of California San Francisco, there are many similarities between worms and people in the insulin signaling pathways. (After making the initial discovery on worms, Kenyon switched to a low-carb diet, cutting out all starches and desserts.) Most seriously, Australian research shows that sugar can permanently alter DNA. A team studying the impact of diet on human heart tissue and mice found that cells showed the effects of a single sugar hit for two weeks, by switching off genetic controls designed to protect the body against diabetes and heart disease. According to lead researcher Sam El-Osta, “We now know that the chocolate bar you had this morning can have very acute effects, and those effects can continue for up to two weeks. These changes continue beyond the meal itself and have the ability to alter natural metabolic responses to diet” (healthyfutureforkids.com, January 21, 2009).
FROM THE FAKE FOOD DEPARTMENT
The boundless chutzpah of the food engineers never ceases to amaze us. One pioneering group of scientists is working on a project to grow “real” animal protein in a laboratory, which they claim would be better for the environment and for our health. “We could precisely control the amount of fat in meat,” said Jason Matheny of a research group called New Harvest. “We could make ground beef with an ideal fatty acid ratio, a hamburger that prevents heart attacks instead of causing them” (cnn.com, August 7, 2009). In Europe, Unilever is seeking approval for a lowfat ice cream made using genetically modified yeast. The yeast produces ISPs, naturally occurring proteins and peptides found in living organisms such as fish, which manufacturers use to control the size of ice crystals in ice cream (dairyreporter.com, April 10, 2007). Finally, Cargill has launched a “unique breakthrough innovation” that enables the cost-effective production of a 100 percent non-dairy cheese analogue called LygommeTM ACH Optimum for pizza and other prepared foods. Aside from the fact that the fake product might kill you, Lygomme has reduced calories, less fat, no saturated fats, reduced phosphate content and no lactose. It allows Cargill to “make analogue cheese without allergen labeling” and avoid the instability of cheese prices “at an outstanding cost advantage for the manufacturer” (cargilltexturizing.com, September 17, 2009). Look for these products at a school, hospital, nursing home, prison or supermarket near you.
A new study adds weight to the argument that synthetic vitamin C (ascorbic acid) may not be such a good idea. An earlier study indicates that synthetic vitamin C may contribute to the formation of genotoxins that can lead to cancer (Science 2001 Jun 15;292(5524:2083-6), and other research results, presented to the American Heart Association but never published found that those taking 500 mg vitamin C per day had a greater tendency to thickening of the arteries (Los Angeles Times, March 3, 2000). Now new research links vitamin C supplements with reduced endurance capacity in athletes, due to interference with antioxidant enzymes (American Journal Clinical Nutrition 2008 Jan;87(1)142-149). The athletes were taking 1000 mg vitamin C per day. These results do not square with others showing a benefit for synthetic vitamin C, but do indicate a need to exercise caution. Best to get your vitamin C from fresh or lacto-fermented fruits and vegetables, raw milk and low-dose natural vitamin C supplements.
INTEGRITY IN SCIENCE
Although he has never spoken at the Wise Traditions conference, Dr. Fred Kummerow is more deserving of the award than almost any other person. At age 94, the University of Illinois veterinary biosciences professor emeritus is still carrying out the research on trans fatty acids that he began in 1957. To Dr. Kummerow we owe many of the findings on the devasting effects of trans fats. Last month, the indefatigable Dr. Kummerow filed a three-thousand word petition with the FDA outlining why trans fats are extremely bad for the human body and why the FDA is doing a rotten job of warning the public about which foods contain these substances. His mission is nothing less than to eradicate trans fats from human consumption. “Everybody should read my petition because it will scare the hell out of them,” said Kummerow. You can access the document—and read and weep—and offer your comments at www.regulations.gov. (Under “Enter Keyword or ID,” type the petition docket number (2009-P-0382) and click on “search.” Once you get the results, scroll down the right-hand column and click on “Submit a Comment.”)