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Juicing Celery: Superfood That Can Repair The Digestive System & Detoxify

Source: TRUTHstreammedia

This simple juicing video will show you how about $1.50 per day in celery juice can boost your diet with essential vitamins and minerals, while helping to improve a long list of ailments including digestive disorders, high blood pressure, arthritis, inflammation, auto-immune disorders, anemia, asthma, skin problems and more. A recommended dose of 16 oz. of celery juice per day can alkalize the body, flush out toxins, promote white blood cells, purify the blood stream, improve digestion, cleanse the colon, and acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory.

Eat your veggies, or juice them and have even more! Organic vegetables are highly recommended to avoid/reduce toxins including pesticides.




Fried and Grilled Meat May Raise Risk Of Diabetes and Dementia

Ian Smaple | The Guardian | Feb 25th 2014

meatToxic chemicals found at high concentrations in fried and grilled meats may raise the risk of diabetes and dementia, researchers say.

US scientists found that rodents raised on a Western-style diet rich in compounds called glycotoxins showed early signs of diabetes, along with brain changes and symptoms that are seen in Alzheimer’s disease.

The findings matched what the researchers saw in a small number of older people, where those with higher levels of glycotoxins in their circulation had memory and other cognitive problems, and signs of insulin resistance, which precedes diabetes.

The results are tentative, but if confirmed by other studies, the work could transform hopes for tackling two major diseases that have reached epidemic proportions in the developed world.

The study suggests that changes in cooking practices might lower the risk of both diabetes and dementia, while a greater understanding of the biological mechanisms could lead to drugs that delay their onset.

“The findings are very promising, but the question that needs to be answered is whether cutting down on glycotoxins can prevent or reverse dementia,” said Helen Vlassara, who led the study at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.

Vlassara raised groups of mice on diets that differed in their levels of a type of glycotoxin called advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. Animals that ate a Westernised diet rich in AGEs experienced a build-up of protein called amyloid in their brains, and developed cognitive and movement problems typical of dementia. The same changes were not seen in mice raised on a low-AGEs diet.

The researchers then turned to 93 healthy humans aged over 60. Over nine months of the study, they found that those with higher levels of AGEs in their bloodstream experienced greater levels of cogntive decline and insulin resistance. Details are published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Glycotoxins are widespread in animal products, including meat and dairy produce, and levels increase when food is fried, grilled, pasteurised or smoked, making them abundant in Western diets.

The sheer ubiquity of glycotoxins means dietary changes might not be easy or effective as public health interventions, but Vlassara said that cooking foods differently might help. Levels of glycotoxins rise when food is cooked dry at high temperature, but moisture prevents this.

“People will grill bacon and fry eggs for breakfast, or have a toasted bagel or muffin. But they could boil or poach the eggs, and have fresh bread. With meat, we recommend stewing and boiling, making sauces instead of exposing meat to very high dry heat,” she said.

For some scientists, the most exciting part of the study is the potential explanation of how diabetes and dementia might be linked. Diabetes is one of the few concrete risk factors for dementia, and doubles the risk of a person developing the disease, but how the two are connected has remained a mystery. Vlassara found that rodents and humans on a high glycotoxin diet had low levels of SIRT1 in the body, a protein that is thought to protect the brain from neurodegeneration.

Simon Lovestone, a neuroscientist and leader of the dementia translational research collaboration at Oxford University and King’s College London, said the finding was “fantastically interesting” but added that further studies were needed in people to see if reducing dietary glycotoxins staved off dementia.

Doug Brown, director of research and development at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We are often told that burgers or fried chicken are bad for us and this study is not the first to link the chemicals in some cooked foods to Alzheimer’s. However, this research adds to our understanding of how they might work and makes a strong case for further research.

“Diets with low levels of the compounds show promising effects in mice and should be further explored as a way to prevent dementia through changes in diet,” he added. “Of course, we must not forget that the majority of research was conducted in mice and the human element of this study is too small to draw any conclusions.

[read full post here]




5 New Solutions For Growing Healthy Produce Indoors

Jeffery Green | Activistpost 

indoor farmingAn increasing number of people are moving into urban environments and away from traditional agriculture. As a consequence, those who have a mind for self-sufficiency can find themselves falling short. Storable foods are of course an important part of every emergency prepper’s pantry, but storable foods are not a sound long-term solution that contain optimal nutrition.

Even produce from farmers markets and store-bought organic food will lose peak freshness faster than one might imagine. Alanna Ketler from Collective-Evolution explains:

Most people do not realize that vegetables will lose about half of their nutrients within the first week of being picked. The food that you are getting from the supermarket will not be as nutritionally rich as the food you are growing yourself and consuming immediately after harvesting. Imagine how much more fresh and alive this food tastes. If you have or have ever had a garden I’m sure you have certainly noticed a difference. (Source)

Nothing can beat growing your own fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. But it is quite a challenge for those with limited space; not everyone can afford acres of land to become a full-fledged farmer. Then, of course, are the climate considerations that inhibit year-round growing in most places across the planet.

However, several high-tech solutions are becoming available for city dwellers, or those who have a less-than-green thumb. As food prices surge due to climatological and economic factors, there never has been a better time to find ways of becoming self-sufficient at a low cost. It’s a movement toward becoming the ultimate locavore.

The following inventions offer an exciting way to have fresh produce year-round … right in your own kitchen, while also presenting a potential reduction in overall cost.
1. Urban Cultivator – This is a hydroponic system that is currently in use both professionally and in personal homes. One model, as seen in the short promo below, is roughly the same size as a dishwasher and is set up in a similar manner, according to the site’s design specs. By setting the perfect level of humidity and temperature, it’s as simple as adding a 100% organic food solution to be able to grow a wide range of pesticide and chemical free produce in your indoor garden.

Visit the site here.

For restaurateurs, here is what the commercial model looks like:

2. GrowCubes – Using aeroponics, GrowCubes offer efficient indoor growing for a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, using 95 percent less water, with an added built-in resistance to diseases and pests. A software program underpins the system, offering a detailed Internet-connected analysis and customization platform to obtain and fulfill the optimal level of nutrients and maintenance. A coming Kickstarter program will focus on bringing this system to market later in the year.

3. Click and Grow Smart Farm – This is a another concept that is heavily invested in the ideas surrounding the Internet of Farming. The Click and Grow system is actually an expandable series of “smart pots” that can grow produce, as well as flowers. It begins by providing soil that remains in proper nutrient and pH balance throughout the growth of the plant. As they point out, the constant watering in traditional potted plants actually leaches away nutrients, so the addition of proper water management increases efficiency and production. This demo shows the process.

4. Kitchen Nano Garden – This is a concept being developed by Hyundai. It is roughly the size of a refrigerator and employs a similar method of hydroponic growing as seen in the Urban Cultivator. It controls the amount of light, nutrient supply and water to create the optimal efficiency for growing. The prototype won the 2010 Fast Company Idea Award and also doubles as a natural air purifier. While still only a concept, it is exciting to see a company with the resources of Hyundai working on this technology.

5. UrbGarden – While the 4 items above appeal to modern sensibilities, some of us still would like to retain a bit of the natural even if we can’t get our hands dirty on a traditional farm. The UrbGardenis designed to be a vertical herb garden with an integrated worm farm for easy composting. The system produces a natural fertilizer which is then fed back through a drip system. Its open-window design offers an element of harvesting, as the grow trays are removed and re-potted as needed.

It is worth mentioning that in a grid-down situation, the four “high-tech solutions” offered here will become virtually useless as they rely on a power source. And none of these systems should be seen as direct replacements for developing a solid relationship with your local farmer, farmers market, or development of community gardens. However, these solutions do enable people to get away from commercial food and the toxic packaging that its often wrapped in, while making the act of farming as easy and hassle free for as many people as possible.

One thing is for certain: there is a movement to regain the self-sufficiency that has been lost within our modern world. If we are going high-tech, then we at least need to employ it the healthiest and most economical ways possible.

Note: Activist Post does not receive compensation from any of the products mentioned in this article. 

Recently from Jeffrey Green:

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Another Study Confirms (Dark) Chocolate can Promote Weight Loss

 | Naturalsociety | Feb 25th 2014

dark-chocolateChocolate will not make you fat. As a matter of fact, eating high-quality dark chocolate in moderation could actually help you maintain a slimmer waistline, according to a study recently published in the journal Nutrition. This study is only the latest in a body of research linking chocolate to positive health outcomes.

The research focused on 1458 adolescents between the ages of 12.5 and 17.5 in Europe. Dietary intake was analyzed along with weight, height, and body mass index (BMI). Body fat was tested using skinfolds, and waist circumference was measured. Sexual maturation and physical activity were also analyzed.

Those adolescents who ate more chocolate were found to have lower body fat, as measured by BMI and skin folds. This finding remained even after confounding factors like age, fat intake, caloric intake, tea and coffee consumption, age, sex, and sexual maturation were taken into consideration.

The objective of the study was stated as thus:

“There is a substantial interest in the potential role of chocolate in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. It has been recently reported that a higher frequency of chocolate intake is linked to lower body mass index (BMI) in adults. The aim of the present study was to determine if higher chocolate consumption also is associated with lower BMI, as well as other markers of total and central body fat, in adolescents.”

In conclusion, they said, “Our results demonstrate that a higher chocolate consumption was associated with lower total and central fatness in European adolescents.”

Though the study didn’t seem to differentiate between various types of chocolate, dark chocolate is generally seen as the most healthful. It has less sugar, is less processed, and contains more powerful antioxidants in the cocoa bean.

Another study in 2008 found dark chocolate could reduce blood pressure and even LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Another found that those who ate dark chocolate a few times a week were slimmer than those who only ate it occasionally.

Chocolate has received a bad reputation primarily because it is included in otherwise unhealthful foods. Things like cake, muffins, and ice cream don’t only include chocolate, but plenty of sugar and processed carbohydrates. It’s the other stuff in these foods that produces ill health, not the chocolate (at least not if it’s dark).

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Dangerous Ingredients: 54% of Food Sold at Walmart is Banned by Whole Foods Market

 | Naturalsociety | Feb 22nd 2014

walmart food ban wholefoodWhole Foods maintains a list of ‘Unacceptable Ingredients” which includes everything from MSG to high fructose corn syrup. It also includes artificial colors, artificial preservatives, hydrogenated fats, etc. You can see the whole list, updated periodically, hereBut did you know that about 54% of the products sold in stores like Walmart would be banned from Whole Foods due to containing dangerous ingredients? Check out the real differences below.

GMOS. While Whole Foods has yet to pull all GMO ingredients from their store, they also partner with Non-GMO Verified Project to offer numerous products that do not contain genetically modified ingredients, and they plan to eliminate products which contain them by 2018. They are pervasive in our food supply so it is very difficult to eliminate them, since they currently aren’t required to be labeled as ‘GMO’ by law.

Putting aside GMOs for the moment, how many of the groceries sold at Walmart would never be stocked on Whole Foods shelves? The 78 ingredients on their blacklist end up comprising over 54% of all the foods sold in Walmart stores. What’s more, approximately 97% of the soft drinks/soda sold at Walmart contain ingredients that Whole Foods considers “unacceptable”. High fructose corn syrup and the preservative sodium benzoate are primary culprits.

With its supercenters and over 3000 stores in the  U.S., Walmart feeds much of America. Actually, it’s the largest grocery store in our country. Whole Foods, on the other hand, only has about 300 stores nationwide. We’ll be able to tell the overall health-consciousness of the country based on how Whole Foods grows in the coming years.

It is arguably cheaper to shop at Walmart in the short term, because junk foods and foods with ingredients that are questionable, if not completely toxic, are still permitted by the FDA, and thus infiltrate our food supply. Walmart doesn’t ban any of the foods on Whole Foods’ blacklist. Just high fructose corn syrup alone is in 14% of the foods the store lists on their website of over 19,900 food products available on average to the consumer.

The Food Marketing Institute estimates that the average supermarket stocks around 42,000 items. Many of the foods that Walmart sells, like soft drinks or junk food, are unsurprisingly full of Whole Foods’ ‘unacceptable ingredient’s, but even items like ‘water’ contain ingredients like sucralose, calcium disodium, EDTA, acesulfame potassium, and potassium sorbate that would prohibit their sale at Whole Foods.

Even Walmart’s “Great Value 100% Whole Wheat Bread” contains seven questionable ingredients: high fructose corn syrup, sodium stearoyl lactylate, ethoxylated diglycerides, DATEM, azodicarbonamide, ammonium chloride, and calcium propionate.

If you were to roll your shopping cart through a Walmart store that had eliminated all the foods it currently stocks which Whole Foods does not, you would go home hungry. The shelves would practically be empty.

Walmart says their policy is to let consumers decide:

 “We serve more than 140 million customers per week in the United States and we believe in giving our customers a wide assortment of groceries so they can decide what is the best choice for their family.”

This means 140 million people have been duped into believing that if they save a little cash now by purchasing processed, nutrition-less junk, they can feed their families. They have bought into the lies that the FDA and food companies tell the world about our food supply. These institutions do not promote your health. While people consume mercury, MSG, proven to cause headaches and nausea in one dose (as well as obesity), high fructose corn syrup, which accounts for high-calorie, low nutrition foods, and other preservatives which cause  infertility, the food companies (and some grocery stores) are laughing all the way to the bank.

Aside from all this, Walmart has been fined repeatedly for dumping toxins in our lakes and waterways to keep their prices so low; even the sick and dying can shop there. America, wake up. Ditch the death-dealing grocery chains and find better food. It may cost you a little more now, but your life is worth it, right? You can even eat organic on a budget.

Whole Foods is also not the only option. Don’t shop for food where you buy your toilet paper. There are other health-minded grocery stores, farmers markets, and even low-cost co-operative that sell healthful food that can feed your family. Organic Consumers provides a list of 341 healthy food stores by city and state. Many organic and healthful food options have been around since the 70s and earlier. We just haven’t heard about them because we are conscientiously trying to save a dollar while feeding our families, and we’ve bought into the idea of ‘convenience.’

Since our legislators won’t listen to us, our government agencies in charge of protecting the food supply are corrupt, and most stores are working based on the ‘free’ market, vote with your dollar. I challenge you to shop at least once this week somewhere besides Walmart, and see how many amazing foods you can make for your family to enjoy.

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MMA and Longevity Diet Plan: The Dolce Diet

Source : London Real

Mike Dolce is the World MMA Trainer of the Year.  Listen as Mike talks about his diet and longevity plan with London Real.  Watch the full episode HERE.




One Tree: Over 92 Nutrients and 46 Natural Antioxidants

| Naturalsociety | Feb 23rd 2014

DrumstickFlowerMoringa oleifera is a tree native to the Himalayas and cultivated throughout the subtropics. Also called the ‘drumstick tree’ due to its odd shape, moringa oleifera grows very well in numerous climate types and offers many health benefits. It has over 92 nutrients and 46 natural antioxidants, as well as anti-inflammatory compounds. A superfood to rival most other superfoods due to its incredible nutritional value, it is also said to treat more than 300 types of disease. The best part – it has no side effects. Moringa is one tree to be extolled for numerous reasons.

For example, one serving of Moringa has more vitamin C than seven oranges, four times the calcium present in milk, and twice the protein as well as three times the amount of potassium found in a single banana. It can reduce free radicals in the body that cause cancer and speed aging, and lower blood pressure due to its high levels of Niacin in the form of A1 and A5 as well as Vitamins B3 and B10. Just 100g of fresh Moringa leaves contain 8.3 g protein, 434 mg calcium, 404 mg potassium, 738 μg vitamin A, and 164 mg vitamin C. Moringa also contains:

Vital Nutrients:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B7
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

Amino Acids:

  • Isoleucine – An amino acid that promotes natural energy and brain health.
  • Leucine – An amino acid that works with isoleucine to contribute to alertness and high energy.
  • Lysine – Helps the bones absorb calcium, helps to create antibodies, regulates hormones, and balances nutrients. Also reduces viral growth and helps to build collagen in bones.
  • Methionine – Supplies sulfur to the body, lowers cholesterol, increases the liver’s production of lecithin. It reduces the fat stores in the liver, protects the kidneys, and keeps skin, hair and nails healthy.
  • Phenylalanine – Helps the brain’s nerve cells communicate by producing the needed chemicals that support this function. This amino acid reduces hunger pangs, improves memory, and keeps you alert. It also boosts mood.
  • Threonine – This amino acid assists metabolism and helps prevent fat from building up in the liver. It also helps the body to digest food and keeps the intestinal tract healthy.
  • Tryptophan – This amino acid supports the immune system, lessens depression, and insomnia, and even helps with migraine headaches. It works with lysine to reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol and also reduces arterial spasms which can cause heart attack.
  • Valine – Helps to promote a coordinated body and a calm mind.

There are also non-essential amino acids is Moringa, including, alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glycine, histidine, serine, proline, tyrosine, and glutamic acid. These components carry out vital activities in our body from wound healing to immune boosting and cancer tumor suppression, to muscle and tissue growth.

What’s more, the seeds of the Moringa tree are high in an oil full of oleic acid, a beneficial saturated fat also found in olive oil that is wonderful for cosmetic use and boosting overall health. Ancient Egyptians even put vials of Moringa oil in their tombs. It is a potent antioxidant to use in place of other cooking oils as well.

Additional Sources:

WebMD

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The Full-Fat Paradox: Whole Milk May Keep Us Lean

Allison Aubrey | NPR | Feb 19th 2014

dairy casesI have to admit, I melt at the creaminess of full-fat yogurt.

It’s an indulgence that we’re told to resist. And I try to abide. (Stealing a bite of my daughter’s YoBaby doesn’t count, does it?)

The reason we’re told to limit dairy fat seems pretty straightforward. The extra calories packed into the fat are bad for our waistlines — that’s the assumption.

But what if dairy fat isn’t the dietary demon we’ve been led to believe it is? New research suggests we may want to look anew.

Consider the findings of two recent studies that conclude the consumption of whole-fat dairy is linked to reduced body fat.

In one paper, published by Swedish researchers in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, middle-aged men who consumed high-fat milk, butter and cream were significantly less likely to become obese over a period of 12 years compared with men who never or rarely ate high-fat dairy.

Yep, that’s right. The butter and whole-milk eaters did better at keeping the pounds off.

“I would say it’s counterintuitive,” says Greg Miller, executive vice president of the National Dairy Council.

The second study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, is a meta-analysis of 16 observational studies. There has been a hypothesis that high-fat dairy foods contribute to obesity and heart disease risk, but the reviewers concluded that the evidence does not support this hypothesis. In fact, the reviewers found that in most of the studies, high-fat dairy was associated with a lower risk of obesity.

“We continue to see more and more data coming out [finding that] consumption of whole-milk dairy products is associated with reduced body fat,” Miller says.

It’s not clear what might explain this phenomenon. Lots of folks point to the satiety factor. The higher levels of fat in whole milk products may make us feel fuller, faster. And as a result, the thinking goes, we may end up eating less.

Or the explanation could be more complex. “There may be bioactive substances in the milk fat that may be altering our metabolism in a way that helps us utilize the fat and burn it for energy, rather than storing it in our bodies,” Miller says.

Whatever the mechanism, this association between higher dairy fat and lower body weight appears to hold up in children, too.

As we reported last year, a study of children published in theArchives Of Diseases in Childhood, a sister publication of theBritish Medical Journal, concluded that low-fat milk was associated with more weight gain over time.

“It really surprised us,” study author Mark DeBoer, a pediatrician at the University of Virginia, told us.

So, where does this leave us, the rule-followers, who have complied with the skim-milk-is-best edict?

[read full post here]




Subway Removing Harmful Bread Additive Due to Blogger Petition Pressure

 | NaturalSociety | Feb 11th 2014

subway fresh breadA chemical that is used to make yoga mats, the rubber soles for shows, and synthetic leather is also in Subway’s fresh-baked breads, but due to a blogger’s active voice, the nationwide sandwich chain plans to remove the additive, azodicarbonamide, which bleaches the flour and prepares the bread for baking.

Blogger Vani Hari, known as Food Babe, created awareness around the topic when she posted an online petition suggesting the known carcinogen shouldn’t really be in our food supply. Just days later, Subway decided to phase it out of its bread.

The cancerous compound has already been phased out in numerous other countries, from Australia to Europe. The World Health Organization has linked it to asthma, but McDonald’s and Wendy’s use the additive, too, as do many other food companies. (The McRib from McDonald’s is just one of many foods which contain the toxic substance, as NaturalSociety’s Anthony Gucciardi points out in a piece from early 2013).

The FDA has been pressured to ban azodicarbonamide, since it is still currently legal by both the USDA and FDA’s estimation. While the FDA says they are prepared to take action “if there are any safety concerns,” they also state that, “there is a reasonable certainty of no harm,” as long as the additive is used within the intended conditions of use. Does that include the ‘intention’ of causing cancer? Numerous other countries seem to think so, hence the ban of the substance.

Subway has never used azodicarbonamide in ways that the FDA hasn’t approved of, but the company is at least taking action after the public reminded them we were paying attention.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest agrees that the toxic additive should be removed from our food supply. Even if the additive only ‘slightly’ increases the exposure to a known carcinogen – why should it be in our food?

To all who signed the petition instead of caring about the latest Justin Bieber malarchy, thank you! Now, let’s get other food companies to follow Subway’s lead.

Don’t sit down and be quiet like we’re told so often – speak out. It works.

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Raw Chocolate Blueberry & Coconut Lovehearts (vegan)

| Trinityskitchen 

Blueberry-chocolates_3I adore finding healthful ingredients, full of antioxidants, vitamins and all round nutritional goodness, weaving them together to create delicious, fun, healthy, indulgent treats. I created these for my own sweetheart this morning – they certainly are the perfect thing to gift to a friend or lover and really show that you care on so many levels. Enjoy and please do let me know how you get on.

From my heart to yours
Trinity Makes: 12 chocolate lovehearts (approx)
Preparation: 40 minutes

Chocolate ingredients:
50g raw cocoa butter
50g raw cocoa powder
3 tablespoons raw coconut sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling ingredients:
70g fresh blueberries
40g coconut butter
1 medjool date (pitted)

You will also need: A heart shaped chocolate mold with 12 hearts. You can use any chocolate mold shape if you’d prefer a different shape.

To make the chocolate:

'Shaving' the cocoa butter with a sharp knife

‘Shaving’ the cocoa butter with a sharp knife

Step One: ‘Shave’ the solid cocoa butter with a sharp knife or grater. Shaving is just really thin slicing that makes the cocoa butter crumble. The finer you can get it, the easier it will be to melt. You can leave it in big chunks if you like, but be prepared to wait a while for it to melt.

Step Two: Melt the cocoa butter. You can do this by leaving it in a warm place in a heat proof glass bowl by a fire or directly above a hot radiator. It melts at 34˚C. The idea is to melt it, rather than cook it, maintaining its ‘un-cookedness’. If you don’t have a gentle heat source then use a hob or stove. Put the cocoa butter in a small, oven proof, glass bowl and then put that bowl in a pan containing an inch or so of really hot water. Keep the hob/stove burning on a low heat. The heat will then transfer through the bowl, enough to melt the cocoa butter. Give it frequent stirs to assist the melting process. Don’t keep it on the heat any longer than it takes to melt it.

Melting the cocoa butter in a heatproof glass dish heated in hot water

Melting the cocoa butter in a heatproof glass dish heated in hot water

The best time to use it is when it has just melted. If it is too hot, then it takes longer to cool down and the coconut sugar will sink to the bottom of the chocolate when added.

Step Three: Add the coconut sugar to the melting cocoa butter during step two. The melting cocoa butter will help to soften and dissolve the sugar.

Step Four: When the cocoa butter has finally melted, mix in the cocoa powder and any other remaining ingredients.

Here’s the fun part!

Making chocolate hearts:

Place 1 teaspoon of your melted chocolate mixture into each heart shaped well. When you’ve put some in every heart, pop them into the freezer whilst you prepare and blend the filling ingredients.

Prepare the filling:

Blend all the filling ingredients together thoroughly and leave on the side whilst you make the chocolate.

A dollop of blueberry cream in each loveheart

A dollop of blueberry cream in each loveheart

Making chocolate hearts continued:
Take your hearts out of the freezer (after about 10 minutes worth of chilling) and place the blueberry filling into each one. This is slightly fiddly (I have a really good laugh doing it). Use a teaspoon and a knife to help the process… Take about ½ a teaspoon of filling and gently dollop it on top of the freshly chilled chocolate hearts. Aim right for the middle of the heart. You’ll find that some always hits the edges… simply tease it back with your knife to create a thin gap at the edges (you’ll see why next).

Take the rest of your melted chocolate (you should have some left – if not – make some more) and pour 2 or 3 teaspoons over each dollop. Place your tray of hearts straight into the freezer to help your chocolates set. This should be ready in about 15 minutes. You can also set them by leaving in the fridge or any cool place (but allow extra time for setting).

Enjoy and please do share. I love hearing feedback.

From my heart to yours
Trinity

Author bio:
I have always loved sharing food and showing others how tasty vegan, conscious food can be. After catering for retreats for years, I recently (and rather excitedly) published my first book ‘Trinity’s Conscious Kitchen’. It’s brimming with vegan, wheat-free and free from refined sugar recipes for evolution. Find out more information here:www.trinityskitchen.com

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The Amazing Healing Properties of Fermented Foods

Sayer Ji | Naturalblaze 

fermanted foodBetween the hard and fast dichotomies of cooked and raw, dead and alive, is this beautiful thing called fermented.  A place where many of the digestive challenges associated with raw foods (e.g. enzyme inhibitors, anti-nutrients, lectins) are overcome in favor of not just preserving their benefits (e.g. enzyme activity, vitamin content, life energy), but amplifying them. Also overcome are the adverse consequences of cooking, e.g. enzyme destruction, vitamin activity degradation, oxidized fats, denatured proteins, etc., while still benefiting from the enhanced digestibility and assimilation that certain cooking applications offer.  Fermented food is in many ways the complementary union of cooked and raw, as well as their transcendence – an image, not unlike the Tai Chi, comes to mind.

In fact, fermentation has almost heretical power in the realm of both medicine and nutrition, being quite capable of literally “raising the dead,” as well, revitalizing and infusing with living and breathing energy a food ingredient that has been cooked into oblivion, or, a human whose body has been poisoned close to the point of death with antibiotics, or similarly biocidal drugs or chemicals.

There is no lack of scientific confirmation for the indisputable value of fermented food for the promotion of health and wellbeing. In fact, one could consider fermented foods like kimchi, natto, apple cider vinegar, and even – in moderation – wine, coffee, chocolate and beer, ‘medical foods’ of sorts.  At GreenMedInfo we have been indexing these functional applications in disease prevention and treatment straight from the research housed on National Library of Medicine, and have found over 140+ diseases that may be prevented or ameliorated by their use.

There are a broad range of fermented foods we could look at to illustrate their power to heal. After all, every single culture on the planet used (not a semantic coincidence:) culturing to sustain themselves.  But for this short article we will focus on Asian traditional preparations, since there is already such a huge body of clinical research demonstrating their amazing health effects:

  • Kimchi – a probiotic strain isolated from the fermented cabbage preparation kimchi known as Lactobacillus brevis is capable of degrading organophosphorus pesticides.
  • Kimchi – a probiotic strain known as Bacillus pumilus found within this fermented food is capable of degrading bisphenol A, a powerful endocrine disruptive chemical.
  • Miso – a fermented soy food has been shown, when consumed regularly, to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women by up to 54%.
  • Miso – capable of regressing colon cancer growth in the animal model.
  • Natto – A fermented soybean extract that has been shown to suppress plaque buildup (as measured by the intima media thickness) in the arteries in an animal model.
  • Natto – capable of contributing to nerve regeneration following sciatic nerve crush injury.

This is, of course, only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to illustrating the remarkable properties of fermented food. We encourage our readers to take a look at our extensive database on the subject of the health benefits of fermented food.

Another important point to make about fermented food is that it generates an entirely novel set of nutrients and medically important phytocompounds, in addition to what is found in the starter culture ingredients themselves.  This is not unlike what happens when we consume a raw or cooked food, and the beneficial bacteria within our gut go to work to break down anti-nutrients, or secrete enzymes we ourselves are not capable of producing, or at least not in adequate quantities.  There is something known as the food metabolome. It is that set of small-molecule metabolites of foods – numbering over 3,500 – that are byproducts of our organism interacting with food to produce novel new byproducts.

For example, flaxseed contains high levels of lignans, which once thrown into the fermentive crucible of our digestive process, are broken down into at least two important metabolic byproducts: enterlactone and enterodial – both which are phytoestrogens, and are largely responsible for flaxseed’s tumor regressive actions in estrogen sensitive cancers such as breast and prostate cancer.  These two compounds only exist in between the human organism and the flaxseed organism, and would not exist without the “third organism,” if you will, which is the vast populations of beneficial bacteria within our alimentary canal.

So important are these microflora to our existence, that some scholars have suggested we reclassify ourselves as a “meta-organism,” as we are a composite of a wide range of organisms – in fact, 10 times more numerous are these “other” organisms than our own cells. Indeed, as we discussed in a previous article, even our own mitochondria – the powerhouses of our cells – were once bacteria living outside of our bodies.

[read full article here]




Naringin (in Grapefruit) Reduces Cervical & Breast Cancer Tumors by up to 75%

| Naturalsociety | Feb 6th 2014

GrapefruitStudies show how people suffering from cancerous tumors due to malnutrition and cachexia (high levels of inflammatory cytokines in their cells which causes weakening or severe illness) responded exceptionally well to treatment with naringin, a compound found in grapefruit. While laboratory animals have been tested most prominently for their response to naringin, there are hundreds of other studies carried out on people, as well. In many of these studies ‘complete tumor regression’ ensued.

In one instance, women suffering from cervical cancer who used naringin experienced a ‘marked ability to inhibit preclinical models of epithelial cancer cell growth and tumor formation.” In other studies, naringin caused apoptosis (suicide) of cancerous cells. Naringin is both a chemopreventative substance and anti-carcinogenic. Specifically, SiHa cancer cells were affected by this citrus compound:

“Naringin showed a 50% inhibition of SiHa human cervical cancer cells at a concentration of 750μM. SiHa cells exhibited apoptotic cell death, intranucleosomal DNA fragmentation, morphological changes and decline in the mitochondrial transmembrane potential. “

Furthermore, utilizing naringin in these patients, an increased expression of caspases, p53 and Bax, a death receptor and adaptor protein which help to cause cancerous cell death, were increased. This means that naringin works by both inhibiting cancerous cell formation through mitochondrial pathways and through increasing death-receptor pathways.

When naringin was administered to help women suffering from breast cancer, it inhibited cancerous cell proliferation and also induced apoptosis in TMBC cells (cancerous cells). Breast cancer cell lines were destroyed and could not re-establish as a full-fledged tumor. Interestingly, many women develop breast cancer as a result of being exposed to radiation in mammography and chemotherapy, but naringin even protects against radiation-induced chromosome damage.

What’s more, naringin acts as a free-radical scavenger, namely through its antioxidant activity. And since free radicals are part of what causes cellular DNA damage, and the formation of aberrant chromosomes which often lead to cancer and other diseases, naringin is also a protector of healthy cells in the body. It is through this activity that naringin can protect us against radiation-induced free-radicals. Mice treated with naringin in lab prior to being exposed to unhealhty levels of radiation showed fewer chromosomatic breaks, centric rings, and aberrations – all precursors of cancerous cell growth, and chromosomal DNA damage.

While the exact dose of grapefruit naringin to be administered in humans for the most efficacious results has yet to be studied, we can be sure that this citrus flavanoid shows great promise in reducing both cervical and breast cancers, and possibly others.

More from Naturalsociety




Hilarious Video Exposes What ‘Natural’ Products Really Mean

Anthony Gucciardi | Naturalsociety 

Millions have been duped by the use of corporate language within the food products industry — including myself before I became better educated about what terms like ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ really mean. In the case of ‘natural’, the term actually means virtually nothing. And some individuals behind the organic movement have put together a funny yet informative video exposing this reality that I recommend you checkout below, even if you’re fully aware of this tactic:

About Anthony Gucciardi:
Google Plus ProfileAnthony is the Editor of NaturalSociety whose work has been read by millions worldwide and is routinely featured on major alternative and mainstream news website alike, including the powerful Drudge Report, NaturalNews, Daily Mail, and many others. Anthony has appeared on programs like Russia Today (RT), Savage Nation, The Alex Jones Show, Coast to Coast AM, and many others. Anthony is also dedicated to aiding various non-profit organizations focused around health and rehabilitation as well as the creator of the independent political website Storyleak

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There’s Nothing “Diet” About Diet Soda

Richard Fox | Naturalblaze | 5th Feb 2014

There’s-Nothing-“Diet”-About-Diet-SodaPeople love soda. On average, Americans drink about 1.5 cans per day. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a diet or not, one of the most popular ways to satisfy a sweet tooth is with a cold, refreshing soda.

Diet colas and sodas have long been considered a healthy alternative when trying to shed a few extra pounds. After all, diet sodas typically contain zero calories because the sugars are eliminated and replaced with no-calorie sweeteners. The problem, however, is that diet soda drinkers tend to experience accelerated weight gain, boost their risk for both metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.

How could a zero calorie, diet drink be seemingly worse for you than the sugar-packed alternatives? The main issue is that it causes people to make up for those lost calories elsewhere. They’ll say to themselves, “Okay, I’m having a diet soda with my Big Mac combo so I might as well get a large.” It sounds crazy, but the research backs it up. –

Going diet can also lead to increased cravings for sugary foods and the illusion that your diet is improving, when the fact it’s essentially remaining the same or getting worse. So if you’re trying to lose weight and one of the keys to your plan is to switch from regular to diet soda, I’ve got news for you: it’s not going to work.

A new study from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health echoes the results of previous studies: that diet soda drinkers increase their risk for a number of health issues by thinking they’re making a smart choice. The study found that diet soda drinkers don’t make any other changes to their diet and that obese or overweight people are more than twice as likely to drink diet soda than adults at a healthy weight. This clearly indicates that soda only plays a small role in a person’s overall diet.

A San Antonio Heart Study also showed diet soda drinkers tend to be worse off than those who elect the sugary options. It found that people who drank at least 21 cans of diet soda per week were twice as likely to become overweight and obese as people that didn’t. And another study shows that drinking a diet soda every day is associated with a 36% increased chance of suffering metabolic syndrome and a 67% increased risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes.

[read full article here]




Sugar: Killing us Sweetly. Staggering Health Consequences of Sugar on Health of Americans

Dr Gary Null | Globalresearch 

Sweet Suicide

Sweet Suicide

In September 2013, a bombshell report from Credit Suisse’s Research Institute brought into sharp focus the staggering health consequences of sugar on thehealth of Americans. The group revealed that approximately “30%–40% of healthcare expenditures in the USA go to help address issues that are closely tied to the excess consumption of sugar.”[1]The figures suggest that our national addiction to sugar runs us an incredible $1 trillion in healthcare costs each year. The Credit Suisse report highlighted several health conditions including coronary heart diseases, type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which numerous studies have linked to excessive sugar intake.[2]

Just a year earlier in 2012, a report by Dr. Sanjay Gupta appearing on 60 Minutes featured the work of Dr. Robert Lustig, an endocrinologist from California who gained national attention after a lecture he gave titled “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” went viral in 2009. Lustig’s research has investigated the connection between sugar consumption and the poor health of the American people. He has published twelve articles in peer-reviewed journals identifying sugar as a major factor in the epidemic of degenerative disease that now afflicts our country. The data compiled by Lustigclearly show how excessive sugar consumption plays a key role in the development of many types ofcancer, obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. His research has led him to conclude that 75% of all diseases in America today are brought on by the American lifestyle and are entirely preventable.[3]

Until the airing of this program, no one in the “official” world acknowledged anything wrong with sugar, here is a sampling of some the latest research available to them if they chose to look:

 Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Drinks Linked to Heart Disease

Lawrence de Koning, Vasanti S. Malik, Mark D. Kellogg, Eric B. Rimm, Walter C. Willett, and Frank B. Hu.Sweetened Beverage Consumption, Incident Coronary Heart Disease and Biomarkers of Risk in Men. Circulation, March 12 2012 DOI:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.067017

 How Fructose Causes Obesity and Diabetes

Takuji Ishimoto, Miguel A. Lanaspa, MyPhuong T. Le, Gabriela E. Garcia, Christine P. Diggle, Paul S. MacLean, Matthew R. Jackman, ArunaAsipu, Carlos A. Roncal-Jimenez, Tomoki Kosugi, Christopher J. Rivard, Shoichi Maruyama, Bernardo Rodriguez-Iturbe, Laura G. Sánchez-Lozada, David T. Bonthron, Yuri Y. Sautin, and Richard J. Johnson. Opposing effects of fructokinase C and A isoforms on fructose-induced metabolic syndrome in mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, February 27, 2012 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.11199081091119908109

Corn Syrup and Obesity

Bray, George et al. Consumption of high fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Vol. 79, no. 4, p. 537-543, April 2004.

Soda and Sugary Beverages linked with Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, V. S. Malik, B. M. Popkin, G. A. Bray, J.-P. Despres, W. C. Willett, F. B. Hu. Sugar Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes: A Meta-analysis.Diabetes Care, 2010

Fructose intake connected with an increased risk of cardiovascular illness and diabetes in teenagers

N. K. Pollock, V. Bundy, W. Kanto, C. L. Davis, P. J. Bernard, H. Zhu, B. Gutin, Y. Dong. Greater Fructose Consumption Is Associated with Cardiometabolic Risk Markers and Visceral Adiposity in Adolescents.Journal of Nutrition, 2011; 142 (2): 251 DOI:10.3945/jn.111.150219

Fructose consumption increases the risk of heart disease.

K. L. Stanhope, A. A. Bremer, V. Medici, K. Nakajima, Y. Ito, T. Nakano, G. Chen, T. H. Fong, V. Lee, R. I. Menorca, N. L. Keim, P. J. Havel. Consumption of Fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup Increase Postprandial Triglycerides, LDL-Cholesterol, and Apolipoprotein-B in Young Men and Women. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2011; DOI:10.1210/jc.2011-1251

 The Negative Impact of Sugary Drinks on Children.

Lustig, RH, and AA Bremer. “Effects of sugar-sweetened beverages on children..” Pediatric Annals 41.1 (2012): 26-30. pubmed.gov. Web. 1 Apr. 2012.

 Sugar and High Blood Pressure

Lustig, RH, and S Nguyen. “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the blood pressure go up..” Expert Review of Cardiovascular Therapy 8.11 (2010): 1497-9. pubmed.gov. Web. 2 Apr. 2012.

Sugar Consumption Associated with Fatty Liver Disease and Diabetes

Lim JS, Mietus-Snyder M, Valente A, Schwarz JM, Lustig RH. The role of fructose in the pathogenesis of NAFLD and the metabolic syndrome. Nature Reviews of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2010; 7:251-64.

Fructose: metabolic, hedonic, and societal parallels with ethanol.Lustig RH. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2010; 110:1307-21.

The Adverse Impact of Dietary Sugars on Cardiovascular Health

Johnson RK, Appel LJ, Brands M, Howard BV, Lefevre M, Lustig RH, Sacks F, Steffen LM, Wylie-Rosett J. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association.Circulation 2009; 120:1011-20.

Princeton Study Shows High Fructose Corn Syrup Promotes Weight Gain

Bocarsly, ME, et al.. “High-fructose corn syrup causes characteristics of obesity in rats: Increased body weight, body fat and triglyceride levels.” Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavio 97.1 (2010): n. pag.pubmed.gov. Web. 1 Apr. 2012.

Rats Fed High Fructose Corn Syrup Exhibit Impaired Brain Function

Stranahan, Alexis M, et al..“Diet-induced insulin resistance impairs hippocampal synaptic plasticity and cognition in middle-aged rats.”Hippocampus 18.11 (2008): 1085-1088. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com. Web. 2 Apr. 2012.

 High Fructose Corn Syrup Intake Linked with Mineral Imbalance and Osteoporosis.

Tsanzi, E,et al. “Effect of consuming different caloric sweeteners on bone health and possible mechanisms..”Nutrition Reviews 66.6 (2008): 301-309. Print.

 Diet of Sugar and Fructose Impairs Brain Function

R. Agrawal, F. Gomez-Pinilla. ’Metabolic syndrome’ in the brain: deficiency in omega-3 fatty acid exacerbates dysfunctions in insulin receptor signaling and cognition. The Journal of Physiology, 2012; 590 (10): 2485 DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.230078

With the rapid spread of information in today’s internet age, more and more health-conscious consumers and watchdog groups are calling attention to the many studies demonstrating sugar’s harmful effects, but many of us in the natural health community have been alarming the public for decades. In point of fact, I have been writing about the hazards of sugar extensively in books andarticles since 1971. In 2002, my documentary “Seven Steps to Perfect Health” premiered on PBS stations including WETA in Washington, DC. As part of the PBS program, I poured sugar out of a bag which equaled the number of teaspoons that the average American teenager consumes in a given day. The quantity was verified by my General Counsel, Mr. David Slater, who had measured the number of teaspoons earlier in the day. If anything, my demonstration understated the true amount of sugar we are consuming.

The program was very well received and the program director informed me that it was so successful that it had set a record for a non-primetime programming and that he intended on replaying it eight or nine times. However, the next day I was informed by him that he was sorry but he had bad news: not only would the program not be aired again, but I would not be invited back to present on the station.  This was after I had presented five medically-vetted, original PBS programs over the years, some of which had set station records. The program director explained that this was because the new information I presented on the dangers of sugar had run smack up against the president of the station board, Sharon Rockefeller. I was told that Ms. Rockefeller had received a phone call from the sugar lobbying group representing soft drink makers and sugar consumers and the decision was made to pull my program. I was informed that my statements regarding sugar’s damaging health effects were deemed inaccurate. As it turned out, Ms. Rockefeller was sitting on the board of Pepsi Cola’s at the time.

That was my first personal experience of dealing with the politics of sugar, which was also the politics of PBS. In response to this, I wrote letters to the sugar industry, the WETA station board and Sharon Rockefeller contesting their suppression of my program and their claim that sugar was unrelated to American health epidemics. This was ten years ago. When we realize how many people since that time have developed diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and many other illnesses after consuming these quantities of sugar, then should we not hold the major media, including Dr. Gupta and 60 Minutes, morally responsible for having so much scientifically verified information on the dangers of sugar consumption and yet choosing to accept the “official” statements from “official” medical groups, government agencies, trade groups, spokes persons, scientists-for hire-and in effect, accepting industry generated propaganda instead of seeking the truth? If we can find the truth with our limited resources, what possible excuse do Dr. Gupta and other respected physicians with unlimited research capacity have?  Why has it taken 40 years since I first wrote about the dangers of sugar for them to finally discover this truth? And how many tens of millions of children and adults have suffered with diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancers during these years all because of the arrogance, hubris and complicity of the medical establishment and media?

 Financing Disease

A deeper look at the politics of the sugar industry reveals that huge sums are being doled out by government to prop up sugar companies. In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, writer Alexandra Wexler explains that American taxpayers are currently responsible for shelling out $280 million to cover the cost ofloans from the USDA which sugar producers are unable to pay back.[4]Given the undeniable evidence demonstrating the toxicity of sugar and its enormous toll on the wellbeing of Americans, why is it that our health agencies and elected officials are not calling for a much-needed overhaul of existing policies, which, in fact, offer generous support to the domestic sugar industry?Where is the outrage over bailing out thepurveyors of what is likely the most dangerous staple in the American diet? For our answers we must follow the money-trail.

In May 2013, members of the US Senate voted 54-44against an amendment to the Farm Bill introduced by Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire that would have significantly curtailed federal lending to sugar processers. In an insightful analysis of the vote, Alan Farago of Counterpunch.org, points out that lawmakers opposing the measure were significantly more likely to either represent states in which sugar is grown or to count the sugar industry among their best campaign donors.  Though the reform was voted down by senators on both sides of the aisle, Democrats were apparently even more beholden to sugar interests than their Republican counterparts. Farago writes that

In the final tally, Democrats opposed sugar reform by 55 percent to 40 percent (NJ Senator Frank Lautenberg did not vote.). U.S. senators from states identified as “healthy” but with sugar constituencies — Minnesota (D), Vermont (D, I), Colorado (D), North Dakota (D, R) and Hawaii (D) — all voted  against reform. The website, Opensecrets.org, points out that the second highest recipient of campaign cash from sugar interests was progressive champion, Al Franken (D-Minnesota).  Franken in 2013 received $27,999. ”Sugar is the only industry in the entire agribusiness sector that has consistently supported Democrats during the past two decades.” [5]

The fact is that the authorities we look upon as “official” are often compromised by lobbyists inside the Beltway while the mainstream media, in thrall to its advertisers, is still unwilling to report the wholetruth about sugar.In order to raise public awareness about this critical issue, this article will provide an in-depth examination of sugar as a both a toxic food and as a thoroughly corrupt extension of Big Business.

The Most Current Research

In his latest published study, Lustig and his colleagues unearthed a strong relationshipbetween the incidence of diabetesand sugar availability in populations around the world.  Published in the online journal, PLOS ONEin February 2013, the study showed that those places in which sugar was more available had a greater incidence of type-2 diabetes.[6]Examining data from 175 countries over the last 10 years, the authors investigated whether the availability of other food groups including, oils, meats, cereals and fibers as well as socioeconomic factors such as income, urbanization and aging wererelated to diabetes prevalence, but only found statistically significant evidence of a sugar-diabetes link.In a piece for the New York Times columnist Mark Bittmanoffered his perspective on Lustig’s latest research:

This is as good (or bad) as it gets, the closest thing to causation and a smoking gun that we will see. (To prove “scientific” causality you’d have to completely control the diets of thousands of people for decades. It’s as technically impossible as “proving” climate change or football-related head injuries or, for that matter, tobacco-caused cancers.) And just as tobacco companies fought, ignored, lied and obfuscated in the ’60s (and, indeed, through the ’90s), the pushers of sugar will do the same now.[7]

In an article published in February 2012 in the journal Nature, Lustig and his co-authors state the following:

Regulating sugar will not be easy…We recognize that societal intervention to reduce the supply and demand for sugar faces an uphill political battle against a powerful sugar lobby, and will require active engagement from all stakeholders. Still, the food industry knows that it has a problem…With enough clamour for change, tectonic shifts in policy become possible. Take, for instance, bans on smoking in public places and the use of designated drivers, not to mention airbags in cars and condom dispensers in public bathrooms. These simple measures — which have all been on the battleground of American politics — are now taken for granted as essential tools for our public health and well-being. It’s time to turn our attention to sugar.[8]

The connection between America’s epidemic of chronic diseases and sugar grows clearer each day. A recent study by nutritional biologist Kimber Stanhope of The University of California, Davis, associated higher intake of high fructose corn syrup with higher levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol as well as an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In the study, test subjects were required to replace 25% of their caloric intake with sugary drinks. The study offered further proof that all calories are not created equally and that those coming from sugar are artery-clogging and actually promote weight gain. [9]

Stanhope’s findings corroborate the results of another study in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation that was published in March 2012. The study found that men who drank one 12 ounce beverage sweetened with sugar a day were 20% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than men who did not consume any sugary drinks.[10]Another recent study recently appearing in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology linked the intake of excess quantities of fructose with cardiovascular illness, diabetes, chronic kidney disease as well metabolic syndrome. [11]

The damaging effects of sugar on cognitive health have been the subject of several recent studies. In September 2012, scientists at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA uncovered that rats that were fed a diet high in fructose performed poorly in tests using mazes which were designed to assess memory and learning when compared to the control group.[12] In a 2012 article entitled “Food for thought: Eat your way to dementia”, researchers at Brown University discussed their findings that a diet high in sugary foods disrupts insulin levels and may trigger the buildup of toxic amyloid proteins, the protein directly implicated in the progression of dementia, in the brain.[13]These conclusions are reinforced by the results of a Mayo Clinic study released in October 2012 which showed that seniors who consumed a diet high in sugars and carbohydrates had a significantly greater risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and dementia when compared to seniors whose diet contained more fat and protein.

Sugar’s Harm on Your Body

When we think of sugar, we often only think about the refined white sugar bought in paper packages or cubed for tea. If we’re worried about too much sugar, maybe we’ll check the nutritional information on the backs of processed sweets before we make a purchase. But really, sugar is often underestimated because of its incredible predominance in a lot of what we eat every day.

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the USDA share this broader definition of sugar and the amount of sugar we consume each day.  In a AHA Statement to Healthcare Professionals, the group provided a broad definition of what constitutes “sugar”:

There are many, sometimes confusing, terms used in the literature. Simple carbohydrate (sugar) refers to mono- and disaccharides; complex carbohydrate refers to polysaccharides such as starch. Common disaccharides are sucrose (glucose+fructose), found in sugar cane, sugar beets, honey, and corn syrup; lactose (glucose+galactose), found in milk products; and maltose (glucose+glucose), from malt.  The most common naturally occurring monosaccharide is fructose (found in fruits and vegetables).  The term dextrose is used to refer to glucose.  Intrinsic or naturally occurring sugar refers to the sugar that is an integral constituent of whole fruit, vegetable, and milk products; extrinsic or added sugar refers to sucrose or other refined sugars in soft drinks and incorporated into food, fruit drinks, and other beverages.[14]

The latest statistics tell us that the average American consumes a 130 pounds of sugar each year- or more than one-third of a pound every day.[15]The average amount of sugar consumed by Americans todayis shockingly excessive. As we shall see, this sugar excess contributes to the modern epidemics of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.

Sugar and health:

Refined sugar only really became a major part of human diet over the last few hundred years.  As reported by the authors of Sugar Busters!, refined sugar has only been around during a “mere blink of time in man’s digestive evolution.”[16]

It is quite logical that we should have added refined sugar to the priority list of things that are, or may be, “Hazardous To Your Health” when you see the increase in disease caused by our huge consumption of refined sugar and certain other carbohydrates.  Sugar just may be the number one culprit in lowering the quality of life and in causing premature death.  There is certainly enough evidence to bring us to that conclusion.

Historical Deception

As far back as 1942, the American Medical Association stated it would be in the interest of public health to limit the consumption of sugar in any form when it is not combined with significant proportions of foods high in nutritious quality. Lately, however, the AMA and other medical organizations have been largely silent about sugar consumption.  A recent Gallup poll indicates thatnearly half of all Americans consume soft drinks on a daily basis and that those who do drink soda, average about 2.6 glasses per day.[17]. Despite these and many other health risks, the soft drink industry consistently portrays its product as being positively healthful.  In 1997 Coca-Cola spent $277 million in advertising targeted towards children.  The advertising placed their logos and products within easy reach of children, and Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, and Seven-Up have licensed their logo to the baby-bottle manufacturer Munchin Bottling, Inc.[18]

In 1998, Ron Lord wrote in the Agricultural Outlook Forum that sugar had once “had a rather negative public image.”[19] Families generally viewed excessive sugar as a health risk and avoided processed sweets. “Then in the 1980s,” Lord goes on, “public attention became focused on fat as something to avoid; and about the same time a rather successful advertising campaign to promote the healthy and natural aspects of sugar was conducted.”[20] This resulted in intense an intense increase in carbohydrate—and especially sugar—consumption. As more sugar found its way into foods not even thought to be sweet, such as fast food and processed goods, this sugar intake has simply ramped up.

Our society is now experiencing the results of the sugar industry’s successful advertising campaign to promote the “healthy and natural aspects of sugar.” But let’s take a look at the negative aspects together. As you’ll see, a diet based in natural foods like vegetables, grains and legumes is a healthy alternative to this troubling explosion in sugar dependency.

Sugar and Addiction

People often say they have a “sweet tooth.” You may have a friend who excitedly rushes off for a “sugar fix.” But the links between sugar and addiction are actually well-documented in a number of studies.  Dr. C. Colantuoni, an obesity researcher, showed that excessive sugar intake causes serious dependence and that the removal of sugar creates withdrawal symptoms.  He and his colleagues showed that withdrawal from sugar is qualitatively similar to withdrawal from morphine or nicotine.[21]Similar findings concerning sugar addiction have been published by numerous researchers. Using MRI scanners measuring the brain’s reaction the sugar, scientists at the Oregon Research Institute established that sugar has a very similar affect on the brain as highly addictive drugs such as cocaine.[22]

Sugar and Aging         

Of particular concern to those reaching the andropause and menopause stages of life, sugar’s effect on aging should be considered alongside its health risks. Anti-aging research has begun to show that sugar is one of the most powerful aging substances known. One of the most integral negative aging effects to consider is the bonding between glucose and collagen, called glycation, which can result in many negative effects, including thickened arteries, stiff joints, pain, feeble muscles and failing organs.

According to researcher L. Melton, diabetics age prematurely because the sugar-driven damage of glycation cannot be stopped. Diabetics suffer a very high incidence of nerve, artery and kidney damage because high blood sugar levels in their bodies markedly accelerate the chemical reactions that form advanced glycation products. According to Melton, “after years of bread, noodles and cakes, human tissues inevitably become rigid and yellow with pigmented glycation deposits.”[23]

 Sugar and Appetite Suppression:

Researchers have also shown that a lifetime of sugar intake can actually lower your intake of necessary nutrients by suppressing your appetite. Anderson, etal., reasoned that a primary mechanism by which carbohydrates are thought to regulate satiety and food intake is through their effect on blood glucose. They found that food intake and subjective appetite are inversely associated with blood glucose response in the 60 minutes following consumption of carbohydrates. That’s why candy bars are recommended by advertisers to hold you over until you eat a meal. Your body may not be getting any of the nutrients it needs, but it is being tricked into thinking it has ingested the proper amount of energy.[24]Anderson’s study concluded that sugary foods cause appetite suppression and prevent people from achieving a balanced diet with proper nutrients unavailable in sugary products.[25] In other words, sugary snacks have the potential of leading to malnutrition.

 Sugar and Cancer

In the 1930s, Otto Warburg, Ph.D., a Nobel Laureate in medicine, discovered that cancer cells have a fundamentally different energy metabolism compared to healthy cells. He found that increased sugar intake could increase cancer cell production. The more primitive nature of cancer cells requires a direct supply of glucose, not being able to master the more complex synthesis of glucose from larger molecules. The build up of lactic acid and an acidic pH from direct consumption of glucose in cancer cells is a diagnostic factor for cancer.[26] This means that there is a direct relationship between sugar ingestion and the risk of cancer.

An epidemiological study in 21 modern countries (in Europe, North America, Japan and others) and revealed that sugar intake is a strong risk factor that contributes to higher breast cancer rates, particularly in older women.[27]  A four-year study in the Netherlands at the National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection compared 111 biliary tract cancer patients with 480 controls. The study concluded that cancer risk associated with the intake of sugars had more than doubled for the cancer patients.[28]

These findings are mirrored in the research of Michaud, et al., at the National Cancer Institute, who followed up on two large studies conducted over the past 20 years on approximately 50,000 men and 120,000 women.  They concluded that obesity significantly increased the risk of pancreatic cancer and that physical activity appears to decrease the risk of pancreatic cancer, especially among those who are overweight.  Preventing obesity by dietary intervention and exercise is by far the best way to avoid pancreatic cancer.[29] But the Michaud team continued their investigation of the triggers of pancreatic cancer and found that evidence from both animal and human studies suggested abnormal glucose metabolism plays an important role in pancreatic carcinogenesis. They investigated whether diets high in sugar were to blame. They found that a diet high in sugar may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer in women who already have an underlying degree of insulin resistance.[30]

 Sugar and Cardiovascular Disease:

On July 23, 2002, the American Heart Association released a report on “Sugar and Cardiovascular Disease.”  The report concluded that scientific data indicates that sugar consumption is detrimental to human health, that no data indicates that sugar consumption is advantageous, and that high sugar intake should be avoided.  The report also stated that obesity is a definite cause of cardiovascular disease and death.[31]

A study in August, 2000, from the State University of New York at Buffalo reported that excess sugar in the blood increases the production of free radicals, which have been linked to aging and heart disease. Healthy adults who were given a drink containing 75 grams of pure glucose, the equivalent of two cans of cola, experienced a significant rise of free radicals in the blood one hour after the drink, and a doubling of free radicals after two hours.  The sugar drink also produced an increase in a part of an enzyme that promotes free radical generation and a four percent decrease in levels of Vitamin E.  Dr. PareshDandona concluded, “We believe that in obese people, this cumulatively leads to damage and may cause hardening of the arteries.”[32] Numerous other studies have repeatedly documented the relationship between high blood sugar levels and increased heart disease.[33]

In a 2001 UN report commissioned by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agricultural Organization, a team of global experts identified the excessive consumption of sugar from snacks, processed foods, and drinks, as one of a few major factors causing worldwide increases in cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.  In 2001, such chronic diseases contributed approximately 59% of the 59.6 million total reported deaths in the world and 46% of the global burden of disease.[34]

 Sugar and Children’s Behavior

Parents often joke about their children being on a sugar high, especially when those children act up or seem to be out of control. But several important studies have actually confirmed the relationship between sugar consumption and behavioral changes in children.  Between 1973 and 1977, Dr. William Crook showed that a majority of children could have their behavior affected by the removal of particular foods.[35]This was one of the first studies to confirm a link between diet and behavior, but was only a stepping stone to what came later.

Dr. Stephen Schoenthaler conducted diet research on children for almost 30 years.  His original seminal studies eliminated sugar and junk foods from the lunch programs of one million school children in over eight hundred New York schools during a seven-year period (1976-1983).  Learning performance was established first, and then in 1979, diet changes were introduced.  High sucrose foods were gradually eliminated or reduced and there was a gradual elimination of synthetic colors and flavors and selected preservatives (BHA and BHT).  There was a 15.7% gain (from 39.2% to 55%) in learning ability compared with other schools during the years in which these changes in diet were introduced. Schoenthaler also noted that out of 124,000 children who had once been unable to learn grammar and mathematics, 75,000 were able to perform these basic tasks after dietary changes alone.[36]In other words, removing sugary foods made children smarter! Much of this change in learning ability, however, has to do with changed behavior in the classroom and during their studies as a result of removing the excess sugar in their diet. It should be noted that today, sugar intake in children and teens is much higher than it once was. A corresponding spike in behavioral problems and dropout rates should trouble concerned parents who see that diet is important to their children’s future.

Schoenthaler continued his work by studying thousands of juvenile delinquents on junk-food-free diets. The removal of these sugary foods always resulted in the same end product: an observed dramatic improvement in mood and behavior.[37]With regard to sugar intake in particular, Schoenthaler worked with the Los Angeles Probation Department Diet-Behavior Program and observed 1,382 incarcerated delinquents at three juvenile detention halls. When trying a low sucrose diet, these young delinquents showed an averaged 44% drop in antisocial behavior. The greatest reductions, however, were seen in particular groups: repeat offenders (86% drop in antisocial behavior), narcotics offenders (72%), rape offenders (62%), burglars (59%), murderers (47%) and assault offenders (43%).[38]

The second part of his study followed 289 juvenile delinquents at three juvenile rehabilitation camps. They exhibited a 54% reduction in antisocial behavior after sugar consumption was reduced. A similar Alabama Diet Behavior study by Schoenthaler observed 488 incarcerated delinquents for 22 months.  The decline in antisocial behavior resulting from reduction in sugar consumption ranged from a low of 17% to a high of 53% (an average of 45%) depending upon gender, race and type of offender.[39]Schoenthaler’s work with juvenile delinquents and sugar intake offers up pretty unflattering evidence of the effect a sugary diet has on children’s behavior. As we often think about the effects of drug abuse on teen delinquency, it may be time we begin to consider what our kids are snacking on as well.

The sugar industry usually cites four very small-scale studies to deny any link between consumption of sugar by children and hyperactivity.[40] Although there were many flaws in those studies, the conclusions are used to suppress any objections to the increasing amount of sugar in children’s diets.  Problems with these studies included a number of issues that weaken their claims. For instance, the amount of sugar used was too small to warrant a reaction, the size of the trial was very small, the observation times were short, the control group was denied a nutritious alternative to sugar, and artificial sweeteners—which had their own unmeasured effects—were used as the placebo controls.

One of the sugar industry’s favorite studies used an average of only 65 grams (13 teaspoons) of sugar daily for a trial group of 21 persons.[41]  This is the average amount of sugar in a single ten-ounce can of soft drink.  A milkshake alone has 30 teaspoons of sugar, and a sugar-loaded birthday party can net a child as much as100 teaspoons of sugar within several hours. If one were going to measure the overall effect of too much sugar on children, you would think a researcher would start at a higher rate. Some researchers have calculated that a growing pre-teen may consume on average as much as 50 teaspoons of sugar a day, far more than the meager 13 teaspoons used in the study. A clinical study based on giving children only 13 teaspoons of sugar, or about 25% of their normal daily consumption of sugar, should not have produced any appreciable results. Once the study was finished it hadn’t. Yet, by giving the children less sugar than they usually absorb in a day, this study concluded that the mothers of these children were wrong in saying their children were hyperactive as a result of the sugar they consumed.

Further, in the four central studies most often quoted by sugar promoters, the trial size were quite small, using only 10 to 30 children, and followed them only for a period of a few hours.  In contrast, in one of Schoenthaler’s studies, 800,000 schoolchildren were studied over a greater length of time. In six of his other studies, 5,000 juvenile delinquents were studied.[42]Schauss, in two studies, examined over 2,000 juvenile delinquents.[43]As anyone who has followed political polling or any other type of statistics knows, you get closer to the facts when you survey the greatest number.

It is important to note that the more trustable studies performed by Schoenthaler and Schauss both showed how diets high in sugar can lead to juvenile delinquency and behavioral problems in children.  Their studies were also conducted over a period of several years, not just a few hours as was the case with some of the “pro-sugar” studies.  For instance, Behar’s pro-sugar study gave 21 males their 13-teaspoon sugar drink and observed them for only five hours on three mornings.  Wolraich observed his 32 hyperactive school-age boys for only three hours before concluding that consumption of sugar has no effect on human behavior.[44]

Other criticisms of the pro-sugar studies include that there were usually no controls on the childrens’ normal diets.  Thus, the studies were performed with children who were told not to eat any breakfast in the morning.  They would then go to school where they would be given a sugared drink and then tested for changes in behavior. Yet, for these children, the drink was equivalent to their missing breakfast, and would therefore not necessarily cause any changes in behavior.

As we can see, there is a general consensus among studies championed by the sugar industry: children’s behavior is unaffected by sugar. But there is an opposite consensus among researchers unassociated with the sugar industry and its lobby. That consensus holds that sugar does have an effect on children, causing behavioral problems that range from hyperactivity to delinquency. The best choice is a diet that removes unnecessary sugar and processed foods, one which has no negative effect on children’s behavior and creates a positive effect of lifetime health.

Sugar and Dental Caries

Studies have repeatedly confirmed that sugar causes dental caries—the cause of tooth decay and cavities.  Dr. A. Sheiham, a professor of epidemiology and public health, found that sugars, particularly sucrose, are the most important dietary cause of dental caries.  Both the frequency of consumption and the total amount of sugars are important factors that cause caries.  The evidence establishing sugars as a cause of dental caries is overwhelming, with the foundation in the multiplicity of studies rather than the power of any one. In fact, we take it as a rule of thumb that sugar is bad for our teeth.

According to Sheiham, the intake of sugar beyond four times a day leads to an increased risk of dental caries. Further, sugars above 60 grams per person per day increases the rate of dental caries. Sheiham concludes that the main strategy to further reduce the levels of dental caries is to reduce the frequency of sugars in the diet.[45]

Jones, et al., studied over 6,000 fourteen-year-olds to examine the association between the consumption of different drinks and dental caries. The study concluded that consumption of sugary and carbonated drinks was associated with significantly higher levels of dental caries. Drinking unsweetened tea was associated with lower levels of caries.[46] A host of other studies establish that the consumption of sugar significantly increases the incidence of dental caries, tooth decay and cavities.[47]

As we age, our teeth often become weak from a lifetime of sugar damage, calcium depletion and wear. Dental bills stack up. Painful cavities can be ignored and grow worse. The best way to keep from causing all this unnecessary damage is to remove excess sugar from the diet and focus your meals on nutrient-rich foods.

Sugar and the Immune System

As we’ve discussed in other chapters, the immune system—though often overlooked when we consider our health—is one of the most important layers of our body’s interconnected structure. The better our immune system, the better so many other systems. That’s why so much of the advice in this book is aimed at bringing optimal health to the immune system: by keeping away from hormone-treated meats, pesticides, and other toxins. But another key way to immune system health is regulating sugar intake.

Several studies confirm a strong link between a high consumption of sugar and the suppression of the body’s immune system.  For instance, in one study, 10 healthy people were assessed for fasting blood-glucose levels and the phagocytic index of neutrophils, which measures immune-cell ability to envelop and destroy invaders such as cancer. Eating 100 grams (24 teaspoons) of carbohydrates from glucose, sucrose, honey and orange juice all significantly decreased the capacity of neutrophils to engulf bacteria; the neutrophils became “paralyzed.” Complex carbohydrates from starch, on the other hand, did not have this effect.[48]More recently, Yabunaka found that sugar caused an increase in a protein that inhibits macrophage activity.[49] This also weakens the immune system’s ability to function. Elevated levels of blood sugar have also been linked to bacterial invasion and infectious diseases, such as sepsis and vaginal candidiasis.[50] Overall, excessive sugar intake has been shown on many levels to deplete and weaken the immune system. As we know, overall health and a sense of well-being during the andropause and menopause stage depends heavily on one’s immune system functioning at its best.

Sugar and Obesity

Obesity in American children is becoming an epidemic.  In December, 2001, The Journal of the American Medical Association presented a comprehensive national picture of weight trends among children over a twelve-year period.  From 1986 to 1998, the number of overweight non-Hispanic white children doubled from 6% to 12%.  Roughly one in five, or 20% of African-American and Hispanic children are overweight, a 120% increase during the 12-year study period.[51] Several other studies faithfully document that since 1995, there has been a dramatic rise in obesity in American children.[52]This is an alarming change in the overall health of our children, and will soon impact a growing number of adults with the negative effects obesity brings to middle age.

The relationship between increased sugar consumption and obesity in children is well documented in an abundance of recent studies.  In the late 1990s, The Children’s Hospital of Boston and the Harvard School of Public Health conducted the first long-term study to examine the impact of soda and sugar-sweetened beverages on children’s body weight.  The study involved 548 sixth and seventh graders over a 21-month period.  During this time, 57 percent of the children increased their daily intake of soft drinks, and more than half of them by nearly a full serving.  The results showed that the odds of becoming obese increased 1.6 times for each additional can of soft drink consumed above the daily average.  According to government studies, soft drinks are the leading source of added sugars in the diet of young Americans. In a six-year period, soft drink consumption by adolescent males rose from 11.7 ounces per day to 19.3 ounces per day.[53]

More recently, Ludwig, et al., supported by Bellisle’s work, found that one daily soda increases the risk of obesity by 60%.  He found that about 65% of adolescent girls and 74% of adolescent boys consume soft drinks daily. The amount of sugar added to the diet by soda is 36.2 grams (9 tsp) daily for adolescent girls and 57.7 grams (14 tsp) for boys.  It was said that Ludwig’s was the first study of its kind in spite of the fact that the majority of American children have been consuming empty caloric sodas from an early age.[54]

Adult obesity is also at record levels.  Researchers at the CDC report that in 2000, most Americans were overweight (more than 56%), nearly 20% of adults were obese, 7.3% had diabetes and about 3% were both obese and diabetic. They said that diabetes rates could be as high as 10% if undiagnosed cases are considered.[55]  Whitaker surveyed 9,000 people over a 17-year period and found that more than 25% of American adults are obese in their 30s, and over 60% are overweight.[56] The total number of individuals that are morbidly obese (generally at least 100 lbs overweight) rose from 0.78% in 1990 to 2.2% in 2000.[1]  Dr. Mokdad, a researcher of obesity, cautions that, “Obesity continues to increase rapidly in the United States.”  To alter these trends, Dr. Mokdad argues that “strategies and programs for weight maintenance as well as weight reduction must become a higher public health priority.”[57]

Another group of researchers found that “there are existing data on the metabolic and endocrine effects of dietary fructose that suggest that increased consumption of fructose may be detrimental in terms of body weight and adiposity and the metabolic indexes associated with the insulin resistance syndrome.”[58] In other words, high consumption of sugar has an indelible effect on weight gain and obesity.

The medical authors of Sugar Busters! summarize how increased sugar in the blood causes increased secretions of insulin, which leads to obesity:

Carbohydrates are broken down to glucose (sugar) in our body, and the glucose raises our blood sugar.  Insulin is then secreted by the pancreas to lower our blood sugar, but in the process, insulin causes the storage of fat and also increases cholesterol levels.  Insulin also inhibits the mobilization of (loss of) previously stored fat.[59]

According to Public Health Journal, obesity raises the risk of heart disease, osteoarthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer.[60]  Researchers have shown that hypertension, Type 2 diabetes mellitus (80% are obese), gallbladder disease, hyperlipidemia, and sleep apnea are other complications of obesity. Other risks include coronary artery disease, knee osteoarthritis, gout, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, colon cancer, and low back pain.[61]

Sugar and Diabetes

Various anthropological studies have demonstrated that upon the introduction of refined sugar to a culture, the incidence of diabetes increases after a latent period of about 20 years.  According to T.L. Cleave, author of The Saccharine Disease, the “virtual absence of diabetes in primitive communities who live on complex carbohydrates such as various grains and tubers compared with populations eating carbohydrates which are refined is anthropological proof that sugar is a leading cause of diabetes.”[62] But as we know, the link between too much sugar and diabetes is another of those rules of thumb. Yet, like sugar’s effect on dental health, we tend to ignore this shared wisdom when confronted with sugary sweets.

Studies demonstrating the undeniable link between sugar consumption and diabetes are well documented.  Salmeron, et al., at the Harvard School of Public Health examined the relationship between glycemic (i.e., sugar) diets, low fiber intake, and the risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.  They found that diets with a high glycemic load and a low cereal fiber content increase risk of diabetes in women.[63] A host of additional studies demonstrate that sucrose added to the diet of laboratory animals or increased in the diet of healthy volunteers has been shown to be associated with impaired glucose tolerance, retinopathy and nephropathy, and reduced insulin sensitivity of the tissues.[64] These are all major factors of diabetes.

And now there is an increase in adult-onset diabetes in children.  One in four extremely obese children under the age of 10 and one in five obese adolescents under the age of 18 in the US have impaired glucose tolerance—a precursor to type 2 or adult-onset diabetes, which increases the risk of heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and limb amputations. Adult onset diabetes is a chronic degenerative disease that is typically seen in people past the age of 60.[1] The fact that children are now suffering from this debilitative disease would have shocked health professionals a generation ago.

Obesity and diabetes are also causing birth defects that destroy a child’s chance of a normal life. Researchers studied 23,000 pregnant women and found that obese women who also have type 2 diabetes are three times more likely than non-obese non-diabetic women to have a baby with a birth defect, and seven times more likely of giving birth to a child with a craniofacial defect such as cleft palate, or abnormal limb development. Nearly 6% of all women with type 2 diabetes had babies with major defects, compared with 1.34% of women without diabetes.[65]

Socioeconomic Impact:

Though it does not directly affect health, it is always good to know the facts behind the products we take for granted. Often, when we consider a product we may be ready to do without, finding out the moral costs of that product helps to solidify our decision. As with the moral problems raised by meat consumption, sugar has its own moral complications. The sugar industry has a long and sordid history of using both slave labor and child labor to harvest sugar, refine it, and bring it to market.  In an October 17, 2001 article for Creative Loafing, senior editor John Sugg reported the current exploitation of child labor by the sugar industry:

While we’re talking sweet, take a hard look at your sugar bowl. Much of the sugar on American tables comes from the Dominican Republic. The Rev. Kirton recalls seeing cane-cutters, braceros, as young as 6 labor dawn-to-dusk shifts. And it’s not a Dominican company that works the children. ‘Those plantations were owned by Gulf & Western, the same people who make movies at Paramount studios,’ Kirton says.  (In 1985, Gulf & Western sold its 240,000 acres of plantations—along with a posh resort—to the politically powerful Fanjul family of Palm Beach. That clan is often accused of widespread abuses of labor in its fields in the Everglades, so it is unlikely to have improved conditions in the Dominican Republic.)[66]

The sugar industry was also one of the largest exploiters of slave labor.  The University of Calgary, in its applied history tutorial “The Sugar and Slave Trades,” provides a concise review of sugar production’s historical origins:

Sugar cane cultivation had its origins in Southwest Asia.  From there it was carried to Persia and then to the eastern Mediterranean by Arab conquerors in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.  Shortly after sugar cane’s introduction to the Mediterranean, it was being grown on estates similar to the later plantations of the Americas.  By the fourteenth century Cyprus became a major producer using the labor of Syrian and Arab slaves.  Eventually sugar made its way to Sicily where a familiar pattern of enslaved or coerced labor, relatively large land units, and well-developed long-range commerce was established. The Portuguese and the Spanish both looked to Sicily as a model to be followed in their own colonies in the Atlantic, and in 1420 Prince Henry sent to Sicily for cane plantings and experienced sugar technicians.

An innovation in sugar production, the roller mill, was introduced to the Mediterranean (perhaps by the Sicilians) and the Atlantic Islands in the fifteenth century. The roller mill reduced the time and labor needed to prepare the sugar cane, thereby increasing the mill’s capacity. It was this technology, combined with the system of production developed in the Mediterranean, which was transplanted and expanded to the Atlantic Islands. The final component necessary for the industry’s growth was satisfying its requirement of a large labor force. The solution was the incorporation of African slaves.[67]

Herbert Klein, in his book African Slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean (1990), traces the history of the sugar industry and compares it to other exploiters of African and indigenous Indian slavery:

Once we enter the more familiar history of the “Atlantic Islands”, sugar and slavery become the economic foundation for European imperialism, even more so than the cotton and tobacco industries.  Before the cotton and tobacco plantations there was the sugar industry in Brazil.  When the Dutch became the direct competitors of their former Brazilian partners in 1630, their first step was to deny Brazil access to its sources of African slaves because slavery was the pivotal component of the sugar industry.  So much so, that the Brazilians were forced to enslave the indigenous Indian populations of the interior regions of Brazil.  Dutch Brazil then became “the source for the tools, techniques, credit and slaves which would carry the sugar revolution into the West Indies, thereby eliminating Brazil’s monopoly position in European markets and leading to the creation of wealthy new American colonies for France and England.[68]

According to Klein, by the 1650s, with the decline in Brazilian production, the Dutch were forced to bring their slaves and sugar-milling equipment to the French and British settlers in the Caribbean. When the Dutch themselves migrated to the Caribbean, the sugar plantation system took hold on the islands and by the 1670s sugar became a larger commercial operation than tobacco and indigo.  The accompanying slave trade led to a declining population of indentured whites and soon blacks outnumbered whites on Barbados for the first time.  By 1700 every year saw the arrival of at least 1300 black slaves and Barbados, with 50,000 slaves, became the most densely populated region in the Americas.-[69]

Kretchmer and Hollenbeck, authors of Sugars and Sweeteners (1991), estimate that in the four centuries prior to the abolishment of slavery, the transport of slaves involved 22 million people, 12 million of whom were utilized in the Americas.  The remainder died on board ship or shortly after arrival. Further, “a number of historians state that sugar was responsible for 70% of the traffic of slavery.”[70]  The critical historical role that slavery played in the development of the sugar industry in the Americas has also been well established in several other scholarly volumes on the subject.[71]

Kevin Bales noted in his book, Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy (2001), that even today, large amounts of slave labor exists in Africa, Asia, Pakistan, Brazil, and the Carribean, among other places. As a result of globalization and the international commodities markets, products tainted with slavery are being broadly distributed throughout the world.  According to Bales, “Maybe 40 percent of the world’s chocolate is tainted with slavery. The same is true of steel, sugar, tobacco products, jewelry – the list goes on and on.  Thanks to the global economy, these slave-produced products move smoothly around the globe.”[72] Banes points out that the global market in commodities, such as cocoa and sugar, functions as a money-laundering machine. Cocoa, for instance, coming out of West Africa and entering the world market almost immediately loses its ‘label.’ If you’re a buyer for a candy maker, you don’t say, ‘I’d like to buy six tons of Ghanaian cocoa.’ You just say you want six tons of cocoa. When the cocoa is delivered to your factory, you can’t tell where it’s from, so you may be passing on a slave-tainted product without knowing, and consumers will buy it without knowing.  The same is true of sugar and other commodities, where the source is not easily identifiable.[73]

Peter Cox in the New Internationalist (November, 1998) asked the question, “Slavery on sugar plantations is a thing of the past. Or is it?”  Cox’s investigation revealed the following:

‘We suffered all kinds of punishment,’ one witness told the Brazilian Justice Ministry.  ‘We were hit with rifle butts, kicked and punched.  I tried to escape, so did my uncle.  He was shot and killed by farm gunslingers.’

The word is peonage – a vicious system of forced labor, common in many parts of Latin America, Asia and even in the southern US.  A recruiter entices the poor and the homeless with promises of employment, good wages, food and shelter.  Then they are trucked long distances to toil on remote plantations where they are held prisoner and compelled to work at gunpoint.  The victims aren’t paid cash—they receive notional ‘credits,’ which are offset by extortionate charges for the tools they use and the hammocks they sleep in.

‘Life for these people is worse now than it was under slavery,’ says Wilson Furtado, of the agriculture federation in Bahia state, Brazil. ‘Then the owners had some capital tied up in their slaves so it cost them if one died, but now they lose nothing.’  No matter how hard the victims work – cutting sugar cane or felling trees—they can never break even.  A loaded rifle keeps them in line, but it’s debt that keeps them working.[74]

However, Cox points out an irony for those countries relying on sugar as a cash crop while the sugar industry focuses on more research and development into artificial sweeteners. According to Cox, the plight of non-Western nations whose economies are dependent on cash crops such as sugar is identical to the position of the victims of peonage.  Both are held to economic ransom by a system that ensures they can never free themselves of debt – no matter how hard they try.  The more they produce, the more indebted they become.  In 1981 the Dominican Republic earned $513 million from its sugar exports, yet by 1993 its income had dropped almost by half—to $263 million, despite increasing its production by 84,000 tons.  This disastrous decline in income saw the Dominican Republic’s debt swell from $600 million in 1973 to a staggering $2,400 million in l983.  And not only sugar producers are crippled: plummeting prices for commodities in general have impoverished many Third World economies, leading to widespread starvation.[75]

Cox also investigated how one of the richest islands of the Philippines could become the setting for another Ethiopia-type famine, where an estimated 85,000 Philippine children under six were suffering from moderate or severe malnutrition. Partly, according to Cox, this was because the corrupt Marcos regime mismanaged the industry.  Also, the U.S. market for Philippine sugar had disappeared (being replaced by corn syrup), throwing a quarter of a million sugar workers out of their jobs. And the land—rich and fertile—was exclusively used for sugar cane which prevented self-sufficiency in food production.  Cox concludes that a disaster was waiting to happen.[76]  Quite a few other authors have documented exploitations of modern slavery, and its variants, by the sugar industry.[77]

Sugar and the Environment:

Sugar production also causes stress on our natural environment. As cash-crop economies vainly struggle to repay their debts environmental devastation becomes another consequence of the modern sugar industry. In 1997, American University in Washington, D.C. issued a special-case study on the environmental consequences of the sugar industry on the environment of the Philippines:

The relationship between sugar production and environmental damage is found in deforestation, soil erosion, and consequent bio-diversity loss caused by forest conversion to sugar cane field.  Forest clearing caused widespread soil erosion and had a devastating effect on the ecology, wiping out a third to a half of the known species of snail and birds in the Philippines.

In the overall Philippines, cultivated upland areas increased from 582,000 hectares in 1960 to over 3.9 million hectares in 1987.  Soil erosion was estimated at about 122 to 210 tons per hectare annually for newly established pasture, compared to less than 2 tons per hectare for land under forest cover.  Forest cover declined from 50 percent of the national territory in 1970 to less than 21 percent in 1987.[78]

The deforestation rate of the Philippines, driven in large part by the sugar industry, is now pegged at 25 hectares an hour or 219,000 hectares a year.  Experts say the country can expect its forests to be gone in less than 40 years.

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