Tag Archives: artificial sweeteners

The Dangers of Aspartame

Aspartame is quite controversial.  Although many claim it has been well studied and proven safe, the facts just don’t add up.  Check out the video below for detailed information about aspartame and your health.

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Take Our Quiz – 10 questions to find out what you know about the latest health news!

Take our quiz and let us know how many you were able to answer correctly.  If you don’t know the answer, search our blog for it!

1. Q: Discount brands of fish oil were recently found to contain what carcinogenic chemical?

2. Q: A recent study confirmed what treatment was beneficial for depression relief?

A. Massage
B. Chiropractic Adjustments
C. Acupuncture
D. Yoga

3. Q: What genetic disease was recently demonstrated to cause infertility in women?

A. Rheumatoid Arthritis
B. Celiac Disease
C. Cystic Fibrosis
D. Diabetes

4. Q: If you want to improve your brain function, what activity should you participate in?

5. Q: Drinking more than two sodas per week increases the risk of cancer of the…?

A. Pancreas
B. Colon
C. Breast
D. Skin

6. Q: Low levels of what neurotransmitter were found in babies who died of SIDS?

A. Dopamine
B. Glutamate
C. GABA
D. Serotonin

7. Q: Which nutrient was recently shown to be linked to Autism?

A. Vitamin C
B. Vitamin E
C. Vitamin D
D. Vitamin A

8. Q: A new field of study has showed that our genetic make up does not necessarily control our entire health picture.  What is the name of this field of study?

A. Genetics
B. Epigenetics
C. Hypogenetics
D. Engineered genetics

9. Q: Recent epidemiological studies show that the US currently ranks ____ in terms of obesity rates in the world.

A. 1st
B. 2nd
C. 3rd
D. 4th

10. Q: What type of diet is most favorable for reducing inflammation and losing weight?

A. Low fat
B. Low carb
C. Combo of low fat and low carb
D. Low protein

The answers to all of these questions are listed below.  You can find the articles from which they came here on our blog.  Search our tag cloud on our home page for the key words if you want!

ANSWERS: 1. PCBs, 2. C, 3. B, 4. Napping, 5. A, 6. D, 7. C, 8. B, 9. C, 10. B

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Coca-Cola and Heart Health? Precisely why America is the least healthy industrialized country.

Coca-Cola has partnered with The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to sponsor a heart health awareness program.  The main sponsor happens to be Diet Coke which on the surface looks to make sense.  Most people know that regular Coke is loaded with sugar and contributes significantly to heart disease.  The fact that the sponsor is Diet Coke is irrelevant.  This is a marketing stunt by Coke designed to get more press for the entire Coca-Cola brand.  When people leave an event sponsored by Coca-Cola they hope you leave, go to the store and remember the name Coca-Cola.  There won’t be a Coca-Cola representative with you to make sure you buy the “heart healthy” Diet Coke.  And Diet Coke is hardly healthy by the way.  It is loaded with an artificial sweetener called aspartame which has serious health consequences by itself.  Read below for information about aspartame.

Aspartame is the technical name for the brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. It was discovered by accident in 1965 when James Schlatter, a chemist of G.D. Searle Company, was testing an anti-ulcer drug.

Aspartame was approved for dry goods in 1981 and for carbonated beverages in 1983. It was originally approved for dry goods on July 26, 1974, but objections filed by neuroscience researcher Dr John W. Olney and Consumer attorney James Turner in August 1974 as well as investigations of G.D. Searle’s research practices caused the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to put approval of aspartame on hold (December 5, 1974). In 1985, Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle and made Searle Pharmaceuticals and The NutraSweet Company separate subsidiaries.

Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death. A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include: Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain. (From http://www.mercola.com/articles/aspartame)

I have highlighted several side effects which are clearly not heart healthy
that are associated with aspartame, the main sweetener in Diet Coke.

Coca-Cola is a major reason there is an obesity epidemic in this country.  They have partnered with this health initiative to position themselves as health conscious and that hopefully the public will view soda, not just Diet Coke, as “not that bad.”  This is, of course, designed to sell more soda which will continue to contribute to the poor health of America.  Think about this; there are 39 grams of sugar in one 12 oz. Coke.  That’s equal to 8 teaspoons of sugar! And this brand is promoting heart health?  It makes absolutely no sense.

If Coca-Cola were truly concerned about health, they wouldn’t make their product.  Now I am not so naive that I believe Coca-Cola will just stop making soda.  My fundamental problem is that they align themselves with health initiatives in the hopes that people will view their products more favorably.  Many people can see through the smoke screen, but there are people who don’t.  These are the people that Coke is trying to reach in the hopes that it will create bigger sales.  However, the bigger sales are at the expense of their health.

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The Snacking of America

I recently came across some interesting statistics online.  It said that more than $68 billion was spent on packaged foods in 2008.  That was up from roughly $60 billion in 2004.  According to the Agriculture Department, American children get 40 percent of their calories from food of poor nutritional quality.  Between 1977 and 2002, the percent of the American population eating three or more snacks a day increased to 42 percent from 11 percent, according to a large study of American nutritional habits conducted by the Agriculture Department with the Department of Health and Human Services.

Is it any wonder that people are sick in this country.  The food industry is clever.  They put labels on their food like “low in cholesterol!” for a snack that is loaded with simple sugar or “zero trans fats!” for a food that has little nutritional value.  Unfortunately, most people read these labels and believe that they are not bad for you.

For your viewing pleasure, see the ads below for foods that are NOT good for you, but advertise as such!  Look carefully for the “health claims!”

These are just a few examples of foods that are horrible for you that the food industry wants you to believe have at least some nutritional value.  Just because Fritos don’t have any trans fats does not make them good for you.  Just be careful what you’re buying.  The food industry wants you to believe that everything you buy could potentially be good for you, but in reality most of these snacks are awful for your health.

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Six Meaningless Claims on Food Labels

Food labels are often very misleading.  As if there wasn’t enough erroneous information out there to confuse the public.  Below is an article describing the most common misleading claims from the food industry.  The report was put together by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Consumer Ally columnist Mitch Lipka points to the 158-page “Food Labeling Chaos” report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest that identifies several misleading labeling tactics used by food companies. Here are six common but misleading claims included in the C.S.P.I. report.

Lightly-sweetened: Cereal packages often contain the phrase “lightly sweetened” to suggest less sugar. The Food and Drug Administration has regulations concerning the use of “sugar free” and “no added sugars” but nothing governing the claims “low sugar” or “lightly sweetened.” “Whether Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size is lightly sweetened should be determined by federal rules, not the marketing executives of a manufacturer,” says the C.S.P.I. report.

A good source of fiber: A number of food marketers now claim their products are a good source of fiber, but C.S.P.I. notes that often the fiber doesn’t come from traditional sources — whole grains, bean, vegetables or fruit — known to have health benefits. Instead, food makers are adding something called “isolated fibers” made from chicory root or purified powders of polydextrose and other substances that haven’t been shown to lower blood sugar or cholesterol.

Strengthens your immune system: Through “clever wordsmithing,” food companies can skirt F.D.A. rules about health claims and give consumers the impression that a product will ward off disease, notes the C.S.P.I. report. Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice claims to “strengthen your immune system with a daily dose of vitamin C.” Green Giant offers an “immunity blend” of frozen vegetables. Nestle’s Carnation Instant Breakfast says it contains “Antioxidants to help support the immune system.”

Made with real fruit: Often the “real fruit” is found in small quantities and isn’t even the same kind of fruit pictured on the package. Tropical fruit flavored Gerber Graduates Fruit Juice Treats show pictures of fresh oranges and pineapple. But the main ingredients are corn syrup, sugar and white grape juice concentrate. Betty Crocker’s Strawberry Splash Fruit Gushers don’t contain strawberries — just pear concentrate.

Made with whole grains: Many products make a whole grain claim even though they often contain refined flour as the first ingredient and the amount of whole grains are minimal. The C.S.P.I. reports that the package of Keebler’s Townhouse Bistro Multigrain Crackers boasts they are made with “toasted whole wheat,” but the ingredient label shows the crackers contain more sugar than whole wheat.

All natural. Although the F.D.A. has issued several warning letters to firms making misleading “all natural” claims, the agency has never issued formal rules about the term, C.S.P.I. says. As a result, some products containing high fructose corn syrup claim to be “all natural.” One example is Minute Maid Premium All Natural Flavors Berry Punch. “Though glucose and fructose certainly occur in nature, the chemical conversions of cornstarch should not be considered natural,” writes C.S.P.I.

via Six Meaningless Claims on Food Labels – Well Blog – NYTimes.com.

Dr. Court’s Comments

Here’s is my suggestion to people when they ask me how they are to tell if something is good for you or not.  What you should do is shop around the edges of the grocery store.  Here you can find fruits, vegetables, nuts, meats and dairy among other things.  Skip those middle isles.  If it’s in a box, be careful about what your eating.  Many times it is filled with preservatives and other chemicals to make it stay fresher and taste better, longer.

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Foods That Chronic Pain Sufferers Need to Avoid

As an adjunct to the post that I wrote on chronic inflammation, here is an article written by Dr. Mercola with some great points.  I have also posted the link to his article at the bottom.

Dr. Court

Chronic pain is a pervasive issue and fibromyalgia is a very common form. It is a chronic condition whose symptoms include muscle and tissue pain, fatigue, depression, and sleep disturbances.

Recent data suggests that central sensitization, in which neurons in your spinal cord become sensitized by inflammation or cell damage, may be involved in the way fibromyalgia sufferers process pain.

Certain chemicals in the foods you eat may trigger the release of neurotransmitters that heighten this sensitivity.

Although there have been only a handful of studies on diet and fibromyalgia, the following eating rules can’t hurt, and may help, when dealing with chronic pain.

Limit Sugar as Much as Possible. Increased insulin levels will typically dramatically worsen pain. So you will want to limit all sugars and this would typically include fresh fruit juices. Whole fresh fruit is the preferred method for consuming fruit products.

If you are overweight, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, you will also want to limit grains as much as possible as they are metabolized very similarly to sugars. This would also include organic unprocessed grains. Wheat and gluten grains are the top ones to avoid.

Eat fresh foods. Eating a diet of fresh foods, devoid of preservatives and additives, may ease symptoms triggered by coexisting conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

It’s also a good idea to buy organic food when possible, as it’s best to avoid pesticides and chemicals. However, fresh is best. So if you have to choose between local, fresh, non-organic and organic but wilting – go with fresh, and clean properly.

Avoid caffeine. Fibromyalgia is believed to be linked to an imbalance of brain chemicals that control mood, and it is often linked with inadequate sleep and fatigue. The temptation is to artificially and temporarily eliminate feelings of fatigue with stimulants like caffeine, but this approach does more harm than good in the long run. Though caffeine provides an initial boost of energy, it is no substitute for sleep, and is likely to keep you awake.

Try avoiding nightshade vegetables. Nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant may trigger arthritis and pain conditions in some people.

Be Careful with Your Fats. Animal based omega-3 fats like DHA and EPA have been touted as a heart-healthy food, and they may help with pain, as well. They can help reduce inflammation and improve brain function. At the same time, you want to eliminate all trans fat and fried foods, as these will promote inflammation.

Use yeast sparingly. Consuming yeast may also contribute to the growth of yeast fungus, which can contribute to pain.

Avoid pasteurized dairy. Many fibromyalgia sufferers have trouble digesting milk and dairy products. However, many find that raw dairy products, especially from grass fed organic sources, are well tolerated.

Cut down on carbs. About 90 percent of fibromyalgia patients have low adrenal functioning, which affects metabolism of carbohydrates and may lead to hypoglycemia.

Avoid aspartame. The artificial sweetener found in some diet sodas and many sugar-free sweets is part of a chemical group called excitotoxins, which activate neurons that can increase your sensitivity to pain.

Avoid additives. Food additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) often cause trouble for pain patients. MSG is an excitatory neurotransmitter that may stimulate pain receptors; glutamate levels in spinal fluid have been shown to correlate with pain levels in fibromyalgia patients.

Stay away from junk food. Limit or eliminate fast food, candy, and vending-machine products. In addition to contributing to weight gain and the development of unhealthy eating habits, these diet-wreckers may also irritate your muscles, disrupt your sleep, and compromise your immune system.

via Foods That Chronic Pain Sufferers Need to Avoid.

Visit our website at www.vreelandclinic.com

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