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Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in Chiropractic Neurology, Health & Nutrition | 2 comments

Williams and Rivers Death: Re-evaluating the Safety of Medicine

On September 4th, Joan Rivers died. She was the second legendary performer to die within a month; the other being Robin Williams. While it is inevitable that one day we all face the ultimate demise, however, it’s the manner in which they passed away that requires a closer look.

On August 11th, Robin Williams died. Upon hearing the news I felt stomach punched and deeply saddened, however, when I found out how he died I was devastated. Following his death, the network news brought out their medical doctors to shed light on Williams’ condition of “Severe Depression”. We were told about the signs and symptoms of depression and were instructed to reach out and make contact with those suffering with this condition. While all that is well and good, something pertinent was left out. How about actually educating us on the more relevant issues? How about answering questions like what was his treatment plan? Or what medications were prescribed? Or how long had he been on them? Or were there any other medications he took? Or what adverse affects can be expected from these medications, etc., etc., etc.?

First off, Robin Williams didn’t die from depression, he died from suicide. He volitionally tied a belt around his neck and hung himself. There were also superficial cuts on both of his wrists. As I stated earlier, I was devastated upon hearing these details.

The medical treatment plan for “Severe Depression” is prescribing anti-depressant medication. Here’s something that you may want to know. All anti-depressant medication, whether it is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor like Nardil, or Marplan, or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro or Celexa, or a tricyclic antidepressants like Norpramin, Pamelor and Elavil (which has been taken off the market because of its toxic effects) or the garden variety anti-depressants like Wellbutrin, Cymbalta or Effexor, come with a Black Box Warning of increased suicide risk. In these warnings there is no leniency or special privileges even for those with a superlative résumé that covers the spectrum from playing Shakespeare, to Presidents, to famous doctors, to a space alien, or even Popeye, these warnings are inclusive for all those who take it.

Secondly, it was also noted that Williams was suffering from Parkinson’s disease (PD). Do you know the number one cause of PD? Here’s a clue…it’s not genetics. It’s medications! The number one medication causing PD is anti-psychotic medication. These medications include Risperdal and Zyprexa. In terms of anti-depressant medication, all of them have rightfully earned a place in bringing out signs and symptoms of PD. These anti-depressant medications cause a spectrum of extrapyramidal signs including tremors, a cardinal sign in PD. Extrapyramidal symptoms occur in the subcortical region known as the basal ganglion (BG) the area of the brain that is involved in fine motor activity. In PD, the substantia nigra, located in the midbrain, has a loss of dopamine production. The BG is the area of the brain most sensitive to chemicals and drugs. While its sad that Robin Williams may have had PD, it’s not surprising once you realize the cause of it. It would be nice if these medical experts would brief us on the effects from the medications that they freely dispense, rather than having us believe that PD dropped from the sky striking Robin Williams as another victim.

The news still reports that the cause of Joan Rivers’ death is unknown. Really? Perhaps I can help here. Joan Rivers and her doctor decided to go forward with an elective surgery. Rivers was reassured that her procedure was “routine” and “simple” and that it could be done as an outpatient visit. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when the topic of “risk-reward” surfaced. Once the surgery began, Rivers went into cardiac arrest and the “routine” procedure rapidly turned into a life threatening crisis whereby the medical team was ill-equipped in dealing with it. They needed to transport her via ambulance to Mt. Sinai Hospital where she was put in a medically induced coma. Six days later, her family decided to take her off life support. The failure of this medical staff to provide adequate or appropriate safety for their patient is the definition of negligence. It would be akin to a commercial airline flying transcontinental on a one-engine aircraft. Unless she was having a pimple removed off her tochus which may require a local only, I think it best to avoid terms like “simple” and “routine” when it comes to invasive surgery and anesthesia on an 81 year old. Just for the record the anesthesia used, Propofol, was the same drug that killed Michael Jackson.

In a span of 24 days we lost two legendary performers from the typical standard medical procedures of prescribing medications and performing surgery. When considering the status and clout that Williams and Rivers brought, you know they went to the top medical doctors, the ones being tagged as “scientific” and “evidenced-based” and a cut above the rest. The fact is Robin Williams is not the first person to commit suicide while being on prescribed anti-depressant medications and Joan Rivers will not be the last person to die from having elective surgery. While both of these performers left an indelible impression in their work, their death, on a more sobering note, ought to be a teachable moment whereby just because something is typically practiced doesn’t equal that it’s either safe or beneficial. Robin Williams and Joan Rivers unfortunately are quintessential examples of that.

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Posted by on Sep 1, 2014 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

Verdict In: Fat and Butter Exonerated

The June 23rd 2014 issue of Time magazine graces its cover with the bold statement to “Eat Butter” and further mentions that scientists were actually wrong about fats. After reading this article I am more disturbed than educated on this subject. Here’s why. It was with the dangerous combination of “Good Intentions” and faulty science that actually launched the current obesity epidemic in the first place.

In 1977, authoritative powers like the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and some political leaders, decided to halt cardiovascular disease and obesity. The catalyst behind this movement was engineered by physiologist Dr. Ancel Keys. Keys was well established in the food science community. He was given the credit for the ration diet, a diet used for soldiers in the battlefield. His image was also on the cover of Time magazine in the early 1960’s. Keys parlayed his high profile and popularity and set forth the“Lipid Hypothesis,” basically stating that fat was the culprit for the increase in cardiovascular disease and obesity. His nutritional guidelines included avoiding red meat, dairy, eggs, fat and cholesterol from the diet. Many people also supported Keys because of his prominent stature. People believed, as was stated in the article by a biochemist, it doesn’t take a great leap to understand that you are what you eat, which further gave credence to Keys’ theory. Of course, if applying this logic, what if you ate more sugar, would that make you sweeter? Keys then went out to prove his theory. His investigation included 22 countries. When the findings came back, Keys selected only seven countries as evidence, those countries that supported his agenda, or, in other words, flawed and unreliable research. Whenever Keys was challenged he relied on his high status to either deflect, attack or dismiss his adversaries rather than discuss or debate them. Some of his adversaries included Dr. John Yudkin (author of Pure, White and Deadly) and biostatistician Jacob Yerushalmy.

In 1980, with Keys’ flawed research and support from the USDA, NIH and some politicians the “War on Fat” campaign was unleashed. Also I would be remiss if I didn’t give the food industry their deserved props for their contribution in promoting the obesity epidemic by making their own concoctions and alterations in producing non-fat, reduced fat, fake fat products along with an array of butter substitutes and yolk-free eggs into the marketplace. As a result of this “Great Government Nutritional Experiment” the numbers are in; two-thirds of the population are overweight, 30% of the population is obese, there was a 166% increase in diabetes from 1980 to 2012. Additionally an estimated 86 million people are pre-diabetic, and still cardiovascular disease is America’s number one cause of mortality in both men and women, all the while with a reduction in their fat intake! While all this is alarming, what is truly disturbing, even criminal, is why it took 32 years to warn the public of this fiasco? At what point during this 32-year period were the numbers favorable?

Many scientists and doctors knew that Keys’ “Lipid Hypothesis” was flawed and unreliable from the start. Unfortunately their voices and concerns were silenced by Keys and his believers. People with a rudimentary understanding in biochemistry realize that it’s high insulin levels that promote fat deposition and that it gets elevated upon carbohydrate (sugar) consumption. When you shift your caloric intake away from fat and towards sugar, as prescribed by Keys, you directly elevate insulin levels in blood. However, even if you’re a biochemistry illiterate, if you simply apply empirical evidence, Keys’ theory should have been summarily dismissed. The fact that butter has been used by humans for thousands of years and the obesity epidemic is only about 40 years old, pretty much exonerates butter as the culprit. We need to acknowledge what occurred in the past 40 years has led to this current epidemic. What has occurred in the past 40 years include fragrantly flawed government nutritional guidelines and the increased production of altered, genetically modified, highly refined, highly sugared and sugar substitute products that are stocked onto supermarket shelves and in our kitchen for daily consumption.

Some of the government nutritional guidelines include the four food groups and the pyramid diet, which if followed leads to weight gain and obesity since they contain high amount of carbohydrates/sugar. I suggest as a standard procedure that any new government nutritional guideline should come with either a warning label, a laugh track or both, at least in that way the people may have a better chance for improved health.
Considering that it took over three decades for Time magazine to publish this sophomoric, unenlightening article, perhaps in another decade or two, hopefully Time magazine will write an article on the harmful effects of sugar and sugar substitutes and their direct role in obesity. At least it will be a start in the right direction.

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Posted by on Mar 27, 2014 in Chiropractic Neurology, Health & Nutrition | 1 comment

Wanting to Lose Weight-Part III-Addressing the Real Truth about Artificial Sweeteners

Saccharin-The Birth of a Sweet Problem: In 1879, the first artificial sweetener (AS), saccharin, was produced. It was made with the concerted efforts of Dr. Ira Remsen, who later became the second president of Johns Hopkins, and fellow researcher Constantine Fahlberg. They used Toluene, a versatile chemical that is used for dissolving paint, making silicone sealants and increasing octane levels in gas (1). Saccharin is 500 times sweeter than sugar, but more importantly it paved the way for more AS to unfortunately make its way into our food supply.

What are artificial sweeteners? They are just that, artificial. They are not found in nature, they are not involved with the rebuilding or repairing process nor are they involved or needed in our growth and development. In fact, they have no place in human physiology or biochemistry. With that said these AS are not just in our marketplaces but are thriving. Why then do these chemical sweeteners do so well? The reason is multifactorial. Their success comes from the following:

Advertising and marketing: AS are positioned as the alternative to sugar. We know that sugar consumption leads to weight gain and is the central ingredient in contracting Type 2 diabetes. Since sugar is harmful to our health, we are led to believe that these sugar substitutes, are, by default, safe and beneficial.

Taste: AS are much sweeter than table sugar. Some AS are hundreds or even thousands of times sweeter than table sugar. This only expedites our cravings for them.

No calories: AS contain no calories, which can be interpreted as beneficial for the people who are trying to lose weight since 3,500 calories equals a pound of fat.

Cheap to produce: Since AS are chemically engineered they can be produced in an unlimited supply. There is no need to grow, farm or maintain anything.

Availability: AS are presented in those pretty pink, yellow and blue packets and are always in arm’s reach anywhere food or coffee is sold. They are also in thousands of food products that we may not associate with sweets.

Approval from the Government:  Finally, the government, which not only allowed these AS to be unleashed to the public but also endorsed them by giving them “generally regarded as safe” (GRAS) status.

When you have these powerful influences converging on an unsuspecting public it becomes a recipe for disaster. This is especially true for the diabetic, the overweight or any person trying to lose weight who are more apt to use AS thinking that they are a safe substitute. The problem with AS extends well past the sugar-overweight connection. Stated below is a thumbnail perspective of some of the most promoted AS along with a more accurate depiction of their safety.

Cyclamate-Saccharin’s Little Banned Brother:  In 1937, the second marketed AS, cyclamate, was produced. It was engineered by graduate student Michael Sveda who was designing an anti-fever drug. This AS was rated 500 times sweeter than sugar. Cyclamate had the properties of being water soluble, heat stable, cheap to produce, and didn’t have the extensive metallic after-taste as its predecessor. In other words, perfect for mass production. In 1958, both saccharin and cyclamate received GRAS status by the Food Additives Amendment to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (1). However, in 1969, cyclamate was taken off the market as it produced bladder cancer in laboratory mice. I guess the mice tested for cyclamate in 1958 were just healthier.

Aspartame (Equal and NutraSweet) – A Very Exciting Artificial Sweetener
In 1965, the third marketed AS was produced by scientist James Schlatter. He was designing an ulcer medication when he produced the AS, aspartame. Unlike its two predecessors, aspartame (shown right) is metabolized by the body. Aspartame is made up of two amino acids and a methyl ester. The two amino acids are phenylalanine and aspartic acid.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and there are 22 known amino acids, ten of which are essential. Amino acids play an enormous role in our physiology including building muscle, whereby aspartame gets marketed and praised as not just being “safe” but also “beneficial”. This, of course, like the other AS commercials are cleverly deceitful and purposely misleading. Let’s review why. Amino acids in food (e.g. meat, fish, poultry, eggs) come packaged in relative proportion to each other. There are no foods that contain just two amino acids, as does aspartame. Secondly, there are no foods containing 50% phenylalanine or 40% aspartic acid. Food containing the essential amino acid phenylalanine may be as high as 4-5%, not 50% as in aspartame and in terms of aspartic acid it is a non-essential amino acid anyway (2). Let’s also remember that amino acids readily cross the blood brain barrier (BBB) and therefore directly affect brain chemistry.

Phenylalanine metabolizes into tyrosine, l-dopa, norepinephrine and epinephrine which are either precursors to, or are neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters compete with other neurotransmitters and in the case of phenylalanine, it competes with the amino acids tryptophan and serotonin. High doses of phenylalanine will competitively inhibit tryptophan and serotonin. A deficiency of tryptophan and serotonin results in loss of sleep, anxiety and depression (3). Just to note: There is a small population who lack the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase and cannot take phenylalanine anyway; it is a condition known as phenylketonuria (PKU).

Aspartic acid, the other amino acid in aspartame, is a major excitatory amino acid. It works similarly to monosodium glutamate (MSG). Being a major excitatory amino acid, aspartic acid increases synaptic firing between neurons which leads to free radical damage, oxidative damage, and neuronal death. The increased firing of excitatory neurotransmitters leads to the exhaustion and ultimately the death of neurons. It is well accepted that this mechanism serves as a catalyst to neurodegenerative pathology like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias (3). Seizures and strokes occur from this mechanism as well; and with a 40% dosing load of aspartic acid per aspartame packet, it clearly plays a major role. More of the common findings from high level excitation include headaches, eye pain and light sensitivity. That is the effect excitotoxins  (a term coined by neuroscientist Dr. John Olney) have on the brain (3).

If having these two amino acids circulate disproportionately and freely throughout the blood stream and into the BBB doesn’t convince you to avoid aspartame, perhaps looking at its third and final ingredient, methyl ester, will. Once consumed, the methyl ester gets cleaved off the aspartame structure and forms methanol, also known as wood alcohol, a poison.

There is a vast difference between methanol and ethanol (the alcohol we consume). Structurally methanol contains one carbon while ethanol contains two carbons. Ethanol when consumed gets metabolized in the liver by the P450 cytochrome system; it also undergoes further metabolism and forms acetyl CoA which enters the Kreb’s Acid Cycle. When ethanol is taken in amounts that the body metabolizes before it accumulates, ethanol consumption can be safe. However, methanol is a different story. Methanol is extremely difficult to metabolize and, as such, accumulates and marinates throughout the body causing further destruction. Methanol breaks down into formaldehyde and formic acid, both of which are highly toxic and dangerous to our body and destructive to the optic nerve and retina. Formaldehyde is an embalming substance that is 5,000 times more potent than ethanol and also disrupts DNA which leads to cancer (1). Formic acid, the other metabolite, is six times more toxic than methanol (4). Since both metabolites have a destructive affinity to visual function, consumers of aspartame may suffer headaches, visual disturbances and impairment including blindness. Formaldehyde and formic acid are used in over 200 industrial and household products including antifreeze, carpets, paint solvents, plastics, to name a few. Methanol should never be consumed; it’s been estimated that two undiluted teaspoons in a child or a quarter of a cup in an adult would likely result in death (4).

Methanol also has a place in American history. When the Eighteenth Amendment, also known as Prohibition, of the United Stated Constitution took effect in January 1920, for the purpose of prohibiting the production, sale and transport of alcohol, methanol reared itself. Prohibition seemed like a noble idea, as the government felt that they could legislate behavior by limiting alcohol consumption. This plan was a catastrophe. As a consequence, Prohibition actually caused an increase in people drinking (4). Secondly, it also brought forth organized crime who capitalized by producing and distributing bootleg liquor. The alcohol used was methanol. Methanol is produced by distilling wood products like sawdust, lumber, or furniture and hence, the name wood alcohol. Methanol fit the bill perfectly since it was very cheap to make and its taste was indistinguishable from grain-based ethanol. Since methanol was slow to metabolize its deleterious effects didn’t take place for about a week (5). The effects from methanol consumption ranged from blurry vision, acute nausea, to seizures, blindness, coma and even death. As Prohibition continued, the government remained steadfast in their “noble” cause and decided to denature any alcohol not used for drinking purposes therefore producing a stronger poison. The chemicals used included methanol, formaldehyde (a byproduct of methanol), benzene, ether, cadmium and gasoline (5). Furthermore, the government issued warnings to the dangers of consuming denatured alcohol, something they were part of. Despite being the law, or being constantly warned, or risking health, including the loss of life, the committed drinker remained dedicated to drinking.

In December of 1933, the Twenty-first Amendment was now in effect. Its sole purpose was repealing the Eighteenth Amendment, the only amendment to have that distinction. The reason Prohibition was repealed wasn’t due to the tragedy it had on human life, although that should have been enough since there was more loss of life in a year’s period than from the entire World War I (5), but rather due to the development of organized crime and a major loss of tax revenue (bingo) to the government.

The point is that methanol was used by both the bootleggers and the government, however, for different reasons. Today, the government has the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), whose duty and responsibility is to supervise food safety while protecting and promoting public health, but ironically has allowed the poisonous methanol in AS to be sold freely in the open market; at least during Prohibition warnings were given about its dangers.

Additional studies on aspartame and methanol show that methanol caused holes in the brain of rats, and in 1967, a study on seven monkeys using aspartame resulted in the death of one monkey while five others suffered grand mal seizures (1,2).

When aspartame was unleashed for public consumption there were more complaints sent to the FDA than any other AS. These findings included tinnitus, dizziness, heart palpitations, tachycardia, brain tumors, diabetes, arthritis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease along with the usual headaches and visual problems (1,2).

A salient side note, another AS, Neotame, which is 7,000-13,000 times sweeter than table sugar, is a modified version of aspartame. Neotame (shown right), is basically aspartame with a neohexyl group added. However, the advertisers framed neotame as safer than aspartame becneotame_chemistry-1ause when it was metabolized, the phenylalanine in neotame isn’t broken off in free-form as it is with aspartame, and therefore “safe” for people with PKU. Of course neotame is far from being safe as it only keeps one’s addiction to sweets intact while still allowing methanol to circulate freely throughout the bloodstream (6).

 Sucralose (Splenda) -The Most Widely Used Sweetener
The last AS I want to discuss came about like the others, by accident. In 1975, graduate student, Shashikant Phadnis, while in the process of developing an insecticide accidentally produced the AS, sucralose. Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than table sugar. Unlike aspartame, sucralose used a carbohydrate template rather than a protein template as its source. Basically Phadnis altered the structure of sucrose, table sugar, and replaced three hydroxyl (OH) groups with chlorine to form sucralose (comparative structures shown below right). Sucralose is the most versatile AS as it has stretched its chemically-sweetened tentacles into several thousand food products including many “health” products like protein powder, Muscle Milk©, energy and health bars, 5-hour energy© along with the typical baked goods, chewing gums, fruit juices, soft drinks, salad dressings, and yes, even lipstick (1). The food marketers cleverly marketed sucralose by plastering comments like Zero calories, Sucrose & Sucralose.001Tastes great on the label. This, of course, is purposely designed to attract people to purchase these products. I’m willing to wager that if sucralose would put its actual chemical name of “1,6 dichloro-1,6-dideoxy-beta-D-fructofuranosyl-4-chloro-4-deoxy-alpha-D-galactopyranoside” on the label, that sales would drop.

Sucralose is dangerous for the following reasons. As stated earlier, sucralose came about by altering the disaccharide, sucrose. All disaccharides must contain at least one glucose molecule. In the case of sucrose, there is one glucose and one fructose sugar to make it a disaccharide. However, in making sucralose both sugars of sucrose were altered leaving no glucose available, resulting in a foreign “disaccharide” which our body simply cannot utilize for any physiological purpose, regardless of how sweet it is, or how addicted we become to it.

Sucralose contains chlorine. Chlorine is a highly reactive gas that doesn’t exist in nature but can be artificially produced through the electrolysis of sodium chloride. There is also a vast difference between chlorine and chloride, just as there is a difference, as Mark Twain put it, between lightning and a lightning bug. Chloride exists as an ion that reacts with sodium to produce sodium chloride (table salt), which is compatible with our physiology. The bond that is formed between these two elements is an ionic bond which is based upon electrostatic attraction. Chlorine, on the other hand, is chemically manipulated to form a covalent bond with carbon. The covalent bond is based upon sharing and is a more stable bond than the ionic bond. The chlorine-carbon bond is also known as an organochlorine or a chlorocarbon and is not compatible in human physiology. Members of the organochlorine family include the insecticides DDT, Dicofol, Methoxychlor, Chlorodane, and Trans-Nonachlor, the carcinogen Dioxin, the anesthetic chloroform, the banned fungicide Hexachlorobenzene (HCB), the electrical insulator Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), the chemical warfare agents mustard gas and phosgene, just to name a few. There has only been one organochlorine ever used for human consumption,and that is sucralose. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also classified chlorine as a class-one carcinogen (cancer causing agent) (1). Therefore the difference between chloride and chlorine is the difference between food and poison.

 The way these organochlorines work is that the organic component, carbon, serves as a carrier where it allows the highly reactive, deleterious chlorine to freely enter into the cell where it can disrupt enzymatic systems and damage mitochondria function. It also destroys hepatocytes (liver metabolic cells) (7). Let’s remember that sucralose was designed for an insecticide, never as a food product.

Chlorine is classified as a halide and like other halides like bromine and fluorine are highly reactive and can easily displace the only halide essential to our health…iodine. Iodine is required to make thyroid hormone, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3); in fact those numbers  in T3 and T4 represent the number of iodine molecules in their respective hormone. If iodine gets displaced by these other halides, thyroid hormone becomes deficient leading to low thyroid function (8). Having a low functioning thyroid leads to many health issues including a sluggish metabolic rate and weight gain. When you consider the extensive usage of bromine in baked goods and breads (which gives the browning effect in buns and rolls), the fluorine in the drinking water, and that the most widely used AS is sucralose, it’s not a far stretch to see why many people suffer from low thyroid.

Just to note, the reason why cyclamate was banned was it caused bladder cancer in rats which violated the Delaney Clause. The Delaney Clause was set up in 1958 for the purpose of banning any food product that induced cancer in man or in lab animals (1). Yet, the FDA, has allowed the class-one carcinogen chlorine-enriched sucralose as well as the methanol-enriched aspartame and neotame freely into our food supply. It appears that the government picks and chooses which laws it will and will not enforce.

Conclusion
I have only touched upon a few artificial sweeteners, there are more, and more can be expected. The “References” section delves deeper into the pernicious practice of AS including the chemistry, the adverse effects and the politics (which are integral) associated with it.
To summarize here are just some of the signs and symptoms from AS usage:

  • Altered brain chemistry
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Endocrine disruptor
  • Poor Sleep
  • Headaches
  • Joint and bone health
  • Metabolic disturbances
  • Visual abnormalities
  • Impaired thyroid
  • Anemia
  • Neurodegenerative problems
  • Tremors
  • Loss of life

Many of these findings indirectly cause weight gain. It also has been shown that AS consumption directly led to insulin and leptin resistance, the two hormones most responsible for weight gain (1).

The “food” chemists remain diligent in making us addicted to sweets. They fully realize that once they hijack your palate, they have lifetime customers. They fully realize that when the battle is drawn between one’s obsession with weight versus the chemical addiction to sweets, it is a gross mismatch, a no brainer, one that you can chalk up for the addicted side.

We know that sugar and AS consumption is the reason why nearly two-thirds of the population is overweight, which is three times (300%) more than just 20 years ago. Using history as our guide we can accurately assess that these numbers will steadily climb and that food manufacturers, advertisers and skilled “food” chemists, and our government will continue to do what they do best…mislead the public while making huge profit. It is no more complicated than if you want to lose weight you must be diligent in stabilizing your blood sugar and be obsessive in rejecting these harmful artificial sweeteners.

References:

1) Mercola, Joseph, D.O. and Degen Pearsall, Kendra N.M.D. Sweet Deception  Nashville, Tenessee: 2006 Nelson Books, 2006
2) Cori Brackett. Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World. Sound and Fury Productions, 2004
3) Blaylock, Russell L. M.D. Excitotoxins The Taste That Kills. New Mexico: Health Press, 1997
4) Blum, Deborah. The Poisoner’s Handbook, New York: Penguin Press, 2010
5) The Poisoner’s Handbook: American Experience Films: PBS January 2014
6) Torres, Miguel, Neotame, 13,000 Times Sweeter Than Sugar and More Toxic Than Aspartame Disease Prevention March 16, 2012
7) James Bowen, M.D., The Lethal Science of Splenda, A Poisonous Chlorocarbon, May 8, 2005
8) Brownstein, David, M.D. Iodine, Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, 3rd edition, Michigan: Medical Alternatives Press, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on Aug 22, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Want to Lose Weight-It’s Not Complicated-Part II-Forget Fructose

If you want to lose weight then you need to control sugar consumption, plain and simple. One sugar in particular, fructose, clearly requires attention. This sugar has raised controversy. The proponents of fructose and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) namely the packaged food industry,  corn manufacturers and dubious medical experts, will tell you that fructose and HFCS are safe. They will make the comparison between glucose and fructose, saying that they are both classified as a simple sugar. They both share the same molecular make-up… that being C6-H12-O6. Furthermore, they will tell you that fructose is the sugar found in fruit, and we know that everybody agrees that fruit should be part of a healthy diet, therefore establishing that fructose is not only safe but it’s actually good for you.

However, once we get past these minor similarities and review some biochemistry we’ll discover some major differences. This includes the following:

  • When the body increases its blood sugar level, it uses cortisol, adrenaline or glucagon, to put glucose not fructose into the blood.
  • When the body needs to lower blood sugar level, it takes insulin which grabs glucose not fructose for storage.
  • When the body wants to metabolize food for energy, via the Kreb’s Acid Cycle it uses glucose not fructose, as its only carbohydrate source.
  • The only carbohydrate the brain uses is glucose not fructose; in fact, fructose never crosses the blood brain barrier (BBB).
  • Every cell in the body has a receptor specifically made for glucose not fructose; in fact there are no receptor sites for fructose.
  • The body recognizes glucose not fructose as the universal carbohydrate fuel that the body uses.
  • The only way that fructose gets metabolized is through the liver. So what do you call it when you consume something that can only get processed by the liver? It’s called a toxin. Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatrician endocrinologist, who’s video entitled Sugar-The Bitter Truth (and certainly worth watching) calls it a poison.

Besides their functional differences, there are also structural differences (shown below) between these two sugars. Glucose contains a six-ringed structure while fructose is a five-ringed structure.

GlucoseFructose

In biochemistry structure is key to function, for example the difference between a healthy double bond known as a cis-bond and a deleterious trans-fat is structure.

Another clever tactic that food manufacturers and advertisers use is telling us that table sugar and HFCS are metabolized “nearly the same”. However, there is some truth to this in that both are bad. To review. Table sugar also known as sucrose (shown below), is a disaccharide, meaning that it is composed of two sugars. The two sugars, glucose (left) and fructose (right), is divided equally, while HFCS is 55% fructose; all else is the same. When you consume sucrose, the enzyme sucrase then cleaves it into their respective sugars. At this point these two sugars go their own separate pathways.

The Problem with Fructose
Fructose is cheap and therefore is used extensively in packaged and fast food products. Secondly, it’s sweeter than glucose thus making it more addictive. These components of being so cheap and highly sweet makes it a dream come true, that is for food manufacturers, not you.

Fructose is also used in food products that we don’t associate with sweets. Foods like crackers, soups, ketchup, mustard, gravies, sauces, bread, hot dog/hamburger buns are also made with this sugar. Fructose is used so extensively that in Dr. Lustig’s excellent lecture, “Sugar-The Bitter Truth” points out that there are only seven fructose-free products in the entire McDonald’s menu. Among those foods, fructose-free, include water, coffee (without any sugar taken), french fries and hash browns (for the others you need to watch the video). (1) And we all know how healthy those fries and hash browns are since they are bathed and cooked with cheap pro-inflammatory cooking oil.

Fructose causes an elevation in triglycerides (TG) also known as very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), which is a component of the cholesterol panel. An increased consumption of fructose has shown to be parallel to the increased incidence of obesity and diabetes mellitus (2). Having a TG level that is more than half of the total cholesterol is considered Metabolic Syndrome which places you as pre-diabetic.

Fructose has a major role in promoting obesity because it impairs the hormone, leptin. Leptin, is known as the satiety hormone. It is made in adipose (fat) tissue (thus making adipose tissue an endocrine organ) and works in the hypothalamus to shut down food consumption. When leptin is working properly it tells the brain that you had enough food, you’re satisfied, satiety is reached, and it shuts down appetite therefore limiting unnecessary calories. Unfortunately when this hormone is impaired, known as leptin resistance (not leptin deficiency), the signaling of satiety is not reached, and overeating and ultimately obesity occur. Leptin resistance occurs when there is high fructose consumption or an elevated TG level; both are influenced by fructose.

Have you ever wondered why sedentary people can devour those super-sized meals (e.g. double and triple whoppers, 50 oz. Big Gulps) without any difficulty? It’s because they are leptin resistant. The irony is that even shortly after a meal, the leptin resistant person still feels hungry. This is central to the obesity problem and fructose is an accomplice. When you consider the extensive usage of fructose in fast foods, a typical (not extravagant) meal of a Big Mac (no cheese), medium fries and a 16 oz vanilla shake contains 1,470 calories; 3,500 calories equals a pound of fat (3). That is more than a pound of fat in just three meals!

As long as supermarkets, fast food restaurants, and convenience stores continue offering products with fructose, expect, as the evidence shows, obesity to increase. While the food manufacturers make the argument that glucose and fructose are “nearly the same”, the “nearly the same” argument has no basis when you focus on biochemistry, physiology or endocrinology whereby the body purposely and deliberately always chooses glucose as its carbohydrate fuel thus leaving fructose for the liver to treat it as it is …a toxin. So if your goal is to lose weight then one thing must be implemented: forget fructose.

References:

1) Sugar-The Bitter Truth, lecture at the University of California, San Francisco Robert H. Lustig, M.D., May 26, 2009

2) Fructose impairs glucose-induced hepatic triglyceride synthesis, Huang, D., et. al. Lipids Health Dis. 2011 10:20.

3) McDonald’s USA Nutrition Facts for Popular Menu Items

Next time: Part III: Artificial Sweeteners

Joel Berger, MS, DC, DABCN August 2013 ©

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Posted by on Jun 14, 2013 in Health & Nutrition, Media Bar, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Want to Lose Weight-Get Off Sugar-It’s Not Complicated-Part I Joel Berger

Want to Lose Weight-Get Off Sugar-It’s Not Complicated-Part I Joel Berger

Today, two-thirds of American adults are overweight with an estimated 35.7% being obese. In children, one out of three fall into the overweight/obese category and the adolescent population has tripled in the last 30 years. Obesity leads to other serious health issues including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, and certain cancers. It is also rated the second highest preventable cause of death (behind smoking) according to the Journal American Medical Association (JAMA).

As this problem worsens, suggestions come from across the board. Medical doctors, alternative health care providers, authors, athletes, weekend warriors, TV personalities, poets, firemen all weigh in (no pun intended) with their suggestions. These suggestions include taking appetite suppressants or amphetamines, taking medications, avoid eating, counting calories, severely restricting dietary intake, eating every two hours, quit eating after six o’clock, drinking 10 glasses of water, avoiding fats, reading food labels, buying pre-packaged (full of preservatives) weight-loss meals, or following the latest magic weight-loss diet plan. Our government has also intervened by giving us the four food groups and the pyramid dieting scheme, which, if followed, promotes weight gain. You would think that with all this effort, coupled with the obsession we have with weight loss that obesity would become extinct. Hardly.

Simply put, if you want to lose weight, keep it off, and maintain a stable weight, then one thing must be done…control sugar consumption. It’s not complicated. Even if you comply with many of these extraneous weight-loss activities and fail to address sugar consumption, the weight-loss problem will continue. And when I say sugar I am referring to all sugar including fructose, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners, which isn’t a sugar but rather a laboratory concoction that tastes sweet.
The reason why sugar consumption is integral to weight gain is because of insulin. Insulin is an anabolic hormone that is produced by the pancreas. Its purpose is to clear off and then store any excessive sugar from the bloodstream. It can store it in three places, either back into the cell, in the liver where it’s stored as glycogen, or in fat (adipose) tissue as a triglycerides (TG) also known as a very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) which is a component of your cholesterol profile. The cell holds a minute amount, while the liver can hold about 100 grams, while the rest goes to adipose tissue where it gets stored as fat.

About Blood Sugar
The body can function well on five grams of sugar which is less than two sugar packets. The body also tightly regulates blood sugar; when it gets too low, the body can stimulate the adrenals to produce adrenaline (the fight or flight hormone) or cortisol (the stress hormone) or it can also stimulate the pancreas to stimulate glucagon which stimulates the liver into breaking down glycogen which raises blood sugar. However, if the blood sugar is too high, there is only one hormone involved…insulin. The reason why we have a number of ways to increase the blood sugar and only one to lower comes from our survival history. When we were facing severe or critical situations whether from famine, drought, starvation or escaping from that ravenous bear or big cat, nature provided us the extra needed energy source to cope or survive such crises. Having a high blood sugar wasn’t common place then since our food was mainly wild game and plants and berries; not much sugar there. Now that we consume 150 pounds of sugar yearly, or nearly three pounds weekly, and the body can function with just five grams, the result, insulin, which ought to be secreted out like pixie dust, gets dumped out as if it were coming from a cement mixer. That excessive sugar makes a beeline into fat tissue, where men store it in their abdominal region and women store in their hips and thighs. Therefore the high sugar diet is ultimately a fat deposition diet. It’s not complicated.

Problems with Sugar
Some of the problems with fluctuating blood sugar problems include mood swings, bouts of depression, malaise, brain fog, compromised memory, poor peripheral circulation (erectile dysfunction anyone?), numbness/tingling in the hands and feet, visual problems, adrenal problems, cravings for sweets and nervousness, to go along with that midsection spread. Sugar also extends its deleterious, sweet tentacles into every phase of our health including suppressing the immune system, upsetting the mineral balance including excreting calcium from bone and making it vulnerable to fracture and osteoporosis, feeding the microbial world of bacteria, mold, candida, feeding cancer cells, causing, or at least, contributing significantly to hypertension, leading to heart problems, causing dental caries, in addition to having weight gain issues.

It’s not a mystery why there’s an obesity epidemic. High sugar intake promotes weight gain. If we are committed to losing weight we need to be like the archer, who focuses not merely on the target but rather the bull’s-eye, once we can develop that commitment to avoiding sugar we then can simply lose weight. It’s not that complicated. It only gets complicated if we continue eating sugar. After all obesity is the number two preventable condition there is.

Next time: Part II: Fructose.

Joel Berger, MS, DC, DABCN June 2013 ©

 

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