Exactly Why Artificial Sweeteners Are Terrible

sweet miseryAspartame (or brand name Nutrasweet).  Joe Mercola says it’s the most dangerous substance added to foods. I might quibble with that, because mono sodium glutamate is a neurotoxin every bit as deadly. And the nitrates and nitrites in cured meats are potently carcinogenic.

I’d agree that aspartame is a TOP THREE worst things, to avoid at all costs.

A chemist discovered this concentrated sweetener when testing a drug. Although it was approved in the 70’s, a neuroscience researcher and a consumer attorney objected, and the FDA put the approval on hold.

aspartame3Unfortunately it would not be on hold forever, because chemical company Monsanto bought it and the rest is history. We have over 4,000 food additives approved for use by our FDA, and literally the majority of complaints to the FDA about health problems caused by food additives, are related to aspartame alone. There is far more evidence of the harm caused the American public by aspartame than there ever was about saccharin, which was Americans’ chemical sweetener of choice prior to the 1980’s.

The main complaints to the FDA are related to death, and seizures. Headaches and migraines are also common. When I stopped drinking diet soda many years ago, even though I drank only 3-4 sodas a month, my own migraines stopped completely, never to return.

Others of the 90 documented symptoms of aspartame consumption include dizziness, depression, weight gain, rashes, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, vision and hearing problems, loss of taste, memory loss, joint pain, breathing problems, heart racing, vertigo, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hormone problems, and many more.

Why would ANY of these symptoms be acceptable to us, in order to eat a toxic chemical? And those are just the symptoms we FEEL. What is happening underneath the hood, that we don’t see or feel? What is happening to our disease risk? There is strong evidence that our soaring Multiple Sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases are related to massive consumption of aspartame (and MSG) in North America and Europe.

Physicians and researchers have also documented how chronic conditions can be triggered or worsened by eating this deadly chemical. Those include brain tumors and lesions, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, and more.

ExcitotoxicityNeurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, M.D., has been a tireless researcher, publishing his results of the effect on the American public of the twin neurotoxins that nearly every American eats: monosodium glutamate and aspartame. He references nearly 500 scientific articles about the neurological damage and other symptoms

He calls them excitotoxins, which means that they “excite the nervous system to death.” Don’t you want your nervous system, myelin sheaths intact, to keep you calm and happy for many years to come? If so, stop eating all Nutrasweet. You’re killing neurons every time you eat it.

Even gum. It’s got to go. It was the last thing to go, for me. But gone it is. No more diet sodas. Anything in a regular store that says “sugar free,” check the label, and avoid all aspartame and Nutrasweet 

splendaSplenda is new enough that data isn’t available. Give it another decade. But saccharin was pushed out of the market by the manufacturers of the patented chemical Nutrasweet. The Nutrasweet bullies, trying to make an exclusive spot in the marketplace for their product, leveraged a study showing that massive quantities of saccharin caused cancer in rats. A much higher level of saccharin than any human could ever eat. I’m not saying this to defend saccharin. For all we know, low doses cause cancer too. It’s a safe bet that eating chemical sweeteners is a bad idea in general. But I’m making you aware of why the entire marketplace shifted from thousands of products sweetened with saccharin, to thousands now sweetened with aspartame.

It’s becoming widely known that aspartame, now, is phenomenally neurotoxic. So the fight to molecularly alter a sweetener, patent it, and foist it on the American public, is underway.

rats in maze

Enter Splenda. Be cynical here. This is where your critical thinking skills serve you well. Watch what has gone on, which is a fight over the money made on addiction, nothing more or better than that, and stay out of consumption of these foods. To participate is to be no better than rats in a maze.

truvia deceptionTruvia. Truvia is the newest of the chemical sweeteners. It’s rather insidious marketing ploy is to align itself with stevia, which Americans began using later than much of the rest of the first world, due to the government strong-arming tactics of Nutrasweet’s owner, Monsanto. This isn’t stevia. It’s molecularly altered FROM stevia, so now it’s a synthetic chemical with sweetening properties.

Ask yourself. WHY would a manufacturer take a legitimate herb like stevia and change it? There’s one answer. PURE PROFIT. Because you can patent it and make a billion dollars. Don’t buy in. Your body does not recognize a synthetic chemical as food. It does not digest, assimilate, or eliminate non-food items. We have learned this from long, hard, sad experience.

We will find out only later what THIS white chemical does to the people who jumped in the maze and willingly started running around in it, gobbling up the pellets.

Be a free mouse. Run around in the field, eating grass and normal mouse food. Stay out of the maze.

malitol

Maltitol. It wrecks your gut. It’ll give you horrible gas, and your stomach will do flips. How can this be anything but bad for you? I can find little published on the health effects of sugar alcohols, but if you eat something with maltitol, the immediate effects give you clues that this is problematic as a “food.” 

steviaStevia. Use it if you want. But try to get away from everything needing to be super-sweet. I haven’t seen real evidence, but I’m reading more claims that your pancreas is stimulated by the SWEETNESS of a food, so replacing one toxic sweetener with a nontoxic one may not solve all our problems. Learn to love the taste of real food.

Stevia, at the end of the day, is still a crutch. I don’t know of any ill-health effects reported from its use. Still, only the refined version avoids “aftertaste,” so that’s mostly what’s being used. The less you use it, the better, if you’re serious about a whole-foods diet. However, I’m not concerned about it as a very minor part of the diet, and it would be my sweetener of choice in those I’m reviewing here.

Saccharin. It’s made a slight, half-hearted attempt back on the market. It was put on a rail out-of-town for causing cancer, but the studies did use massive amounts of the sweetener. That said, I wouldn’t call it safe. It’s probably preferable to aspartame, but that’s akin to saying it’s better to have prostate cancer than colon cancer. That’s true, but why have any cancer at all?

In conclusion, I’d far rather have you eat SUGAR than aspartame (Nutrasweet) or Splenda or Truvia. Sugar is deadly for your health, don’t get me wrong. But, eating neurotoxic chemicals is even worse.no sweeteners

fruitdatesnatural-sweetenersThe best sweeteners are fruit and dates. Those are whole foods with fiber (to slow impact on the blood sugar) and many health benefits. The next-best are coconut sugar (my current favorite, lower glycemic index and high in minerals, neutral flavor), raw/organic agave, Grade B maple syrup, raw honey, brown rice syrup, or molasses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anti-Nutrients….are you letting them scare you off whole foods? part 1 of 3

One of the more infuriating aspects of nutrition education is the highly confusing anti-nutrients debate.

For example, hot issues include but are not limited to….

Grains have PHYTATES.

Spinach has OXALATES.

Apple seeds have CYANIDE.

Legumes have PURINES.

Broccoli and cabbage have GOITROGENS.

Dr. Mercola propagates a bunch of needless fear, attacking all grains and some vegetables because they contain an anti-nutrient. He creates fear about lots of whole foods people have eaten for centuries. And then he moves on to leverage that to sell whey protein (an over-popular, highly refined food).

Keep in mind that I feel some of Mercola’s stuff is brilliant, important, and well researched. Some of it is salesy, with shoddy thinking/research. Sometimes I wonder if he doesn’t watch over his staff writers very well…..

No one addresses this issue more logically, than my friend Jim Simmons, whose book Original Fast Foods is a great addition to your library. Because it’s excellent, well researched, and comprehensive, with good recipes. It’s the closest thing out there to the diet I teach. There are lots of raw-food recipe books, but people burn out from how labor-intensive they can be. Eating cooked legumes and whole organic grains is a way to eat a whole-foods diet without burnout, and with the high-fiber, high-nutrition, low-effort gains of, for instance, split peas, lentils, and black beans. I am suspect of any eating plans that ban such foods. I advocate for 60-80% raw plant foods—but I feel that some cooked vegetables, legumes, and grains are a wonderfully healthy part of a good disease-preventative diet, as evidenced by long history.

Here’s what Jim said to me via email, when I posted on the goitrogens issue last July:

“Research now supports the idea that anti-nutrients are nature’s way of helping us to be more intuitive in our eating patterns. For instance, some spinach is really good for you, but as you consume too much, the level of oxalates will build up in your bloodstream to a point that a signal will be sent to your brain and then a signal is sent from the brain to your endocrine system. The long and the short is, you will lose your appetite for spinach until the level of oxalates drop sufficient that your taste for spinach is turned back on….don’t get too complicated in your eating habits.”

I agree with Jim. Anti-nutrients are in most, if not all, whole foods. This does not mean they are bad, scary, or to be avoided. God put them in the food for a reason.

Tomorrow I’ll write about each of those anti-nutrients.

Jim’s response to my article on GOITROGENS

These are author Jim Simmons’ blog comment in response to my latest report on goitrogens and cruciferous vegetables. I feel it deserves front-and-center attention:

Regarding oxalates and other anti-nutrients: recently Dr. Mercola went at it again with fear-mongering toward ‘all’ whole grains and even a variety of vegetables. By the time he got done with all the foods you cannot eat or that are problematic, there was not much left to choose from.

Then he introduced a variety of products he sells, such as whey protein, chlorella, and so forth. I’ve noticed this pattern off and on with Mercola articles. Some are so well written and researched that they are true contribution. Others extrapolate data from research in unhelpful and problematic ways. Others do not recognize a wealth of data that do not support some fairly narrow claims. When it comes to oxalates, this is just one more “anti-nutrient” that exists in a healthful food. If you were to cease eating foods that possess anti-nutrients, you would have to stop eating real, whole foods.

Therefore, what is the answer? Research now supports the idea that anti-nutrients are nature’s way of helping us to be more intuitive in our eating patterns. For instance, some spinach is really good for you, but as you consume too much, the level of oxalates will build up in your bloodstream to a point that a signal will be sent to your brain and then a signal is sent from the brain to your endocrine system. The long and the short is, you will lose your appetite for spinach until the level of oxalates drop sufficient that your taste for spinach is turned back on. The bottom line is this; don’t get too complicated in your eating habits.

Eat as many whole foods as possible without blending, grinding, and so forth, which best supports the physiology of your body. When it comes to even whole fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, don’t force yourself to eat any of them just because they are healthful in nature. Rather, pay attention and respect your desire or lack thereof to eat any particular healthful food. Chew it slowly and enable digestion to take its most natural course. Best!

GSG response:

[Jim is a friend of mine, and I highly recommend his fabulous book Original Fast Foods, because I love it. I agree with him entirely about Dr. Mercola’s latest. In fact, I agree with Jim Simmons probably with more regularity than with any other nutrition author/expert.]

Exactly! Reddy and Sathe published a book on phytates (another anti-nutrient; I teach about this in Ch. 9 of 12 Steps). Contrary to the latest hype, they present quite a body of evidence that phytates may be friend rather than foe. (The logic is similar to what I’ve just presented in our conversation about goitrogens last week.)

If we eliminate any food containing the so-called “anti-nutrients” (that very term encourages anxiety), we eliminate most whole foods. Occasionally I have a reader send me an email that she’s learned that apple seeds contain cyanide. (A trace amount of a natural substance that is does not react in the body like eating chemical cyanide would.) Of course “MSG” occurs naturally in trace amounts, in some highly nutritious plant foods, I am concerned only about the chemical version that is well documented as a potent neurotoxin. I have discussed goitrogens and oxalates on this blog numerous times—just more examples.

Jim is right that many if not most foods contain anti-nutrients. We don’t yet know, fully, the role that they play and why.   But again, we know from thousands of studies that whole plant foods are our most preventative, health-supporting diet.

I trust my tastes to let me know if I get too much of any food. This happened recently as I was drinking 4 oz. of wheat grass juice daily. One day I went to Good Earth TWICE and had 4 oz. twice that day. I immediately had a brain fog and slight headache for 2 hours after that. My body was telling me to lighten up on the wheat grass juice. So I did.

Just a little perspective here: I’m far more concerned about toxicity people are getting from hot dogs, than from too much wheat grass juice. The effect of the former is nitrites building up in various organs (very difficult to eliminate chemicals that we eat) and initiating and promoting growth of cancer cells. The effect of the latter is to cause more detox than I’m comfortable with.

Question authority and use your critical thinking skills

One of my readers, Amanda, sent me this exchange that got her labeled a ‘Dissenter’ and ejected from Joe Mercola’s forum. Whey protein, including his, is a highly processed food with additives and flavorings you should avoid. Most Americans are overdosing on protein, but if you feel you need more, I hope you look to whole foods or better products than this. Eat more yogurt, nuts, legumes, and greens–all high in protein–or a whole-foods, plant-source protein powder. I would put you into the forum Amanda was rejected from to see an M.D. and others disagree with Joe’s sales claims, but you are forced to sign up for his newsletter in order to see the discussion.

And regarding the convo below (I have not changed Joe’s misspellings or anything in either party’s words), it’s fine to have heroes as long as we maintain our critical thinking skills, ask questions, and put our own instincts and research first as Amanda is doing here.

Let’s don’t eat “byproducts” of anything.

Posted On Jul 13, 2011

Just discovered that one of my health heroes, Dr. Mercola, is using maltodextrin, a corn by-product, in his Miracle Whey powder. Not just any maltodextrin, mind you, but one produced by a “joint venture” of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), one of the massively corrupt Big Ag companies, and the Matsutani Chemical Industry Company. Ew! Didn’t say this on the label–in fact, the Nutritional Information panel for Miracle Whey was not available in the store.

I received the product and asked why there is maltodextrin in it, when Dr. Mercola writes articles saying not to use it. I received a reply saying basically that THIS maltodextrin is GOOD for me because it’s Fibersol! Oh, phew, I feel better! Another Frankenfood in my breakfast bowl made by ADM, a heavily subsidized Big Ag conglomerate, and a chemical industry company, which I’m sure is concerned only for my health and well-being. Yea! I’m so relieved.

ADM is one of the world’s largest producers of high-fructose corn syrup and many other of the toxic, processed foods that Dr. Mercola is always warning us about. Makes me wonder–does he know anymore what’s going into his products???

Ask questions, and don’t be afraid to be a pain in a–. It’s your health and our environment at stake! We must regularly challenge all authorities–even those we think we can trust.

 

Dr. Mercola  

Joined On 12/1997

Posted On Jul 13, 2011

This has been mentioned dozens of times on the site, you have just never seen it. The maltodextrin content in our products is naturally occurring  digestive resistant maltodextrin, which Is a non-digestible fiber. It is NOT the cheap maltodextrin your are referring to which is easily broken down and will stimulate insulin release.

Our maltodextrin is just another name for a water soluble fiber (long chain saccarides) that naturally occur in maize and other plants. That fiber has shown to help lower blood sugar and blood lipids. And it also works as a pre-biotic food to support health gut flora. Probiotics are essentially important for the digestion and utilization of protein. In fact, probiotics increase the biological value of the protein. This is completely different than the typical NON digestive resistant maltodextrin that is use in many other products that will raise your insulin level and also has MSG.

secretbird  

Joined On 4/2009

Posted On Jul 13, 2011

Dr. Mercola, thanks for your reply. However, you seem to have completely missed my point.

I understand what Fibersol, the type of maltodextrin you include in your Miracle Whey formulation, is and why you’re using it. My problem with Fibersol, and thus your Miracle Whey, is its source.

As I stated in my original post, a quick Google search revealed that Fibersol is a “joint venture” between Archer Daniels Midland–one of the world’s most egregious examples of Big Ag corruption and environmental devastation, and the Matsutani Chemical Industry Corporation, whose name alone is sufficient evidence that their products do not belong in our food supply.

You yourself have been a vociferous and passionate advocate of withdrawing support from Big Ag by using our main power as consumers: not buying their products and eating whole, fresh foods as much as possible. You have also been one of my main teachers and information sources in the health field, and I’ve paid attention when you say to read labels, ask questions, and do research. That’s all I’m doing now.

If I’d known that your product contained maltodextrin, which I didn’t because the Nutritional Information panel is not available in your store (why?), I would have asked these questions earlier and probably not bought the product for ethical reasons–not merely because it contains maltodextrin.

I want to thank you for all you do and for the excellent information you disseminate. Having been ranked as the No. 1 source for health information, it’s essential now that you live up to your own standards.  With great respect,  Amanda de la Garza

Dr. Mercola  

Joined On 12/1997

Posted On Jul 13, 2011

The digestive resistant maltodextrin (from maze) that we use in our whey protein has unmatched nutritional properties particularly regarding the sustainability of blood sugar and blood lipids. It is by all means a water soluble fiber (unlike conventional maltodextrin which is a high glycemic carbohydrate). Unfortunately some unique and valuable products are produced by companies which may not fit your ethical standards but the products that they produce have no substitute – that’s including the gasoline you put in your car, the antibiotics you need to use against infection, etc.

Nutritional information is available for all our products at the bottom of the sales page. Seems you just overlooked it.

secretbird  

Joined On 4/2009

Posted On Jul 14, 2011

Dr. Mercola, with all due respect, your ethical standards are in question here, not mine. I’m not formulating and marketing a product whose second ingredient is a fake fiber co-manufactured by a Big Ag conglomerate and a chemical company.

I strongly disagree with your assertion that your use of Fibersol in Miracle Whey is an unavoidable choice similar to us having to use gasoline for our cars and antibiotics for infection (particularly that last, coming from you!). We have many choices available to us in terms of what we put in our bodies, including whether we eat at McDonald’s or have a grass-fed, organic steak for dinner. Indeed, you yourself were a major influence on my awareness that we must be informed about the sources of our food!

I’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you’ve been too busy to stay in close touch with your formulation process and supply chain, rather than think that you knowingly chose to include Fibersol-brand maltodextrin, which might rightly be called a “Frankenfood,” in a product that you are now marketing heavily on your web site.

In the former case, I hope that as one of the world’s leading authorities on health, you will do the right thing and reformulate your Miracle Whey to follow the very same good advice you frequently offer your many readers–namely, to avoid Big Ag- and chemical company-created “food products” like the plague that they are.

I have been one of your biggest fans and supporters, Dr. Mercola. All I’m asking is that you uphold the same high standards you’ve encouraged me and millions of others to live by. Thank you for your time, and best regards, Amanda de la Garza

secretbird  

Joined On 4/2009

Posted On Jul 15, 2011

Dr. Mercola, I notice you’ve slapped a “Dissenter Badge” on my posts now, indicating that I post “comments that are in disagreement with the Mercola.com community” and that my comments “should be viewed with caution.”

It’s very telling that such a designation exists in your forum.

Thanks for letting me know exactly where you stand on my request that you observe the same standards you encourage your readers to live by.

I hope that Archer Daniels Midland and the Matsutani Chemical Industry Corporation appreciate your continuing financial support through the inclusion of Fibersol-brand maltodextrin in your Miracle Whey products.

Best of luck with your business.

Received within a half-hour of above post: 7/15: “Content contained within your posting violated our terms of service and your posting has been deleted. Repeat or flagrant offenses of this nature may result in your account being banned.”

Response of an M.D. / PhD to the China Study debate

Are you sick of debate on the China Study?

Remember how Mercola said his D.O. experience is more valuable than a PhD nutrition researcher’s?

If you’re not too sick of reading opinions, here’s a comment by a reader  that was buried deep in the comments on my blog, by an M.D. who also has a PhD. I think it’s important to note that while Mercola’s reported experience eating fruit for breakfast, and his triglycerides increasing (he implies these things are linked), is rather isolated.

(With anything that falls in the “case study” category, at best, I have this reaction: “Hm, interesting–but I’m putting no stock in that without more compelling evidence.)

Dear Robyn,

I want to respond to your message here as relates to The China Study and Dr. Mercola. Generally, Dr. Mercola is well respected in the health food industry; however, I think his analysis here is flawed. He is correct that The China Study is an observational study, but so are many studies. It is a very extensive, well designed study done by a top notch team of researchers

over many years.

They studied 6,500 people over diverse parts of China and came up with over 8,000 statistically significant associations between lifestyle, diet and disease.

I do think he may have generalized a little far from the associations found with casein, the major milk protein, and all protein. Nevertheless, it is hard to ignore the results of this study and the associations between high protein diet and diseases ranging from cancers to a wide range of autoimmune diseases.

I also found Dr. Mercola’s experience of moving some fruit into his breakfast and supposedly that causing him to have triglyceride levels of 3000 a little hard to believe. I have done hundreds of lipid panels and have never seen a triglyceride level even remotely close to that, not that it couldn’t happen.

There may be familial illness in his case but even those people generally don’t have levels approaching that. Another point is that high-protein, meat-based diets have for the most part been shown to be often quite harmful. Even the American Heart Association agrees with that. Dr. Atkins would probably also agree if he were still alive.

I do agree that one needs to listen to one’s body, but people are often fooled due to the very strong addictive qualities of our modern food industry. A great resource for that is Dr. Kessler’s book, “The End of Overeating”. People are very fooled into what they think they need and want, food-wise.

Dr. Mercola’s Nutritional Typing test asks a series of food preferences and how people feel with various food selections. How can one answer those questions realistically if they have no concept what true organic food is and how it operates in the body? Of course, more people are

going to associate with the higher protein diets, that is what they have been eating all their lives and that is what they think they need and feel best on. They have never been detoxified from those foods and been in touch with what they could feel like if they only knew.

Keep up your good work Robyn!

Sincerely,

Tim M., M.D., Ph.D.

Robyn’s response:

One thing I agree with in Minger’s critique (and what you say here) is that it’s a stretch to assume that because casein (milk protein) caused havoc in the laboratory, that all animal protein causes the same problems. I found Campbell to be honest about this, however, when I attended his lecture.

And he spoke, I spoke to him in person about whether any of his research could indicate whether kefir or yogurt–enzyme- and probiotic-rich raw milks with proteins broken down by fermentation–are a problem. He said, “I don’t know. We didn’t study that. It’s possible.”

this is Dr. Campbell’s response

Tomorrow, on to other topics. Today, here is T. Colin Campbell’s response to Mercola’s missive:

Dr. Mercola raises so many questions that it would take me at least several weeks if not months to answer. He invents clever sayings and makes serious innuendos that are total nonsense–indeed slanderous. His questions are rhetorical, with meaning, and no matter what I say, the questions will always remain–without my answers.

But here are a few general comments that strike me as main points:

1. Dr. Mercola’s main mantra (business model) is Nutritional Typing. In some way (maybe with paid phone assistance from his staff), we are supposed to listen to our body to determine which of three dietary types best suit us. He then becomes more specific as to the importance of eating foods in the right order and of the right type. These recommendations, he claims, are science based.

This is a clever strategy for positioning his company in the marketplace. He casts a broad net to capture as many customers as possible for his many products that he sells. According to him, we fit within one of these three diet groups, ranging from 1) the high carb-low fat types vs. 2) the low carb-high fat types vs. (3) those in-between, thus capturing for his company a much larger customer base.

I deeply respect our personal freedoms to do as we wish (as long as it doesn’t harm others). But given the complex environment within which we choose foods, I cannot understand how we can reliably determine what dietary patterns and order of eating foods is best for our long-term health. I know that some people can recognize specific food allergies, but I also know that we tend to choose food for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is convenience, avoidance of pain and sense of ‘pleasure’ or gratification (read the little gem of a book, The Pleasure Trap, by Lisle and Goldhamer to see how so many of us continually choose foods not in our best interests). His method defies common sense. He says that this is based on science but, if so, I want to see the evidence. I see none. To say that we can determine, with any certainty, which nutritional type, based on our personal but very nebulous assessment of our metabolism is hocus pocus.

On his claims about science, Mercola is out of his element–way out. He excuses his failure to document his professional experiences in the scientific literature because he (and his compatriots like Dr. Eades) don’t have time in their busy practice of medicine, as if public documentation of evidence is a bit of a luxury that is not really that important. This is an extremely lame excuse, exposing his fundamental misunderstanding of what scientific validity really means. Scientific evidence, as accepted by virtually everyone, is that which represents proper scientific experimental design and subsequent publication in the peer-reviewed literature.

Doing and reporting on peer reviewed research may not be a perfect solution for establishing truths (nothing is) but it is far better than listening to someone only telling us what he/she does or believes while giving us no way to evaluate such claims. Peer-review, the main engine of scientific validity, means that our research findings are subjected to the critique of professional colleagues before it is published in the professional literature. Even more to the point, in order for us to get the funding to do the research, especially from institutions like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or the National Science Foundation (NSF), we are required to undergo a most serious and somewhat protracted exercise of defending our hypotheses before committees of professional peers that may include as many as 15 members (I know this, having been on several of these panels). The chances of successfully obtaining funding is, on average, only one in six. In short, peer review is rigorous both in getting the funding and in publishing the results. Anyone, like Mercola, who claims scientific validity for his personal/professional observations is really at liberty to say whatever pleases them–and their wallets. This opens doors wide for snake oil ‘science’.

2. He relies on the bogus idea that it is our individual differences in “metabolism” that makes it possible for us to determine which foods please our metabolism and guard us against future ailments.  He has no idea what is metabolism. It changes and responds continuously and it is an enormously complex system of digestion, absorption, transport, enzymatic synthesis and breakdown of intermediates and distribution, excretion and storage of metabolites, all in an effort to maintain homeostasis. Reducing this concept to a simple phenomenon of energy use, which we can assess for ourselves is more superficial than adjectives can describe.

Read the rest of this report here.

my last post on the anti-China-Study Mercola newsletter

Related to questions received from yesterday’s post—

I don’t know if anyone has critiqued the China Study who isn’t associated with the Weston A. Price Foundation. All the criticism I have read has been. I’m not sure who financed Denise Minger, a 23-year old college student and “professional sock puppeteer” who is paid to write nutrition/health articles, according to her facebook profile.

Again, my friends, I trust Oxford and Cornell’s research (I grilled Campbell about his funding sources)   a bit more than a college student and will be interested to read the Johns Hopkins epidemiologists’ and Campbell’s rebuttals to her arguments.

What else might be to blame for a vegan diet making people feel unwell? There are many answers to that, but the problem is that over and over, comments reveal that

People think I am advocating for a vegan diet.

I’m not.

What I advocate for is eating far more plant food. Period. It’s up to you to decide where animal protein belongs in your life, if it does.

Can anyone really disagree with eating far more whole plant foods, in the face of America’s average of 1-2 servings daily, half of that being in the form of fried potatoes? In the face of now THOUSANDS of studies (even if you leave the China Study out of it?) telling us that myriad compounds in raw plant food heal us and prevent degenerative disease?

I believe when we’ve been eating a certain way (i.e., 20% animal protein, a U.S. average), we often experience a reaction that isn’t entirely pleasant when we shift that balance. Just like when you try to change patterns in a relationship, the other person often doesn’t like or understand it and chaos ensues until a new equilibrium is achieved. If you eat meat for dinner every night for 50 years, and one night you eat a vegetarian meal and you don’t feel the same afterward, does that mean that vegetables and brown rice aren’t good for you personally?

I purposefully leave you to your own personal experimentation to find what works for you. I don’t say there’s a “one size fits all” approach. I’m not into “typing,” until I see some major data backing it up. My interest is primarily in practical ways to actually DO what others’ research has already documented very well. I would like to see us return to eating whole foods. (However, my own research published in The Green Smoothies Diet is a slam-dunk that when we eat more green foods, we feel better–almost 96% of us do, anyway.)

If some want to ignore SEVERAL THOUSAND statistically significant pieces of data in the China Study, that is their prerogative. (Statistically significant means the findings fall outside the margin of error.)

I maintain my own prerogative to point out some problems underpinning Mercola’s wholesale rejection of those thousands of data points, as he sells his nutritional typing and related animal-protein products.

Mercola says he has THREE specific eating plans and about 33% of the Western population fits in each one. He says those ratios are different in other countries. I would like to see the data behind that, peer reviewed in a scientific journal. Because if there isn’t any, it’s a grand assertion with big, potentially dangerous, ramifications for people following those recommendations.

Dr. Mercola attacks the China Study: clash of the titans

When Joe Mercola contradicts the basics of nutrition taught on GreenSmoothieGirl.com and in my books, we get hundreds of emails.

Mercola’s newsletter yesterday supposedly exposes the “DARK SIDE” of the China Study. I’m not going to link to it and therefore give it a higher page rank. It doesn’t deserve it.

Before undertaking to explain what’s radically wrong with this article, let me say this: I agree with Mercola on some macro issues:

  1. That prevention and natural remedies are the best first-line treatments, rather than drug/surgery medical interventions.
  2. That far too much of our data comes from research that drug companies and agribusiness paid for.
  3. That sugar and processed foods are killing us. (Mercola implies, with the “false dilemma” logical fallacy, in yesterday’s newsletter that either animal proteins are killing us, or processed foods are, as if they are mutually exclusive.)

But we must use critical thinking skills to expose fatal flaws in his comments about Dr. T. Colin Campbell and the China Study.

(When you put yourself in the public domain, you invite dissent. Juxtaposition of ideas creates a climate for the truth to emerge.)

As I strongly disagree with Mercola here, I will invariably get some angry email. Most readers will appreciate that my only motive is to learn and then explain the truth (or as close as I can get to it) in this world of nutrition that has so many competing voices.

My own 12 Steps to Whole Foods is a compendium of the best nutrition practices. It advocates for eating much more plant food (especially raw food) than the average American gets and is a practical HOW-TO guide, more than a philosophical debate or meta-review of research. It purposefully doesn’t advocate for vegetarianism or veganism, although I am supportive of others who choose to wear those labels. My own family, except for two vegetarian daughters, eats a bit of homemade kefir, and occasional animal products when we are away from home.

Mercola attempts to discredit the joint effort of Oxford and Cornell Universities by calling theirs an “observational” study, which he infers is somehow inferior to having once had a medical practice.

The Oxford/Cornell China study is a very sound, huge, comprehensive study spanning over 25 years. My own advanced degree, background in research, and understanding of research principles, lead me to say this:

I am thankful, finally, for a vast piece of research in epidemiology that was not funded or influenced by the drug companies or agribusiness (which primarily hawks refined corn/wheat/soy products and processed and refined and GMO foods). I see no conflicts of interest in the Oxford/Cornell research. I see one of the purest voices in nutrition in Campbell and his team.

I interviewed him by phone as I wrote this, and he said, “I feel personally responsible to Americans to tell them what we did with their money,” because taxpayers funded the China study, not profit-motivated industries.

The research was the next natural step from methodical and rigorous animal studies. It’s   a remarkable piece of research examining 6,500 adults in 130 villages of rural China where some populations eat lots of animal protein, and others eat very little. The book The China Study represents the totality of Campbell’s experiences. Those include his many years of work in the Philippines studying malnourished children, to his experimental lab research funded by the National Institutes of Health, to the human studies project in China.

Mercola refers to Campbell “forcing” everyone into vegetarianism. This makes no sense on two levels beyond the unilateral emotionalism of the word.

First, the two diets Campbell studied were 20% animal protein (which correlates to the Standard American Diet) and 5% animal protein. Neither groups studied were vegetarian. The 5% group correlates to a low-animal-protein diet, similar to Daniel’s Biblical diet, as well as the scriptural “Word of Wisdom” counsel to eat meat “sparingly, only in times of winter/famine/cold.”

Second, Campbell takes the tone of scientist. He reports and interprets the data. He doesn’t “force” or even recommend any specific diet. He allows the reader to infer from the data whatever diet they choose to follow. He isn’t an internet maven selling a philosophy; he’s a researcher who found the opposite of what he expected to. He grew up on a dairy cattle farm and thought, well into adulthood, that a high-protein diet was ideal. Like John Robbins, son of the Baskin Robbins founder, only data convinced him otherwise. I personally am thankful for honest and pure truth seekers, willing to turn another way, when data challenges popular culture and custom.

Mercola attempts to downgrade the massive China project as “an observational study,” which he says does not “prove causation.” This is puzzling to me based on a three logic flaws.

First, Campbell is a scientist and would never say his study “proves causation.” No scientist would. I’m not a scientist but know enough about it to be aware you never achieve or claim “proof of causation.” Mercola gives a two-sentence primer on how the scientific process works: initial study, hypothesis, controlled trial. Which is precisely what Campbell and the research team did:

For the rest of this report, click here.

I just interviewed T. Colin Campbell

Normally I blog in the morning. Not this morning, because I got Mercola’s newsletter lambasting T. Colin Campbell, PhD, of Cornell University, and his massive study known as the Oxford/Cornell China Project.

I threw everything on my schedule to the wind today and have spent hours writing a response to the Mercola newsletter. We will invariably deal with hundreds of emails about it so I want to respond to it immediately. I hope to have that blog entry and newsletter ready to go out by morning.

In my research, I spoke at length with Dr. Campbell on the phone.   Apart from the details and questions we discussed, all of which will be reflected in my report tomorrow, I learned something interesting.

A venerable Hollywood group with very prestigious directors has produced a movie called Forks Over Knives, about the careers and research and lives of Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D., and Colin Campbell, PhD. Both were raised with meat-intensive diets on farms, and their long and lettered careers intersected early on.

The pre-screenings have been sold out. I would fly to a screening if given a chance! It comes out in theaters next March. If we haven’t all been able to see it, maybe I can arrange a screening at the GreenSmoothieGirl retreat April 21-23.

gift ideas

An email I got this month that I appreciate and want to share:

Robyn,

I wanted to share a Mother’s Day gift idea I came up with using your recipe books.

My husband and I are watching our finances right now and we were trying to come up with a way to do something special for our mothers. One lives an 8-hour drive away, the other lives a 22-hour drive away, so it’s difficult to find inexpensive ways to celebrate the day. In addition, my father’s birthday is coming just a week after Mother’s Day! Talk about expensive!

So, with some creativity and your GreenSmoothie.com resources, I put together some fun gifts. I made the “Gooey Chewy Caramel Corn,” “Chia Snowballs” and “Candy Bar Fudge.” I put them in tupperware containers, wrote out the respective recipes on purple index cards and taped them to the containers, put a bow around the containers, included a nice card and a $5 book I purchased for each person. I shipped them yesterday (USPS flat-rate boxes made this affordable–the fudge is HEAVY!) and cannot wait to hear how they like them. For three gifts, we spent a total of $60, including shipping!

Thanks to your wonderful Holiday Favorites recipe book, my mother, mother-in-law and father will be receiving gifts they will actually like, be exposed to healthy food that tastes GREAT … and my husband and I got away with spending very little!

I also wanted to make a quick comment regarding this whole Mercola debate. I have been following Mercola for about 9 years. He’s opened my eyes to many things and I trust him as a valuable health resource. If I have questions as to whether something is truly healthy, I check his site. However, when I read his site and emails, I get nervous, anxious, and a “there’s no way I can do this” feeling. The frustrated perfectionist in me can’t handle hearing about the 101 things I need to change on a daily basis. I’m sorry, but I cannot invest a few hundred dollars in changing out my doorknobs so they hold on to less germs!

Your program, website and emails, on the other hand, give instruction that is do-able and affordable. I actually get motivated and encouraged just looking at your website (rather than anxious and depressed!).

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for providing the service and information you do. I continue to spread the word about your site and program.

Thank you!
Melodie