Great infographics on SUGAR consumption

SugarScience.org has some great infographics on the effects of sugar for humans eating a processed diet. Here are some of them, hope you can share with your kids and reflect on the benefits of eating greens, vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, instead of processed foods produced by Big Agra!

SugarScience_BeveragesSugarScience_HealthSugarScience_HiddenSugarScience_Sick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What happens when you boil Coke?

Once I wrote about the gluey globs from the tubes of my friend’s soda machines (she owns a convenience store). Now check out what happens when you boil off the water from a can of Coke, leaving just the sugar and chemicals. It looks similar to what my soda-fountain-owning friend described.

It looks like tar! And according to “Crazy Russian Hacker” who performed the experiment, this is just one bottle of Coke! And as the Huffington Post reminds us, the American Heart Association says 180,000 annual deaths may be linked to the consumption of soft drinks.

GSG here, at your service, hoping to get one or two more people to kick the soda habit today!

 

The new Pepsi commercial

Pepsi sugar 1I’ve been hearing this ad on the radio lately. For Pepsi, or maybe it’s Coke. It reminds me of how the media has people so twisted up, with messaging, that the vast majority of us have NO IDEA what’s good for us, and how our diet affects our health, in hundreds of critically important ways.

The ad said, five times, Pepsi is now made with REAL SUGAR! This was their entire pitch. This is what makes Pepsi such a quality product, such a good choice.

I guess on the gradient, REAL SUGAR is now not as bad as many of the even-worse baddies. Somehow the OLD BAD is now the NEW GOOD. Because there are thousands of products containing chemical Nutrasweet and Splenda. Because high-fructose corn syrup as gotten such a deservedly bad rap. Can we just remember that REAL SUGAR started the diabetes and obesity epidemic? It’s still terrible. Our great grandparents got an orange for Christmas, and it tasted so sweet, they’d make it last for days. Cultures that have no disease eat no processed sugar.

But somehow, REAL SUGAR is now a health food?

Please help your kids, your friends, and anyone you might be able to influence, learn the little truths that add up to a huge difference in someone’s health. These are things that I’ve taken the opportunity to educate regular folks in my path, just THIS WEEK, about:

  1. How the Synthroid she is taking is cancer-causing, a drug, and not molecularly the same as what her body produces. That she has a choice. I sent her to Kristie Rosser, my own bioidentical hormone specialist, in American Fork, Utah. How M.D.’s, even those who hang out a shingle prescribing “bioidenticals,” don’t do the deep and detailed homework, to ascertain the variety of interventions needed to balance a 40+ woman’s hormones. That usually includes several blood tests, over the course of a year, allergy testing, and adjustment using natural substances, of several hormones and precursor hormones. That women are programmed to begin dying at about age 40, so in order to “stay young” till we’re 90, we need to have balanced hormones.
  1. That taking salt pills is not a way to stay hydrated and keep electrolytes up at a tennis match.
  1. keep-calm-and-no-sugarThat it’s easy to start remembering to take water everywhere you go, in glass, from your RO (or alkaline!) water faucet at home, rather than drinking out of plastics. That plastics leach into water and cause hormone system malfunction for men, women and children.
  1. That gluten in bread isn’t good for human beings, anymore. It’s been too altered. That it may be why you’re hanging onto 5 pounds and your belly is never flat.

Ah, I could go on. The point is, I love that I get to play a role in teaching people small details that can make a vast difference in how they feel and look. Take the opportunity. Do it non-critically. Tell them you’re happy to help anytime they need it. That you love to share your own research and discoveries in nutrition and wellness.

 

 

THINGS TO DRINK, 1 to 10 scale! (My interview with Ken Krogue of Forbes)

I told my lifelong best friend, Laura, in San Francisco, that a Forbes article talked about GSG. I told her I was doing an interview with the writer, Ken Krogue, founder of InsideSales, the next day.

She texted me, “Tell him Mitt is your cousin. Forbes loves stuff like that.”

I started that morning with this inner dialogue:

“For once DON’T ramble off about stupid things. Don’t don’t don’t. Do NOT talk about Mitt Romney being your mom’s first cousin. Then he might actually KNOW Mitt and somehow perhaps discover Mitt doesn’t actually know you from Eve.”

(The Romneys, we are a BIG family. I have 65 first cousins. My mom has more.)

So Ken calls me for our interview. Right while I am reminding myself to, as my friend Ben says,

“FILTER!”

Ken tells me he is jumping in and out of cabs in New York City, and this is what comes out of my mouth:

“I love New York  City! Just last Thanksgiving, I was running along the Lower East Side, along the Hudson in Manhattan, and I found a dead body in the river!”

That’s good stuff. Really cool thing to say when you have 20 minutes to somehow capture your great passion in life, which you feel is wildly important to millions of people’s futures.

It’s at LEAST as uncool as name-dropping your famous cousin you don’t actually even know.

We did eventually roll around to the great green smoothie:

Ken:  “On a scale of 1 to 10, where is a green smoothie? Is it a 10?”

Robyn:  “Well, no. It’s a 9.”

Ken:  “Wow, then what’s a 10?”

Robyn:  “Fresh juice made from greens and vegetables. I make cucumber, beet, celery, carrot juice. Or a shot of wheat grass juice.”

Ken:  “What about Naked Juice? I know it’s pasteurized. The bottle says ‘lightly pasteurized.’”

Me:  “Mmm, it’s a fruit smoothie, all the enzymes killed, some of the vitamins and minerals degraded, with a little pinch of some good green stuff like spirulina in there. I don’t know that I have anything for 6, 7, and 8, but I give that green Naked juice….maybe a 5.”

Ken:  “How about a V-8?”

Me:  “Um, that’s a 4. Too much salt. Very pasteurized. High in sugars. Mostly tomato, not much else.”

Ken:  “And a glass of orange juice?”

Me:  “2 or 3. An orange is a synergistic thing of beauty, a whole food. Lots of fiber. Some sugar, not too much. The juice, though, has no fiber and the sugar of eight oranges! I’ve never fed my kids juice as I’ve raised them.”

Ken:  “And how about a soda?”

Me:  “Can we have negative numbers?”

Ken and I decide on a ZERO for the soda.

He asks me to do a ranking, for DRINKS a busy executive might buy. The idea is to help someone trying to make better choices. In Ken’s case, the demographic he calls the “old, fat, busy executive.” But we’re all busy, whether we’re an executive or not.

I’m in the demographic you could call “trying-to-pretend-I’m-not-middle-aged, thin, busy, single working mom-athletes.” I think “busy” goes in all the demographic descriptions these days.

Matthew, a “40-ish, busy, thin, single-dad realtor,” sometimes texts me, “IM2BZ2P!”

What about you?

Help me if I’m leaving anything out, or if you disagree with this ranking, tell me why:

THINGS YOU CAN DRINK, WORST TO BEST

-1            Red Bull and other energy drinks, alcoholic drinks

0              Sodas, Diet Sodas, Coffee, Nutrasweet Drinks (Capri Sun, etc.)

1              Zevia or other naturally sweetened sodas, no chemicals, or stevia-sweetened Vitamin Water Zero

2              Fruit juices (no sugar added)

3              V-8

4              Naked Juice, the green one (there’s a small amount of greens in it, read the label for how small!)

5              Kombucha, no sugars added

6              Kefir of any kind, no sugars added (add only fruit)

7              WATER (arguably a 10, because of its importance, but something has to go here in #7)

8              Our green drink you shake up with water

9              green smoothie (no sweetener added)

10           Fresh green / vegetable juice, and wheat grass shots

 

 

 

 

 

 

and the oxalate controversy rages on……

We got lots of interesting email in response to my rebuttal to the wildly exaggerated and completely undocumented article posted by one “Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist” that tells people not to drink green smoothies and says they can “devastate” your health.

Heidi, a “low oxalate” blogger / site owner wrote a response. I like to look at all viewpoints and appreciate that she listed lower-oxalate greens for those who wish to concern themselves with this issue. She has eliminated some health problems by carefully reducing oxalates for 20 years. Those include turnip and mustard greens, dino kale, curly kale, romaine, cabbage, and collards.

Hopefully Heidi has been creative to keep lots of greens and raw roods in her diet while controlling for oxalates. If not, we eliminate one compound causing a problem and dozens of other compounds desperately needed and hard to find in other sources.

I disagree with Heidi that it’s a good idea to boil greens, as has been passed around the internet as a solution to the “problem.” George Mateljan surveys the literature well and concludes that this does not significantly reduce oxalates. And of course we know boiling destroys most of the food’s other best properties—enzymes, vitamins, and minerals.

I do not disagree that there are a few people who are not metabolizing greens well, and I absolutely agree that improving gut health is key to reversing many conditions. Greens have many critical properties that other foods do not, and these nutritional benefits are desperately needed by virtually everyone. So I’m very reticent to embrace the idea that we eliminate an entire class of foods—or we nuke them to death—because a few people have degenerative gut issues wherein an “anti-nutrient” becomes indigestible and even harmful.

As counterpoint, if you have become alarmed, you owe it to yourself and your health to read another viewpoint. Author Victoria Boutenko, my friend and companion in green crime, has written this extremely detailed, source-rich article on all the research that oxalates are FRIEND RATHER THAN FOE. I covered the more neutral ground of referencing the macro study that concluded the evidence does not support oxalates being harmful, nor does it support that cooking greens neutralizes that compound.

We had a few comments on facebook or on the blog that someone who drinks green smoothies got kidney stones. I know people who eat some whole foods and got cancer, too. It’s a major logical fallacy to leap to the conclusion that because you eat one healthy thing, that healthy thing is causing a disease. Even if you started green smoothies two weeks before you get a kidney stone, that doesn’t mean anything. Kidney stones take a long time to build up before they release and begin to cause pain—and possibly damage. Although I cannot rule out that a nutritious food played a role in oxalates binding to calcium, I think far more likely culprits for the vast majority are long-term indulgence in soda, salty foods, and animal proteins—and low water consumption. Please read George Mateljan’s meticulous reviews of oxalate research and conclusions, and/or Victoria Boutenko’s report below.

Before you change your diet to eliminate or massively reduce the highest micronutrient foods on the planet from your diet, the foods that are the crux of the primate diet worldwide (we share more than 98% of their DNA), you ought to read this documentation suggesting that greens may actually prevent kidney stones. We already know they prevent many, many other modern health risks.

Read Victoria’s report HERE.

Can green smoothies “DEVASTATE” your health?

Sarah the Healthy Home Economist online recently posted an article about how green smoothies can “DEVASTATE” your health.  The content was so unsubstantiated that at first I refused to respond to it. But Amanda said, “She has a big audience and people are freaking out about it.”

Sarah cites the oxalates phenomenon, wherein a natural compound (oxalates) occasionally bind to calcium to cause kidney stones. (She infers, without citing evidence, that other more serious health consequences could also be possible.) Greens have oxalic acid in them. Sarah makes several logic leaps and concludes that no one should be drinking green smoothies.

I’m not going to promote her blog article by pointing to it here. She rates her content for how controversial it is. Controversy generates more readers, I guess. It also has the potential to do harm, if what you’re saying is (a) undocumented, (b) contrary to hundreds of studies about the benefits of greens, and (c) featuring a bizarre and untenable conclusion.

Just because someone posts stuff on the internet does not automatically endow that person with credibility. Her argument locks in on a detail — that greens are high in oxalic acid — and misses the larger picture.

Only one source is listed at the end of her article and none are quoted or referenced. The source is a PhD’s book on oxalates and autism and “chronic disorders,” but she never quotes the author or anyone or anything else, so I’m not sure how many of her claims came from this one guy, or what.

I don’t bet the farm on one book or one source. There are quite a few other sources that show that some of the anti-nutrients in our most nutrition-dense foods, actually work together synergistically for our health, rather than against it. I’ve done quite a few blog series on anti-nutrients such as oxalates, goitrogens, purines, and phytates, concluding that none of the anti-nutrients should generally cause people to avoid foods containing them.

Note that at the end of the article, Sarah says to eat greens, if you like them, but not very much. Always cook them, she says, and eat them with butter.

Wow! Really?

Let me quote Dr. Norman Walker in his book Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices: What’s Missing in Your Body?

“Spinach should never be eaten when cooked unless we are particularly anxious to accumulate oxalic acid crystals in our kidneys with the consequent pain and kidney trouble. When spinach is cooked or canned, the oxalic acid atoms become inorganic as a result of excessive heat and may form oxalic acid crystals in the kidneys.

“When the food is raw, whether whole or in the form of juice, every atom in such food is vital ORGANIC and is replete with enzymes. Therefore, the oxalic acid in our raw vegetables and their juices is organic, and as such is not only beneficial but essential for the physiological functions of the body.

“The oxalic acid in cooked and processed foods, however, is definitely dead, or INORGANIC, and as such is both pernicious and destructive. Oxalic acid readily combines with calcium. If these are both organic, the result is a beneficial constructive combination, as the former helps the digestive assimilation of the latter, at the same time stimulating the peristaltic functions in the body.

“When the oxalic acid has become INORGANIC by cooking or processing the foods that contain it, then this acid forms an interlocking compound with the calcium, even combining with the calcium in other foods eaten during the same meal, destroying the nourishing value of both. This results in such a serious deficiency of calcium that it has been known to cause decomposition of the bones.”

So according to Dr. Walker, what Sarah is telling her readers to do is really terrible advice.

One of my favorite sources is George Mateljan, because his staff, and his book The World’s Healthiest Foods, review and quote a tremendous amount of empirical data before making claims. Each section contains an extensive bibliography, and the conclusions are scientific and objective.

He says that a review of the peer-reviewed research reveals that the ability of oxalates to lower calcium absorption is small and does not outweigh the ability of those foods to contribute significant calcium to the diet, since spinach is rich in calcium.

So, one of the primary recommendations of most the sources I’ve read, to avoid stones forming in the body, is to get plenty of calcium from plant sources.

So, the high calcium content in spinach may actually inhibit the formation of stones, even though spinach is also high in oxalates. This is at least some logic or evidence, then, underpinning my theory that there are far more synergies than we currently know about in whole, raw plant foods leading to their clear, incontrovertible place (based on volumes of published research) as the necessary mainstay in our diet. We know that people the world over who eat mostly whole, raw foods simply don’t get sick. We don’t always know WHY.

So screaming that the sky is falling about one compound—in an entire class of our most nutritious foods—seems not only unwise, but even irresponsible, if you have an audience and give nutrition advice.

The jury is still out on so many of the issues Sarah the Healthy Home Economist takes strong, unilateral stands on. For instance, what really causes oxalic acid buildup. (She quotes ZERO evidence that greens do.) Whether greens are high in oxalates are only ONE issue related to whether they cause kidney stones. What if they also have dozens of other nutrient compounds, and fiber, that PREVENT stones from forming? A relevant example would be Mateljan’s review of the published, peer-reviewed literature on spinach, oxalates, and calcium as mentioned earlier.

After I investigated this issue, I wrote this in Chapter 1 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods:

“The research is not clear that restricting foods such as spinach helps prevent stones in those who have previously had them. Many researchers believe that dietary restriction cannot reduce risk of stone formation. In fact, some foods that were assumed to increase stone formation because of oxalate content (like black tea) have appeared in more recent research to have a preventative effect.

“Further, cooking has a small impact (about 10%) on the oxalate content of foods, with no statistically significant lowering of oxalates following blanching or boiling of greens. It appears that the nutritional advantages of eating raw greens continue to far outweigh any benefit of cooking them.”

And yet, with slim evidence, if any, Sarah says green smoothies can “devastate” your health and advises at the end of the article, “Skip the Green Smoothies!”

She undertakes no discussion of the true baddies that cause kidney stones:

Soft drinks

Sugar

Animal proteins

Salty foods (or any refined salt)

Oxalates in spinach (also strawberries, soy, and many other foods) can be difficult to digest for a tiny percentage of the population who are suffering from a few very rare disorders (absorptive hypercalciuria type II, enteric hyperoxaluria, primary hyperoxaluria). But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water here. If you don’t have these disorders, and 99+% of those reading this don’t, greens are not just good food—they are powerful good medicine!

Leafy greens are the most nutrient dense foods on the planet, and cooking them as Sarah instructs kills 100% of their enzymes, and most of their vitamins and minerals, too.

Sarah the Healthy Home Economist uses hyperbolic words to terrify people that eating nutrient dense foods could kill them, but she cites no research whatsoever. She implies that cases of painful sex are on the rise (where does that data come from? Is there any data?) and that oxalates are a “possible culprit.”

There are no references to check, and the bigger issue to me is, if people develop kidney stones, or crystalline deposits in other parts of the body, are greens the real culprit? How would you isolate that factor? Show me the study that did.

It’s terribly unlikely that greens are why we have lots of kidney stones, since almost nobody in America eats very much green food.

And in addition to thousands of testimonials we’ve received, my own research (175 subjects) shows massive health benefits to the green smoothie habit, as published in my bestselling book, The Green Smoothies Diet. In that research, not one person reported kidney stones as a side effect of starting the daily green-drink habit. And yes, we asked.

Nutritionally, crystalline deposits are likely caused by highly acidic foods, especially salt, and not drinking lots of water.

So let’s minimize or eliminate the baddies, listed above. Let’s eat more of the foods that have been linked by hundreds of studies world-wide, to ideal weight and minimized disease risk.

(Dr. Joel Fuhrman does this best, in Eat to Live, quoting literally hundreds of published studies showing the benefits of eating plant foods. This is highly recommended reading.)

Let’s don’t kill greens with cooking, and slather butter on them.

If you’re worried about oxalates, let’s not “throw the baby out with the bathwater,” because people who don’t metabolize that anti-nutrient well need the nutrition in the leafy greens as much as anyone, if not more. Instead:

Let’s rotate greens, use a wide variety in our green drinks—not just spinach. Amanda says a friend of hers had oxalate issues and one took a calcium-magnesium supplement and the pain went away. Several experts I have read suggest getting more calcium from plant sources.

And, eat some good fats with your green smoothie, like avocado or coconut oil or flax oil, to increase calcium absorption. One of my favorite lunches is a quart of green smoothie, with some homemade guacamole and “corn chips” (organic corn tortillas, quartered with a pizza cutter and broiled on both sides, no oil or salt needed).