Toxic Food in Your Diet
What do we mean by toxic food?
Why should we be advised to "eat food?"
Because, he says, most of what we consume today is not food. Instead, we are consuming "edible foodlike substances" - no longer the product of nature but of food science.
These toxic food substances contain many ingredients that are known carcinogens (cancer causing) and neurotoxins (toxic to the brain). It's interesting to note that many of these additives, which are popular in colorful kids' foods and convenient packaged foods, have been banned in European countries.
The Modern Industrial Food Supply
..Do you find it hard to believe that any western government, including those in the US and Canada, would allow this toxic food into our food supply and encourage us to feed it to our children? As hard as it is to believe, it's true. Powerful corporate interests and food industry lobbyists have gone so far as to rewrite nutritional findings and the resulting governmental recommendations - you can read about this in the New York Times article, in Pollan's book, and other news sources such asNaturalNews.com.
To protect your health and prevent diseases, it's essential that you take responsibility for your own health by being an informed consumer. Of course, this may not be as easy as it sounds. Companies who market toxic food offer a wide array of fake foods touting health claims on their packaging. Pollan suggests that if a food product is labeled with a health claim (all-natural, healthy, low fat) it's a good indication that it's not real food.
Shelf life can be another indication of fake food. The World Famous Burger Museum, inspiration for the Bionic Burger movie, reveals the true story of a man who created a burger museum after accidently leaving a Big Mac in his coat pocket for one year. His collection of burgers has lasted two decades retaining their original look and smell. What did he do to preserve them? Nothing - they are already made of immortal chemicals - "chemicals that create the illusion of food."
You may also be surprised to find out that many of the popular foodlike items on supermarket shelves include petroleum based ingredients. When author Steve Ettlinger's daughter asked him "Where does Polysorbate 60 come from, Daddy?" he decided to find out. He discovered that Polysorbate 60 is a gooey mix made of corn, palm oil and petroleum that can't spoil and now replaces dairy products in Twinkies and other processed foods. To discover the true origins of each ingredient on the Twinkie label and take a peek into the major industrial complex that supports our food supply, read his book Twinkie, Deconstructed.
Where does this leave us as shoppers? What is there left to eat? Pollan's solution is to shop as though your great grandmother were looking over your shoulder. Would she recognize the items that you put into your cart? Does it look anything like food in its natural form?
Here is a list of the cocktail soup we can commonly find in processed toxic food:
- High Fructose Corn Syrup contributes to type II diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
- Partially Hydrogenated Oils (Trans Fats) cause high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease.
- Petroleum Based Ingredients (such as Polysorbate 60 and TBHQ) are known to cause cancer and endocrine disruption.
- Artificial Colors (like Blue #1 & #2, Red #3, and Yellow #6) have been shown to cause tumors in the brain, adrenal glands, thyroids, and kidneys of lab animals. They are also linked to nervous system disorders and ADHD.
- Propyl Gallate, BHA and BHT have been shown to cause cancerous tumors in lab animals.
- Potassium Bromate which has been banned in Europe, Canada, China, and many other countries, not including the USA, is a known carcinogen.
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) contributes to heart disease and nervous system disorders and often causes noticeable symptoms of toxicity such as nausea, headaches, and vomiting.
- Olestra is a synthetic fat that is not absorbed by the body so it can cause diarrhea, loose stools, abdominal cramps and flatulence, as well as other effects. Further, olestra reduces the body's ability to absorb beneficial fat-soluble nutrients, including lycopene, lutein and beta-carotene.
- Sodium Nitrite (Sodium Nitrate) is used to fix artificial colors in cured meats and has been linked to colon cancer and lung cancer.
- Artificial sweeteners - like Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), Sucralose (Splenda), Saccharin (Sweet'N Low, SugarTwin), Acesulfame Potassium (Sunett, Sweet One), Neotame, Cyclamate, Sorbitol or Mannitol, are linked to nervous system disorders, Alzheimer's disease and auto immune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) as well as many forms of cancer.
Go Organic for your organs…
Pesticides are designed to kill living things. They do this job very well in the fields and in your body. Ingesting these toxic chemicals in your daily diet can lead to many forms of cancer and neurological damage.
"More than 20% of the pesticides currently registered in the U.S. are linked to cancer, birth defects, developmental harm, or central nervous system damage."
Gabriel Cousens, M.D., Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine
Since the industrialization of agriculture in the 1950s, U.S. Farmers have been steadily increasing their pesticide usage year after year. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, as quoted by ABC News, about 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used in the United States every year. And scientists with the Environmental Working Group Study have documented nearly 300 industrial chemicals in U.S. babies at birth.
The neurotoxins in pesticides have a huge impact on learning ability and behavior in children. Try replacing your child's conventional toxic food diet with organic foods and you will see a dramatic improvement in behavior, attention and comprehension. Or try it on yourself and notice your memory improve and your concentration come back.
Animal foods deliver an added punch…
If you eat animal products (like meat, eggs, milk, ice cream, butter and cheese) you may want to know what comes along with them. Conventional livestock comes into contact with many chemicals to become toxic food on your plate. Administered hormones and antibiotics as well as non organic feed and contaminated grazing ground feeds them high doses of their own toxic food. In order to protect themselves, animals store those chemicals in their fat, increasing their concentration. When you eat the meat, eggs, milk, and cheese that come from those animals you consume a highly concentrated dose of that animal's accumulated toxins.
Animals raised for milk and meat production are given high doses of powerful growth hormones to make them grow bigger and produce more than they could naturally. These hormones are strong drugs and are illegal for people to buy over-the-counter. Yet every time you eat conventional animal products you get a generous dose of these drugs that weren't prescribed to you.
Consuming hormone-laced animal products disturbs the delicate balance of hormones in your body that control your endocrine system, sex organs and brain. Some of the most aggressive and deadly forms of cancer (such as breast, prostate and ovarian) are driven by these elevated hormone levels. Other abnormal hormonal conditions, such as the early onset of menstruation in young girls, PMS, fertility issues, and menopause symptoms may also be caused by hormones from toxic food.
"The hormones in meat-based diets are also blamed for the early sexual development of young girls in the Western world - nearly half of all African-American girls and 15 percent of their white peers now enter puberty at the age of 8."
Becky Gillette, Premature puberty...
The toxins that make you sick don't just come from your food. Read on to learn about the toxins in your environment and how you can reduce your exposure to them. Your customized detox diet will help you gently clear out these toxins and get you going on the path of good clean health.
What is the most widely used toxin in the world? You guessed it - food of course!
The sad reality is that, after reaching adulthood, food should be viewed as a drug and a toxin in order to put things into perspective. Why? Because food is the number one cause of illness across the world. Improper food is accountable for more deaths ( due to cancer, diabetes, and heart attacks) than World War 1 and 2 combined. If food is not toxic, what is?
Have you seen a grossly obese person live to the ripe old age of 100? Have you seen any grossly obese people in a highly alert state? Yes, it is possible, but I have yet to see one!
The reason is simple - most of them are either dead or getting close to it. (This is an exaggeration). Obesity is an addiction and a disease affecting more than 50% of Americans. Take it seriously.
If longevity is what you are looking for - eat what your body needs, not what you are used to eating.
Few of us rarely take the time to understand the proper amount of food our body needs. Instead, we eat based on impulse, cultural background, likes, and dislikes. Eating is a socially acceptable, encouraged, and an addiction of massive proportion.
As we age, our body's metabolism slows down. You only need 60 percent of your calorie requirement at age 60 to perform the same bodily functions at age 20. Yet, few people slow down in their eating. Once the amount of calories ingested is sufficient for normal daily functions; excess food turns into fat and free radicals. Both are toxic in excess amounts. The reality is that our body only needs about 1500 - 1800 calories a day, while most of us are eating 2,000 to 2,500 calories. In short, most of us are overeating by about 30%. Only one population group in the world restrict their diet voluntarily. They are the Okinawans based in Japan. They live the longest ( average of 81.6 years and ranked first ), compared to Americans, who are ranked 19th and live only an average of 76 years.
Food is a toxin. For anti-aging you don't want too much of it. Certain foods are more toxic than others, such as French Fries, BBQ chicken, and most fast foods.
A case in point is the compound called acrylamide. This is a chemical used to produce plastics and dyes and to purify drinking water. Acrylamide has been shown to be carcinogenic in animals and is suspected of causing cancer among people who are exposed to high levels for long periods. Although traces of it have been found in water, its possible high level presence in basic foods came as a shock. A Swedish study, published in April 2002, sounded the first alarm that some starch-based foods cooked at high temperatures contained acrylamide. Subsequent studies in Norway, Britain, Switzerland and the United States, basically backed up the findings of Sweden's National Food Administration. The U.S. findings agreed with the European findings that French fries had the highest levels of acrylamide. Potato and corn chips also had high levels.
In addition to the toxin, French fries and processed food, especially those that are deep fried, contain a large quantity of hydrogenate oil (also called trans-fat) that has been shown to be carcinogenic.
On top of this, toxic food is a sedentary lifestyle. This one-two punch is a sure prescription for heart disease, stroke, and cancer. The toxic environment is a combination of food and lack of physical activity. The remote control, video games, the automobile, television, and (to some extent) the computer are all part of the toxic environment because they discourage people from being physically active.
If you want to live longer than the average person, you have no choice but to do what the average persondoes not do. Develop a militant attitude about the toxic food environment we are in, like we have abouttobacco. Next time you look at that dinner plate, imagine it as a plate of poison that you must be careful of. This may be an extreme analogy, but it works. Most of us are overfed and under-nourished.
The take home lesson is - Food is a toxin and a Drug! Handle with care.