Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Today I want to focus on Splenda. This is the second blog on the dangers of artificial sweeteners.
Splenda, which is made from Sucralose, dextrose and maltodextrin, is a highly processed, low calorie, chemical sweetener manufactured with chlorine in a factory in McIntosh, Alabama, in a process that releases a known toxin, cyclohexane into the environment.
Health problems than can be caused by exposure to cyclohexane, include but are not limited to: coma; encephalopathy; liver abnormalities; chronic “painter’s syndrome; psycho-organic solvent syndrome; organic solvent dementia; difficulty concentrating; dementia; memory loss; mood disturbance; arrhythmia; confusion; dermatitis; dizziness; fatigue; headache; in-coordination; inebriation; irritability; lethargy; impaired speech and stupor and ecological effects such as fish die-off. These are just the health hazards caused by the manufacturing process. I feel sorry for the people who have to work in or live near the factory.
One claim that they make is that Splenda is “Suitable for people with diabetes”. This is false and misleading. The only evidence for the safety of Splenda for people with diabetes lies in the manufacturers claims, not in clinical studies.
Splenda also includes dextrose and maltodextrin. For most of us that may not pose a problem, but since pregnant women who have a genetic trait for galactosemia are at risk for having a baby with galactosemia, there should be a warning—similar to the PKU warning required for aspartame—that Splenda contains a galactose monosaccharide which can cause glactosemia.
The manufacturers would have you believe that Splenda is somehow more of a natural sweetener because is “made from sugar”. Well….sort of. It starts out with a molecule of sugar, and then, three parts of the molecule, three hydroxyl groups (atoms composed of hydrogen and oxygen) are selectively removed and replaced with three atoms of chlorine. I’m not kidding! Chlorine. By the time the process is finished, what once was a real sugar molecule has become a chloro-carbon. Are you certain you want those in your body?
Chloro-carbons bear no resemblance whatsoever to any natural substances. A few of their more well known family members include carbon tetrachloride, trichlorethelene and methylene chloride— chemical agents that have absolutely no place in a healthy, human diet. Chlorine, all by itself is a component of a number of insecticides, bleach and bleach-based products, as well as household and commercial disinfectants. Some of the more famous members of this group include DDT, Chlorodane and Lindane.
“There were potential public health concerns regarding sucralose that were dismissed by the FDA when they first approved this synthetic additive,” said Jim Turner, Esq. chairman of the board of Citizens for Health. “People should also know, however, that there has not been a single human clinical study on the finished product, Splenda.”
Consumers have been reporting health effects that range from skin rashes, to headaches, to severe gastrointestinal problems.
“The sheer number of complaints on the Internet warrants an investigation,” said Turner. “Most of the testing on the safety of sucralose was conducted by the manufacturer, McNeil Nutritionals.
With the number of complaints filed, why hasn’t the FDA called a Public Hearing so that consumers can be heard?
We need to make our voices heard and call for a mandate that the FDA stop protecting manufacturers and get on with their original mandate to protect consumers.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
It is interesting that one researcher looked at 164 studies on Aspartame. 74 of the studies were funded by nutrisweet scientists or people who would benefit from the sale of the product. Every one of those 74 studies found only good things about the chemical. Of the other 90 independent studies not conducted by those people who had a vested interest in finding good things about the chemical, 83 found problems.
Aspartame was approved in the face of 3 independent scientific studies recommending that it not be approved and 2 in house studies recommending the same.
I have learned that I can trust whatever Monsanto says about any safety of any chemical just about as far as I can throw their building, but their sweet spokeswoman is assuring us that all is well.
Please get as many people as you can to view these videos. Our health really is being impacted by Aspartame and the other artificial sweeteners on the market today. We need to insist on a corporate culture that puts people and their health and safety before their insane profits.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Adding Flavor Using flavor enhancers such as orange or lemon zest brings out the fruitiness in a dish and heightens the flavors of the ingredients used. Vanilla, butter flavoring, and nut flavorings produce an aroma of "fattening" sweetness and buttery nuts without the use of butter or excessive use of nuts. Sweet-enhancing spices such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger and nutmeg intensify flavors in a dish.
Try combining several spices instead of using just one for a fresh, uplifting flavor. Topping whole grain, (NOT whole wheat), baked goods with fruit, fruit spread or a generous amount of cinnamon mixed with a natural sugar substitute allows the flavors to be on top and tasted immediately.
Try flavoring your coffee with cinnamon...you just may learn to really enjoy that without sugar.
Over ripe fruits, such as bananas, provide a tremendous amount of sweetness, moisture and flavor. There are a number of nutrients that can help to get you past the "withdrawal" stage of sugar release. It is important to differentiate the "ose" and "ol" sugars that are "empty calories" from those with the nutrients that need to be there for the correct metabolism of these sugars.
Shaklee has done that for us and we get no sugars without their necessary complimentary nutrients in our products. Check our online Product Guide catalog at the right or contact us to learn more.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Alternatives to sugars - natural sweeteners
Pure sucrose (table sugar) is the most common sweetener in the modern, industrialized world. People, and in fact most other mammals except members of the cat family, will gladly accept a food sweetened with sucrose, even if they aren't hungry.
Most of us love sweets, ice cream, soft drinks, pies, cakes, cookies, candy. We often crave them. To satisfy these cravings, we consume about one hundred fifty pounds of sugar per person per year. That's almost a half pound of sugar per day. Surprised?
It’s true…we do love our sugar!
What happens to our metabolism, on all that sugar? Sugar is metabolized directly into blood sugar, or glucose, which fuels our brain and muscles. The purer the source, the faster it gets into the bloodstream, bypassing much of the digestive process.
Our blood sugar levels skyrocket and that triggers a spike in insulin, a hormone which is needed to prep our cells to absorb the sugar. When a food or drink has no other nutrients to sustain our blood sugar, it crashes as quickly as it rises - and we crave another hit. …(think candy, sweets, sodas, etc.) This is how sugar addiction begins. Sugar gives us pleasure by stimulating the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, and probably other mood-elevating substances. Scientists report that eating chocolate initiates a brain response similar to falling in love. No wonder we love chocolate!
Unfortunately, it also has several adverse health effects. The most common is tooth decay. Sucrose has high calorie content and there is a fair amount of evidence that it contributes to obesity. People with diabetes need to control their intake of sucrose. There have even been some studies showing the possibility that excessive sugar consumption may play a role in certain degenerative diseases. Also, how many times have we seen children go from being “little angels” to “little devils” after eating a sugary desert or soft drink?
Sugar can also cause symptoms of intestinal distress such as bloating, cramping, and gas. Other symptoms of sugar sensitivity are headaches, insomnia, aggression, panic attacks, irritability, mood swings, and depression. New studies in accelerated aging link elevated sugar intake with a process called glycosylation: proteins in our bodies morph into AGE's, or advanced glycosylation end-products, a kind of metabolic debris that collects in our organ, joint, and skin tissues. Be sure to ask me about a product that prevents most of the formation of the advanced glycosylation end products, which age our bodies faster than they should.
Most authorities agree that no more than 10% of our diet should be made up of sugar in most forms.
"Low-sugar" or "sugar-free" is the latest fad - It should be a welcome trend, given the health hazards of all the sugar in the average diet. However…if we use artificial sugar substitutes like aspartame, (NutraSweet), sucralose, (Splenda) Acesulfates, etc. we may be jumping from the frying pan into the fire. After this series, I will write a blog about the dangers of these substances.
In the meantime…WHAT CAN WE USE???
There are several great choices for us. Here are just a few. These are not in any order of preference, just letting you know they are available. Most health food stores will have some or all of them and nowadays, even some groceries have a pretty good selection of healthier choices.
Agave makes a good substitute for table sugar for a variety of reasons. Agave nectar is a real sugar, as opposed to an artificial or non-nutritive sweetener, Although it has properties similar to many sugars its glycemic index is significantly lower. This makes it a healthier alternative to many processed AND natural sweeteners, Artificial sweeteners provide sweetness, but few of the functional properties of real sugars. Agave provides the same variety of functions in cooking (including browning, moisture retention, softening and food preservation) as processed sugars. While Agave has more calories than sugar, you only use about 40% of the amount so there is probably a net loss in the calorie count.
Stevia is the world's only all-natural sweetener with zero calories, zero carbohydrates and a zero glycemic index. These attributes make stevia a good alternative to sugar or chemical sweeteners. Especially popular as a sweetener for coffees and teas, Stevia can also be used in cooking and baking, helping you reduce your calorie intake and stay healthy. It has been thoroughly tested in dozens of tests around the world and found to be completely non-toxic. A brand I like is “Sweet Leaf”
This natural sweetener has demonstrated both passive and active cavity fighting ability and has even shown promise in alleviating ringing ear syndrome. Caution for dogs: while humans have absolutely no problem with Xylitol, it can cause a dangerous surge of insulin with dogs. Just another example of the differences between us. Feel free to use it yourself, just don’t let your dog get even a tiny bit of it.
Dark, sticky, although there is a dry form called “Dr. Bronner’s Barley Malt Sweetener”. Barley malt sugar is not as strong a flavor as blackstrap molasses nor as sweet as honey. It is mostly maltose, a complex sugar that enters the bloodstream slowly. This sweetener offers trace amounts of eight vitamins and several minerals. Barley malt syrup is a wonderful addition to squash and pumpkin breads, bran muffins, and hearty rye or pumpernickel breads. Use it to glaze sweet potatoes and to make winter “malteds” combined with bananas and soy milk.
Tomorrow, the last of the 4 steps.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
This is the week that you will begin to look carefully at labels of all canned, frozen and packaged foods.
Take a look at what position the sugar is in on the ingredient list. Most sugars end with “ose” or “ol” so be on the watch for that and where it is placed. You want to eliminate anything that has sugar higher up than the 6th ingredient. Below the 8th is even better, especially if there are not a lot of good nutrients on the label with it.
Who would think that there would be sugar in table salt! Sometimes it is there. Can’t imagine why. Watch out for catsup too!
Cough syrups, chewing gum, mints, tomato sauce, baked beans, and lunch meats often contain sugar. Even some prescription medications contain sugar. Watch out for mixed alcohol drinks.
When you are in a restaurant and they have a nutrition composition list of their foods, check the list to select the foods with the least amount of sugars or refined carbohydrates.
Your best bet in a restaurant is to stay with the simple dishes that have no sauces because they often are loaded with hidden sugars.
Ask me for a healthy and enjoyable eating plan to help you eliminate the sugar cravings and to get more energy and health.
Watch for week 3’s program tomorrow.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Sugar is an actual addiction and when you are breaking the addiction you can have withdrawal symptoms just as with any other addiction. Eating sugar activates pleasure areas in the brain and the brain keeps wanting more and more of that stimulation. It is very powerful but you can be free. There are ways to help minimize the discomfort, and the end result of being free of that addiction is truly wonderful in terms of the way your body feels and functions.
You will have far more energy, your mood will be lighter, (and so will your body if you need to take off some weight), your mind will be clearer and you will have more patience among many other benefits.
Week 1 – Detox. During week one limit your intake of refined sugar to no more than 1 teaspoon a day. That could be at breakfast with whole grain cereal with 1 tsp sugar, or with a hot or cold beverage with 1 tsp sugar, or in any way that you want. It could be a whole grain toast with 1 tsp jelly. The important thing is that you will be retraining your taste buds to like things less sweet and more natural.
You want to avoid anything with white flour because that turns to plain old sugar in your body. Avoid sweets such as pastries, cakes, ice cream sweet rolls etc. Instead, substitute a piece of fruit for dessert at lunch and at dinner. Have some fruit at breakfast and as a snack. If you are diabetic or hypoglycemic, you will limit your fruit to one or two servings a day.
Eat all you want of virtually any vegetable except beets and corn…limit those to no more than 1 serving each per day because of the high sugar content.
Eat only one banana or one serving of grapes a day for the same reason.
Eat moderately of high quality protein foods, nuts, seeds, one or two 4 oz servings of meat, cheese, yogurt, etc.
Whole grains in the form of cereal, crackers, and breads can give you a feeling of satisfaction and fullness. They, as well as the vegetables, and protein also provide some of the B complex which can help to reduce the craving for sweets.
Be sure to drink at least 8 8oz glasses of purified water every day. It is important to flush out the toxins that will be released back into your bloodstream from their storage place in the fat cells of the body. This in part accounts for the symptoms of withdrawal
For a list of healthy food supplements that can help to minimize the discomfort and keep your cravings down please request it by contacting me through the provided area. I will be happy to send it to you.
Tomorrow I’ll talk about what to do in week 2.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Company X is trying to convince consumers to buy their new "green" product while at the same time continuing to produce, advertise, and sell their bleach. I doubt the authenticity of XXXXX XXXXX. They are running an ad that addresses only one factor which suggests "greenness"--made with plant-based cleaners. Are all the ingredients plant-based? Is the product biodegradable? Phosphate-free? Is it in concentrate form to minimize packaging? Using a 1- 24 ratio may be somewhat better than some other cleaners, but that is still a full 1 oz of product to only 24 ounces of water. Not terribly concentrated. The cleaner I use makes 48 GALLONS of general cleaning solution from only 1 16 oz. bottle. For general cleaning the ratio is ¼ tsp to 16 oz.
They seem to feel that we should believe that the product is eco-friendly because they call the product "Green," ,that it is colored green and uses nature images. By the way, why IS the product green??? It isn’t needed to do the job.
According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, their claim of only 1% of unnatural ingredients are ingredients derived from petrochemicals. Namely, the preservative Kathon, and the Milliken Liquitint Blue HP dye and Bright Yellow dye X. The dyes give several of the products a light green color. I imagine a brief look-over of a XXXXX XXXXX label in the store would turn off any serious green-aware consumer.
Saying something is "Natural" does not necessarily mean what most people think it does. "Natural" ingredients, even in food, means anything DERIVED from a natural source, regardless of chemical manipulation later. Because of this reason, chemicals can be marketed as "all natural". Some of these ingredients can still be harmful to the consumer and the environment.
The MSDS for the Milliken Liquitint Blue that is in the product has these warnings:
Do not allow material to enter soil or surface water. (Where do they think the product will go when it is washed down the drain? Many areas do not have ultra sophisticated treatment plants and the ingredients may or may not be filtered out before the water is released either to the ocean or to a land mass.)
If it gets on the skin...Wash skin thoroughly with soap and water for several minutes. Immediately remove contaminated clothing. Get medical attention if any discomfort continues.
If ingested...Give one or two glasses or water if patient is alert and able to swallow. Seek immediate medical attention. Do not induce vomiting.
Eye Protection... Wear necessary protective equipment. Avoid contact with eyes and prolonged skin contact. Where contact with this material is likely, chemical goggles are recommended.
Skin protection...Wash promptly with soap and water if skin becomes contaminated. Wear protective gloves to minimize skin contamination. When prolonged or frequently repeated contact could occur, use protective clothing impervious to this material.
While this is only part of the 1% claimed not to be natural, why would a company who says they are green and really safe even consider using this chemical.
Company X also claims that the preservative, Kathon, will bio-degrade within 28 days.
According to the MSDS for Kathon, the substance by itself carries the following risks: “irritating to skin, risk of serious damage to eyes, may cause sensitization by skin contact, harmful to aquatic organisms, may cause long term adverse effects in the aquatic environment.” This doesn’t square with my idea of an ingredient in a green cleaning product. Also, real clean doesn’t have a smell!
To me, this is a prime example of “GreenWashing” Some examples of tactics used by companies include: seducing with images in ads, using environmental organizations to promote products, distracting from destructive products, claiming to seek solutions while lobbying against regulation, using charitable endeavors to gain support, and the misuse of the word “sustainable.”
Jeffrey Hollender, said “Green” is not something a company becomes because of a new product line, a marketing campaign, a decision to be carbon neutral or even the selection an enlightened new CEO. Green” is about the inside, not the outside of a company. It’s about its DNA, its culture, and its very reason for being.” Is Company X’s XXXXX XXXXX really green?
How irresponsible for Company X to promote disinfecting products to parents of small children, invoking their fears of “germs.” Disinfectants should only be used for the occasional time when colds or flu are actually present except for use in the toilet. Over use of disinfectants and disinfectant soaps etc are leading to the same kinds of problems that he over use of anti-biotics caused and so many bacteria mutated to be resistant. It sickens me whenever I see the commercials with a very self satisfied mom wiping the baby’s highchair tray with a Company X disinfecting wipe while baby sits smiling and patting the tray, because I know those little baby hands go right to the mouth. The chemicals in the disinfectant are far more dangerous to a baby than the normal germs that help us to build our immune systems.
I believe that cleaner shouldn't leave behind more toxins than the toxins you are trying to clean!
When I am shopping for cleaning products, here is what I insist upon: That the company can prove their claims of:
* Formulated without dye
* Contain no ammonia, acids,
alkalis, solvents, phosphates,
chlorine, nitrates, borates, or
volatile organic compounds.
* Leaves no carbon foot print on the
* Bottle contains only the
concentrated product…I can add
the water myself.
* All products in the cleaning line
as well as any other products that
the company makes meet these
Company X’s XXXXX XXXXX line of primarily ready-to-use cleaners leave a heavier carbon footprint on the planet than I want to do. They do not meet my standards. For most of my cleaning I use fragrance-free household cleaner, which is a superconcentrate. You can make a whole bottle of cleaner for most applications with somewhere between 2 drops and ¼ teaspoon of the concentrate.
Since this reduces the number of plastic bottles that need to be manufactured, shipped, and recycled, it greatly decreases the environmental impact of using the product. The cost per use is also a lot lower than almost any other product, just 25 cents makes four 32 ounce bottles (one gallon) of all purpose cleaner. Even vinegar in comparison, can cost 10 to 20 times as much per gallon, depending on what size is purchased and where.
To see the truly green products that I use and recommend please go to: http://bit.ly/16uLvt
I'd love your feedback and comments.
'Till next time: Expect something wonderful to happen for you every day!