By Dr. Mercola
Make no mistake, there is a well orchestrated campaign underway to take away your rights and access to vitamins and supplements.
You have likely witnessed the recent flurry of articles from doctors with scary headlines like "Don't Take Your Vitamins" written by Paul Offit. Senator Dick Durbin has taken a leading role as well.
Senator Durbin was also a sponsor for the SOPA / PIPA act, which would give the government even more power to censor and control the internet. You would think it would be impossible at this point to have MORE control, considering the recent leaks regarding the NSA.
There is no satiating the hunger for more power in our federal government. Politicians will scare you about sugary beverages loaded with caffeine as examples of the dangerous and 'unregulated' supplement industry.
Meanwhile, consumers load up at Starbucks and other coffee shops - where they can easily down cups and cups of this 'dangerous' substance. You don't see Durbin beating down the door of Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, even though coffee is the primary source where most people get their caffeine fix.
When you notice this type of hypocrisy, you can usually bet there is a serious industry influence behind the scenes. There is a campaign push assaulting the supplement industry by those hoping to gain control of it. Essentially, if supplements become regulated like drugs - only the drug companies will be manufacturing them.
By setting new regulations and gaining control of the industry, big pharma can charge higher prices and make higher profits.
Surprisingly, a newly released GAO Dietary Supplements report has recently shown just how safe dietary supplements really are. There are always bad products in every industry, but overall, supplements appear to be one of the safest of all consumable products.
Senator Durbin has been on a mission that appears, at least superficially, to stem from concern over “your health.” However, when scrutinized more closely, Durbin’s proposed legislation would have precisely the opposite effect.
If Senator Durbin is genuinely concerned about “your health,” then his focus should be on making drugs and vaccines safer, which are the real danger — not dietary supplements.
Why Should Supplement Regulation Be More Stringent Than That for Drugs?
Durbin first introduced the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act (S 1310) in 2011, a bill that threatens the supplement industry by granting FDA more power to regulate supplements as if they were drugs, potentially putting supplement companies out of business.
In fact, under this bill, supplement regulation would be even more stringent than for pharmaceutical drugs! The bill specifies the following:1
- Requires regulators to compile a list of dietary supplement ingredients and proprietary blends of ingredients that are judged capable of causing serious adverse reactions
- Mandates manufacturers to submit a list of all the products they make at a given facility and their ingredients; new products or reformulations would require new registrations
Despite resorting to sneaky tactics and dispersing blatant misinformation to his legislative colleagues in attempts to garner support, Senator Durbin has had a difficult time obtaining any support for his bill.
Therefore, in May 2012, Durbin tried to slide his amendment (No. 2127) through by piggybacking it onto a senate bill that was slated for a vote the very next day (S 3187, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act).
Because the natural health community so quickly and effectively sprung into action, Durbin's amendment failed. Although his efforts to pass this ridiculous legislation have been unsuccessful thus far, his determination has not waned, misguided though it is. We must continue our efforts to thwart this bill, which if passed into law, could spell disastrous consequences for your health.
The Danger of Food Supplements Is VASTLY Overstated
Durbin and others would have you believe supplements are dangerous and need further regulation. But the truth is that supplements are already FDA-regulated and produce far fewer adverse reactions than either drugs or vaccines. The March 2013 GAO Dietary Supplements report,2 which Durbin hoped would paint supplements as dangerous, actually showed how incredibly safe they really are—particularly when compared to drugs and vaccines.
Since 2008, the supplement industry has been required to report adverse events to the FDA’s AER system, pursuant to the 2006 Act. Consider the following statistics comparing dietary supplement AERs with drug AERs (from the 2013 GAO report):
- From 2008 to 2011, FDA received 6,307 AERs for dietary supplements, not including 1,000 AERs that were submitted to poison control centers, rather than the FDA3
- In 2008, 1,080 dietary supplement AERs were reported to FDA
- In 2008, 526,527 prescription drug AERs were reported
- In 2008, 26,517 vaccine AERs were reported
When you do the math, there were 488 times as many adverse events reported from prescription drugs as from dietary supplements!
Supplement AERs increased from 400 in 2007 to 1,080 in 2008, but as the Alliance for Natural Health points out, that stems from an increase in the number of supplements on the market and more careful reporting of AERs to the FDA, especially since the implementation of required good manufacturing protocols. The number of AERs is miniscule compared to the hundreds of millions of supplement servings consumed.4 According to a 2007 National Health Interview Survey,5 more than half of Americans (157 million individuals) take nutritional supplements.
Senator Durbin and company are trying to claim AERs are underreported. However, according to the 2013 GAO report, there were only 20 AER compliance problems identified during supplement company inspections, suggesting most of these companies are compliant with mandatory AER guidelines. Adverse reactions aren’t being underreported—there just aren’t that many reactions to report. Even the GAO report itself states:
“The greatest challenge for identifying potential safety concerns from AERs is the small number of AERs that FDA receives related to dietary supplements.”
Poison Control Data Supports the Safety of Nutritional Supplements
Data from the U.S. National Poison Data System’s annual report, which tracked data from 57 U.S. poison centers, showed vitamin and mineral supplements caused zero deaths in 2010, whereas pharmaceuticals caused more than 1,100 of the total 1,366 reported fatalities. FDA-approved drugs cause 80 percent of poison control fatalities each year.6 Poison control centers report 100,000 calls, 56,000 emergency room visits, 2,600 hospitalizations and nearly 500 deaths each year from acetaminophen (Tylenol) alone.
Data from the European Union indicate that pharmaceutical drugs are 62,000 times as likely to kill you as dietary supplements. You’re actually more likely to be struck dead by lightning or drown in your bathtub than have a lethal reaction to a dietary supplement. These figures make it quite clear where the danger lies. If Senator Durbin really cared about your health, his efforts would be centered on doing something to make drugs safer, as they obviously pose a FAR greater risk to your health.
Laws Regulating Supplements Are Already in Place
According to the GAO report:
“FDA officials told us that the current regulatory framework is sufficient to identify and act on safety concerns regarding foods with added dietary ingredients.”
They are referring to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).7 The only deficiency, to the extent it exists, lies in the enforcement of the current law, in terms of ensuring good manufacturing practices and mandatory reporting of adverse events by supplement companies. If the FDA is already well-equipped with legislative authority to do its job, then what is Senator Durbin really trying to accomplish?
The only answer that makes sense is that the ultimate goal of Durbin’s bill is to make sure every supplement is approved by the FDA before it is sold.
The hidden problem with this is that the FDA is heavily biased in favor of drugs, as the agency is primarily funded by the pharmaceutical industry. The FDA sees supplements as competition for drugs, so not many will be approved. Durbin’s bill attempts to get supplements into the clutches of our completely dysfunctional drug approval regime, where they can be subjected to every possible legal obstacle that will keep them off store shelves. Less competition from supplements would also soften the impact of decreased revenues from expiring drug patents.
Forcing Supplement Companies Out of Business Will Not Improve Your Health
If Durbin’s bill were to pass, the FDA would demand very expensive (on the order of hundreds of millions of dollars) supplement trials just like drug trials which would eliminate the vast majority of recent supplements as most manufacturers have revenues that are only a tiny fraction of drug companies and can’t afford these expenses. More importantly, they are simply unnecessary as they provide virtually no benefit to the consumer. The current reported adverse effects are simply too low to justify this unnecessary safety requirement from a nonexistent danger. Remember, supplements don’t kill tens to hundreds of thousands of people every year; drugs do. Supplements don’t kill anyone.
Unlike drugs, supplements generally cannot be patented, so manufacturers will never see the return on investment that pharmaceutical companies see. The cost of complying with the pre-approval process will likely put many supplement companies out of business, and those who survive may do so only by drastically increasing the price of their products, making them cost prohibitive for many... particularly low-income families who need them the most. Durbin’s bill would also impose a significant burden on federal regulators, diverting these resources away from where they should be focused—i.e., on the drug industry.8
Crafty Reclassification of Products Allows Manufacturers to Dodge Regulations
There is an additional problem that appears to be completely ignored by Senator Durbin. Dietary supplements are already more rigorously regulated than food products. Taking full advantage of this, some manufacturers are migrating products previously listed as “supplements” over to the “food products” category in order to sidestep regulation. Energy drinks are a prime example. Loren Israelson, executive director of the United Natural Products Alliance, is quoted as saying:
“I think he [Senator Durbin] misunderstands the dynamics of the energy drinks market. There has been a significant shift of brands going from dietary supplement labeling to food labeling. His bill would not capture some of the products he’s concerned about.”
Caffeine—A Ridiculous Case of Selective Regulation
In related news, the FDA is now going after caffeine to protect your and your children’s health, in response to Senator Durbin’s fervent outcries. Back in November 2012, Senators Durbin and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sent a series of letters to the FDA9 asking for energy drinks to be reviewed and potentially regulated.
While caffeine can indeed have detrimental health effects, the irony of the situation is that no attention is going toward actual coffee, which clearly would impact major multinational corporations like Starbucks. No, they’re only concerned with supplement, food and beverage makers using caffeine in their products, while the primary source of caffeine is not even part of the discussion. Supplements are just a tiny portion of caffeine consumption, so why not go after coffee?
“FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael Taylor spoke out against what he called the 'unfortunate' trend [of adding caffeine to processed foods]... Taylor specifically called out gum maker Wrigley on a new product, and stated that while formal regulation might be forthcoming, 'we hope this can be a turning point for all to prevent the irresponsible addition of caffeine to food and beverages. Together, we should be immediately looking at what voluntary restraint can be used by industry.'
..Mr. Taylor expressed concern over the 'cumulative amount' of caffeine available, particularly for children.
...[A]s long as FDA’s actions aren’t tethered to standards or science, they threaten to sweep in products that don’t merit any concern or scrutiny. During FDA’s successful effort to drive some caffeine-infused alcoholic beverages, like Four Loko, off the market, it also sent warning letters to brewers whose product line featured beers brewed with coffee. The amount of caffeine in and serving sizes of the beer paled in comparison to Four Loko, which led the head of a craft-brewing association to feel such letters were 'inadvertent.' He did add, however, 'brewers should be concerned. This could lead the FDA to question beverages that get their caffeine from natural products like coffee, chocolate or tea. Who’s to say where this will end?'”
Call to Action
Dick Durbin will be up for re-election in 2014. You can bet we will be focusing very specifically on this career politician. Durbin and others would have you believe supplements are dangerous and need further regulation. However, supplements have far fewer reported adverse reactions than either drugs or vaccines and are already FDA regulated.
Durbin is reintroducing his supplement bill in hopes of forcing dietary supplement manufacturers to pass regulations that are even stricter than those governing pharmaceutical drugs. Legislative tactics such as this represent part of a master plan by the drug industry, in partnership with its best friend FDA, to eliminate the competition by taking control of the supplement industry.
Durbin’s bill has failed miserably in the past due to lack of support and strong opposition by health-conscious consumers. We can do that again, but your help is needed. Please contact your representatives and urge them to vote NO on S 1310, Dietary Supplement Labeling Act. You can do this by signing the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) petition.
If you live in Illinois, as I do, I would encourage you to contact Senator Durbin directly. Tell him (or whomever your representative is) to stop this overreach of power, and that the proposed guidelines fly in the face of the congressional intent of DSHEA. Congress never intended for the FDA to control supplements, and giving them this control jeopardizes your access to the dietary supplements you rely on, as well as further damaging the US economy. Please be courteous and respectful, and thank them for their time.
Does Your Supplement Contain this Potentially Hazardous Ingredient?
Action Alert -- New Senate Bill Threatens Small Farmers
By Dr. Mercola
Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the US, where about 10 people die from drowning every day.
The risk is even greater among children aged 1-4, who have the highest drowning rates, and it remains the second-leading cause of accidental death (second only to motor vehicle accidents) for kids 1-14.1
What’s shocking, however, is that many drowning deaths among children occur when the child is being supervised and may be only a short distance from an adult. Occurring quickly and quietly, a drowning can happen right before your eyes, before you even realize what happened…
A Drowning Person Cannot Call for Help
This is a Flash-based video and may not be viewable on mobile devices.
Many people believe a drowning person will flail about in the water, splash and make noise to call for help. But this image, widely used on TV shows to depict a drowning, is far from reality.
Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., a former lifeguard and educator, coined the term “instinctive drowning response” to describe what happens when a person is very close to drowning. In the video above, you can see an example, in this case a boy who is little more than an arm’s reach away from several other swimmers who are oblivious to his distress.
As Pia explains, when a person is drowning, nature takes over and the movements become a result of instinct. For starters, the person will not be able to call for help, as their body is working on struggling to breathe first and foremost.
They also will not be able to wave their arms to attract attention, as the instinctive response is for your arms to extend out laterally and press down against the water’s surface in an attempt to keep your head above water. Children may even appear to be dog-paddling when in fact they’re drowning.
The other telltale sign of a drowning person is no movement from their legs; a drowning person will not kick but will instead remain upright in the water, sometimes appearing to be climbing an invisible ladder with their feet.
5 Signs of Drowning to Memorize Before Your Next Trip to the Beach or Pool
According to Dr. Pia and Mario Vittone, a former US Cost Guard rescue swimmer:2
“The Instinctive Drowning Response represents a person's attempts to avoid the actual or perceived suffocation in the water. The suffocation in water triggers a constellation of autonomic nervous system responses that result in external, unlearned, instinctive drowning movements that are easily recognizable by trained rescue crews.”
You, too, can learn to recognize the signs that a person is in need of immediate assistance in the water. If a person is shouting and waving for help, they may still be in distress and need assistance. However, the five signs that follow, reported in On Scene, the journal of US Coast Guard Search and Rescue,3 may occur when a person is only 20-60 seconds from disappearing below the surface:
- Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary, or overlaid, function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
- Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
- Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
- Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
- From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response, people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.
Other “quiet” signs of drowning reported by Vittone include:4
Head low in the water, mouth at water level Head tilted back with mouth open Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus Eyes closed Hair over forehead or eyes Not using legs – Vertical Hyperventilating or gasping Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway Trying to roll over on the back Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder Children who are suddenly quiet
‘Dry Drowning’ and ‘Delayed Drowning’ Are Also Risks
It’s possible to die from drowning even out of the water. In 2008, one widely reported case described a 10-year-old boy who inhaled some water while swimming but otherwise appeared normal. Later that night, after walking home and taking a bath, the boy died in his bed as a result of delayed drowning. This type of drowning, sometimes called secondary drowning, can occur up to 24 hours after exposure to water, and occurs when a small amount of water in the lungs prevents oxygen from being transported into the bloodstream properly. A person who has experienced a near-drowning is especially at risk, but anyone who has spent time in water can be at risk. Signs of delayed drowning to watch out for include:
- Vomiting or involuntary defecation immediately after swimming
- A sudden change in behavior, such as extreme fatigue, lethargy or agitation
- Trouble breathing
Dry drowning, on the other hand, occurs when no water enters the lungs, but rather a sudden rush of water into the throat (such as might occur from jumping into a pool with your mouth open) causes the airway to shut, causing suffocation.
What Makes Spinal Cord Injuries More Likely at the Beach?
Playing in the surf is a favorite pastime for many, but aside from drowning, one of the greatest risks it poses is spinal cord injuries that can occur when a wave picks you up and throws you head-first into the sand.
The spinal-cord injuries that follow can lead to paralysis or even be fatal, and Paul Cowan, head of the emergency room at one Delaware hospital, noticed that they often come in waves. He and a team of researchers are now trying to track down whether certain environmental factors, such as wind speed, air or water temperature, or the angle and height of waves, make these traumatic injuries more common, but so far the research hasn’t revealed an obvious pattern.
Others, however, believe that beach replenishment, in which sand is pumped onto beaches to help stop the erosion process, may be creating steep slopes and waves that break close to shore, creating the perfect storm for spinal cord injuries.
While this issue has yet to be formally studied, data from the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) shows that major medical injuries often rise on beaches following replenishment projects. For instance, in Ocean City, Maryland after a beach replenishment, major medical injuries rose from 87 in 2006 to 345 the following year.5 Veteran lifeguard Peter Hartsock said the dangers prompted him to quit bodysurfing altogether:6
“I’m not going to tell anybody else not to bodysurf, but as far as me, I stopped during my first year of lifeguarding. Sure it’s fun, but you have nothing between you and the bottom (of the ocean) … I saw so many people get hurt bodysurfing. You don’t know where you’re going to hit, and you’re going headfirst. It’s like diving off a pier when you can’t see the bottom.”
6 Top Water-Safety Tips
If you plan to spend any time in a pool or natural body of water this summer, keep the following tips in mind.7 They could save a life:
- Learn to swim; formal swimming lessons have been shown to cut the risk of drowning among small children by up to 88 percent8
- Wear a life jacket
- Supervise children when in the water (including in the bathtub); supervisors should be in arm’s reach of preschool children at all times, and should not be involved in other distracting activities, such as reading or talking on the phone, when watching children in the water
- Always swim with a buddy
- Avoid alcohol when swimming or supervising other swimmers
- If you have a swimming pool, install a fence completely around the pool and remove toys after use (they may encourage children to enter the pool area); also be aware that air-filled and foam toys are not designed to keep swimmers safe, nor are they an acceptable alternative to a life jacket
Learn to Swim Effortlessly in 10 Days
KEY Health Facts You Need to Know if You Have or Use a Pool
By Dr. Mercola
Research has shown that many pesticides are neurotoxic and can cause disruptions to your neurological system and your brain. The reason why neurotoxins still enjoy widespread use on our food supply is really more about the bottom line for farming operations than it is about the science of human health.
Research has clearly and consistently linked pesticide exposure to Parkinson’s disease. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also considers 30 percent of insecticides to be carcinogenic.
All of these toxic chemicals are permitted on farms growing conventional and genetically engineered crops, and a large number of them can end up on your plate when you purchase conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables and/or processed foods.
But pesticides also have a dramatic impact on the health of our ecosystem. Neonicotinoids, such as Imidacloprid and Clothianidin, kill insects by attacking their nervous systems. These are known to get into pollen and nectar, and can damage beneficial insects such as bees.
These toxic chemicals have been implicated as one of the primary culprits in the mass die-offs of bees, and have subsequently been banned in some countries. The United States, however, is not among these countries...
But the effects of neonicotinoids do not end there. According to recent research by the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the use of neonicotinoids in seed treatments is also responsible for the death of birds, terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates and other wildlife.
Ecosystem Threatened by ‘Gross Underestimate’ of Toxicity of Neonicotinoids
Nicotine-related compounds called nicotinoids were initially introduced as a new form of pesticide in the 1990s, as widespread pest resistance rendered many older pesticides useless. Many seeds are now “pre-treated” with neonicotinoids, which are water-soluble and break down slowly in the environment.
Today, they are the most widely-used pesticides in the world. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a pesticide that does not contain at least one neonicotinoid insecticide. In California alone, there are nearly 300 registered neonicotinoid products available.
The American Bird Conservancy (ABC), one of the leading bird conservation organizations in the US, is now calling for a ban on the use of neonicotinoids as seed treatments, and wants all pending applications for neonicotinoid products to be suspended pending an independent review of the products’ effects on birds, terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, and other wildlife.
As reported by the American Bird Conservancy1:
“It is clear that these chemicals have the potential to affect entire food chains. The environmental persistence of the neonicotinoids, their propensity for runoff and for groundwater infiltration, and their cumulative and largely irreversible mode of action in invertebrates raise significant environmental concerns...”
ABC commissioned the world renowned environmental toxicologist Dr. Pierre Mineau to conduct the research, which resulted in a 100-page report2 titled The Impact of the Nation’s Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds. Mineau’s report reviews 200 studies on neonicotinoids, including industry research obtained through the US Freedom of Information Act.
The report concludes that neonicotinoids “are lethal to birds and to the aquatic systems on which they depend.” Even more disturbing, contamination levels in both surface and ground water around the world are already beyond the threshold found to kill many aquatic invertebrates. According to this shocking toxicology assessment:
- A single kernel of corn treated with this type of pesticide can kill a songbird
- A single grain of wheat or canola treated with the neonicotinoids Imidacloprid can be fatal to a bird
- As little as 1/10th of a neonicotinoid-coated corn seed per day during egg-laying season can affect a bird’s reproductive capability
EPA Accused of Failing to Adequately Assess Environmental Risks
Disturbingly, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not adequately assessed the toxicity of neonicotinoids. Part of the problem, according to the featured report, is that the EPA is “using scientifically unsound, outdated methodology that has more to do with a game of chance than with a rigorous scientific process.” This has led the agency to grossly underestimate the toxicity of these chemicals. Furthermore3:
“The report also charges that there is no readily available biomarker for neonicotinoids as there is for cholinesterase inhibitors such as the organophosphorous pesticides. ‘It is astonishing that EPA would allow a pesticide to be used in hundreds of products without ever requiring the registrant to develop the tools needed to diagnose poisoned wildlife. It would be relatively simple to create a binding assay for the neural receptor which is affected by this class of insecticides,’ said Dr. Mineau.”
Dr. Mineau urges the EPA to require pesticide registrants to also provide the diagnostic tools necessary to diagnose cases of wildlife poisonings. So far, neonicotinoids have garnered the most attention and criticism for their role in bee die-offs—a worldwide phenomenon that took off once these newer pesticides became widely used. As stated by ABC4:
“The serious risk to bees should not be understated, as one-third of the US diet depends on these insect pollinators. The ABC assessment makes clear, however, that the potential environmental impacts of neonicotinoids go well beyond bees.”
Link Between Neonicotinoids and Bee Die-Off is ‘Crystal Clear,’ Lawsuit Maintains
A general consensus among beekeepers is that the bee die-offs are most definitely related to toxic chemicals, and neonicotinoids in particular. The disappearance of bee colonies began accelerating in the United States shortly after the EPA allowed these new insecticides on the market in the mid-2000s. In May, beekeepers and environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the agency over its failure to protect bees from these toxic pesticides.
Meanwhile, France has banned Imidacloprid for use on corn and sunflowers after reporting large losses of bees after exposure to it. They also rejected Bayer´s application for Clothianidin, and other countries, such as Italy, have banned certain neonicotinoids as well.
Neonicotinoids are used on most of American crops, especially corn. As mentioned earlier, these chemicals are typically applied to seeds before planting, allowing the pesticide to be taken up through the plant’s vascular system as it grows. As a result, the chemical is expressed in the pollen and nectar of the plant, and hence the danger to bees and other pollinating insects... Needless to say, since the chemical is taken up systemically through the plant, it could also pose potential health risks to anyone eating the plant since it cannot be rinsed off.
Neonicotinoids affect insects' central nervous systems in ways that are cumulative and irreversible. Even minute amounts can have profound effects over time. One of the observed effects of these insecticides is weakening of the bee's immune system. Forager bees bring pesticide-laden pollen back to the hive, where it's consumed by all of the bees. Six months later, their immune systems fail, and they fall prey to secondary, seemingly "natural" bee infections, such as parasites, mites, viruses, fungi and bacteria.
The EPA5 acknowledges that “pesticide poisoning” may be one factor leading to colony collapse disorder, yet they have been slow to act to protect bees from this threat. The current lawsuit may help spur them toward more urgent action, which is desperately needed as the food supply hangs in the balance.
In March, the EPA sent Jim Jones, overseer of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, to talk to California almond growers and beekeepers, as mass die-offs of bees were seriously threatening this year’s almond crop. But although beekeepers said Jones got the message that bees are in serious trouble, they were dismayed by the fact that he seemed more interested in finding new places for bees to forage rather than addressing the issue of toxic pesticides...
As usual, at the core of the problem is big industry, which is blinded by greed and enabled by a corrupt governmental system that permits the profit-driven sacrifice of our environment. Unfortunately, this motivation reflects an extreme shortsightedness about the long-term survival of the human race, as well as of our planet. Clearly, if the goal of pesticides is to increase food yield to more easily feed 7 billion human beings, this goal falls flat on its face if it leads to the collapse of our food chain.
Pesticides Again Tied to Parkinson's Disease
A recent meta-analysis published in the journal Neurology6, examined data from 104 studies published between 1975 and 2011, in search for a potential link between pesticides and Parkinson's disease. As many previous studies, it found one... Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder in which neurons in a region within your brain responsible for normal movement begin to die, causing the telltale shaking and rigidity associated with the disease. There’s currently no known cure, which makes preventing the disease all the more important. Mounting evidence suggests avoiding pesticides is an important part of prevention. As reported by Reuters7:
“In 2011, a study of US farm workers from National Institutes of Health found some pesticides that are known to interfere with cell function were linked to the development of Parkinson's disease. Another study that was published in 2012 also reported that people with Parkinson's disease were more likely to report exposure to pesticides, compared to people without the condition.”
In this latest analysis, exposure to pesticides was linked to a 58 percent increased risk of developing Parkinson’s. Some pesticides were clearly worse than others. Paraquat (a non-selective plant killer) and two fungicides, maneb and mancozeb, were found to double your risk. One of the study’s authors told Reuters that8:
“[T]he study's results suggest that people should avoid contact with pesticides or - at least - wear proper protection when handling the chemicals. The use of protective equipment and compliance with suggested, or even recommended, preventive practices should be emphasized in high-risk working categories (such as farming)."
How Modern Farming Methods Have Led to Toxic Food Supplies
Chlorinated hydrocarbons, or organochlorines like DDT were developed after World War II and remained widely used in agriculture for pest and weed control until Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring was published in 1962. That book is credited with beginning the modern environmental movement, and through the involvement of scientists and ordinary concerned citizens many of the organochlorines were later phased out of use, according to the conditions of the Stockholm Convention of 19819. Since then, these chemicals have been replaced by a slew of new herbicides, pesticides and fungicides designed to kill the things that threaten a farmer's bottom line.
These include not just neonicotinoids, but also glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup.
Roundup was designed to be used in conjunction with Monsanto's genetically engineered “Roundup Ready” seeds, which in turn have been genetically altered to withstand otherwise lethal doses of the chemical. This way, only the non-modified weeds die while the crop survives the indiscriminate sprayings. In theory, genetically engineered seeds were supposed to reduce the use of agricultural chemicals. It didn’t work out that way. Today, resistant “superweeds” are taking over large swaths of farm land, and in an effort to stay on top of increasing weed resistance, farmers using Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) seeds have progressively started using more and more Roundup.
The increased pesticide residue remains in the foods that wind up on your dinner table, as glyphosate is taken up systemically throughout the plant and cannot be washed off.
About 90 percent of the corn produced in the US is genetically engineered, and GE soybeans account for almost 95 percent of US production. In other words, if you're eating non-organic corn or soybeans in the United States, you're eating a genetically engineered crop that's been repeatedly and thoroughly drenched in glyphosate. The same applies to eating meats from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), as they’re typically fed GE grains.
The danger to you and your children is very real, according to the latest research. While Monsanto insists that Roundup is safe and “minimally toxic” to humans, a recent report published in the journal Entropy10 argues that glyphosate residues, found in most commonly consumed foods in the Western diet courtesy of GE sugar, corn, and soy, “enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease.” According to the authors:
"Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.”
The main finding of the report is that glyphosate inhibits cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, a large and diverse group of enzymes that catalyze the oxidation of organic substances. This, the authors state, is “an overlooked component of its toxicity to mammals.” One of the functions of CYP enzymes is to detoxify xenobiotics—chemical compounds found in a living organism that are not normally produced or consumed by the organism in question. By limiting the ability of these enzymes to detoxify foreign chemical compounds, glyphosate enhances the damaging effects of those chemicals and environmental toxins you may be exposed to—including other pesticides.
How You Can Avoid Toxic Pesticide Exposure
First and foremost, to limit your exposure to the most common agricultural chemicals, such as neonicotinoids and glyphosate, you want to buy as much fresh organic produce as possible, as synthetic chemicals are not allowed on organic crops. For a good guide to which conventionally grown produce carry the lowest pesticide residues, and which you’re best off buying organic due to their heavy pesticide load, see my recent article, How to Find the Healthiest Fare in Meat and Produce Aisles.
Since years' worth of these toxins now pollute our soils and waterways, including the sources of most if not all human drinking water, I also recommend investing in a good water filtration system for your home or apartment to ensure you are drinking the purest water possible. Also consider a shower filter, as they may actually cause more damage to your body through your skin than from drinking unfiltered water. Additional recommendations to limit your exposure to toxic pesticides and herbicides include:
- Grow your own food. While this may be a challenge for many, nearly everyone, even those with a studio apartment or a dorm room can easily grow sprouts that can serve as a large percentage of the organic vegetables that you eat.
- Detoxify your lawn. If you have a lawn care service, make sure they are not using the organophosphate pesticide trichlorfon. Also, avoid using Roundup to control weeds around your home.
- Clean out your shed. The pesticide diazinon (sold under the brand names Diazinon or Spectracide) has been banned from residential, but there might be some left in your old garden shed.
- Use natural cures for a lice infection. Malathion is used for treatment of head lice. Don’t put a neurotoxin on your child's head.
- Check your school's pest control policy. If they have not already done so, encourage your school district to move to Integrated Pest Management, which uses less toxic alternatives.
Glyphosate Destroys Your Gut Flora
Organic Pesticides Not Always Best Choice
By Dr. Mercola
As Americans increasingly seek access to healthful, fresh-from-the-farm foods like raw milk, private buying agreements like herdshares are becoming more popular. A herdshare is a private agreement between a farmer and an individual in which the farmer is paid to take care of an animal, a cow for example that belongs to one or more people.
You essentially pay a onetime purchase fee to “buy a share” of a farmer’s herd, which entitles you to the benefits of owning that cow, such as a certain amount of milk each week.
Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger provides food to members of such a private buying club, supplying them with fresh raw milk and produce.
If you believe that you have a right to eat what you want, without having to get the government’s permission first, it’s hard to imagine what could be wrong with such an agreement, but Wisconsin is one of a handful of states that is aggressively targeting raw-milk farmers, seeking to criminalize their peaceful practice of food production.
Vernon Hershberger’s case is particularly glaring, as even though a jury nullified the case, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) still tried to put him in jail.
Wisconsin Seeks to Jail Raw Milk Farmer After Jury Finds Him Innocent
On May 20, Hershberger’s trial began at the Sauk County Courthouse. He was charged with four criminal misdemeanors for supplying a private buying club with raw milk and other fresh produce.
- Operating a retail food establishment without a license
- Operating a dairy farm as a milk producer without a license
- Operating a dairy plant without a license
- Violating a holding order by removing the members’ food from the embargoed refrigerators
However, since Hershberger only supplies food to paid members in a private buying club, he has long maintained that he is not subject to state food regulations, and jurors must have agreed.
On May 25, he was acquitted of three charges of producing, processing and selling milk without state licenses. They did, however, find him guilty of violating a holding order, which required that he not sell any food or milk from his store as a condition of his bail.
Following a Capital Times online article in which it’s reported that Hershberger stated he had continued to supply his buying club members with fresh food all along, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a motion to revoke Hershberger’s bail and instead send him to jail – after he’d already been acquitted!
Fortunately, Hershberger will not be going to jail for this “crime,” as on June 13 he was sentenced to pay a $1,000 fine plus $513 in court costs – avoiding jail time, probation and the maximum possible fine of $10,000.
Still, the fact that the motion was filed in the first place is deeply disturbing. The Cornucopia Institute reported:1
“Hershberger’s attorney, Glenn Reynolds, called the motion very disappointing because the bail terms he’s accused of violating are the same activities that led to the charges of which he was acquitted. ‘It seems vindictive in my view,’ he said. ‘He goes to trial and wins and now they want to put him in jail? What is the point of this sort of motion?’”
What’s the point is a very good question, indeed, as it seems clear the state is trying to take a stand against Hershberger for example’s sake … but why?
How Can They Continue to Claim This Is About Safety?
One of the most common excuses given for why farmers are raided, prosecuted, and shut down is that raw foods may be potentially harmful to human health. But those buying these products are doing so willingly, in many cases travelling great distances to access these fresh-from-the-farm foods.
Wisconsin is not doing these food buyers any favors by taking away their right to fresh food. Instead, they are taking a stand against Hershberger because his acquittal could have a major impact on increasing raw milk sales in the state. As noted by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF):2
"'There is more at stake here than just a farmer and his few customers,' says Hershberger, 'this is about the fundamental right of farmers and consumers to engage in peaceful, private, mutually consenting agreements for food, without additional oversight.'"
Back in 2010, after weeks of lobbying by the Wisconsin dairy industry, former Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle vetoed a bill that would have made sale of on-the-farm raw milk legal, stating he "must side with public health and safety of the dairy industry."
But high-quality raw milk is no more a threat to public health than sunshine or natural supplements (against which similar “public-safety” wars have been aged). CDC data3 shows there are about 412 confirmed cases of people getting ill from pasteurized milk each year, while only about 116 illnesses a year are linked to raw milk. And research by Dr. Ted Beals, MD, featured in the summer 2011 issue of Wise Traditions,4 the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, shows that you are about 35,000 times more likely to get sick from other foods than you are from raw milk!
So when officials say they are siding with public health and the safety of the dairy industry, they are really only siding with the dairy industry, in an attempt to protect them from all competition. The reason why small-scale organic, raw dairy farms are so threatening to the dairy industry is because they simply cannot produce safe raw milk in a confined animal feeding operation (CAFO). Cows raised under such conditions produce milk that must be pasteurized in order to be safe to drink, as the unnatural diet and environment dramatically alters the nutritional and bacterial composition of the milk, making it otherwise unfit to drink.
The FDA Is Leading the War Against Raw Milk
State-level efforts against raw milk are only part of a larger problem, which is the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 25-year-old regulation banning raw milk for human consumption in interstate commerce. But even this is up for challenge. Pete Kennedy, president of FTCLDF wrote:
“At the federal level, a bill that would repeal the interstate ban has been introduced the last two sessions of Congress and will likely be reintroduced this session; the bill would allow raw milk to be taken across state lines either by consumers or their agents who obtain it in another state or by producers or their agents delivering it to consumers in another state. The bill would not affect the power of states to determine whether the sale of raw milk would be illegal within its borders.”
Currently, legislation that would either legalize or expand the sale of raw milk has been introduced in Arkansas, Hawaii, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Montana, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming. A bill is also expected to be filed shortly in Wisconsin, according to Kennedy. Many are simply getting fed up with the FDA and their state governments trying to dictate what its residents are allowed to eat. This is not an issue of a few “rogue” farmers trying to sell an illegal product; it’s an issue of food freedom. Kennedy continued:
“The fight over raw milk stands as a symbol of the much larger fight for food freedom. Who gets to decide what you eat? You? Or the FDA? If the FDA and state agencies are allowed to impose their view of ‘safe food’ on consumers, raw milk won’t be the only thing lost – all our food will be pasteurized, irradiated, and genetically engineered. The effort to reclaim our right to buy and consume raw milk is leading the way for everyone who wants to be able to obtain the food of their choice from the source of their choice.”
Right now, your food freedom is on the chopping block. In North Dakota, a new bill threatens to make herdshare illegal.5 In New Mexico, a bill has been introduced that would ban the sale of raw milk, while a proposed regulation in Illinois that is currently in the drafting stage would similarly restrict access to raw milk. So the time to take action is now…
Stand Up for Your Right to Food Freedom
The effort to reclaim your right to buy and consume raw milk is leading the way for everyone who wants to be able to obtain the food of their choice from the source of their choice. So please, get involved! I urge you to embrace the following action plan to protect your right to choose your own foods:
- Get informed: Visit www.farmtoconsumer.org or click here to sign up for action alerts.
- Join the fight for your rights: The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) is the only organization of its kind. This 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization provides a legal defense for farmers who are being pursued by the government for distributing foods directly to consumers. Your donations, although not tax deductible, will be used to support the litigation, legislative, and lobbying efforts of the FTCLDF. For a summary of FTCLDF’s activities in 2012, see this link.
- Support your local farmers: Buy from local farmers, not the industry that is working with the government to take away your freedoms.
Will You Continue Allowing the FDA to Dictate What Foods You’re Allowed to Eat?
Raids are Increasing on Farms and Private Food-Supply Clubs
By Dr. Mercola
If you’re a cheese lover struggling to resist cheese because you’ve heard it’s not good for you, then brace yourself for some really good news. Cheese can be an excellent source of nutrition, a food you may want to include more of in your diet rather than less.
Cheese, especially that made from the milk of grass-pastured animals, is an excellent source of several important nutrients.
One of the most valuable nutrients in cheese is vitamin K2, which the latest scientific studies indicate is even more important to your heart, brain and bones than previously thought. Cheese also provides a cornucopia of vitamins, minerals (including calcium), protein, and fat.
Even if you’re lactose intolerant, there are many cheeses you will likely tolerate just fine. Most of the lactose is removed during the cheesemaking process. Pairing cheese with other foods enhances your absorption of important nutrients.
This article aims to separate fact from myth and will provide guidance on how you can incorporate your favorite cheeses into your daily diet, with joy and gratitude instead of guilt.
Cheese Will Clog Up Your Arteries... and Other Food Fairytales
Although nobody knows for certain when or where cheesemaking first began, cheese has been a staple for thousands of years. Cheese dates back to the domestication of milk-producing animals, between 8,000 and 10,000 years ago.1 The history of cheese can be traced back to the Roman Empire, the Middle East, Tibet, Mongolia, the Ming Dynasty, and of course Europe.
In spite of its rich history and enthusiastic fan base, cheese is much maligned in America due to the saturated fat/cholesterol myth.
Does eating cheese lead to obesity and heart disease? Absolutely not! This unfortunate myth stems from an outdated and seriously flawed hypothesis, perpetuated by decades of wildly successful marketing.
Numerous recent studies have confirmed saturated fat is NOT associated with obesity or heart disease and is actually associated with improved heart health. Most Americans today are consuming inadequate saturated fat. In fact, the Greeks, French and Germans eat much more cheese than Americans but enjoy lower rates of hypertension and obesity.2
I believe one of the primary factors driving obesity is overconsumption of sugar, refined grain and processed food in the standard American diet, made worse by a sedentary lifestyle. Given these facts, many nutritional experts believe that most people need 50 to 70 percent healthful fats in their diet for optimal health, and I agree. Cheese is a delicious way to help you meet that requirement Cheese holds a wealth of good nutrition, including:
Natural Cheese Versus Fake Cheese
There is a difference between natural cheese and processed “cheese foods.” Natural cheese is a simple fermented dairy product, made with nothing more than a few basic ingredients — milk, starter culture, salt and an enzyme called rennet. Salt is a crucial ingredient for flavor, ripening and preservation. You can tell a natural cheese by its label, which will state the name of the cheese variety, such as “cheddar cheese,” “blue cheese,” or “brie.” Real cheese requires refrigeration.
The starter culture and cheesemaking methods are what give each variety of cheese its particular taste, texture, shape and nutritional profile. The following factors differentiate between one variety of cheese and another:
- Specific starter culture, which is the bacteria or mold strains that ripen the cheese
- Type of milk used (cow, sheep, goat, etc.), and the conditions under which those animals were raised
- Methods of curdling, cutting, cooking and forming the curd
- Ripening conditions such as temperature, humidity, and aging time (curing)
Processed cheese or “cheese food” is a different story. These products are typically pasteurized and otherwise adulterated with a variety of additives that detract from their nutritional value. The label will always include the words “pasteurized process,” which should be your clue to walk on by. Velveeta3 is one example, with additives like sodium phosphate, sodium citronate and various coloring agents. Another clue is that most don’t require refrigeration. So, be it Velveeta, Cheese Whiz, squeeze cheese, spray cheese, or some other imposter — these are NOT real cheeses and should be banished from your shopping cart.
Raw Cheese from Pasture-Raised Animals is the Ultimate
Ideally, the cheese you consume should be made from the milk of grass-fed animals raised on pasture, rather than grain-fed or soy-fed animals confined to feedlot stalls. The biologically appropriate diet for cows is grass, but 90 percent of standard grocery store cheeses are made from the milk of CAFO cows. These cheeses are nutritionally inferior to those from grass-pastured animals. The higher quality the milk, the higher the quality of the cheese... it’s just that simple.
Even cheesemakers will tell you that raw cheese has a richer and deeper flavor than cheese made from pasteurized milk because heat destroys the enzymes and good bacteria that add flavor to the cheese. They explain that raw cheese has flavors that derive from the pastureland that nourished the animals producing the milk, much like wine is said to draw its unique flavors from individual vineyards. Grass-fed dairy products not only taste better, they are also nutritionally superior:
- Cheese made from the milk of grass-fed cows has the ideal omega-6 to omega-3 fat ratio of 2:1. By contrast, the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of grain-fed milk is heavily weighted on the side of omega-6 fats (25:1), which are already excessive in the standard American diet. Grass-fed dairy combats inflammation in your body, whereas grain-fed dairy contributes to it.
- Grass-fed cheese contains about five times the CLA of grain-fed cheese.
- Because raw cheese is not pasteurized, natural enzymes in the milk are preserved, increasing its nutritional punch.
- Grass-fed cheese is considerably higher in calcium, magnesium, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, C, D and E.
- Organic grass-fed cheese is free of antibiotics and growth hormones.
The FDA Cracks Down on Raw Cheese
For years, federal regulators have been threatening to ban raw milk products, including raw cheese, due to what they claim are increased safety risks. Lately, they’ve begun targeting artisan cheesemakers, as this is a fast growing industry in America.4
However, the FDA’s crackdown on raw cheese is based on a flawed argument.5 According to Grist, between 1973 and 1999 there’s not a single report of illness from either raw or pasteurized cheeses. However, since the year 2000, illnesses have begun to appear from raw and pasteurized cheese alike. Most outbreaks have been found to result from post-production contamination and laxity in quality control, not lack of pasteurization.
The truth is that raw cheese is not inherently dangerous, provided high standards are followed in the cheesemaking process. Hard cheeses like cheddar dry out as they age, making them relatively inhospitable to invading bacteria. The FDA’s attack on raw cheese is not based on facts, but simply is an extension of their long-standing hostility toward raw milk in general.
Salt Content Prompts Cries of ‘Cheesageddon’
Another recent concern is that cheese contains excessively high levels of salt. The Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) is a group interested in reducing the salt in processed foods and is urging the cheese industry to reduce the amount of salt in cheese.6 It is true that American food is the saltiest food in the world. But how much is cheese responsible for the excess sodium in the American diet?
Cheese looks like a minor player when you consider the amount of salt in processed food and restaurant food, and how much more of those are consumed than cheese. Take a look at the table below, which compares salt levels in the saltiest cheeses and in the saltiest restaurant dishes, and you’ll see what I mean. Keep in mind that your sodium intake should be less than about 2,300 mg per day, which is approximately a teaspoon.
About 90 percent of the salt in the standard American diet comes from packaged foods and restaurant foods. Only about 11 percent is attributable to the salt you add during cooking and at the dinner table. Your sodium intake is even lower if you salt your food with natural sea salt instead of processed salt. It seems clear to me that, given all of the nutrition packed into a relatively small piece of cheese, the sodium is not much of an issue, particularly if you minimize processed or packaged foods and don’t eat out often.
Food (Cheeses Listed are the Saltiest Varieties) Sodium (mg) Roquefort cheese (100g) 1,300 Edam cheese (100g) 1,200 Feta cheese (100g) 1,200 Chicken McNuggets (100g)7 1,600 Dunkin Donuts Salt Bagel8 3,420 Ruby Tuesday Chicken Piccata 4,194 P.F. Chang’s Mu Shu Pork 5,820 Red Robin Buffalo Clucks and Fries 4,479 P.F. Chang’s Pork and Double Pan-Fried Noodles — awarded “Saltiest Food in America” 7,900
Vitamin K2, Vitamin D3, and Calcium — A Whole in One!
Cheese contains a synergistic blend of nutrients that make it a veritable nutritional powerhouse. When consumed together, vitamins K2 and D3 and calcium are especially powerful for protecting your bones, brain and heart. And cheese contains all three! I recently interviewed Dr. Kate Rheamue-Bleue, a Naturopathic Physician and author of one of the most comprehensive books on vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 plays critical roles in protecting your heart, brain, and bones, as well as giving you some protection from cancer.9 Not only does K2 help channel calcium into the proper areas of your body (bones and teeth), it also prevents it from being deposited in areas where it shouldn’t, such as your arteries and soft tissues.
So, taking calcium supplements when you don’t have adequate vitamin K2 is a setup for arterial calcification and cardiovascular problems.
Since cheeses are all produced by different strains of bacteria, they differ in their total vitamin K2 content, as well as their K2 subtypes. Cheeses contain primarily subtypes MK-4, MK-8 and MK-9, in varying proportions. MK-4 is the least biologically active form (but the most abundant form in cheese), so it takes more of it for your body to benefit. MK-7, MK-8 and MK-9 stay active in your body longer so your body can benefit from much lower levels.
According to a 2009 Dutch study,10 subtypes MK-7, MK-8 and MK-9 are associated with reduced vascular calcification even at small dietary intakes (as low as 1 to 2 mcg per day).
When It Comes to K2, How Do Your Favorite Cheeses Stack Up?
In my interview with Dr. Rheamue-Bleue, she identified the cheeses highest in K2 are Gouda and Brie, which contain about 75 mcg per ounce. Hard cheeses are about 30 percent higher in vitamin K2 than soft cheeses. In perusing the nutritional tables myself, I found it interesting that the cheeses highest in vitamin K2 also tend to be the highest in protein and calcium — so the most nutritious overall. Just realize that the values listed for “vitamin K” in common nutritional tables are of limited value because they don’t specify what TYPE of vitamin K they’re measuring.
As it turns out, scientists have found high levels of MK-7 in one type of cheese: Edam.11 This is wonderful news for those of you who would much rather sit down to a slice of Edam than a bowl of natto! (Natto, a strongly fermented Japanese soybean product, has the highest MK-7 level of any food.)
Earlier, I made my case for selecting raw cheeses from grass-pastured, grass-fed animals. However, cheese contains a bacterially-derived form of K2, so it doesn’t matter if the cheese was made from grass-fed milk or not — the bacteria used to culture the cheese is the same. Grass-fed dairy is important for the other reasons I’ve already discussed — just not specifically for the K2.
To summarize then, if you’re going to select cheese with your primary goal being a good source of vitamin K2, the best ones are:
- Other cheeses with lesser, but significant, levels of K2: Cheddar, Colby, hard goat cheese, Swiss, and Gruyere.12
Smile and Say Cheese!
Cheese lovers rejoice! Don’t be afraid to add healthy high-quality cheese to your diet. Cheese offers a synergistic blend of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids, including the magic trio of vitamin D3, vitamin K2 and calcium. This nutrient triad is vitally important for reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. And don’t be afraid of raw cheese (as long as it comes from a reputable cheesemaker), which beats ordinary cheese in both taste and nutrition.
Your best option is cheese made from the milk of pasture-raised cows, sheep and goats, as opposed to feedlot livestock fed grain and soy.
Although some cheeses are fairly high in salt, their sodium levels pale in comparison to those in common fast foods, processed foods and popular restaurant entrees that make up a large part of the standard American diet. My top picks are Gouda, Brie, and Edam cheese, but you can’t go wrong with high-quality cheddar, Swiss, Colby, Gruyere, and goat cheese. For an extensive website about cheeses, including a database that’s searchable by name, country of origin, type of milk, and even texture, you might enjoy Cheese.com.
The Unsavory Truth of the McRib and Other Fake Foods, and Why Russia Banned US-Raised Meat
Who Knew this Cocktail of up to 20 Chemicals Was in Your Glass of Milk?