By Dr. Mercola

You might not pay much attention to the ingredients in chewing gum because, after all, it’s not actually swallowed. But the ingredients, many of which are potentially dangerous, do enter your body, directly through the walls of your mouth.

As with the toxic ingredients in personal care products like lotion, which are absorbed directly through your skin and into your bloodstream, the ingredients in gum also get absorbed by your body quickly and directly, bypassing the digestive system that would ordinarily help to filter some of the toxins away.

For these reasons, if you’re a gum chewer, it’s very important to look at what’s in your favorite brand, and as a recent investigation by The Health Wyze Report showed,1 what you find may put a bad taste in your mouth…

These 5 Common Chewing Gum Ingredients Are Linked to Cancer and More

1. Aspartame

If your gum is sugar-free, there’s a good chance it contains the artificial sweetener aspartame. Aspartame is metabolized inside your body into both wood alcohol (a poison) and formaldehyde (which is a carcinogen used as embalming fluid and is not eliminated from your body through the normal waste filtering done by your liver and kidneys). It's been linked to birth defects, cancers, brain tumors and weight gain.

2. BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)

BHT is so toxic it’s already been banned in many other countries. In the US, it’s often used as a preservative in chewing gum and other processed foods. BHT has been linked to organ system toxicity, including kidney and liver damage, hyperactivity in children and may be carcinogenic.

3. Calcium Casein Peptone (Calcium Phosphate)

Found primarily in Trident gum, it’s thought this ingredient may be used as a whitening agent or texturizer. As a highly processed milk derivative, little is known about its long-term ingestion, although casein was previously linked to baby formula poisonings in China.

4. Gum Base

It’s quite a mystery what “gum base” is actually made out of, but the investigators found it’s usually a blend of elastomers, resins, plasticizers and fillers. Most manufacturers do not reveal more specifics than this. After all, why would they want you to know that you’re potentially chewing on petroleum-derived paraffin wax, polyvinyl acetate (carpenter’s glue) and talc, which is linked to cancer.

5. Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide is often used as a whitening agent in chewing gum, but it’s been linked to autoimmune disorders, asthma, and Crohn’s disease and is potentially carcinogenic. One study found children are highly exposed to titanium dioxide in confections, with chewing gum containing the highest levels.2

Chewing Gum for Weight Loss Is a Myth

Many people chew a stick of gum as a way to help them curb sugar cravings and eat less. But chewing gum actually has little impact on your motivation to eat, your hunger and how much you end up eating.

Research has revealed that while those who chewed gum consumed fewer meals, they ate more at the meals they did consume.3 Further, their meals ended up being less nutritious than those eaten by non-gum-chewers. It’s also been shown that people who chewed gum were less likely to eat fruit and instead were more motivated to eat junk food like potato chips and candy. This is likely because the minty flavor in the gum makes fruits and vegetables taste bitter.

So if you’re thinking that chewing gum is going to help you control your weight, you’re probably being sorely misled. This is even true if you’re chewing sugar-free gum, as consuming artificial sweeteners can cause distortions in your biochemistry that may actually make you gain weight. Studies looking at this issue show very clearly that artificial sweeteners may actually cause greater weight gain than sugar by stimulating your appetite, increasing carbohydrate cravings, and stimulating the secretion of hormones like insulin and leptin that signal the body to increase fat storage.

Chewing Gum May Harm Your Digestion and Your Teeth

It’s often overlooked that chewing has a very primal purpose. Your body was designed to activate digestion through chewing, and a carefully coordinated neurological reflex activates the production of enzymes when you move your jaw in a chewing motion. However, chewing without eating food can be counterproductive. When you chew gum, you send your body physical signals that food is about to enter your body. The enzymes and acids that are activated when you chew gum are therefore released, but without the food they’re intended to digest. This can cause bloating, an overproduction of stomach acid, and can compromise your ability to produce sufficient digestive secretions when you actually do eat food.

Furthermore, chewing sugar-free gum is often marketed as a tool for dental health, as the sugar alcohol xylitol, which is popular in sugar-free foods and chewing gum, has been found to help fight tooth decay. However, a label of "sugar-free" should not automatically be taken to mean "safe for your teeth."

Sugar-free gum often contains acidic flavorings and preservatives that may in fact lead to dental erosion4 even if it contains cavity-fighting xylitol. Unlike cavities, dental erosion is a process of incremental decalcification, which, over time, literally dissolves your teeth. I generally recommend avoiding gum chewing, but if you do chew gum, do so only occasionally or right before a meal when the acid and enzyme stimulation may actually be beneficial. I also suggest you look for natural alternatives, such as chewing gum made from the chicle tree.

Coca-Cola Tries to Defend Aspartame Use

Chewing gum manufacturers who rely on aspartame to make sugar-free products probably love Coca-Cola’s new ad campaign, which attempts to assure consumers that its no- or low-calorie beverages containing the artificial sweetener aspartame are a safe alternative.

According to the ad, aspartame is a “safe, high-quality alternative to sugar." Clearly they’ve not reviewed the hundreds of studies on this artificial sweetener demonstrating its harmful effects... Center for Science in the Public Interest’s (CSPI) Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson issued the following statement in response to Coca-Cola’s new ad:5

“Aspartame has been found to cause cancer — leukemia, lymphoma, and other tumors—in laboratory animals, and it shouldn’t be in the food supply. We certainly want Coca-Cola to shift its product mix toward lower- and no-calorie drinks, but aspartame’s reputation isn’t worth rehabilitating with this propaganda campaign. The company would be better off phasing out its use of aspartame and accelerating its research into safer, natural sweeteners such as those extracted from the stevia plant.”

The same could be said to chewing-gum manufacturers, who continue to pass off their sugar-free products as “healthy” and even tools for weight loss. It is my belief that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could sue Coke and the other diet soda manufacturers, and potentially even chewing gum manufacturers as well, for fraudulent advertising, as there are no studies showing that the use of diet sodas or sugar-free gum causes one to lose weight. In fact, diet soda has actually been shown to cause weight gain.6 If anyone in the natural foods industry attempted to do this we would get a warning letter from these agencies in a heartbeat.

So please, do yourself and your family a huge favor, and don’t allow yourself to get swept up in Coca-Cola’s multi-million dollar ad campaigns, which are based on flawed, inaccurate, misleading, and patently false conventions of thinking about obesity and the role of aspartame.

Tell Coke They're a Joke!

Obesity is a serious public health problem in the United States, and you are being sorely misled by companies pretending to have a solution that, in reality, only worsens the problem. Chewing gum manufacturers are certainly among them, but soda companies currently have far more reach. I strongly urge you to let the Coca-Cola Company know how you feel by telling them to stop their deceptive marketing of soda products.

Join me in taking a firm stand against false advertising and let your voice be heard. If you’re on twitter, send a tweet to #CokeCEO to let the Coca-Cola Company know you are not happy with their deceptive advertising. If you’re on Facebook, please share your thoughts with them on their Facebook Page. Please also email the Coca-Cola Company to let them know how you feel!


Related Articles:

  Sugar-Free Drinks and Chewing Gum Linked to Tooth Damage

  Study: Chewing Gum No Good for Weight Loss

  Why Coke Is a Joke—New Ad Campaign Defends Aspartame

 Comments (37)

By Dr. Mercola

A tall, cool beverage goes hand-in-hand with a hot summer day, but many of the most popular “summer” drinks come with a hefty downside, like exorbitant amounts of sugar.

It’s alarmingly easy to sip and slurp your way through hundreds of grams of excess sugar just by enjoying a cool drink once or twice a day – and that’s only the start.

There are plenty of options to quench your thirst and even satisfy your sweet tooth that will actually support your health at the same time (I’ll get to those later), so there’s no reason to sabotage your health (and your waistline) with these dietary disasters.

8 Top Summer Beverages to Avoid

1. Soda (Regular or Diet)

Drinking soda is in many ways as bad as smoking. Most sodas contain far too much sugar, or even worse, artificial sweeteners.

For instance, the chemical aspartame, often used as a sugar substitute in diet soda, has over 92 different side effects associated with its consumption including brain tumors, birth defects, diabetes, emotional disorders and epilepsy/seizures. Plus, each sip of soda exposes you to:

  • Phosphoric acid, which can interfere with your body's ability to use calcium, leading to osteoporosis or softening of your teeth and bones.
  • Benzene. While the federal limit for benzene in drinking water is 5 parts per billion (ppb), researchers have found benzene levels as high as 79 ppb in some soft drinks, and of 100 brands tested, most had at least some detectable level of benzene present. Benzene is a known carcinogen.
  • Artificial food colors, including caramel coloring, which has been identified as carcinogenic. The artificial brown coloring is made by reacting corn sugar with ammonia and sulfites under high pressures and at high temperatures.
  • Sodium benzoate, a common preservative found in many soft drinks, which can cause DNA damage. This could eventually lead to diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver and Parkinson's.

2. Wine Coolers

Wine coolers are alcoholic beverages made to taste much more like fruit juice than alcohol, which is why they’re a popular drink of choice on a warm summer day. But in order to make them taste sweet, manufacturers typically add fruit juice and sugar to the wine, which is usually the cheapest available grade. Some “wine” coolers aren’t even made from wine but the far cheaper “malt” instead.

These coolers can also contain artificial food colors, artificial flavors and even artificial sweeteners like aspartame. And, of course, they also contain alcohol, which is very similar to fructose both in its addictive properties and the kind of damage it can do to your health.

While I don’t recommend drinking alcohol (it is a neurotoxin that can poison your brain as well as disrupt your hormonal balance), if you’re going to have an alcoholic beverage, a glass of red or white wine is far preferable to a heavily (or artificially) sweetened wine cooler.

3. Beer

The “usual” problems associated with beer – its alcohol content and hefty amount of empty calories – are only the tip of the iceberg for why you should limit your consumption. It turns out that the yeast and all that’s used to make beer work together to make beer another powerful uric acid trigger.

Uric acid is a normal waste product found in your blood. High levels of uric acid are normally associated with gout, but it has been known for a long time that people with high blood pressure or kidney disease, and those who are overweight, often have high uric acid levels as well. It used to be thought that the uric acid was secondary in these conditions, and not the cause.

But research by Dr. Richard Johnson indicates that it could be a lead player in the development of these conditions, rather than just a supporting actor, when its levels in your body reach 5.5 mg per dl or higher. At this level, uric acid is associated with an increased risk for developing high blood pressure, as well as diabetes, obesity and kidney disease.

The classic "beer belly syndrome" is actually quite similar to metabolic syndrome, and includes abdominal obesity, hypertriglyceridemia (high triglycerides), high blood pressure, and even insulin resistance, so minimizing or eliminating beer consumption is also something to definitely consider when you’re watching your weight and trying to improve your health.

4. Lemonade and Fruit Juices

For many, nothing says “summer” like a cold glass of lemonade, but this, and other fruit juices, is usually just another source of sugar you’re better off without.

Lemonade is typically a concoction of sugar or high fructose corn syrup, water, and flavorings. It may or may not contain small amounts of actual lemon juice. In terms of its impact on your health, lemonade and fruit juice will act much like soda, exposing you to excessive amounts of fructose that will increase your risk of weight gain and chronic degenerative diseases. Lemonade is simply soda’s evil twin in disguise! However, if you make fresh lemonade or limeade then it is fine because these are the lowest fruits in fructose. Just be sure if you use a sweetener that you stick to stevia and avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners.

5. Sweetened Teas

Sweet tea is another popular summer beverage, and one that’s often confused as “healthy” because of the tea. While tea can be a good source of antioxidants, sweetened tea is another source of extra sugar that will decimate your health. While the actual sugar content of sweetened teas obviously varies, it’s not unusual to find sweet tea recipes that contain 22 percent sugar, which is twice the amount in a can of soda.1

In the Southern US, sweet tea is not an occasional treat, it’s more of a daily staple, making the health risks even steeper.

6. Energy Drinks

The US energy drink market is expected to reach nearly $20 billion in 2013, which is close to a 160 percent increase from 2008.2 While many choose them for the quick energy boost they provide, consuming large quantities of caffeine in energy drinks can have serious health consequences, especially in children and teens, including caffeine toxicity, stroke, anxiety, arrhythmia, and in some rare cases death. Drinking energy drinks has also been compared to “bathing” teeth in acid because of their impact on your tooth enamel.3

If a lack of energy and fatigue state is compelling you to drink energy drinks, please realize that this is likely a result of certain lifestyle choices, such as not enough healthy food, processed foods and sugar, and not enough exercise and sleep, plus an overload of stress. Increasing your energy levels, then, is as easy as remedying these factors.

7. Sports Drinks

Sports drinks are especially popular in the summer months, when many believe they are necessary to restore your electrolyte balance during exercise or other outdoor activities. They basically “work” because they contain high amounts of sodium (processed salt), which is meant to replenish the electrolytes you lose while sweating. But only a very small portion of exercisers work out hard enough that a sports drink might be necessary; typically they aren’t even necessary during a marathon, let alone during most regular workouts.4

Additionally, the leading brands of sports drinks on the market typically contain as much as two-thirds the sugar of sodas and more sodium. They also often contain high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or artificial sweeteners (they can lead to impaired kidney function, depression, headaches, infertility, brain tumors, and a long list of other serious health problems), artificial flavors and food coloring, which has been connected to a variety of health problems, including allergic reactions, hyperactivity, decreased IQ in children, and numerous forms of cancer.

Also, sports drinks are up to 30 times more erosive to your teeth than water. And brushing your teeth won’t help because the citric acid in the sports drink will soften your tooth enamel so much it could be damaged by brushing.

8. Frappes and Other Frozen/Iced Coffees

An iced coffee sounds innocent enough, until you start adding in the copious amounts of sweeteners (sugar, HFCS and artificial sweeteners may all apply) and flavorings that turn ordinary coffee into a treat that more closely resembles a hyped up milkshake. Some leading coffee drinks from restaurants like Dunkin’ Donuts and Seattle’s Best contain 100 grams of sugar or more, which is more than 2.5 times the amount of sugar an adult man should consume in a day!5

Delicious and Refreshing Summer Drinks That BOOST Your Health

I know what you’re thinking… you’re not going to give up the simple pleasure of enjoying a cool, tasty beverage on a hot summer day. And I should hope not! But you needn’t assume that sugar-laden soda, lemonade, sweet tea or frappes are your only options. By thinking outside the box, you can satisfy your craving for a delicious cool beverage in a way that will actually support instead of hinder your health.

Instead Of… Choose…
Soda Sparkling mineral water… spruce it up with fresh lemon or lime juice, a drop or two of natural peppermint extract, liquid stevia, cucumber slices or a few crushed mint leaves.

If you're adventurous, there are mint-flavored chlorophyll drops on the market that can be added to a glass of water. Chlorophyll may help flush toxins out of your blood and improves your breath.
Wine Coolers A small glass of white or red wine, ideally organic and biodynamic, on occasion.
Beer Try adding whole gingerroot to chilled carbonated water for a spicy alternative.
Lemonade or Fruit Juice Here's a recipe for a refreshing homemade fruit drink that's actually good for you. You can even throw in frozen berries instead of ice cubes.
Another tasty option is to blend some homemade kefir with frozen blueberries, raspberries or any fruit you enjoy. Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that contains beneficial bacteria that give your immune system a boost, among many other health benefits.

To make kefir all you need is one-half packet of kefir starter granules in a quart of raw milk, which you leave at room temperature overnight.
Sweetened Tea Iced green tea is a great pick-me-up that's high in antioxidants. Although green tea contains caffeine, it also contains a naturally calming amino acid called L-theanine, which balances out caffeine's adverse effects.

If you want it sweet, you can add natural liquid stevia, which is an herb that has no downsides for your health.

Another option is Tulsi tea (aka Holy Basil), which has a naturally delicious taste – slightly sweet and a bit spicy.
Energy Drinks For the ultimate refreshing vitamin-rich energy drink, make up some green juice from fresh, organic veggies like spinach, parsley, cucumbers and celery.

Add a pinch of sea salt and some lemon juice for a very refreshing beverage that is heavy on nutrition and virtually guaranteed to give you lasting energy.
Sports Drinks Try coconut water, which is a powerhouse of natural electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, enzymes, antioxidants and phytonutrients, and is low in sugar but pleasantly sweet.

It’s great for post-exercise rehydration, but also has anti-inflammatory properties, protects your heart and urinary tract, is a digestive tonic, improves your skin and eyes, supports good immune function, and can even help balance your blood glucose and insulin levels.

Look for a brand that has no additives, or purchase a young coconut and drain the coconut water yourself.
Frappes and Frozen Coffee Drinks Organic dark-roast coffee served over ice (without additives like milk or sugar) is refreshing and may even lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, stroke, and cancers of the liver, kidney and prostate.

When consumed in this healthful manner, coffee may even lower your blood glucose level and increase the metabolic activity and/or numbers of beneficial Bifidobacteria in your gastrointestinal tract.


Related Articles:

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  Sugary Drinks Linked to Over 180,000 Deaths Worldwide

  Why Do Researchers Recommend this Common Drink that Can Poison Your Brain?

 Comments (45)

By Dr. Mercola

To some, a ketogenic diet amounts to nothing less than a drug-free cancer treatment. The diet calls for eliminating carbohydrates, replacing them with healthy fats and protein.

The premise is that since cancer cells need glucose to thrive, and carbohydrates turn into glucose in your body, then cutting out carbs literally starves the cancer cells.

This type of diet, in which you replace carbs with moderate amounts of high quality protein and high amounts of beneficial fat, is what I recommend for everyone, whether you have cancer or not. It’s simply a diet that will help optimize your weight and health overall, as eating this way will help you convert from carb burning mode to fat burning.

Ketogenic Diet May Be Key to Brain Cancer Recovery

The featured video shows Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D, who is one of the leaders in teasing the details of how to treat cancer nutritionally. I am scheduled to interview him shortly and hope to have that interview up later this year. In the video, Professor Seyfried discusses how, as a metabolic disorder involving the dysregulation of respiration, malignant brain cancer can be managed through changes in the metabolic environment.

“In contrast to normal neurons and glia, which transition to ketone bodies (beta-hydroxybutyrate) for respiratory energy when glucose levels are reduced, malignant brain tumors are mostly dependent on non-oxidative substrate level phosphorylation due to structural and functional abnormalities in mitochondria. Glucose and glutamine are major fuels for malignant cancer cells.

The transition from glucose to ketone bodies as an energy source is an ancestrally conserved adaptation to food deprivation that permits the survival of normal cells during extreme shifts in nutritional environment. Only those cells with a flexible genome, honed through millions of years of environmental forcing and variability selection, can transition from one energy state to another.

We propose a different approach to brain cancer management that exploits the metabolic flexibility of normal cells at the expense of the genetically defective and metabolically challenged. This evolutionary and metabolic approach to brain cancer management is supported from studies in orthotopic mouse brain tumor models and from case studies in patients.

Calorie restriction and restricted ketogenic diets (R-KD), which reduce circulating glucose levels and elevate ketone levels, are anti-invasive, anti-angiogenic, and pro-apoptotic towards malignant brain cancer.”1

Current conventional cancer treatment typically involves chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is a cytotoxic poison, and radiation is devastating to the human body. More often than not, the treatment is what eventually kills the patient. This can no longer be accepted as “the best we can do.” As Dr. Seyfried says:

"The reason why we have so few people surviving is because of the standard of care. It has to be changed, if it's not changed, there will be no major progress. Period."

Metabolic Therapy/Ketogenic Diet Being Investigated as Cancer Treatment

CBN News recently published an article on the ketogenic diet.2 Clearly, many people are realizing that what we have been doing in terms of fighting cancer is simply not working, and we cannot afford to continue in the same way. Prevention must be addressed if we ever want to turn the tide on the growing incidence of cancer across all age groups. But even more astounding, in terms of treatment, is that cancer may respond to diet alone.

“Dr. Fred Hatfield is an impressive guy: a power-lifting champion, author of dozens of books, a millionaire businessman with a beautiful wife. But he'll tell you his greatest accomplishment is killing his cancer just in the nick of time,” CBN News writes. "The doctors gave me three months to live because of widespread metastatic cancer in my skeletal structure," he recalled. "Three months; three different doctors told me that same thing."

Dr. Hatfield was preparing to die when he heard of metabolic therapy, also known as the ketogenic diet. He had nothing to lose so he gave it a try, and... it worked. The cancer disappeared completely, and at the time of his interview (above), he’d been cancer-free for over a year.

The video above also features Dr. Dominic D'Agostino who, along with a team of researchers at the University of South Florida studies metabolic therapy. They found that when lab animals were fed a carb-free diet, they survived highly aggressive metastatic cancer better than those treated with chemotherapy. CBN reports:

“'We have dramatically increased survival with metabolic therapy,' [Dr. D’Agostino] said. 'So we think it's important to get this information out.' It's not just lab mice. Dr. D'Agostino has also seen similar success in people - lots of them. 'I've been in correspondence with a number of people,' he said. 'At least a dozen over the last year-and-a-half to two years, and all of them are still alive, despite the odds. So this is very encouraging.'”

How Does Ketogenic Diet Starve Cancer Cells?

Dr. D’Agostino explains how the ketogenic diet can have such a dramatic (and rapid) effect on cancer. All of your body’s cells are fueled by glucose. This includes cancer cells. However, cancer cells have one built-in fatal flaw – they do not have the metabolic flexibility of your regular cells and cannot adapt to use ketone bodies for fuel as all your other cells can.

So, when you alter your diet and become what’s known as “fat-adapted,” your body starts using fat for fuel rather than carbs. When you switch out the carbs for healthy fats, you starve the cancer out, as you’re no longer supplying the necessary fuel – glucose – for their growth. As D’Agostino explains:

"Your normal cells have the metabolic flexibility to adapt from using glucose to using ketone bodies. But cancer cells lack this metabolic flexibility. So we can exploit that.”

I’ve previously discussed ways to “starve” cancer, and eliminating sugar/fructose and grains (ie carbohydrates) is at the very top of the list. It’s the most basic step without which few other dietary strategies are likely to succeed. In order to be effective, you must first STOP doing that which is promoting cancer growth (or poor health in general), and then all the other preventive strategies have the chance to really have an impact.

What Makes for a Cancer-Fighting Diet?

Please remember addressing your diet should be at the top of your list. Naturally, processed foods and soft drinks do not belong in a cancer-preventive diet, as they are loaded with carbs that turn into fuel for cancer cells. Carbs also raise your insulin and leptin levels, and keeping your insulin and leptin signaling healthy is imperative if you want to avoid chronic disease of all kinds, including cancer.

Processed foods may also contain trans fat – the only type of fat you really need to avoid like the plague. They are also loaded with omega-6 fats which the featured otherwise excellent video failed to mention. Increasing the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is another potent way to increase your risk of cancer cell proliferation.

What About Protein?

One of my primary mentors in the importance of insulin and leptin, Dr. Rosedale. was one of the first professionals to advocate both a low-carb and moderate protein (and therefore high quality fat) diet. This was contrary to most low-carb advocates who were, and still are, very accepting of, if not promoting, high protein, as a replacement for the carbs.

If you or someone you know is challenged with cancer, the healthiest option may be to replace the carbs with beneficial fats, and limit your protein to high quality organic/pastured sources only. Dr. Rosedale advises 1 gram of protein per kilogram of lean body mass which for most people will be about 50 grams of protein a day (or 0.5 grams per pound of lean body weight). While you can take carbs to very low levels in ketogenic diets, you must have some protein every day to replace your body’s requirements. The key is to add healthy fat to replace the carbs and excess protein.

Olives and Olive oil Coconuts and coconut oil Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
Organic raw nuts, especially macadamia nuts, which are low in protein and omega-6 fat Organic pastured egg yolks and pastured meats Avocados

The Fallacies of Fats and Carbs

Coincidentally, Dr. Robert Lustig – another expert on the dangers of high carb diets – was recently interviewed by NPR radio’s Science Friday segment.2 His new book, Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease, tackles the persistent myths about fat that is endangering the health of millions. It’s difficult to know just how many people have suffered poor health because they followed conventional low-fat recommendations, but I’m sure the number is significant.

The fact is that you’ve been thoroughly misled when it comes to dietary advice. Still today, many doctors, nutritionists, and government health officials will tell you to avoid saturated fat and keep fat consumption to below 10 percent while keeping the bulk of your diet, about 60 percent, as carbs. This is madness, as it’s the converse of a diet that will lead to optimal health. As an example, you’ve probably seen the whole grain label, which is certified by the American Heart Association3 of all things. Do whole grains support heart health? Hardly. The following outtake from the transcript addresses this head on:

“Flatow: ...there’s something that came out yesterday released from Harvard... and it talks about one of the most widely used industry standards, the wholegrain stamp. [It] actually identified grain products [bearing the stamp] were higher in both sugars and calories than products without the stamp.

Lustig: Absolutely. And to be honest with you, wholegrain doesn’t mean much... Basically what it means is you start with a whole grain; that is the starch on the inside, the kernel, or the husk or the bran on the outside, and then whatever you want to do with it is perfectly fine. It’s still a whole grain. So if you pulverize it and add sugar to it, hey it’s still a whole grain because that’s what you started with. But you know what? All the benefits you get from whole grain are gone as soon as you pulverize it. So.... what it means is irrelevant because the definition is not helpful.”

Other Lifestyle Factors that Influence Your Cancer Risk

Other lifestyle factors that have been found to have an impact on chronic disease and cancer include:

  • Vitamin D: There's overwhelming evidence pointing to the fact that vitamin D deficiency plays a crucial role in cancer development. You can decrease your risk of cancer by more than half simply by optimizing your vitamin D levels with sun exposure or a safe tanning bed. And, if you are being treated for cancer, it is likely that higher blood levels – probably around 80-90 ng/ml – would be beneficial. To learn the details on how to use vitamin D therapeutically, please review my previous article, Test Values and Treatment for Vitamin D Deficiency. In terms of protecting against cancer, vitamin D has been found to offer protection in a number of ways, including:
  • Regulating genetic expression
  • Increasing the self-destruction of mutated cells (which, if allowed to replicate, could lead to cancer)
  • Reducing the spread and reproduction of cancer cells
  • Causing cells to become differentiated (cancer cells often lack differentiation)
  • Reducing the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, which is a step in the transition of dormant tumors turning cancerous
  • Getting proper sleep: both in terms of getting enough sleep, and sleeping between certain hours. According to Ayurvedic medicine, the ideal hours for sleep are between 10 pm and 6 am. Modern research has confirmed the value of this recommendation as certain hormonal fluctuations occur throughout the day and night, and if you engage in the appropriate activities during those times, you're 'riding the wave' so to speak, and are able to get the optimal levels. Working against your biology by staying awake when you should ideally be sleeping or vice versa, interferes with these hormonal fluctuations.
  • There's a spike of melatonin that occurs between midnight and 1am that you don't want to miss because the consequences are absolutely spectacular. Melatonin is not only a sleep hormone, but it also is a very powerful antioxidant. It decreases the amount of estrogen your body produces, and boosts your immune system. It also interacts with other hormones. So, if you go to bed after 10, it can significantly increase your risk of breast cancer.

  • Effectively addressing your stress: The research shows that if you experience a traumatic or highly stressful event, such as a death in the family, your risk of breast cancer is 12 times higher in the ensuing five years. I believe energy psychology tools are ideal to address stressors in your life. My favorite is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), but there are many others available as well.
  • Exercise: If you are like most people, when you think of reducing your risk of cancer, exercise doesn't immediately come to mind. However, there is some fairly compelling evidence that exercise can slash your risk of cancer.
  • One of the primary ways exercise lowers your risk for cancer is by reducing elevated insulin levels, which creates a low sugar environment that discourages the growth and spread of cancer cells. Additionally, exercise improves the circulation of immune cells in your blood. Your immune system is your first line of defense against everything from minor illnesses like a cold right up to devastating, life-threatening diseases like cancer.

    The trick about exercise, though, is understanding how to use it as a precise tool. This ensures you are getting enough to achieve the benefit, not too much to cause injury, and the right variety to balance your entire physical structure and maintain strength and flexibility, and aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels. This is why it is helpful to view exercise like a drug that needs to be carefully prescribed to achieve its maximum benefit. For detailed instructions, please see this previous article.

    Additionally it is likely that integrating exercise with intermittent fasting will greatly catalyze the potential of exercise to reduce your risk of cancer and stimulate widespread healing and rejuvenation.

    You CAN Beat 'the System'...

    Cancer is the second most lethal disease in the US after heart disease (not counting iatrogenic mortality, aka “death by medicine”). We all know that the war on cancer has been a dismal failure. Tragically, conventional wisdom is blind when it comes to cancer prevention and treatment and hundreds of thousands die prematurely every year as a result. They have little to no appreciation of the concepts discussed in this article. But you don’t have to fall into that trap as you know better and can take control of your health and ability to treat cancer in your own hands.

    The ketogenic diet, which can be summarized as a high-fat, moderate-protein, no-grain-carb diet, has brought many back to health, even after being diagnosed with aggressive cancer, and given no hope of survival. Hopefully, research by the likes of Dr. D’Agostino will become more widely known. Until then, do your own research and take control of your own health, and that of your family.

    Severely limiting sugar/fructose, processed foods of all kinds, sweetened beverages (as well as diet versions), and replacing carbs with healthy fats and high quality protein can do what no medicine can – it can prevent disease from setting in, and may even be the U-turn you’re looking for if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer or other chronic disease. Add to that appropriate sun exposure, sleep, effective stress management, and regular exercise, and you’ll be well ahead of the rest of the population.

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    By Dr. Mercola

    For a quick look at health risks that just aren't worth it, you can review our featured article that has a list of products or habits you'd be better off avoiding than taking a chance with.

    Many of these habits are not only completely accepted by our society and typically viewed as risk free, but are extremely common as well. There's a good chance you're probably engaging in at least one of the risks on this list, but after reading the truth about it, you may decide it's just not worth it.

    Are You Taking These Unnecessary Health Risks?

    1. Holding a Cell Phone to Your Ear

    As the use of cell phones and other wireless technologies have exponentially exploded over the past couple of decades, concerns about the health effects of such technology have increased as well. Today, we're at a point of no turning back, as cell phone subscriptions are now estimated at 5 billion globally?that's the majority of people on the planet!

    A growing body of researchers have spoken out against the technology, warning that it may have serious biological side effects, not the least of which is an increased risk of brain tumors. Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO)/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a report admitting cell phones might indeed cause cancer, classifying radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" (Class 2B).i

    The classification came in part in response to research showing wireless telephone use increases the risk for brain cancer.

    An analysis from Sweden, published in Neurology & Neurophysiology,ii projected a very large increase in brain cancer incidence resulting from widespread mobile phone use beginning in approximately 15 years. The projections are based on well-established effects of this radiation on DNA. Specifically, that mobile phone use decreases the efficiency of the repair of mutated DNA and increases the rate of DNA mutations.

    Earlier this year, Health Canada proposed adopting a precautionary principle approach and issued guidelines for limited cell phone use. Many other countries have already done so to some degree, including Russia, the UK, Israel, Belgium, Germany, India, Finland and France.

    All the evidence points to the fact that current safety standards are completely inadequate. Our rapidly expanding wireless technologies must be properly evaluated, but on an individual level we simply cannot afford to wait. While some countries are beginning to invoke the precautionary principle, each and every individual can take it upon themselves to do the same, rather than wait for an official statement.

    You can find my complete guidelines on how to limit your wireless exposure here.

    2. Choosing a Shower Curtain Made Out of PVC

    You know the smell that seeps out when you take a brand new plastic or vinyl shower curtain out of its package? That's due to the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) it's made out of. This is a significant source of exposure to chemicals known as phthalates, which are used as plasticizers in everything from vinyl flooring to detergents, hoses, raincoats, adhesives, air fresheners, and toys?and even in some soaps, shampoos, lotions and nail polish.

    Phthalates are one of the groups of "gender-bending" chemicals causing males of all species to become more female. These chemicals have disrupted the endocrine systems of wildlife, causing testicular cancer, genital deformations, low sperm counts and infertility in a number of species, including polar bears, deer, whales and otters, just to name a few. Scientists believe phthalates are responsible for a similar pattern in humans as well, and they have been linked to:

    Impaired ovulatory cycles and polycystic ovary disease (PCOS) "Decreased dysgenesis syndrome": A syndrome involving cryptorchidism (undescended testicles), hypospadias (birth defect in which opening of urethra is on the underside of the penis instead of at the end), and oligospermia (low sperm count), and testicular cancer
    Interference with sexual differentiation in utero Enlarged prostate glands
    Disturbed lactation Numerous hormonal disruptions
    Early or delayed puberty Breast cancer and uterine fibroids

    Research conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered high levels of phthalates in all 289 adult Americans tested, and the levels of some phthalates in women of childbearing age exceeded the government's safe levels set to protect against birth defects, leading scientists to conclude phthalate exposures are "much higher and more common than previously suspected."iii

    This is why it makes sense to choose a fabric shower curtain (or install glass doors) in lieu of a vinyl one ? as well as take these other precautions to reduce your phthalate exposure as much as possible. They are a bit more expensive but it would make sense to get a glass shower door installed to+ replace them. You can typically do this for under $500.

    3. Microwaving in Plastic

    Plastics contain a slew of hormone-mimicking, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, like bisphenol-A (BPA), which is linked to cancer, premature puberty, heart disease and more. Even under normal conditions, such as drinking out of a plastic bottle, they can leach into your food and beverages. But heating them accelerates the process, releasing a larger amount of the dangerous chemicals into whatever you're warming up.

    Remember just because it is BPA-free doesn't mean it isn't loaded with other gender bending BPA-like chemicals. GreenMedInfo wrote a nice recent review on this recently, revealing that many manufacturers the globe over have been switching to the equally toxic bisphenol known as Bisphenol S (BPS) in order to evade impending regulatory oversight, as well as to ride the "BPA-free" marketing gravy train by misleading the consumer into thinking their products are bisphenol free, which they are not.iv

    Even BPA-free plastics leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals, so don't let this label give you a false sense of security. Anytime you're microwaving anything, use a glass or ceramic container (and don't cover it in plastic wrap, either). Better yet, ditch your microwave entirely and use an oven or toaster oven when you need to reheat your food.

    4. Flea and Tick Collars

    Not only are flea and tick collars toxic to your pet, but did you know that you're also exposed to the pesticides when you play with your dog or cat?

    Children are particularly at risk, and may be exposed to pesticide residues at levels up to 1,000 times higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's acceptable levels, posing a risk of cancer and damage to the neurological system.v The residues can remain on your pets' fur for weeks, posing an unacceptable risk, particularly when there are many natural options available.

    5. Running Your Humidifier

    What's wrong with running a humidifier? Assuming it's used occasionally and kept clean, not a thing. But many people are less than diligent about cleaning them out, and this paves the way for bacteria to develop. The moist, warm environment of a humidifier is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, which travel out of the unit via a "toxic mist" that you later breathe in.

    Research has shown that breathing in dirty mist from humidifiers can lead to lung problems, including infection, and humidifier use is actually associated with an increased risk of developing asthma in Keep in mind, also, that too much moisture in your air increases the development of mold, which is a toxin you don't want to be breathing in on a daily basis.

    If you choose to use a humidifier, do so sparingly, making sure humidity levels do not get too high. A hygrometer, which you can find at most hardware stores, can measure the amount of moisture in your home's air so you can adjust your humidifier use accordingly. Some humidifiers also have a hygrometer built in.

    You'll also need to make sure you clean it often, at least once every three days using hydrogen peroxide to remove any film or mineral deposits. The water in the reservoir should be changed daily, and be sure the area around it (tabletops, windows, carpeting, curtains, etc.) are kept dry.

    Typically many people would actually benefit from running a dehumidifier in the summer to remove excess humidity especially in the basement where high humidity levels can cause mold to grow.

    6. Antibacterial Soap and Fluoride Toothpaste

    Beyond helping keep your immune system optimized, washing your hands is your number one protection against the acquisition and spread of infectious disease. But you do not need to use antimicrobial soap to get the job done. Studies have shown that people who use antibacterial soaps and cleansers develop a cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever, vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms just as often as people who use regular soaps.vii

    Part of the reason for this is because most of these symptoms are actually caused by viruses, which antibacterial soaps can't kill.

    But even for symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, which may be caused by bacteria, those who used regular soaps still had no greater risk than those who used antibacterial products. So, the rational conclusion is antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary for the purpose of washing away bacteria.

    A 2007 systematic review published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases viii confirmed that antibacterial soap containing triclosan did not provide any additional benefit compared with a non-antibacterial soap. Triclosan, the active ingredient in most antibacterial soap and even in some toothpastes, not only kills bacteria, it also has been shown to kill human cells ix and act as an endocrine disrupter. Contributing to the creation of hardier, more resistant bacterial strains.

    Using these products also contributes to the creation of hardier, more resistant bacterial strains and, as if that wasn't enough, when triclosan mixes with the chlorine in your tap water, chloroform is formed, which the EPA has classified as a probable human carcinogen.

    So please, avoid using antibacterial soaps and other products containing these hazardous ingredients. They're just harming you, the environment, and adding to a significant public health problem. They also cost more. Instead, just use a gentle, chemical-free soap and a natural, fluoride-free toothpaste. Local health food stores typically carry a variety of natural soaps and other toiletries that will do the trick without harsh chemicals.

    7. X-Ray Airport Scanners

    The European Commission has banned X-ray body scanners that use "backscatter" radiation technology from airports, "in order to not risk jeopardizing citizens' health and safety" ? but they are still in use in the United States. Backscatter X-ray scanners expose your body to ionizing radiation, which causes cumulative DNA damage that can lead to cancer. Because the scanners' X-ray beams are concentrated on your skin, not distributed throughout the volume of your entire body, there is concern that the dose to your skin could be dangerously high.

    A letter written by five professorsx revealed that there has not actually been any verifiable scientific testing of the safety of airport scanners -- and that the levels of radiation being used are likely much higher than the public has been led to believe.

    These scientists believe that the high-quality images produced cannot possibly be obtained with the low levels of radiation described, and that the actual level may be 45 times higher than what the manufacturer is claiming.

    Personally, as a very frequent air traveler, I ALWAYS opt-out of the x-ray scanner. Thankfully, I recently received TSA Certified Pre status so I don't have to take off my shoes, belt or computer out of my case and can go through the old scanner, but this is only when I fly American Airlines for now, but should transfer to other airlines in the future.

    However, even if the radiation dose is minute (and that's a big IF), I'm not willing to risk my health by exposing my entire body to any avoidable dose on a regular basis. If you're exposed to other forms of radiation through CT scans, mammograms and other medical procedures -- and you're also exposed to radiation when you travel by air -- your exposure could easily reach dangerous levels, and this is why it makes sense to avoid unnecessary radiation exposures as much as possible.

    I also take 8 mg of astaxanthin every day, which is believed to radically limit damage from ionizing radiation.

    8. Colon Cleansing

    While the idea of cleaning out your intestines using a colonic or another method sounds on the surface like it might be a good idea, you actually need a good growth of bacteria in your gut to ease digestion and voiding of waste. If you eat a healthy diet, which includes plenty of raw and fermented vegetables, your colon should be very healthy, and will naturally self-clean.

    The problem with colon cleanses is that the procedure itself can cause complications, including infection from bacteria that is introduced into the colon, or accidental punctures made during the procedure, which would require surgery to fix and can be very serious.

    Instead, I highly recommend using fermented vegetables and other fermented foods, which are a rich source of beneficial bacteria, therapeutically to heal and restore health in your gut. Experts recommend eating about a quarter to half a cup (2 to 4 oz) of fermented vegetables or other cultured food, such as raw yoghurt, with one to three meals per day. I personally consume about 8 ounces nearly every day, as I believe they are one of the healthiest superfoods for your gut available.

    I know many colon hydrotherapists would disagree with the position above and clearly some people benefit from this process, but I do think allowing your body to optimize the process is better than doing it artificially for most.

    9. Ready-Made Canned Infant Formula ? Especially Soy Infant Formula

    Many well-intentioned moms unknowingly add to their baby's toxic load by feeding them contaminated, chemical-laden infant formulas (in plastic bottles) during their first months of life. The pre-mixed liquid formulas are typically packaged in cans that are lined with BPA, and this is actually one of the foods most likely to be contaminated with this developmental toxin.

    Some of the greatest concern surrounds early-life exposure to BPA, which can lead to chromosomal errors in the developing fetus, triggering spontaneous miscarriages and genetic damage. Exposure to only 0.23 parts per billion of BPA is enough to disrupt the effect of estrogen in your baby's developing brain.

    It's also important to avoid giving your child soy infant formula, as the high concentrations of manganese it contains can lead to brain damage in infants and altered behaviors in adolescents. Researchers have found that soybean plants lift up manganese in the soil and concentrate it, so that its use in soy-based infant formula can result in as many as 200 times the level found in natural breast milk. Experts believe that such high concentrations could pose a threat to the immature metabolic systems of babies up to 6 months of age.

    The other significant issue is the estrogen in soy. A soy-fed baby receives the equivalent of five birth control pills' worth of estrogen every day! These babies' isoflavone levels were found to be from 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than in non-soy fed infants.

    One of the best gifts you can give your child is to start out their life with a sound nutritional foundation, and the best way to do this is by breastfeeding.

    While any amount of breastfeeding is better than none at all, it is clearly to your advantage, and best for your baby's health, to breastfeed exclusively -- meaning no other food or water is supplemented -- for at least the first 6 months. Then, at the age of 6 or 9 months, you can begin to supplement with solid foods (while still continuing to breastfeed as well). If for some reason you're not able to breastfeed, or you have adopted your baby, your next best option is to make a healthy infant formula using raw milk. You can find homemade formula recipes here.



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    By Dr. Mercola

    Aspartame is the most popular artificial sweetener in the United States, but I think a more apt description would be the most dangerous food additive on the U.S. market.

    Used in more than 6,000 products (often sugar-free or "diet" versions), millions of people consume this toxin, believing it to be a healthy alternative to sugar.

    But people would likely stop using it in droves if they only knew the truth, which is that since its discovery aspartame has been linked to brain tumors.i

    And just this month, research was published in Drug and Chemical Toxicology showing yet another route by which aspartame damages your brain ?

    Long-Term Consumption of Aspartame Leads to Oxidative Stress, and Imbalances in Your Brain

    A new study investigated the effect of long-term intake of aspartame on the antioxidant defense status in the rat brain.

    Male rats that were given a high dose of the artificial sweetener exhibited a lowered concentration of reduced glutathione (the active, antioxidant form of glutathione), and reduced glutathione reductase activity.

    Glutathione deficiency has been linked to age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's.

    Examination also revealed mild vascular congestion -- an obstruction of the normal flow of blood within the brain -- in these rats. Researchers concluded:

    "The results of this experiment indicate that long-term consumption of aspartame leads to an imbalance in the antioxidant/pro-oxidant status in the brain, mainly through the mechanism involving the glutathione-dependent system."

    A Sweet-Tasting Neurotoxin

    Aspartame is composed of three ingredients -- two amino acids (phenylalanine and aspartic acid) and a methyl ester bond. In typical proteins like meat, fish or eggs, phenylalanine and aspartic acid comprise 4-5 percent each of the total amino acid profile. This is how nature intends the human body to encounter these two amino acids and there is nothing wrong with these substances if they occur naturally in a proper balance with other amino acids.

    But in aspartame the ratio of these two amino acids is 50 percent phenylalanine and 40 percent aspartic acid (with 10 percent methyl ester bond, aka wood alcohol). In other words, on a percentage basis this is a massive quantity of two unnaturally isolated amino acids that are simply not found in this ratio in nature, bonded together by a known poison. The result of this chemical cocktail is a sweet-tasting neurotoxin.

    Excess Aspartame May "Excite" Your Brain Cells to Death

    As a result of its unnatural structure, your body processes the amino acids found in aspartame very differently from a steak or a piece of fish. The amino acids in aspartame literally attack your cells, even crossing the blood-brain barrier to attack your brain cells, creating a toxic cellular overstimulation called excitotoxicity. MSG is also an excitotoxin, and works synergistically with aspartame to create even more damage to your brain cells.

    Aspartic acid, also known as aspartate, acts as a neurotransmitter in your brain by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much aspartate in your brain kills certain neurons by allowing the influx of too much calcium into the cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells. The neural cell damage that can be caused by excessive aspartate is why they are referred to as "excitotoxins." They "excite" or stimulate the neural cells to death.

    Adding to the problem, according to Dr. Russell Blaylock, a retired neurosurgeon:

    "Excitotoxins have been found to dramatically promote cancer growth and metastasis. In fact, one aspartame researcher noticed that, when cancer cells were exposed to aspartame, they became more mobile ? "

    The blood-brain barrier, which normally protects your brain from excess aspartate, as well as toxins, is not able to adequately protect you against the effects of aspartame consumption because it:

    1. Is not fully developed during childhood
    2. Does not fully protect all areas of the brain
    3. Is damaged by numerous chronic and acute conditions
    4. Allows seepage of excess aspartate into the brain even when intact

    That excess aspartate slowly begins to destroy neurons, and the large majority (75 percent or more) of neural cells in a particular area of the brain are killed before any clinical symptoms of a chronic illness are noticed. Then, when they do occur, they may or may not be associated with aspartame consumption, even though examples of chronic illnesses that are made worse by long-term exposure to excitatory amino acid damage include:

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) ALS Memory loss
    Hormonal problems Hearing loss Epilepsy
    Alzheimer's disease and dementia Parkinson's disease Hypoglycemia
    AIDS Brain lesions Neuroendocrine disorders

    If It's So Dangerous, How Did Aspartame Get Approved?

    This is the first question that springs to many people's minds, as most would rather not believe that brain-damaging food additives are allowed on the market. The truth of the matter is the FDA rejected aspartame not once but multiple times. The scientific data just did not support it as a safe product. But the FDA is a federal agency subject to the political winds, and the people in charge of the agency have repeatedly and notoriously been accused of many conflicts of interest, both economically and ethically.

    In 1975 the FDA came to the conclusion that aspartame should not be allowed on the market. They requested that further studies be conducted. The FDA's next move was to set up a public board of inquiry composed of outside experts to investigate the safety of aspartame, and in 1980 that board unanimously rejected aspartame's request for approval. Another internal FDA panel convened in 1980 also rejected aspartame for approval.

    So it was three strikes against aspartame at this point, four strikes if you count the Bressler Report. This report was compiled in 1977 after FDA scientists looked into the field studies conducted on aspartame. The Bressler Report uncovered fraud and manipulation of data so serious that the FDA forwarded their files to the Chicago U.S. Attorney's office for prosecution.

    For more details on the story of how aspartame made it through the FDA approval process despite warning signs of potential health hazards and alleged scientific fraud, please watch the 60-Minutes report below, as Wallace does a nice job of summarizing an otherwise long story.

    Basically the results of the scientific data were fairly clear up until 1980: Aspartame was a dangerous, brain-tumor-causing man-made poison and the company trying to get it into the food supply was recommended for prosecution by the FDA. You would think that would be the end of aspartame, right?

    Not by a long shot.

    It is no coincidence that the FDA Chairman who stood in the way of aspartame's approval was removed from office the day Ronald Reagan took office. His replacement (Dr. Arthur Hill Hayes) was in part planted there by Donald Rumsfeld, CEO of G.D. Searle (aspartame is produced by G.D. Searle Company), in order to allegedly get a friendly rubber stamp on aspartame's approval.

    But even with a friendly new FDA Chairman in place, the agency still rejected aspartame for approval by a 3-2 margin. What reprehensible, bordering on criminal action did Chairman Hayes do next? He added a sixth member to the approval board, who voted in favor of aspartame. Then, with a 3-3 tie on the issue, Chairman Hayes himself broke the deadlock with his own vote of approval for aspartame.

    So he packed the board and then used his own vote as a tie-breaker. All apparently perfectly legal ...

    And one of Hayes' last acts in office before he left the FDA in1983 amid accusations that he was accepting corporate gifts for political favors, was to approve aspartame for use in beverages. Does this sound to you like a man-made synthetic chemical that should have never been allowed into the world's food supply?

    Are You Suffering Health Problems from Aspartame?

    You might not realize you're having a reaction to aspartame. In fact, most people don't make the connection, and a tremendous amount of time and money is spent by aspartame "reactors" (people sensitive to the chemical), trying to find out why they are sick. Some of the most common reactions include:

    Headaches/migraines Nausea Abdominal pains
    Fatigue Sleep problems Vision problems
    Anxiety attacks Depression Asthma/chest tightness


    To determine if you're a reactor, take the following steps:

    1. Eliminate all artificial sweeteners from your diet two weeks. (Note: If you typically consume aspartame in caffeinated drinks, you may want to gradually reduce your intake in order to avoid caffeine withdrawal symptoms.)
    2. After two weeks of being artificial sweetener-free, reintroduce aspartame in a significant quantity (about three servings daily) and avoid other artificial sweeteners during this period.
    3. Do this for one to three days and notice how you feel, especially as compared to when you were consuming no artificial sweeteners.
    4. If you don't notice a difference in how you feel after re-introducing aspartame, it's a safe bet you're able to tolerate aspartame acutely, meaning your body doesn't have an immediate, adverse response. However, this doesn't mean your health won't be damaged in the long run by this chemical and its breakdown products.

    If you experience an adverse reaction to any aspartame product, I urge you to call the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in your area. Also please forward this article to your friends and loved ones who are still drinking diet sodas and poisoning themselves. You can make a difference on this issue by helping to spread the word.

    Tips for Ditching Aspartame (and Other Artificial Sweeteners)

    First off, be sure you address the emotional component to your food cravings using a tool such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). More than any traditional or alternative method I have used or researched, EFT works to overcome food cravings and helps you reach dietary success. If diet soda is the culprit for you, be sure to check out Turbo Tapping, which is an extremely effective and simple tool to get rid of your soda addiction in a short amount of time.

    Avoiding sugar is a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle, but, instead of consuming a naturally low-sugar diet based on whole foods, some people are still trying to have their cake and eat it too. Unfortunately, the belief that artificial sweeteners can allow you to have the best of both worlds is a carefully orchestrated deception. So if you're still consuming artificially sweetened foods, snacks and beverages because you think it'll help you manage your weight, please understand that you've been sorely misled.

    In reality, "diet" foods and drinks destroy your body's ability to count calories and actually promote weight gain. For example, drinking diet sodas has been found to double your risk of obesity! Complicating matters further, artificial sweeteners also appear to be highly addictive. It's important to understand that craving sugar is typically a sign that your body needs fuel. Using artificial sweeteners will NOT trick your body into thinking it has had its fill. Instead, artificial sweeteners can increase sweet cravings because your body didn't get the energy boost it was expecting from that sweet taste.

    If you're determined to sweeten your foods and beverages, I urge you to consider using stevia extract -- a safe and natural sweet herb. Stevia is my sweetener of choice. However, like most choices, especially sweeteners, I recommend using it in moderation, just like sugar. I prefer to use it in its liquid flavored form and my favorite flavors are English Toffee and French Vanilla.

    Most all sweeteners increase your insulin sensitivity but interestingly stevia has actually been shown to have an insulin-releasing effect, and actually INCREASES insulin sensitivity, so it appears to be safe to use. But it is probably best to avoid highly processed stevia-based sweeteners like Truvia and PureVia, as these do not contain the whole stevia plant, which may compromise its safety.



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