By Dr. Mercola
The myth that dietary fat increases your potential for obesity and causes heart disease has been perpetuated for years and has likely ruined the health of millions of people.
It is difficult to know just how many people suffer with poor health or have succumbed to disease as a result of following a conventional low-fat, high-carb diet.
Once metabolized, non-fiber carbohydrates turn into sugars in your body, raising your insulin and leptin levels. Reducing fat and increasing sugars and net carbs raises your risk for heart disease, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, and affects your neurological health and immunity.
The sugar industry funded research in the 1960s to publicly downplay the role sugar plays in your health and the development of disease.1 Sponsored research by Harvard scientists was published in the New England Journal of Medicine refuting concerns about the role sugar plays in the development of heart disease.
These same tactics continue to be used in industry-funded research and councils publishing the views of paid experts to strengthen income for manufacturers.
The cereal industry is just the latest in a line of manufacturers who have taken advantage of the public through paid-expert education and media advertising affecting the youngest consumers.
Cereal Industry Fighting to Protect Sales
Stanton Glantz, Ph.D., co-authored the historical analysis of internal industry documents that revealed the sugar industry sponsored a program, including research, to cast doubt on the hazards of sugar, while simultaneously promoting fat as the culprit to bad health. According to Glantz:2
"It was a very smart thing the sugar industry did, because review papers, especially if you get them published in a very prominent journal, tend to shape the overall scientific discussion,"
The cereal industry has also been using paid experts to further their financial cause and improve profits, at the same time affecting your health.
Using the Breakfast Council, composed of dietary experts, Kellogg Company published a paper defining what constituted a quality breakfast in a nutritional journal, reportedly written by their "independent nutrition experts."3
However, overseeing and providing feedback for the journal article was an employee of Kellogg who recommended a line be removed from the article that said 25 percent added sugar may be too high.4 The paper underwent peer review before being published.
Kellogg planned to use this journal article in comments on government dietary guidelines where it could be referenced as a key message for the company. The information was gathered by the Associated Press in a request for public records.5 The 'independent experts' used by Kellogg were members of the Breakfast Council.
Kellogg Perpetuates Sugar Myth With Paid Not-So-Independent Experts
Kellogg used their association with the Breakfast Council to advertise on their website that these industry experts were helping to guide the nutritional content of the cereals.
But for the mere sum of $13,000 these industry experts were also not allowed to speak about other cereals or produce content negative to the cereal industry.6 These same experts were required to engage on social media and with colleagues to influence outreach of the company. The council was brought together in 2011.
Although Kellogg compensated the experts, the company published that they were "independent experts," blurring the lines between financially rewarded promotion and impartial guidance.
Industry sponsored research that consistently favors the industry has influenced public health recommendations and damaged health. Marion Nestle, Ph.D. and professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University, has commented on claims made by researchers saying:7
"I worry a lot about the effects of industry sponsorship on public belief in the credibility of nutrition science."
Even if the research is sound, Nestle believes the ultimate reason many corporations sponsor research is for marketing purposes and not to improve public health.
If the results don't statistically support the theory the company holds, researchers may simply communicate the statistics in a way that supports the theory. According to Nestle:8
"I have 95 published studies funded by every food company you can think of that favor the company's interests. I've found nine that don't."
Kellogg Gives Breakfast Council the Ax
The Breakfast Council is no longer active and the webpage referring to them on Kellogg's website has been removed.9 The contract with these six council members expired in May 2016, and it was not renewed. Their contract paid them $13,000 a year to provide the company with their expert voice in company marketing.10
Before being disbanded, Kellogg used the group to increase interest in cereal, a product that has experienced a loss in sales over the past decade. Sales dropped from $9.57 billion to $8.85 billion between 2012 and 2014, equating to an 8 percent drop in sales over two years.11
In the same period of time, sales for yogurt and eggs — products also eaten for breakfast — went up by similar percentages.
An interesting survey conducted by Mintel found millennials don't have the energy for breakfast that requires clean up, while baby boomers continue to love cereals as much as they ever did.12 The type of individuals eating cereal is shifting, sparking industry movement toward producing cereals with a healthier profile.
To continue long-term growth, cereal companies need to grow their customer base, namely millennials. Since sales began slumping in the 1990s, cereal companies began including other products that would tempt the taste buds of those who enjoy snacking.13
With the encouragement of manufacturers, cereal is also becoming a part of the mix in the professional kitchen. Cocktails infused with Fruity Pebbles14 or Kellogg's paella15 caught the eye of the manufacturers.
Kellogg picked up the idea and paid a group of chefs to create dishes using cereal.16 Although these chef creations will likely not boost business, they do increase visibility of the cereals, always a plus in marketing and sales.
Children's Eating Habits Are Influenced by Food Ads
Both children and adults are influenced by advertising on television. Although the number of hours adults are watching live TV is dropping, the number of hours children are watching video on their digital devices is rising.
According to research from Nickelodeon, children born after 2005 are watching up to 35 hours of TV each week.17 That number represents the total number of hours a person in France can legally work in one week.18 And, according to Nickelodeon's numbers, these same children are spending even more time on their digital devices.
All this time in front of the TV is contributing to mindless snacking and increasing the number of children suffering from obesity.19 In one experiment, researchers evaluated the influence that TV advertising had on the eating habits of 2- to 5-year-old children in the absence of hunger.20
Prior to the experiment the researchers fed the children, ensuring they were not hungry during the testing period. During the TV programming, the children were exposed to an ad for Bugle chips or for a department store.
All of the children had two snacks available during the programming: Bugle corn chips and another option. The researchers found children who saw the ad for corn chips ate approximately 30 more calories during their TV watching than those who saw the ad for the department store.21
While 30 calories may not seem like a lot, testing occurred over just one TV show. If you multiply the potential number of calories children may mindlessly eat while watching up to 35 hours of television a week, it becomes a significant issue.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no more than one hour per day of TV for children aged 2 to 5 to encourage activity and support healthy sleep habits. The results from this study may give you just one more reason to limit your child's exposure to advertising. When choosing the shows your child is watching, pay attention to how products are promoted.
Although at age 2 children may be too young to understand the influence on their choices, you may consider gradually introducing information about how advertising influences decisions to help them resist the effects of media promotion. Ultimately, limiting exposure to TV is the best option.
To Improve Your Health, Reduce Your Net Carbs
Changing your and your children's food choices to those with higher amounts of healthy fat and fewer net carbs will ultimately increase your energy level, improve your health and help you maintain a normal weight. Eating a healthy high-fat diet will help shift your metabolism from primarily burning carbs to burning fat, the basis of a ketogenic diet.
Your cells have the metabolic flexibility to burn glucose or break down fats for fuel. Most cancer cells don't have this flexibility and require glucose to thrive, making a ketogenic diet advantageous for preventing cancer. For optimal health, you may need as much as 50 to 70 percent of your daily calories to come from healthy fats, such as coconut oil, MCT oil, organic pastured eggs, grass-pastured butter, avocado and raw nuts (pecans and macadamia nuts are particularly beneficial).
By eating a diet high in net carbohydrates you effectively prevent ketosis and force your body to burn glucose. Your net carbs equal the total carbs eaten minus the grams of fiber eaten that day. If you're like most people eating a Western diet, your foods are heavily laden with sugars and other carbohydrates, and low in fiber.
Dietary fiber is non-digestible carbohydrates found in plant foods that help provide bulk in your diet and promote a healthy gastrointestinal tract by nourishing heathy gut bacteria. Fiber also reduces the net carbohydrate impact on insulin secretion.
Unfortunately, most Americans only consume between 12 and 16 grams of fiber per day22 when the Institute of Medicine recommends between 28 and 35 grams of fiber for women and men respectively.23 However, I don't feel those recommendations are high enough and encourage you to eat close to 50 grams of fiber for each 1,000 calories of food each day.
When your diet is rich in carbohydrates and sugars, your liver downregulates the fat-burning process, as it is not needed, effectively losing the ability to burn fat despite an adequate supply. To cut out the mid-afternoon loss of energy, you'll want to reduce your overall net carbs and increase the amount of healthy fats you consume.
Switching to Healthy Fat Improves Energy, Health and Reduces Weight
Lowering your net carbs increases the likelihood you'll shed body fat more quickly, simultaneously improving your metabolism and boosting your energy levels. As sugars are one of the primary triggers for inflammation in your body, eating a diet high in fats also lowers the level of inflammation and promotes optimal health.
An effective way of achieving nutritional ketosis is to limit your net carbs to under 30 to 40 grams per day and limit protein to 1 gram of protein per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of your lean body mass. You then make up the calories with an increase in healthy fats. Ideally, choose organic produce and pastured meats, and avoid genetically engineered (GE) foods. Essentially, this means eating more real food and very little to no processed foods.
Specific dietary fats can be harmful to your health, but saturated fats are not the culprit they've been made out to be. For an in-depth review of dietary fats see the Weston Price Foundation article, "Saturated Fat Does a Body Good."24 A quick summary of the fats you want to avoid are:
• Trans fats
These act as a pro-oxidant and contribute to oxidative stress that causes cellular damage. These fats are often added to baked goods, as the fats are man-made and have a phenomenally long shelf life compared to healthy, natural fats.
• Highly Refined Polyunsaturated Vegetable Oils
Also called polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), these are often found in peanut, corn and soy oils. PUFAs are high in damaged omega-6 acids from the manufacturing process and produce a toxic oxidation product, such as cyclic aldehydes, when heated.
About the Director
I believe in bringing quality to my readers, which is why I wanted to share some information about the director, Donal O’Neill, from “Cereal Killers." Thank you to Mr. O’Neill for bringing us this life-changing film.
What was your inspiration for making this film?
In 2010 my father suffered a very unexpected heart attack after the standard cardiac tests had suggested — to the contrary — that he was perfectly healthy.
The question I asked was, "What did they miss?" I spent three years researching and trying to answer that question. Making a movie was not in the plan initially, but the frustration I felt with what I discovered eventually led to the making of “Cereal Killers.” It was my attempt to add something meaningful to the debate around fat and heart disease.
Where do the proceeds of your film go?
Because we make our movies independently, we just reinvest any surplus funds into the next project. After “Cereal Killers,” we made "Run on Fat" (2015) — this movie mapped Sami Inkinen's transition from a carb- and sugar-fueled, pre-Diabetic World Ironman Champion to a sugar-free, fat-adapted and metabolically healthy World Champion.
In 2016, we then teamed up with British cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra to make "The Big Fat Fix" — an investigation into the history of the Mediterranean Diet (and what was left behind).
What was your favorite part of making this film?
The best thing about making these movies are the people I get to know and meet. “Cereal Killers” introduced me to professor Dr. Tim Noakes. His participation and enthusiasm carried the movie — and me — over the line. He is a genuinely inspirational figure I am proud to know.
Together with your help we can continue to spread the word about the myth that dietary fat causes obesity and heart disease so that we can take control of our health and the health of our children. Don’t forget to take advantage of the SPECIAL DISCOUNT offered by the director. Just click the link below to activate the offer!
60 Years of Research Links Gluten Grains to Schizophrenia
Anti-Obesity Report Calls for High-Fat Diet Recommendations
By Dr. Mercola
Numerous benefits have been reported from using aloe vera on wounds like cuts and burns. Serious diseases have been remedied as well, not just to ease the pain but to help speed up healing.
Although the benefits are more widely known today, the healing power of the gel from the aloe barbadensis leaf has been touted for centuries.
However, The Washington Post recently reported that private brands of aloe vera products from Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens and CVS were tested and found to contain zero particles of aloe vera, even though the name (and usually a visual of the plant) was oozing all over each of the products. The products tested and found wanting were:
- Wal-Mart's Equate Aloe After Sun Gel with pure aloe vera
- Target's Up & Up Aloe Vera Gel with pure aloe vera
- CVS Aftersun Aloe Vera Moisturizing Gel
- Walgreens Alcohol Free Aloe Vera Body Gel
The ingredient lists on all four mention aloe vera first, or list it second after water. An independent company, ConsumerLab, estimated last year that only half of the aloe products actually contain meaningful levels of the gel.
None of the above products were listed as certified by the International Aloe Science Council, which creates standards for the aloe industry, estimated to be around $100 million annually.2
Hints and Allegations, Test Labs Versus Suppliers
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and CVS Health Corp. all stood behind their product suppliers, which in turn confirmed their authenticity; Target Corp. had no comment. Among all four stores, there are about 23,000 outlets with the alleged aloe-containing products on the shelves.
A company called Fruits of the Earth, based in Fort Worth, Texas, said it manufactures the gels for Wal-Mart, Target and Walgreens. Fruits of the Earth said its aloe supplier is Concentrated Aloe Corp (Conaloe3), based in Ormond Beach, Florida.
Both companies disputed the validity of the lab findings. The aloe gel for CVS was made by Product Quest Manufacturing LLC.4
Conaloe says its aloe products, including gel, extract, powder and both cosmetic and food-grade aloe vera, are fair trade, organic, and both farmed and processed in Guatemala. Bloomberg, which initiated the investigation, reported:
"There's no watchdog assuring that aloe products are what they say they are. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn't approve cosmetics before they're sold and has never levied a fine for selling fake aloe.
That means suppliers are on an honor system, even as the total U.S. market for aloe products, including drinks and vitamins, has grown 11 percent in the past year to $146 million, according to Chicago-based market researcher SPINS LLC."5
Independent industry consultant Ken Jones, based in Chapala, Mexico, said the test results basically indicate that aloe vera may or may not be present in the products.
If It's Not Aloe Vera, What Is It?
Nuclear magnetic resonance was used to find chemical markers for malic acid, glucose and acemannan, a polysaccharide found in the gel of aloe plants, which composes as much as 15 percent of its makeup. It's the ingredient that sets the plant apart from less potent aloe vera varieties, as it contains high amounts of nutrients.6
The Wal-Mart, CVS and Target brands contained maltodextrin, a cheaper, sugar-based aloe vera alternative, the tests revealed. Walgreen's version contained the marker malic acid only. Lactic acid, an ingredient in the plant that would reveal broken-down aloe vera bits, also was absent.
Bloomberg said AloeCorp, one of the biggest suppliers of raw aloe powder, has been undercut in the market by aloe vera wannabe products like maltodextrin.
"Jeff Barrie, a Keene, New Hampshire-based sales manager at AloeCorp, one of the biggest suppliers of raw aloe powder, said he's seen competitors beat his lowest prices by half."
Producing pure, unadulterated aloe vera, which is hand harvested, is not cheap, according to Barrie. "That means they're not selling aloe," he asserts. "Aloe powder can cost as much as $240 a kilogram (2.2 pounds), while the same amount of maltodextrin can cost a few dollars."
As it stands (or stood, before news of the possible scam emerged), aloe vera products expanded by 11 percent last year, approaching $146 million, Bloomberg reported.
The revelation that something besides aloe vera may be the "active ingredient" in innumerable night creams, moisturizers, body lotions and vitamins may damage sales of those products.
As attorneys in one of the lawsuits observed, "No reasonable person would have purchased or used the products if they knew the products did not contain any aloe vera."7
Consumers may be seeking restitution from the four retail companies as well as Fruit of the Earth if the main ingredients in the aloe vera products prove, possibly in further tests, to be nonexistent.
Does Aloe Vera Contain Beneficial Ingredients for Health, or Not?
While the aloe vera-that-wasn't-there allegations are bad enough, another claim may be worse — that it doesn't matter anyway because, as several publications have reported, quoting the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, "almost none" of the health aspects of the spiky succulent have actually been verified.
D. Craig Hopp, a program director at NIH, asserts that while some studies show research authenticating healing compounds contained in aloe vera, as far as producing clear-cut evidence that it actually does, "there's nothing to hang your hat on."
However, multiple studies do indeed substantiate that the plant, including aloe vera oil, contains compounds and phytonutrients that are extremely advantageous for health.
There must be a reason why the ancient Egyptians called aloe vera the "plant of immortality." Pictures of the plant appear on ancient stone carvings from 6,000 years ago and were found offered as a burial gift for pharaohs.
After all, it's been shown in many, many studies to be antibiotic, anti-fungal and antimicrobial, even against some of the most virulent infections, such as E. coli, E. faecalis and staphylococcus aureus, the Journal of Conservative Dentistry reports.8
It's also antioxidant and antibacterial, and another study listed ingredients including "phenolic acids/polyphenols, phytosterols, fatty acids, indoles, alkanes, pyrimidines, alkaloids, organic acids, aldehydes, dicarboxylic acids, ketones and alkaloids."9
The same study said aloe vera "may show promise in alleviating symptoms associated with/or prevention of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, neurodegeneration and diabetes."
Some of the Beneficial Ingredients in Aloe Vera
Altogether, aloe vera is "a wonderful and effective antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic medicinal plant," VisiHow10 says. It contains 20 of the 22 amino acids and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids your body requires.
Additionally, several immune system-boosting, laxative and moisturizing ingredients that make aloe vera anti-inflammatory due to the presence of auxins and gibberellins important for fast wound healing include:
- Anthraquinones — Aloe vera contains 12 kinds of anthraquinones, which are phenolic compounds that function as laxatives. Aloin and emodin work as analgesics, antibacterials and antivirals.
- Fatty Acids — Aloe supplies four kinds of plant steroids: cholesterol, lapel (known for its analgesic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties) campestral, and β-sis sterol.
- Enzymes — Eight enzymes are found in aloe vera: aliiase, amylase, bradykinase (a topical anti-inflammatory agent), catalase, carboxypeptidase, lipase, alkaline phosphatase, cellulase and peroxidase.
- Vitamins — Vitamins B12, A (beta-carotene), E and C are present, as are folic acid and choline.
- Minerals — Chromium, magnesium, calcium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, sodium and potassium can be found in aloe vera, most playing essential roles in your body's metabolic pathways.
Some of the Health Benefits Provided by Aloe Vera
It must be noted that NIH, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, recognizes the ability aloe vera has, as they noted: "Abdominal cramps and diarrhea have been reported with oral use of aloe latex. Also, because aloe latex is a laxative, it may reduce the absorption and therefore the effectiveness of some drugs that are taken orally."11
So there's a reason why arguably millions of people keep aloe plants around the house for various healing purposes. Besides the raw plants with the gel inside, assorted tinctures contain this desert-derived ingredient as it may help treat, according to Mayo Clinic12,13 and many others:
✓ Minor skin infections
✓ Canker sores
✓ Gum disease
✓ Cold sores
Most of the benefits you glean from aloe vera come from the gel of the spiky, succulent leaves. While most of the benefits already discussed have been from topical uses — cutting off enough of one of the stiff leaves to apply it on trouble spots — this plant can also be used internally.
Digestive troubles such as acid reflux, indigestion and ulcers may be relieved by ingestion. One method is to slit open a leaf to extract the gel and place it in your blender or food processor with a lemon or lime (to disguise the bitter flavor). Healthy Smoothie Headquarters14 offers a tasty recipe to take advantage of this amazing plant. Just blend and enjoy:
- 1 cup almond or coconut milk
- 1 medium aloe vera leaf (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries or mango chunks
- 1/2 tsp. coconut oil
- 1 handful fresh basil
- A little stevia to sweeten
7 Underrated Medicinal Plants
Top Anti-Inflammatory Foods, Herbs, and Spices
By Dr. Mercola
Estimates suggest anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of the general population experience chronic constipation,1,2,3 characterized by hard, dry and difficult to pass stools, and/or having less than three bowel movements per week.
While temporary constipation can be the result of simply eating poorly for a day or two, chronic constipation has been linked to a number of other, more serious health problems, including:
Causes and Risk Factors
Stool is the end result of digestion, which starts in your mouth and ends in your large intestine. When you chew, the food mixes with saliva, which starts the digestive process to break the food down.
As the food makes its way through your small intestine, nutrients and water are extracted, leaving only the waste products your body cannot use. A number of factors can affect the consistency and mobility of your stool, increasing your risk of developing chronic constipation. These include:
✓ Lack of beneficial gut microbes, often caused by a lack of fiber in the diet.5
A low-fiber diet also makes your intestines more vulnerable to infection.
Fiber promotes bulkier, softer stools, and helps keep your intestinal walls intact6
✓ Excessive or chronic use of laxatives
✓ Frequently ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement (for instance, to avoid using public toilets)
✓ Magnesium deficiency
The following high-risk groups are also more likely to experience chronic constipation:
• Women, especially during pregnancy or after giving birth. The weight of the developing baby normally sits on the intestines and can slow the motility or movement of the stool through the digestive tract.
As the stool slows down more water is extracted by the body, making the stool hard, dry and more difficult to pass. Older adults, due to lower physical activity level and slow-down of the digestive tract.
• Lower-income individuals,11 because they may not be able to afford fresh fruits and vegetables, which provide fiber for their diets
• People who have just had surgery. They may be nervous about pushing, may have reduced physical mobility, and/or may not be eating their normal diet, all of which can contribute to constipation.
✓ Conditions that cause blockage, such as tumors, inflammation or swelling, and/or anal fissure
✓ Conditions that affect the nerves in your intestines
✓ Spinal cord injuries, brain injuries and stroke
✓ Conditions involving the muscles used in elimination.
Weakened pelvic muscles or pelvic muscles which do not coordinate relaxation and contraction (dyssynergia)
✓ Conditions that slow movement through the intestines, such as autonomic neuropathy and multiple sclerosis (MS)
✓ Conditions that affect your hormones, such as hyperparathyroidism and hypothyroidism
✓ Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and/or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Connections Between Constipation and Your Health
Chronic constipation should not be taken lightly. Aside from causing pain and affecting your quality of life, it can have a significant impact on your overall health. For starters, chronic pushing and painful stools may predispose you to large hemorrhoids, which can be quite aggravating and painful.
Your colon was designed to hold a few pounds of stool, but when constipated your colon may hold up to 10 pounds of dry, hard feces. The sheer volume of stool alone can stretch your colon, irritate the lining of the colon (mucosa), and produce toxins while waiting to be eliminated.
Chronic constipation can also lead to tearing of the anus (anal fissure). These fissures are caused by trauma to the inner lining of the anus.14 Pushing out large, hard stools can also result in some of your intestines protruding from the anus (rectal prolapse), which requires surgical intervention.15
Postponing surgery increases your risk of further stretching your anal sphincter, and increases the amount of intestines that protrude. Chronic constipation can also affect the genital and urinary health of women.
Because the colon and female reproductive organs are structurally close, pressure from large amounts of stool in the colon can lead to rectal prolapse in the vagina,16 increasing the potential that the bladder will not empty completely, or resulting in reflux of urine from the bladder back into the kidneys, called vesicoureteral reflux.17
This reflux causes permanent kidney damage and increases the risk of kidney infections. Chronic constipation also increases the risk of kidney disease in men.
Chronic Constipation May Raise Your Risk of Kidney Disease
According to recent research, men and women suffering with constipation had, on average, a 13 percent higher risk of kidney disease than those who were not chronically constipated.18,19,20 The study had a follow-up period of seven years. They also had a 9 percent higher risk of kidney failure.
Overall, severe constipation led to a quicker deterioration of kidney function, although the exact mechanism was undetermined. According to co-author Dr. Csaba Kovesdy, a professor of medicine in nephrology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Memphis VA Medical Center:21
"Our findings highlight the plausible link between the gut and the kidneys and provide additional insights [into the possible causes of kidney disease]. Our results suggest the need for careful observation of kidney function trajectory in patients with constipation, particularly among those with more severe constipation."
How Constipation Relates to Parkinson's Disease
Your gut and brain health are closely connected. A number of studies have delved into the role of gut bacteria in the workings of the gut-brain axis, and how they benefit your mental and psychological health.
For instance, anxiety, depression and other mood disorders are increasingly recognized as being, in part, related to an unbalanced microbiome. This interlinking may also shed light on why chronic constipation is associated with a neurological disease such as Parkinson's.
In one recent mouse study, proteins implicated in the disease were found to travel from the gut into the brain over the course of several weeks. These findings suggest that, in some cases, Parkinson's disease may have its origins in the gut. The question is, what causes alpha-synuclein to accumulate in the gut? No one knows for sure, but theories include:
- Presence of bacteria that produce curli — a compound that causes an aggregation of alpha-synuclein
- Pesticide exposure
- Acid reflux
- Chronic inflammation
Synthetic alpha-synuclein — a protein that accumulates in the brains of those with Parkinson's — were injected into the mice's stomachs and intestines. After seven days, clumps of alpha-synuclein were observed in the animals' guts. Clumping peaked after 21 days. By then, clumps of alpha-synuclein were also observed in the vagus nerve, which connects the gut and brain. As noted by Science News:22
"Sixty days after the injections, alpha-synuclein had accumulated in the midbrain, a region packed with nerve cells that make the chemical messenger dopamine. These are the nerve cells that die in people with Parkinson's, a progressive brain disorder that affects movement.
After reaching the brain, alpha-synuclein spreads thanks in part to brain cells called astrocytes, a second study suggests. Experiments with cells in dishes showed that astrocytes can store up and spread alpha-synuclein among cells … As alpha-synuclein clumps slowly crept brainward, the mice began exhibiting gut and movement problems … In many ways, the mice resembled other mice that have mutations that cause Parkinson's-like symptoms …"
Foods That Relieve Constipation
If you struggle with frequent constipation, reaching for a laxative may be a tempting option. However, doing so may simply exacerbate the problem as chronic laxative use can cause dependency. Your best bet is to address your diet instead.
Processed foods contribute to constipation in a number of ways, so swapping them for whole, fresh foods may do the trick. Not only are processed foods typically low in fiber, they also tend to be high in sugars and grains that feed unhealthy gut bacteria. You may also want to add more of specific foods known to relieve constipation.23
|Food||Ingredient(s) that help relieve constipation|
✓ Water and/or warm beverages such as tea or warm water with lemon
Ingredient(s) that help relieve constipation: Increasing your water intake may resolve the problem if your dry stools are due to dehydration.
Drink enough that your urine is straw colored. If it's dark yellow, then you're dehydrated. If it's colorless you are drinking too much
✓ Leafy greens such as spinach, Swiss chard and kale
Ingredient(s) that help relieve constipation: Fiber, magnesium and water
Ingredient(s) that help relieve constipation: Magnesium
Ingredient(s) that help relieve constipation: Healthy bacteria (probiotics), fiber and digestive enzymes
Ingredient(s) that help relieve constipation: Healthy bacteria (probiotics)
Ingredient(s) that help relieve constipation: Fiber. The skin also has mild laxative properties
Ingredient(s) that help relieve constipation: Compound that promotes healthy peristalsis (relaxation and contraction of your intestines)
✓ Flax seeds (freshly ground)
Ingredient(s) that help relieve constipation: Fiber
✓ Organic psyllium
Ingredient(s) that help relieve constipation: Fiber
Ingredient(s) that help relieve constipation: Fiber, magnesium
✓ Dark chocolate (cacao)
Ingredient(s) that help relieve constipation: Magnesium
Ingredient(s) that help relieve constipation: Promotes bile production, which aids digestion. The fats also promote intestinal wall health and loosen stool.
CONTRAINDICATED for babies and young children. Use small amount of pureed prunes instead and please remember that the vast majority of olive oil sold in the U.S. is adulterated.
So be very careful and do your research before you but it
✓ Figs and fig paste26
Ingredient(s) that help relieve constipation: Fiber and prebiotics. They also increase production of mucin (proteins that form a physical barrier that protects your intestinal wall from damage) and improve peristalsis
Ingredient(s) that help relieve constipation: Acts as a stimulant laxative. Aids with protein digestion and helps strengthen intestinal muscles.
CONTRAINDICATED for pregnant or nursing women, children, diabetics, and those with hemorrhoids, kidney problems, intestinal diseases such as Crohn's, and those allergic to plants from the liliaceae family such as onions, garlic and tulips
✓ Magnesium supplement
Ingredient(s) that help relieve constipation: Magnesium
✓ Castor oil29
Ingredient(s) that help relieve constipation: Works as a stimulant laxative, causing increased movement and contractions in the small intestine.
BEWARE: Castor oil is also used to induce vomiting, so should be used sparingly and only as a short-term or occasional remedy in lieu of chemical laxatives. A typical dose is around 15 milliliters (mL), or about 3 teaspoons.
CONTRAINDICATED FOR PREGNANT WOMEN, AS IT STIMULATES UTERINE CONTRACTIONS AND MAY CAUSE FETAL HARM, INCLUDING FETAL ABNORMALITIES.
Also contraindicated if you have rectal bleeding, stomach pain, symptoms of appendicitis, symptoms of blocked intestine, vomiting.
Long-term use can result in serious adverse effects, including dehydration, diarrhea, potassium depletion, malnutrition, muscle weakness and swelling of the bowel
Squatting and Exercise Can Also Reduce Constipation
The position you use when going to the bathroom can significantly impact the ease with which you eliminate. It can also influence your risk of bowel and pelvic problems, including constipation, hemorrhoids and more. Most of you reading this probably sit to evacuate your bowel, but this requires you to apply additional force (straining), which has unwanted biological effects, including a temporary disruption in cardiac flow.
Sitting on a modern toilet is designed to place your knees at a 90-degree angle to your abdomen. However, the time-honored natural squat position places your knees much closer to your torso, and this position actually changes the spatial relationships of your intestinal organs and musculature, optimizing the forces involved in defecation.
Squatting straightens your rectum, relaxes your puborectalis muscle, and allows for complete emptying of your cecum and appendix without straining, which prevents fecal stagnation and the accumulation of toxins in your intestinal tract.
It is instructive that non-westernized societies, in which people squat, do not have the high prevalence of bowel disease seen in developed nations; in some cultures with traditional lifestyles, these diseases are uncommon or almost unknown. If you have trouble with bowel movements, especially constipation, I urge you to give the squat position a try.
Special toilets and stools that get your body into a squat position can help you get closer to the ideal, even if you've been sitting for decades. One simple and inexpensive solution is to place a stool near your toilet. Placing your feet on the stool will raise your knees to simulate a squat position.
Toddlers, children and teens suffering from chronic constipation may also be helped by squatting and postural exercises that help strengthen their pelvic muscles. Recent research shows that by encouraging a proper squatting position, functional constipation can be resolved in a vast majority of cases.30
Regular exercise can also help reduce constipation.31 The physical movement helps increase the motility in your digestive tract and can stimulate the urge to have a bowel movement. Also, when you do feel the urge, don't wait. The longer the stool sits in your colon, the more water is removed and the more difficult it is to pass.
Constipation Emergencies on the Rise
Researchers Uncover the Secret Behind Bowel Movements
By Dr. Mercola
Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are a major environmental polluter, destroying both soil and waterways. Making matters worse, a large portion of the food produced by American CAFOs is not even sold in the U.S. It’s exported to China.
What’s more, Chinese companies are increasingly buying up American farmland and U.S. food producers.1 So while China is reaping the best of what rural America has to offer, all of the pollution remains on American land and in our waterways.
The U.S. is also using up precious water to grow animal feed for export. In 2014, during the worst drought on record, California farmers were using 100 billion gallons of water to grow alfalfa (hay), destined for export to China, Japan, Korea and the United Arab Emirates. The combination of polluting streams, rivers and lakes while draining the aquifers is setting ourselves up for a disaster.
At the time, professor and water policy and law expert Robert Glennon, from the University of Arizona College of Law, told BBC News:2
"A hundred billion gallons of water per year is being exported in the form of alfalfa from California. It's a huge amount. It's enough for a year's supply for a million families — it's a lot of water, particularly when you're looking at the dreadful drought throughout the southwest."
China Has Made Major Agricultural Acquisitions in the US
Foreign corporations are also circumventing American farmers altogether by purchasing farm land in the U.S. In 2011, Chinese companies owned $81 million worth of American farmland.
By the end of 2012, Chinese ownership had skyrocketed by 1,000 percent, to $900 million.3 They’re also buying up food producers.
In 2013, pork processor Smithfield was bought by Shaunghui, the largest meat processing company in China.4 At $7.1 billion — 30 percent above its estimated market value — it was the largest-ever Chinese buyout of an American company.
Also included in the deal was $480 million worth of American farmland.5 With this buyout, the Chinese now own 1 out of every 4 pigs raised in the U.S.
The Chinese are also buying agricultural resources in Africa, Europe, Australia, Argentina and Brazil. ChemChina (a Chinese-government-owned company) is also currently negotiating a takeover bid for Syngenta, which makes agricultural chemicals.
One of the biggest concerns with trade agreements and farm bill subsidies is that they undermine local food production systems. Shipping agriculture products around the world amounts to shipping water and leaving a trail of pollution behind. The amount of water required to support CAFO meat production primarily by growing GMO crops is astonishing.
Politicians Are Facilitating Foreign Takeover
A mere 11 percent of China’s land is suitable for farming, and an estimated 40 to 60 percent of this arable land has been severely degraded by pollution, erosion, salinization and/or acidification. Chinese rivers have also dwindled, and 75 percent are severely polluted.
Factors such as these make food security a major concern for China, which also has a rapidly growing middle class.6 After a spate of food scandals, Chinese consumers have also lost much of their trust in the Chinese food supply and are willing to pay more for imported foods.
The solution is a clever one. Buy American farmland and meat producers, and then send the food back to China. Politicians are largely to blame for facilitating this foreign takeover of American agriculture and food production. As reported by TakePart.com earlier this year:7
“On Feb. 11, Nebraska’s Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts signed L.B. 176 into law, reversing a 1999 law that prevented meatpackers from owning livestock for more than five days prior to slaughter.
Pork processors like Smithfield … will soon be able to vertically integrate their operations. Instead of buying hogs from numerous independent farmers, farmers will contract with processors like Smithfield for the privilege of selling their pork.
It’s a big concern for farmers who worry the pork industry will be swallowed up by contract farming, like the chicken industry …
Chicken “growers” are paid to raise the birds on their land as well as pay for expensive poultry houses, labor and maintenance. But it’s the major poultry companies who own the chickens — as well as the hatcheries, slaughterhouses and feed.”
Smithfield Food Ranks No. 1 Toxic Polluter Among Agribusinesses
Smithfield Foods, now owned by a Chinese company, produces and releases vast amounts of waste into our environment.8
According to the 2016 report,9 “Corporate Agribusiness and the Fouling of America’s Waterways” by Environment North Carolina, Smithfield discharged 3.6 million tons of toxic pollutants from its hog slaughtering plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, in 2014.
That waste ultimately ends up in the state’s waterways. Smithfield, the largest pork producer in the world (with a total of 2,700 hog CAFOs in 12 states), ranks third in terms of the animal manure produced by hog CAFOs in the U.S., and No. 1 in terms of the toxic pollution released into water supplies.
When other sources of pollution related to Smithfield are taken into account, the company was responsible for the release of 7.4 million pounds of toxic pollution — more than U.S. Steel Corp or Exxon Mobil. The vast majority of this toxic water pollution is nitrates, which have been linked to:
- Birth defects
- Bladder and thyroid cancer
- Blue baby syndrome
- Autoimmune diseases
- Reproductive problems
CAFOs Ruin Farm Land and Waterways
As noted by Dave Rogers, state director of Environment North Carolina:10 “When most people think of water pollution, they think of pipes dumping toxic chemicals. But this report shows how, increasingly, corporations like Smithfield are running our farms and ruining our rivers and bays.”
Travis Graves, a Lower Neuse Riverkeeper, added:
“We have, and have had, one of the largest industrial scale pollution issues in the world flowing right through our backyards, 24 hours a day — seven days a week, for decades. It’s no mystery why our rivers are sick and our fish are dying. The mystery to me is this; why do our elected leaders refuse to acknowledge that it exists, and why do they continue to chip away at our already inadequate environmental protections with bad legislation?”
North Carolina Politicians Choose CAFOs Over Residents’ Well-Being
Crazy enough, in 2015, Smithfield asked a federal judge to forbid people living near facilities from mentioning the fact that the company is Chinese owned when arguing nuisance lawsuits in court.11
More than 500 North Carolina residents have brought suit against the company, saying the manure lagoons are harming their health and lowering property values.12 They also object to Smithfield’s expansion. The company is increasing production in order to meet Chinese demand.
Meanwhile, all the waste remains on American soil. A single manure lagoon can contain 4.3 million gallons of urine and feces, which is then sprayed on nearby fields. The stench from the fine mist spreads much further, however, fouling up neighboring properties, which is the cause for the nuisance lawsuits.
Even crazier than forbidding the mention of Smithfield’s Chinese owners, the North Carolina General Assembly has proposed legal changes that would ban anyone moving into a neighborhood where a CAFO is already established from ever filing a nuisance lawsuit. Moreover, anyone filing a nuisance lawsuit would have to pay the legal fees of the CAFO should they lose their case in court. Clearly, this would effectively prevent anyone from ever filing a lawsuit against a corporate farm!
Investors Urge Meat Producers to Address Water Pollution
Just before Thanksgiving, 45 leading institutional investors — all members of the sustainability organization Ceres and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, jointly responsible for managing $1 trillion in assets — called on American meat producers to address the water pollution risks associated with CAFOs. A joint letter13 was sent to Cargill, JBS, Perdue Farms and Smithfield Foods — four of the largest meat producers in the U.S. As noted in a press release:14
“The letters come one month after Hurricane Matthew inundated poultry and hog farms in North Carolina, flooding manure lagoons and killing more than  million chickens, turkeys and hogs. ‘As investors analyzing water risks in our portfolios, we believe that robust management of water quality challenges is a critical aspect of risk management in the meat industry, and one of increasing importance in the context of climate change and growing weather extremes,’ the investors wrote …
Last year, Ceres released a report that ranks major food companies on water risk management. Several meat companies including Tyson and JBS were identified among the worst performers.
A recent report from Environment America ranked Tyson as the biggest water polluter in the meat sector, releasing 104 million pounds of toxic pollutants into waterways from 2010 to 2014 from its slaughtering and processing plants, and buying livestock that generates approximately 55 million tons of manure per year.
During the same time period, it is estimated that collectively Smithfield (27.3 million [pounds].), Cargill (50.4 million [pounds]), JBS (37.6 million [pounds]) and Perdue (31 million [pounds]) directly released 146.3 million pounds of toxic pollutants into U.S. waterways.”
Taking Control of Your Health Is Part of the Solution
There's absolutely nothing sustainable about our current farming model. Buying up American farmland may be a short-term solution for China, but eventually, the end result will still be the same. Instead of producing ecological balance and food for the masses, the result is global hunger, pollution and water scarcity.
For Americans, the sale of farmland and food production to foreign nationals is an absolute disaster, and may make efforts to improve sustainability even more difficult than it already is. A foreign company is likely going to be less concerned about environmental and human health since they don’t have to live with it. There are no really easy answers here. I believe selling American farmland to other countries is an extremely unwise move.
While there’s little you can do about this situation, what you CAN do is take control over what you and your family eat each day. Growing some of your own food is a foundational step toward creating greater food security, but unless you own a farm, you probably will not be able to produce all of what you need. Connecting with a local farmer who grows food according to organic or sustainable standards is your best bet. If you live in the U.S., the following organizations can help you locate farm-fresh foods:
EatWild.com provides lists of farmers known to produce wholesome raw dairy products as well as grass-fed beef and other farm-fresh produce (although not all are certified organic). Here you can also find information about local farmers markets, as well as local stores and restaurants that sell grass-fed products.
Weston A. Price has local chapters in most states, and many of them are connected with buying clubs in which you can easily purchase organic foods, including grass fed raw dairy products like milk and butter.
The Grassfed Exchange has a listing of producers selling organic and grass-fed meats across the U.S.
This website will help you find farmers markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats and many other goodies.
A national listing of farmers markets.
The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns, hotels and online outlets in the United States and Canada.
CISA is dedicated to sustaining agriculture and promoting the products of small farms.
The FoodRoutes "Find Good Food" map can help you connect with local farmers to find the freshest, tastiest food possible. On their interactive map, you can find a listing for local farmers, CSAs and markets near you.
The Cornucopia Institute maintains web-based tools rating all certified organic brands of eggs, dairy products, and other commodities, based on their ethical sourcing and authentic farming practices separating CAFO "organic" production from authentic organic practices.
If you're still unsure of where to find raw milk, check out Raw-Milk-Facts.com and RealMilk.com. They can tell you what the status is for legality in your state, and provide a listing of raw dairy farms in your area.
The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund15 also provides a state-by-state review of raw milk laws.16 California residents can also find raw milk retailers using the store locator available at www.OrganicPastures.com.
‘Poisoned Waters’ — an In-Depth Look at the Sources and Impact of Water Pollution
Bad News for Factory Farming
By Dr. Mercola
The allure of artificial sweeteners — zero calories and a sweet taste — is a strong one, such that up to 180 million Americans use them routinely.1
There have been concerns from the beginning, however, that consuming synthetic compounds with hyper-sweetness (200 times that of sugar in the case of aspartame) has some serious drawbacks.
One of the most appalling, especially to those consuming artificially sweetened sugar-free and diet products in the hopes of losing weight, is their propensity to fuel weight gain. Researchers wrote in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine:2
"Intuitively, people choose non-caloric artificial sweeteners over sugar to lose or maintain weight …
Whether due to a successful marketing effort on the part of the diet beverage industry or not, the weight conscious public often consider artificial sweeteners "health food." But do artificial sweeteners actually help reduce weight?
Surprisingly, epidemiologic data suggest the contrary. Several large scale prospective cohort studies found positive correlation between artificial sweetener use and weight gain."
Although their reputation as a weight-loss aid has held strong since the beginning, it's been known for years that they seem to have the opposite effect.
Recently, a team of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators even revealed a potential reason why artificial sweeteners like aspartame prevent, rather than promote, weight loss.3
Aspartame May Promote Obesity by Blocking Gut Enzyme Activity
A study on mice revealed that animals fed aspartame-laced drinking water gained weight and developed symptoms of metabolic syndrome while mice not fed the artificial sweetener did not.
Further, the researchers revealed that phenylalanine, an aspartame breakdown product, blocks the activity of a gut enzyme called alkaline phosphatase (IAP).
In a previous study, IAP was found to prevent the development of metabolic syndrome (and reduce symptoms in those with the condition) when fed to mice.4 Study author Richard Hodin, MD, of the MGH Department of Surgery, said in a press release:5
"We found that aspartame blocks a gut enzyme called intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP) that we previously showed can prevent obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome; so we think that aspartame might not work because, even as it is substituting for sugar, it blocks the beneficial aspects of IAP."
Mice in the study were fed either plain water or water infused with the equivalent amount of aspartame found in two to 3 1/2 cans of soda, along with a normal diet or a high-fat diet. Mice in the high-fat group that drank aspartame-infused water gained more weight than those eating the same diet without aspartame in their water.
Further, all the mice fed aspartame had higher blood sugar levels — an indicator of glucose intolerance — and higher levels of inflammatory protein TNF-alpha, which is suggestive of systemic inflammation. Given aspartame's inhibition of IAP, the researchers suggested its use is counterproductive.
Artificial Sweeteners Linked to Weight Gain Since the 1980s
Artificial sweeteners are still viewed as a weight-loss aid in 2016 even though their hindrances to weight loss have been documented since at least the 1980s.
Then, the San Antonio Heart Study, which involved nearly 4,000 adults, found drinkers of artificially sweetened beverages consistently had higher BMIs (body mass index) than non-drinkers.6
Again in the early 1980s, a study of nearly 78,700 women found artificial sweetener usage increased with relative weight, and users were significantly more likely to gain weight compared to those who did not use artificial sweeteners.7
Such associations have only continued to grow over the passing decades. Artificially sweetened beverages, including diet soda, are among the key culprits, with intake associated with "striking" increases in waist circumference among older adults, according to one study.8
- Abdominal obesity
- Insulin resistance
- Impaired glucose intolerance
- Abnormally elevated fats in the blood
- High blood pressure
The study found drinking aspartame-sweetened diet soda daily increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 67 percent (regardless of whether they gained weight or not) and the risk of metabolic syndrome 36 percent.
One way artificial sweeteners may increase your risk of weight gain, obesity and other related problems like type 2 diabetes is by inducing "metabolic derangements," according to a report published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism:10
" … [A]ccumulating evidence suggests that frequent consumers of these sugar substitutes may also be at increased risk of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
… [C]onsuming sweet-tasting but noncaloric or reduced-calorie food and beverages interferes with learned responses that normally contribute to glucose and energy homeostasis.
Because of this interference, frequent consumption of high-intensity sweeteners may have the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements."
Soda Industry Pledge to Cut Calories Off to Slow Start
The soda industry has pledged to cut the number of calories Americans consume via beverages by 20 percent over a decade, but they're off to a slow start.11 In 2015, this caloric intake dropped by just 0.2 percent, according to a beverage industry report.
In addition to introducing smaller package sizes and reformulating products, a key strategy toward this goal is the promotion of artificially sweetened diet drinks, but the consumption of low- and no-calorie soda fell by nearly 6 percent last year.
Americans are growing increasingly wary of artificial sweeteners, and the soda industry is becoming increasingly desperate to hold on to its once-loyal customers. One of their ongoing strategies to appear like they care about your health is to promote their diet beverages as a healthy alternative.
In 2013, they rolled out an ad campaign encouraging people to unite in the fight against obesity, and then swiftly launched another campaign touting aspartame in its diet sodas.
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 or the risks of consuming diet sodas in general.
In one study, people who drank diet soda had a 70 percent greater increase in waist size in a 10-year period compared to non-diet soda drinkers. Those who drank two or more diet sodas a day had a 500 percent greater increase in waist size.
Research published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also revealed that people who drink diet beverages may end up compensating for their "saved" calories by eating more foods high in sugar, sodium and unhealthy fats.12
Obese adults had the highest incremental daily calorie intake from unhealthy foods associated with diet beverages. Researcher Ruopeng An, a kinesiology and community health professor at the University of Illinois, noted:13
"It may be that people who consume diet beverages feel justified in eating more, so they reach for a muffin or a bag of chips … Or perhaps, in order to feel satisfied, they feel compelled to eat more of these high-calorie foods."
For more on the detrimental effects of diet sodas, including in relation to aspartame and weight gain, check out our infographic below.
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Click on the code area and press CTRL + C (for Windows) / CMD + C (for Macintosh) to copy the code
Beyond Weight Gain: Problems With Aspartame
Aspartame is made up of aspartic acid and phenylalanine. But the phenylalanine has been synthetically modified to carry a methyl group, as that provides the majority of the sweetness. That phenylalanine methyl bond, called a methyl ester, is very weak, which allows the methyl group on the phenylalanine to easily break off and form methanol.
When aspartame is in liquid form, it breaks down into methyl alcohol, or methanol, which is then converted into formaldehyde and represents the root of the problem with aspartame.
While industry funded studies, which are notoriously biased, attempt to support aspartame safety, 92 percent of independently funded studies found aspartame may cause adverse effects, including depression and headaches.14 A recent study also found the administration of aspartame to rats resulted in detectable methanol even after 24 hours, which might be responsible for inducing oxidative stress in the brain.15
The Bottom Line? If You're Trying to Lose Weight, Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
There are a number of reasons to avoid artificial sweeteners (like their link to cancer), but one that may be most compelling for those of you trying to lose weight is the simple fact that they are likely to impede this process.
When a sweets craving strikes, resist the urge to reach for an artificially sweetened food or beverage and eat something naturally sour instead. Sour taste, such as that from fermented vegetables or water spruced up with lemon or lime juice, helps to reduce cravings for sweets.
If that doesn't appeal to you, try a cup of organic black coffee, an opioid receptor that can bind to your opioid receptors, occupy them and essentially block your addiction to other opioid-releasing foods.16,17
I also recommend addressing your cravings on an emotional level. Turbo Tapping, which is a version of the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), is specifically suited to help eliminate sweet cravings and it can be done virtually anywhere, anytime a craving strikes.
The Aspartame End Game... And What’s Next
Aspartame Update: Coke Illegally Claims Diet Soda Can Combat Obesity, and Researchers Propose Autism Link