Testicular Cancer – Stealing our Future – Part 2

By | Vegetable Oils | 2 Comments

Part Two – Testicular cancer is exploding

In Part One of this series I looked at male fertility.  Men exposed to Western diets are becoming dramatically less fertile.  And the cause is the rapid increases in our consumption of vegetable oils made from seeds.

Vegetable oil made from seeds (Canola, Rapeseed, Sunflower, Corn, Safflower, Grapeseed, Rice Bran and Soybean for example) – seed oils – are a relatively new addition to the human diet.  Unlike oils made from fruit (Olive, Avocado and Coconut) and animal fats, they are very high in something called an Omega-6 fat.

They are also incredibly cheap to make, which is why you will find them in just about every food on the supermarket shelf and in every deep fryer in the land. Because of this, we are currently consuming 10 times as much as we actually need.

PUFAsm

Consuming up to 10 times too much of a substance that plays a critical role in the construction of sperm is having a massive and continuing effect on our ability to produce them.  But that is just the beginning of the damage being wrought by these substances.

The fats in vegetable oils are highly volatile.  They react quickly with oxygen and they do so even more rapidly when the temperature is high (in a human body for example). When that happens our body enters a state called oxidative stress.  And oxidative stress is a known cause of damage to our DNA that results in cancer.

We can massively increase our risk of cancer by introducing any substance which damages DNA.  Smokers for example, have 10 times the rate of lung cancer because they inhale a cloud of compounds which can produce DNA damage in the lining of the lung.   And the compounds produced by oxidised vegetable oils damage cellular DNA in a similar fashion.  Eating those fats is like smoking but the damage is transmitted to every part of the body, not just the lung.

Healthy sperm need to be flexible (for speedy tail flicking) and so have much higher levels of the ‘bendy’ polyunsaturated fats found in vegetable oils than the average human cell membrane.  So sperm cells (and the cells that make them, called germ cells) are awash with fats from the vegetable oils we consume.

If any organ in the body were to be affected most dramatically by the massive increases in our consumption of vegetable oil, it is likely to be the Testes.   Given that you would expect to see the rates of testicular cancer rising just as fast as male fertility has been falling.  And you would not be disappointed.

Testicular cancer1sm

Oversupply of omega-6 from vegetable oil in the Testes causes a cascading chain of oxidative stress which ultimately ends in random destruction of our sperm and germ cell DNA.  In most cases this results in the death of the sperm and germ cells (hence the massive declines in sperm counts discussed in part One).  But every now and then just the wrong mutation happens and cancer develops (usually in the germ cells).

The Australian incidence (number of new cases per year) of testicular cancer (the most common cancer in men under 50) has quintupled since 1952.   A man alive in Australia today is 5 times (!!) as likely to have testicular cancer as that same man in 1952.  Similar rates of increase hold in the US and the UK.  If genetics was the only cause of testicular cancer, we would expect the rate to be exactly the same.  The fact that it isn’t, tells us an environmental factor is at work and the science set out above, tells us that environmental factor is vegetable oils from seeds.

Because of a decided preference for non-animal fat sources, Israeli Jews have close to one of the highest rates consumption of vegetable oil in the world (about 12% of calories).  The science says this is why they are at the bleeding edge of the decline in male fertility.  It is also likely to be why the incidence of testicular cancer among Israeli Jews is climbing as fast as it is in health conscious (and equally infertile), vegetable oil soaked Australia.

Because it is often diagnosed early and the treatment (usually removal of a testicle) is highly effective, testicular cancer is one of the most survivable cancers (98% of men are free from it 5 years after diagnosis).  And if sperm never left the male body, that would be the end of this series.  But they don’t so this isn’t.

Vegetable oils are destroying male fertility and driving supercharged increases in testicular cancer but sadly the trail of destruction does not end there.  Some damaged sperm do make it all the way and they are capable of creating an embryo.  In the next instalment I look at the disease cascades from those damaged sperm.

Photo courtesy of 2006 advertisement of the British Heart Foundation

How vegetable oils are stealing our future – Part 1 – Male Fertility

By | Vegetable Oils | 6 Comments

Part One – Male fertility is plummeting

Around one in six Australian couples meet the World Health Organisation definition of infertility (unable to conceive after 12 months of unprotected sex).  And in about half of those cases it is because the male is infertile. This is the first in a series of articles examining how seed oils affect our reproductive organs (and the disastrous potential consequences for our children).

A sperm count is an old fashioned, but still highly reliable way of measuring a man’s ability to produce children.  Anything over 100 million sperm cells per ml is considered a premium vintage and anything under 15 million means the man is very unlikely to reproduce.  The only trouble is that men with high octane semen are getting harder and harder to find.

In 1992 researchers from the University of Copenhagen published a study of sperm quality trends over the preceding half century.  After reviewing 61 trials, the scientists came to the shocking conclusion that average sperm count had halved in just 50 years (from 113 million in 1940 to 66 million in 1990).

An even more comprehensive analysis of almost 27,000 French men published in 2005 confirmed the trend is continuing.  In that study average sperm counts dropped from 74 million in 1989 to 50 million in 2005 (a rate of 1.9% a year).  If that rate of decline continues, there will be no French men capable of making babies by 2072.

French sperm count sm

 

Similar numbers and rates of decline are now being reported in all Western countries (although alarmingly at a decline of 3% a year, Australia is at the high end).   But in one country, the sperm count disaster makes the French look pretty damn virile.

Sperm banks in Israel are reporting that there is an alarming drop in sperm quality amongst Jewish inhabitants. Those that would have rejected about a third of applicants in the 1990s (because of low sperm count) are now turning away 80 to 90%.  With a measured rate of sperm count decline approximately twice that of any other Western country, experts are predicting that by 2030, average Jewish Israeli sperm counts will drop to a level where reproduction is likely to be impossible.

There are as many theories about why this is happening as there are scientists researching the problem.  Perhaps it is the increased levels of oestrogen in the diet, perhaps it is exposure to pesticides or perhaps it is the use of BPA plastics.  But only one has produced convincing evidence of causation – dietary omega-6 fat consumption.  And that evidence goes a lot further than noticing that Israel is the highest consumer of omega-6 fats in the world.

Omega-6 fat is the dominant fat in the ‘vegetable oils’ used in every processed food.  These oils are not made from vegetables at all.  Rather they come from seeds (like Canola or Rapeseed, Soybean, Sunflower, Safflower, Rice Bran and Grape).

Unlike other kinds of fat, humans cannot make Omega-6 oils.  We need them to properly run our immune system and (just like Omega-3 fats) must get them from plants that we eat.  Fortunately, we don’t need much and we are more than capable of getting everything we need from normal unprocessed food.

Less fortunately (a lot less fortunately), Omega-6 based seed oils are the fat of choice for the processed food industry (because they are a lot cheaper than fats from animals and exotic fruits like olives, avocados and coconuts), so Western consumption of Omega-6 fats has at least tripled in the last century.  And as a consequence, the ratio of Omega-6 fats to Omega-3 fats has soared from about 3:1 to 26:1.

PUFAsm

We’ve known for some time that in experimental animals, high omega-6 fat consumption lowers sperm count and significantly impairs the quality of those that remain.  But a 2009 study in humans has taken that research one step further.

In that study, 82 infertile men were compared with 78 (proven) fertile men.  Detailed profiles of the fatty acid makeup of each man’s semen were prepared.  The results were unequivocal.  Infertile men had a significantly higher ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3  (15 to 1 versus 6 to 1 in fertile men).  And critically, the higher the omega-6, the lower the sperm count.   The amount and ratio of Omega-6 also dramatically and negatively affected the other two primary measures of sperm quality, the motility (ability to move) and morphology (the shape).

It is likely that the reason for the sperm cell destruction relates to rampant oxidation caused by the overconsumption of omega-6 fats.  Unfortunately, that kind of oxidation damage leads to the wholesale DNA destruction that can result in cancer.  That direct effect on testicular cancer rates is the subject of the next instalment in this series.

 

Get all the studies and articles mentioned in this series here.

 

Photo by Mobilus In Mobili. Distributed under the Creative Commons License.

How to get lung cancer from a frypan

By | Vegetable Oils | 10 Comments

Vegetable oils are highly unstable. When they interact with oxygen, they release neurotoxic, DNA mutating chemicals which are known to cause cancer (at least). Recent improvements in measurement technology have now thrown a spotlight on the quantity of these chemicals released by normal use. And the results are truly terrifying.

Vegetable oil made from seeds (Canola, Sunflower, Corn, Safflower, Grapeseed, Rice Bran and Soybean for example) -seed oils – are a relatively new addition to the human diet.  Unlike oils made from fruit (Olive, Avocado and Coconut) and animal fats, they are very high in something called an Omega-6 fat.

They are also incredibly cheap to make, which is why you will find them in just about every food on the supermarket shelf and in every deep fryer in the land.

These Omega-6 fats are known to cause oxidative stress in humans.  Oxidative stress occurs when the reactions between these fats and oxygen overwhelm our anti-oxidant defences and a chain reaction gets under way.

That chain reaction results in the production of some highly toxic chemicals which include MDA (Malondialdehyde) and 4-HNE (4-hydroxy-2-nonenal).  They are dangerous because they interact destructively with our DNA and cause cancer.

But that is, by no means the least of it. Because of their neurotoxic capabilities, they are likely to be heavily involved in Alzheimer’s disease, MND, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.  They are also implicated in chronic inflammation, stroke and heart disease.

While the MDA and 4-HNE we make ourselves (from consuming too much Omega-6) is devastating enough, it is now becoming abundantly clear that we can make them even more dangerous than they already are.  All we need to do is heat them before we eat them.

A study released late last year found that when oils containing Omega-6 fats are heated at a normal cooking temperature (of 180⁰C), they create significant quantities of MDA and 4-HNE (amongst other highly toxic chemicals).  And each time the oil was re-used the concentration increased massively.  The study showed that by the fifth day of oil re-use it had 5 times the concentration of these chemicals that it had on the first (which was already alarmingly high).

These premade cancer bombs are directly ingested every time we eat a food which was cooked in those oils (for example, anything fried in seed oils) or which used heated seed oils in the recipe (for example baked goods).   They are even lurking in products which are sold cold but were made using heated seed oils (like margarines).

But worse than that, the researchers also made the point that all they could measure was the amount of these chemicals left in the oil. Since they are highly volatile, they are constantly escaping into the air around us when the food is being cooked and even when it is being eaten.  It is likely that this explains the stubbornly high rates of lung cancer among women in Asian countries (where smoking is rare among women, but wok frying with Canola oil is a daily task).

According to a 2014 report from the WHO (World Health Organisation), more than forty three thousand Australians died from cancer in 2012. And despite huge advances in treatment, it is now the single biggest cause of death in Australia.

The report reveals that in the nine years the report covers, cancer diagnosis in Australia increased by an alarming 14 per cent. In 2003, 274 Australians per day were diagnosed. In 2012, it was 312 people. Per Day! Worse than that, the authors of the report expect that number to almost double in the next twenty years.

In countries exposed to the Western Diet for most of the last five decades (such as Australia), the number of new cases of Multiple Sclerosis recorded per year (after adjusting for population increases) has quadrupled and the numbers of people with the other diseases associated with these lethal chemicals has also been pushing steadily higher.

Prevention is clearly the key to changing a future full of untimely death from horrible chronic disease. Unfortunately those charged with advising us are blind to the real cause of these lethal epidemics.

Worse that that they are frequently the people responsible for us consuming the oils in the first place. McDonald’s for example switched from frying in Beef Fat to Canola oil in 2004 after incessant pressure from the Heart Foundation. And KFC followed suit in 2012

Every day there are thousands of teenagers standing over vats of frying canola oil for 8 hour shifts at every fast food restaurant in this country.  Every day, there are people cooking with high temperature seed oils in woks (seasoned with seed oil). And every day there are industrial quantities of heated seed oil being poured into commercial baked and frozen foods.

And that is set against background of terrifying increases in cancer incidence in this country.  Today’s 312 new cancer sufferers are not theoretical.  They are your neighbour, your sister, the kid next door.

That this is allowed to continue when the science is so clear, is not merely a shame or an embarrassment.  It is an outrage and a tragedy.

You can’t stop the food processors putting these carcinogens in your food and you can’t stop the Heart Foundation and the Cancer Council encouraging them to do so, but you sure can stop that food being put in you.  Isn’t it time you did?

 

Photo courtesy of 2006 advertisement of the British Heart Foundation

How much Imitation Food did you eat today?

By | Big Fat Lies, Sugar, Vegetable Oils | 8 Comments

In these days of regulated, well, everything, it is easy to forget that we are not far down the track from a time when food was regularly adulterated in search of profit.  Milk (and beer) was watered down.  Bread was padded out with Plaster of Paris and sawdust.  And jam was stretched with sugar and pectin to save on costly fruit.

Some of these changes were just plain dangerous.  Some were not likely to be immediately harmful, but did mean the consumer wasn’t getting what they paid for.  To deal with the grey area between adulteration (with, say, sawdust) and cheating (with, say, water or sugar), in 1938 US legislators introduced laws that required that ‘Imitation Foods’ be clearly labelled.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) was authorised to create legally binding ‘standards of identity’ based on “the time-honored standards employed by housewives and reputable manufacturers”.  These were recipes which specified what well recognised foods such as cheese, or milk or bread or jam (for example) must contain and in what quantities.  The FDA attacked the task with gusto and by 1950 about half of all food sold in the US had a standardised description.

This meant that if you wanted to make a jam with less fruit than the standard you could do so but it had to be clearly labelled as Imitation Jam.

It also meant that if you wanted to sell low fat milk it had to be labelled Imitation Milk.  If you wanted to sell cheese slices made with milk solids and vegetable fats, it was Imitation Cheese. Or if you wanted to sweeten yoghurt with fruit juice instead of sugar it had to be called Imitation Sweetened Yoghurt.

You don’t have to be a marketing genius to understand that your product might not fly off the shelves with ‘Imitation’ stamped on the front.

The food industry wasn’t a fan in the 1950s but they became even less of a fan by the 1970s as the market for low-fat food really took off.  And they weren’t alone.  The American Heart Foundation was keen to get Americans to switch from animal fats to vegetable oils (to avoid cholesterol) and generally lower the fat in their diet.  But vegetable oils were rarely part of the traditional descriptions of these foods and the amount of fat was specified by law anyway.

Sustained lobbying by the food industry and the Heart Foundation resulted in the laws being changed in 1973.  From then on a food did not have to use the word “Imitation” as long as it had the same level of nutrients as the original.  Calories and fat were excluded from the requirement.  So as long as your Cheese like substance wrapped in plastic had the same vitamins and minerals as the real deal, it could be labelled as Cheese.

One of the most obvious results of that twisted logic is now available in your local supermarket.  There you can purchase a substance which describes itself as having “The protein, energy and fibre of 2 Weet-Bix and milk”.  The actual ingredients of Up&Go are (in descending order by weight):

  • water,
  • skim milk powder,
  • cane sugar,
  • wheat maltodextrin,
  • soy protein,
  • vegetable oils (sunflower, canola),
  • inulin,
  • starch,
  • corn syrup solids,
  • fructose,
  • cocoa (0.5%),
  • oat flour,
  • mineral (calcium), food acid (332), flavours, vegetable gums (460, 466, 407), stabiliser (452), salt, vitamins (C, niacin, A, B12, B6, B2, B1, folate)

You might be tempted to call that ‘Imitation Weetbix and Milk’ but as no Weet-bix appear to be involved, ‘Imitation Sweetened Milk’ is probably closer to the mark.

I’m sure that does add up to the same amount of protein, energy and fibre as Weet-bix and milk but I suspect that an appropriate amount of sawdust and offal would too.

I say bring back the Imitation label.  If your Mayonnaise is made with sugar, emulsifier and water rather than eggs and olive oil, it should be labelled Imitation Mayonnaise.  If your chocolate is made with sugar and vegetable oil rather than sugar and cocoa butter, it should be labelled imitation chocolate.  If your bread has added Fructooligosaccharides, then it’s Imitation Bread.  And if your Weetbix and Milk is made from skim milk powder and sugar, it should be called Imitation Sweetened Milk.

Assuming anyone still wanted to sell food labelled that way, it would make the shopper’s task significantly easier.  There would be no chance you would accidentally buy food containing vegetable oils as they would all be labelled as Imitations.  It wouldn’t eliminate sugar but at least the foods which contained sugar would clearly list sugar as an ingredient (rather than things like juice concentrate or pear extract).  In fact all the ingredients would be recognisable and the list would be much shorter.

This kind of change would result in almost all the contents of a modern supermarket being labelled as Imitation Food.  Yes, I know there is no chance of this happening.  Industry would fight it tooth and nail.  Very real and very large amounts of money would be on the line.  And that just shows how much we have lost control of our food supply – in the space of less than one human lifetime.

The 20th century will go down as the century when mankind surrendered the ability to prepare their own food (or at least know the person who did).  We surrendered that right to corporations motivated by nothing other than profit.  And the result is mass epidemics of chronic disease, the likes of which humankind has never before experienced.  This is not a coincidence, it is a consequence.  And it will end badly for us and our kids.

Removing imitation labelling requirements did not cause the disaster but it certainly and massively accelerated it.  Don’t be a victim of the corporatisation of our food supply.  Eat Real Food, that is, food that is assembled from recognisable ingredients.  Oh, and ditch the sugar. It’ll kill you whether it’s labelled properly or not.

Also published on The Juice Daily

Oops, sorry ‘bout that – 5 Big Things Nutrition science got horribly wrong

By | Big Fat Lies, Sugar, Vegetable Oils | 10 Comments

Australia is in the midst of a chronic disease epidemic.  Kidney cancer, Melanoma, Prostate cancer and Anal cancer have all doubled since 1982, as has Chronic Kidney Disease since 1991. Type II Diabetes has tripled since 1989.  Multiple Sclerosis has done the same since 1961. Thyroid and Liver cancer has almost quadrupled since 1982.  And life threatening childhood allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) have almost quintupled since 1994.

In the same timeframe, we have become more health conscious than ever.  The science of Nutrition has moved from a back-room study of malnutrition to daily media coverage of what to eat.

The problem is most of what the nutrition profession has told us about food and its effect on disease has been horribly wrong.  So horribly wrong that, in many cases, we’d have been better off if we had done the opposite of what they said.

Here are 5 Big Things they’ve stuffed up.

  1. Fibre prevents bowel cancer

In 2002 the Cochrane Collaboration reviewed all high quality controlled trials (involving almost 5,000 patients).  They concluded that there was no evidence to suggest that increased dietary fibre would reduce Bowel Cancer.

That review was followed up in 2005 by a major evidence review by the Harvard School of Public Health.  The paper covered 13 studies which involved 725,628 people.  And again fibre drew a blank.  The authors concluded that high dietary fibre intake did not reduce the risk of Bowel Cancer.

Other recent research has also demolished many of the other claims around fibre.  It doesn’t prevent heart disease.  It doesn’t improve constipation (in fact it may be part of the cause).  And it likely increases our chances of getting diverticular disease.

  1. Cutting salt is good for the heart

When we consume salt, we retain more water.  More water means higher blood pressure.  A large Cochrane review conducted in 2004 showed that reducing salt intake does reduce blood pressure – but only slightly.

And while that’s nice, the real question is, does it prevent heart disease.  Unfortunately for the low salt brigade the answer (revealed in a 2011 Cochrane review) is a definite no.

There is no evidence that reducing salt reduces heart disease outcomes.  And worryingly one of the reviewed trials showed that reducing salt increase the risk of death in heart failure patients.

  1. Animal fat and Cholesterol are bad for the heart

Over the last five years a series of major reviews have all arrived at the same conclusion – Saturated Fat (the type which dominates fats from animals) does not cause heart disease.  The most recent review, published in August 2015, also adds that those fats are not associated with stroke, type II Diabetes or death from any other cause.

We’ve also been told for decades to avoid cholesterol.  It has been a major part of dietary warnings in the US (and eventually Australia) since 1961.  But this year the US government’s top nutrition advisory body released a review of the evidence which concludes dietary cholesterol is no longer a ‘nutrient of concern’.

No, we didn’t suddenly become immune to its evilness, the advice had been wrong all along.  And that dreadfully wrong advice stopped us consuming one of the most nutritionally perfect foods available – eggs (also vilified for their saturated fat content) – and had us falling victim to every marketer who wanted to plaster ‘low cholesterol’ on the front of a pack.

  1. ‘Vegetable Oil’ is good for the heart

One of the more recent demolitions of the ‘saturated fat’ is bad for the heart, myth also looked at whether vegetable is good for the heart.  We have, after all been told to replace butter with margarine for exactly that reason.

The study, sponsored by the British Heart Foundation, looked at trials involving over half a million people and concluded “Current evidence does not clearly support [heart health] guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated [fats – the ones found in vegetable oils].”

But these vegetable fats are not benign additions to the diet.  Increasingly the science is demonstrating  that the fats contained in vegetable oils (like Canola, Sunflower, Soybean, Cottonseed, Grapeseed, Rice Bran and Safflower oil) are a significant part of the disease process for Motor Neuron DiseaseParkinson’s DiseaseMacular DegenerationMultiple Sclerosis (and other auto-immune diseases) all cancers and lethal allergic reactions.

  1. Sugar doesn’t cause Type II Diabetes

Most nutrition authorities still maintain that nothing about sugar (other than the calories) is associated with Type II Diabetes.  And perhaps that is why the Heart Foundation is happy to endorse high sugar foods like Milo and a low-fat Mayo that lists sugar as its primary ingredient.

In June 2015, the latest in a long line of research once again concluded that sugary drink consumption (yes, even juice) was associated with Type II Diabetes even after adjusting for the weight of the people involved.  In other words the calories weren’t the problem.  Something else about the sugar was causing the diabetes.

It turns out that ‘something else’ is the fructose half of sugar and it is not merely responsible for Type II Diabetes but for many of the other chronic diseases that now plague us, including Fatty Liver Disease and Chronic Kidney Disease.

When nutrition science was in its infancy (in the 1960s and 1970s) it made some bad guesses about what makes us sick.  It guessed that eggs and animal fat gave us heart disease.  It guessed that salt caused heart disease and stroke.  It guessed that sugar was harmless.  And it guessed fibre was good.

These guesses were not illogical.  They were just naïve.  And, as it turns out, wrong.  But science has moved a long way since then and guessing is no longer required.

We now know that Heart Disease is caused by chronic inflammation and cancer risk is significantly elevated by oxidative stress.  And we know that loading our diets with man-made fats (labelled vegetable oil) and sugar will ensure we have both.

We no longer need to speculate.  Science has provided the answers.  The sooner those in charge of our dietary recommendations put their pride behind them and admit that, the healthier we will all be. 

But don’t wait for the apology.  Take control of your own health and (at the very least) ignore the nonsense they tell you about Fibre, Animal Fat, Salt and Sugar.  Good Health.

Health Star or Death Star?

By | Conflicts of Interest, Sugar, Vegetable Oils | 13 Comments

The Federal Government’s Health Star Rating system (HSR to its friends) is being heavily promoted as a solution the nation’s out-of-control obesity and chronic disease problem.  But it has turned into a food industry marketing stunt that is part of the problem not part of the solution.

This week HSR turned 1.  And as any one year old might expect, it got some lovely presents.  The government committed to spending $2.1 million telling everybody what a jolly good idea it is.  And they also cut a cheque to the Heart Foundation to look after the little fella for the next 2-5 years.

It seems everybody has been celebrating.  Sanitarium has been spending up big telling us that Up&Go (20% sugar) has 4.5 out of 5 stars.  Uncle Toby’s have also had the ad makers working round the clock, reminding us that you don’t have to drink your breakfast or have boring old oats.  Your kids can have their terrific 4 star sugar-loaded (25% sugar) oats instead.

The new multi-million dollar ad campaign helpfully tells us the more stars there are (to a maximum of 5) the healthier the food.

The government must be using a different definition of healthy to the World Health Organisation, the Canadian Heart Association and the British Medical Association, (to name just a few), because I doubt any of them would be likely to describe a ‘food’ that is 25% added sugar as healthy.  And yet that is exactly the type of ‘food’ getting the 4 and 5 star ratings in Australia.

Meanwhile, food that has sustained humans for millennia, like butter, coconut oil or yoghurt is flat out breaking the one star barrier.  Even strawberry liquorice (42% sugar) does better than that (2.5 stars).

They all score badly because they contain saturated fat.  For decades that kind of fat has been painted by nutritionists as the dietary villain.  But recent reviews of the science conducted by the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends dropping saturated fat (and cholesterol) from its list of nutrients of concern because there is no evidence connecting it with heart disease.

The HSR is a marketing program developed by and for the processed food industry (but paid for by the taxpayer).  Its development panel includes the Australian Beverages Council (whose members include Coca-cola and Pepsi) and the Australian Food and Grocery Council (whose membership list is the phone directory for the processed food industry).

It, like the Heart Foundation tick (which coincidentally appears on all the ‘healthy’ products I mention above) should be used as a guide to what foods to completely ignore.  The less stars a product has the less likely it is to do you harm.

But this isn’t an amusing little sideshow.  People are being actively told by their government to consume products that will unequivocally harm them.  They are being told that high sugar, high seed oil products like Up&Go are the best thing they can eat when the evidence says the exact opposite.

We wouldn’t tolerate a Government sponsored program that actively encouraged children to smoke (for their health) so let’s not tolerate our money being used to market sugar laced, seed oil as health food.

Don’t tolerate you and your family being treated like processed food dump sites.  Write to Sussan Ley (the Minister responsible for this abomination) and tell her you don’t want your money spent on a labelling system designed by Big Food’s marketing department.  And tell her you want your government to base its dietary advice on evidence, not what Big Food needs to sell this week.

Two things you can avoid to take yourself off the chronic disease treadmill

By | Sugar, Vegetable Oils | 3 Comments

Australians are sicker now than at any time in our history and it is getting worse unbelievably quickly.  We are almost four times as likely to have thyroid cancer than just three short decades ago.  We are more than three times as likely to have Liver Cancer or Type II Diabetes.  We are twice as likely to have Anal cancer, Chronic Kidney Disease, Melanoma, Kidney cancer and Motor Neuron Disease.  And Fatty Liver Disease, something that barely existed in the eighties, now affects 1 in 3 adults and 1 in 8 children.

Men are more than twice as likely to have prostate cancer and 60% more likely to have testicular cancer.  Women are 43% more likely to have breast cancer.  And children are more than four times(!) as likely to suffer from a life threatening allergic reaction.

These are not comparisons to the 50s or the turn of the 20th century.  These statistics are comparisons with 1982 (and in the case of allergies, with 1994).  The chronic disease tsunami is upon us. If we are not already affected by one of these diseases (or the many others steadily getting worse), we most certainly know someone who is.

So, when something happens that reminds us of this, we pay attention.  The Ice-Bucket Challenge for Motor Neuron Disease and the Beanie for Brain Cancer campaign strike a chord with us because, like never before in human history, we are likely to have a very personal connection with chronic disease inexplicably striking down those we love.

We are intensely interested in knowing all we can about these diseases.  We don’t believe they strike randomly, no matter how many times we are told they have no known cause.  Even if we don’t know the exact numbers we have a sense that we are a population in serious disease trouble. We desperately want to know if there is something we should be doing or not doing to avoid adding ourselves (and those we love) to the statistics.

The problem is, we are never told.  The organisations tasked with telling us about these diseases tell us nothing is known about their cause.  They offer us no hope.  They ask us for money for research and they leave us to live with our fingers crossed.

But we do know some important things about these diseases.  We know that sugar consumption causes Type II Diabetes Fatty Liver Disease and Chronic Kidney disease and is likely to be part of the disease process for Liver, Kidney and Pancreatic cancer.  We know that the fats contained in vegetable oils (like Canola, Sunflower, Soybean, Cottonseed, Grapeseed, Rice Bran and Safflower oil) are a significant part of the disease process for Motor Neuron Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Macular Degeneration, Multiple Sclerosis (and other auto-immune diseases) all cancers and lethal allergic reactions.

Deleting sugar from your diet will not bring a destroyed pancreas, liver or kidney back.  Deleting vegetable oil will not reverse Parkinson’s, Motor Neuron Disease or cancer.  But removing those modern additions to our diet will take you off the high risk path for all of those diseases and more.

This is the message we should be given the next time our national attention is focused on a beanie, a ribbon or a bucket of ice-water.  We should be told what we can do to avoid the disease.  Those asking us for money should be doing their level best to ensure they never need it.

 

 

Photo by Kyle Nishioka. Distributed under the Creative Commons License.

Eat Real Food now available

By | Books, Sugar, Vegetable Oils | 15 Comments

Enter the great Book #1 Give-away. David will give away the first copy of Eat Real Foodsigned and personally inscribed as Copy #1 – to the winner of this competition. Enter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

In the last 100 years, we’ve become fatter and sicker with millions of people developing serious diseases from diabetes to cancer. Health gurus confuse us with complex diets and expensive ingredients; food manufacturers load their products with addictive and destructive ingredients causing our increasing weight and declining health. But help is at hand. Health and consumer advocate David Gillespie shares the simple secret of weight loss and wellbeing: swap processed food for REAL FOOD. Eat Real Food features:

  • An explanation of why diets don’t work and a provides a focus on what does
  • Information on how to lose weight permanently, not just in the short-term
  • Evidence-based science explaining the real culprits of ill health and weight gain.
  • Advice on how to read food labels.
  • Easy recipes to replace common processed items and meal plans that show how simple it is to shop, plan and cook Real Food.
  • Tips for lunchboxes, parties, and recipes for food kids actually like.

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How Margarine and its seed oil filled brothers give us Multiple Sclerosis

By | Big Fat Lies, Charts, Vegetable Oils | 25 Comments

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) was once a rare disease that mainly affected Scandinavians or people who otherwise didn’t get much sunlight.  But that has all changed.  Its prevalence is accelerating wildly and sunlight is much less relevant than what you shove in your gob.  If you’d rather not get MS then it is vital you avoid consuming the Omega-6 fats found in most processed foods.

Our central nervous system is our electrical wiring.  If our brain wants to tell our fingers to move, an electrical signal is sent along the nervous system and the fingers move.  Just like electrical cables nerve cells have an insulating cover (called myelin).  Electrical signals travel much faster (and are much more certain to get to the destination) in insulated nerves than in non-insulated nerves.

Seventy percent of the insulation is fat and a fair chunk of that is polyunsaturated fat.  Unfortunately this means that the insulation is prone to damage from oxidation.  But not to worry, we have a perfectly good repair system.  The cells which make myelin (called oligodendrocytes for those who want to get all technical) are very handy at continuously patching up any damage.

MS is disease caused by our immune system attacking and destroying the myelin insulation.  This damage disrupts the ability of parts of the nervous system to communicate and it results in an array of symptoms which range from fatigue, physical incoordination, spasms, partial blindness as well as learning and memory problems (depending on which part of the nervous system is damaged).

Unfortunately people with MS can’t completely repair the damage being inflicted by their immune system and over time the cumulative damage means that the symptoms become progressively worse.

According to the World Health Organisation the biggest risk factors for MS are living in a place with little sunlight or a place exposed to processed food (the Western Diet).  In the 1950s the biggest risk factor by a country mile was latitude, but as processed food has infiltrated the diet of more and more countries, those countries have caught up to the rates in countries with low sunlight exposure.   In Iran for example the incidence rate quadrupled in just the two decades between 1989 and 2008.  But there is (and always has been) plenty of sunlight there.

In countries exposed to the Western Diet for most of the last five decades (such as Australia), the number of new cases of the disease recorded per year (after adjusting for population increases) has also quadrupled.  Make no mistake MS is an epidemic on the march.

Our immune system attacks parts of the body largely because the component (T regulatory cells or just TRegs) which is supposed to stop that happening becomes disabled.  One of the most efficient ways to disable TRegs is to consume too much omega-6 fat.

The Western Diet is stuffed to the brim with Omega-6 fat courtesy of the steady replacement of animal fats with seed oils (such as canola, sunflower soybean etc).  So every time you eat processed food or tuck into fried food you are taking on a massive dollop of omega-6 fat.

For example if you were drop a serving (20g) of Praise Mayonnaise onto your bacon and egg sarnie you would be consuming around 5 grams of Omega-6 fat (just from the mayo).  That’s about three times what your body needs for the day (and that’s before we take into account the margarine, the bread, the grain fed bacon, the factory farmed egg or anything else you eat that day).

Sunshine (or, at least its ability to make us make Vitamin D) is a partial remedy to this problem because Vitamin D boosts the numbers of TRegs.  This gives us a fighting chance at stopping our own immune system in its tracks.  And that is why, before the advent of a seed oil filled diet, the exposure to sunlight, more or less determined your likelihood of having MS.

We aren’t born with a completely myelinated nervous system.  It takes us about 20 years to finish the job.  This means that when people move from a place with low rates of MS to places of high rates of MS (or the other way round), their age when they move is an important factor.  If they are over 15 when they move they will have the same risk of developing MS as the place where they were born.  If they are 10 or younger it will be the same as the place where they move to.

It’s likely that this strange age-related phenomenon is because of another characteristic of our seed oil filled diets.  Overconsumption of omega-6 fats causes the body to enter a state called oxidative stress.  This is where the highly reactive omega-6 fats overcome our anti-oxidant defences.  Oxidative stress is known to be lethal to the cells which produce our nerve insulation.

It is therefore probable that constant exposure to omega-6 fats while a child is growing those very cells, will result in insulation which is not up to spec.  And a weakened insulation makes them much more susceptible to the immune system attacks which will almost inevitably happen if they stay on that diet.

MS is a truly horrendous disease that is striking more people, younger.  It is clear that the cause is the massive increase in the use of seed (vegetable) oils in our food.  MS was once a disease that struck only susceptible people who were not exposed to enough sunlight.  Seed oils are now ensuring it is something that all of us must fear.

If you have MS, I’m sorry.  If you can stop eating seed oils (and get some Sun), it may help with symptoms.  If you don’t have MS, stop eating seed oils (and get some Sun) and you will dramatically reduce your chances of getting it.  If you have children, don’t let them anywhere near seed oils, ever, but especially not before they’re 20.

Graphic from:  WHO – Atlas multiple sclerosis resources in the world 2008.

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