To Your Health – October 2010
Welcome to the October issue of To Your Health. In this issue you will find a surprising rebuttal of high fructose corn syrup dangers. (I do not mean made from GMO corn either.) I have also briefly summarized the implications and causes of the recent half billion egg recall from two Iowa mega-farms. I am not singling out eggs, but rather demonstrating that it is futile to go against nature. When animals are raised outside of their natural and safe habitat in filthy, inhumane and totally artificial conditions and fed chemicals, drugs and unhealthy foods, the animals get sick. Sick chickens produce sick eggs and people who eat them get sick as well. I am hoping that all of these food recalls due to preventable food-borne diseases will trigger an increased demand for organically raised pastured animals that are given foods that keep them healthy and happy. I hope that you are seeking more local, organic foods and are boycotting the inhumane treatment of animals by the agribusiness industry.
Enjoy the beautiful Indian Summer.
To Your Health
The best way to accomplish an improved environment is to focus upon the best things about where you currently are until you flood your own vibrational patterns of thought with appreciation, and in that changed vibration, you can then allow the new-and-improved conditions and circumstances to come into your experience. Look for good things about where you are, and in your state of appreciation, you lift all self-imposed limitations (and all limitations are self-imposed) and you free yourself for the receiving of wonderful things.
— Abraham (Esther and Jerry Hicks Daily Quotes)
The Myth of High Fructose Corn Syrup Dangers
From a private consultation with Dr. Ray Peat.
If you want the references to this information, please email
Question: Do you think high fructose corn syrup is as dangerous as what is being printed by pop med docs? A recent article by Mercola
says to cut down on your fruit to avoid getting a dangerous amount of fructose and presents “research” that claims that fructose promotes pancreatic cancer growth.
No wonder people are freaking out over fruit and are guzzling veggie juices which contain various amounts of toxic PUFAs (omega-3 and -6 oils).
Dr. Peat: When a cult reaches a certain stage of development, it isn’t hard to find six people in a normally good institution who will sign their names to a catechism, even when their points are pointless non sequiturs. A UCLA group, Wahjudi, et al., recently published a study of HFCS that’s much more relevant to public health, but it got little attention in the media. There are some other fructose abstracts that the cultists have begun citing things like a C.C. Brooks article from 2000, which claimed to show that fructose causes “insulin resistance” compared to a starch diet, but careful reading would show that it confirms the powerful protective effect of fructose, since if the greater weight gain of the starch eaters continued beyond the short 5 weeks of the experiment, after a year the starchy rats would have weighed twice as much as the lean sugar eaters. Another absurd anti-sugar article, from 1975, is being used by a “nutrition therapist” Julia Ross to propagandize for starch, fish oil, and tryptophan.
Everyone acknowledges that HFCS contains some oligosaccharides, starch fragments, that are responsible for the fact that it won’t crystallize, but the Wahjudi group seem to have showed that there’s a lot of it in some of the products. The Liu abstract is loaded with implications that don’t connect with anything real. Simply supporting division of cancer cells isn’t the same as what the title suggested, promoting pancreatic cancer growth. I think at least one person in the group was conscious of what the title says, and any statements of fact in the abstract are about other things. Cells need energy to divide, and cancer cells are less limited than other cells in what they can use for energy, and it’s not at all surprising that fructose would provide an alternative substrate. Their comments about “dietary refined fructose,” “fructose intake has increased dramatically in recent decades,” seem uninformed, at best. Rat experimenters use pure crystalline fructose, but because of its expense, I doubt that any is used in mass-produced consumer foods. The “high fructose corn syrup” replaced sucrose because it’s cheaper, and it contains only a little more fructose than glucose. The oligosaccharides might be adding a huge amount of carbohydrate that isn’t being considered, but it could also be causing its own unique toxic effects.
Note: I am not advocating using HFCS or even corn syrup because there are less processed organic sugars available, such as organic sucrose, raw honey and organic maple syrup. My point is that fructose is not unhealthy and I recommend organic ripe fruits and fruit juices daily as part of a prothyroid diet. Email
me for the latest prothyroid diet summary (updated frequently).
Factory Farms, Eggs & Food Safety
ORGANIC BYTES #240
September 2, 2010 & August 31, 2010
Health, Justice and Sustainability News from the Organic Consumers Association
Edited by Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins
This article focuses on the recent recall of half-billion eggs from two mega-farms in Iowa, but there are similar recalls from other factory farms including feedlot cattle and commercially produced foods such as lettuce, spinach and tomatoes. But instead of focusing on the cause and prevention of food borne illness, the mainstream media is trying to focus on how to kill the pathogens. It would be a lot healthier for the chickens to live in an uncrowded natural habitat where they are free to roam in pastures and are fed bugs and food scraps than what is currently being practiced by agribusiness. It is inhumane, filthy and unhealthy.
Many news reports are suggesting that organic eggs are no safer than conventional brands. It's fairly easy to rebut this argument. One can start with the fact that no USDA certified organic egg producers have been caught up in the recall. There's also lots of evidence that factory farm practices that are banned in organic farming, including battery cages and feed contaminated with slaughterhouse waste and manure, are the cause of disease outbreaks.
Honor Schauland, a web editor for OCA and a backyard organic chicken farmer reports on a recent article from US News and World Report that begins with the subtitle “Shopping for organic or local farm stand eggs may not help you avoid salmonella poisoning.” Next they roll out the expert, Martin Wiedmann, an associate professor of food microbiology at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. who makes a vague statement, “I’ve not seen any evidence suggesting that these eggs are any safer.”
The articles suggests that battery cages are good: “some studies indicate that (unconfined hens) may be more likely to be exposed to the bacteria, often found in dust on the henhouse floor, than hens confined to battery cages, which don’t touch the ground.” There is, of course, no mention of the probable chemical or hormonal contaminants in conventionally farmed chicken. There is no mention that a study done last year by Consumer Reports found that the majority of conventionally farmed chickens tested were contaminated with pathogens, while the organic chickens tested were found to have fewer or no pathogens.
The rest of the article details proper egg-handling and food safety tips that we have all heard a jillion times before, such as recommendations to never eat raw eggs, always wash your hands and cutting boards to reduce cross contamination, refrigerate, sanitize, etc.
You should be fearful of your food if it comes from a filthy factory farm and is trucked halfway across the country encountering God-knows-what contaminants and improper handling along the way. Our conventional food system is broken, so we should focus on how to get the highest quality food and chose organic farming methods that produce healthy, humanely treated chickens and protect them and their eggs from contamination by pathogens.
Honor Schauland says, “I believe big agribusiness, conventional farming — our broken food system — have killed more people and done more damage than organic, small-scale agriculture has. Especially when we are talking about salmonella outbreaks, E. coli, and other food borne pathogens.”
Some people are so afraid of the egg on their plate that it’s an easy decision to say “irradiate everything,” or douse your entire home in triclosan so that you don’t have to be constantly vigilant about germs.
But for an increasing number of people, the answer is to buy organic and local food, to grow or process or harvest their own food, to know our local farmers and trust them with our safety rather than blindly putting our trust in large faceless corporations that care little or nothing about our health, our well-being and the humane treatment of animals.
The History of Chicken Farming in the United States
This article provides the history of chicken farming and describes the transition from healthy, free-range, pastured chicken to today’s inhumane, filthy, disease producing mega-farms. This is now the norm.
Many conventional egg operations contain as many as half a million chickens. Each cage will hold four or five birds, each with an area no larger than a letter-sized sheet of paper. Many of these chickens can barely move around at all, let alone stretch their wings, forage for food or even spend time in the light of day. These cage-raised chickens have to be given routine doses of antibiotics and other drugs, all of which have serious health implications for the chicken and for you the consumer.
It is a common misconception that salmonella only contaminates eggs from an external source. This is certainly a factor, as eggshells are porous and whatever the eggshell comes into contact with can cross over this semi-permeable membrane and end up in your eggs, including salmonella. But eggs can also become contaminated while they are being formed if the salmonella bacteria exist inside a chicken’s ovaries. Hens can become infected by eating rodent droppings or contaminated feed, and then pass the salmonella on to their eggs.
Chickens raised in unsanitary conditions are far more likely to be contaminated, and lay contaminated eggs than organically raised, pastured, free range chickens. In fact, one study by the British government found that 23 percent of farms with caged hens tested positive for salmonella, compared to just over 4 percent in organic flocks and 6.5 percent in free-range flocks.
Contamination occurred most often at farms that contained the most birds, typically 30,000 or more. These large farming operations had flocks that contained over four times the average levels of salmonella compared to the smaller flock sizes allowed under British organic standards.
The massive egg recalls came from the Iowa farms Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms, both of which use Quality Egg for supplies of young chickens and feeds. Both Quality Egg and Wright County Egg are owned by Austin Jack DeCoster, a businessman who has been cited for health and safety violations so many times he’s known as a “habitual violator.”
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the latest salmonella outbreak, but given the company’s sordid history I think it’s safe to say most Americans would choose to buy their eggs elsewhere — if they knew what was really going on behind the scenes.
These recalled eggs are sold under numerous brand names and shipped to various locations from institutions to restaurants. Eggs are only the latest examples of this food system gone wrong, and at the root of the problem is farming done on a mass-production scale with little regard for cleanliness and natural needs of the animals. About 95 percent of the eggs produced in the United States come from gigantic egg factories housing millions of hens under one roof.
In 2008, the U.S. government decided to allow food producers to irradiate fresh spinach and iceberg lettuce in order to kill organisms like E. coli and salmonella, but at the expense of nutrients.
There is speculation that this latest salmonella outbreak will provide a springboard for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin a campaign to irradiate or pasteurize all eggs — a move that would destroy many of the valuable nutrients that make eggs such a healthy food to begin with, while letting irresponsible and in some cases criminal food producers completely off the hook for growing and distributing contaminated food.
Already, the FDA is recommending that retailers, consumers and food service outlets use pasteurized eggs to avoid contracting salmonella, when in reality all that is needed to prevent this contaminant is to raise chickens in sanitary, humane conditions.
On the flipside, there are also salmonella vaccines in the works, both for farm animals and for humans. So far the FDA has decided not to mandate vaccination of hens against salmonella, but that may all change in the wake of the egg recall.
Where Should You Get Your Eggs?
Eggs are one of the first foods many people think of when it comes to salmonella, but it’s common in other foods as well, including conventionally raised chickens, commercial feedlot cattle and fast foods from sports stadiums.
Remember, only sick chickens lay salmonella-contaminated eggs, so as always it is important to know where your food comes from. The key here is to buy your eggs locally. Fortunately, finding high-quality organic eggs is relatively easy, as virtually every rural area has small farmers with chickens. If you live in an urban area, visiting the local health food stores is typically the quickest route to finding high-quality local egg sources.
Farmers markets are another great way to meet the people who produce your food. With face-to-face contact, you can get your questions answered and know exactly what you're buying. Better yet, visit the farm and ask for a tour. If they have nothing to hide, they should be eager to show you their operation. Your egg farmer should be paying attention to proper nutrition, clean water, adequate housing space, and good ventilation to reduce stress on the hens and support their immunity.
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Lita Lee, Ph.D.