Please, please, PLEASE – stop eating … artificial sweeteners

by drpaul

So there I was, having a great breakfast at Friendly Toast in Portsmouth, NH and of course I couldn’t help but observe (okay, I was inwardly seething with contemptuous judgment at) all the unhealthy food everyone was eating. Speaking of which, have you noticed how hard it is to be out in public these day and find healthy looking people – you know, people who (1) are not overweight; (2) have glowing complexion, or at least clear skin; (3) move with any type of crisp, coordinated energy?  Just recently, I went to the New England Aquarium, and while standing in line, I mentally tried to scan the very large crowd to find healthy people – I could only find one family … from India.  Sorry, I digress …

Anyway, there we were in the House of Inflammation, I mean Friendly Toast, where everyone, and I mean everyone, was eating some wheat product or bread in the form of pancakes, toast, waffles, or French toast,  and of course most of it slathered with some shit sugar sauce. Sorry, again I digress …

But what caught my eye (in addition to the raging and overt march to diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer), was the table across from me. In addition to gorging on insulin-spiking, pro-inflammatory grains, the four adults (who were actually 7.5 adults in their total weight), were dumping Splenda into their coffee like it was fairy dust.

I wanted to walk over, drop to my knees and beg them to … PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE STOP EATING THESE TERRIBLE CHEMICALS – THEY’RE SLOWLY POISONING AND KILLING YOU.

By the way, in case you were wondering what I ordered off the insulin land mine field they call a menu, I had Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict, no bread, with a side order of sauteed spinach. We mixed the spinach in with our eggs, smoked salmon and Hollandaise sauce – it was super yummy, and very satisfying; and because it had plants, fats, and protein, the meal was very nutritious and healthy.

Okay, back to the incredibly toxic nature of artificial sweeteners:

 

Artificial Sweeteners: A History of Lies and Poison

Don’t have time to read this? Want the bottom line, the take away? Artificial sweeteners are extremely toxic and should be one of the foods you never, ever eat. Stay away from artificial sweeteners like you would a drunk driver waving a gun out the window. Yes, they’re that bad for you. Aspartame and sucralose are the ultimate slow poison, toxic, disease-food. (Aspartame = Nutrasweet and Equal; Sucralose = Splenda)

Our world is filled with deception, to be sure. From our presidents’ lying to us, to sophisticated advertising about food (such as ‘Milk does a body good’ – the best advertising campaign AND best food scam in the past 50 years), it’s become difficult at any given moment to sort out the truth. When it comes to filtering out accurate information regarding health, the waters become even murkier.

In the world of sweeteners, the misinformation is not only standard operating procedure within the food manufacturing industry, it is further obscured by the power of lobbying and advertising that is harnessed by the food and chemical industries. For example, I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials today touting how high fructose corn syrup is safe and natural ‘if eaten in moderation;’ this is patently false – high fructose corn syrup should be called ‘a pipeline to diabetes.’

Another major area of food/health deception is the perceived harmlessness of artificial sweeteners. To the vast majority of people, a Diet Coke® is a relatively “healthy” beverage choice, they think, because it has no sugar or calories. Nothing could be further from the truth.  More

Sugar: Your Second Worst Enemy

by drpaul

It Tastes Sweet, But It Will Kill You: Sugar – The Ultimate Disease Food

It’s contained in many, many foods; it wreaks havoc with many of the body’s physiologic systems and plays a central role in the current heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity epidemics. The culprit: plain old sugar, and its thinly disguised evil cousin, high fructose corn syrup.  Yes, they will kill you. Maybe not overnight, but over time, sugar and corn syrup-derived sweeteners will erode your health, leading to many fatal diseases.sugar

Sugar is a super-concentrated, unnatural food – the fact that it comes from something natural doesn’t make it natural to the body (gasoline comes from something very natural – oil – and is therefore essentially a natural product, but you wouldn’t want to eat it).

In the past 75 years, our modern industrial culture has seen a unique convergence of many negative lifestyle factors that have lead to a dramatic increase in ‘lifestyle behavior diseases’ which include heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, senile dementia, and cancer (yes, cancer is a lifestyle disease, not a genetic one as is commonly believed). This “Perfect Storm” of disease-producing lifestyle behavior choices includes the following:

  • A decrease in the intake of micro-nutrients and trace elements within our food supply due to commercial farming practices utilizing year-round growth cycles and nitrogen-based petrochemical fertilizers, creating epidemic nutritional deficiencies or malnutrition within modern industrial nations, as well as food processing methods that strip nearly all nutrients from our food.
  • An increase in toxicity of our food supply due to the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides in combination with modern food processing techniques utilizing chemical additives, and preservatives.
  • An increase in consumption of food that has been processed to the point where there is little to no nutritive value.
  • A pronounced decrease in physical activity levels unprecedented in the history of mankind.

Added to this…after the Jesuits’ introduction of sugar in 1751, sugar became less expensive to produce (thanks in large part to slavery), and sugar/sweetener consumption has risen steadily (per person/per year):

  • 1821:     10 lbs.
  • 1880:     38 lbs.
  • 1970:  119 lbs.
  • 1990:  132 lbs.
  • 2007:  158 lbs.

When found in nature as fruit (think strawberries, bananas, etc.), sugar is in the form of a complex carbohydrate bound to fiber, which functions to slow down or inhibit the breakdown and absorption of the sugars into the blood stream, creating a gradual flow of sugar (glucose) into the blood stream. Refined sugars (simple carbohydrates), such as sugar (versus sugar cane) or apple juice (versus an apple), have been stripped of their natural fibers, allowing for rapid digestion into the blood stream, which causes blood glucose levels to spike. This results in over-secretion of insulin, the carrier hormone that transports glucose from the blood to the cells and tissues. Normally, insulin secretion is gradual, corresponding to the gradual absorption of sugars found in complex carbohydrates. When eating refined sugar or corn syrup, the sudden demand for insulin becomes acute and insulin is ‘dumped’ into the bloodstream. This acute demand for insulin production and secretion overwhelms the pancreas, the organ that produces and secretes insulin. It gets worse: over time, sustained levels of insulin (from continuing to eat refined carbohydrates such as sugar, corn syrup, and white flour – the diet of Americans) results in insulin resistance, a chronic but deadly condition where the body’s cells don’t respond to insulin in a normal or healthy manner, causing even more insulin to be secreted (think of the pancreas as ‘shouting’), thus aggravating insulin resistance syndrome even further, creating a self-perpetuating cycle which ultimately leads to many disease processes including atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries), cancer, diabetes, weight gain/obesity, high blood lipids (abnormal LDL:HDL cholesterol levels), and mineral depletion.

Now with an unlimited supply and unlimited access to foods containing sugar or corn syrup, as a society, we’re totally hooked – sugar is without a doubt, addictive. To verify this for yourself, try going 2, 3, or 7 days without any refined sugar; one, it’s hard to even find foods that have none; two, if you’re like most people, your body is habituated/addicted to the sweet poison.

Sugar Destroys Your Health

  • Causes Obesity and Diabetes
  • Causes Mineral Loss
  • Disrupts Hormone Function
  • Depresses the Immune System
  • Causes Chronic Disease
  • Increases Cancer Risk

Sugar Decreases Immune Function
It’s long been known that sugar intake causes decreased immune system function. Studies have shown that the immune system is weakened substantially within minutes of eating refined sugar; the more you eat, the more your body’s insulin response system is compromised. The body’s cell-mediated immunity, which uses specialized white blood cells called neutrophils to attack tumors, viruses and bacteria, is decreased when there is elevated blood glucose, which is caused by eating refined carbohydrate foods such as sugar and white flour. [Sanchez A, et al. Roles of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis. Amer J Clin Nutr 1973; 26:1180-1184. (view article)]

What’s more, not only are we more susceptible to getting colds and flu, even our body’s ability to fight cancer is compromised when we eat sugar. [Ely JTA, Krone CA Controlling Hyperglycemia as an Adjunct to Cancer Therapy. Integrative Cancer Therapies 2005; 4(1): 25-31. (view article)]

As an illustration, let’s look at one of the worst sugar foods out there: soda pop.

SODA POP – THE ULTIMATE SUGAR DELIVERY SYSTEM
As has been mentioned, there are many huge problems affecting our health today:

  • We no longer eat fresh, natural, whole, organic, nutrient-dense foods; instead our diets are now dominated by processed foods devoid of nutrients and filled with toxic chemicals, synthetic fats, and artificial sweeteners.
  • Neglecting the critical nutrient of movement or exercise in our lives, which – like fresh foods – is genetically essential for health, the vast majority of people now live sedentary lives, which further hastens the onset of virtually all diseases.

As a result, the current statistics are staggering: 1 out of every 2 people will die of heart disease; 1 out of every 3 people will die from cancer; 1 out of every 4 people will develop diabetes; 60% of adults and 35% of children are obese (by the way, obesity is the defining risk factor for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes).

The most startling aspect of those statistics is that all of those diseases were nonexistent, or very rare occurrences, in earlier times amongst the hunter-gatherer cultures that determined the genetic code that our bodies live by today. In other words, the diseases so common today are best described as lifestyle diseases, or behavior diseases.

One of the central players in this cultural health maelstrom (def: a situation marked by confusion, turbulence, strong feelings, violence, or destruction) is our nation’s habit of consuming sweetenhigh-fructose-corn-syrup3ed beverages that destroy our health – in particular, Americans love soda pop. Soft drink manufacturers make enough soda pop for every person to drink 54 gallons per year. That works out to be 576 12 oz. cans per year, or 1.6 cans per day. It also works out to be over 15 teaspoons of sugar (150 calories) per day. Making matters worse is that soda pop is most often sweetened using high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners, both of which have even greater health risks than sucrose (table sugar). By the way, eating 50 extra calories per day for five years will cause you to gain 50 pounds. Hopefully you are starting to understand the connection between the consequences of our lifestyle choices and their effect on our health (i.e. the ever-increasing diabetes and obesity epidemics).

SODA POP DESTROYS YOUR HEALTH IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS:

Soda pop causes calcium and bone loss:

  • When carbonated liquids go into the stomach (stomach cells are not genetically equipped to handle carbonation), the stomach responds by ‘pulling’ calcium from the blood, creating an antacid to neutralize the carbonic acid; the body, with its incredible innate intelligence, knows that maintaining calcium levels in the blood is critical to many things, including brain and muscle function, and replenishes blood calcium levels by drawing calcium from bones.
  • The phosphoric acid in the soda pop also causes an imbalance in the delicate ratio of calcium-magnesium-phosphorus, causing the body again to draw calcium from the blood and bones to maintain this critical mineral balance.

Soda pop causes diabetes and insulin resistance:

  • Twelve ounces of soda pop contains almost ten teaspoons of sugar; now we have super-sized servings in thirty-two or even sixty-four ounce Big Gulps®, which contain twenty-nine and fifty-three teaspoons of sugar respectively. This incredible dose of refined sugar is immediately absorbed into the bloodstream, wreaking havoc with the body’s ability to manage insulin production and blood glucose levels, leading to diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease, obesity, and metabolic syndrome.

Soda pop causes cancer:

  • Refined sugar intake is associated with increased cancer risk.
  • Because carbonated beverages contribute to acid reflux, drinking soda pop is associated with increased risk of esophageal cancer.

Soda pop disrupts the critical pH of the body: high-fructose-corn-syrup

  • Soda is 100,000 times more acidic than water. The body’s pH (the balance between alkalinity and acidity) must stay within a very narrow range; when the pH shifts, the body will do virtually anything to correct it to avoid catastrophic breakdown in physiological function. The body neutralizes acidity by pulling minerals such as calcium out of the blood or wherever possible, including bone. This is yet another contributing cause of osteoporosis (another cause of osteoporosis is milk consumption – yikes, more on that later).

Soda pop causes weight gain, contributing to the obesity epidemic, in three ways:

  • #1: Extra calories always cause weight gain, no matter how you look at it. The body stores excess carbohydrates as fat. As mentioned above, as little as 50 extra calories per day over a five year period will result in a fifty pound weight gain.
  • #2: When processed by the liver, fructose is preferentially converted to fat.
  • #3: Fructose doesn’t cause the body’s satiety mechanism (feeling satisfied) to be activated, as does glucose, so you will keep eating.

Soda pop causes atherosclerosis (clogging/hardening of the arteries), high blood pressure, and heart disease:

  • Because of how fructose is converted into fat by the liver, soda pop consumption increases LDL lipids (“bad cholesterol”) and decreases HDL (“good cholesterol”), leading to a build-up of plaque within arteries, which narrows the blood vessels, leading directly to high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes.

Some people reading this will be thinking ‘Isn’t that a bit extreme? After all, what’s more American than having a soft drink at a picnic or my son’s baseball game?’ (not to mention that soda is usually served with a hot dog or chips that have been deep fried, and a sandwich made with processed flour, and cured meats – boy, we’ve got this disease-food thing down to a science don’t we; unfortunately, an evil science). Or my favorite, ‘I just have one once in a while – if it’s in moderation, it can’t be that bad, can it?’ There are two types of toxicity or poisoning: 1) Acute: resulting in vomiting, fainting, convulsions, death, etc.; 2) Slow or chronic accumulation of toxins, which ultimately break down the body’s physiological function. Soda pop falls into the second category (diet soda is even more toxic than the regular sugar-poison variety). My cynical response to the “everything in moderation” paradigm is to ask ‘Is it okay to do crystal meth or cheat on your spouse, in moderation?’

Should you have any further doubts about the dangers of soda pop, high fructose corn syrup, and their direct correlation to the obesity and diabetes epidemics that are CRUSHING Americans of all ages, I encourage you to watch this video:

 

Wondering what your FIRST worst enemy is?  Don’t make the mistake thinking that diet sodas containing artificial sweeteners like sucralose (Splenda®) or aspartame (Nutrasweet®, Equal®) are safe – they are far from it; and they cause weight gain (if you think about it, who’s always drinking diet soda? Yep, overweight people). Furthermore, scientific research links artificial sweeteners with leukemia, brain cancer, migraines, depression, and blindness – more on that topic here

 

Below is the trailer for the award-winning documentary Sweet Misery:

To watch the fantastic, full-length documentary film Sweet Misery about the TERRIBLE DANGERS of eating or drinking any food containing aspartame, click here.

The take-away: make water your predominant beverage – it’s what you are genetically designed to drink. You can do it!

Your Worst Enemy: Artificial Sweeteners

by drpaul

Artificial Sweeteners: A History of Lies and Poison

Don’t have time to read this? Want the bottom line, the take away? Artificial sweeteners are extremely toxic and should be one of the foods you never, ever eat. Stay away from artificial sweeteners like you would a drunk driver waving a gun out the window. Yes, they’re that bad for you. Aspartame and sucralose are the ultimate slow poison, toxic, disease-food.

Our world is filled with deception, to be sure. From our presidents’ lying to us to sophisticated advertising about food (such as ‘Milk does a body good’ – the best advertising campaign AND biggest food scam in the past 50 years), it’s become difficult at any given moment to sort out the truth. When it comes to filtering out accurate information regarding health, the waters become even murkier.

In the world of sweeteners, the misinformation is not only standard operating procedure within the food manufacturing industry, it is further obscured by the power of lobbying and advertising that is harnessed by theArtificial sweeteners2 food and chemical industries. For example, I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials today touting how high fructose corn syrup is safe and natural ‘if eaten in moderation;’ this is patently false – high fructose corn syrup should be called ‘a pipeline to diabetes.’

Another major area of food/health deception is the perceived harmlessness of artificial sweeteners. To the vast majority of people, a Diet Coke® is a relatively “healthy” beverage choice, they think, because it has no sugar or calories. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Artificial Sweeteners – A Storied Past
Artificial sweeteners have a checkered past dating back to the discovery of saccharin in 1879 which, like nearly all artificial sweeteners, was discovered by accident and later banned…and later again restored. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola in his book Sweet Deception, chemical giant Monsanto was formed in 1901 “…for the sole purpose of producing saccharin.”
The two big players in the artificial sweetener field today are aspartame (brand names Nutrasweet® and Equal®) and sucralose (brand name Splenda®).

Aspartame – The Perfect Chemical Villain

Aspartame, the most widely used artificial sweetener (found in over 6,000 products consumed by more than 250 million people in soda pop, sugarless gum, “sugar-free” foods) has come under scientific scrutiny in journal articles reporting the following neurophysiologic effects following digestion and metabolism of aspartame into the bloodstream:1

  • Neurological and behavioral disturbances
  • Headaches, insomnia, and seizures
  • Compromised learning and emotional functioning
  • Neurodegeneration leading to senile dementia (i.e. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease)
  • Inhibition of normal brain chemistry function

VIDEO: “Sweet Misery – A Poisoned World”

If you watch this video, and I encourage you to do so, you’ll never be the same again (I promise, you’ll become an anti-artificial sweetener evangelist)!

Aspartame’s Deadly Trio
Aspartame (1-aspartyl 1-phenylalanine methyl ester) is broken down into three toxic components upon digestion: phenylalanine (50%), aspartic acid (40%) and methyl ester (10%)  - they all enter the bloodstream.

Phenylalanine, a common amino acid found naturally in foods in small amounts, does not normally pose a risk (except in individuals with phenylketonuria (PKU), the genetic disease marked by the inability to break down phenylalanine). However, in most people, Nutrasweet produces an abnormally high 50% ratio of phenylalanine; this is something not found in nature, and when it enters the human body, it causes changes in the ratio of neurotransmitters and interrupts brain function, resulting in excessive brain neuron firing and potential cell death. As phenylalanine levels increase, this change in the ratio of neurotransmitters has been shown to cause seizures. Additionally, when exposed to elevated temperatures (think trucks driving pallets of diet soda across the country during Spring and Summer, and all year round in the West), phenylalanine is broken down into diketopiperazine (DKP), a known tumor-forming carcinogen.

The Dementia Connection
Aspartic acid, the second component, is known as a neuroexcitotoxin, a term given to molecules that excite and hyper-stimulate nerve cells, particularly in the brain. This over-stimulation of brain nerve cells eventually causes them to burn out and die. Aspartame consumption is now being considered as a contributing cause to the increasing rates of senile dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease seen today.

The third component, methyl ester, once digested is converted into methyl alcohol, a toxin found in paint remover and wood alcohol. Methyl alcohol is highly toxic to the body and is broken down by the liver into formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, which ultimately can lead to methanol poisoning resulting in fatal kidney damage, organ system failure, blindness, and death. Methanol is classified as a narcotic. Making matters worse is that because phenylalanine and methanol increase dopamine release within the brain, it can become addictive due to the “dopamine high” it NO Diet cokeproduces.

People who swear off diet sodas often experience withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

DIET SODA UPDATE – May 2011: Diet soda heightens risk for stroke, heart attack, and vascular death. “The researchers also observed a marginally significant increased risk for vascular events among those who consumed diet soda daily and regular soda once or more a month.” [American Stroke Association International Stroke Conference. Abstract # P55. News conference February 9, 2011 read article]

ASPARTAME UPDATE – July 2010: Dr. Mercola speaks AGAIN about the dangers of Aspartame [read article]

ASPARTAME UPDATE – Nov 2009: Aspartame Found To Cause Kidney Damage. Research by Dr. Julie Lin and Dr. Gary Curhan of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston presented at the American Society of Nephrology’s annual meeting in San Diego reported “a significant two-fold increased odds, between two or more servings per day of artificially sweetened soda and faster kidney function decline; no relation between sugar-sweetened beverages and kidney decline was noted.” [read article]

SPLENDA – THE NEWEST POISON

As the toxic physiologic effects of aspartame are becoming more widely known, a newcomer has emerged - sucralose, or Splenda®, its brand name. It is the sweetener used today in many “sugar-free” foods. It’s found in nearly 5,000 food products, as well as pharmaceutical drugs and chewing gum.

The makers of Splenda claim sucralose is made from sugar and is therefore ‘natural.’ Yes, Splenda is made from sugar, but contrary to these claims, it is not natural. It seems obvious when the final product is five to six hundred times sweeter than sugar, that it couldn’t be ‘natural’ or healthy.

Chemically, Splenda is a chlorinated artificial sugar. Sucralose is made by switching out three naturally occurring hydrogen-oxygen groups with three chlorine atoms on a sucrose molecule, forming a chlorocarbon – when this is done, it is no longer natural or healthy.

“…chlorocarbons are never nutritionally compatible with our metabolic processes and are wholly incompatible with normal human metabolic functioning.” - James Bowden, MD2

Just like common table salt (sodium chloride) does not contain the same form of sodium that is found naturally in dark green vegetables, the chlorine chemically created in laboratories and processed into the creation of sucralose is not the same whatsoever to the chlorine found naturally in soil, water, and food. Furthermore, the chlorine found naturally in foods is not the same as man-made chlorine put into our swimming pools and foods (chlorine added to municipal water supplies has long been questioned as a cause of cancer; according to the FDA, chlorine is classified as a ‘class-one carcinogen’ in humans). [If you’re as old as I am, you may recall that organochlorines include the now-banned chemical insecticides, pesticides, and solvents such as DDT, Aldrin and Dieldrin, Chlordane, Dioxins, chloroform, Mustard gas, dichloroethane, dichloromethane, trichloroethane, etc.]

Scientific animal studies have shown Splenda to cause the following: 3

  • Genetic mutation/damaged DNA (a precursor to cancer)
  • Decreased fertility
  • Chronic toxicity (red blood cells, thymus, thyroid, colon, liver, brain, ovaries, kidneys, cataracts)
  • Growth retardation
  • Damaged immune system

Reported side effects in people using Splenda include the following:3

  • Skin irritation (redness, itching, swelling, blistering, eruptions, rashes)
  • Lung irritation (wheezing, tightness, cough or shortness of breath)
  • Head: dry mouth and sinuses; swelling or inflammation of the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Nose: congestion, runny nose, sneezing
  • Eyes: bloodshot, itchy, swollen or watery
  • Stomach: bloating, gas, pain, constipation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Heart: chest pains, palpitations, or fluttering
  • Joints: joint pains or aches
  • Neurological: seizures, anxiety, anger, panic, insomnia, dizziness, mood swings, depression
  • Other: blood in urine, menstrual irregularity, night sweats, numbness of the limbs

“Sugar-Free” – The Final Lie
Finally, Splenda is advertised as a “No Calorie Sweetener.” However, to make it taste better and easier to handle and bake with, ninety-nine percent of a packet of Splenda is composed of bulking agents such as dextrose and maldodextrin, which are corn-derived sugars that elevate blood glucose levels, leading to diabetes and obesity. The manufacturers of Splenda can get away with calling it “sugar-free” due to food labeling laws which allow a product to be called “sugar-free” if it contains less than .5 grams of sugar, and “calorie-free” if it contains less than 5 calories.

Using Splenda as an ant killer [read here]

Artificial sweeteners are one of the five foods I never put in my body; the other four are deep fried foods, hydrogenated oils, cured meats, and MSG (monosodium glutamate, also labeled as hydrolyzed yeast and hydrolyzed vegetable protein).

1Humphries P, et al. Direct and indirect cellular effects of aspartame on the brain. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2008; 62:451–462 [view abstract] [view full article PDF]

2James Bowen, MD The Lethal Science of Splenda, A Poisonous Chlorocarbon, 2005. [view article]

3Mercola J, Pearsall KD, Sweet Deception: Why Splenda, NutraSweet, and the FDA May Be Hazardous to Your Health, Nelson Books, Nashville, TN, 2006