What’s in Your Condiments?
Article date: August 12, 2013
By Dr. Mercola
I occasionally comment on various “worst food lists” that appear in magazines and on websites. There is no shortage of bad foods to talk about these days, and we never seem to run out of lists.
But what about the foods Americans don’t often THINK about when inventorying their personal food choices—even though they’re eating them every day, one little dollop after another? I’m referring to condiments.
Condiments are usually given a free ride because, well, it’s only a spoonful. They’re typically overlooked, or brushed off as “harmless,” or eaten in such small quantities that their effects seem negligible.
Condiments can make bland foods taste better and good foods taste great. But they can also turn an otherwise nutritious meal into a metabolic nightmare, one tablespoon at a time.
Small, frequent doses of potentially harmful ingredients can be far from benign, having a cumulative biological effect. In fact, there is scientific evidence that more significant health effects may occur at low doses than high, especially for hormone-disrupting chemicals. It’s time to stop giving condiments a free pass!
Here, I’ll review five common American condiments that made their debut in a “worst of” list on the website OneResult:
- Sour cream
- Ranch and blue cheese dressing
- Steak sauce and barbeque sauce
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Linked to Increase in Prostate Cancer Risk
Article date: July 17, 2013
By Stacy Simon
A study conducted by researchers at cancer centers across the US has found a link between omega-3 fatty acids and an increased risk of prostate cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish including salmon, trout, and fresh tuna, and in fish oil supplements.
The study, published online July 10 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, looked at blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids in some of the men enrolled in the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) of more than 35,000 men over age 50 in the US, Puerto Rico, and Canada. The study did not collect information on the men’s diets. Therefore, it’s not clear whether the omega-3 fatty acids in their blood came from food or from supplements.
"This study raises concern about high omega 3 fatty acid blood levels and elevated risk of prostate cancer. This needs to be viewed as an association and not a cause of prostate cancer. This was an observational study and not a randomized trial. While we can't rule out omega 3 fatty acids as a cause, it is in the early hypothesis stage of scientific investigation. There are numerous possibilities for a correlation like this. The editorial by Dr. Katz does a very good job of explaining this."
Brian G. Schwartz, M.D.
Abdominal Fat Linked to Raised Heart, Cancer Risks
Chances of disease were higher than when fat was in other parts of the body, researchers report
WEDNESDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- People with excessive belly fat have a greater risk of heart disease and cancer than those who have fat in other body areas, a new study finds.
Researchers used CT scans to assess fat in the abdomen, around the heart tissue and around the aortic artery in more than 3,000 Americans, average age 50. They were then followed for up to seven years.
During the follow-up, there were 90 cardiovascular events, 141 cancer cases and 71 deaths. Abdominal fat -- which typically indicates fat around internal organs -- was associated with an increased risk of heart disease and cancer, the investigators found.
A Look Inside the Inherited Cardiovascular Disease Clinic
Volume 13 - Issue 7 - July 2013 Posted on: 6/24/13
Authors: David N. Edwards, MD, PhD, FACC, Adam R. Shapira, MD, FACC, FHRS*, and Laura Panos, MS, CGC Inherited Cardiovascular Disease Clinic at the Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Care; *Heart Arrhythmia Center Plano, Texas
The Heart Arrhythmia Center™ at THE HEART HOSPITAL Baylor Plano’s Center for AdvancedCardiovascular Care™ (CACC) is a specialized setting where patients with heart rhythm disorders can be evaluated. The center supports and supplements the services provided in traditional cardiology office settings by offering additional resources for evaluation and care.
The clinic is staffed by a team of electrophysiologists dedicated to the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. Such treatments may include medication therapy, non-invasive testing, or catheter-based/surgical procedures. Services offered include comprehensive, on-site imaging services (if needed), a multidisciplinary approach to care (including surgical consultation), and coordination of care before complex ablation procedures.
A unique aspect of the Heart Arrhythmia Center is the Inherited Cardiovascular Disease Clinic.During the past ten years, it has become more common to consider genetic testing as an integral part of cardiovascular care. Last year, new guidelines were released and published on the state of genetic testing for channelopathies and cardiomyopathies.1 These guidelines reflect an improved understanding of many of the rare cardiovascular diseases that can result in sudden death as well as the ability to detect the genetic predisposition for similar diseases in family members.
5 Ways Soda Sabotages your Health
If drinking soda is one of your guilty (or not so guilty) pleasures, you should pause to think about what you're really putting in your body each time you take a sip. Soft drinks — especially diet ones — are among the worst things you can put in your body. Drinking them will make you sick, fat and stupid. Let me explain why...
Soda has been around for a very long time, so you may ask why, if it's really so bad for us, we aren't all dead yet. The fact is, the bottles of soda we're drinking today are vastly different from — and vastly larger than — sodas of the past. Did you know that the original Coca-Cola bottle held only 6.5 ounces? And that for most people, drinking one was a special treat enjoyed on an occasional basis? Compare that to the common 20-ounce size that tens of millions of Americans now consume on a daily basis.
Size aside, the sodas of yesteryear where a relatively simple concoction of carbonated water, sugar, natural flavoring agents and naturally occurring acids. Compare this to most of today's sodas, which are awash in highly refined sweeteners, synthetic additives, GMOs and other toxins that were never meant to be inside a human body. The results of this have been devastating to our health. Anyone who wants to live a long, healthy and productive life should reconsider any soda drinking habit that involves more than occasional consumption. Ideally, you should avoid drinking soda entirely.
Here are 5 good reasons to stop drinking soda right away:
- Formulated to make you fat: Firstly, soda has virtually no nutritional value whatsoever. Zip, zero zilch. If you're trying to cut down on calories, eliminating soda is a no-brainer. There are just no benefits other than the taste — and there are lots of healthy, great tasting alternatives (as I explain below). Beyond the empty calories, research shows that the high fructose corn syrup found in soft drinks actually triggers a hunger hormone that causes you to consume more food than your body needs. Other research reveals disruptions to microflora in the intestines that could decrease nutrient absorption — meaning you need to eat more food to get the same nutrients. Lastly, if you think you're doing yourself a favor by drinking diet soda, think again. You may have heard about the recent Purdue University study that linked diet sodas to the very same health problems caused by their sugary counterparts, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease. In fact, multiple studies show that that drinking diet soda actually makes you fatter! But you don't need science to prove that. Look around at the people drinking diet soda and ask yourself whether the "diet" is working.
- Genetically modified mayhem: In the old days, soda was sweetened with natural cane sugar. I'm not saying sugar is necessarily good for you, but the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) used today in most sodas makes cane sugar seem like a health food by comparison. One of the biggest problems with HFCS is that, since it's derived from corn, and since most corn in the U.S. is genetically modified, its likely chock full of GMOs. Now Big Agra, Big Food and the Federal Government will tell you that GMO foods will save the world and guarantee a bountiful food supply. But remember, most corn has been genetically modified for a sole purpose — so it can survive being sprayed with ungodly amounts of pesticides and herbicides that would kill most living things. It's a certainty that toxic residues of these pesticides and herbicides end up in the products made from corn, including HFCS. Toxins aside, GMOs are essentially a foreign body (a new strand of DNA) that your body doesn't recognize, and more and more studies are surfacing linking GMOs to major health risks.
- A bubbly bottle of carcinogens: The consumption of soda is skyrocketing in this country. At the same time, cancer rates are on the rise across the spectrum. Is there a connection? Many sodas get their dark hue from what manufacturers call "caramel color." Sounds innocuous right? Unfortunately, the synthetic chemicals used to make this coloring have been found to be carcinogenic according to consumer watchdog group, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Many countries have banned their use, but not the U.S. If the cancer-causing coloring isn't enough to scare you, then consider the fact that diet sodas give you a deadly double whammy. In addition to the carcinogenic coloring, you also get artificial sweeteners, which are well-established carcinogens. Lastly, some believe that the GMOs that may be swimming in your soda are playing a role in the rising rates of cancer.
- Really tasty toxins: The world is awash in toxins, so if you can avoid drinking them you should. Oh where to start... Firstly, whether your soda comes in a plastic bottle or aluminum can, chances are the container is made or coated with BPA or a BPA derivative that is known to cause a variety of health problems. Secondly, most sodas are produced with low quality, unfiltered municipal tap water, which may contain undesirable levels of industrial runoff, pharmaceutical drug residues and other chemicals. Also, the HFCS used in most soda is highly processed and known to contain industrial chemical residues, including mercury. In fact, one study found mercury in over 50% of samples tested! Oh yeah, then there's the fire retardant. Yep, many sodas contain an innocuous ingredient called "brominated vegetable oil," which is widely used as a fire retardant in many industrial applications. At least you know your soda won't catch fire.
- Heart attacks, strokes and depression, oh my!: The health consequences of drinking soda are numerous, but some are less obvious than others. For example, most people correlate soda consumption with obesity. And most people know that obesity is associated with a plethora of health problems including diabetes, hypertension and premature death. But you don't need to be obese to experience the negative effects of soda. One study links the consumption of non-diet soda to a 20% higher risk of developing coronary heart disease. Another study showed that just one sugary beverage per day may significantly increase the risk of heart attacks. So is diet soda the solution? Not so fast. Other research links diet soda consumption with a 61% increase in strokes and heart attacks. Also, the artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas are known neurotoxins that can cause behavioral and cognitive problems. Speaking of your mind, not feeling so happy these days? One study shows that those who consume sweetened drinks face a higher risk of depression. The risk was shown to be even higher for those who drink diet sodas.
What To Do If You Really Like Soda
- If you must drink soda, one sweetened with corn syrup is better than an artificially sweetened drink. At all costs, avoid diet sodas made with artificial sweeteners. In fact, just replace the word "Diet" with "Even Worse for You" in your head so you remember this. It's not "Diet Soda," it's "Even Worse for You Soda." More and more sodas are sweetened with cane sugar, which is a better choice than either high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. Still, please remember that any drink containing sugar provides "empty calories" and should be avoided.
- If it's just the carbonation you like, try good ol' fashioned sparkling water. Just be careful because a lot of sparkling water (especially club soda) is made from unfiltered municipal water, so keep an eye on the water source. If it has lemon, lime or other fruit juice added, try to pick a drink that uses natural instead of artificial flavoring. Note: Some experts say that excessive consumption of carbonated beverages — even water — may leach minerals from your bones, so don't overdo it.
- My favorite solution is using a SodaStream machine to add carbonation to high quality filtered or spring water or organic juice. I bought mine on Amazon.com, but they are widely available online and in stores. My kids (and I) love it because we can make all types of drinks that are refreshing and healthy. My only tip would be to upgrade to the glass bottles so you can avoid using plastic!
- Fall in love with water all over again. In terms of beverages in my house, we don't have anything except spring water, organic milk and occasionally organic juice as a special treat. I enjoy watching how much my kids LOVE water — it's really all they know in terms of satisfying their thirst. Most of us were like this when we were young, but somehow we drifted away and got stuck in a paradigm in which a meal isn't a meal without some kind of sweet beverage to accompany it. Start drinking high quality spring water and you'll realize just how delicious it is, and how amazing it makes you feel!
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