Many ‘Dehumanize’ People with Obesity

By Maureen Salamon

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 23, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Many people — including those who are overweight themselves — view people with obesity as less human or less evolved, new research reveals.

In four online studies questioning more than 1,500 participants from the United States, the United Kingdom and India, researchers also found that dehumanization of those with obesity predicted support for policies that discriminate against this group.

“We’ve obviously heard the way that people speak about people with obesity,” said study author Inge Kersbergen. She’s a research fellow at the University of Sheffield in England.

“In that sense, we’d be surprised if we didn’t find anything,” Kersbergen said. “But I don’t think we were prepared for the magnitude of our findings.”

In the first report believed to indicate that people with obesity are blatantly dehumanized, Kersbergen and her colleagues pooled data examining whether dehumanization depended on participants’ body weight and if those with obesity were dehumanized more than other social groups different from the norm.

These other social groups included those based on appearance, such as underweight Americans, or illness, such as Americans with cancer.

Different measures of attitudes toward people with obesity were used in the four separate studies. For example, participants indicated how evolved they considered various groups of people to be, including Americans, obese Americans, Americans addicted to heroin, Arabs, homeless Americans, and employed Americans.

The research also included measures of subtle dehumanization of people with obesity, disgust toward obesity, beliefs about weight controllability, anti-fat prejudice and support for policies discriminating based on weight.

Nearly 40% of adults in the United States are obese, according to 2015-2016 statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity is defined as a height-weight ratio known as body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, and markedly increases the risks for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain types of cancer, the CDC says.

While dehumanization was most pronounced among thinner participants, all groups rated an “obese American” as less evolved and less human than “Americans,” except for participants who were extremely obese (with a BMI of 35 or higher).

Continued

Additionally, the dehumanization of those with obesity was evident among participants from all three countries.

“In general, we know that people tend to see other groups they’re not part of as lesser than them,” Kersbergen said. “We’ve not been able to find any experiment expanding on what’s causing it, based on the literature. Obviously, we need a culture change rather than a few slaps on the wrist here and there.”

Body acceptance groups and “fat activists” are working to change perceptions toward people with obesity, she added. But shaming those carrying many extra pounds, or even pointing out the health risks associated with the condition, has the opposite effect than intended, Kersbergen said.

“The science is actually pretty straightforward; we know that feeling stigmatized because of your weight actually leads to weight increases,” she said. “Telling people to lose weight is a very poor way of getting people to lose weight.”

Dr. Scott Kahan, chair of the clinical committee for the Obesity Society, agreed.

“Part of this stigma is rooted in a misunderstanding that obesity is a simple thing where people either just don’t care or don’t have enough willpower to manage their weight and should be stigmatized in hopes of motivating them to lose weight,” said Kahan, who was not part of the study. He is also director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness in Washington, D.C.

“These study results are consistent with what we have long known about weight bias,” Kahan said. “While many cases of weight bias are implicit and subtle, it’s not at all uncommon for explicit stigma to occur, whether in health care settings, among family members and certainly in society at large.

“The way [the researchers] conducted their study is unique and eye-opening and is perhaps the most egregious example of weight stigma to be publicized in a scientific investigation,” Kahan added.

“We’ve made a lot of strides in addressing weight stigma over the last decade and this type of unfortunate, but impactful, result can hopefully further mobilize us all to pay more attention to weight bias in our society and support action toward addressing it,” he said.

The study is published in the June issue of the journal Obesity.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Inge Kersbergen, Ph.D., research fellow, University of Sheffield, England; Scott Kahan, M.D., M.P.H., chair, clinical committee, the Obesity Society, Silver Spring, Md., and director, National Center for Weight and Wellness, Washington, D.C.; June 2019Obesity

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Widespread Contamination of Antibiotics Found in Rivers Around the World

Concentrations of antibiotics found in some of the world’s rivers exceed ‘safe’ levels by up to 300 times, the first ever global study has discovered.

Researchers looked for 14 commonly used antibiotics in rivers in 72 countries across six continents and found antibiotics at 65% of the sites monitored.

Metronidazole, which is used to treat bacterial infections including skin and mouth infections, exceeded safe levels by the biggest margin, with concentrations at one site in Bangladesh 300 times greater than the ‘safe’ level.

In the River Thames and one of its tributaries in London, the researchers detected a maximum total antibiotic concentration of 233 nanograms per litre (ng/l), whereas in Bangladesh the concentration was 170 times higher.

Trimethoprim

The most prevalent antibiotic was trimethoprim, which was detected at 307 of the 711 sites tested and is primarily used to treat urinary tract infections.

The research team compared the monitoring data with ‘safe’ levels recently established by the AMR Industry Alliance which, depending on the antibiotic, range from 20-32,000 ng/l.

Ciproflaxacin, which is used to treat a number of bacterial infections, was the compound that most frequently exceeded safe levels, surpassing the safety threshold in 51 places.

Global problem

The team said that the ‘safe’ limits were most frequently exceeded in Asia and Africa, but sites in Europe, North America and South America also had levels of concern showing that antibiotic contamination was a “global problem.”

Sites where antibiotics exceeded ‘safe’ levels by the greatest degree were in Bangladesh, Kenya, Ghana, Pakistan and Nigeria, while a site in Austria was ranked the highest of the European sites monitored.

The study revealed that high-risk sites were typically adjacent to wastewater treatment systems, waste or sewage dumps and in some areas of political turmoil, including the Israeli and Palestinian border.

Monitoring

The project, which was led by the University of York, was a huge logistical challenge – with 92 sampling kits flown out to partners across the world who were asked to take samples from locations along their local river system.

Samples were then frozen and couriered back to the University of York for testing. Some of the world’s most iconic rivers were sampled, including the Chao Phraya, Danube, Mekong, Seine, Thames, Tiber and Tigris.

Dr John Wilkinson, from the Department of Environment and Geography, who co-ordinated the monitoring work said no other study had been done on this scale.

He said: “Until now, the majority of environmental monitoring work for antibiotics has been done in Europe, N. America and China. Often on only a handful of antibiotics. We know very little about the scale of problem globally.

“Our study helps fill this key knowledge gap with data being generated for countries that had never been monitored before.”

Antimicrobial resistance

Professor Alistair Boxall, Theme Leader of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute, said: “The results are quite eye opening and worrying, demonstrating the widespread contamination of river systems around the world with antibiotic compounds.

“Many scientists and policy makers now recognise the role of the natural environment in the antimicrobial resistance problem. Our data show that antibiotic contamination of rivers could be an important contributor.”

“Solving the problem is going to be a mammoth challenge and will need investment in infrastructure for waste and wastewater treatment, tighter regulation and the cleaning up of already contaminated sites.”

Article by University of York. Image from Pixabay

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A Philippines Cafe Makes Straws From Coconut Leaves As A Perfect Alternative To Plastic Straws

By Mayukh Saha

Neil Armstrong said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.  Of course, he was talking about the Moon landing. But considering the present condition our society is in, it could very well apply to us. With the continuous influx of pollutants into our environment, it is high time we take teeny tiny steps ourselves to some solution. It might go a long way towards helping the environment.

And us.

According to a report in 2016, 40 kg of plastic is produced for each of the 7 billion humans every year. It’s no mystery that it will grow. And because of that hundreds and thousands of marine animals continue to fall victim to gruesome deaths.

Plastics are non-biodegradable substances which take centuries to decompose. They clog the throats of marine animals leading to them choking and dying. They also contain harmful chemicals that make the soil infertile for future cultivation.

While plastic straws are not the main contributors to plastic pollution, Americans still use around 500 million straws daily. And at least 8 billion plastic straws end up on beaches globally. Also, plastic straws do comprise 4% of the total plastic waste, which is not negligible.

And that’s why small changes tend to matter a lot.

In the Philippines, the manager of Café Editha in Surigao Del Norte, Sarah Tiu, has chosen to go down the non-plastic route. She never liked plastic anyway. At first, she tried using stainless straws and paper straws to replace plastic straws. Well – the customers weren’t fans of the alternatives. She had to find some other way.

When she went on a trip down to Corregidor Island, she found a way to transform her eco-friendly ideas into action, without causing dissatisfaction among customers. There she learned how to use natural products like cut lukay and fresh buko to make straws. Lukay is coconut fronds and leaves while buko is coconut juice.

Once she learned to make these ‘natural’ straws, her idea was to implement it in her cafe. And she did so. The customers loved it. They started sharing the news, along with pictures, on social media. These straws were biodegradable, but the best part, they did not make any sounds and were leakproof. Customer satisfaction guaranteed!

The straws are easy to make and Tiu has shared pictures of these straws to encourage others to adopt them. She makes them with her workers’ assistance before the store opens in the morning.

[embedded content]

IMAGE CREDIT: Cafe Editha


Hey! Message me. I am Mayukh. I help people and websites with content, design and social media management. I am an avid traveler and want to go full digital nomadic by summer 2019. I am currently working on www.noetbook.com – a creative media company. You can reach out to me anytime: [email protected]com Read More stories by Mayukh Saha

This article was sourced from Truth Theory.

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Why a Calorie Is Not a Calorie

In recent decades, the food system responsible for feeding millions of people has drastically changed, impacting food safety and human health. The manufacturing of vegetable oil1 and changes in how your cereals,2 salads3 and meats4 are grown, processed and adulterated before finally reaching your plate, have dramatically altered the overall nutrition of most people’s diets.

Americans spend 57.9% of their food budget on ultraprocessed foods,5 which means more than half of what the average American eats in any given day are foods that may be purchased at the local gas station or convenience store. These foods also account for 89.7% of added sugars in the diet.6

Data from a nationally representative food survey was used in a 2016 study,7 which found 70.4% of calories came from processed foods while less than 1% (0.7) came from vegetables. This change in eating habits over time may be a result of the Push hypothesis, described by Kevin Hall, Ph.D., from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.8

He describes this as a combination of factors pushing calories into the food system and subsequently changing the way we eat. These cheap convenience foods are contributing to the obesity epidemic.9 Hall and his team recently published a rigorous study10 in the journal Cell Metabolism, demonstrating the effect ultraprocessed diets have on excess calorie intake and weight gain.

Rigorous Study Demonstrates Ultraprocessed Food Leads to Weight Gain

A small scale, but rigorous, randomized and carefully controlled study was performed by the National Institutes of Health to analyze if those eating ultraprocessed foods ate more calories and gained more weight. The researchers recruited 20 healthy adult volunteers — 10 women and 10 men in their 30s. The group were admitted for four continuous weeks into the NIH Clinical Center.11

The participants were randomized into two groups who received an ultraprocessed or unprocessed diet for the first two weeks and were immediately switched to the alternate diet for the next two weeks.

The researchers offered the participants three meals a day, matched for calories, macronutrients, sugar, sodium and fiber at an amount equivalent to double their estimated requirement for weight maintenance. The participants were encouraged to eat as much as they wanted.

During these four weeks, the researchers measured energy intake, weight changes and took metabolic measurements.12 As noted by the NIH,13 observational studies in the past have shown an association between diets high in processed foods and health problems.

In this study,14 the researchers were intent on demonstrating whether processed foods were a problem on their own or whether individuals eating processed food already had health problems that were unrelated to diet. The data showed an average increase of 459 calories per day when eating ultraprocessed foods compared to the unprocessed diet.

Increased energy intake occurred over breakfast and lunch, with no significant increases in calories at dinner in those eating an ultraprocessed diet. During the study, the researchers also found those eating the ultraprocessed meals ate significantly faster than those eating the unprocessed foods, which may have led to higher energy intake.

They hypothesized the orosensory properties of the ultraprocessed foods may have increased the eating rate and delayed satiety signaling.15 This may have resulted in a greater overall calorie intake. While on the ultraprocessed diet, people gained an average of 1.98 pounds over two weeks, and while on the unprocessed diet lost the same amount.16

Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, cardiologist and dean of Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, says,17 “Putting people in a controlled setting and giving them their food lets you really understand biologically what’s going on, and the differences are striking.”

What Are Ultraprocessed Foods?

The researchers defined ultraprocessed foods using the NOVA classification system18,19 that considers food with ingredients predominantly found in manufacturing as ultraprocessed, such as high fructose corn syrup, flavoring agents and emulsifiers.

The New York Times20 published examples of processed meals the participants may have received, such as Cheerios, Chef Boyardee ravioli, diet lemonade and Otis Spunkmeyer cookies or blueberry muffins, and chicken salad with canned chicken and Hellman’s mayonnaise. Barry Popkin, nutrition professor at the University of North Carolina, who was not involved in the current study, commented:21

“The difference in weight gain for one [group] and weight loss for the other during these two periods is phenomenal. We haven’t seen anything like this. We should try to eat as much real food as we can. That can be plant food. It can be animal food. It can be [unprocessed] beef, pork, chicken, fish or vegetables and fruits. And one has to be very careful once one begins to go into other kinds of food.”

While every attempt was made to completely match nutritional parameters, the researchers found ultraprocessed versus unprocessed meals differed markedly in the total amount of added sugar, as well as in insoluble fiber and saturated to total fat.

Not surprisingly, they also found the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats was a whopping 11-to-1 in ultraprocessed foods, but only 5-to-1 in unprocessed foods (the 5-to-1 is near ideal and is what a balanced omega-6 to omega-3 diet should like).

Link Between High Levels of Omega-6 and Obesity

Omega-3 fats are essential polyunsaturated fats your body requires for a variety of functions, including muscle activity, cognition and heart health. While omega-3 fats are available in some plants and marine animals, it is the marine-based omega-3 fats docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) that are crucial for optimal functioning of cells and mitochondria.

DHA appears to be particularly important for your brain22 while EPA is of greater importance for heart health.23 Omega-6 fats are also essential nutrients your body needs for normal growth and development. The difference is omega-6 fats are found easily in many processed foods and in nuts and seeds.24

An overabundance of omega-6 fat increases the risk your body will produce inflammatory chemicals.25 The ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats ranges from 1-to-1 to 1-to-5, which is nearly impossible if you’re regularly eating processed foods or restaurant fare, as these are loaded with omega-6 from industrial vegetable oils like corn oil and canola oil. In a standard Western diet, the ratio is often 1-to-15 or greater.26

The deficiency in omega-3 fats and abundance of omega-6 may promote the pathogenesis of many diseases, including inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Increasing omega-3 consumption may exert a suppressive effect.

For instance, one author writing on the importance of a balanced ratio27 found a ratio of 4-to-1 associated with a 70% decrease in total mortality from cardiovascular disease. A ratio of 2.5-to-1 reduced proliferation of rectal cells in those with colorectal cancer and a ratio of 2-3-to-1 suppressed inflammation in those suffering rheumatoid arthritis.

Multiple studies28,29,30,31 have found a close association between chronic low-grade inflammation, in part triggered by the composition of fatty acids in the diet, and insulin resistance with an increase in the risk for obesity. In other words, the higher levels of omega-6 fats found in ultraprocessed foods increase chronic inflammation and your risk for developing insulin resistance and obesity.

Several Factors May Lead to Overeating Ultraprocessed Foods

The featured study32 in Cell Metabolism also found several factors contributed to overeating ultraprocessed foods. Those eating the ultraprocessed foods had a higher eating rate that may have potentially been affected by the orosensory properties of foods, which were softer, easier to chew and swallow, and may have led to eating more quickly.

Additionally, the researchers found ghrelin,33 a hormone released by the body to trigger hunger, was decreased in those eating the unprocessed diet, compared to their baseline measurements.34 After eating an unprocessed diet the participants’ fasting glucose and insulin levels also tended to be lower compared to baseline.

Compared to the unprocessed diet, measurements after eating the ultraprocessed diet were unchanged from the participants’ baseline measurements, suggesting the subjects had likely consumed a diet habitually high in ultraprocessed foods. Hall commented:35

“One thing that was kind of intriguing was that some of the hormones that are involved in food intake regulation were quite different between the two diets as compared to baseline.”

Obesity May Overtake Tobacco as Top Cause of Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute,36 tobacco is the leading cause of cancer and the leading cause of death from cancer. Those who smoke, or those who are regularly around secondhand smoke, have an increased risk since the many chemicals in the tobacco damage DNA. Cancers associated with tobacco include:37

Lung

Mouth

Esophagus

Larynx

Bladder

Kidney

Liver

Stomach

Pancreas

Colon

Rectum

Cervix

Although smoking has held the No. 1 spot for preventable causes of cancer for decades, it appears obesity is not far behind. According to Dr. Otis Brawley,38 professor of oncology in epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University and former chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, this which may occur within the next five or 10 years.39

However, it appears many Americans are unaware that some of the leading causes of cancer are controllable, including obesity.40 The International Agency for Research on Cancer41 has identified a link between being overweight or obese and an increased risk for developing certain types of cancers.

Compared to those who are within a normal weight range, those who are obese are also likely to have a recurrence of their cancer with a lower likelihood of survival. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine42 concluded “Increased body weight was associated with increased death rates for all cancers combined and for cancers at multiple specific sites.”

Reuters reports43 the rate of cancer unrelated to obesity declined by 13% between 2005 and 2014, while obesity-related cancers rose by 7%. They also reported the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention released data showing 630,000 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with cancer linked to being overweight or obese in 2014. This accounted for 40% of all cancers in 2014.

As the overall rate for new cancer diagnoses continues to fall, the rates of obesity-related cancers are rising, along with the rates of obesity. A report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association44 found obesity rates rose from 33.7% to 39.6% between 2007 and 2016.

Although the exact association between cancer and carrying excess weight is not fully understood, researchers are focusing on studying visceral fat, as it is metabolically active, secreting proteins that drive insulin levels higher and may spur cellular growth.45

As Ultraprocessed Food Has Become the Norm, so Has Chronic Illness

Rising rates of obesity and reliance on processed and ultraprocessed foods is likely linked to an increasing risk of early death and chronic disease, such as cardiovascular disease,46 Type 2 diabetes47 and arthritis.48 Foods rich in omega-6 fats create chronic inflammation in the body, which has been linked to each of these conditions.

In one study,49 a French team looked at how much of a person’s diet was made of ultraprocessed foods and found for each 10% increase, the risk of death rose by 14%. After removing confounding factors such as smoking, obesity and low educational background, the link remained.

In a cross-sectional study50 using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of over 9,000 participants, the researchers concluded: “Decreasing the consumption of ultraprocessed foods could be a way of reducing the excessive intake of added sugars in the USA.”

Your Diet Is a Key Factor in Health and Longevity

Undoubtedly, there is a serious health epidemic in the U.S., and a majority of it is linked to diet. There are no quick and easy answers. It is crucial to remember what you eat is the foundation on which your health is built and eating a processed food diet is a recipe for long-term disaster.

If you have access to real food, it is important to take the time to learn to cook from scratch and make the most of any leftovers. With a bit of dedication and planning it’s also possible to grow produce at home in small spaces, including indoors.

Eating a diet of 90% real food and 10% or less processed foods is achievable and may make a significant difference in weight management and overall health. Consider the following guidelines to get you started:

Focus on raw, fresh foods and avoid processed foods. If it comes in a can, bottle or package and has a list of ingredients, it’s processed.

Severely restrict carbohydrates from refined sugars, fructose and processed grains.

Increase healthy fat consumption. Eating dietary fat isn’t what’s making you pack on pounds. It’s the sugar/fructose and grains that add the padding.

You may eat an unlimited amount of nonstarchy vegetables; since they are so low in calories, most of the food on your plate should be vegetables.

Limit protein to less than 0.5 gram per pound of lean body weight.

Replace sodas and other sweetened beverages with pure, filtered water.

Shop around the perimeter of the grocery store where most of the whole foods reside, such as meat, fruits, vegetables, eggs and cheese. Not everything around the perimeter is healthy, but you’ll avoid many of the ultraprocessed foods this way.

Vary the whole foods you purchase and the way you eat them. For instance, carrots and peppers are tasty dipped in organic hummus. You get the crunch of the vegetable and smooth texture of the hummus to satisfy your taste, your brain and your physical health.

Stress creates a physical craving for fats and sugar that may drive your addictive, stress-eating behavior. If you recognize when you’re getting stressed and find another means of relieving the emotion, your eating habits will likely improve.

The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) may help reduce your perceived stress, change your eating habits around stress and help you create new, healthier eating habits that support your long-term health. To discover more about EFT, how to do it and how it may help reduce your stress and develop new habits, see my previous article, “EFT Is an Effective Tool for Anxiety.”

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Shocking News About Beans, Peas and Potatoes

In recent years, researchers have discovered glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and other common weed killer formulations, may affect your body’s ability to produce fully functioning proteins, inhibit the shikimate pathway (found in gut bacteria) and interfere with the function of cytochrome P450 enzymes (required for activation of vitamin D and the creation of nitric oxide and cholesterol sulfate).

Glyphosate also chelates important minerals; disrupts sulfate synthesis and transport; interferes with the synthesis of aromatic amino acids (shikimate pathway) and methionine, resulting in folate and neurotransmitter shortages; disrupts your microbiome by acting as an antibiotic; impairs methylation pathways; and inhibits pituitary release of thyroid stimulating hormone, which can lead to hypothyroidism.1,2

Roundup has also been linked to certain cancers.3 In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen” (Class 2A),4 based on “limited evidence” showing the weed killer can cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma and lung cancer in humans.

So far, three lawsuits against Monsanto (now Bayer) have resulted in high financial awards as Roundup was found to have caused the plaintiffs’ Non-Hodgkin lymphomas. The most recent plaintiffs were awarded a $2 billion judgment against Monsanto.5 All of this has led to grave concerns about glyphosate residues in food.

We’re now also realizing that genetically engineered (GE) foods are not the only source of this contaminant. Most conventional, non-GE crops are also contaminated, as are some organics. The reason for this has to do with the fact that glyphosate is commonly used as a desiccant or drying agent to speed up harvesting.

But that’s not all. Other desiccants may also be causing problems. As a whole, evidence suggests we need to be extremely cautious in our choices of plant-based foods, sticking to organics whenever possible, especially when buying high-lectin foods such as beans, peas and potatoes, as research shows the desiccant paraquat becomes exponentially more hazardous in combination with plant lectins.

Glyphosate Contamination Found in Many Foods, Including Organics

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Several rounds of food testing have also revealed just how prevalent glyphosate is in our food. Test results6 published in August 2018 by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) showed 43 out of 45 food products made with conventionally grown oats tested positive for glyphosate, 31 of which had glyphosate levels higher than EWG scientists believe would be safe for children.

A second round of testing7,8 revealed glyphosate is a staple contaminant in Cheerios breakfast cereals and Quaker oats products. All 28 samples contained glyphosate; 26 at levels suspected to be harmful to children’s health.

Five of 16 organic oat foods also contained low amounts of glyphosate, even though it’s supposed to contain none, as glyphosate is prohibited in the U.S. organic standards. Similarly, testing9 done by Friends of the Earth (FOE) earlier this year found glyphosate in 100% of the 28 oat cereals sampled.

Glyphosate has even been detected in PediaSure Enteral Formula nutritional drink, which is given to infants and children via feeding tubes. Thirty percent of the samples tested contained levels of glyphosate over 75 ppb — far higher levels than have been found to destroy gut bacteria in chickens (0.1 ppb).10

It’s also found in air, rain, municipal water supplies, soil samples, breast milk, urine and even vaccines, including the pneumococcal, Tdap, hepatitis B (which is injected on the day of birth), influenza and MMR. The MMR vaccine had the highest amounts at 0.8 ppb.11

Now, food testing by The Detox Project shows glyphosate contamination is rampant in organic plant-based protein supplements as well.12,13 According to The Detox Project,14 zero to 9 parts per billion (ppb) of glyphosate is a nondetectable level of no concern; 10 to 79 ppb is trace amounts of slight concern; anything above 80 ppb is of high concern.

When testing eight of the most popular pea protein brands sold on Amazon.com as of March 2019, one organic brand was found to contain as much or more glyphosate than conventional brands.

Two conventional (nonorganic) brands, Naked Pea and Anthony’s Pea Protein, had 39 ppb and 80 ppb respectively, while two separate batches of a top-selling organic brand, Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder, contained 83 ppb and 281 ppb.

Desiccation — A Serious Contamination Concern

One of the reasons so many grains and legumes are heavily contaminated with glyphosate is because it’s being used as a desiccant right before harvest. A desiccant is a chemical that speeds up the ripening of the crop and dries it out, which facilitates harvesting and allows it to be harvested sooner than were the crop left to dry naturally.15

Desiccation is also used to improve profits, as farmers are penalized when the grain contains moisture. The greater the moisture content of the grain at sale, the lower the price they get.

According to a 2017 study16 by University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers, “The herbicide Roundup is sprayed onto genetically modified crops and applied as a desiccant to most small nongenetically modified grains.”

So, whether we’re talking about Roundup Ready GE crops or conventional, non-GE grains, glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, “is found in these crops at harvest.”

As for how it ends up in many organic products is anyone’s guess. Drift from nearby conventional and/or GE crop fields is one possibility. Contamination during processing is another. Outright fraud, where a nonorganic crop is sold as organic is also a possibility.

Glyphosate Is Not an Approved Desiccant

While glyphosate is commonly used as a desiccant,17,18 it’s not actually supposed to be used that way. Desiccants require special registration, as high levels of the chemicals can be left on the crop, and glyphosate is not an approved desiccant.19

Farmers who use glyphosate anyway, and douse their crops at the wrong time, can cause their crop to be heavily contaminated. As explained in “Clarification of Preharvest Uses of Glyphosate,” 20 the grain must not be sprayed with glyphosate “until seed heads or pods are almost ripe (i.e., bulk sample less than 30 percent moisture).”

If applied too early, while the grain has a moisture rate higher than 30 percent, the glyphosate is absorbed through the leaves and stems and translocates throughout the plant. Farm Progress also notes that:21

“Glyphosate should be used only to control weeds that hinder harvest, not for vine desiccation. Not all glyphosate products are labeled for preharvest timings. The translocating properties of glyphosate make it possible for herbicide residues to accumulate in harvested beans if applications occur before the hard dough stage.”

Desiccant Combined With Lectins Is a Highly Toxic Combo

Glyphosate isn’t the only desiccant that might be causing health problems. Research22 published 2018 in the journal NPJ Parkinson’s disease revealed that when the herbicide paraquat23 is combined with lectins, found in many plant foods, especially legumes, it can trigger the hallmark damage found in those with Parkinson’s disease.

The findings were reported by Medical News Today24 in December 2018. On a side note, Medical News Today25 incorrectly stated that paraquat was banned in the U.S. in 2007. It was actually the European Union that banned it that year,26,27 in large part due to research showing it can trigger Parkinson’s disease,28 which is precisely what they found in this 2018 study as well.

Paraquat is still legal in the U.S., but is classified as “restricted use,” meaning it must be applied by a licensed applicator. In the U.S., paraquat is currently scheduled for a registration review by the Environmental Protection Agency in the third quarter of 2019.29

At the end of October 2014, the EPA updated some of its residue tolerance levels for paraquat, specifically setting the level allowed on tuberous and corn vegetables (which include cassava, ginger, potato, tanier and true yam) at 0.5 ppm.30

According to the EPA’s pesticide reregistration in 1997,31 tolerance levels for paraquat have been set for over 80 raw agricultural commodities, processed foods and animal feed. During the 1997 reregistration, EPA updated tolerances for certain crops as follows:

  • Sorghum forage was reassessed from 0.05 to .1 ppm
  • Soybeans from 0.05 ppm to 0.25 ppm
  • Hops from 0.2 ppm to 0.5 ppm
  • Popcorn tolerance established at 0.05 ppm

Getting back to the NPJ Parkinson’s Disease study,32 results suggest that lectins, found in foods such as raw vegetables and grains, are the key link between paraquat and the damage resulting in Parkinson’s disease. As reported by Medical News Today:33

“[P]araquat, once in the stomach, causes alpha-synuclein to be misfolded and then helps it travel to the brain. Scientists believe that alpha-synuclein runs along the vagus nerve, which itself runs between the stomach and the brain.

In fact, recent studies have shown that the vagus nerve has a direct connection with the substantia nigra, making it a prime suspect in Parkinson’s disease. This direct link also helps explain why digestive problems often precede the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s by several years.”

To investigate, the researchers fed rats small doses of paraquat for 7 days. They also fed them lectins … As expected, they identified Parkinson’s-related changes … As study co-author Prof. Thyagarajan Subramanian explains:

‘We were able to demonstrate that if you have oral paraquat exposure, even at very low levels, and you also consume lectins […] then it could potentially trigger the formation of this protein — alpha-synuclein — in the gut. Once it’s formed, it can travel up the vagus nerve and to the part of the brain that triggers the onset of Parkinson’s disease.’

This series of experiments demonstrates how the interplay between two ingested compounds can conspire to create and then transport toxic protein structures from the gut to the brain.”

The Problem With Lectins

Last year, I interviewed Dr. Steven Gundry, author of “The Plant Paradox,” on the health hazards of lectins. I’ve embedded that interview above for your convenience.

As explained by Gundry, plant lectins can wreak havoc on your health by attaching to your cell membranes, causing inflammation, damage to your nerves and cell death. Some can also interfere with gene expression and disrupt endocrine function.

The cruel irony here is that paraquat is widely used as an herbicide and desiccant on crops rich in lectins, including wheat, soybeans, potatoes, cereal grains and beans.34

In other words, while lectins can cause severe health problems in and of themselves, by spraying paraquat on lectin-rich crops, those crops are made exponentially more hazardous, as the lectins act as transport vehicles for the toxic herbicide.

Could Diquat Pose Similar Risks?

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In the U.S., one of the registered desiccants is Reglone.35 The active ingredient in this desiccant herbicide is diquat, which like paraquat is chemically identified as a dipyridyl.36 Stated product benefits include maximized pea and lentil yield, more scuff resistant potato skins and easier potato harvesting.37

According to the National Pesticide Information Center,38 “diquat poisoning is less common than paraquat poisoning … In animal studies, diquat causes mild, reversible injury to type I pneumatocytes but does not injure the type II cells.” Since it’s considered less toxic than paraquat, diquat is not registered as a limited use herbicide.

However, evidence suggests diquat may still have similar risks as paraquat. As noted in a 2015 study39 in the Archives of Toxicology, diquat causes cell death by producing reactive oxygen species independently of the mitochondria, and appears to be quite hazardous to brain tissue. According to the authors:

“Evidence indicates that Parkinson’s disease (PD), in addition to having a genetic aetiology, has an environmental component that contributes to disease onset and progression …

Given its similarity to paraquat, an agrochemical removed from registration in the EU for its suspected potential to cause PD, we have investigated the in vitro capacity of the related herbicide Diquat to cause PD-like cell death.

Diquat showed greater toxicity towards SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells and human midbrain neural cells than paraquat and also MPTP, which was independent of dopamine transporter-mediated uptake.

Diquat caused cell death independently of caspase activation … with only a minor contribution from apoptosis, which was accompanied by enhanced reactive oxygen species production in the absence of major inhibition of complex I of the mitochondrial respiratory chain … 

Diquat may, therefore, kill neural tissue by programmed necrosis rather than apoptosis, reflecting the pathological changes seen following high-level exposure, although its ability to promote PD is unclear.”

In January 2019, the EU confirmed it is withdrawing the approval of diquat. The final date for order and delivery of diquat products to farms is July 31, 2019, and the final date for use is February 4, 2020.40 Its use continues unabated in the U.S., however. In fact, some are recommending diquat to replace glyphosate for certain kinds of weed control.41

Hummus Lovers, Be Sure to Buy Organic

The paper42 “Use of Paraquat as a Desiccant for Early Maturity of Chickpea and Residue Dynamics,” presented at the 2019 International conference on Global Environmental Challenges Human Health and Sustainable Development conference, highlights the potential hazards of consuming nonorganic hummus and other products made from chickpeas:

“Several herbicides have been used in the agricultural fields to increase the crop productivity and grain yield through weed management. Chickpea (Cicerarietinum L.) is an important food legume crop.

As chickpea is a slow growing crop and may take approximately 5-6 months and this may further delay sowing of next crops which can be taken in the same field in summer season such as moongbean.

Hence in order to reduce days of crop maturity and to study fate of paraquat residues in soil and chickpea grains that may exist as a result of use of this herbicide on chickpea, a broad leaf herbicide, paraquat was chosen to use as a desiccant to facilitate early maturity of chickpea.

Paraquat application at 750 to 1.0 kg/ha as desiccant enhanced the process of maturity of chickpea and 10 to 16 days can be saved by this application. However paraquat application at 750g/ha and 1.0 kg/ha resulted in residues in chickpea grains and straw and restrict its application as a desiccant in chickpea crop.”

BASF, meanwhile, recommends using a mix of both paraquat and glyphosate to “sharpen up chickpea harvest results.”43 It’s no wonder then that food testing reveals concerning levels of glyphosate in popular hummus brands44 (paraquat was not part of this testing).

The highest levels of glyphosate were found in Trader Joe’s Hummus Dip (effective level 30.67 ng/g) and Sabra Class Hummus Non-GMO Gluten Free (14.35 ng/g), again proving that GMO-free is not a guarantee that it won’t contain glyphosate. As reported by Moms Across America on August 31, 2018:45

“Moms Across America has been especially concerned about the presence of glyphosate in hummus, as the consumption of hummus, fueled by companies like PepsiCo, has risen dramatically over the past five years …

Hummus is considered a healthy snack for children, a popular protein replacement for meat for vegetarians, and vegans, and is a go-to party food on college campuses.

In addition, Canadian activist Tony Mitra released records of 7,800 glyphosate test result findings from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in 2017 in his bookPoison Foods of North America.’

In those documents, results for glyphosate residues on garbanzo beans from North America had levels as high as 795 ppb.46 In other countries levels were, on average 32 ppb. Even organic garbanzo beans tested positive glyphosate residues, pointing to the problem of widespread contamination.”

Take-Home Messages

There are at least two take-home messages from all this. First, it’s important to realize that glyphosate contamination is not restricted to GMOs. It’s a more or less universal contaminant, affecting conventional and even some organic foods as well, primarily due to its use as a desiccant right before harvest.

Secondly, the hazards of desiccation are not limited to glyphosate. Paraquat has been linked to the development of Parkinson’s disease by attaching to lectins in the foods, and questions remain as to whether diquat may have similar effects. These herbicides are considered the “best” drying option for legumes in particular, which are also particularly high in lectins.

As a result, many foods that vegetarians and vegans rely on may pose significant health hazards in more ways than one. You can reduce lectin concentration by pressure cooking, for example, but if you’re using an unclean source, you’re dealing with extra-toxic kinds of lectins.

To avoid or at least minimize these hazards, it’s important to buy organic beans, peas, potatoes and other high-lectin foods from a reputable source, ideally a local farmer you can trust.

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That Selfie May Be Epic, But Not Worth Your Life

Brandi Burgess, bison attack survivor.

John Grohol, PsyD, psychologist; founder, editor in chief, and CEO, Psych Central.com.

Mark Griffiths, PhD, professor of psychology, Nottingham Trent University.

Deepak Ghandi, founder, Selfie to Die For campaign.

International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction: “An Exploratory Study of “Selfitis” and the Development of the Selfitis Behavior Scale”

Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care: “Selfies: A boon or bane?”

Psychologytoday.com: “Obsessive selfie taking.”

NPS.gov: “Bison Bellows: A Case Study of Bison Selfies in Yellowstone National Park.”

CDC.gov: “Notes from the Field: Injuries Associated with Bison Encounters — Yellowstone National Park, 2015.”

Standardmedia.co.ke: “Two schoolgirls plunge from buildings in ‘selfie deaths.'”

Sputniknews.com: “Death By Selfie: 3 Indian Teens Flattened By Train.”

NBC4i.com: “College Student, 20, Falls to Death While Taking Selfie on Arkansas Cliff.”

Theguardian.com: “Mumbai police identify 16 no-selfie zones after drowning.”

Thejakartapos.com: “Mt. Merapi to prepare selfie spot for visitors.”

CBSnews.com: “#SafePlaceSelfie Day: Hashtags put focus on selfies and safety.”

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Half-Price Version of Humalog Insulin Available

A half-price version of Humalog insulin is now available in the United States, Eli Lilly said Wednesday.

The company’s generic version of its Humalog U-100 is being sold under the chemical name insulin lispro, the Associated Press reported.

It will cost $137.35 per vial, or $265.20 for a package of five easier-to-inject KwikPens, according to Lilly. That’s half the list price the company charges for Humalog.

Humalog is a fast-acting insulin that’s injected shortly before each meal. It’s used by about 700,000 Americans, the AP reported.

Patients who will see the biggest savings with insulin lispro who don’t have health insurance, have high-deductible insurance or have Medicare Part D plans, according to Lilly.

Sharply rising insulin costs in the United States have sparked intense criticism. From 2002 through 2013, the average insulin price nearly tripled, and prices have increased 10% a year since then. Many diabetics have been forced to ration their insulin, resulting in hospitalizations and some deaths, the AP reported.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Exposure to Flower Pesticides Gives Children Hypertension

In Ecuador, roses for Mother’s Day sold around the world is major export crop, but pesticides used to grow and treat those flowers may be affecting health of children living nearby

In a study published online May 21, 2019 in the journal Environmental Research, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine found higher blood pressure and pesticide exposures in children associated with a heightened pesticide spraying period around the Mother’s Day flower harvest. This study involved boys and girls living near flower crops in Ecuador.

Mother’s Day is celebrated in May in most of the world and is a holiday with one of the highest sales of flowers. Ecuador is among the largest commercial flower growers in the world, with significant rose exports to North America, Europe and Asia. Commercial rose production relies on the use of insecticides, fungicides and other pest controls, but little is known about their human health effects.

“These findings are noteworthy in that this is the first study to describe that pesticide spray seasons not only can increase the exposure to pesticides of children living near agriculture, but can increase their blood pressures and overall risk for hypertension,” said first author Jose R. Suarez, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Researchers assessed 313 boys and girls, ages 4 to 9, residing in floricultural communities in Ecuador. The children were examined up to 100 days after the Mother’s Day harvest. The analyses are part of a long-term study of environmental pollutants and child development in Ecuador, directed by Suarez.

“We observed that children examined sooner after the Mother’s Day harvest had higher pesticide exposures and higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures compared to children examined later. In addition, children who were examined within 81 days after the harvest were three times more likely to have hypertension than children examined between 91 and 100 days.”

Research regarding the effects of pesticides on the cardiovascular system is limited, but Suarez said there is some evidence that insecticides, such as organophosphates, can increase blood pressure. Organophosphates and several other classes of insecticides and fungicides are commonly used to treat flowers for pests before export.

In a previous study, Suarez and colleagues had reported that children examined sooner after the harvest displayed lower performances in tasks of attention, self-control, visuospatial processing and sensorimotor than children examined later.

“These new findings build upon a growing number of studies describing that pesticide spray seasons may be affecting the development of children living near agricultural spray sites,” said Suarez. “They highlight the importance of reducing the exposures to pesticides of children and families living near agriculture.”

Article published by UC San Diego. Co-authors include: Fatimaezzahra Amchich, University of Minnesota; Jonathan Murillo and Julie Denenberg, UC San Diego.

Image by Johann Reinbacher from Pixabay

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How a Quick Walk Turned into a 17-Day Survival Ordeal in the Hawaiian Jungle

By Daisy Luther

More than 2 weeks ago, the news was abuzz about Amanda Eller, a 37-year-old physical therapist/yoga instructor who took a walk in a Maui forest and never came back to where her car was parked. Theories abounded about Amanda because she’d left her water bottle, cellphone, and wallet in her car. People wondered whether she’d been kidnapped or murdered.

The official search was called off after only 72 hours, leaving the hunt for Amanda in the hands of thousands of volunteers who combed the forest.

The Makawao Forest Reserve is a 2000-acre area on the north side of Maui that is surrounded by even more thousands of acres of dense forest, steep ravines, lava rocks, and vegetation so thick that it often must be hacked with machetes to get through it.

There’s a lot we can learn from the survival stories of other people and  Amanda’s story also has many lessons. While I’ll point out a few mistakes, keep in mind that nearly every survival story begins with something going wrong. Amanda survived a situation many people could not, and did so barefoot and with a fractured leg.

How did she get lost in the first place?

Amanda told reporters she didn’t take her water or phone because she was planning only a quick walk. One thing Selco drummed into us during our course is that you don’t even walk across the street without a layer one that contains at the least some water purification tablets, a lighter, a whistle, a trauma bandage, and a knife.

According to news reports, Amanda intended to walk a quick three-mile trail. But when she stopped to rest, she got turned around and that was when things went wrong.

‘I wanted to go back the way I’d come, but my gut was leading me another way — and I have a very strong gut instinct.

‘So, I said, my car is this way and I’m just going to keep going until I reach it.

‘I heard this voice that said, “If you want to live, keep going”.

‘And as soon as I would doubt my intuition and try to go another way than where it was telling me, something would stop me, a branch would fall on me, I’d stub my toe, or I’d trip. So I was like, “O.K., there is only one way to go”.

‘The whole time I was going deeper into the jungle, even though I thought I was going back where I came from. (source)

Unfortunately, her instincts led her astray. Anyone who regularly walks in wild areas should learn the basics of navigation using the sun, or better yet a compass,  (You can get watches that have compasses built in. Be sure to calibrate your compass with a known accurate compass.)

How she survived

Amanda told reporters she hiked for about 14 hours the first day hoping to get back to her car. She was only wearing a tank top and capri pants. Temperatures in that area drop to about 60 degrees at night.

By day 3, she stopped looking for the trailhead and began searching for water. Generally, when you’re lost, water should be a resource you look for sooner due to the immediate risk of dehydration. This was the same day she fell off a cliff and injured her leg, fracturing it and tearing her meniscus. The following day, she found water indeed when a flash flood swept her shoes away. Now, injured and barefoot, she was not moving as fast, and she was crawling instead of walking, but the entire time, she was moving deeper into the jungle. From her hospital bed, she said, “I heard this voice that said, ‘If you want to live, keep going.”

She covered herself with ferns and leaves at night. She slept in the mud, and another night in the den of a wild boar. (It’s interesting to note that boars are the most dangerous wildlife on the island. Aside from boars, there aren’t any large predators.)

She ate wild strawberry guavas, berries, and moths for 17 days. Fortunately, she had learned enough about the local flora to know what she could safely eat. She stayed by a stream, from which she drank water.

But she was beginning to lose hope. “I was getting so skinny that I was really starting to doubt if I could survive,”

The rescue

Even though officials gave up on the search after 72 hours, the locals did not. Volunteer search parties combed the area near where Amanda’s car had been found.

Meanwhile, an army of volunteers turned seemingly every stone looking for her. They rappelled into ravines, searched caves, free-dove into pools and navigated fast-moving streams looking for Ms. Eller. Others killed aggressive wild boars and checked their intestines for human remains. At least one volunteer was attacked by a boar. (source)

A friend of mine in Hawaii joined the search and told me that the volunteers were searching miles and miles on foot, day and night, despite the lack of official support. Finally, by sheer good fortune, Amanda was out in the open when a search helicopter flew over.

Rescue workers had been combing the thickly wooded 1.5-mile radius around Ms. Eller’s car. But on a whim, the searchers in the helicopter on Friday decided to go farther, about seven miles from the central search area by air — the equivalent of 30 miles walking in such rough conditions, said Javier Canetellops, a search coordinator who was in the helicopter…

…On Day 17, Ms. Eller was near a stream searching for “some plant to eat for dinner and some place to sleep that wasn’t directly in the mud” when she saw a helicopter. She said she had seen and heard multiple helicopters fly above her during her ordeal, according to her friend Ms. York, but none had spotted her. This one did.

“I looked up and they were right on top of me,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ and I just broke down and started bawling.” (source)

Here’s the footage of Amanda’s rescue.

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Rescuers say that Amanda was found in an extremely treacherous area, deep in H’aiku’ several miles above Twin Falls. She was immediately airlifted to a hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. In the following video, a rescuer described finding Amanda.

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Amanda had a lot to say about the volunteers who searched for her and about her “spiritual journey” while she was lost. Here’s her statement from the hospital.

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And, finally, this is a press conference held at the hospital updating us on Amanda’s condition.

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Amanda walked with a fractured tibia, severe sunburn, infected wounds in her lower extremities, and a torn meniscus. Miraculously, her doctor said she was well-hydrated when she was rescued and that she looks great. She did not contract any issues from drinking water from the stream. Physicians expect a full recovery.

Her doctor chalks up a great deal of her survival to the fact that she was very healthy and well-nourished before her ordeal.

What do you think?

When I heard about this story and a week had gone past, I certainly didn’t expect to hear a happy ending. In nearly every survival situation, mistakes are made. Amanda’s will to live helped propel her through what must have been a terrifying two and a half weeks.

Could you survive 17 days in the wilderness? What do you think of Amanda’s story?

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper, where this article first appeared. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com. Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menagerie. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

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