The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has announced it is classifying processed meats as a carcinogenic, meaning there is now “sufficient” evidence to conclude that the consumption of everything from sausages to corned beef can cause cancer, particularly colorectal cancer.
The IARC also found that red meat can “probably” cause cancer, although the evidence it found to support this link is less robust. These conclusions published in the medical journal Lancet Oncology, were arrived at by 22 global experts after reviewing more than 800 studies.
The IARC’s announcement is the strongest statement yet by a public health body linking meat and cancer. It has also provoked anxiety amongst carnivores and backlash from the meat industry, which blasted the IARC findings as “dramatic and alarmist.”
The IARC has designated processed meats a “Group 1” cancer hazard, which places them in the same category as everything from asbestos to tobacco.
Experts also stress that the cancer risk of consuming a smoked meat sandwich still pales in comparison to that of smoking a cigarette. At this point, the public health message isn’t to quit meat, which can be a good source of nutrients like protein and iron, just to eat it in moderation.
“I don’t think people need to all of a sudden become vegetarian or avoid meat altogether,” said Rayjean Hung, a cancer epidemiologist with Mount Sinai’s Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, who has previously worked with the IARC. “You need to think about what is a balanced meal, what is moderation.”
The evidence linking cancer and meat consumption has been accumulating for some time, according to Hung.
While there isn’t enough data to conclude what constitutes a “safe” level of meat, the IARC did find that greater consumption translated to greater risk: for every 50 grams of processed meat (the equivalent of one or two bacon strips), the cancer risk grows by 18 per cent. For red meat, every 100 grams increased risk by 17 per cent.
Doctors agree that one third of cancers can be prevented by eating well and living a healthy, active lifestyle.
Looking for something to help you relax before bed that doesn't involve popping a pill? You might want to load up your iPod with a song by Manchester band, Marconi Union. Sound therapists were able to rate ten of the most relaxing songs, with Marconi Union's 8 minute trance-inducing tune, "Weightless", coming out on top thanks to its continuous rhythm of 60 BPM, an ideal tempo for synchronization with the heart and brainwaves, making it an ideal audio accompaniment for a good night's rest. Listen to it under the jump…
Lyz Cooper, founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy notes:
"While listening, your heart rate gradually comes to match that beat. It is important that the song is eight minutes long because it takes about five minutes for this process, known as entrainment, to occur. The fall in heart rate also leads to a fall in blood pressure.The harmonic intervals - or gaps between notes - have been chosen to create a feeling of euphoria and comfort. And there is no repeating melody, which allows your brain to completely switch off because you are no longer trying to predict what is coming next.
Instead, there are random chimes, which helps to induce a deeper sense of relaxation. The final element is the low, whooshing sounds and hums that are like buddhist chants. High tones stimulate but these low tones put you in a trance-like state."
The Top 10 Most Relaxing Tunes:
1. Marconi Union - Weightless
2. Airstream - Electra
3. DJ Shah - Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix)
4. Enya - Watermark
5. Coldplay - Strawberry Swing
6. Barcelona - Please Don't Go
7. All Saints - Pure Shores
8. Adele - Someone Like You
9. Mozart - Canzonetta Sull'aria
10. Cafe Del Mar - We Can Fly
Source: Apartment Therapy
We have been writing about the dangers of trans-fats in the diet forever and so you can imagine our joy when we heard the news today that the FDA has finally taken a stance on the matter.
The FDA has declared that partially hydrogenated oils, the source of trans fats, were no longer “generally recognized as safe” and they are a threat to people's health. That means companies would have to prove scientifically that partially hydrogenated oils are safe to eat, a very high hurdle given that scientific literature overwhelmingly shows the contrary. The Institute of Medicine has concluded that there is NO safe level for consumption of artificial trans fats, and they are the worst kind for your heart.
The move concluded three decades of battles by public health advocates against artificial trans fats, which occur when liquid oil is treated with hydrogen gas and made solid (e.g.Margarine). Trans fats are used in most processed foods and fast foods (think everything from cookies, chips and doughnuts to popcorn, burgers and fries). Companies like using them because they’re easy to use, inexpensive, act as a preservative for long shelf-life, and give foods a desirable taste and texture. Many fast-food outlets use trans fats to deep-fry foods because they can be used many times over in commercial fryers.
Trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels, and significantly increase your risk of developing heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
Hamburg said that while the amount of trans fats in the country's diet has declined dramatically in the last decade, they "remain an area of significant public health concern." The trans fats have long been criticized by nutritionists, and New York and other local governments have banned them.
The agency isn't yet setting a timeline for the phase-out, but will collect comments for two months before officials determine how long it will take. Different foods may have different timelines, depending how easy it is to substitute.
To phase them out, the FDA said it had made a preliminary determination that trans fats no longer fall in the agency's "generally recognized as safe" category, which is reserved for thousands of additives that manufacturers can add to foods without FDA review. Once trans fats are off the list, anyone who wants to use them would have to petition the agency for a regulation allowing it, and that would be unlikely to be approved
China looks like it will soon overtake the United States in a rather unforeseen category: It’s poised to become number one in the consumption of processed foods.
Euromonitor International estimates that in terms of volume, the Chinese market for packaged, processed foods like ready-made meals, and junk items like cookies, chips, and soda, will surpass America’s by 2015 with 107 million tons of packaged food in China, compared to 102 million tons in the U.S.
Just like America, processed food consumption is having its effects on China’s population. Twelve percent of China’s adult population (114million people) have diabetes, causing complications such as cardiovascular and kidney disease, as well as strokes, which experts say amount to a “major epidemic.”
American presidents may talk about exporting democracy, but the one thing that they have been the most successful at exporting is the Western diet which is at the root cause of most, if not all, of the major diseases: Diabetes, Heart disease and Cancer.
In China alone, McDonald’s now has more than 1600 restaurants, and Bloomberg reported last year that the fast-food chain generates around 22 percent of its revenue from franchises in the Asia Pacific region, the Middle East, and Africa.
Food is definitely taking its toll. The 2012 Singapore Chinese Health Study, found that eating Western-style fast food including burgers, fries, pizza, fried chicken, hot dogs, and other types of sandwiches on a regular basis significantly increased the risk of diabetes and coronary heart disease.
In terms of packaged foods, the Chinese appear to especially love their cookies, almost all of which are imported from abroad. Last year, the Chinese cookie market was worth more than $24 billion, according to Ibis World, ballooning more than 21 percent in the last five years.But lets not just pick on the Chinese, they are by no means the only country that succumbed to the convenient lure of Western-style fast food. A study released earlier this year found that for the first time ever, sales of fast food items like pizza and hamburgers surpasses those of more traditional French foods.
“In the land of gastronomy,” France’s Le Point magazine declared, “fast food has become the king.”
Source: Bloomberg, Le Point and Take Part
Don Thompson, CEO of McDonald's Corp., found himself on the grill after a 9-year-old girl accused the fast food giant of trying to "trick kids into eating food that isn't good for them."
Hannah Robertson, 9, flew in with her mom from Kelowna, British Columbia, to attend McDonald's annual shareholder meeting Thursday in Oak Brook, Ill., the company's headquarters.
"Something that I don't think is fair is when big companies try to trick kids into eating food that isn't good for them by using toys and cartoon characters," Robertson read during the question and answer part of the meeting. "If parents haven't taught their kids about healthy eating then the kids probably believe that junk food is good for them because it might taste good."
Her mother, Kia, attended the meeting as a member of advocacy group Corporate Accountability International, headquartered in Boston and with offices around the world. Kia Robertson, 36, started "Today I Ate a Rainbow" in 2009, described as an "interactive nutritional game," and is a nutrition blogger.
"It would be nice if you stopped trying to trick kids into wanting to eat your food all the time," Robertson, who is in the fourth grade, went on to say.
Thompson thanked her for her question but also refuted Hannah's accusations after her closing question, "Mr. Thompson, don't you want kids to be healthy so they can live a long and happy life?"
"First off, we don't sell junk food, Hannah," Thompson said. "My kids also eat McDonald's. When they were about your size, to my son who is with us today, who was a little bit bigger, he was a football player, and also they cook with me at home. I love to cook. We cook a lot of fruits and veggies at home."
Thompson pointed out that McDonald's serves fruits and vegetables, including apples in its Happy Meals and salads for $1, and is hoping to "sell even more".
Juliana Shulman, senior organizer at Corporate Accountability International, which started about 35 years ago, said Kia Robertson started working with the organization earlier this month for its campaign, "Moms Are Not Lovin' It". The campaign aimed to stop what it called McDonald's "predatory marketing to kids."
"As a corporation you might not "have to" think about the effects of your marketing...but as parents and grandparents there must be a part of you that knows it's just not right," Kia Robertson said to Thompson at the meeting. "You are a leader in your industry, so you know very well that the fast food industry is changing - in order to keep up maybe it's time for some genuine change at McDonald's.
"Our main goal is to protect people from irresponsible and dangerous actions around the world," Shulman said, advocating for actions against Nestle, General Electric, and Philip Morris.
Source: ABC news
The global "March Against Monsanto" took place on 25 March 2013 with organisers confirming that protests were held in 52 countries and 436 cities around the globe.
Monsanto is an american multinational agricultural biotech corporation which is a leading producer of genetically engineered seed and of the herbicide glyphosate. Monsanto was among the first to genetically modify a plant cell in 1983, and was among the first to conduct field trials of genetically modified crops in 1987.
Genetically modified seeds contain poisonous pesticides and herbicides so the plants are inherently protected from the insects and worms that might damage them. In other words, as the plants grow from the ground, they already contain genes from toxic concoctions, therefore helping corporations and their farmers maximize profits. Most corn, soybean and cotton crops grown in the US today have been genetically modified, and all foods containing derivatives of these foods therfore contain GMO's (think high fructose corn syrup which is in everything you eat today!).
Monsanto have a track record with deception. For example, they covered up environmental devastation as a result of their PCB production in Alabama.
Here are some of the reasons why the march against Monsanto is taking place:
- While long-term studies are limited as genetically modified foods are still so new, solid research is showing that GMOs cause cancer, infertility, and birth defects.
-Monsanto has planted their own ”experts” inside the FDA and USDA. This helps keep them safe and ensures that long-term, government-led studies are not conducted on the safety of GMO foods.
- GMO crops contaminate traditional crops. The fear is that in time there will be no more “clean” seeds.
-Monsanto puts small farms out of business for violations of food patents which can occur as a result of contamination from Monsanto-adjacent farms.
- Monsanto’s GMO seeds may be partly responsible for the collapse of the world’s bee populations.
- Monsanto is working to patent seeds of all crops, including vegetables. Once they’ve done this, they will control the food supply!
- Protestors are asking that laws be put into place to force food producers to label all GMO foods as consumers have the right to know.
The organisers of the event said "We will continue until Monsanto complies with consumer demands. They are poisoning our children, poisoning our planet, if we don't act, who's going to?" American culture and products are exported to the rest of the world so we are all affected and must all take a stance against their dangerous practices.
Source: Natural News
B vitamin supplements stop Alzheimer's brain shrinkage.
Ground-breaking research from Oxford University was published on 21st May 2013, showing that inexpensive B vitamins stopped shrinkage in the area of the brain that defines Alzheimer's disease, called the medial temporal lobe. While most people diagnosed with dementia have Alzheimer's, the diagnosis of Alzheimer's requires confirmation with a brain scan that shows degeneration of this specific area of the brain. The discovery that this area virtually stops shrinking in some people with high dose B vitamins is a highly important and convincing breakthrough in understanding what causes, and can prevent Alzheimer's.
The study, led by Professor David Smith from the University of Oxford, gave a combination of high dose vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid or placebo pills to people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), the stage before a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's.
"The specific areas of the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease shrank 8 times more slowly in those taking B vitamins than in those on the placebo. This is strongly indicative that the B vitamins may be substantially slowing down, or even potentially arresting, the disease process in those with early stage cognitive decline. This is the first treatment that has been shown to do this” said Professor David Smith.
In a previous study the Oxford research group had shown that the higher a person's homocysteine level, which is a reliable marker for Alzheimer's risk, the greater was the rate of shrinkage of the whole brain, and that lowering homocysteine with B vitamins markedly slowed any further memory decline in those with raised homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a common amino acid found in the blood and is acquired mostly from eating meat. High levels of homocysteine are related to the development of heart disease and are associated with low levels of vitamin B6, B12, and folate aswell.
According to Professor Smith "This makes the need for early screening for the first signs of cognitive decline from the age of 50, for example with the Cognitive Function Test at foodforthebrain.org vitally important, backed up by homocysteine testing and potential B vitamin treatment. Half of all people over age 65, potentially may benefit with reduced brain shrinkage by taking high dose B6, B12 and folic acid, but this should be done under medical supervision."
The Cognitive Function test is a FREE on-line 15 minute screening test anyone can do to check their memory, offered by the charity foodforthebrain.org.
According to nutritionist Patrick Holford from the Food for the Brain Foundation "These doses, which have now been shown to stop memory loss and brain shrinkage, are much higher than you can get from a good diet alone…This dose is considered to be safe, but means taking specific homocysteine lowering supplements and not just any multivitamin or B complex.”
Meanwhile take the first step by doing this Free online test:
Dr Andrew Weil, M.D., is a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, a healing oriented approach to health care which encompasses body, mind, and spirit. Combining a Harvard education and a lifetime of practicing natural and preventive medicine, Dr. Weil remains a best-selling author with approximately 10 million copies of his books have been sold worldwide.
Dr Weill hayles he traditional Mediterranean and Japanese diets are most strongly correlated with low disease risk, longevity and good health.
Here's a short audio recording with more information:
Angelina Jolie has revealed she has had a preventive double mastectomy to reduce her risk of developing breast cancer.
Health campaigners praised her decision to go public with the news, which she said was prompted by a desire to encourage other women to get gene-tested and to raise awareness of the options available to those at risk.
The actress has a defective gene, BRCA1, which doctors told her had increased her risk of developing breast cancer to 87%, and her risk of ovarian cancer, the disease that killed her mother at the age of 56, to 50%.
The surgery, which began in February, has reduced Jolie's risk of breast cancer to under 5%, she said:
"I can tell my children that they don't need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer," she wrote. "It is reassuring that they see nothing that makes them uncomfortable. They can see my small scars and that's it. Everything else is just Mommy, the same as she always was. And they know that I love them and will do anything to be with them as long as I can. On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity."
What a brave woman, the decision couldn't have been an easy one! Once you've done the test and know your risk factor, I suppose it's like living with a gun to your head, so I completely understand the choice she's made and respect her strength and courage.
Dr Richard Francis, head of research at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said that faults in the BRCA1 gene, which on average put women at a 65% risk of developing breast cancer, were rare and in most cases were linked to family history. He cautioned that a preventative mastectomy would not necessarily be the appropriate treatment for everyone with the gene. "For women like Angelina it's important that they are made fully aware of all the options that are available, including risk-reducing surgery and extra breast screening. Though Angelina decided that a preventative mastectomy was the right choice for her, this may not be the case for another woman in a similar situation."
I would just like to add that only 10-15% of Cancers are genetic, the rest are diet and lifestyle related - and even then, you can change the expression of your genes by the way you choose to eat and live...our health is not pre-determined by our genes 100%. I've seen individuals with no genetic pre-disposition to cancer and they smoke, eat junk food often, are overweight and generally stressed out and they develop it. And on the flipside, I see individuals with cancer in the family, but they eat well, exercise regularly and generaly take care of themselves and the cancer gene is never turned on.
No one should feel powerless in the face of cancer as the absolute best prevention is diet and lifestyle. As the wonderful Kris Carr puts it "Your future is being written with every meal". For me it really sums up that how we choose to eat determines how we choose to live and age - and be sure to have your annual screening too, I still get shocked by how many women don't actually do this evey year.
Angelina you are one brave woman, we are Team Jolie all the way!
Read Angelina's letter in the New York Times.
Researchers at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) have discovered a hormone that holds promise for a dramatically more effective treatment of type 2 diabetes, a metabolic illness afflicting a staggering number of people worldwide, with the numbers going up year on year. The researchers believe that the hormone might also have a role in treating type 1, or juvenile, diabetes.
The hormone, called betatrophin, causes mice to produce insulin-secreting pancreatic beta cells at up to 30 times the normal rate. The new beta cells only produce insulin when called for by the body, offering the potential for the natural regulation of insulin and a great reduction in the complications associated with diabetes, the leading medical cause of amputations and non-genetic loss of vision.
The researchers who discovered betatrophin, HSCI co-director Doug Melton and postdoctoral fellow Peng Yi, caution that much work remains to be done before it could be used as a treatment in humans. But the results of their work, which was supported in large part by a federal research grant, already have attracted the attention of drug manufacturers.
“If this could be used in people,” said Melton, Harvard’s Xander University Professor and co-chair of the University’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, “it could eventually mean that instead of taking insulin injections three times a day, you might take an injection of this hormone once a week or once a month, or in the best case maybe even once a year.”
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