". . . let your voice be heard loudly and often, in protest against the indifference, ignorance, and avarice responsible for the uncontrolled adulteration and misrepresentation of foods, drugs, and cosmetics. In this adulteration and misrepresentation lurks a menace to your health that ought no longer be tolerated."
Is this a recent quotation? No! It appeared in 1933, in 100,000,000 Guinea Pigs, co-authored by Frederick John Schlink, who inspired NOHA Honorary Member Beatrice Trum Hunter to change from her teaching of the visually-impaired to devote her life to learning and writing about food and our health. She has written over 20 books, including The Natural Foods Cookbook, Gardening Without Poisons, and The Mirage of Safety: Food Additives and Public Policy. For many years she has been the food editor of Consumers' Research Magazine, which was founded by Mr. Schlink. Now, she has compiled and cross-referenced appropriate articles for Food & Your Health: Learn How You Can Become an Enlightened Consumer in a Bewildering Marketplace,1, a fascinating and comprehensive 438-page, easily held paperback book, with a great deal of important information for all of us.
The molecules for an essential nutrient in real food compared with the synthesized version, can contain exactly the same atoms. However, the position of the atoms in three dimensions can be different . . .
Hunter covers our essential nutrients-proteins,
the essential fats (omega 3 and omega 6) and the deleterious ones2,
plus the vitamins and minerals, both toxic and essential. Amazingly tiny amounts
of vitamins and/or minerals can be exceedingly important. Each day adults need
only three millionths of a gram of vitamin B12. Yet, over time a lack of this
vitamin can result in major mental health disorders. "The amount of copper
contained in a single penny is enough to supply our needs of this trace mineral
for four years." Yet, if these tiny amounts are not supplied, problems
can arise: "One study demonstrated that a copper-deficient diet, combined
with too much sodium, increased the risk of kidney failure; with adequate copper,
the animals were able to excrete the extra sodium and fluid." Also, the
exceedingly prevalent corn-derived sweetener, high-fructose corn syrup, depresses
copper containing enzymes that function as antioxidants. Hunter is careful to
point out the need for balance: For example, too much of certain minerals interferes
with the metabolism of others-absorption of the essential element zinc can be
decreased by excessive, calcium, copper, folic acid, iron, and the phytates
that are found in soy and other plant foods.
Do you know about chirality (handedness)? The molecules for an essential nutrient in real food compared with the synthesized version, can contain exactly the same atoms. However, the position of the atoms in three dimensions can be different as in left-handed ("levo") and right-handed ("dextro"). When polarized light is shined onto molecules derived from living matter, the light is deflected either to the right or to the left. Synthesized products often have a mixture of molecules ("DL"), so that the light is not deflected. Our bodies can distinguish chirality and prefers the natural. For example, the most active form of vitamin E, naturally derived, is called D-alpha tocopherol; the synthetic DL-tocopherol. A researcher "found that natural vitamin E is 100 percent more bioavailable than the synthetic form." Our bodies recognize the difference and excrete metabolites of the synthetic form more quickly. Hunter summarizes: "An easy way to remember the difference is to think that 'D' delivers and 'DL' delivers less."
Amazingly tiny amounts of vitamins and/or minerals can be exceedingly important.
The proteins in the human body contain
only L-forms of amino acids, the building blocks of protein, and we possess
only L-enzymes to metabolize the amino acids. L-form amino acids are absorbed
immediately in the digestive system by the L-enzymes. If the DL-form is consumed,
the body may try to separate out the L-form but the remaining D-form can only
force its way by means of diffusion. "Despite this problem with the DL
form of amino acids, some food processors use it to boost protein foods of low
biological value, and it is used in animal feed supplements."
"There was a time when our food animals grazed on summer grass and winter hay. Then, it was found that livestock gained weight more readily if fed grains or soybeans." However, by the 1970s, using grains and soybeans was considered costly and wasteful. The search was on for cheap feed for cattle in the huge feedlots and for the intensively raised and confined poultry. Manure was considered. "The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that the protein in cattle manure in American feedlots was equivalent to the protein in the nation's entire soybean crop." At first, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) withheld permission for using recycled manure in animal feed. "It could contain disease-producing organisms and parasites, residues of drugs and their breakdown products, and toxic substances other than contaminants." The FDA could control interstate commerce. However, gradually numerous states permitted recycled manure in animal feed within each state. By 1976 the FDA had relaxed its overall restrictions.
Formerly, agricultural wastes, such as corn stalks and wheat straw, were spread on farms as mulch and animal manure was composted into fertilizer. No more-now all these things and many others are converted into pellets of animal feed.
Another group of substances introduced into animal feed came to be dubbed "The four Ds"-dead, dying, disabled, and diseased animals. In 1989, the FDA issued a Compliance Policy Guide, and considered uncooked meat derived from such animals as adulterated. Meat from such animals, shipped interstate, is required to be adequately heat-treated to make it safe.
. . . friendly lactic-acid producing bacteria, which used to be abundant in our soils, on our plants, and in raw milk, are now killed by aseptic milk production and by the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers by most farmers. . . . "Without the presence of lactic acid-producing bacteria, the undesirable pathogens have less competition, and can take over."
By the late 1970s, sewage sludge from municipal sources was introduced into animal feed. To kill pathogens present, the sludge was treated with cesium 137 radioisotopes, a waste product of nuclear reactors. The treated sludge, along with other ingredients, is pelleted as a feed supplement for sheep and cattle. Also, treated sewage sludge water serves as a liquid feed on fish farms for bivalves such as clams, oysters, mussels, and scallops, and could be extended to lobsters, crabs, and certain fish varieties.
Through the years, as additional waste products have been incorporated into animal feed, the FDA decided to approve food waste recycling into feed on a case-to-case basis. By 1991, among such food wastes were moisture-damaged or maggot-infested grains; foods contaminated by rodents, or bird excreta. The FDA expressed concern about the use of airline garbage because of its possible contamination with plastic, glass, metal, and tinfoil.
Hunter also points out the problems in England and elsewhere with Mad Cow Disease in animals that are fed these new, cheap wastes.3
Faced with all this knowledge, the consumer will want to avoid all supermarket meat and choose only "certified organic," where none of these food additives are permitted. [One needs to be cautious: Recently, when I inquired about the meat sold at the Chicago Green Market from a farm that is not "certified organic," they told me, "Oh, we never use pesticides and, of course, our cattle are free to roam." However, I asked about all the feed and they told me, "We supplement with protein pellets." I thought, "Wow!" I told them that those pellets are far from satisfactory and I walked on. MF]
Hunter covers many topics with care and in an enlightening manner. In her chapter on "Sugar: Desired but Undesirable," she also covers the substitute sugars, such as aspartame (Nutrasweet®),4 which overweight people consume in the hope of losing weight. She points out research showing that these unfortunate people gain weight on the substitutes. The tongue tastes the sweetness but the body knows it really needs nutrients and people eat more.
"Another group of substances introduced into animal feed came to be dubbed "The four Ds"-dead, dying, disabled, and diseased animals."
She also covers the fat substitutes that people often consume hoping to lose weight. Actually, in both cases they usually just consume more sweeteners and fats that are full of calories. They say to themselves, "I'll have this diet drink and then I can eat a doughnut." The same psychology can apply to both substitutes. In regard to the fat substitute Olestra®, Hunter points out that vital fat-soluble nutrients dissolve in the Olestra® and are then excreted. Many problems can result. An eminent Harvard epidemiologist "calculated that if the American population ate three 1.0-ounce Olestra®-containing snacks per week, it would result in 400 additional annual cases of macular degeneration; 2,000 to 3,000 more cases of prostate cancer; 10,000 to 30,000 more cases of heart disease; and 2,000 more cases of lung cancer."
Water is more vital than food. Hunter points out that we can survive a lot longer without food than we can without water. Also, when people think they are hungry they are often only dehydrated and need to drink water. Hunter has just written an excellent book guiding us to clean water.5 Many foods contain a high percentage of water. Many drinks that are widely consumed pose problems. For example, caffeine intake from coffee "decreases absorption of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. Increased excretion of these minerals is in the urine. Alcohol intake is especially damaging to the mucosal lining of the intestine and contributes to deficiencies of many nutrients."
Often many years before general public
awareness, Consumers' Research Magazine has informed its subscribers
of excellent food choices and also of major problems. For example, "readers
had been warned about the dangers of pesticide residues in foods decades before
the publication of Silent Spring, and had been alerted to the problems
of heavy metal poisonings from lead, cadmium, and mercury, many years prior
to official acknowledgements that these substances were public health problems."
Hunter has a great deal of information on various pathogens often found on the products of agribusiness. On the other hand, friendly lactic-acid producing bacteria, which used to be abundant in our soils, on our plants, and in raw milk, are now killed by aseptic milk production and by the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers by most farmers.
Ironically, this [milk] processing improves the chance of survival for psychrotrophs (undesirable bacteria that can flourish even in cold temperatures) and other pathogens that may be present in raw milk. Without the presence of lactic acid-producing bacteria, the undesirable pathogens have less competition, and can take over. The result is that pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes, numerous strains of Salmonella, and Yersinia enter icolitica have emerged as problems in many dairies. These pathogens are not new. They have always existed in raw milk, but were held in check by competition with the vigilant lactic-acid producing bacteria.
One interesting new experiment: Hunter
points out that pulsed electricity has been used to kill a certain pathogen
on chicken carcasses. The treatment was 100% effective. However, there was an
"unappealing" change in the color of the chicken skin.
In this review, we have just given you an inkling of the many subjects covered by Hunter in this new book. She has already given NOHA lectures and articles on a number of the subjects. For example, foodborne disease; 6,7 fatty acids and foods;8,12 gluten intolerance9 and coping with a gluten and wheat-free diet;10 synthetic Bovine Growth Hormone (sBGH);11 hormone disrupters,12 nitric oxide12 (involved in penile erection); the intriguing, "Chaos is Healthy,"12 and the downside of soybean consumption.13
We also have audio and video tapes of Beatrice Trum Hunter giving important practical information.14,15
1Basic Health Publications, Inc., 8200 Boulevard East, North Bergen, NJ 07047, 2003; Phone: 1-800-575-8890.
2NOHA tapes: Michael A. Crawford, PhD, "Essential Fatty Acids for the Brain and Heart, #161, April, 1997; Sidney M. Baker, MD, "Detoxification & Healing," #167, May 1998; Mary Enig, PhD, "Fats, Oils, Cholesterol, and Disease: Separating Fact from Fiction," #116, March 1992; and the article about Dr. Enig's work, "Fats, Oils, and Disease," in NOHA NEWS, Summer 1992.
3NOHA NEWS, Spring 1999, "Should We Eat Beef?" which includes a review of Sheldon Rampton's and John Stauber's book, Mad Cow U. S. A. , Could the Nightmare Happen Here? [link]
4NOHA NEWS, Fall 1990, "Trick or Treat?" by Theodore E. TePas, MD on aspartame (NutraSweet®) [link] and NOHA NEWS, Summer 1996, "Danger: Not Just Taste Enhancers," by George E Shambaugh, Jr., MD. [link]
5Hunter, Beatrice Trum, WATER AND YOUR HEALTH: How do waterborne contaminants, hormone disrupters, and waterborne infections affect you? How good is bottled water? How can you find out about the quality of your tap water? How can you improve poor drinking water? What can you do if radon is in your water? Heavy metals? Asbestos? Learn the answers to these and other important questions, BASIC EARTH GUIDES, Basic Health Publications, Inc., 2003. (See address in 1.)
6NOHA NEWS, Spring 1988, "Foodborne Disease: a Needless Epidemic." [link]
7NOHA NEWS, Fall 1997, "The Cost of Convenience: Processing, Packaging, Profits, and Politics" and "Foodborne Illness: Poisons and the Perils of Processing for Profit." [link]
8NOHA NEWS, Winter 1985, "'Fatty Acids' leads off Meeting of American Academy of Environmental Medicine" [link] and NOHA NEWS, Fall 1999, "Fats and Oils that Are Healthy."
9NOHA NEWS, Fall 1987, "Gluten Intolerance."
10NOHA NEWS, Summer 1996, "Coping with a Gluten and Wheat-Free Diet." [link]
11NOHA NEWS, Winter 1994, "Food and Biotechnology" from a presentation by Beatrice Trum Hunter at the 28th meeting of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. [link]
12NOHA NEWS, Fall 1999, "You May Have Heard It Here First," [link] "Chaos is Healthy," [link] "Fats and Oils that Are Healthy," "Hormone Disrupters," and "Nitric Oxide."
13NOHA NEWS, Fall 2001, "The Downside of Soybean Consumption," a thoroughly referenced article by Beatrice Trum Hunter. [link]
14"The Great Nutrition Robbery," #46, June 1979 (audio).
15"Substitute Fats and Sweeteners," #105, September 1990, (audio and video).
Article from NOHA NEWS,
Vol. XXVIII, No. 4, Fall 2003, pages 1-3.