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Down With Corporate Corruption In Our Food Supply


Mention Monsanto these days and you are sure to get a reaction from almost anyone. The American multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation is making headlines worldwide—and usually not the good kind.This time, the behemoth biotech, widely known for its controversial genetically modified crop seeds (GMOs) and highly poisonous pesticides, is accused of contaminating an entire small town in Alabama.Anniston, Alabama, home to 22,666 people, is considered a crime scene by health officials, who contend Monsanto is solely responsible for what is being called the worst PCB contamination the world has ever seen.

Over A Century Of Destruction

Monsanto was founded in 1901 by John F. Queeny and his wife, Olga Monsanto Queeny, who launched the company with their first product, the artificial sweetener saccharine, now known as a one of the Top 4 most dangerous artificial sweeteners ever made (1).

From there, Monsanto has left a trail of destruction that includes poisoning countless towns, lands, waterways and entire ecosystems. The company also supplied the materials for some of the deadliest chemical weapons ever made, including white phosphorous (2) and Agent Orange (3), which have killed thousands of people worldwide.

The unbelievable and devastating repercussions of what many call Monsanto’s unscrupulous practices in the manufacturing and sale of their products includes everything from purposely withholding negative safety studies from the FDA and the public, to knowingly manufacturing and selling poisonous herbicides and pesticides that have resulted in serious health issues for both humans and wildlife, and even death.

In 1986, Monsanto was found guilty of “negligently exposing a worker to benzene at its Chocolate Bayou Plant in Texas.” It paid $100 million to the family of Wilbur Jack Skeen, who died of leukemia after repeated exposures (4).The list of Monsanto’s crimes is endless and ongoing, including the contamination of the entire town of Anniston, Alabama that actually began in the 1940s.

Anniston Alabama: Monsanto’s Toxic Town

At first glance, Anniston Alabama is an idyllic small town with pristine waters and genuine southern hospitality. But what lies beneath the ground and the raging waters of its white-water river, is something out of a sci-fi horror flick.

In 1993, a local fisherman who caught a severely deformed largemouth bass from the Choccolocco Creek set off a firestorm of media that eventually led to an inconvenient truth for the billion dollar biotech corporation. As it turns out, Monsanto had been knowingly poisoning the people and wildlife of Anniston, Alabama for more than 30 years.

By dumping millions of pounds of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into the town’s landfill and creek, Monsanto exposed the community to the deadly chemicals that have since been banned because of their known link to cancer in both animals and humans, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a deadly form of the disease(5,6).

The toxic contamination in the small town was so incredible that Monsanto actually bought and then demolished 100 homes that were overwhelmingly polluted by PCBs. After 16-year-old Anniston resident Terry Baker died from a brain tumor and lung cancer caused by exposure to the PCBs, it spurred 20,000 residents to file a class-action lawsuit against Monsanto.

The company was ultimately ordered to pay residents damages of $700 million. But now, more than 13 years later, residents of the small town are finding out that Monsanto’s toxic dumping is still wreaking havoc on their lives (7).

Devastating Liver Damage

The devastatingly toxic PCBs dumped in Anniston, Alabama, continue to affect the health of its residents, according to a new two-year study published by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

After finding out about the PCB poisoning, Anniston researchers reviewed the health of 766 of its residents between 2005 and 2007. In 2013, they followed up with 738 of the residents, and later in 2014, with 352 of the same residents. Researchers were astounded to find that the Anniston residents have a 60 percent rate of fatty liver disease compared to the average 24.3 percent rate found in the rest of the general US population.They further found that while PCB levels dropped slightly from 2007 to 2014, they are still much higher than the general population. More troubling, however, is that despite this slight drop in levels, researchers also found a connection between higher PCB levels and diabetes. They also linked PCBs to high blood pressure and concluded that liver failure or cancer may result from the type of chronic liver inflammation residents of Anniston continue to experience (8).

Deny, Deny, Deny

Even after illegally dumping millions of pounds of PCBs into the once pristine Choccolocco Creek and numerous open-pit landfills that literally oozed with the toxic sludge, Monsanto continued to outright deny the damning evidence of the deadly health repercussions caused by their actions. Investigators found thousands of Monsanto documents, some clearly marked “CONFIDENTIAL: Read and Destroy,” showing intent on the part of the corporate giant, that concealed the dumping for decades.While of little consequence to the some 20,000 affected residents in Anniston, Monsanto’s lawyers did admit in 2001 that PCB exposure can sometimes cause chloracne, a serious skin condition, which they clearly added was the only significant problem the chemicals are even capable of causing, something that is clearly contrary to every study done on PCBs.

Devastated Town

In the interim, Anniston is now a virtual ghost town. With a good chunk of the homes and businesses in the small town destroyed after Monsanto purchased them to mitigate their damages, the remaining residents, most of which are low-income families, are left to deal with the contaminated land and a slew of growing health problems.One such resident is Brenda Crook, who lived just a block away from the former Monsanto plant responsible for the decades of illegal dumping.Crook lived in Anniston most of her life, and until the dumping, was a healthy individual by any standards.“I never drank and I never smoked,” she said in a story published in TheAnniston Star in December 2016. “But I got cancer.” (9)Doctors confirmed high levels of PCBs in her blood. As a result of her cancer, Crook had to undergo expensive treatments, including radiation and three surgeries to date.“Now I also have gout, high blood pressure and diabetes,” she adds, which doctors also attribute to the PCBs. And because Crook, like most of the Anniston residents, is in a low-income area and is too sick to work, she also struggles to pay the mounting monthly costs of her health insurance’s co-pay, despite the settlement by Monsanto.

Poor, Sick, And Helpless

And with little money to move, most of the remaining residents in Anniston will continue to live in the small town that is so saturated with toxic chemicals that they have literally soaked into the ground they walk on, and then ooze into the very air they breathe every day. The problem is still so bad today that residents have to wear masks just to cut their grass.While 60 Minutes reports that residents will receive $600 million of the $700-million settlement, and the remaining $100 million will help pay for the clean-up, according to officials at the State University of New York in Albany, Anniston, Alabama is still the most contaminated site in the entire US (10). And they have Monsanto to thank for it.The only bright light in this otherwise dark story is that Monsanto agreed to fund a medical clinic and PCB research center to help the ailing residents of Anniston deal with their chronic health problems—ironically, the same ones the company insists don’t exist.


Always tired? Hydration, Diet and Five Other Reasons You Could Be Battling Fatigue

TIREDNESS and fatigue could be an indicator of a major medical problem, such as anaemia, chronic fatigue syndrome or diabetes, it could also be a sign people are generally run down, haven’t had enough sleep or aren’t getting the right fuel.Experts have shared their top tips to help people who need an energy boost essential nutrients to get through the festive seasons.


It’s Christmas and pretty difficult to refuse the constant offers of mince pies, cake and chocolates. Thing is, whilst all foods provide energy, some – particularly sugary and processed ones – break down quicker sending your blood sugar levels soaring then crashing leaving you feeling drained. Rob Hobson, Healthspan Head of Nutrition said: “The key is ensuring you maintain blood sugar levels by eating regularly throughout the day and including plenty of complex carbohydrate foods (brown rice/pasta, quinoa, pulses) to ensure you have an adequate energy supply.“Add protein, including eggs, meat, fish, pulses and cheese to those complex carbs and you get slow release energy which keeps you going for hours.“Other excellent edible energisers are apple or banana with nut butter or a handful of mixed nuts or Vitamin C and B-rich chestnuts.”

Vitamin D

It’s winter, the days in the run up to Christmas are short and we get less daylight and sunlight which could mean your vitamin D levels are low – your body converts sunlight into Vitamin D. Symptoms of deficiency can be vague but generally include general aches and pains and an overall feeling of tiredness. Good food sources are salmon, sardines, mackerel, red meat and eggs but Public Health England released recommendations earlier this year that all adults in the UK could benefit from a 10mcg supplement between October and March. Try Healthspan Super Strength Vitamin D3.



Dr Megan Arroll, psychologist, said: “During the holidays we tend to push ourselves and run ourselves ragged. But don’t wait until you’re burnt out, instead pace yourself with regular rest and relaxation breaks even if it is just five minutes. Go for a walk, find a quiet place for a spot of mindfulness to help re-energise.“If you can’t manage to get outdoors put a few drops of bergamot essential oil on a tissue and inhale deeply – a 2015 study – by the Department of Immunology at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Japan, found bergamot helped banish feelings of tiredness. If you’re suffering with brain fog and having trouble concentrating try peppermint essential oil.”


It’s obvious, but people will be tired if they haven’t had enough sleep. Problem is, at  Christmas the endless round of parties and catch ups tend to get in the way of your regular sleep routine.You know how many hours you need to function efficiently  – experts recommend around 6 to 9 hours – and if you do have a few late nights try to get back into your usual bedtime.There is also mounting evidence that daily power naps can work wonders on your energy levels – some offices are even introducing nap pods to allow staff to have a little lunchtime sleep.  Optimum nap time is 10-20 minutes – which keeps people in the lighter stages of the sleep cycle so it’s easier for you to get going again.  The aim is to feel pleasantly recharged rather than groggy.


The Natural Hydration Council said one in 10 cases of tiredness are attributed to dehydration – so sip plenty of water or herbal teas – especially if you have been drinking alcohol the night before.Watery foods like fruit and vegetables will also help rehydrate you.While most of us turn to a coffee or tea for an instant caffeine buzz bear in mind there is a payback come down so best stick to a cup or two a day – and ideally go for a green tea which has less caffeine and more antioxidants.Also avoid any caffeinated drinks after 3pm as the effects can last up to 12 hours and interfere with sleep.



The more people move, the better equipped they are to produce more energy. Researchers at the University of Georgia found those who complained of tiredness increased their energy levels by 20 per cent with regular low intensity exercise like walking.Whatever exercise you choose encourages oxygen-rich blood to pump through your body to the heart,  muscles and brain, making you feel more alert.At least try to squeeze a walk into your day and move around whenever you can – pace up and down on the phone, deliver a message to a colleague in person rather than emailing it.If you sit for too long blood vessels have a tendency to constrict, which reduce energy levels.


All the racing around and late nights in the build up to Christmas can rob the body of essential nutrients and leave people flagging.People need to aim for as balanced a diet as you can but certain substances can give you an extra little energising push like Co-enzymeQ10, a naturally occurring enzyme found in every cell of the body and dubbed the ‘biochemical spark plug’ due to its essential role in energy production.It also helps the liver to break down toxins and is a potent antioxidant – which can help build immunity.Co-enzymeQ10 is produced naturally in the body  – although levels decline with age – and food sources include seafood, meats and peanuts. You might benefit from a top up in supplement form like Healthspan’s Co-enzyme Q10 or Ubiquinol ‘body ready’ Q10.


Nutrition As Medicine

Most people truly do not understand the concept of nutritional medicine and fewer yet understand the concept of cellular nutrition.  This article will give you a better understanding of how I approach my patients as a specialist in Nutritional Medicine. Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding of how and why you can better protect your health or even regain your health by applying these concepts to your own life.

Concept of Oxidative Stress

Even though oxygen is necessary for life itself, it is inherently dangerous for our existence.  In the process of utilizing oxygen within your cells to create energy, you also create a by-product referred to as free radicals.  Free radicals are charged oxygen molecules that are missing at least one electron and desire to get an electron from the surrounding area.  If it is not readily neutralized by an antioxidant, which has the ability to give this free radical the electron it desires, it can go on to create more volatile free radicals, damage the cell wall, vessel wall, proteins, fats, and even the DNA nucleus of the cell.  So the same process that turns a cut apple brown or rusts metal is causing you to rust inside.  In fact, the medical literature now shows us that over 70 chronic degenerative diseases are the result of this process.  Diseases like coronary artery disease, cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s, arthritis, macular degeneration, MS, lupus, among others are the result of small oxidative changes that occur over a long period of time.

It is all about Balance

The number of free radicals you produce is not steady.  In other words, some days you produce more than others.  Because of our stressful lifestyles, polluted environment, and over-medicated society, this generation must deal with more free radicals than any previous generation that has ever walked the face of the earth.  If you want to prevent oxidative stress, you need to have more antioxidants available along with their supporting nutrients than the number of free radicals you produce.  You see, we are not defenseless against this process.  Antioxidants are the answer.  The question is whether or not we are able to get all the antioxidants we need from our food.  This was the question I had to answer for myself and the reason that I wrote my book What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know about Nutritional Medicine.   After spending over 2 years reviewing the medical literature, I concluded that the only way you have a chance of preventing oxidative stress is by taking high quality, complete and balanced nutritional supplements that provide, what I refer to as, cellular nutrition.  If you have not read my book or listened to any of my CD’s on this subject, I would certainly encourage you to do just that.  The medical references are detailed in my books and provide the medical evidence that demands a verdict—should you be taking nutritional supplements?

History of Nutritional Medicine

            Over the past half century, nutritional medicine has been practiced with the belief that you had to determine what nutrients in which you were deficient and then supplement that particular nutrient.  It became very obvious to me early on in my research that the underlying problem most of us are facing is not a nutritional deficiency, but instead, the result of oxidative stress.  It was also apparent to me that medication, which actually increases the production of free radicals, would never be the answer to preventing any of these diseases.  Also if this was the case, the goal had to be to provide the nutrients that were necessary to build up our body’s natural antioxidant defense system so that you did not develop oxidative stress.  It became so apparent to me that our bodies, not the drugs I could prescribe, were the best defense against developing any of these diseases.  The problem is NOT a nutritional deficiency.  The problem is oxidative stress.

Modern Nutritional Research

Today’s research is focused on trying to find the magic bullet in regards to a particular disease.  For example, there were many studies that showed that those smokers who had the highest antioxidant levels in their blood stream had a significantly lower risk of developing lung cancer than those smokers who had the lowest level of antioxidants.  Most of the researchers felt that it was primarily due to the high levels of beta carotene.  So they decided to do a study and supplement a large number of smokers with just beta carotene.  They were dismayed when they found that the group that received the beta carotene alone actually had a higher incidence of lung cancer than the control group.  This led researchers and the media to actually claim that beta carotene was dangerous and should not be taken in supplementation in smokers.  A review of the same data reported a couple of years later showed that those smokers who had the highest levels of total antioxidants in their blood stream had a significantly decreased risk of developing lung cancer compared to those who had the lowest levels of antioxidants.

Beta carotene is NOT a drug.  It is merely a nutrient that we get from our food; however, because of supplementation we are now able to get it at levels you cannot obtain from your food.  Beta carotene works in only certain parts of the body and against only certain kinds of free radicals.  Beta carotene needs the other antioxidants along with the antioxidant minerals and B cofactors in order to do its job effectively.  However, researchers are focused on trying to find the magic bullet instead of stepping back and understanding the basic principles and concepts of cellular nutrition.  The amazing thing is how so many of these studies that look at just one or possibly two nutrients actually show a health benefit.  What would the health benefit be if you would put all of these nutrients together at these optimal levels?  Enter in the concept of cellular nutrition.

Concept of Cellular Nutrition

There are over 180 epidemiologic studies (studies that involve a very large number of people) that all show the very same thing.  Those individuals who have the highest levels of total antioxidants in their body compared with those who have the lowest levels have a 2- to 3-fold decrease risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s dementia.  Obviously, those individuals who consume more of the fresh fruits and vegetables, which contain a large amount of these antioxidants, had the highest levels of antioxidants in their body.  This only makes logical sense when you understand the concept of oxidative stress as being the root cause of over 70 of these chronic degenerative diseases.  Therefore, a physician would conclude the best thing that they could advise their patients to do is to be consuming at least 8 to 12 servings of fresh whole fruits and vegetables each and every day.  The second best thing would be to recommend high quality, complete and balanced nutritional supplements that provided cellular nutrition.

Cellular nutrition would be defined as providing ALL of the micronutrients to the cell at these optimal or advanced levels that have been shown to provide a health benefit in our medical literature.  In other words, you would want your supplementation to be balanced and complete, much like a healthy diet is. The only difference is the fact that, unlike today’s food supply, supplementation can provide all of these nutrients at optimal levels.  We all need to be supplementing a healthy diet; however, because of our stressful lifestyles, polluted environment, and over-medicated society we do need to be supplementing.

Cellular nutrition has been shown in our medical literature to build up our body’s natural immune system, antioxidant system, and repair system.  You not only replenish any nutritional deficiency within 6 months of supplementation, but you also optimize all of the body’s micronutrients.  You are given the absolute best chance to reverse or prevent any oxidative stress and protect your health.  You see, nutritional supplementation is really about health—not disease.  Nutritional supplements are natural to the body and the nutrients the body requires to function at its optimal level.

Every man, woman, and child needs to be supplementing a healthy diet and be involved in a modest exercise program.  This is the key to protecting and maintaining your health.  However, what if you have already lost your health and have developed one of these chronic degenerative diseases?  Does supplementation provide any hope?  This is the question that I had to answer for myself and for my patients.  This has been the focus of my practice for the past 11 years and why I have developed my online practice located at www.raystrand.com.

The Concept of Synergy

The medical literature had showed me over and over again that those patients who were already suffering from a chronic degenerative disease like rheumatoid arthritis, MS, or diabetes actually had significantly more oxidative stress than the normal, healthy patient.  Cellular nutrition is generally adequate to help someone who is in excellent health; however, it would not be enough supplementation to bring oxidative stress under control in someone who is already suffering from a major disease.

It became very apparent to me early on that if you were going to be able to have any effect on improving the health of someone who was already suffering from cancer, heart disease, macular degeneration, diabetes, macular degeneration, and the like that you would have to truly optimize every aspect of the body’s natural defense systems.  I quickly began to realize that by placing all of my patients on basic cellular nutrition, I was able to create a synergistic effect.  Vitamin E is a great antioxidant within the cell membrane.  Vitamin C is a great antioxidant within the plasma.  Glutathione is the best intracellular antioxidant.  However, all of these antioxidants needed the antioxidant minerals and B cofactors to do their job well.  Also, vitamin C was able to replenish vitamin E so it could be used over and over again.  Alpha lipoic acid, another great antioxidant, was able to regenerate both vitamin E and glutathione.  I found that 1 plus 1 was no longer 2, but instead, 8 or 10. This powerful approach allowed me a much better chance of bringing oxidative stress back under control.

Once my patients were consuming my recommendations of cellular nutrition, I simply began adding enhancers to their nutritional supplement regime.  I began looking for the most potent antioxidants that were available.  Grape seed extract was found to be 50 times more potent than vitamin E and 20 times more potent than vitamin C at handling oxidative stress.  CoQ10 was not only a very important antioxidant but has been found to significantly boost our natural immune system and help provide increased energy for the cell to function at its optimal level.  Other nutrients like glucosamine sulfate, saw palmetto, phytonutrients, additional vitamin E, calcium, magnesium in various illnesses produced amazing results.

Over the past 12 years, I have learned how to best support my patients’ natural defenses and allow them the best chance to take back control of their health.  Again, it is all about balance.  I want my patients who are already suffering from an illness to also bring oxidative stress back under control.  This is my entire goal.  Then and only then do they have a chance to see their health improve.  By combining cellular nutrition with specific enhancers, I give all my patients the best chance of bringing oxidative stress back under control.  The results that I have seen in my medical practice using these principles have been nothing short of amazing and something that I had never witnessed in my first 20 plus years of medical practice.

Now, I want to share a couple of precautions that I have learned along the way.  First, nutritional medicine is not like taking drugs.  It takes a minimum of 6 months to build up the body’s natural defenses and many of my patients did not even begin to see any improvements in their health until after 6 months.  Not everyone responds to my recommendations; however, I feel the majority of my patients have had significant health improvements when they followed these recommendations.  None of my patients were cured of their underlying illness.  Nutritional supplementation is not an alternative or substitute for traditional medical care.  You should never quit taking any medication prescribed by your doctor without his or her consent and direction.  Many of my patients have been able to decrease their dependence of medication and in some cases even discontinue some of their medication.  However, this is always because of a significant positive improvement in their health and under the direction of their personal physician.







Nutrition and Diet Trends

Overall diets have changed dramatically over the past century. Food selections, availability and science are constantly evolving, and new trends are emerging for foods that we consume. Some of the current and most prominent diet trends include flexitarian, organic, functional/value, and gluten-free diets. Knowing the facts about these nutrition trends can help you make more informed diet decisions.

The Good, the Bad and What You Need to Know

The Flexitarian Diet

Designed for those who aren’t ready to embrace a full vegetarian diet, the flexitarian diet balances a decreased consumption of meat with more produce. This diet is receiving positive feedback by the nutrition community as it encourages eating more healthful vegetarian foods such as beans, nuts, whole grains, and fresh produce while being flexible in the amount of meat eaten.

The diet plan has three levels:

• Beginner – 2 meatless days a week with 5-6 oz. of meat-based protein consumed on each of the other 5 days

• Advanced – 3 or 4 meatless days a week with 6 oz. of meat-based protein consumed on each of the other 3 days

• Expert – 5 meatless days a week with 9-10 oz. of meat-based protein consumed per week

One of the benefits of this diet is the ease of reducing the consumption of meat while enjoying more produce. It also provides a smooth transition for those who do not care for the taste of protein replacements but want to slowly wean themselves from meat.

Another positive: this diet encourages more complete whole grains as protein complements. New research suggests that people who consume several servings of whole grains per day, while limiting daily intake of refined grains, appear to have less fat tissue thought to trigger cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

One area of concern, however, is that the flexitarian diet may not contain enough complete proteins for growth and maturation or provide enough protein for athletes. If one is not fully committed to the responsibility of obtaining proteins; this diet can cause health complications.

Organic Diets

Influenced by the seasonality and the locality of foods, these diets focus on sustainable consumerism and choosing foods that are good for you as well as for the Earth. Among these foods are organic and raw foods. Often debated, organic foods are not exposed to pesticides and other chemicals thought to be harmful when consumed and bad for the environment. Organic livestock farmers do not use antibiotics or hormones, thought to cause different types of cancer, to prevent disease and spur growth in animals. Raw foods are not prepackaged or cooked, keeping them rich in flavor and nutrients.

Because organic foods can be 50 to 100 percent more expensive, experts encourage consumers to spend their food dollars wisely by carefully choosing between organic and conventional items. Produce and foods that a family eats most often are most important to spend extra on. The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., recommends choosing organic at least for produce with the highest pesticide residues. These selections include produce with thin or no skin such as apples, pears, peaches, berries, all leafy greens, peppers, celery and potatoes. Raw food sales are on the move. Susan Baker, marketing leader at Whole Foods Market–Greenlife Grocery agrees and notes an emerging trend towards a completely raw foods diet and the nutritional benefits.

Experts all agree that a diet high in fresh foods, including fruits and vegetables, is good for one’s health. However, there is some concern for diets based entirely on raw foods. Andrea N. Giancoli, M.P.H., R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association in Los Angeles, says in the journalEatingWell, “There’s no doubt that plant-based diets have been linked with a lower risk of obesity and other chronic diseases, but because the raw-foods diet is so restrictive, its followers are at risk for deficiencies of vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. And the diet isn’t based on science: cooking destroys some nutrients, but it makes others (like the lycopene in tomatoes) more absorbable.”

Functional/Value Diets

According to Cornell University, decreasing consumption volume and placing a focus on eating healthy foods is the cornerstone of the functional or value diet. The consumer is motivated to build a meal plan around foods that offer more than just taste and calories, thus getting more nutrient value from foods. The focus of this diet is on the function of the foods and benefits they provide.

A functional diet might include foods with added bioflavonoid and probiotics such as yogurt and dairy products to regulate intestinal health. This diet often includes exotic fruits (or “superfruits”) such as mangosteen, goji berries, and noni that have a high nutrient and antioxidant content. Research supports that adults can increase their chances of maintaining healthy brain activity by adding certain functional foods and beverages to their diets. For example, dark chocolate provides natural stimulants like caffeine to enhance concentration, and nuts and seeds provide good sources of vitamin E, an antioxidant associated with preventing cognitive decline. Coldwater fatty fish is an excellent functional food as omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are linked to lower dementia and stroke risks; slower mental decline; and are thought to play a vital role in enhancing memory.

No one challenges the benefits of this type of diet other than to advise that foods are balanced across meals.

Gluten-Free Diet

The gluten-free craze is another diet trend that’s becoming hard to ignore. This diet has increased in popularity over the last few years partly as a result of greater awareness and improved diagnosis of celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder triggered by exposure to gluten. Additionally, there has been a mass movement toward gluten-free products by those who have self-diagnosed gluten intolerance, believe a gluten-free diet is a healthier way of eating, or believe that it can help to help reduce weight. Since 2004, the gluten-free market has experienced an average annual growth rate of 28 percent. Today, less than one percent of the population has celiac disease; however, marketers believe that between 15 and 25 percent of consumers want gluten-free products.

The good news is that consumers who are following a gluten-free diet are usually eating less white and processed foods, and more fruits and vegetables. Another positive is that the trend has motivated manufacturers to provide more high-quality, gluten-free foods that the truly intolerant would normally not have access to. In the past, many gluten-free foods have been based on nutrient-poor ingredients, such as potato and corn starches, with xanthan and guar gum to improve texture.

The bad news is that people who have diagnosed themselves as gluten intolerant are missing an exact diagnosis from a doctor and could be incorrectly treating symptoms related to another health issue. Unless carefully managed, gluten-free diets can be deficient in vitamins and minerals. Gluten-free foods can also be very expensive and some can have high values of fat and sugar added by manufacturers to make them more appealing. Dieticians are increasingly advising true gluten intolerant sufferers to follow a naturally gluten-free diet.

Be Informed, Be Balanced

There is one thing on which experts agree: regardless of the diet you choose, eat plenty of produce and maintain a balanced diet. National guidelines recommend eating a variety of fruits and vegetables to take advantage of their diverse nutritional benefits. A balanced diet is important, no matter what trend you may choose to follow.






Citrus Fruits Could Help Prevent Obesity-Related Heart Disease, Liver Disease, Diabetes

Oranges and other citrus fruits are good for you — they contain plenty of vitamins and substances, such as antioxidants, that can help keep you healthy. Now a group of researchers reports that these fruits also help prevent harmful effects of obesity in mice fed a Western-style, high-fat diet.

The researchers are presenting their work today at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

“Our results indicate that in the future we can use citrus flavanones, a class of antioxidants, to prevent or delay chronic diseases caused by obesity in humans,” says Paula S. Ferreira, a graduate student with the research team.

More than one-third of all adults in the U.S. are obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Being obese increases the risk of developing heart disease, liver disease and diabetes, most likely because of oxidative stress and inflammation, Ferreira says. When humans consume a high-fat diet, they accumulate fat in their bodies. Fat cells produce excessive reactive oxygen species, which can damage cells in a process called oxidative stress. The body can usually fight off the molecules with antioxidants. But obese patients have very enlarged fat cells, which can lead to even higher levels of reactive oxygen species that overwhelm the body’s ability to counteract them.

Citrus fruits contain large amounts of antioxidants, a class of which are called flavanones. Previous studies linked citrus flavanones to lowering oxidative stress in vitro and in animal models. These researchers wanted to observe the effects of citrus flavanones for the first time on mice with no genetic modifications and that were fed a high-fat diet.

The team, at Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) in Brazil, conducted an experiment with 50 mice, treating them with flavanones found in oranges, limes and lemons. The flavanones they focused on were hesperidin, eriocitrin and eriodictyol. For one month, researchers gave groups either a standard diet, a high-fat diet, a high-fat diet plus hesperidin, a high-fat diet plus eriocitrin or a high-fat diet plus eriodictyol.

The high-fat diet without the flavanones increased the levels of cell-damage markers called thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) by 80 percent in the blood and 57 percent in the liver compared to mice on a standard diet. But hesperidin, eriocitrin and eriodictyol decreased the TBARS levels in the liver by 50 percent, 57 percent and 64 percent, respectively, compared with mice fed a high-fat diet but not given flavanones. Eriocitrin and eriodictyol also reduced TBARS levels in the blood by 48 percent and 47 percent, respectively, in these mice. In addition, mice treated with hesperidin and eriodictyol had reduced fat accumulation and damage in the liver.

“Our studies did not show any weight loss due to the citrus flavanones,” says Thais B. Cesar, Ph.D., who leads the team. “However, even without helping the mice lose weight, they made them healthier with lower oxidative stress, less liver damage, lower blood lipids and lower blood glucose.,”

Ferreira adds, “This study also suggests that consuming citrus fruits probably could have beneficial effects for people who are not obese, but have diets rich in fats, putting them at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and abdominal obesity.”

Next, the team will explore how best to administer these flavanones, whether in citrus juice, by consuming the fruit or developing a pill with these antioxidants. In addition, the team plans to conduct studies involving humans, Cesar says.

Cesar acknowledges funding from the Support Program for Scientific Development of the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UNESP and by Citrosuco, an orange juice production company in Matão, Sao Paulo, Brazil.