Nutritional Myths and Facts

You can get all the nutrition from your supermarket (or from the infamous four food groups).  If you believe this, you are a candidate to buy a piece of the Brooklyn Bridge.
 
First, let’s destroy that myth of the “four food groups”.  If that were indeed true, a meal at Burger King would be “nutritious”.  No serious observer believes this – but it has all 4 food groups.  Would you believe that this absurd FFF (four food fictions) is STILL being taught in medical schools and nutritionist courses in all too many colleges?  (Nutritionists are those wonderful people who give you those “delicious” meals in schools, prisons, and hospitals.  Need I say more about this?)

Next, why can’t we just eat healthy foods from our supermarket?  Need a few reasons?

 1.    Fruits and veggies are picked green and artificially ripened with chemicals.  These same fruits and veggies are sprayed with insecticides that are also deadly to us humans.  We do accumulate these, albeit slowly, and it takes additional nutrition to help our bodies get rid of these chemicals.

2.    Many growing areas in the US are overworked and many more are more than a bit deficient in minerals needed for nutrition, and taste.  You can easily prove this – just try growing your own tomatoes, or even getting them fresh from some of the local fruit stands.  Bite into it – If the juice and seeds don’t squirt 3-4 feet, it’s not really picked ripe.  AND THE TASTE!  Not at all the same as those blobs of red plastic you get from the supermarket.  In Florida, zinc has to be added to fertilizers to grow oranges.  Milk from Florida cows contain no zinc.

3.    Food animals are fed hormones to increase their weight. These hormones are illegal for athletes to use, but legal for farmers.  If that’s not bad enough, consider this – about half of all antibiotics in the US are used in food animals.  I lived in Puerto Rico some years back, and when I found out about the very high level of penicillin in the milk. my kids stopped getting milk.  Most of the cows there are tuberculin. Nice hey?

 This factor of antibiotic use in our food is one of the prime factors facing us with bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics.  Antibiotics are way overused and even abused by the medical profession as well as by food producers

In cows, pigs, and sheep, the hormones and antibiotics and other chemicals ingested by these animals is found largely in fatty tissues.   (From cows that browse along highways, high levels of lead – from lead additives to gas – were found.  This is why bone derived calcium is still not too good in the good old USA.). As we eat these meats, we get these chemicals as well.  How do we get rid of them – well, it takes extra vitamins and minerals to excrete them.

4.      Chickens are no longer the chickens our grandparents knew.  Now, they’re grown to “eating” size in a small cage, fed a “scientific” diet – not for nutrition – but for fastest growth.  This results in much more fat and much more chemical input in this fat.  When my wife and I were cruising around the Caribbean, and getting food in native markets, the difference in taste amazed us.  It was not only the chicken, but also the beef and pork.  It was often gotten from a shack with a dirt floor, and there were flies everywhere, but I know that it was much healthier (and tastier) for us than what we are now getting from our supermarket. The taste difference was marked, and the lack of fat was noticeable.

There have been many “disturbing” reports about cancerous growths and tumors in chicken and turkeys grown in these “factories”.  In addition, it seems that the automatic pluckers get chicken feces into the machinery, and both of these are passed on to us, the lucky (???) consumers.

5.    Any scientist or even any knowledgeable person in the US can tell you that our environment is being poisoned by the chemicals we are putting into it.  Our air, our water, and our soil are not even close to what it was 100 years ago.  All of these chemicals are getting into our bodies in ever increasing amounts, and it takes ever increasing amounts of vitamins and necessary minerals to excrete them.

6.    White bread and “Enriched” flour. This is one of the biggest jokes of all on us consumers.  When steel rollers were invented around the turn of the century, the wheat germ and the fiber casing were removed.  (It was then thought that fiber was not necessary to health because it wasn’t absorbed.  That’s just another scientific stupidity.)  This resulted in very white flour that was prettier and easier for housewives to use.  A couple of problems became apparent – the lack of several vitamins actually caused several deficiency diseases in people who were eating it.  Anemia and schizophrenia were probably the worst, but there were others.  The US government looked into it and decided that the wheat people had to add back a “few” items to reduce this problem.  So, they added back iron, and 3 of the B vitamins.  The advertising folks couldn’t admit that white bread had been “poisoning” the consumers, so they added the beautiful word “enriched” to this flour.  Isn’t advertising wonderful?  It sells garbage as good!

This “new” white flour removed over 40 vitamins and minerals very necessary to our health.  They added back in only minimum amounts of the 4 “most” needed ones.  That’s the equivalent of robbing a man of his clothes in a blizzard, and handing him back his tie, thereby “enriching” him! 

7.     Sugar and processed foods. In 1900, the average intake of sugar was about 5-6 pounds per year per person.  Today, that number is well above 200 pounds.  In that same 1900, there were few “processed foods”.  What was eaten was grown fairly near, and eaten in season.  Today, the supermarket is loaded with processed foods.  Just look at a few labels!! Read the list of the chemicals in almost every food on the shelf!

These are only the most important reasons for taking vitamin and mineral supplements.  Remember that to get rid of these accumulating chemicals, we need increasing amounts of vitamins and minerals, but because of some of the above factors, we are getting less and less.  Maybe, those people who lived in 1900 could get their nutritional needs better satisfied from their foods, but only a fool would believe it today.  (I doubt that they got enough either.)

Megavitamins are dangerous (and/or toxic).  More nonsense that simply isn’t true.  Of course, vitamin A in very huge doses can be toxic, but it’s pretty difficult to get that much vitamin A by accident.  Most adults can tolerate up to 25,000 IU per day for several days, and even if too much is taken over a long period, the symptoms are pretty clear and obvious (yellow skin, eyes, jaundice like).

 Some MD’s (without much vitamin knowledge) heard that B6 can cut down PMS symptoms, and prescribed it for patients.  Their patients came back after months with some different symptoms.  Then, some MD’s put out papers calling B6 “toxic”.  What every knowledgeable practitioner knows about the B complex is that it works together, and large amounts of any one MUST be balanced somewhat with a minimum of the rest.  Another case of not knowing enough!   Generally, you can take huge amounts of most B vitamins without any effects as long as you take sufficient amounts of the rest of the complex.  It’s much more dangerous to your health to take too much calcium or some of the other minerals.

Do you (and yours) need vitamin and mineral supplements? The answer is a resounding YES.  Just because you feel pretty healthy is no reason to forego them.  If you want to say healthy, you’ll get
on them, and stay on them.  Remember this – You are what you eat.

Cholesterol Myths.  All the media hype about cholesterol makes it an “enemy”, which is just not so.  Cholesterol is a fat that’s a precursor to several hormones necessary to life.  As a matter of fact, sunlight on the skin changes cholesterol into vitamin D. So, without cholesterol, we’re in serious trouble.

So, if cholesterol is “good” what’s the entire hullabaloo about? Well, it seems that some researchers found that high levels of cholesterol in the blood correlate to high incidence of heart problems.  Also, artery plaque is composed of cholesterol (and other fats) along with calcium.  Many medical researchers immediately “jumped” to the conclusion that cholesterol was “bad”.  Lots of articles came out in various magazines written by so-called medical “experts”.  The upshot was that foods that contain cholesterol were “banned” by many MD’s.  These included eggs, butter, cheeses, and meats.  (A British research paper that showed people eating 6 eggs per week had lower cholesterol levels than those that ate none was ignored by most AMA “experts”)

Once upon a time, there was a cardiac specialist MD who had high levels of cholesterol. He also had a family history of heart problems (a good reason to go into cardiac specialty just as some psychiatrists and psychologists go into their professions because of personal problems.)

 He stopped eating any cholesterol-laden foods, and continually tested his HDL and LDL levels.  He was very surprised to find that his cholesterol didn’t drop.  He was a bit smarter than most, and he did more research, and found that 80% of the cholesterol in the blood is manufactured in the liver, and is NOT derived directly from the cholesterol in food.  And, that’s not a fairy story!!  So, if the liver makes it, why does it go high? 

To understand this, you need a bit more information.  When you eat something, it is broken down into very small bits in order to pass thru the intestinal walls.  Protein is broken down into individual amino acids, starch is broken into various sugars, and fats are broken down into various fatty acids.  An egg is broken down into all the essential amino acids needed for humans, some small sugars, and some fats which include cholesterol.

Next, let’s look at sugar which is the real culprit.  When starches are broken down into sugars, they in turn, are changed to glucose, which the body needs for energy.  Once the glucose is in the blood stream, it is literally forced into all cells in the body by insulin. 

If you are running a marathon, your body uses it as energy.  BUT, if you are watching TV, you don’t need much energy, so the cell converts this into “future” energy by changing it into a fatty acid, and ejects it back into the bloodstream.  Depending on several factors, this fatty acid can be any combination of three basic types. (The term “triglycerides” means 3 fatty acids.)

Now, the liver “sees” this triglycerides level rising, and it starts to use some of these to make cholesterol in order to “balance” these levels.  This is why high cholesterol levels are linked to high triglyceride levels. 

At the turn of the last century, the average person in the US ate 5-10 lbs of sugar PER YEAR.  Today, it’s up to over 200 lbs a year.  If you want to correlate things, correlate this – in Africa among poor persons who eat a diet literally free of sugar, there is NO diabetes, NO occluded arteries, inn fact, NONE of our “civilized diseases”.  If these “poor” persons are “helped” to eat a modern diet full of sugar, they develop all these diseases.  Now, that’s a real correlation.

There’s another correlation that I use as an analogy. People who drive older used cars have lower cholesterol than people who drive new luxury cars. The moral – don’t drive a new luxury car!  Of course, it has nothing to do with the car, but the correlation is generally true simply because the people who drive a luxury car eat more sugar laden (high carbohydrate) diets.  It’s the same thing with foods containing cholesterol.  (Another might be drawn about poorer families, including blacks that develop better athletes!)  Is sugar a real enemy?  You make up your own mind.  I’m addicted to it, and so are most of the people I know.

Eggs are not eaten by millions of people because the medical profession in its usual wrong-headedness trumpeted that correlation, and the media made it worse (also as usual).  In fact, eggs are the most perfect food for humans.  Measured on a scale of 100, eggs rate 99.99, and all other foods only reach 98 or less.  Eggs actually contain lecithin, another fat that actually lowers cholesterol.  (Remember the dieter who drinks a diet soda with his doughnut so it doesn’t count.  Not quite the same!)

A study in England, reported in the Lancet, 25 or so years ago, found that persons who ate 6 eggs per week had lower cholesterol than persons who ate none.  Several studies have also shown that persons who eat butter live longer and better than those who eat margarine.  Margarine has nickel (used to make oils into fats), trans-fatty acids, and it has close to the same fatty acid content as butter.  Isn’t it interesting that lately scientists are also coming to the same conclusions?

I personally eat eggs 3-5 times per week, and we use only butter in our house.  We try to only eat whole wheat bread, and/or whole wheat cereals.  Of course, I also take even more than the recommended vitamin/mineral supplements, and that undoubtedly helps me.  From all the research I’ve done and read, that’s one man’s educated opinion, you make up your own mind.

The above is covered in much greater detail in my book “The Health Revolution” that can be downloaded free from my website.

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