Truth About A New Study Questioning Organics’ Value – Prevention.com

(Another) article about organics vs that recent study.

Are Organics A Waste Of Money?

The skinny on a controversial new study

By Leah Zerbe

Is organic better? Many consumers swear by it but a team of Stanford researchers made headlines recently with their finding that, after looking at data from 250 studies, there wasn’t a big difference in nutrient levels of organic and conventional food. The media jumped on it, flooding the news with headlines like, Organic Food Is Just A Crock and Organic Foods No Better For You.

But the research, published in the journal the Annals of Internal Medicine, is facing strong criticism from experts who say studies that fail to look at the big picture  end up confusing people—rather than helping them make healthy choices.

“Nutrition studies miss the point,” says Charlotte Vallaeys, director of farm and food policy for The Cornucopia Institute, an organic watchdog group. “Consumers should not lose sight of the important impacts of organic agriculture, which produces foods without the use of toxic pesticides that have been linked to an array of health problems, including ADHD in children and cancer.”

Here’s what the study did find to support the argument for eating organic:

It can reduce infections. Choosing organic meat, particularly organic pork and chicken, reduces your risk of coming in contact with potentially deadly antibiotic-resistant super-germs by more than 30%.

Organics reduce your exposure to pesticides. Organic produce was shown to have a 30% lower risk of contamination with pesticides than conventional produce. “A growing body of evidence suggests that dietary exposures to pesticides, particularly neurotoxic insecticides, causes lasting damage to developing fetuses and young children,” says Sonya Lunder, a senior research analyst at Environmental Working Group, an environmental and human health watchdog group.

Organic milk is a smart choice. Organic milk contained more heart- and brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Produce that’s organically grown is healthier. Organic produce boosted higher levels of cancer-preventing micronutrients known as plant phenols.

And here’s what the study missed:

GMO threats: The study didn’t include potential health impacts of eating genetically engineered material commonly found in nonorganic food, particularly processed foods. The jury’s still out on the safety of GMOs in the food supply due to a lack of long-term studies, but preliminary research suggests it could be linked to a whole host of health concerns, such as digestive diseases and food allergies.

The true cost of conventional agriculture: US farmers spray so many pesticides—particularly glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup—that it’s now evaporating and raining back down on us. Glyphosate is implicated in hormone disruption, infertility, and cell damage. Scientists don’t know yet how such widespread exposure is affecting humans, or what the ultimate environmental and human health toll will be.

Processed food threats: Organic processed foods are free of questionable artificial sweeteners, food dyes, and chemical preservatives that have been linked to everything from ADHD, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome to brain cell damage, autism, and obesity.

Bottom line: Don’t let catchy headlines fool you into forgoing organics. See the Top 10 Reasons To Go Organic and What To Buy Organic—And What To Skip.

via Truth About A New Study Questioning Organics’ Value – Prevention.com.

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7 Crazy Things Pesticides Are Doing to Your Body | Rodale News

This seemed kinda scary to read. I hope we learn more on this in grad school…

BY LEAH ZERBE Share on facebook_like Share on google_plusone

Pesticides aren’t just on the food, the chemicals are inside food, too.

Pesticides are designed to kill, although the mode of action they use to put the stranglehold on pests varies. Whether it’s nerve gas–like neurological disruption, the unbalancing of key hormones, or the stunting of a plant’s ability to absorb life-sustaining trace minerals from the soil, none of the chemical interventions seems all that appetizing, especially considering that chemical residues routinely wind up on and even inside of the food we eat everyday. Pesticides are also blamed for diminishing mineral levels in foods.

Agrochemical supporters tend to fall back on a “the dose makes the poison” theory, meaning tiny exposures aren’t really that harmful. Increasingly, though, independent scientists are debunking that belief, even proving that incredibly tiny doses could set a person up for health problems that might not crop up until decades down the line. Luckily, eating organic, less processed foods can cut back on your pesticide exposure.

Here are 7 health problems associated with pesticide-based agrochemicals.

Diabetes

Scientists have been noticing a link between pesticides and diabetes for years. The latest evidence comes out of the Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting, where Robert Sargis, MD, PhD, released the results of a study that suggest tolyfluanid, a fungicide used on farm crops, creates insulin resistance in fat cells. A 2011 study published in Diabetes Care found that overweight people with higher levels of organochlorine pesticides in their bodies also faced a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Prevent it: To save money on organic fare raised without pesticides, cook with organic dried beans. In the home, avoid using chemical air fresheners and artificially scented products—these things are also blamed for inducing type 2 diabetes.

Read more: 11 Surprising Diabetes Triggers

Cancer

More than 260 studies link pesticides to various cancers, including lymphoma, leukemia, soft tissue sarcoma, and brain, breast, prostate, bone, bladder, thyroid, colon, liver, and lung cancers, among others.

Prevent it: The President’s Cancer Panel suggests eating organic and avoiding plastic to lower your risk of environmentally triggered cancers.

Autism & Other Developmental Diseases

How do you get autism? The world’s leading autism researchers believe the condition develops from a mix of genes and the pollutants encountered in the mother’s womb and early in life. Many insecticides effectively kill bugs by throwing off normal neurological functioning. That same thing appears to be happening in some children. A 2010 Harvard study found that children with organophosphate pesticide breakdown materials in their urine were far more likely to live with ADHD than kids without the trace pesticide residues.

Prevent it: Switching to an organic diet rapidly eliminates pesticide residues in the body.

Obesity

Some agrochemical pesticides act as hormone disruptors, meaning they act like a fake version of a naturally occurring hormone in your body, they block important hormone communication pathways in the body, or they interfere with your body’s ability to regulate the healthy release of hormones. More than 50 pesticides are classified as hormone disruptors, and some of them promote metabolic syndrome and obesity as they accumulate in your cells, according to 2012 study appearing in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Parkinson’s Disease

More than 60 studies show a connection between pesticides and the neurological disease Parkinson’s, a condition characterized by uncontrolled trembling. The association is strongest for weed- and bug-killing chemical exposures over a long period of time, meaning it’s important to keep these toxic compounds out of your household routine.

Prevent it: Don’t turn to chemical interventions to kill bugs in your home or garden. Instead, use natural pest control measures.

Infertility

Pesticides spell trouble in the baby-making department, thanks to their bad habit of not staying put. For instance, atrazine, a common chemical weed killer used heavily in the Midwest, on Southern sugar cane farms, and on golf courses, has been detected in tap water. Doctors and scientists point to published evidence tying atrazine to increased miscarriage and infertility rates. Other pesticides cause a plunge in male testosterone levels. A 2006 study found chlorpyrifos, a chemical used in nonorganic apple and sweet pepper farming, and carbaryl, a go-to pesticide in strawberry fields and peach orchards, caused abnormally low testosterone levels.

Prevent it: Avoid the worst summer fruit, the kinds most likely to be laced with toxic pesticides. Instead, choose organic grapes, strawberries, and imported plums.

Birth Defects

Babies conceived during the spring and summer months—a time of year when pesticide use is in full swing—face the highest risk of birth defects. During these months, higher pesticide levels turn up in surface waters, increasing a mother’s risk of exposure. Spina bifida, cleft lip, clubfoot, and Down syndrome rates are higher when moms become pregnant during high season for pesticides.

Prevent it: To protect yourself, use a water filter that is certified by NSF International to meet American National Standards Institute Standard 53 for VOC (volatile organic compound) reduction. This will significantly reduce levels of atrazine and other pesticides in your tap water.

via 7 Crazy Things Pesticides Are Doing to Your Body | Rodale News.

Free radicals and antioxidants – those terms everyone throws around…

So what are they?

Your body uses oxygen for numerous metabolic reactions, as well as part of your immune system. (Our bodies use them to attack bacteria and viruses. ) Sometimes when oxygen interacts with different compounds it can become a free radical.

A free radical is a molecule that has one or more unpaired electrons. So what? A molecule wants to have all of it’s orbitals filled – usually each atom in a molecule likes to have 8 electrons or it shares electrons with another atom in the molecule so it’s balanced. So if a molecule has only 7 electrons, it’s going to pull from somewhere else – from another molecule or atom that has a less strong hold on its electrons. Now the first one is stabilized, but the second one is out an electron or two and becomes a free radical. 

An antioxidant is a molecule that give up an electron but then reconfigures to a way that it’s still balanced and doesn’t become a free radical itself.

Free radicals attack fats in our cell membranes and damage our cell functioning. They can also alter DNA, RNA and proteins and increase inflammation. All of this has a big domino effect on the body.

Your body naturally defends against oxidants/free radicals by making enzymes out of the minerals selenium, copper, manganese and zinc. It also uses vitamins like E, beta-cartone and vitamin C. All of these are found in diets high in fruits and veggies.

Pro, Con Arguments on Proposed NY Sugary Drink Ban – ABC News

My thoughts: I am torn between both arguments. I think that we should have freedom of choice, but I also notice those using that argument on the discussion panel are the food companies that have something to lose by selling less product. Also the fact is that over the years in order to compete with one another, fast food companies have tried to one up each other on their sizes.

Whether it passes or not, I think the heated debate that this issue is getting, and the ridicule on Jon Stewart, will help get a little press out there about just had how bad large sodas can be for you.

The article: Medical professionals who favor a proposed ban on large-sized sugary drinks likened soda companies to Big Tobacco at a public hearing Tuesday, saying the plan would protect the public, while opponents accused the city of playing Big Brother and wondered what tasty but unhealthy foods might be targeted next.

New York City’s health board heard hours of testimony on a proposed rule that would limit soft-drink cup and bottle sizes at food service establishments to no larger than 16 ounces.

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Chylo..wha? HDL, LDL and what are.

Science lesson time!

Here’s how you absorb lipids – and the end products.

Larger fat molecules are mixed with bile and become micelles. This allows fats to be moved to the intestinal cells. In intestinal cells, cholesterol and lipids are packed with protein. These are chylomicrons. Chylomicrons are released into the lymphatic system. They enter the bloodstream near the heart and then blood carries these lipids to the rest of your body for immediate use or storage.

As you know, fats and water don’t mix. Because proteins are surrounding the structure, these chylomicrons allow fats to be transported through the watery blood.

As the chylomicron goes through the body cells snatch up triglycerides from the chylomicrons and as it floats around it gets smaller and smaller. Eventually it gets back to your liver.

Here lipids your liver has been assembling and ones collected from the smaller chilomicron are packaged with more proteins as VLDL or very low density lipoproteins. This configuration is then shipped through the body again and cells again remove triglycerides, causing it to shrink. As triglycerides are taken up, the VLDL becomes mostly cholesterol. Now this is LDL (low-density lipoprotein). This continues to float through your body and pieces are taken up by cells.

Your body makes HDL (high-density lipoproteins) to remove cholesterol from cells and bring it back to the liver to be either recycled or to be disposed of. If you read my previous post you can see an instance where your body would need to collect some cholesterol.

For ways to raise your HDL levels, here’s a great article from about.com.