Health News
New Study Shows There’s No “Safe” Level of Refined Sugar PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC   
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sugar is in the news again, and I don’t think we’re going to stop hearing about it any time soon. A new study published in the journal Nature Communications examined the effects of sugar intake among mice--at levels currently considered to be safe--and the results are quite shocking. As it turns out, these “safe” levels of sugar actually have some serious detrimental effects.


Anyone who has read my books knows that I don’t consider any amount of refined sugar “safe” for human consumption—and the scientific research into sugar’s effects on the body continue to support my view.

The study, conducted at the University of Utah, fed mice a daily diet of 25 percent extra sugar—the equivalent of a healthy human diet plus three cans (36 fluid ounces) of sugar-sweetened soda. That’s about the size of a typical convenience store or fast food large fountain drink.

The study was conducted over one year, the average life span for a typical laboratory mouse. So in effect, this was a lifelong study on the animals to look at the effects of chronic sugar consumption. The study results showed that consuming 25 percent more sugar (an amount that is currently considered safe for humans) changed the way mice lived in a contained, natural habitat.

The findings showed that the mortality rate in female mice went from 17 percent to 35 percent (meaning they were twice as likely to die) and male mice produced 25 percent fewer offspring compared to mice on a controlled diet.

James Ruff, a post-doctoral student involved with the study, said the sugar increase was bad for the rodents. “The sugar has done something to their physiological systems that make them worse at competing–worse at dealing with the day-to-day struggles of mouse life. It makes the male not be able to give it their all every day in order to defend and maintain their territories, and it makes it harder for the females to do the incredibly intensive things they have to do–forage for food, gestate, and take care of their pups, which is incredibly taxing,” he said.

Despite the added sugar, the mice didn't become obese or demonstrate significant metabolic symptoms. However, the types of effects the researchers did see were just as harmful to the mice's health as the type of health problems that arise from being the inbred offspring of two cousins. A study on inbred mice was also performed, and researchers said the effects of increased sugar were similar to what was seen among inbred mice. Both the inbred mice and the mice on the added sugar diet lost about 30 percent of their health and fitness and reproductive output.

The study's senior author, biology professor Wayne Potts, said the impact of the sugar was more significant than he expected and stressed the relevancy of the study to humans. “I was surprised how big the effect was that we are actually talking about mortality,” he said. “That’s a pretty big kind of end-point.” "Our results provide evidence that added sugar consumed at concentrations currently considered safe exerts dramatic adverse impacts on mammalian health," Potts said in a press release. "I have reduced refined sugar intake and encouraged my family to do the same," he added.

Currently, the National Research Council recommends that added sugar should not account for more than 25 percent of a person's diet. That does not include naturally occurring sugar found in fruits, vegetables or other non-processed food. Thirteen to 25 percent of Americans consume a dose of added sugar equivalent to that used in the study, Potts said.

The University of Utah researchers said that while mice and humans have different physiological makeups, they are close enough that the side effects of sugar might be something people should consider eliminating from their diet. The results indicate that we need to learn a lot more about what sugar is doing to metabolic mechanisms, and that follow up studies are necessary.

So what to do with a sweet tooth? Use stevia, or other natural sweeteners that have not been shown to have detrimental effects on health.

Soaking Nuts for Good Health PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC   
Friday, August 02, 2013

soakednuts-and-seeds-in-seiveNuts and seeds are two power foods that can bestow some serious health benefits—including weight loss, reduced levels of inflammation, reduced risk of heart disease and reduces risk of type 2 diabetes.  However, as a way of preserving and protecting them in the wild, Mother Nature designed them to be quite difficult to digest, and even toxic. 

You see, locked inside all seeds (nuts, grains, and legumes are seeds of plants too) is the genetic material to grow an entire new plant. As you might imagine, Mother Nature would want to protect a seed from anything that might want to consume it before being able to reproduce itself.  Therefore, seeds were equipped with an arsenal of self defense mechanisms known as anti-nutrients, which are contained in the outer seed coat (or bran, in the case of grains).  These toxic anti-nutrients keep insects, predators, bacteria, viruses or fungi, from destroying seeds prematurely.

These anti-nutrients also act as built-in growth inhibitors—a preservation system that allows the seeds to remain dormant for long periods of time.  This is why they can be kept in a dormant state in seedbanks for decades without any damage to their DNA. The anti-nutrients protect the seed until conditions are right to start the growth cycle.  In order to sprout, plants need moisture, warmth, time and slight acidity in the soil or water. 

When placed in water or planted in the ground, a seed will begin to germinate.  Once the germination process starts, natural enzyme activity eliminates the anti-nutrients from the outer seed coating and transforms the long-term-storage properties of the seed into simpler molecules that are easily digested. This is why soaking nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes has been an important part of traditional food preparation for thousands of years. Soaking mimics the natural germination process that occurs in nature.  What’s more, this process unlocks important enzymes and nutrients that are unavailable to us when the seeds or nuts are not soaked.

Before I go into how to soak your nuts and seeds, I want to explain what the anti-nutrients are, why they can be harmful to your health and why soaking is an important practice. The main anti-nutrients are: enzyme inhibitors, phytates, and lectins.

Enzyme inhibitors
Plant seeds, especially nuts and seeds, contain enzyme inhibitors that ward off predators. These inhibitors block enzyme function, particularly the enzymes required to digest proteins, which can put a real strain on the digestive system if consumed in excess.  The inability to digest proteins can lead to chronic inflammation, insulin resistance, impaired digestion, immune suppression, increased allergies, severe intestinal issues and declined mental function.

Phytates (Phytic Acid)
The most known anti-nutrient found in nuts, seeds, and grains is phytic acid (or phytate), a compound that protects the plant seed from premature germination. When you eat foods containing phytates, they combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption.  Phytates also have the potential to block protein absorption.

Over time, regularly consuming foods that contain phytates can lead to serious mineral deficiencies and cause a wide array of health problems including bone loss, digestive issues, autoimmune diseases, allergies, skin irritations, decaying teeth, and hormone disruption.

However, seeds, nuts, and grains contain an enzyme called phytase, which is activated by soaking and breaks down phytic acid.

Lectins are basically carb-binding proteins that are present in nearly all foods, both plant and animal.  In plants, they act as built-in pesticides that nature intended for warding off predators (humans included).  These types of lectins are highly concentrated in grains (especially wheat), beans (especially soybeans), and nuts. When consumed in large quantities, they are very harmful to the small intestine. They stick to the lining of the small intestine and damage the sensitive villi that are responsible for transporting nutrients into the bloodstream.

Over time, lectins lead to a condition called “leaky gut syndrome” which means that the delicate lining of the small intestine has become so damaged and perforated that undigested food particles,  proteins, toxins and other pathogens are able to “leak” into the bloodstream and bind to tissues and organs throughout the body. This triggers inflammation  in the body as a way to protect the affected tissue. Because of this, lectins are also linked with autoimmune disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disorders, fibromyalgia, arthritis, lupus and many others.

Soaking and Sprouting Increases Nutritional Content

soaking cashewsIf all this sounds like a hazard to your health, it is!  Many people suffer from the effects of antrinutrients beacuse they eat a large amount of grain foods that have not been soaked or sprouted.  Nuts and seeds are typically eaten in small quantities compared to grains, but it is still important to soak them as well.  When soaked, the vital proteins, vitamins (especially B vitamins), enzymes and minerals are unlocked, making them ten times more nutritious than in their raw unsoaked form. Our not-so-distant ancestors understood this very well. They never consumed these foods without soaking, sprouting, or fermenting them first.  

How to Soak Nuts and Seeds

Place the raw nuts or seeds in a glass jar or bowl and cover them with water of the correct temperature (see the chart below).  Note: If the chart indicates warm water,  it only needs to be warm initially.  You don’t have to keep the water warm for the entire soak time. 

Add a pinch of salt or apple cider vinegar, and allow them to soak according to the chart below.

Drain off the water and DRY the soaked nuts or seeds by blotting them dry with a towel and then spreading them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven with the oven light on.  DO NOT TURN ON THE OVEN.  You can leave them in the oven all day to dry while you are away.  The light will create a very low heat (no higher than 120 degrees) and will allow them to dry, but won’t harm the delicate oils contained within them. 

You may also dry them in a dehydrator.

When you store soaked nuts or seeds, make sure they are completely dry, otherwise they will go moldy very quickly.   Soaked nuts and seeds should also be stored in the refrigerator.

                                 Nut and Seed Soaking Guide

                                            (soaking times are in hours)

soaking TABLE

Truvia Sued for Deceptive Advertising PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael McCaffrey   
Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Cargill, the huge agribusiness firm that makes Truvia, just can't get a break.

The makers of Truvia, the highly processed stevia creation, are being charged in a new class-action suit claiming that it's marketing is "unfair, unlawful, and fraudulent..." and "likely to deceive" consumers into believing its "stevia" brand sweetener is natural when it is in fact a substance that is "highly chemically processed." The complaint (seen here) was filed in Hawaii federal court in July.


in 2012, Dee McCaffrey, Founder of Processed-Free America, said Trivua is not a natural product - it is misleading to the consumers - "It comes from stevia, but it isn't stevia. It isn't the real deal." Ms. McCaffrey says. Click here for the link to this podcast:

In fact, only a minute fraction of stevia-derived ingredient is in Trivia. The remainder is all synthetic erythrotol that comes from corn starch (ah, there's that GMO corn again) that is created in a highly processed way (which they don't tell us how, except to say that it's converted to glucose through "the biochemical process of enzymatic hydrolysis").

And this, on top of Cargill being sued for it's other product, high fructose corn syrup. Back in June, Cargill and five other HFCS manufacturers are being sued for product liability, failure to warn, reckless conduct, gross negligence, and injuries to a Buffalo-area woman and her 14 year old daughter who has type-2 diabetes, saying there is indeed a "direct, causal connection" between this poor girl's condition and her consuming HFCS. For more info on this, click here:

But Cargill isn't taking any chances. According to Domain Name Wire, the giant scooped up names like and other derivates. Better safe than sorry, as they say. Always good to try to control the conversation while toiling on the wrong side of history.

Splenda Affects Insulin Response PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael McCaffrey   
Wednesday, June 05, 2013

A team of researchers at the Washington University of Medicine in St. Louis recently found that Splenda indeed has effects on the body’s response to sugar, which can therefore affect diabetes risk.

As everyone knows, sucralose, the main ingredient in Splenda, has zero calories and shouldn’t produce an insulin response. However, this new study of 17 very obese people who are not diabetic and don’t normally consume artificial sweeteners, is showing new evidence to the contrary.


The participants consumed either sucralose or plain water before taking a glucose challenge test that is typically used as a tool to determine if a person has gestational diabetes. The results concluded that consuming sucralose was connected with higher blood sugar peaks and 20 percent higher insulin levels compared with those that just consumed water. The researchers stated that more studies need to be done.


SOURCE: Splenda, Sucralose Artificial Seetener, Could Affect Body's Insulin Response

Monsanto Protection Act – What Now? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael McCaffrey   
Wednesday, June 05, 2013

When we announced in April that the spending bill (HR 933), which allowed the federal government to continue through the end of the year, contained a rider affectionately called the Monsanto Protection Act, I was a bit stymied. Blurry eyed. Lost.

Some people were saying that all Monsanto needs is six months to start foiling our planet. Not long after our email about the Act, someone called our office and asked “now what?” Usually we offer calls to action, things to do to right the wrong, but not this time, she said. She was right. I was still flat-footed, I was still in mourning.

The Monsanto Protection Act is a rider that, for the six months it is in effect, if a federal court were to strike down a USDA approval of a genetically modified crop and place an injunction against the planting of that crop, the USDA “shall immediately” approve permits for planting or offer a partial deregulation. In other words, it eliminates the judicial part of our government. The checks-and-balances are destroyed with this provision.

It’s a terrible provision that challenges how we set up our government.  And the fed­eral courts have struck down a num­ber of genet­i­cally engi­neered crop approvals by the USDA as unlaw­ful, so for 6 months, we are exposed. However, Colin O’Neil, Director of Government Affairs for the Center for Food Safety has said that “In theory, there are still a couple of other crops that could be approved during this window of time, but we may or may not see this rider triggered. It only takes into account the USDA approval of a crop, the challenge to that approval, and then the court striking down that approval. So, we may or may not see this ever happen or the rider used.”

But what do we do? What now?
First, the way #1 to stay away from the effects of GMOs is to buy organic. Federal regulations state that no GMOs can be used in foods with the USDA Certified Organic Label. So, if you’re concerned about GMO’s, and you should, you should be buying organic as often as you can.

Second, stay away from processed foods, of which 70% is made of GMO corn or some other GMO.
Why stay away from GMO’s? I’m glad you asked. That’s part of the unfortunate nature of Monsanto  - the only way you can obtain their seeds (for studies) is to be a farmer of theirs. And when you sign on to Monsanto, you literally sign away your ability to offer your seeds for experiments. Only Monsanto can do tests on Monsanto seeds, which presents a problem. The famous French study out last year was the first independent study of Monsanto’s seeds, with devastating results. there was a 600 percent increase—or six times more deaths—compared to the control group that was not exposed to GMOs.  Here’s an article we did on that study – please share it with your friends:

It is amazing that GMOs are part of our food supply when they have not been independently tested. It’s an absolute crime, frankly. And we can’t expect a company that created Agent Orange and lied to the government about the effects of Agent Orange on our troops to be truthful anytime soon.

So, getting back to the original question, now what? Be Vigilant! Monsanto only wins if we give up! There are several good soldiers on our side in the Senate who are introducing legislation. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) created an amendment to support mandatory GMO labeling (#1025) as well as her amendment asking the FDA and USDA study the 64 countries that now require GMO labeling (#1026). 

And Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) created an amendment (#978) to repeal the "Monsanto Protection Act".

The Farm bill will be reviewed by both the Senate and the House this month, and “better safe than sorry” is the attitude I’d have here – we really can’t allow our Senators to go on unmonitored, in my opinion, because when they are left on their own, things like the Monsanto Protection Act come about.

So, there are two organizations that I’d encourage you to become familiar with. They are Food Democracy Now and the Center for Food Safety. Both have petitions that I’d encourage you to sign up with.

Food Democracy Now has a petition to repeal Monsanto Protection Act:

Also, the Center for Food Safety has their petition here:

And, don’t give up on this! We’ll need to keep our eye on Monsanto. I and many others believe we have reached a tipping point. What occurred a few weeks ago, with over 2 million protestors against Monsanto in more than 50 countries, shows that the Anti-GMO Movement has arrived.

And Monsanto’s reach may be wide, but it’s still patchy and, thankfully, not complete. According to O’Neil, “For the past half dozen years, reports from the Government Accountability Office, the Inspector General within the USDA, the National Academy of Sciences, as well as fed­eral courts have sharply criticized USDA approvals of genet­i­cally engi­neered crops for fail­ing to ade­quately review their envi­ron­men­tal impacts,” O’Neil is also quoted as saying that the “courts also crit­i­cize their lack of review of the eco­nomic impacts—namely the cross-contamination of organic or conventional crops through pollen drift or seed dis­per­sal.”

So, Monsanto is not indestructible. We can, and must, win this one. Keep buying organic, keep in touch with these two organizations, and keep your voice heard!

SOURCE: Behind the Monsonto Protection Act
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