How to increase longevity in only 13 minutes per day

Countless explorers have searched for the fountain of youth, kings have sought to live forever, and people today do whatever it takes to look and feel younger, but what if you could increase your longevity by doing something for about 13 minutes daily. Would you do it? Well you may be able to add three years to your life and reduce your risk of death through participating in about 13 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per day.(1)

While Americans are advised to get 150 minutes (about 21 minutes daily, seven days per week), it may not take that much to increase longevity and reduce all causes of death according to a 2011 study published in The Lancet. To determine the longevity benefits (not the health benefits) of 150 minutes of physical activity per week researchers evaluated more than 416,000 Taiwanese individuals from 1996 to 2008 (average follow-up of 8.05 years). The amount of weekly exercise was recorded by self-administered questionnaires and then individual’s activity levels were categorized as: inactive, or low, medium, high, or very high activity.

What researchers found was that even those in the low-volume activity group who exercised for 92 minutes per week reduced their risk of all causes of death by 14 percent and increased their life woman-1426435_1920expectancy by three years when compared to the inactive group. Those who exercised for an additional 15 minutes per day further decreased their risk of all causes of death by 4 percent and cancer mortality by 1 percent. Inactive individuals had a 17 percent increased risk of mortality compared to the low-activity group.

With the busy schedules and sedentary lifestyles of many people, making time for the recommended 150 minutes of exercise can be a daunting task. However, the results of this study suggests that even minimal exercise – as little as 15 minutes per day – can have a significant impact on your overall health, with increasing returns with longer exercise intervals.

If 15 minutes seems like too long to commit to then you’ll love what other researchers discovered. They found that it only takes 60 seconds of strenuous (high-intensity) exercise daily to get the same physiological effects (improved health and fitness) as 45 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (traditional interval training).(2) Participants committed 10 minutes to exercise that involved three 20-second sprints on a bike, separated by two minutes of low-intensity cycling. A 2-minute warmup and 3-minute cool-down session were also included, equaling 10 minutes total exercise time.

It is remarkable, but not surprising to those of us who have been advocating high-intensity interval training for years, that 10 minutes equates to 45 minutes of steady-state cardio training. While the authors didn’t evaluate longevity as part of the study, the improved cardiovascular indices do suggest the possibility of an increased healthy lifespan.

Personally, I have been using high-intensity interval training (or metabolic resistance training) for years because of the fantastic benefits achieved with this style of activity. Essentially, you have periods of near maximum effort (say 1 minute) followed by short periods (15 seconds) of rest or light activity like jogging in place completed as a series or circuit. This style of exercise has vast benefits to human health as I report in my book TransforwmWise.Wen CP, Man Wai JP, Tsai MK, et al. Minimum amount of physical activity for reduced mortality and extended life expectancy: a prospective cohort study. 2011 Oct;378(9798):1244-53.

(1) Wen CP, Man Wai JP, Tsai MK, et al. Minimum amount of physical activity for reduced mortality and extended life expectancy: a prospective cohort study. 2011 Oct;378(9798):1244-53.

(2) Gillen JB, Martin BJ, MacInnis MJ, et al. Twelve Weeks of Sprint Interval Training Improves Indices of Cardiometabolic Health Similar to Traditional Endurance Training despite a Five-Fold Lower Exercise Volume and Time Commitment. PLoS One. 2016 Apr 26;11(4):e0154075.

How to choose quality dietary supplements

If you are a regular consumer of dietary supplements, you’ve likely seen the action taken by the New York Attorney General took against prominent retailers for selling inauthentic herbal supplements. Four national retailers — GNC, Target, Walgreens, and WalMart — all received cease and desist notifications demanding that the retailers “desist engaging in the sale of adulterated and/or mislabeled herbal dietary supplements.” While this action took place in February 2015, the news is still spreading wildly among supplement users and being brandished by those opposed to supplements.

Those opposed to supplements have used this action to decry all supplements as worthless and even harmful. Yet, the benefits dietary supplements provide to today’s stress-laden, nutrient-starved, and pollution-sucking human population has never been more necessary.

While industrialized countries like the United States are not facing true famines like some third world countries, they are indeed experiencing starvation and a nutrient famine. Today’s fast foods, boxed convenience foods, genetically modified crops, and sugary beverages are little more than empty calories — and sometimes introduce harmful substances into the body to boot — devoid of the nutrition your body needs to operate at its best. These “foods” devoid of nutrients leave the cells starved of key nutrients, leading to inefficient function of vital body systems.

This makes dietary supplements that supply missing nutrients and support cellular and body systems function critical to overall well-being. While they are not meant to replace eating better — that’s why they are called supplements, not replacements — they can complement eating better. One key is that these supplements must be derived from whole foods or herbs that the body readily recognizes and utilizes to encourage optimal function of key body systems. Synthetic nutrition, vitamins, and minerals — like that perfect 25 percent of vitamins and minerals found on cereal boxes — added to foods or masquerading as a dietary supplement cannot replace whole nutritious foods and supplements.

So, how does one choose a quality supplement that is authentic, pure, and unadulterated? Here are five tips to choosing a quality dietary supplement:

NSF certification. Look for supplements with the NSF certification on the label. NSF International is a respected and recognized third-party certifier of dietary supplements that ensures the capsule-1079838_1920retailers comply with strict standards and procedures. Basically, the NSF certification on the label means that the product has been tested and met or exceeded standards for purity, quality and that what is on the label is in the product and nothing more. Most importantly, NSF certification involves regular inspections and re-testing of products to ensure that the retailer continues to meet high-quality standards.

United States Pharmacopeia. Review the label for USP certification. The USP is a non-profit scientific organization that sets standards for potency, quality, authenticity, and purity of medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements. The widely recognized standards set by the USP are used by more than 140 countries globally and reduce the introduction of contaminants and adulterants in dietary supplements.

FDA tainted dietary supplements list. Check the FDA list of tainted supplements before purchasing. The United States Food and Drug Administration maintains a list of some of the dietary supplements that have been found to contain potentially harmful hidden ingredients or are considered hazardous to human health. Check the list regularly to avoid purchasing fraudulent and harmful products.

Good Manufacturing Practices. Buy supplements from a company that follows the current GMPs. The GMPs are a system designed to ensure that products — in this case, dietary supplements — are consistently produced and controlled according to established quality standards. These standards include all aspects of production such as raw materials, facilities, equipment, and the training and hygiene of staff.

Scientific research, evidence in support of the supplement. Look for reliable evidence that the supplement you intend to purchase has a proven benefit in scientific research. PubMed — the National Institutes of Health (NIH) database — is a great resource to look for research and evidence. Another option it to ask the retailer for any published studies that support the efficacy and safety of the supplement you want to buy.

To learn more about the best forms of vitamins and minerals, as well as optimal doses, see The Doctor’s Guide to Surviving When Modern Medicine Fails

Essential oils: The unacknowledged and underutilized superheroes of the global superbug crisis

Health professionals, scientists, and world leaders are growing increasingly concerned as bacteria continue to build resistance to front-line antibiotics at an alarming rate. This concern was brought to the forefront by Professor Mark Woolhouse, of the University of Edinburgh, and Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, at a 2014 event hosted by the Royal Society in London. During the even Woolhouse and Farrar outlined the need for a rapid and immediate global response to the superbug crisis in order to prevent simple infections from becoming deadly.

In addition to presenting their recommendations at the event, the study authors published their commentary on this frightening crisis online May 22, 2014, in the journal Nature.(1) In this study, the authors point out that overuse and misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals has fueled a rapidly accelerating fire of antibiotic resistant germs. The authors specifically mention physician’s go-to drugs for Salmonella typhi (a bacterium that causes typhoid), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (a bacterium that causes tuberculosis), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (a bacterium associated with pneumonia, heart, bone, would, organ, joint, and bloodstream infections), multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli (a bacterial cause of diarrhea, anemia, and kidney failure), and Klebsiella pneumoniae (a cause of bacterial meningitis) are now largely ineffective.

The number of “Superbugs,” or bacteria that have adapted to become resistant to treatment with first-line antibiotics, has been growing at such a rapid pace that the treatment of many infectious bacteria-106583_1920 (1)diseases is reliant on only one or two drugs. Some strains of infections have even become resistant to all known classes of drugs. And without a viable remedy for superbugs, many current medical and surgical procedures would be impossible to perform and potentially deadly. This all adds up to a serious threat to public health.

These facts led the study authors to recommend the formation of a global organization to direct an international response. They assert that without a united effort to this worldwide concern one country’s actions could have universal ramifications. For example, the use of antibiotics is increasing in most developing countries due to unregulated, over-the-counter sales of antimicrobials of all kinds according to the authors. It’s no surprise that nations with the strictest policies on antibiotic prescriptions (Scandinavian countries) have the lowest superbug rates. The study authors further state that the international response to the crisis thus far has been meager and ineffective.

According to the study, the development of new therapies should be accelerated to prevent further resistance and combat existing superbugs. Mounting evidence suggests that the superhero of the superbug crisis may be pharmaceutical-grade essential oils. These potent botanical extracts possess substantial antibacterial properties — including against drug-resistant strains —  proven by numerous studies.

While scientific research surrounding the ability of essential oils to kill and prevent the spread of superbugs is continuing to accumulate, the medical community has been reluctant to integrate natural alternatives to combat this alarming crisis. Most of this boils down to money. Natural essential oils are not patentable, and therefore don’t provide windfall profits to greedy pharmaceutical companies. Because of this they continue to search for molecules they can isolate from plants and synthesize in a lab to create new drugs, rather than embrace the viable option right in front of their face.

Even more important than killing superbugs, evidence suggests that these menacing microbes are not able to adapt to essential oils and become resistant. This is largely due to the fact that essential oils naturally have varying percentages of the dozens to hundreds of constituents they contain. Therefore, the superbug is not exposed to an identical essential oil each time, thwarting its ability to adapt. Quite the opposite is true with synthetic drugs that produce the same molecular structure consistently, allowing for easy adaptation by bacteria.

isolated-1188036_1920A July 2012 study published in the journal Expert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy concluded that according to published research essential oils and their constituents are effective against many species of resistant bacteria.(2) Another study from the June 2013 edition of the Journal of Cranio-maxillo-facial Surgery reported that some common essential oils (lemongrass, tea tree, and eucalyptus) are consistently effective against multi-resistant bacteria associated with hospital-acquired infections.(3) This last fact is crucial for life-saving surgeries and procedures to be performed without acquiring a secondary infection that could be lethal. Other studies suggest that certain essentials oils could potentiate the action of antibacterial drugs when used concurrently.

Scientific research suggests that eucalyptus, cinnamon, lemongrass, oregano, tea tree, thyme and other essential oils warrant further investigation as potent antibacterial agents to prevent the further spread of superbugs. These clinically significant essential oils should be immediately employed in healthcare settings to combat the superbug crisis, and individuals should regularly use these essential oils to cleanse their environment and bodies.

Until the medical community, world leaders and scientists embrace these proven remedies the world will continue to travel down the path towards scraped knees becoming deadly. Get your essential oils ready and be prepared to survive when modern medicine fails.

(1) Woolhouse M, Farrar J. Policy: An intergovernmental panel on antimicrobial resistance. Nature. 2014 May 29;509(7502):555-7.

(2) Kon KV, Rai MK. Plant essential oils and their constituents in coping with multidrug-resistant bacteria. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2012 Jul;10(7):775-90.

(3) Warnke PH, Lott AJ, Sherry E, et al. The ongoing battle against multi-resistant strains: in-vitro inhibition of hospital-acquired MRSA, VRE, Pseudomonas, ESBL E. coli and Klebsiella species in the presence of plant-derived antiseptic oils. J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 2013 Jun;41(4):321-6.

Gardening and fishing improve heart health in seniors

If you’re like most people, the older you get the more concerned you become about developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). You probably also know that regular physical activity decreases the risk of CVD. Too often we associate regular physical activity to long bouts of exercise in the gym when the reality is cumulative daily activity through everyday tasks can be just as beneficial. Don’t take my word for it, research from the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences suggests simple activities — like gardening — can reduce CVD risk.(1)

Age is certainly a factor when it comes to CVD risk according to statistics. Surprisingly, the American Heart Association estimates that males 45 years or older have a lifetime risk of developing CVD near 67 percent. Women fair only slightly better with close to a 50 percent chance of developing CVD. Cardiovascular diseases currently account for about one-third of all deaths in the United States taking a huge toll on families and economies. It is estimated that 935,000 heart attacks and 795,000 strokes occur each year, and CVD costs are estimated to be an astonishing $444 billion annually.

fisherman-591699_1920The Swedish study, published online October 28, 2013, in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, monitored the cardiovascular health of nearly 4,000 men and women aged 60 for 12.5 years. Lab tests associated with heart attack and stroke risk — cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and blood clotting factor —were measured as well as physical examinations completed. In addition, participants reported lifestyle behaviors including diet, daily physical activity during leisure time, exercise, smoking and alcohol intake at the beginning of the study.

What the researchers observed was that those who were most physically active reduced their risk of heart attack and stroke by 27 percent and risk of all-cause mortality decreased by 30 percent, when compared with the least active participants. Remarkably, the physical activity didn’t need to be formal exercise in the gym. Rather, being generally active in daily activities, such as gardening, fishing, car maintenance, do it yourself and berry picking, was linked to decreased risk. This is important considering many individuals over age 60 choose not to exercise, but are likely to go fishing or to garden.

The take away of this study is that seniors can reduce CVD risk by participating in regular daily activities requiring movement. On the other hand, remaining sedentary can disrupt tissue, organ and cellular function, which may lead to ill health and increased CVD risk. The study authors recommend more than two hours of light-intensity activity (doesn’t cause you to sweat), or 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (makes you sweat) every week to get the greatest benefits. For tips to make activity a way of life see pages 107-108 of see The Doctor’s Guide to Surviving When Modern Medicine Fails.

 

(1) Ekblom-Bak E, Ekblom B, Vikstrom M, et al. The importance of non-exercise physical activity for cardiovascular health and longevity. Brit J Sports Med. 2014;48:233-38.

Eat berries, elevate heart health

Blueberries and strawberries are the most common berry consumed in the United States and a delicious snack during the summer when they are ripe and in season. Beyond being a healthy treat, evidence suggests that berries are packed with nutrients (anthocyanins) that may decrease the risk of heart attack.

Berries are a concentrated source of naturally occurring compounds called dietary flavonoids, which exhibit antioxidant activity. These beneficial nutrients support cardiovascular health, encourage healthy immune function, and even help prevent cancer. Flavonoids are also found in other foods like citrus fruits, dark chocolate, grapes, and onions.

Both animal and human studies have shown that a specific type of flavonoid, called anthocyanins, provide cardioprotective benefits, such as reducing atherosclerosis, lowering blood pressure and decreasing arterial stiffness. A study by Harvard researchers adds to the cardiovascular benefits of berries, suggesting that eating berries may reduce the risk of heart attack in women.(1)

The Harvard School of Public Health and the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom collaborated as part of a prospective study to evaluate the cardiovascular benefits of berries. The study included 93,600 women ages 25 to 42 from the Nurses’ Health Study II. Participants were monitored for 18 years, completing dietary questionnaires ever four years.

What the researchers found was that women who ate the most strawberries and blueberries — three or more servings per week — decreased their heart attack risk by 32 percent when compared to women who consumed berries once a month or less. Remarkably, this fact held true even when women who consumed fewer berries ate a diet rich in other fruits and vegetables.

These findings suggest that berries have benefits that exceed those offered by other fruits and vegetables and should be an integral party of your healthy diet. However, eating a well-balanced diet with wholesome carbohydrates, lean protein sources, healthy fats and a variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure you get the range of nutrients essential to good health.

One way to get a daily dose of berries, which is growing in popularity, is through bioactive beverages or nutrient infusions. Many products exist on the market that combine a variety of superfruits — which include berries — into a concentrated nutrient infusion providing a range of beneficial nutrients. Most supply ample nutrients by drinking only one to four ounces daily.

Other ways to incorporate these health-promoting berries into your diet is by adding them to yogurt or cereal, mixing them into your whole-grain muffin mix, as part of a fruit and vegetable smoothie (see the recipe in TranformWise), dipping them into dark chocolate (you get more flavonoids this way), or topping your green salad with them.

(1) Cassidy A, Mukamal KJ, Liu L, et al. High Anthocyanin Intake Is Associated With a Reduced Risk of Myocardial Infarction in Young and Middle-Aged Women. Circulation. 2013;127:188-96.

Diffusing essential oils: Harmful or beneficial to human health?

Hundreds of thousands of people enjoy diffusing essential oils daily to improve mood, relax, and create a more pleasant environment. But, a growing number of consumers are concerned that this practice may be harmful based on widely publicized reports that terpenes found in essential oils may interact with constituents in the atmosphere (carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, etc.) to form toxic oxidation products. Is this concern warranted or just hype from those who don’t believe essential oils have a place in the home?

Evidence suggests that terpenes in essential oils (limonene, alpha-pinene, linalool, etc.) are not harmful by themselves. However, their structure — comprised of one or more carbon to carbon bonds — makes them extremely susceptible to reactions with atmospheric constituents.(1,2) When these reactions occur, toxic oxidation products are produced such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, organic acid, and hydrogen peroxide, which are called hydroxyl radicals and secondary organic aerosols (SOAs).(3-6) These oxidation products can be harmful to human health.

Short-term exposure to oxidation products may cause sensory irritation, headache, dizziness, chest pain, and respiratory problems.(7-9) Children, the elderly, people who are obese, diabetics, and people with chronic respiratory disorders are more likely to experience these adverse health effects.

The risk of reactions between terpenes and atmospheric constituents is dependent on temperature and the amount of ozone present indoors. Reactions are more likely to occur in warm seasons when temperatures are higher as opposed to the colder temperatures of cold seasons.(10) In addition, higher levels of ozone provide more atmospheric constituents for essential oil terpenes to react with. Indoor ozone quantities can increase based on the amount of ozone present outdoors or use of certain equipment (laser printers, photocopiers, and some air cleaning units).

Limonene (found in two isometric forms: d-limonene — citrusy scent and found in citrus oils; and l-limonene — piney scent and found in tree oils) is more susceptible to these reactions than other terpenes like linalool. This suggests that essential oils with significant amounts of limonene may require more caution when diffusing, particularly during warm seasons and when the presence of ozone is elevated. To identify some essential oils with high limonene levels see Appendix A of Evidence-Based Essential Oil Therapy.

Synthetic terpenes are often used in cleaning products as scents and solvents. One study determined that the ordinary use of terpene-based cleaning products (typically synthetic limonene, not the limonene naturally found in essential oils) will not produce enough terpene reaction products to exceed safety levels set by regulatory agencies.(11) In other words, use of these cleaning products under normal circumstances is not likely to produce enough oxidation products to be harmful. And this is from an isolated synthetic molecule, which is far more prone to cause adverse effects than a balanced essential oil with all of its natural constituents.

Increased levels of ozone-terpene reaction products have also been observed in spas where essential oils were frequently used during massages and other treatments.(12) This is not surprising considering the amount of essential oils that could be used in a single day in a busy spa. By the end of a day, hundreds of drops of essential oils could have been used during spa treatments. But, remember all chemicals — even water — are dangerous at too high a concentration, and the research thus far suggests that the oxidation of terpenes does not reach levels considered unsafe. In addition, spas often offer other services that produce harmful chemicals like nail care, hair dyes, make-up treatments, and more.

The bottom line is that reasonable diffusing and use of essential oils is not likely to create enough oxidation products to be harmful to human health. The vast benefits of diffusing essential oils far outweigh the minimal risks of producing oxidation products. However, certain populations — children, the elderly, people who are obese, diabetics, and people with chronic respiratory diseases should be more cautious when diffusing essential oils. In addition, it is prudent to take steps to reduce the risk of forming terpene oxidation products.

Here are some tips to reduce the risk of excess formation of terpene oxidation products:

  • set your diffuser to intermittent so it is not constantly diffusing essential oils into the air, but releases them at intervals;
  • add only 3-5 drops of essential oils to your diffuser at one time;
  • diffuse for shorter periods of time (30 to 60 minutes continuously before taking a few hours break);
  • limit diffusion of citrus and tree oils that are high in limonene;
  • make sure the room you diffuse in is well ventilated;

Secondly, here are some tips to reduce ozone in your indoor environment by:

  • avoiding the use of indoor “air cleaners” that emit ozone intentionally (ozone generators) or as a byproduct of their design (ionizers, electrostatic precipitators);
  • making sure rooms with office equipment (laser printers, copiers, etc.) are well ventilated;
  • avoiding the use of oil- and solvent-based paints, degreasers, and lighter fluid;
  • and increasing the number of indoor plants in your home.

(1) Nazroff WW, Weschler CJ. Cleaning products and air fresheners: exposure to primary and secondary air pollutants. Atmos Environ. 2004;38:2841-65.

(2) European Collaborative Action. Urban air, indoor environment and human exposure, report No. 26: Impact of Ozone-initiated Terpene Chemistry on Indoor Air Quality and Human Health. 2007.

(3) Wang B, Lee SC, Ho KF, et al. Characteristics of emissions of air pollutants from burning of incense in temples. Hong Kong Sci Total Environ. 2007;377:52-60.

(4) Waring MS, Wells JR, Siegel JA. Secondary organic aerosol formation from ozone reactions with single terpenoids and terpenoid mixtures. Atmos Environ. 2011;45:4235-42.

(5) Waring MS. Secondary organic aerosol in residences: predicting its fraction of fine particle mass and determinants of formation strength. Indoor Air. 2014;24:376-89.

(6) Pathak RK, Salo K, Emanuelsson EU, et al. Influence of ozone and radical chemistry on limonene organic aerosol production and thermal characteristics. Environ Sci Technol. 2012;46:11660-69.

(7) Nojgaard JK, Christensen KB, Wokoff P. The effect on human eye blink frequency of exposure to limonene oxidation products and methacrolein. Toxicol Lett. 2005;156:241-51.

(8) Wolkoff P, Clausen PA, Wilkins CK, et al. Formation of strong airway irritants in terpene/ozone mixtures. Indoor Air. 2000;10:82-91.

(9) Wolkoff P, Clausen PA, Larsen ST, et al. Airway effects of repeated exposures to ozone-initiated limonene oxidation products as model of indoor air mixtures. Toxicol Lett. 2012;209:166-72.

(10) Geiss O, Giannopoulos G, Tirendi S, et al. The AIRMEX study VOC measurements in public buildings and schools/kindergartens in eleven European cities; Statistical analysis of the data. Atmos Environ. 2011’45:3676-84.

(11) California Air Resources Board and the California Environmental Protection Agency: California Air Resources Board Research Division Indoor Air Chemistry: Cleaning Agents, Ozone and Toxic Air Contaminants. 2006 Apr.

(12) Hsu DJ, Huang HL, Sheu SC. Can Aromatherapy Produce Harmful Indoor Air Pollutants? Environ Engineering Sci. 2011 Oct.

Beware these five harmful ingredients lurking in your “food”

Much of today’s “food” comes in a box, bag, or package meant to be heated in the microwave. Busy lives and much to do has lead food manufacturers to cater to convenience rather than nutrition. If the food is not packaged, many people turn to one of the limitless fast food joints waiting to saturate your tissues with sugar, unhealthy fats, and other harmful nutrients.

Let’s face it, it is increasingly difficult to eat a well-balanced and nutrient-dense meal these days. And portions…don’t get me started on portions. There is a lot of opportunity to be exposed to harmful ingredients in today’s on-the-go meals, so let’s talk about some of the worst ingredients lurking in our food. With some knowledge and a little extra effort, you can keep these five dangerous food additives out of your shopping cart, and more importantly out of your body.

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) – While all added sugars should be limited as much as possible, HFCS is a sugar to be particularly concerned about. HFCS is a sweetener created by processing corn sugar to increase the level of fructose to about 55 percent, leaving the rest as 45 percent glucose. And if you think you have a healthy alternative in agave, think again. Depending on how agave is processed it could contain up to 90 percent fructose, making it far worse than HFCS. HFCS is sweeter than regular sugar making it less costly to add to products but also increasing the sweetness of products so they are more addictive.

HFCS is rapidly absorbed into your bloodstream because there is no chemical bond between glucose and fructose, causing an equally rapid spike in blood sugar levels. Research suggests that your body doesn’t process HFCS like regular sugar (sucrose), which means it doesn’t shut off your appetite center. Without signals being sent from your appetite center that you have consumed calories you are more likely to overeat.  Your liver is responsible for converting HFCS to glucose, but when too much HFCS is consumed it gets stored as fat, contributing to obesity and fatty liver deposits. In addition, HFCS increases your triglyceride levels, LDL cholesterol levels, contributes to diabetes and metabolic syndrome, depresses your immune system and even accelerates the aging process.

Watch out for this dangerous ingredient commonly found in: soda/soft drinks, baked goods, candy, sauces, salad dressings, yogurt, cereals. In addition, it may be hiding under another name such as glucose-fructose syrup, maize syrup, glucose syrup, crystalline fructose, tapioca syrup, dahlia syrup, or isoglucose.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) – MSG is a flavor enhancer added to thousands of foods commonly consumed every day. It is strongly associated with short-term reactions such as headache, flushing, numbness or burning in the face and neck area, heart palpitations, nausea, chest pain, difficulty breathing and weakness — termed MSG symptom complex. MSG overstimulates the glutamine receptors in the brain, which enhances salty and sweet flavors. Some reports suggest that this overexcitement of glutamate receptors can cause cell death or damage and eventually leads to declined cognitive function. MSG also increases triglyceride levels, LDL cholesterol levels, contributes to diabetes and metabolic syndrome, depresses your immune system and even accelerates the aging process.

It is commonly found in: Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups, processed meats, crackers, frozen dinners, chicken and beef broths, potato chips. It can also be found on labels under the following names: autolyzed yeast, calcium caseinate, gelatin, glutamate, glutamic acid, hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein,  monopotassium glutamate, sodium caseinate, textured protein, yeast extract, yeast food, yeast nutrient.

Trans fats – Trans fats are a man-made fat used to enhance the flavor of and extend the shelf life of many foods. Research suggests it is more harmful than saturated fat (because it increases bad cholesterol, while simultaneously decreasing good cholesterol) and it has been linked to learning and memory challenges. Trans fats increase LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels while lowering HDL (good) cholesterol levels, which significantly increases the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. It is also associated with an increased risk of developing type II diabetes. Trans fats are commonly found in: fried foods, baked goods, potato chips, crackers, margarine, fast food, packaged foods, cookies, frozen foods, dips. It may be hiding on labels under these additional names: partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Unfortunately, manufacturers are allowed to call their product fat free as long as the trans-fat content is 0.5 g or lower, so you need to read labels carefully.

Sodium nitrite – A salty preservative and color corrector used in some meats, sodium nitrite has been linked to certain cancers and heart disease. Some experts credit this nasty additive as the reason processed meats are so strongly associated with cancer. Research suggests that those who eat the most processed meat (known to contain sodium nitrite) have a greater risk of cancer and heart disease than people who eat red meat. During digestion, sodium nitrite combines with amino acids to form nitrosamines, which are very harmful to the liver and pancreas and highly carcinogenic. They are commonly found in: processed meats, hot dogs, sausage, bacon, beef jerky, deli meats, and canned soups. It may also be listed on a food label as nitrate, nitrate, or sodium nitrate.

Artificial sweeteners – Artificial sweeteners are used in a variety of products to decrease caloric intake and to provide a sweetener that diabetics can use without significantly affecting blood sugar levels. However, evidence suggests that diet soda drinkers (sweetened with artificial sweeteners) are more likely to become overweight, obese and have a larger waistline than those who drink full sugar soft drinks. This is because some artificial sweeteners pass through the digestive tract largely unmetabolized. Beyond obesity, artificial sweeteners are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and kidney disorders. Some reports indicate that artificial sweeteners may cause gastrointestinal problems, allergic reactions, migraines, cancer, and kidney, liver and thyroid damage. Artificial sweeteners are in many low-fat and sugar free foods including: Soft drinks/soda, sugar-free gum, candy, yogurt, diet foods, snack bars, and cereal. Artificial sweeteners are called many names, such as: acesulfame potassium, acesulfame-K, aspartame, neotame, saccharin, and sucralose. A much better low-calorie sweetener option is stevia.

To learn more about the research behind these harmful ingredients, see pages 53-54 of The Doctor’s Guide to Surviving When Modern Medicine Fails. Do your family and personal health a favor and keep these nasty ingredients out of your grocery cart. Your body will thank you.