Worker Bees’ Daily Bites
Before we Bees expire from the sudden SoCal heat, Apples, we’ve brought you the best of the batch from today’s news and studies. Glaciers aren’t the only things melting around here. Where’s a walk-in freezer when you need one?
Not that you health smarties would ever make pasta a part of your daily routine, but be warned: Target’s pasta is sauced in salmonella. Wait, Target sells pasta now? Where have we been?
A Case for Starvation, Part 2
Strict calorie reduction: one of those very touchy, politically incorrect subjects bobbing about in health studies lately. Naturally…we’re all over it.
Want to live longer? Don’t eat much.
Food for thought: who says we need to eat three, or four, or six meals a day, every day, religiously? Why do we codify sensible health knowledge into bedrock health fundamentals not even kung fu masters could smash through? (Let alone Chuck Norris.) Will the world end if you don’t follow the three-meal-a-day rule? Will pigs fly if one day you drink two glasses of water and the next day you drink seven? Why do we like
being bossed around like grade schoolers rules so much? Maybe the great philosophers were right. Maybe humans will do anything but think. Okay, enough pondering. We’re going to go dunk ourselves in a bucket of ice now. How’s the weather in your neighborhood?
Whole Grain Shenanigans
This study is incredibly irritating. First, no one ruled out other possible factors that would contribute to better cardiovascular health. Secondly, the results were based on questionnaires the folks filled out themselves. And thirdly, the reduction in heart attack risk was merely associative. But you can bet the cereal makers of America are going to brag about a bowl of sugar flakes saving you from a heart attack with more zeal than the dairy industry brags about milk being a “proven” weight reducer…
…of two whole pounds…in some people…in a study funded by Big Moo.
Yet what do we see all over magazines and television? Low-fat dairy makes you skinny. And now, Big Agra – er, cereal – keeps you from getting heart disease! They should just hop into a bowl together and save everyone’s health! Ooh, ooh, we know – how about cereal in milk? That will save everyone’s health and make them skinny! Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?!
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I’ve gotten so many great health questions from you all this week, I’m still working through several of the emails. (Sorry for the delay – I haven’t forgotten you! I encourage you to post your questions in the Forum, so that along with my tips, you’ll get the whole gang to help you out.) There were a few questions this week regarding various quack products and FDA warnings that I’ve been asked a number of times over the years, so let’s set the record straight here at MDA.
1. Sandra recently asked me about transfer factor supplements – do they work, and should we be taking them?
“Transfer factor” is derived from bovine colostrum and is said to enhance immunity and muscle performance, among other claims. Like glandulars, this is a product without much to back it up. Not only is there no reputable scientific evidence, but it really doesn’t make much common sense. Cow’s milk is for baby cows, after all, and is designed by nature to be perfect for little calves’ growing immune systems, not ours. Although that’s even debatable, as most dairy cows these days are so crowded, sick and drugged up, I doubt they’re passing on much of anything beneficial to their offspring, whom they never meet anyway. A better way to boost your immunity? Reduce stress! Get exercise! Eat mostly vegetables! Enjoy yourself! Honest.
2. Lisa wants to know if oxygenated water is healthier than regular tap or bottled water.
Nope. I wrote a fun piece debunking these much-hyped “mock waters” some time ago, and it was published over at my good friend Gabrielle Reece’s site. You can also read it here. I’ve gotten some questions about reverse osmosis, bottled water safety (it’s coming, Evelyn!), and other H20 issues, so I’ll be posting a more in-depth look at all things liquid very soon.
3. I’ve also gotten a lot of questions about the current web controversy (no, not the Digg debacle): CAM regulation from the FDA.
Joe Mercola, no stranger to controversy, did what I felt was a very fair job of setting the record straight on this issue. (Note: I certainly don’t endorse all that he has to say, but this is a very balanced look at the current panic over CAM). The very knowledgeable Cindy Hebbard of Wisdom of Healing, politely refuted Mercola’s point of view after I recommended she check out his exploration of this issue. I encourage you to read both points of view if you’re curious.
The blogosphere is certainly hopping all over this issue. People’s response to this issue has been overwhelming – with the FDA extending, then short-changing, the public comment period. Health Ranger Mike Adams of NewsTarget ponders: will juice be banned? Will massage oil be available by prescription only? (Here’s what this science blogger I admire has to say).
I am a big proponent of being a squeaky wheel - nothing works better when it comes to getting governments and corporations to change. (That, and voting with your wallet.) And it’s no secret that the FDA is hardly a friend of natural living and often uses obscenely aggressive tactics against perfectly innocent naturopaths, herbal therapists and the like (just read Cindy’s response to me at her blog). Honestly, I’m glad everyone is picking up on this, because it’s a healthy sign of actively involved citizens.
That said, what the FDA is issuing is simply a (rather repetitive) guidance letter, not a regulation. The FDA doesn’t have legislative power, so this is more of a slap in the face than anything. Given that the rules aren’t being changed, it’s annoying, perhaps, and it’s indicative of the FDA’s attitude towards natural health, but it’s not really a “new” threat. Those of us who have been in the natural health industry have been aware of this issue for quite some time, and there’s just nothing scary here. Yes, the wording of “modalities” – meaning therapies – has been changed to “medicines”. But again, there is no cause for grave alarm. (And as you loyal readers know, I harbor no great and abiding love for the FDA. The FDA is the brunt of many a roast here at MDA).
Here’s the deal: as before, as long as any supplement or natural therapy isn’t making a claim of medical treatment or cure, you can expect things to be business as usual. For example, Mike Adams brings up cranberry juice in his blogging about this issue. In accordance with the FDA’s “new” guidance, cranberry juice can’t be marketed as a cure for bladder infections. It can be marketed as being beneficial for urinary tract health. But…this is nothing new.
Tell the FDA you’re unhappy with where they’re putting their attention and resources – but don’t panic. (This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep an eagle-eye on the FDA, of course. These are the folks who have a problem with stevia, after all. I’ve long noticed that new guidance issuances and sudden press releases about the “danger” of vitamins typically coincide with Big Pharma and FDA scandals. Trucking out sensational scares always makes for a nice distraction from the bigger issues.)
Stick around for a look at the environment and food packaging from Sara and a healthy recipe for your weekend brought to you by Aaron. Have a wonderful weekend, Apples!
Most Popular Posts
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
Have we got a great round-up for you today, Apples! There’s so much good stuff we can’t stand it.
Let’s get to it:
Diabetes: Better Off with Lifestyle Changes
Despite a spate of new drug therapies for type 2, evidence still conclusively shows that lifestyle changes are the most effective method for preventing and treating diabetes. What’s really alarming is the fact that diabetes has doubled in the last decade! Drugs can treat the condition, but the underlying problems aren’t going away until we make serious lifestyle changes. Exercise, elimination of sugars and processed foods from the diet, and reducing stress are all vital factors in staving this epidemic.
“Best Oxymoron Award” Goes to…
The FDA wants to put suicide warnings on antidepressants. These drugs are risky, but especially for children and teens. Let’s put this in perspective. Can you imagine if the FDA needed to put obesity warnings on weight loss medications? Or cancer warnings on nicotine patches? Or heart attack warnings on statins? Doesn’t anyone think it’s odd that we even need a suicide warning, of all things, on drugs that make you…anti-depressed?
We Stand Corrected
Sara here. We’ve been recommending regular tuna over albacore based on the misunderstanding that regular tuna was higher in Omega-3’s. We were totally wrong on that, and we appreciate Slashfood for letting us know. Whew.
Smart Shoppers: Check Out the Organic Report Card
Hey, this is a great site that rates all the organic farms (marks are given in cows, not A’s, B’s and C’s). We stumbled onto it after finding out that Horizon may not be as cud-chewer friendly as we believed (either that, or a small news outfit is trying to get some press). Fitsugar holds the keys to the castle on this debate, so mosey on over to check it out.
Was this a useful post, or what? (Please don’t say “or what”. But do share your thoughts in the forum.) Until tomorrow, Apples!
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
Want to know which veggies are cleanest and which are shellacked in pesticides? Read on…
Helpful Food Shopping Guide
Learn about the cleanest produce, the “dirty dozen”, and scoop up other healthy shopping tips. This easy guide is free and it downloads in a snap!
Waisted in the Wasteland has a must-read post about what Big Agra may be doing with all that bad pet food. We’re all for recycling, but this is going too far! Who wants to eat plastic?
Question of the day: do any of you make your own pet food?
Calling All Health Hacks!
Have you checked out Lifehack? (Not Lifehacker, a hot blog which helps you “geek to live”. Lifehack features healthy news and personal development ideas in addition to techie tips.) This is a terrific article on some of the healthiest foods for energy and longevity. Mark pointed out that he doesn’t think drinking 8 glasses of water daily needs to be a hard-and-fast rule of health. What do you think about that? Be sure to visit this great blog and add your own healthy food suggestions to their list. When you add your knowledge to bloggers’ articles, everyone learns a little bit more, so don’t be shy!
Obsessed with Big Moo?
The Fuming Fuji is outraged at the marketing of toxic food, especially when it is aimed at the small fry. This week, the Fuji has decided to have a serious problem with Little Einsteins cereal from General Mills.
But, Fuming Fuji, you say, kids need whole grain and calcium!
The Fuming Fuji says no!
The claim: Fuji, your blasphemous true colors have been revealed. Who would say no to whole grain and calcium? 1 in 10 children don’t get enough grain in their diet. General Mills says cereal is a great way to change this!
The catch: Fuji admits you have caught me in a semantic trap. Good for you. But, I do not say no to fiber and calcium. I say no to these not-genius-at-all candy nuggets that belong in a black hole…known as the trash can.
Who said kids need grains? Why the obsession with obesity-inducing starch for fiber? Only 1 in 10 children get “enough” whole grains? Wonderful! If only that number were zero!
The comeback: Well. A little vehement, don’t you think, Fuji? Look, kids need to eat more grains. Otherwise the corn, soy and wheat industries will fail. Is that really what you want, you bitter little apple? Plus, if you eat these Einstein “nuggets” with milk, you get 10% of your DV of calcium, and that’s why GM can claim to be a “good source of calcium”. Aren’t you guys always talking about the need for fiber and vitamins?
The conclusion: All right, I am really about to fume very hard now. Beware. The Fuji is very much in favor of fiber and vitamins, as stated before. But if you think that cereal made from dehydrated old cheap grains is the brainiest source of fiber, or that 10% of the DV of calcium (added only from Big Moo, not the cereal!) is a “good source”, then the Fuji does not think you would qualify for Mensa at all. But maybe the FDA.
The catchphrase: Little Einsteins cereal? Relativity, all right.
Disclaimer: Mark Sisson and the Worker Bees do not necessarily endorse the views of the Fuming Fuji. No geniuses were harmed in the publishing of this post.
Source: Food Processing, Again
More Fuming Fuji
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