We’ve heard about our school nutrition programs banning
sugary beverages because of the immediate need to combat
childhood obesity—currently in epidemic proportions in the
U.S. That said, there’s a sneaky legal way manufacturers are using
to offer reduced-calorie milk drinks like chocolate milk, for
example. The ban was placed on added sugar or high fructose
corn syrup but wait until you read what the industry is up to!
The claims that labeling like “reduced-calorie,” “reduced-sugar,”
“low-calorie” or “diet” are terms that “turn-off” kids and
teens has given way to another way of marketing to this demographic.
According to FDA regulations, any “non-nutritive” additive
in food must be boldly listed on the front label as well as
included in the ingredient list. Because non-nutritive additives
actually change the composition of the food or drink, the FDA
does not allow drinks, for instance, to simply be called “milk”
or “chocolate milk,” but must be labeled as “low-calories” or
AND…believe it or not, the dairy industry believes that milk
products lower in sugar but sweetened with aspartame is a
healthier choice for our kids…REALLY?
How Milk Can Contribute to Obesity
It has been scientifically reported that whole milk can contribute
to weight gain, heart disease and even diabetes. It’s also
a known fact that removing that fat from whole milk products
reduces the flavor…so…hence a perfect opportunity for manufacturers
to add artificial sweeteners to low-fat products!
A study from The Physicians for Responsible Medicine
(PFRM) reported in Archives of Disease in Childhood that low-fat
milk did not lower obesity rates among children. In fact, kids that
drank one percent or skim milk were more likely to be overweight
or obese than those that drank whole milk!
As if those facts aren’t enough, researchers found that artificial
sweeteners can, and usually do, change the chemistry of our
brain and the satiation receptors—adding to cravings for sweets
and high carb foods that convert to sugar.
When we consume refined sugars or artificial sweeteners,
our brains actually believe we’re getting nutrients—we’re not,
instead, increased appetite and food cravings are triggered. Our
bodies aren’t actually looking for more sweetness, they’re looking
for real food; hence the cravings.
You Should Know…
“There was a 41 percent increase in risk of being overweight for
EVERY can or bottle of diet soft drink consumed.”
—Sharon Fowler, Lead Researcher, University of Texas
“Artificial Sweeteners increased caloric intake, body weight and
body fat percentage.” AND…in a rat study, cocaine-addicted rats
actually chose saccharin-sweetened water above and beyond
cocaine-doses—even when the researches upped the drug
levels! Artificially-sweetened food and drink actually modifies
the taste buds—creating more cravings for sweets and simple
—Purdue University Study
Parents have been led to believe that milk at school is a must
in order to insure strong, healthy bones for growing children. A
Harvard study, however, found that drinking milk doesn’t prevent
the risk of bone fracture in women and recent studies found
drinking milk doesn’t even prevent fractures in adolescent girls.
For those reasons, PFRM believes milk should actually be taken
off the school menu. On another note, milk fat is what helps
the body absorb calcium—stripping the fat and pasteurizing the
milk prevents us from adequately absorbing its nutrients, hence
the health benefits. This occurs because pasteurization destroys
phosphatase—an enzyme we’d normally use to take-up calcium.
I don’t believe that pasteurized milk should be labeled as
real milk, much less low-fat milk containing aspartame. If we
as parents educate ourselves in reading labels and teach our
children to eat and appreciate real foods, we won’t have to worry
about the food industry trying to sabotage us by attempting to
pass-off altered food as real food.
Chemical Cuisine: Do You REALLY Know What You’re Eating?
The following are some of the most common (and most dangerous)
food additives used today.
This brand-new artificial sweetener is 200 times sweeter than
sugar. Little research has been done yet but early studies have
linked it with certain cancers, migraines, vision disturbances,
and thyroid disorders.
Artificial flavoring can mean that a food or beverage contains
any one of 3,000 allowable chemicals, many of which have negative
health effects. One of the toxic chemicals that can be legally
hidden under this labeling is monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Aspartame (Equal™, NutraSweet™)
Aspartame is 180 times sweeter than sugar. The FDA file of
complaints concerning aspartame ingestion includes reports of
dizziness, headaches and memory loss. Some studies strongly
suggest it is a carcinogen—an Excitotoxin that stimulates brain
cells to death.
The bottling process of many beverages produces benzene—it is a
noted carcinogen linked to heart rate issues, infertility and seizures.
Cyclamates are among the first artificial sweeteners used in diet
drinks. They were once banned by the FDA because of suspicion
of their link to cancer but they are once again up for FDA approval!
Many food colorings are linked to ADD/ADHD, asthma and
cancer. Although several of these are banned in other countries,
the U.S. commonly makes use of Blue #1 and #2, FD & C colors,
Ponceau, Red 2 (Amaranth), Red #3 (Erythrosine), Red #40
(Allura Red), Tartrazine, Yellow #2G, Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow),
Yellow #23 (Acid Yellow).
Saccharin (Sweet n’ Low™)
Saccharin is 300 times sweeter than sugar. The public stopped
purchasing products made with the sweetener when they
learned of its possible link to cancer. Studies didn’t ‘prove’ this
link, so it is once again common in many artificially-sweetened
foods. Saccharin is linked, however, to addiction to sweetness,
obesity and overeating.
Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than table sugar and is half refined
sugar and half chemical. Sucralose was an accidental discovery—
it was originally part of a new insecticide compound…oh great!
Chlorinated compounds, such as sucralose, were thought
to pass through the body undigested. Recent research, however,
found that up to 40 percent of chlorinated compounds become
stockpiled in the intestinal tract, soft and connective tissues, kidneys
and liver. AND…chlorine has been classified as a carcinogen.
Reversing the Addiction
We can reverse our addiction to unhealthy sweeteners and restore
our ability to taste the natural sweetness in whole foods…
but…it takes time and commitment to a life-style change. It will
seem difficult at first, but I can’t encourage you more strongly
to put down the diet sodas and the colored sweetener packets!
These chemicals are foreign to our bodies and will not help you
achieve any of your health goals. They are actually documented
Excitotoxins (they stimulate neurons to death), as eloquently described
and researched in a book titled, ExcitoToxins: The Taste
that Kills by Dr. Russell Blaylock.
Replace artificial sweeteners (and refined sugars, high fructose
corn syrup, etc.) with natural sweeteners like stevia, xylitol
(use in small amounts as it may cause some GI symptoms),
sweeteners made from LoHan, and small amounts of agave
nectar or raw honey. LoHan is my personal favorite—it is a no
calorie, natural sweetener from an Asian gourd vegetable that
resembles an acorn squash. In my opinion, it has the best taste
and aroma as it smells and tastes like granulated maple syrup!
You will want to make sure you use a high quality brand that
has not been overly processed. LoHan is also a great option
for people dealing with diabetes, as it will not spike your blood
sugar levels and does not feed health-depleting yeast (Candida).
In the long run, your best bet is to limit even these natural sweeteners
so that your body’s cravings, food triggers and metabolism
are restored to healthy functioning.
The Way I See It…
Our children are our future…help them build upon a strong foundation
by educating them not only in real food but in a healthy environment
to sustain them and future generations, Naturally.