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Archive for the ‘Chemicals’ Category

7 foods you should never eat

March 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Here’s a great post about seven foods you should never eat. Mostly because of high levels of contaminates and chemicals, which can lead to all sorts of health problems.  I won’t go into the studies and reasons why each one is on the list (you can read the original article for that).  I just wanted to give you the list.  So here it is:

  1. Canned tomatoes
  2. Corn-fed beef
  3. Microwave popcorn
  4. Non-organic potatoes
  5. Farmed salmon
  6. Milk produced with artificial hormones
  7. Non-organic apples

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mmmm, newspaper ink

March 8, 2011 Leave a comment

I heard an interesting program on BBC Radio 4 this morning about toxins from packaging potentially leaking into your food.  The main culprit is recycled cardboard.  It if is recycled from newspaper, the toxins in the ink can potentially get into your food at dangerously high levels.  And the longer it sits on the shelf the more ink leaks in. 

Some companies are taking action and making sure that their packaging doesn’t have mineral oils, which are the chemicals from the ink.  At its worst, significant ingestion of mineral oils can cause the inflammation of internal organs and even cancer.  The best course of action is to check companies’ websites to see if you can find information on their packaging.  Otherwise, buy the freshest possible products – the more time they sit on the shelf, the more time there is for toxins to seep in.  There’s also a good article here with more information.

does aspartame really cause health problems?

February 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Aspartame is bad for you.  It will give you cancer and make you blind and break into your house late at night and steal all your stuff.  It’s pure evil and it’s out to hurt you.  I’ve always heard and been vaguely familiar with this type of scaremongering about artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame.  I didn’t pay much attention to it and generally dismissed it as a conspiracy theory or the normal type of banter that comes from people who think everything is harmful.  But I’ve been hearing more and more of it and it’s coming from credible sources, so I think it’s time to pay attention.

Artificial sweeteners are especially popular in diet drinks, which have been seeing a boom in sales because of the perception that they are healthier than regular, sugary drinks.  I just read about a study the other day that shows people who consume one diet soft drink per day have a 48% high risk of a heart attack or stroke than those who do drink regular soft drinks or none at all.  If that’s not enough, other research points to a long list of other aspartame related health problems: brain damage, seizures, brain tumors, vision impairment, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, headaches, hypertension and chronic fatigue syndrome. 

Another increasingly popular claim I’m hearing is that sweeteners produce an insulin spike by tricking the body into thinking it is consuming sugar because of its sweet taste.  This means that the body thinks it has extra energy to burn and therefore stops using fat for energy.  So sweeteners end up producing the opposite effect they are supposed to have, making it bad news for anyone who thought their diet drink was going to help them lose weight.

But are any of these claims true?  In short, maybe.  But the jury is still out with regards to aspartame and other sweeteners so it’s hard to tell.  There are arguments for and against sweeteners.  For example, here’s one that says there is no increased risk of cancer, here’s one that says there are no verified health problems associated with aspartame, and here’s one that say there’s no evidence that sucralose causes any health issues.

So, I’ll let you decide for yourself whether you think artificial sweeteners are safe or not.

What water bottle are you using?

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

If you workout then I’m sure you use a water bottle or a shaker bottle.  You probably pay more attention to what’s in the bottle than the bottle it self.  But it’s time to take a look at what bottle you’re using because it could be harming your health. 

Bisphenol-A (BPA) was, until recently, a chemical component in nearly every water bottle.  But more and more studies are showing that it could be toxic and damaging to our health – possibly even leading to cancer.  This is especially true of plastics that you use over and over and wash on a regular basis.  The more use you get out of them, the more they break down and are potentially harmful. 

In a number of countries, like Canada, BPA in baby bottles has been banned for some time, but the concern is spreading to beyond babies.  Chicago has banned all bottles with BPA and the trend is set to continue for other cities and countries.

BPA-free bottles are now widely available.  For more on the subject, I recommend this New York Times analysis.