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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Home arrow Naturopathic News arrow Issue #9 - June 2003
Issue #9 - June 2003

Welcome to Naturopathic News issue #9. It’s my goal to help you find natural solutions to health problems. This newsletter is one way to do that. The more educated you are about your health options the better able you will be to take control of your health. Any feedback in the form of comments, letters to the editor, success stories, etc., is appreciated.

Recently, several people have asked to be added to my list to receive this newsletter. If you think any of your friends or family would be interested in this material, just send me their email address. For all those who have told me how much they appreciate this newsletter, thank you for the kind words. I enjoy disseminating accurate health information that you can trust.

MCDONALD'S WILL TELL MEAT SUPPLIERS TO CUT ANTIBIOTICS USE

Washington Post June 19, 2003
In response to increasingly dire warnings that widespread use of antibiotics on U.S. farms is making the drugs less effective for treating people, the fast-food chain McDonald's is directing some meat suppliers to stop using antibiotic growth promoters altogether and encouraging others to cut back.

The policy being announced today, the broadest in the United States, focuses on the use of antibiotics in animal feed to speed the development of livestock -- a practice widely seen by researchers as the least important and most expendable use of important antibiotics.

Because McDonald's is the nation's largest purchaser of beef and among the largest for chicken and pork, its action will noticeably reduce the amount of antibiotics being used as growth promoters. Beyond that, consumer and public health advocates as well as McDonald's executives said they hope the announcement will mark a turning point in the way U.S. farmers raise animals.

"This is a highly significant policy and change," said Rebecca Goldburg of Environmental Defense, an advocacy group that participated in McDonald's review of its practices. "This policy is global and it goes beyond anything we have seen from other companies."

Linda Tollefson, deputy commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine, who also reviewed McDonald's proposal, said: "When a very large and international company does something like this, it's an important step. They will set the tone in the marketplace."

According to the Animal Health Institute, which represents manufacturers of drugs for animal use, almost 22 million pounds of antibiotics were used on farms in 2001. That group estimates that 13 percent to 17 percent of that total is for growth promotion, but the Union of Concerned Scientists, an advocacy group, has said its research shows that more than 50 percent of the total could be considered growth promotion.

The McDonald's policy will prohibit its direct suppliers, which mainly provide chicken, from using 24 growth promoters that are closely related to antibiotics used in human medicine. The firm, in deciding which independent farmers will supply its beef, chicken and pork, will consider it a "favorable factor" if the supplier avoids growth promoters.

The policy will be effective worldwide by the end of 2004 and will require suppliers to keep records and submit to regular audits. Public health and FDA officials said the audits would make the program considerably stronger than others announced by fast-food competitors and chicken producers in recent years.

Overuse of antibiotics on farms and to treat human ailments has made some old-line antibiotics such as penicillin and tetracycline much less effective than they once were. Concern that the life cycle of newer antibiotics called fluoroquinolones would be similarly cut short has spurred doctors and public health officials to action.

The use of small but regular amounts of antibiotics in animal feed -- which helps the animals grow quickly -- inevitably leads bacteria in the animals to evolve into forms that are immune to the antibiotics' effects. Those resistant bacteria can be transferred to people, who will not be helped by related antibiotics they might need should they become sick.

Efforts to reduce antibiotic use have focused on growth promoters because speeding the growth of farm animals is not considered a high-priority use. The European Union voted to ban the practice in 1998.

The FDA has also sought to reduce overuse of antibiotics, but the effort has had little effect on U.S. farms. An FDA effort to ban an animal antibiotic called Baytril, a fluoroquinolone related to the human antibiotic Cipro, triggered a lengthy regulatory appeals process by Bayer Corp.

Participants in the McDonald's effort offered their model as a way to make progress.

"They brought together all the stakeholders and looked at the science and came up with a policy that will encourage the sustainable use of antibiotics on the farm," said Dennis Erpelding, manager for corporate affairs of Elanco Animal Health, one of the five largest producers of drugs for animals.

The McDonald's policy accepts the use of antibiotics to treat sick animals and to prevent and control disease outbreaks on farms. Some activists have said that could allow farmers to continue using growth promoters, which do not require a prescription, under the pretext of disease control and prevention.

Overall antibiotic use on European farms has dropped considerably since a ban on growth promoters began to be phased in there, and resistance to antibiotics has declined. But reports show antibiotics are being used more frequently to treat sick animals.

The Animal Health Institute, in a statement by Vice President Ron Phillips, said there is no scientific basis for the McDonald's policy. "Europe, as the result of a non-science based policy, has removed the use of antibiotics as growth promoters, and as a result has sparked a dramatic increase in animal disease and the use of antibiotics to treat that disease," he said.

McDonald's has been an industry leader on issues such as animal welfare and recycling after coming under concerted public pressure.

"We would love to be a catalyst for change industry-wide on antibiotic use," said Robert Langert, McDonald's senior director for social responsibility. "People have been arguing about this all night and day, but now we're taking some practical steps and expect we'll make some real progress."

Most people don’t know that about 70 percent of the antibiotics produced in the United States each year--nearly 25 million pounds in all--are fed to healthy animals including:

  • pigs
  • chickens
  • cattle

GP: No, I’m not suggesting that McDonald’s is a good place to eat. Far from it. However, this development shows that positive change can happen, even in the most unlikely places. MD’s buys a lot of commercial meat. If they tell their suppliers they want antibiotic free products, those businesses will respond. The less these drugs are in our environment, our bodies, and our children’s bodies, the better off we will all be. We must remain vigilant however to ensure that something worse isn’t used instead, for instance, irradiated meat.

 

WHAT’S IN THAT CAN ANYWAY?

The average American drinks an estimated 56 gallons of soft drinks each year. This is what they are drinking—one can of soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar, 150 calories, 30 to 55 mg of caffeine, and is loaded with artificial food colors and sulphites.

This is an alarming amount of sugar, calories and harmful additives in a product that has absolutely no nutritional value. Plus, studies have linked soda to osteoporosis, obesity, tooth decay and heart disease. Despite this, soda accounts for more than one-quarter of all drinks consumed in the United States.

Teenagers and children, who many soft drinks are marketed toward, are among the largest consumers. In the past 10 years, soft drink consumption among children has almost doubled in the United States. Teenage boys now drink, on average, three or more cans of soda per day, and 10 percent drink seven or more cans a day. The average for teenage girls is more than two cans a day, and 10 percent drink more than five cans a day.

While these numbers may sound high, they’re not surprising considering that most school hallways are lined with vending machines that sell, of course, soft drinks. It’s not uncommon for schools to make marketing deals with leading soft drink companies from which they receive commissions--based on a percentage of sales at each school--and sometimes a lump-sum payment.

The revenues are used for various academic and after-school activities, but what activity could be worth devastating the students’ health, which is exactly what consuming all that soda is doing? Getting rid of vending machines in schools--or replacing their contents with pure water and healthy snacks--could make a big difference, as vending machines can increase the consumption of sweetened beverages by up to 50 or more cans of soda per student per year.

Some of the major components of a can of soda:

  • Phosphoric Acid: May interfere with the body's ability to use calcium, which can lead to osteoporosis or softening of the teeth and bones. Phosphoric acid also neutralizes the hydrochloric acid in your stomach, which can interfere with digestion, making it difficult to utilize nutrients.
  • Sugar: Soft drink manufacturers are the largest single user of refined sugar in the United States. It is a proven fact that sugar increases insulin levels, which can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, premature aging and many more negative side effects. Most sodas include over 100 percent of the RDA of sugar.
  • Aspartame: This chemical is used as a sugar substitute in diet soda. There are over 92 different health side effects associated with aspartame consumption including brain tumors, birth defects, diabetes, emotional disorders and epilepsy/seizures. Further, when aspartame is stored for long periods of time or kept in warm areas it changes to methanol, an alcohol that converts to formaldehyde and formic acid, which are known carcinogens.
  • Caffeine: Caffeinated drinks cause jitters, insomnia, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, elevated blood cholesterol levels, vitamin and mineral depletion, breast lumps, and birth defects.
  • Tap Water: You may want to avoid drinking tap water as it can carry any number of chemicals including chlorine, trihalomethanes, lead, cadmium, and various organic pollutants. Tap water is the main ingredient in bottled soft drinks.

GP: What do you think about the issue of soda vending machines in schools? Or other machines that provide equally nutrition empty foods—candy, salted snacks, etc.? It’s interesting to note that schools that have eliminated these items from their cafeterias and replaced them with real foods have seen a marked change in problem behaviors. Might there be a direct connection between what we eat and our health? Of course now that you know this you will be struck over the head with a 30 year old Twinkie.

 

HUMOR

Benign ................. What you be after you be eight.
Bacteria ............... Back door to cafeteria.
Barium ................. What doctors do when patients die.
Cesarean Section ....... A neighborhood in Rome.
Catscan ................ Search for Kitty.
Cauterize .............. Made eye contact with her.
Colic .................. A sheep dog.
Coma ................... A punctuation mark.
D&C .................... Where Washington is.
Dilate ................. To live long.
Enema .................. Not a friend.
Fester ................. Quicker than someone else.
Fibular ................ A small lie.
G.I.Series ............. World Series of military baseball.
Hangnail ............... What you hang your coat on.
Impotent ............... Distinguished, well known.

 

TRANS FATTY ACIDS

Trans fatty acids, also known as trans fat, is an artery-clogging fat that is formed when vegetable oils are hardened into margarine or shortening. It is found in many other foods besides margarine and shortening, however, including fried foods like french fries, fried chicken, doughnuts, as well as cookies, pastries and crackers. In the United States, typical french fries have about 40% trans fatty acids and many popular cookies and crackers range from 30-50% trans fatty acids. Doughnuts have about 35-40% trans fatty acids.

Trans fat is known to increase blood amounts of low density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol, while lowering amounts of high density lipoprotein (HDL), known as "good" cholesterol. It can also cause clogging of arteries, type 2 diabetes and has been found to increase the risk of heart disease. Many food companies use trans fat instead of oil because it reduces cost, extends storage life of products and can improve flavor and texture.

One problem with the use of trans fat is that food companies have not been required to list it on nutrition labels so consumers have had no way of knowing how much trans fat was in the food they were eating. As far as we know there is no ‘safe’ consumption level for the daily intake of trans fat. Food manufacturers will have to start listing the amount of trans fat on Nutrition Facts labels by 2006.

GP: If you were unaware of the sources for trans fat hopefully this has been helpful. Almost any processed food can contain trans fat. Not just bakery and fried foods but items like waffles and cereals. The higher the listing for shortening, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil on an ingredient label, the more that item contains trans fat.

 

ISN’T CORAL CALCIUM THE BEST?

U.S. regulators are cracking down on marketers who claim calcium supplements made from coral can help fight cancer and other diseases even though there is no scientific evidence to support such claims.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued two men behind a series of infomercials that helped to sell the calcium supplements and has sent out warning letters to dozens of people who sold the supplements over the Internet. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also sent out warning letters.

The infomercials made claims that Coral Calcium Supreme pills could cure cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and other diseases. The FTC is asking that the infomercials be taken off the air.

The men behind the infomercial, which was one of the five most widely aired since it was first broadcast, said that published research in medical journals could support their claims, however experts say that there is no such evidence.

Dozens of others selling the calcium have also been warned by the FTC and the FDA to remove false or misleading information about calcium’s health benefits from their Web sites. False claims could violate laws against deceptive business practices and laws that regulate medical advertising.

GP: One of the biggest marketing hypes of the last 6 months has been for Coral Calcium supplements. Though the money and danger involved is far less than that done by deceptive prescription drug advertising. Still it has been a source of frustration to me that those who should know better have pushed these ill-advised products. How can someone that does not know your dietary habits, health situation, or medical history tell you what the best ‘anything’ is for you? If you would like to find a more effective form of calcium supplementation for yourself, or better yet, a wholistic approach to nutrition let me know.

 

EMERSON ECOLOGICS

Many of you have been ordering your supplements and herbs through Emerson Ecologics. So you already know that this is a great way to get physician quality products at reasonable prices. Reference my name when you establish your account and receive a 10% discount on every order. Their customer service is excellent and they usually ship to our area in 2 days. If you would like more information on how to have the natural medicines you need delivered to your door, call or email me for further details.


Until next time,
Dr. Pais