"How have duck feathers become a viable ingredient in apple pie? Welcome to the world of food additives. People have been adding flavors, spices, natural preservatives and ripening agents to food since antiquity. But as the popularity of highly processed food has risen dramatically since the 1950s, so has the astounding array of bizarre chemical additives used in food manufacturing. Fast-food recipes seem to be born more from the laboratory than from farm or field.

And although the powers that be deem these food-additive chemicals safe, the science fiction of it all is a bit unsettling. How do we come up with these things? Here are some of the wackiest of the bunch.”

Article by Jack Norris, RD, from VeganHealth.org on calcium intake, deficiency, bone fractures, and calcium sources

Red Meat is Cancer

A quick search can bring up the core information that you need to know in regards to food and health.  Even within the mainstream media the information is there.  The question is when people will take the information provided seriously, and choose health and nutrition over convenience, custom, and taste.

From Science Daily: “Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, led by Ajit Varki, M.D., have shown a new mechanism for how human consumption of red meat and milk products could contribute to the increased risk of cancerous tumors.

Their findings, which suggest that inflammation resulting from a molecule introduced through consumption of these foods could promote tumor growth, are published online this week in advance of print publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Varki, UC San Diego School of Medicine distinguished professor of medicine and cellular and molecular medicine, and co-director of the UCSD Glycobiology Research and Training Center, and colleagues studied a non-human cellular molecule called N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc). Neu5Gc is a type of glycan, or sugar molecule, that humans don’t naturally produce, but that can be incorporated into human tissues as a result of eating red meat. The body then develops anti-Neu5Gc antibodies – an immune response that could potentially lead to chronic inflammation, as first suggested in a 2003 PNAS paper by Varki.”

From CBS News: “Processed meats, including sausage, pepperoni, bacon, ham, smoked turkey, and hot dogs, often contain nitrates and nitrites.

When consumed in large quantities and over a long period of time, these twin preservatives increase the risk for bladder cancer, according to a new study published in the journal Cancer.

The study was based on dietary information on about 300,000 men and women between the ages of 50 and 71. Those whose diets contained the highest amounts of nitrate and nitrate from processed meats had an almost 30 percent increased risk for bladder cancer compared to those who consumed the smallest amounts of these compounds.”

From TIME: “Previous data have linked diets high in red meat, and particularly processed meat like bacon and sausage, to ill health and higher risk of death from cancer and heart disease. Now a new study adds to the evidence finding that people who eat more red and processed meats are more likely to develop colon cancer.

According to the report, which uses data from an ongoing project by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund, people who ate 3.5 ounces of red meat, such as beef, lamb and pork, every day had a 17% increased risk of developing colon cancer, compared with those who ate no red meat. People who ate 7 ounces of red meat a day had a 34% higher risk.

Processed meats, including ham, bacon and sausage, were associated with the biggest health hazard: people who ate 3.5 ounces of processed meats a day had a 36% greater chance of developing colon cancer, compared with those who ate none. The more processed meat people ate, the higher their colon cancer risk.”

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Article from Nutrition Journal from 2004 by Jeanelle Boyer and Rui Hai Liu.  Discusses the health benefits of apples including reduced lung cancer risk, cardiovascular disease, asthma and pulmonary function, diabetes, weight loss, as well as antiproliferative, antioxidant activity, and cholesterol lowering effects.  Also includes plant nutrition, growth effects, phytochemicals, and apple storage.  Article is in PDF format, the abstract is below.

"Evidence suggests that a diet high in fruits and vegetables may decrease the risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, and phytochemicals including phenolics, flavonoids and carotenoids from fruits and vegetables may play a key role in reducing chronic disease risk. Apples are a widely consumed, rich source of phytochemicals, and epidemiological studies have linked the consumption of apples with reduced risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and diabetes. In the laboratory, apples have been found to have very strong antioxidant activity, inhibit cancer cell proliferation, decrease lipid oxidation, and lower cholesterol. Apples contain a variety of phytochemicals, including quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid, all of which are strong antioxidants. The phytochemical composition of apples varies greatly between different varieties of apples, and there are also small changes in phytochemicals during the maturation and ripening of the fruit. Storage has little to no effect on apple phytochemicals, but processing can greatly affect apple phytochemicals. While extensive research exists, a literature review of the health benefits of apples and their phytochemicals has not been compiled to summarize this work. The purpose of this paper is to review the most recent literature regarding the health benefits of apples and their phytochemicals, phytochemical bioavailability and antioxidant behavior, and the effects of variety, ripening, storage and processing on apple phytochemicals."

7 Health Benefits of Carrots
  1. Prevent Cancer
    Many studies shown that eating carrots may help lower the risk of breast cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer. Recently, researchers have isolated a compound called falcarinol in carrots that may be largely responsible for anti-cancer benefits. Falcarinol is a natural pesticide found in carrots that protects roots from fungal diseases. In daily diet, carrots are almost the only source of these compounds. A study conducted on mice found that they were fed with either raw carrots or falcarinol have one-third lower risk of developing colon cancer than mice not fed by them.
  2. Improve Vision
    The retina of the eye needs vitamin A to function, lack of vitamin A causes night blindness. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a substance which converted into vitamin A in the liver. In the retina, vitamin A is transformed into rhodopsin, a purple pigment that necessary for night vision. In addition, beta-carotene help protect against macular degeneration and the development of senile cataracts. A study found that people who eat most Beta-carotene had 40 percent lower risk of macular degeneration than those who consumed little.
  3. Prevent Heart Disease
    Studies shown that a diet high in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Also, it is believed that regular consumption of carrots reduces cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber in carrots can help lower blood cholesterol levels by binding with and removing bile acids, cholesterol triggers would be pulled out from the bloodstream to make more bile acids.
  4. Reduce the Risk of Stroke
    According to research from Harvard University, people who ate more than six carrots a week are much less likely to suffer a stroke than those who ate only one carrot a month or more.
  5. Nourish Skin
    Carrot has a strong cleansing properties that are effective in detoxifying the liver, so that the overall effective for acne that is caused by toxins from the blood. Carrot is also useful for treating uneven skin tones because of pigmentation. The vitamin A and other nutrients contain in carrot efficiently nourish the skin, prevent dry skin and other skin blemishes.
  6. Anti-Aging
    Carrots contain a lot of beta-carotene, which serves as an antioxidant that helps the body to fight the cell damage done to the body with dirt in the bloodstream and even oxygen. It also help slows down the aging of cells and various negative effect associated with aging.
  7. Dental Health
    Carrots can even help clean your teeth, and is the best way to keep your mouth clean after meals. They act as natural abrasives, help in eliminate the sticky dirt from the teeth and stimulate gums. They also trigger a lot of saliva, which helps to scrub away stains on your teeth. Minerals in carrots helps to kill germs in the mouth and prevent tooth damage.

Article from The Vegan Society on B12 intake, deficiency, homocysteine, and B12 fortified foods.

"The only reliable vegan sources of B12 are foods fortified with B12 (including some plant milks, some soy products and some breakfast cereals) and B12 supplements. Vitamin B12, whether in supplements, fortified foods, or animal products, comes from micro-organisms.

Most vegans consume enough B12 to avoid anaemia and nervous system damage, but many do not get enough to minimise potential risk of heart disease or pregnancy complications.

To get the full benefit of a vegan diet, vegans should do one of the following:

  • eat fortified foods two or three times a day to get at least three micrograms (μg or mcg) of B12 a day or
  • take one B12 supplement daily providing at least 10 micrograms or
  • take a weekly B12 supplement providing at least 2000 micrograms.

If relying on fortified foods check the labels carefully to make sure you are getting enough B12. For example, if a fortified plant milk contains 1 microgram of B12 per serving then consuming three servings a day will provide adequate vitamin B12. Others may find the use of B12 supplements more convenient and economical.”

A very thorough documentation about B12 deficiency in a vegan diet, how much you need, and how to obtain B12.

Article by Reed Mangels, Ph.D., R.D. about calcium intake and foods with high calcium levels.

Article from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that was presented at the symposium, “Fifth International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition,” held in Loma Linda, CA, March 4–6, 200.