The Health and Wellness show on the SOTT Radio Network covers topics of health, diet, science, homeopathy, wellness culture, and more. Tune in weekly!

On this show we discussed toxic additives in our food - where they come from, what harm do they do, and how you can identify them. We also covered natural and alternative sweeteners to use in place of dangerous sugar substitutes.

The show wraps up, as always, with our pet segment. This week's pet health segment was on toxic ingredients in pet food.

Running Time: 01:56:00

Download: MP3

Here's the transcript of the show:

Jonathan: Welcome everybody! Thanks for tuning in today, my name is Jonathan and I'll be your host for today. Joining us in our virtual studio from all across this planet are Erykah, Doug and Gaby. Unfortunately Tiffany is not going to be with us today, she had other engagements so we'll miss her.

Today our subject is toxins in the diet or toxic food additives so we're going to be talking about artificial sweeteners, flavor enhancers, things like that, what the dangers of them are and especially how you can identify some of the names because the names have been confused and changed. Some of them are named differently now so you need to know about what to look for. We will be covering that information and a little bit about the history of some of these things. Then we will have a good recipe at the end for sweet pork ribs utilizing stevia.

To start us off today and we're going to connect the dots with some items from the news. Erykah do you want to start us off by telling us about deceptive labelling?

Erykah: Yes! In the news for May 3rd from Dr. Mercola's website there is an article called Perception management: Deceptive labeling tricks and hidden ingredients in processed foodstuffs. Basically this is an informative article about a new book that's out on the market called Swallow This, Serving up the food industry's darkest secrets. It's written by a Scottish author named Joanna Blythman and she has written a behind the scenes exposé about the food industry. She's an award-winning investigative journalist with a background that has served her well going under cover. Basically she went undercover into the processed food industry to get the dirt on what's going on in food preparations.

She said that non-insiders do not know that there are multiple chemicals used in your food and they are not being disclosed. She reveals that there's an array of additives that will never be put on labels. We are going to discuss today, what some of those additives are and some of the names that they go by. She also talks about 150 enzymes that are being used in food manufacturing and that they are rarely listed on the label. There is typically at least one enzyme-modified ingredient in every processed food.

Breads usually have 5 enzyme-modified ingredients. She said that enzymes by themselves aren't intrinsically toxic, they are merely functional proteins composed of natural amino acids. But what they do is mask and deceive you about the underlying process of how these additives are put into the food. She said most processed food is an imitation of the real thing. So the goal of food technologists is to reduce the amount of real ingredients by finding cheap substitutes that mimic authentic foods. In doing so chemicals and processes are used to turn the end product into something that looks and smells like food and tastes like good food but really is anything but that.

She uses butter as an example where butter is rarely used in processed foods because it is expensive so they use additives that make it taste like butter, think of buttered popcorn. But they still put enough butter in the product to be able to say on the label that it's made with real butter. The reason that these flavourings are added to processed food is that they cover up the unpleasant taste that comes as a result of heavy processing. They also use flavourings to give food a flavour that, again, has been taken out during the manufacturing process.

She also explains an important thing about this whole clean label concept - and we discussed this in a previous show about the stoplight labelling where they wanted to put stop light images on food packaging; red, yellow and green to show if the product was good. In this expose on the industry she talks about clean labels and how the food industry realises that consumers don't like long chemical sounding names on ingredients lists. They are known as label polluters. So you pick up a package and it's got all these ingredients that you can't read so what they are trying to do is change those names to deceive the consumer. To avoid having the list of chemical names, they've invented a clean label concept which is aimed at removing all the old additives and long chemical names and replacing them with ingredients that sound better, like "carrot concentrate" instead of "colouring", is just one example of this clean label swap.

Also a related issue is the extraction method used for healthy-sounding extracts. She says that while antioxidants are healthy, plant-derived antioxidants are typically extracted from the whole food using toxic organic solvents like hexane, which you can't remove. So these solvents remain in the ingredients and they are not required to put that on the label.

Finally she talks about how perception is everything. The processed food industry is primarily driven by the perception of wholesomeness. We see this a lot with "all natural", "good for you", "low sugar", "low salt" foods. They are going to rename it or find an alternative way that may be just as bad or worse, that doesn't give a negative association. She goes on to quote directly from the article:Perception is a really good word for understanding what the food manufacturing industry is up to. They have this thing called "perceived naturalness". Their whole job is to try to give you ingredients that sound natural that actually aren't the same as natural.

Another one is "fresh-like quality". The industry doesn't talk about fresh any longer, they talk about fresh-like quality. There are a number of technologies that they can use behind the scenes mainly for on labels that will give product this "fresh-like quality". Everything related to naturalness and freshness is being manipulated constantly.

She uses this fresh bread that you can buy at your grocery store as an example. They say "fresh baked". It's really not fresh baked. It's again this perception management. This is how the food manufacturers keep perpetuating this whole idea that their food is healthy, that it's just as good as home cooked food and whatnot; hence the name of the article Perception Management.

Then she goes on to discuss how the foxes are watching the hen house, about government oversight and the consumers' interests. She goes on to say: More often than not, government oversight committees are usually manned by members of the food industry who have a vested interest in commercialising these chemical ingredients or they're academics who appear on first glance to be independent but in actuality they are getting a lot of funding from the food companies. Most of the research used to establish safety is also done by the industry itself which structures the research to show that its product is safe. No one is really looking at the health effects of exposure to toxins from processed foods.

And we see the same kind of approach in the whole heavily debated genetically modified organism issue, GMO food. She goes on to finish up here by asking "What happens to people who eat large quantities of processed foods?" She says "There are always assumptions that chemicals are fine in small quantities but that's not really looking at the cocktail effect for people, particularly in children who are obviously more prone to being affected by a chemical overload. No one is looking at that at the moment."

Basically we have got to catch up with the industry because they really bypass our comprehension of what they are doing to our food. It's just massive manipulation and as we will discuss later in the show today, it's by design. They don't really want you to know what you're eating. Even if you are an avid food label reader they can deceive you and they will do their darndest to do that.

Johnathan: Sure and we see that happening all over the place, not just with food labelling but pretty much everything, especially in the mainstream media; obfuscating and using easy language to muddle the issue and allow people to digest it more easily mentally so that they're like "Whoa, it's natural carrot juice" as opposed to it being some sort of toxic flavouring.

Erykah: Exactly.

Jonathan: Speaking of modern life, Gaby wants to cover an item on how modern life depletes gut microbes. It's not necessarily specifically just what you eat. It's our lifestyle. Gaby do you want to go over that a little bit?

Gaby: Yeah. It's also a Dr. Mercola article published on last week and it's titled Modern life depletes your gut microbes in a number of different ways. He basically reminds us that destroying our gut flora with antibiotics, pharmaceutical drugs, environmental chemicals and toxic foods is a primary factor in raising disease rates. As an example he quotes a research study which shows that use of antibiotics may raise your risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 37%.

I thought that was a huge number. In these cases it is people who actually have five courses of quinolones. Quinolones are antibiotics, the prime example is Ciprofloxacin. I was completely blown away because even in the ER I see children who come in with a fever and I specifically asked them "Have you taken antibiotics recently?" and the mother will usually say "Oh yes, he's been sick all winter and he has taken four courses". I'm going to remember this number and next time I'm going to tell them there are studies which show that your risk of diabetes is raised by 40% now.

In this article Dr. Mercola quotes a very interesting study because they compared the gut flora of an indigenous Amazonian tribe called the Yanomami against the gut flora of Americans and also a couple of other tribes which include the Guahibo from Venezuela, which has adopted a western lifestyle, and the Malawi from southern Africa which has also adopted a western lifestyle.

The Yanomami, the indigenous ones, the virgin ones, so to speak, had 50% greater microbial diversity than American subjects and 30% more diversity than the Guahibo and the Malawi tribes who had adopted western lifestyles changes. The changes were living indoors, using even just the minimal use of antibiotics.

The authors say "As cultures become more western they lose bacterial species and they start having chronic diseases connected to the immune system which is allergies, auto immune disorders, multiple sclerosis and so forth. So this highlights how pesticides, processed foods and over reliance on antibiotics contribute to the dramatic decline in gut microbes and that sophisticated sanitation, using lots of antibacterial soap has an even greater toll on gut flora than antibiotics!"

This is the eye-opener for me because I really liked washing my hands all the time! Others are GMO's and high fructose corn syrup which contains mercury. Dr. Mercola highlights Polysorbate 80 which is an emulsifier in processed food and in vaccines as well. It destroys gut flora. So these are the main highlights.

It was interesting for me that he recommended other than fermented foods and probiotics, getting your hands dirty in the garden, opening your windows to improve diversity and health of the microbes in your home and washing dishes by hand instead of in the dishwasher because it leaves more bacteria. And not to be so obsessed with washing your hands all the time. So I'll keep that in mind.

Erykah: Yeah it goes back to the hygiene hypothesis we talked about in an earlier show, that this obsessive cleanliness is really not benefitting people as much as they believe.

Doug: I've even read about how chlorinated water is another thing that will have a detrimental effect on your gut bacteria. So not filtering out the chlorine in your water is killing off your good guys.

Erykah: We noticed that a lot in farming, that over the years they tended to chlorinate the water much more and it would actually yellow the plants severely. It got to be so noticeable. A really easy thing that people can do is that if you get a bill from your water company it will tell you how much chlorine they add to the water, if you have house plants or a little garden you can fill up barrels or buckets of water and let them sit for 24 to 48 hours and the chlorine will off-gas. That's one way that you can deal with high chlorine levels in your water if you're growing plants or whatnot or if you start to see a massive yellowing. It's like what happens if you accidentally pour bleach on your clothes.

Gaby: I think also the fluoride in the water also has a bad effect. Dr Mercola reminded us after GMO's, antibiotics, chlorinated water, roundup, agricultural chemicals antibacterial soap, about also fluoridated water. He highlighted the importance of filtering your water with any means you have. It is better than nothing.

Jonathan: Well next on our list for connecting the dots we have something regarding the media being influenced by the biotech industry. Doug do you want to enlighten us on that?

Doug: Yeah, this was an article that was published on SOTT which was written by the Alliance on National Health on May 5th. It was talking about how supposedly restaurants - I don't know how many of our listeners are going to be familiar with them but in the states they're quite popular, we've got a couple up in Canada here. I don't know if they have reached worldwide yet but they're a popular fast food restaurant selling Mexican food - on April 27th announced in a press release that they would become the first national restaurant company to use only non-GMO ingredients.

Previously, in March of 2013 they were the first national restaurant company to voluntarily disclose which ingredients on their menu had GMOs. Instead of being lauded for this move, which was no small achievement, the restaurant chain was slammed hard by major news media outlets. I'll quote from the article, they say "Here's a sampling of some of the headlines: Why Chipotle Mexican Grill going GMO free is terrible news and that was in Time Magazine; Chipotle's GMO gimmick is hard to swallow from the Washington Post; Why we can't take Chipotle's GMO announcement that seriously from NPR."The article goes on.

We have come to expect complete and utter lack of balance reporting and journalistic integrity when it comes to some of the issues that the National Health Community cares about. But that this sort of vindictive screed against a company for simply trying to satisfy its customers strikes us as particularly egregious and appalling. The smear job does have one merit, it brings out into the open what GMO investigators have to deal with every day; constant intimidation and threat. Any scientist who dares take on GMO's special interests will be told that his or her career will be ruined and then ever more intense pressure will follow. Why?

Because the biotech and big pharma companies who have huge sums of money at their disposal, money that can make or break university research budgets and money that is channeled into media advertising which is keeping traditional media alive. Rather than adding anything meaningful to the debate the major media outlets are sending a clear message to the restaurant industry: if you follow in Chipotle's footsteps we will make an example of you.

It seems clear to us that such a frontal attack by major news outlets must have been instigated by the biotech industries PR department.

This is no real big surprise for regular readers of SOTT. You can see that the mainstream media knows which side their bread is buttered on. They are always going to be pushing the agenda of the people who are paying their bills essentially. The article talks about how 93% of Americans support GMO labelling so this move by Chipotle really is in the interests of their consumers but meanwhile they are just getting slammed for it.

"Companies that respond positively to consumer demands should be applauded not vilified. In what universe is it "pandering" to provide consumers with what they want?" I thought that that was a pretty telling article. In situations like this you can really see through the media and what interests they are actually serving.

Jonathan: Sure and it's interesting me that the article included NPR in that list because there was certainly a time in the past where I thought that NPR was part of the good guys but I'm beginning to understand that it's more like national propaganda radio than public radio.

Erykah: Isn't that's what it stands for?

Jonathan: Pretty much!

Doug: I used to think that they were one of the good guys too but more recently some of the stuff that they have been publishing and some of the sides that they have been taking on different issues, particularly GMOs and vaccines and that sort of thing, has opened my eyes to what they are really all about.

Jonathan: I guess nothing is really sacred anymore. I don't know when the media was sacred maybe it was at the advent of its birth but who knows if even then. Speaking of the media we have a more positive note here that Gaby wants to cover for us. I believe this is a documentary from Denmark, is it about the HPV vaccine?

Gaby: Yes, that's right. One redeemable feature about mainstream media in this case Danish media, which made a documentary available with English subtitles titled The Vaccinated Girls - Sick and Betrayed and it focuses on the story of three girls suffering from medical conditions after they were vaccinated against HPV with Gardasil. The one thing that they all had in common with thousands of girls around the world is that they were all very healthy before they got the vaccine and now they are seriously ill.

They interviewed two Danish doctors from a mainstream hospital and they said that they had never seen anything similar to that during their entire careers. One of the doctors examined around 80 Danish girls whom she suspected had HPV vaccination adverse effects and she states quite clearly "They are all dizzy, they pass out, the vast majority have severe headaches or often chronic headaches and they all have abdominal pain and nausea. They have weird muscle movements, which they cannot control. And they're very tired."

This documentary made a huge impact in Denmark which saw a spike of reports in adverse effects after the HPV vaccine. I think it is very important because with all the controversy and all the hysteria around the vaccines, this could be a good starting point for people who are very close minded. It was published on TV2 Denmark and it's a mainstream documentary; it is very well made.

Let's keep in mind now that there are currently 2,500 serious adverse reactions per 100,000 people reported in the paper that comes with the Gardasil vaccine. It is the adverse effects disclosed in Merck's latest prescribing information packet, which could well be the tip of the iceberg. I'll keep this one in mind.

Doug: What was the name of the documentary again Gaby?

Gaby: It's called The Vaccinated Girls - Sick and Betrayed and the title of the article at is TV2 Denmark documentary on HPV Vaccine shows lives of young women ruined. So at least a mainstream media outlet was allowed to publish this without censorship. It is true that the government in Denmark doesn't recognise these girls' adverse effects but at least the doctors are putting forward their concerns, their research and they're asking and trying to answer very difficult questions without censorship so that's a good starting point.

Erykah: I think we are going to see this kind of stuff coming out more and more as people are suffering adverse effects and it's happening on such a large scale.

Jonathan: Well one can hope. Let's dive into our topic for today. We're going to start with Erykah covering some points regarding flavour enhancers and their toxicities from Dr. Russell Blaylock and some points from the YouTube video that he has up. Erykah do you want to go over that?

Erykah: Yeah, Dr. Russell Blaylock has a background in neuroscience I believe, and he has done a lot of research on vaccines as well. You can Google his name and see that he speaks about a lot of different things in YouTube videos that are really helpful. The name of his video is MSG, Aspartame & Flavour Enhancers. I will just state that it is an hour-long video, he does not go into Aspartame so the title is a little bit misleading but he does talk extensively about MSG.

He defines what excitotoxins are. Excitotoxins are a substance that is added to foods and beverages that literally stimulates neurons to death, causing damage at varying degrees. They can be found in such ingredients as Monosodium Glutamate, MSG, Aspartame such as NutraSweet, cystine hydrolyzed proteins and aspartic acid.

Dr. Blaylock wrote an excellent book called Excitotoxins, the Taste that Kills. It was one of the first books to address the hazards of food additives. He is a board certified neurosurgeon and he cites over 500 scientific studies in this book. What was interesting in his discussion was that he was saying this was a really hard book to write because he was warned against writing it because people in the food industry would attack him; kind of like what we see with the GMO issue; that they would come after him viciously.

He even talks about how he discussed this topic with Ralph Nader, the candidate that ran for President a few times in the US; I believe under the green party. Ralph Nader told him he wouldn't touch the issue with a ten-foot pole. It was just too much to deal with the backlash from the food industry. He goes on to say how no major publication will even write about excitotoxins, so those Washington Post, Time Magazines, things like that won't go there. There is an enormous amount of pressure to keep this issue quiet. He shared that the information was getting out mainly on radio programmes and the 700 Club, the Christian TV station. He even said that health magazines wouldn't carry this information. It's pretty interesting to hear him discuss how this is just being shut down; like we are seeing in other food issues.

He talks a little about the history of excitotoxins and I wanted to share some of the notes I took from that because I found it fascinating. Originally back during World War II kombu, a type of seaweed kelp was being used by the Japanese to enhance the flavour of the rations of Japanese soldiers, to enhance the compound glutamate. It was named Ajinomoto which in Japanese means the essence of taste. In 1948 food manufacturers discovered this food enhancer and that it enhances taste because it stimulates certain cells in the brain and the tongue. In 1948 tremendous amounts of MSG was being added to food but it had never been tested for safety.

From 1948 to 1956 over 10 million pounds of MSG was being added to foods. He points out that it was specifically added to baby food and even formula! We had a discussion about this before our show, about these kinds of things being put in children's food, like a child is going to notice if their food doesn't taste right? It's an interesting little subtopic there.

In 1957 a research project was conducted by some research students and they fed MSG to mice. They found that the MSG destroyed nerve cells in the retina of the eye. Again in 1968 a neuroscientist studied MSG and how it destroyed eye cells and a critical part of the brain. It was very serious so they presented it to the food manufacturers because they thought it should be taken out and studied for safety. It was presented to Congress in 1968. The food industry was present and they were asked to voluntarily remove MSG from baby food in particular. That didn't really happen and for 10 more years the MSG was continually added to the baby food under a different name; it was also added to baby formula.

So we see just like with the perception management article that we started with, that they have the discussion, that the scientists present information that is damning and then they continue using it, right?! He goes on to talk about the three big lies of the food industry: One, we don't see any problems. This is interesting because he states that "Oh we only use small doses. Humans are more sensitive than animals but it's okay. It's only a little bit. It's nothing to be concerned about."

A second big lie by the food industry is that products like MSG don't cross the blood brain barrier. He's saying that that's not necessarily true, small doses might not cross the blood brain barrier but when you are getting multiple doses of this thing in your diet it's going to cross the blood brain barrier. It is particularly negative for children because their brains are still developing, especially in utero; in the belly and also the first four years of life.

The third lie is just so comical. It says "Eat a lot of carbs and sugar and it will protect you from Excitotoxicity". He used a funny little story about "If this is true, if you eat a breakfast that is high in excitotoxins like MSG you would have to eat 10 packets of sugar to block that excitotoxicity." It's ridiculous.

Another thing is that there are many different names for MSG. I'm not going to go through a whole list because again we haven't had a discussion about this before the show and there are so many different names that they use. He gives a partial list. So some of the other names for MSG are hydrolyzed vegetable protein, texturized protein, protein extract, whey protein extract, enzymes, yeast extract, natural flavoring, spices and carrageenan.

He goes on to say that the FDA only have to label a food product having MSG in it if there is 99% pure MSG. So if it's 98% they don't have to put MSG on the label. Foods that are high in MSG are gravies, especially prepared gravies, salad dressings, all canned soups - and we see this again in the perception management article when with the heavy processing they lose a lot of the flavor so they add the MSG back into it. He said Campbell's Soup is the worst; diet drinks, diet foods because once you remove the fat you remove the taste so they have to add that MSG back in to give the food more taste.

Then liquid amino acid preparations, he said glutamate is an excitotoxin in large amounts. I really recommend the video for people because he talks about all the neuroscience behind it and yes glutamate is an important amino acid but too much of it can become toxic. He also talks about the physiology of the excitotoxin process, so what happens to the cell. Again in the video he uses a lot of visual aids to help you understand what is actually happening in the nerve cell.

He said anything to do with the brain - you know there is a wide spectrum of disease - excitotoxicity produces issues in different tissues. In the beginning he talks about how all these different brain issues like Alzheimers, Parkinsons, hypoglycemic people, Huntington's disease, these are all related to this excitotoxicity. He goes on to talk about how people say "Well I'm not sensitive to excitotoxins" or what they call the Chinese food syndrome; if you eat Chinese food then you don't feel well. He said it's not even about food sensitivity or allergies, it's a toxin and it kills your brain cells. It excites the brain cells to death.

One other thing he says is that excitotoxins produce free radicals in the brain, it damages the mitochondria and it activates a suicide gene in the cell to kill the cell. The older you get the more sensitive or susceptible you are to excitotoxicity.

One last important thing that I wanted to mention is that it affects the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is most sensitive to injury. They call it the seat of the soul and it controls a major amount of everything that happens in the body. Basically it controls the endocrine system, the sleep and wake cycles, hunger and satiety, it is the organ of the autonomic system, major limbic system integration area, your emotions and it also regulates immunity.

He talks a little bit about and introduces the idea of psychoneuroimmunology, this relationship between the emotions and the body and stress and hopefully on a show in the future we can cover that word because Dr. Gabor Maté has written extensively about this psychoneuroimmunology in a book called When the Body says No. One last thing, when they exposed animals' hypothalamus to MSG it caused suppression of immunity for the entire life of the animal. He's saying the same thing happens in humans, that it causes profound life-altering changes and intellectual impairment and even offspring are affected.

So check out the video, it's frightening in a sense because he really breaks it down and we've seen in previous shows very similar things with this relationship to disease; how it's just evil, that food companies continually put this additive into everything! It's in every packaged food that you buy. Because of the accumulating effects he did stress time and again that children are more susceptible, that their brains are in that crucial developmental period the first four years of life and a diet high in MSG, food enhancers or flavors could really be why we are seeing such an increase in behavior issues, ADHD, diabetes and on and on and on.

So I recommend the book and the video.

Johnathan: Well you have given us quite a bit to digest, no pun intended!

Erykah: Literally!

Jonathan: It's frightening to think about the lifelong implications of that because there was certainly a period of time in my life when I went for a China Buffet every other day, if not every day for some time and had a lot of processed foods, a lot of packaged pizzas and that kind of thing. So I wonder how many of my brain cells I've killed off doing that.

Doug: I've done the same thing. I think the addictive potential of these things is really a big issue as well. By taking any of these excitotoxins the over-stimulate brain cells and nerve cells. You get addicted to that kind of kick that you get from it. I fully believe that people who are eating things like Mcdonald's and fast food and packaged food regularly are fully addicted to it.

Jonathan: Sure.

Erykah: And all these issues with memory. At one point in the video he even said that there is a connection with violence and rage. It's really shocking!

Jonathan: Talking about flavor enhancers, let's move on a little bit to aspartame. We're going to cover that for a little while. Gaby do you want to start us off with this study that you were going to talk about?

Gaby: Yes, it was published exactly one year ago in April 2014 and it was reported that a study was done over 10 years. They sampled 60,000 women and showed that those who drank two or more diet drinks a day are 30% more likely to have a heart attack or stroke and 50% more likely to die from related disease. These findings were presented at the American College of Cardiology's Annual Scientific Session in Washington, DC and it was covered by the media. It saw a drop in diet coke sales which was good! Hahaha.

I think the Coke industry has been wondering what they can do, which new product they could bring that's more green and natural. In any case it's unredeemable, stroke, heart attack. It's the worst possible side effects and it was recorded. They use aspartame which is found in over 6,000 products including medicines and food, for the most vulnerable. It is also linked in other studies with double the risk of fast-paced kidney decline. That's kidney failure basically.

Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that it is linked with blood cancer, in this case non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and leukemia. This was a very important study. Another one published in the Journal of Applied Nutrition showed that it caused brain damage. So from everything that we have reviewed we know that this is absolutely toxic, it's evil, it does really bad things to your body. It is not true that it is something that only the internet or alternative media is addressing. These are studies that were published in mainstream outlets, very important scientific publications and we just don't receive the memo, so to speak.

I still go to the cafeteria and see medical doctors choosing aspartame to add to their coffee or tea because they think that it will be better for their health. It's absurd! It's like, my God!!!

There are several of them but these studies are the most important ones.

Jonathan: Aspartame itself has quite a history. I'm going to talk a little bit about how it came into the modern food industry. I'll try not to go into too much detail, just to try to give the main points. Some of you may be aware and some may not that Donald Rumsfeld actually plays a big role in this. To give you a timeline, aspartame was discovered by accident in December of 1965. James Schlatter, a chemist at the G. D. Searle Company accidentally discovered aspartame. When they discovered it, it was 180 times sweeter than sugar and yet had no calories so they thought that it was something worth looking into at the time. This company Searle is the one that developed and began introducing Aspartame to the food industry.

Then going from the 60's into the early 70's Searle was coming up with strategies to get aspartame into the market and petitioning the FDA to help them put a positive spin on it. It looks like in 1971 there was a neuroscientist named Dr. John Olney who informed the Searle company that his studies showed that aspartic acid, one of the ingredients in Aspartame, caused holes in the brains of infant mice. This was then confirmed in some studies that were done in 1971.

Pushing on, the Searle Company spent many millions of dollars conducting safety tests and doctoring the results and they finally applied to the FDA for approval in 1973. Later that same year one of the first FDA scientists to review the safety of aspartame stated publicly that the information provided by the Searle Company was inadequate to permit an evaluation of the potential toxicity of aspartame. The FDA scientists at that time claimed that further tests were needed so it went back to the Searle Company and they went back and forth for about a year.

In 1974 the FDA granted aspartame's first approval for restricted use in dry foods only, not in beverages. In that same year Dr. John Olney who had performed that first test, and another doctor named Jim Turner filed official objections against the approval of aspartame. Their petition triggered an FDA investigation into the laboratory practices of the G. D. Searle Company. They found that they were shoddy, full of inaccuracies, manipulated test data and they reported that "They had never seen anything as bad as Searle's testing". So that speaks for the credibility of the G. D. Searle Company.

A few years later in 1977 there was a grand jury proceedings to investigate whether an indictment should be made against Searle for knowingly misrepresenting their findings, concealing material facts, making false statements and other things. So they were actually going to investigate them in a criminal indictment. While this was going on in 1977, the law firm that was representing G. D. Searle began job negotiations with the US attorney in charge of the investigation, Samuel Skinner. In that same year, just a few months later Searle hired Donald Rumsfeld as their CEO to try to turn the company around. At that time Rumsfeld was a former member of Congress he had been secretary of defense under the Ford administration so he brought in a lot of Washington ties and insider connections into his job as CEO of G. D. Searle Company.

It was at that time in '77 that FDA investigators compiled the Bressler report headed by Jerome Bressler. It found that 98 of the 196 animals died during one of Searle's studies and were not autopsied until a later date; in some cases over one year after their death. So at least half of the animals in the test died. They actually found that even the ones that didn't die had Grand Mal seizures from ingesting aspartame.

This story just goes on and on. There's a lot of back and forth between the Searle Company and the FDA. There are scientists within the FDA who are trying to keep this information public and trying to discredit G. D. Searle and aspartame. It just so happened that the death blow to the anti-aspartame movement of the time was in 1981 when Reagan was sworn in as President in January of 1981. At the time Rumsfeld was CEO at Searle and he was also a part of Reagan's transition team while he was being sworn in. What they needed was somebody on the inside at the FDA and Rumsfeld as part of this team handpicked a man named Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr. to be the new commissioner of the FDA.

Dr. Hayes was a pharmacologist. He had no previous experience with food additives. He had been involved with pharmacology, so they got him in as the new director of the FDA. It was literally the day after Ronald Reagan's inauguration that Reagan issued an executive order eliminating the FDA commissioner's authority to take action. At that time the Searle Company reapplied to the FDA for approval to use aspartame as food sweetener and Hayes, now the head of the FDA, appointed a five-person commission to review this decision. The panel was actually going to uphold the ban on aspartame so Hayes went back and installed a sixth member on the commission so that the vote would become deadlocked and then he personally broke the tie on the vote. That was the man who was directly put into place by Donald Rumsfeld, who was the CEO of the Searle Company, who targeted the investigation and part of Reagan's administration who put the head of the FDA in place. So they're all tied together, there is literally no accountability going on here.

It was in 1982 that the FDA announced that Searle had filed a petition that aspartame be approved as a sweetener in carbonated beverages and other liquids. It was in 1983 that the National Soft Drink Association urged the FDA to delay the approval of aspartame pending further testing. They drafted an objection to this. That same year, later in 1983, the FDA commissioner Hayes who had been appointed by Donald Rumsfeld resigned from the FDA. He has never spoken a word publicly about aspartame since but it literally right at that time the first carbonated beverages were approved with the use of aspartame and sold for public consumption.

So we can see that the forces in the corporations are tied in with the political administration, they are able to put certain people into place who control these votes. They're able to manipulate the votes and get approval from the government, which on the face of it is all legal even though it's totally shady. They can get approval for aspartame and then get it into the public market even though there were so many studies that had been done before that had showed it to be completely toxic.

Here we are over 30 years later and aspartame is still alive and well and in pretty much everything. So that's a somewhat condensed history of aspartame and how it came to be.

Doug: Unbelievable!

Jonathan: Yeah, you could almost make a movie out of that.

Doug: I'm sure they have. It's pretty amazing that so many people were coming forward and saying "No, no, no, this is bad" and that they just found ways to manipulate annals to just force it through.

Gaby: So many people without conscience will just choose the most damaging thing out of all ingredients available to mass produce for everything from medicines to food for the elderly. For me it's a clear indication that it's psychopathic times.

Jonathan: It's just for profit. In fact according to this article, in 1985 when Rumsfeld was still CEO of G. D. Searle Company, Searle was bought by Monsanto and Rumsfeld received a $12 million bonus, which is no joke in 1985. They're all shady, it's just for profit.

Erykah: You would think with the amount of money that these food corporations have that they could really do the research and provide healthy food. It just seems like a no-brainer to people who actually give a hoot about others.

Jonathan: Coming out of the '80s and into modern science here let's take a look at some of the newer sweeteners like Splenda. Doug did you want to cover Splenda for a little bit and what that is made of?

Doug: Sure. Splenda came along. The chemical name for it is a huge mouthful that I'm not even going to attempt but it is also known as Sucralose. It is a chemical that didn't exist on this planet until 1976. It is a class of chemical known as a chlorocarbon. That is in the same family as deadly pesticides like DDT, insecticides, biocides, disinfectants like Clorox bleach and World War I poison gas like dichloral urea. Structural similarity doesn't necessarily mean anything but in this case it actually does. Dr. James Bowen, M.D. was quoted as saying "Any chlorocarbons not directly excreted from the body intact can cause immense damage to the processes of human metabolism and eventually our internal organs. The liver is a detoxification organ which deals with ingested poisons. Chlorocarbons damage the hepatocytes (liver cells) and destroy them. In test animals Splenda produced swollen livers, as do all chlorocarbon poisons, and also calcification of the kidneys of test animals in toxicity studies.

So it's an extremely synthetic chemical compound despite all the advertising that says it's related to sugar. They try to push it on people by saying "Oh no, no, no it's just like sugar only it's not caloric" but in reality it's highly synthetic. It's also highly resistant to biodegradation. They find it in all kinds of water supplies because it just doesn't break down. There are lots of different studies out there, some have found that it is diabetes promoting and that it has carcinogenic properties. They found in animal studies that it may cause leukaemia and that finding actually caused the Centre For Science In The Public Interest to downgrade its rating from "safe" to "caution". It's proposed to be behind the uptick in inflammatory bowel disease that we have been seeing today. It produces highly toxic compound dioxin when it's heated, even though it is sold as being good for baking and things like that. Once it's heated it actually releases dioxin.

I'll just list off some of the things that different studies have found: It can lead to a shrunken thymus gland, enlarged liver and kidney, abnormal histopathological changes in the spleen and thymus, increased cecum weight, the cecum being part of the colon, reduced growth rate, DNA damage, adverse changes in gastrointestinal bacteria, abnormal pelvic mineralisation, decreased red blood cell count, hyperplasia of the pelvis, aborted pregnancy, decreased foetal body weights and placental weights, bowel inflammation and Crohn's disease, triggers migraines and dis-regulates HbA1c tests, which is a long-term blood test for diabetics. A study at Duke University recently showed Sucralose reduces the amount of good bacteria in the intestines increasing the intestinal pH level and leads to increased body weight.

After all of that for people taking this stuff as a means of reducing calories and losing weight, it actually increases body weight and that is probably through the mechanism of how it affects the good bacteria. It's just really interesting because it is often promoted as a good alternative to aspartame because the negative publicity on aspartame is getting around so people are going "Oh no, no, no, I'm not going to use the pink stuff! I'm going to use the yellow stuff" because it comes in the little yellow packets. But really this stuff is no better, it might even be worse. So pretty damning stuff and you really don't want to be using this.

An interesting story; I work in a health food store and at one point we had a children's supplement show up on the shelves that was a children's multivitamin and probiotic. I was taking a look at it and was like "oh a new product, what's this?" and getting myself familiar with it and what do you know? There on the non-medicinal ingredients was Sucralose! I brought that to the attention of my manager and we got that off the shelf right away. It's unbelievable how insidious this stuff is and how easily it can easily get into the food chain.

Jonathan: That's an interesting connection there with probiotics. We actually skipped an item in our notes here so I just want to roll the clock back just a minute. Erykah wanted to cover an article about gut health and artificial sweeteners, talking about the relationship between those two. It's just interesting that you said that that sucralose was included in a probiotic which is supposed to be pro-gut health!

Erykah: Doug pretty much covered the study that was done at Duke University. For our listeners who might be interested in reading more about it, the name of the article is Artificial Sweeteners Latest Scientific Evidence Should Be A Death Blow and this was carried back in 2014 on Basically like Doug said, the link between artificial sweeteners, gut bacteria and obesity has been charted well and the Duke University study found that Splenda reduces the amount of good bacteria in the intestines, increases the pH level and leads to increased body weight.

Also in the article it says altering ones diet can be difficult in part it turns out, because the bacteria in your gut are controlling what you eat, according to an article published in the University of California. The paper reviews some recent studies that suggest gut bacteria influences the brain and endocrine system via the vagus nerve which connects the brain and gut. The article talks about what Doug explained really well. There is also another good article that goes into it; the same kind of topic called Sugar Substitutes and Game-Changing Gut Bugs carried by in January 2015 of this year. The author says that the negative effect on the gut bacteria happens because most artificial sweeteners pass undigested into our intestines where they then directly encounter our guts millennia of bacteria.

As we shared in our gut show, the gut contains a diverse community of bacteria that processes food that our body can't break down and it produces necessary nutrients. So we have a symbiotic relationship with these gut bacteria and our survival depends on them. Artificial sweeteners wreak havoc throwing it out of balance and he says as an example saccharine, common in fountain drinks, salad dressings, canned foods, baked goods and Sweet'n Low shifts the bacterial ecosystem to one that decreases your body's ability to regulate glucose in your blood. It does so by increasing the ability of certain groups of bacteria to break down certain compounds in your food. This is thought to cause a chain reaction which begins with increased energy extraction and followed by fatty acid production and ends with glucose synthesis. This sugar ends up in your blood.
Like Johnathan was sharing, it's approved by the FDA, you know?

Doug: Unbelievable!

Erykah: The Federal Death Association!

Doug: Sure! I find it really ironic that all these artificial sweeteners end up doing exactly the opposite of what they are purported to do. They are increasing the glucose that ends up in your blood and people are taking these things as an alternative to sugar! It just doesn't make any sense.

Gaby: Exactly

Johnathan: I even hate to say this but it's almost like if somebody were wanting to get off of sugar I would say just taper your use of sugar and don't use artificial sweeteners. Natural cane sugar would almost be better than a lot of these things on the scale of evil.

Doug: Yeah it's true.

Jonathan: Talking about hidden things and how the propaganda gets looped around, Gaby do you want to cover the hidden names of MSG for a little bit? We can help people identify what MSG might be called when they're looing at their labels?

Gaby: Yeah, some of them are very controversial because they sound so benign, but yes other than aspartame and MSG, autolysed-anything probably has MSG; also beef base, beef flavouring, beef stock including bouillon, broth of any kind, caseinate, chicken broth, chicken flavouring, gelatine, gelatinised-anything, guar gum which is a very common additive in cream, hydrolysed-anything, malted-anything, L-cysteine, kombu extract, natural flavouring, pork flavouring, umami and soy sauce.

These are all very common names and depending on where you buy it and which brand or commercialized version you choose, you should be suspicious because it could contain these neurotoxic chemicals with additives. I posted the link to the article in the chat room in case somebody wants to see a full list. The title of the article is One Hundred Health Sapping Neurotoxins are Hidden in Packaged and Restaurant Food. These are a few of the names. There is a long list of them, which just highlights the importance of being suspicious of anything that comes in a package, especially if it's not from an organic store.

Jonathan: The unfortunate thing is that a lot of those are packaged as broth when it would seem totally normal and healthy to just get some chicken broth or some beef broth, but as we can see it's best to make your own.

Erykah: On an interesting link from that article that Gaby just quoted - the one hundred health sapping neurotoxins - there's a question and answer section and a woman wrote in asking about natural flavour and asked "What's the difference between artificially flavoured or naturally flavoured?" I just want to read this definition. Even the man that attempted to answer this question said that this is a mouthful. The definition of natural flavour under the code of federal regulations is "the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contain the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products and fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional."

So any other added flavor is therefore artificial. For the record monosodium glutamate or MSG used to flavor food must be declared on the label as such and as I mentioned earlier now they don't even have to do that unless it's 99% monosodium glutamate. Both artificial and natural flavors are made by flavourists in a laboratory by blending either "natural" chemicals or "synthetic" chemicals to create flavoring. So scientists are creating all these things in a lab.

They did ask about organic and again this is kind of a mouthful but according to the National List, under section 7CFR205.605(a)(9), "non-agricultural, non-organic substances are allowed as ingredients that can be labeled as "organic" or 'made with organic,' including 'flavors, non-synthetic sources only, and must not be produced using synthetic solvents and carrier systems or any artificial preservative.' Other non-synthetic ingredients allowed in this section include acids such as microbiologically-produced citric acid, dairy cultures, certain enzymes and non-synthetic yeast that is not grown on petrochemical substrates and sulfite waste liquor."

The bottom line is that you have to read labels very carefully. "Natural" might not be so natural." Really? I wouldn't have guessed that! (Laughter) "Some organic foods might contain some of these 'natural flavors'. There are still many grey areas for consumers and producers alike." Yeah, I'd say grey area is always what it is!

Gaby: I just don't buy anything in a package, that's the only way I guess.

Doug: That's what it comes down to yeah.

Erykah: Sometimes I just walk through the store and just read the labels for entertainment value more than anything; especially if it says "all natural". The new one that I find very entertaining is "no added MSG" so does that mean that there's already MSG in it and they haven't added any more to it?

Jonathan: Doug do you want to cover a list here of more obscure flavor enhancers. I know you were talking about how to pronounce it. It's acesulfame?

Doug: Acesulfame potassium otherwise known as Acesulfame K. I'll just rip on this a little bit. It's one of the more recent additions to the chemical sweetener family. Acesulfame K is sometimes referred to as AceK. It's marketed under the name Sunett and Sweet One. It's similar to aspartame in that it's 200 times sweeter than sugar, about two thirds the sweetness of saccharine or one third of sucralose. Because it's so new there isn't a lot of research out there on it but what is out there pretty much makes you never want to touch the stuff.

A 2010 Drexel University study with the School of Public Health in Philadelphia figured that Acesulfame potassium was approved by the FDA despite poor quality toxicity tests. They state in that study that it's possible the FDA discouraged the national toxicity programme from conducting bioassays on Acesulfame K. No real surprise there given what we just found out about the history of aspartame. It looks like the FDA have had their hands in this one as well.

It is potentially carcinogenic although the studies are kind of conflicting on this. Some studies have found it did cause cancer while others found it did not. Another study in 2008 in the Journal of Drug and Chemical Toxicology found that along with adpartame and saccharine, Acesulfame K has potential genotoxic activity. They found it caused DNA breaks in the bone marrow cells of mice. Researchers in their findings say that this represents a potential health risk associated with the exposure to these agents.

It has also been show to have clastogenic effects; that means chromosome damage and this is even at the "no toxic effect" levels that the WHO and FAO have established. So even at these levels that they say have no toxic effect they actually are finding chromosome damaging effects. It acts directly on the pancreatic islet cells that causes greater insulin release from glucose. So this was just done in vitro but when they exposed these pancreatic cells to a glucose solution and then added in the Acesulfame K, it increased the amount of insulin they actually released.

They've also found in vivo in rat studies that it does increase insulin release. I find this rather ironic because again this is exactly the kind of thing that you are trying to avoid. A lot of diabetics are told to use these artificial sweeteners instead of sugar because it'll have less of an effect on your insulin. Well lo and behold it does have just as much of an effect on insulin. The gut senses Acesulfame K as if it were sugar so it treats it as if it has consumed sugar. Some research has shown that chronic consumption of it has a moderate but limited effect on neurometabolic function, so adjusting it may alter neurologic function. Isn't that nice? You get altered neurologic function along with your sweeteners.

You often find this one in products in a blend of different artificial sweeteners. So it's often paired with aspartame or sucralose because apparently on its own it has a somewhat unpleasant taste, so they buffer it with these other artificial sweeteners so you get a whole cocktail there of all kinds of terrible side effects. So watch your packaging for that one as well.

Jonathan: Doug did you want to cover a couple of these articles here that we were talking about; isolated amino acids in excitotoxins and then talking about the dose?

Doug: Sure. I just wanted to cover this a little bit because it is something that I get questions about. We get a lot of warnings, particularly about MSG which stands from monosodium glutamate and then people say "Is that the same thing as glutamine?" because you see glutamine in gut healing protocols and guys who are doing work outs are often taking glutamine as a beneficial thing. Even with thing like aspartic acid, you do see supplements in the store with things like calcium aspartate or magnesium aspartate where they have actually bound the mineral to the amino acids as a delivery system. I get a lot of these questions like "Are these things bad? Am I actually ingesting neurotoxins here?"

The difference lies in the structural difference between these two. Glutamate is what you find in monosodium glutamate and monosodium glutamate is a salt that contains glutamine. Glutamate that is otherwise known as glutamic acid and it's what your body actually uses as a neurotransmitter whereas glutamine which is also sometimes referred to as L-Glutamine - but any Glutamine is L-Glutamine - is neurologically inactive. But it is used by the cells of the intestinal lining for repair and integrity and it is used in the muscles for fuel. One of the big differences in this is that the villi in the intestinal tract, which are microscopic fingers that stick out of the intestinal tract to absorb your food, they actually convert glutamate to glutamine. So glutamate is the one that can potentially be a neurotoxin but these villi actually convert it into glutamine which is more innocuous. Then your body can convert it back to glutamate when it needs it to use it as a neurotransmitter. The liver and the kidneys can also make this conversion.

The problem is that damage to these villi from things like gluten, casein and soy and corn lectins and all these terrible things in the diet that can damage the villi and actually prevent this conversion from happening. That leads to an overwhelming level of glutamate being absorbed and ending up outside of the nerve cells; and when it's outside of the nerve cells, that's when it acts as a neurotoxin. MSG is the glutamate form and excessive amounts or even small amounts in people who have gut compromised situations can cause these neurotoxic reactions.

Aspartame is a chemical that contains both aspartate and phenylalanine. These amino acids on their own aren't harmful. Amino acids are things we take in every time we eat any kind of protein. So by themselves these things aren't damaging at all. Phenylalanine is actually an essential amino acid. It's one that you need to take in because the body can't produce it from anything else. Some people are so highly sensitive and you should read that as gut damage basically becasue I'm pretty sure that any people who are highly sensitive to MSG are actually people who have gut damage. They can't take in any form of the isolated amino acid so if they are taking a glutamine supplement they might have some reactions to them simply because their body isn't able to make these kind of conversions.

Just to quote Dr. Russell Blaylock here who Erykah was talking about earlier in the show, he says "The major use for high dose glutamine would be to repair gastro intestinal injury. In any cases I would recommend short term use only. Those with a history of the following conditions should avoid glutamine, even for short term use are people who have had stroke, neurodegenerative disease, pregnancy, malignancy, recent vaccinations, ADHD, hypoglycemia, autism, multiple sclerosis or other neurological disorders."

I think it's important to note that some of the watch words for MSG ingredients on the list can be misleading. People see broth on an ingredients list or on a list for other names for MSG and they're like "Well wait a minute, I eat beef broth all the time". Beef broth in and of itself is not actually harmful assuming that they don't have this intense gut damage. Gelatin is the same thing. Eating Gelatin isn't necessarily a bad thing but if your body is not able to convert this glutamate into glutamine then it might actually end up giving you this sort of reaction.

Also important to note is peptide bonded amino acids. These are amino acids that are still in their protein form. For instance when you eat a piece of meat or something like that, those amino acids that you are getting there are still bound together as opposed to the free form amino acids that you get from food manufacturers or from supplements. These bonded amino acids are actually better because the individual amino acids actually compete for uptake so you are actually able to take in these amino acids better in food form. That draws into question why you would want to be taking them in, in isolated form anyway if you can actually absorb them a lot better from your food.

I just wanted to say one other thing here because sometimes you will see on a label a warning that a food contains phenylalanine. A lot of people tend to think that phenylalanine is some kind of toxin. They see this warning and they are avoiding it. The only reason that that has that there - like I said phenylalanine is an essential amino acid and you really need it. The reason for it is that there is a condition known as phenylketonuria which is people who are unable to process phenylalanine properly and it is extremely dangerous for them to take that in. The reason that you see those warning on the package labels is for those people who have that condition. Generally people who don't have that condition don't need to worry about phenylalanine. That being said, most of the foods that you see with that warning on them is because they contain aspartame. So take a look and make sure that it doesn't have aspartame.

Phenylalanine is something that you find throughout the food chain. As for isolated phenylalanine, you will find those warnings on there.

Gaby: It is horrifying, I'm really like Gosh! We just have to stay away from it all.

Doug: Exactly. It just comes back to what you were saying before Gaby, it's best to just avoid these packaged foods. They might be convenient but in the end you really don't know what you're getting unless you are pulling up webpages and doing all kinds of research before you actually use any of them. Cooking your own food is a much, much better option.

Gaby: It's more enjoyable and tastes so good.

Doug: Exactly. I could go into that other article too if we have time.

Jonathan: Yeah I think we have time.

Doug: Ok cool, so I wrote an article a while back, I guess it was in 2012 and it was called Everybody Knows Artificial Sweeteners Aren't Good for You so Why are People Still Eating Them? At first I was establishing that yes, these things are harmful and most of that was done through links because there's so much written about that and I didn't want this to be yet another article listing all the negative effects of artificial sweeteners. I was really kind of looking at the question of why people are still eating them. All the information is out there and I addressed the possibility that some people don't know; I know that is a possibility but when you've got people like Dr. Oz being interviewed by Oprah and telling her that he won't feed it to his kids and that these things are damaging, it's hard to believe that anybody out there doesn't know that at least there is some controversy around this.

The other possibility is that people don't care and that's certainly a possibility, there are a number of people out there that don't care about this kind of stuff and will eat whatever is put in front of them because it tastes good. Another possibility is that there is too much conflicting information and that the food industry is very good at countering any kind of negative press that they get. Gaby was mentioning with the whole diet coke thing that their sales went down when that study came out, but I've seen such a huge push from them lately. I think they came out with a Coke Zero recently which was an alternative to Diet Coke. So they are working really hard to counter all that. There are a lot of shills that you see on TV and on the news and things like that, talking about how the negative effects are exaggerated and these sorts of things so that's a possibility.

But I think that the main reason for this is the idea that it's the appeal to authority fallacy, where the authority figures have stated that this stuff is not harmful and these authority figures are of course people like Donald Rumsfeld and all his ilk who are really only interested in pushing their products for the money. Because these authority figures are basically saying that these things aren't harmful, then people are more inclined to believe that.

The average person out there is not a person who is reading their ingredients labels, who is researching this stuff, who is reading alternative information to find out what is really going on with this stuff. Your average person is just grabbing something off the shelf. They saw it advertised on TV so off they go. This is something that they are going to eat. There's all these fallacies that I hear people say all the time "If this stuff was harmful it wouldn't be on the grocery store shelf" or "There are people who test for this kind of stuff", "If it was so bad then no one would eat it and companies would stop producing it", "If I was having any negative effects from it I would notice".

All these things are so ingrained that people just kind of believe these things. It's not even necessarily that they have made a conscious decision to do this; the things remain on the shelves therefore people are going to eat it. It's as simple as that, they just don't have the wherewithal to suspect that anything on their grocery store shelf is going to contain something that might actually be doing them some harm. There is an inherent trust in these government bodies like the FDA, they trust that these people are looking out for us and that is kind of hilarious in and of itself when you look at who the FDA is.

The FDA started out as the Division of Chemistry back in 1862. Later they changed their name to the Bureau of Chemistry. At a much later date in 1930 they finally changed their name to the FDA; the Federal Department of Agriculture. At the time when it was created its job was to approve and sanction products from the chemical industry. It never was - and could be argued that it is still not - despite popular belief, there to protect consumers from harmful chemicals. Their whole mandate was to get chemicals put into products and purchased by the public, whether that be through drugs, through cleaning products or through foods.

The Division of Chemistry acted as a legal shield between consumers and the industry. It was like a buffer to make sure that because it was approved by the FDA, consumers had no recourse if these things turned out to be harmful. The FDA has their approval system which is called GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) and it basically safe harbour status for any chemical that they are putting into the food chain. Like I said, it leaves the general consumer without any legal recourse against chemical industries. The industry can say "Well this got GRAS status from the FDA so it's not our fault. It was approved." So the industry is shielded and it gives them plausible deniability.

When you look at the whole picture of things it's just so ridiculous. Everybody just trusts that if it's on the shelf then it must be safe. It's been approved by the FDA therefore it must be safe when really these things are not there for your safety whatsoever. I just thought that that was something interesting.

Jonathan: Shortly before we go to Zora's pet segment I just want to cover some safe sweeteners. People may be wondering "Do I have to give up sweeteners entirely to avoid some of these negative downfalls?" There's enough stuff with sugar alone let alone with all these artificial sweeteners that we have been talking about. I'm going to be reading here from Some of you may be familiar with the book Wheat Belly. They have a list on their website of safe sweeteners and some of these you may be familiar with. They have two that personally I don't recognize but the first three are stevia, erythritol and xylitol.

The stevia plants are naturally sweet, often called sweet leaf. Some people where the stevia naturally grows will chew the leaves to give some kind of a sweet snack. Stevia is often in liquid or powdered form and is mixed with other natural sweeteners such as erythritol and xylitol. Maltodextrin is also a common ingredient added to Stevia. Personally I actually use stevia most of the time in my cooking to mix with a fat bomb custard or things like that to add some sweetness. The standard rate of conversion for stevia that I am familiar with is 1 teaspoon of Stevia = 1 cup of sugar. I personally don't think that that is very accurate, I think more like a tablespoon of stevia would be equal to a cup of sugar.

Another one here is erythritol which is a naturally occurring sugar which is found in fruit. Erythritol yields no increase in blood sugar even with a quantity of 15 teaspoons at one time. There are less than 1.6 calories per teaspoon of erythritol. Limited studies have demonstrated modest reductions blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c (a reflection of the previous 60 days' blood sugar) in people with diabetes who use erythritol. It is less sweet than table sugar and it also has a unique cooling sensation similar to peppermint although quite a bit less intense. It doesn't hold up quite as well as Stevia in baking but it can be used to add that cooling sensation.

And xylitol, also a natural sugar found in fruits and vegetables. Xylitol is produced by the human body as a part of normal metabolism. A teaspoon of xylitol is equivalent in sweetness to sucrose. It yields two thirds of the calories of sucrose and because digestion occurs in the small intestine rather than the stomach, it triggers a slower and less sharp rise in blood glucose than sucrose does. Most people experience minimal rise in blood glucose with xylitol. In one study of young volunteers, for instance, six teaspoons of sucrose increased blood sugar by 36 mg/dl, while xylitol increased it 6 mg/dl. Several studies have demonstrated positive health effects, including prevention of tooth decay and ear infections in children, both due to xylitol's effects on inhibiting bacterial growth in the mouth.

The two other ones that they list here are monk fruits and Inulin. These two are two newer forms of natural sweeteners. Monk fruit also known as luo han guo is relatively new. It says here that its track record suggests that like stevia it is a naturally sourced and benign sweetener. Many people prefer the taste of monk fruit over stevia because there is less after taste. Then inulin is a storage form of starch for the plant. It says here that humans lack the digestive apparatus to break it down to sugars but bowel flora such as lactobacillus species are able to metabolize inulin into fatty acids, the so called pre-biotic effect. That has been associated with improved intestinal health, reduced potential for colon cancer, improved blood sugar, lower blood pressure and lower triglycerides, etc.

So you have a number of options if you want to find a natural sweetener to use. Personally I recommend stevia. I know that some of our listeners and some of our hosts here also use erythritol and Xylitol. I personally don't have much experience with those but they are all pretty safe unless a person should overdo it and eat a ton of it all day long, as with anything. The recipe we are going to do after Zoya's segment here today is intended to be used with Stevia.

Let's take a few minutes here and go to Zoya, she is going to talk to us today about food additives in pet food so we can be enlightened on that a little bit. We will be back after this.

Zoya's Pet Segment:
Hello and welcome to the pet health segment of the Health and Wellness Show. Today we are going to talk about additives and preservatives added to pet food. In the previous segments we have already covered the disadvantages and dangers of feeding your pet with commercial dry or moist pet food so this segment is also going to assist you with making the decision to gradually move toward a more natural, balanced and species supportive diet for your pet. Since animal fats are used in dog foods and they are also subject to spoilage and becoming rancid not to long after manufacture, to extend the life of any pet food suppliers must add preservatives to many fat or oil ingredients.

Preservatives can be so-called "natural" or synthetic. Natural preservatives are typically made from vitamin C or E. You will usually find them on the dog food ingredients list using some form of the words tocopherol or ascorbate. They are considered to be safe but still not ideal because they can contribute towards various allergies or maladies. But when it comes to artificial preservatives there is no doubt that they can cause harm. Used long term they can add a lot of risk of toxicity to any dog or cat food. For example ethoxyquin is one artificial preservative to watch for on the label. That is because ethoxyquin is used not only as a preservative but also as a pesticide and as a hardening agent for making synthetic rubber.

Ethoxyquin has been under investigation by the FDA as a possible cause of certain liver and blood problems. In addition the preservative is not permitted for use in Australian dogs foods nor is it approved within the European Union, yet to this day ethoxyquin is still commonly found in many popular brands of dog food. Other common chemical additives are, for example, Propylene glycol used to help preserve the moisture content in some commercial dog foods. Because of its proven ability to cause a serious type of blood disease in some animals called Heinz Body Anemia, propylene glycol has been banned by the FDA for use in cat food but unfortunately it can still be used to make dog food.

Another preservative is named BHA butylated hydroxianisole. According to the US National Institutes of health BHA in the diet has been found to consistently produce certain types of tumor in laboratory animals. Another preservative is BHT butylated hydroxitoluene. The chemical is used in certain dog foods to prevent fats and oils from prematurely spoiling. In other words BHT can extend the shelf life of fat in food products. But that is not all it can do, BHT can also be found in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, rubber, jet fuel, petroleum products, the oil in electrical transformers and even in embalming fluid. That's why, like so many other artificial preservatives, BHT has become the subject of considerable controversy. It seems the same chemical qualities that make BHT an effective preservative can also make it the subject of causing cancerous tumors.

Another preservative is TBHQ. It's an acronym for the word tertiary-butyl hydroquinone, a fat preservative added to dog food to increase its shelf life. As with others it is not the only thing it is used for. TBHQ is also used to stabilize certain explosive compounds and to make varnishes and resins. Here is the problem. TBHQ has been found to produce pre-cancerous stomach tumors in laboratory animals and it can cause damage to a cell's DNA. What's more, further studies have found that prolonged exposure to TBHQ may lead to other types of cancer too.

The last one we are going to talk about is propyl gallate. New research suggests that dog food preservative propyl gallate may be responsible for causing a potentially dangerous health issue for dogs. That is because of the chemical's unique ability to mimic the negative effects of the female hormone estrogen. Although the FDA insists that agents can be considered safe, recent studies have linked propyl gallate with a special group of hormone like compounds known as xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens have the potential to adversely affect reproductive health. In humans they have the ability to transform a normal breast cell into a cancerous cell. Propyl gallate can also affect a developing fetus as well as decreasing the sperm count in males. Feeding a dog or a cat with the same chemical additives not just occasionally but with every meal certainly favors the creation of problems associated with long term exposure to any toxic substance. It's that accumulated exposure that causes various diseases. Then there's that added effect of using any kind of artificial preservative consistently, especially when it's suspected in causing cancer.

Also just like in humans commercial pet food causes allergies and intolerances and these food allergies and intolerances are being cited as the cause of bad behaviors such as hyper activity; not to mention numerous diseases and illnesses. For example TV vet Joe Inglis, who also has his own line of natural pet food, says "some big brands are hoodwinking the public with the food that they put out the labelling in such a way so that pet owners cannot make an informed choice. Profits are being put before the welfare of pets and it's irresponsible to be using all of these artificial additives in pet foods when there is so much anecdotal evidence that they cause harm." The term EC permitted additives covers a list of about 4,000 chemicals.

Artificial colors such as E102 - tartrazine and E110 - Sunset Yellow, have been shown to cause hyperactivity in children and colors such as Blue 2 have been shown to have the potential to cause tumors; as have antioxidants including BHA. Mr. Inglis also says that over the twelve years of his practice he has seen a substantial rise in cases of problems caused by poor diet including allergies and intolerances and behavioral issues linked to artificial additives in food.

It became normal to hear from time to time about food recalls or scandals due to mass illness or pet deaths. The latest big scandal had to do with Nestle Purina pet care company, maker of the popular pet food brand Beneful. A dog owner has filed a class action law suit against the maker of the popular pet food brand alleging that thousands of dogs have been sickened or have died from eating its dry dog food. The suit alleges that Beneful dry dog food contains an ingredient that is toxic to animals; propylene glycol a chemical used in automobile interface. The law suit also claims Beneful contains harmful mycotoxins, toxins produced by fungus that occurs in grains.

In the suit Lucido alleged that in the past four years there have been more than 3,000 complaints online about dogs becoming ill or dying after eating Beneful having shown consistent symptoms, including stomach and related internal bleeding, liver malfunction or failure, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, weight loss, seizures and kidney failure. The legal filing cites the accounts of a number of pet owners, including one who states that "After eating Beneful for just over a week, my dog's liver failed. She was drinking way more than usual, stopped eating and was vomiting. She spent two days in intensive care with IV fluid and antibiotics."

There was also a case where a pet was sickened after eating pet jerky treats made in China. At that time Food and Drug Administration officials said that pet treats were linked to more than 1,000 deaths in dogs and more than 4,800 complaints of animal illness. Apparently also three humans got sick.

I hope that by now it should be clear to every conscientious pet owner that they are playing Russian roulette with their pet's health every time they feed them with commercial food. The solution is to feed them with a natural species appropriate diet. In many cases it is even much cheaper than many more sophisticated and specialized dry foods out there. You can listen to previous pet health segments and read great articles on to learn more about feeding your pet in a way that will contribute to a long and healthy life. This is it for today, I hope you found the information useful. Have a nice day and goodbye!
Jonathan: Thank you Zoya. That is some really valuable information. It is good for us to be as concerned about our pet's health as we are with our own and to keep an eye out for what's in their food and not to just give them the standard kibble from the store. Even though overall it might be more affordable. you're really damaging your pet's health with a lot of that material.

I guess we are nearing the end and to wrap up our show for today I wanted to do a recipe for sweet pork ribs. I guess you could call this sweet ginger pork ribs. I'll try to go over this quickly. It's pretty standard if you have ever done low and slow ribs in the oven. If you are writing this down the temperature that you want to preheat your oven to is 225F degrees and I would go with 2 racks of baby back ribs. You want to lay those out on a pan.

To prepare for this you can just use some ginger extract but I personally like to go with raw ginger. So you take the raw ginger and carefully peel it so that you don't take too much of the actual ginger out; just take the peel off. Chop that up into little chunks and put about a cup of it into your blender. You want a chunky blender for this because ginger is so tough it's really hard to blend. Start pulsing it until it starts to break down in the blender and add a little bit of water at a time until you come up with a slightly more liquidified ginger paste. You want to blend it really well so that all of the ginger is mixed in with the water and is blended up as much as it can be.

Run that through a muslin cloth, like a cotton cloth bag or a cloth filter of some kind that is really fine and twist that around and just squeeze all of the juice out of there into a cup then add it to your ginger extract. That is really potent, really strong. Then what I like to do is go ahead and brush the ribs with the ginger. Get a standard kitchen brush and brush that on until they're totally covered then dust the ribs with salt, pepper, coriander, cardamom and stevia.

There's not necessarily specific measurements for each of these but as you can imagine, if your ribs are laid out you just dust the entire top of them with the spice mixture. So that is salt, pepper, ground coriander, ground cardamom and stevia and add stevia into that mix at about equal portions to the other one.

Then you want to put the ribs into the oven at 225F degrees and bake them for about 2 hours. You want to put the meat side down onto your baking dish. You can cover this if you have a roasting pan, or not, it really doesn't make a huge difference. They're just going to be a little bit more tender if you have them inside of a roasting pan. After two hours take them out, flip the ribs over using a spatula and put your spice mixture on one more time and brush it again with the ginger mixture. Put them back in for another one-and-a-half to two hours. So your total cook time should top out at about four hours. So you've got two hours at the beginning, take them out, flip them over, baste and spice them again, put them in again for another one-and-a-half hours. About 20 - 30 minutes before you're done take them out and baste them one more time with the ginger extract and put them in for another 20 - 30 minutes.

When you take them out they are going to be super tender. You really only need a fork to eat these ribs unless you like to eat them by hand. They are just going to fall right off the bone. I'm a big fan of the mixture of the ginger flavour with the stevia. It makes a nice sweet pork rib without having to use sugar or BBQ sauce or any kind of unknown ingredients. So that's it.

Doug: It sounds really good. One little helpful hint by the way, a good way to peel ginger is to use a spoon; because it's blunt you end up only taking off the skin part.

Jonathan: Thanks. That's a great trick! I hope you guys enjoyed the show today. Thanks for sticking with us and thanks to everybody in our chat room who were asking questions and sharing information. We will be back next week. We are still discussing our topic for next week. It looks like we may be talking about what to feed your baby and information for mothers with young children or expecting mothers and what to look for there. As I said we are yet to determine exactly what our topic will be for next week so if you are on the Cass forum you can find out that information as the day gets closer. In the meantime be sure to stay up to date with the news on and come back to at 10am eastern time on Friday. Thanks very much everybody!