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Source:  http://www.healthyonraw.com/should-we-eat-greens-high-in-oxalic-acid/

One question I often get asked is whether we should avoid leafy green vegetables, and other natural foods, which are high in oxalic acid.

Problems with oxalates in the body are two-fold: first, the restriction of mineral availability, hence depriving the body of essential minerals and second, the potential to form kidney stones in susceptible individuals.

In this article I’m going to elucidate what oxalic acid is, what foods contain oxalic acid, whether we should eat foods high in oxalates if health issues occur from consuming greens high in oxalic acid, and what quantities are optimum for health.

What is oxalic acid?

Oxalic acid is a colorless, organic compound that occurs naturally in plants, animals and in humans. It is made by the human body from other substances such as vitamin C. It can also be ingested from food and readily combines with calcium, which is why some people have concerns. Likewise, our bodies convert many of the things we consume into oxalates. Organic oxalic acid is an important – even essential – element to stimulate and maintain the peristaltic motion in our bodies, so it is not all bad.

What foods contain oxalic acid?

Oxalic acid is found in greens of the Amaranthaceae family such as spinach, Swiss chard, beet tops, lambs quarters and amaranth plus sorrel, parsley, purslane and rhubarb. It imparts a sharp taste to beet greens and chard that is felt in the throat. Oxalic acid generally increases as foods mature, producing increasingly bitter vegetables. Young, fresh vegetables such as baby spinach are less likely to have oxalic acid.

Other foods high in oxalates are almonds, cashews, buckwheat, unhulled sesame seeds, tea, coffee, chocolate, textured soy protein, beets.

Low oxalate greens are lettuce, celery, chickweed, watercress, escarole, asparagus, dandelion, and the members or the brassica family or cruciferous such as kale, bokchoy, collards, mustard greens, turnip tops, cabbage and arugula.

High Oxalic acid/100g food Med oxalic vegetables Low oxalic vegetables

Lambsquarters (highest) Radish (0.48 g) Chicory (0.21 g)

Parsley (1.7 g) Collards (0.45 g) Turnip (0.21 g)

Chives (1.48 g) Beans, snap (0.36 g) Broccoli (0.19 g)

Purslane (1.31 g) Brussels sprouts (0.36 g) Celery (0.19 g)

Amaranth (1.09 g) Lettuce (0.33 g) Eggplant (0.19 g)

Spinach (0.97 g) Watercress (0.31 g) Cauliflower (0.15 g)

Beet leaves (0.61 g) Sweet potato (0.24 g) Asparagus (0.13 g)

Endive (0.11 g)

Carrot (0.5 g)

Cabbage (0.1 g)

Onion (0.05 g)

Pea (0.05 g)

Tomato (0.05 g)

Turnip greens (0.05 g)

Parsnip (0.04 g)

Pepper (0.04 g)

Rutabaga (0.03 g)

Cucumbers (0.02 g)

Kale (0.02 g)

Squash (0.02 g)

Coriander (0.01 g)

U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrition Data Laboratory. oxalic acid in vegetables

Absorption of minerals

Oxalic acid present in greens and other foods has the potential to bind with calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and copper in our intestines to form oxalates, insoluble salts, thus interfering with the absorption of these minerals and making them unavailable for the body to use. It doesn’t, however, affect the absorption of calcium in other foods consumed at the same meal.

Studies have shown less absorbability of calcium from spinach. The absorption of calcium in spinach is only 5% compared to 30% absorption in kale, a low oxalate greens. The bio availability of calcium from kale is actually better than milk at 27%.

In another study, about 27 percent of the magnesium from spinach was absorbed compared to 37 percent of the magnesium in kale.

However the oxalic acid on iron absorption varies from person to person and meal to meal, and the body absorbs more iron from oxalic acid-rich foods when you are iron-deficient compared to when your iron stores are plentiful. So you get iron from eating spinach if you need iron.

How does cooking affect oxalic acid?

The oxalic acid is lowered by boiling and steaming but so are the minerals and vitamins and phytochemicals which leach in the water. If you discard that water you reduce the oxalates remaining in the food but at the same time you also lose the vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals. So you are better off consuming your greens raw if you want to benefit from the whole spectrum of nutrients.

Health problems with oxalates

Oxalic acid forms insoluble salts such as calcium oxalates which are found in kidney stones. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and may cause health problems such as kidney stones.

There is also a large degree of genetic variability in the ability to detoxify the chemicals that produce oxalates. Perhaps twenty percent of the population has a genetic variance that increases their likelihood of producing oxalates, even when not consuming a high-oxalate diet. For this reason, certain individuals need to be careful about their intake of oxalic acid – those who have existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems, a vulnerability to kidney disorders, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, or certain forms of chronic vulvar pain. People with hyperoxaluria (a genetic predisposition to this disorder occurs in less than 1 percent of the population) should highly minimize their intake of oxalates.

For others, the extent to which foods high in oxalic acid are a potential health problem varies from person to person. For normal, healthy persons, that risk is almost negligible provided that great amounts of oxalic acid are not consumed on a continuing, long-term basis.

For those who have a healthy digestive tract, good bacterial flora, who chew their foods well in a relaxed state, and minimize animal protein, will have the potential to lower oxalate absorption/urinary excretion from foods containing oxalic acid.

Although calcium oxalates play a part, it is the consumption of animal protein that is the main culprit in the formation of kidney stones. The acidification of the urine and increased animal protein are linked with the most common stone — uric acid stones. A plant-based lower protein diet will prevent the formation of kidney stones.

Being well hydrated and a daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids are also very effective in preventing oxalate deposition.

How much to eat?

It all depends on whether you have trouble excreting oxalic acid or not. Generally I recommend that high oxalic food be a smaller portion of your leafy green intake. Stone formers should look at minimizing those portions.

However we don’t have to avoid high oxalate foods completely. Spinach, beet leaves, lambsquarters and purslane have much to offer nutritionally: they’re an excellent source of folic acid, phytonutrients carotenoids and lutein, antioxidants, other minerals as well as vitamin K, E and C.

Don’t base your smoothies on spinach or Swiss chard. It is large amounts of consumption over several months that you should be aware of. I know people who put spinach in their smoothies all day and all year long without varying their greens. They are depriving themselves of calcium and other minerals more readily available in other low oxalate greens.

Rotate your high oxalate greens with low oxalate greens. The best spinach substitute in smoothies is baby bokchoy. It is mild in flavor, has soft fiber and a high calcium level.

Mix high oxalic greens with a variety of low oxalic greens. For example instead of using 2-3 cups of spinach in a smoothie, cut it down to half and make up the other half with other greens low in oxalic acid. This way you won’t ingest too much oxalate and will benefit from both worlds.

You can put spinach in your salad and soups but make sure the spinach is less than half of your total consumption of greens.

In general you should not eat more than 8 ounces of spinach a day, juiced or raw. If cooked, 10 ounces is not too much, but eating it every day can’t be as good as consuming a mix of other greens throughout the week.

And if you do experience a ‘burning’ sensation in your throat, however mild, you should stop eating those greens immediately, rather than ignoring it. Once I made a green smoothie containing Swiss chard stems and leaves. The smoothie tasted so strong that I couldn’t even have a sip without feeling an intense burn in my throat. I had to throw away the smoothie. On another occasion I made the same smoothie with Swiss chard and it tasted great. Not all chards are the same. Likewise with raw beets. Some beets burn my throat while other beets don’t. Don’t ignore those messages from your body. A food that burns your throat is not beneficial.

Conclusion

Continue to eat your greens in green smoothies, soups and salads and you’ll benefit from a plethora of nutrients which will help your body functioning at its peak. Rotate your greens and keep at the back of your mind which foods have high oxalic acid and minimize their consumption.

…the truth about giving up SUGAR.

Carolynn Carreño

Having been sugar-free for 10 days now, I consider myself somewhat of an expert. At the very least I am an expert at getting through the first 10 days. So for that, here are 10 things I’ve learned about the first 10 days.

1. Don’t quit eating sugar without pain reliever in the house. The pain in your brain will be too great to leave the house for pain reliever.

2. Your mind will tell you all kinds of crazy things including: Why are you such an extremist control freak? Sugar is a part of life!  It’s Friday for God’s sake and I don’t care if you don’t believe in God. What’s a little agave gonna hurt anyone… Live a little!

3. A few dietary notes:

  • Mayonnaise (that’s Best Foods, or Hellman’s, whose key ingredient is corn syrup) will beckon.
  • A chinese chicken salad is just lettuce’s way of enabling…

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Heart Attacks and WATER

heart-attack(Viral post from Facebook)

How many folks do you know who say they don’t want to drink anything before going to bed, because they’ll have to get up during the night?

Something else I didn’t know … I asked my Doctor why people need to urinate so much at night time. Answer from my Cardiac Doctor – Gravity holds water in the lower part of your body when you are upright (legs swell). When you lie down and the lower body (legs and etc) seeks level with the kidneys, it is then that the kidneys remove the water because it is easier. This then ties in with the last statement!

I knew you need your minimum water to help flush the toxins out of your body, but this was news to me. Correct time to drink water…
Very Important. From A Cardiac Specialist!

Drinking water at a certain time maximizes its effectiveness on the body:

2 glasses of water after waking up – helps activate internal organs
1 glass of water 30 minutes before a meal – helps digestion
1 glass of water before taking a bath – helps lower blood pressure
1 glass of water before going to bed – avoids stroke or heart attack

I can also add to this… My Physician told me that water at bed time will also help prevent night time leg cramps. Your leg muscles are seeking hydration when they cramp and wake you up with a Charlie Horse.

Mayo Clinic Aspirin Dr. Virend Somers, is a Cardiologist from the Mayo Clinic, who is lead author of the report in the July 29, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Most heart attacks occur in the day, generally between 6 A.M. and noon. Having one during the night, when the heart should be most at rest, means that something unusual happened. Somers and his colleagues have been working for a decade to show that sleep apnea is to blame.

1. If you take an aspirin or a baby aspirin once a day, take it at night. The reason: Aspirin has a 24-hour “half-life”; therefore, if most heart attacks happen in the wee hours of the morning, the Aspirin would be strongest in your system.
2. FYI, Aspirin lasts a really long time in your medicine chest, for years, (when it gets old, it smells like vinegar).

Something that we can do to help ourselves – nice to know. Bayer is making crystal aspirin to dissolve instantly on the tongue.
They work much faster than the tablets. Why keep Aspirin by your bedside? It’s about Heart Attacks. There are other symptoms of a heart attack, besides the pain on the left arm. One must also be aware of an intense pain on the chin, as well as nausea and lots of sweating; however, these symptoms may also occur less frequently.

Note: There may be NO pain in the chest during a heart attack.
The majority of people (about 60%) who had a heart attack during their sleep did not wake up. However, if it occurs, the chest pain may wake you up from your deep sleep. If that happens, immediately dissolve two aspirins in your mouth and swallow them with a bit of water.

Afterwards: – Call 911. – Phone a neighbor or a family member who lives very close by.- Say “heart attack!” – Say that you have taken 2 Aspirins. Take a seat on a chair or sofa near the front door, and wait for their arrival and …DO NOT LIE DOWN!

A Cardiologist has stated that if each person after receiving this e-mail, sends it to 10 people, probably one life could be saved!
I have already shared this information. What about you?
Do forward this message. It may save lives!

It’s over. The debate is settled.

It’s sugar, not fat, that causes heart attacks.

Oops. Fifty years of doctors’ advice and government eating guidelines have been wrong. We’ve been told to swap eggs for cereal. But that recommendation is dead wrong. In fact, it’s very likely that this bad advice has killed millions of Americans.

A rigorously done new study shows that those with the highest sugar intake had a four-fold increase in their risk of heart attacks compared to those with the lowest intakes. That’s 400 percent! Just one 20-ounce soda increases your risk of a heart attack by about 30 percent.

This study of more than 40,000 people, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, accounted for all other potential risk factors including total calories, overall diet quality, smoking, cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and alcohol.

This follows on the heels of decades of research that has been mostly ignored by the medical establishment and policy makers. In fact, the Institute of Medicine recommends getting no more than 25 percent of your total calories from added sugar. Really? This study showed that your risk of heart attacks doubles if sugar makes up 20 percent of your calories.

Yet more than 70 percent of Americans consume 10 percent of their daily calories from sugar. And about 10 percent of Americans consume one in every four of their calories from sugar.

Failed Dietary Guidelines

U.S. Dietary Guidelines provide no limit for added sugar, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still lists sugar as a “generally regarded as safe” (GRAS) substance. That classification lets the food industry add unlimited amounts of sugar to our food. At least the American Heart Association recommends that our daily diet contain no more than 5 percent to 7.5 percent added sugar. Yet most of us are eating a lot more. Most of us don’t know that a serving of tomato sauce has more sugar than a serving of Oreo cookies, or that fruit yogurt has more sugar than a Coke, or that most breakfast cereals — even those made with whole grain — are 75 percent sugar. That’s not breakfast, it’s dessert!

This is a major paradigm shift. For years, we’ve been brainwashed into thinking that fat causes heart attacks and raises cholesterol, and that sugar is harmless except as a source of empty calories. They are not empty calories. As it turns out, sugar calories are deadly calories. Sugar causes heart attacks, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cancer and dementia, and is the leading cause of liver failure in America.

The biggest culprit is sugar-sweetened beverages, including sodas, juices, sports drinks, teas and coffees. They are by far the single biggest source of sugar calories in our diet. In fact, more than 37 percent of our sugar calories come from soda. The average teenage boy consumes 34 teaspoons of sugar a day, or about 544 calories from sugar. Even more troubling, this isn’t just putting kids at risk for heart attacks at some remote later date in their lives. It’s killing them before their 20th birthday.

This new research syncs with decades of data on how sugar causes insulin resistance, high triglycerides, lower HDL (good) cholesterol and dangerous small LDL (bad) cholesterol. It also triggers the inflammation we now know is at the root of heart disease.

And fats, including saturated fats, have been unfairly blamed. With the exception of trans fats, fats are actually protective. This includes omega-3 fats, nuts and olive oil, which was proven to reduce heart attack risk by more than 30 percent in a recent large randomized controlled study.

Here’s the simple fact: Sugar calories are worse than other calories. All calories are not created equal. A recent study of more than 175 countries found that increasing overall calories didn’t increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes, but increasing sugar calories did — dramatically.

How to Cure Our Sugar Addiction

America lags far behind the rest of the world in addressing this problem. Mexico, for example, responded after learning that when soda consumption increased to 20 percent of calories for the average citizen, their rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes skyrocketed. Public health officials there researched effective solutions to combat obesity and diabetes from around the world.

The key interventions they implemented included taxing soda, banning junk food television advertising, and eliminating processed foods, junk food and sugar-sweetened beverages from schools. More than 15 countries have targeted sugar-sweetened beverages by taxing them — a strategy that’s proven successful.

Another effective strategy is revamping food labeling to make it clear if a food is good, should be consumed with caution, or is bad for you. In the United States, even someone with a Ph.D. in nutrition has trouble deciphering food labels. How can the average person be expected to know?

Recent and mounting scientific evidence clearly proves that sugar — and flour, which raises blood sugar even more than table sugar — is biologically addictive. In fact, it’s as much as eight times more addictive than cocaine.

The average American consumes about 152 pounds of sugar and 146 pounds of flour a year. It’s imperative that we revamp our outdated and dangerous national dietary guidelines. And we need clear strategies and medical programs to help people understand and address the health risks and addictive nature of sugar and refined carbohydrates.

That’s how we can reverse this tsunami of obesity and chronic disease that is robbing us of our health and crippling our economy.

Wishing you health and happiness,

Mark Hyman, MD

In my new book, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, which will be released on February 25, I provide an easy, step-by-step plan to rid yourself of sugar addiction and reverse your risk of heart attacks. To download a sneak preview of this book, go to www.10daydetox.com and pre-order the book on Amazon

Mark Hyman, MD is a practicing physician, founder of The UltraWellness Center, a six-time New York Times bestselling author, and an international leader in the field of Functional Medicine. You can follow him on Twitter, connect with him onLinkedIn, watch his videos on YouTube, become a fan on Facebook, and subscribe to his newsletter.

Follow Mark Hyman, MD on Twitter: www.twitter.com/markhymanmd

* Study shows fructose used differently from glucose

* Findings challenge common wisdom about sugars

Aug 2 (Reuters) – Pancreatic tumor cells use fructose to divide and proliferate, U.S. researchers said on Monday in a study that challenges the common wisdom that all sugars are the same.

Tumor cells fed both glucose and fructose used the two sugars in two different ways, the team at the University of California Los Angeles found.

They said their finding, published in the journal Cancer Research, may help explain other studies that have linked fructose intake with pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest cancer types.

“These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation,” Dr. Anthony Heaney of UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center and colleagues wrote.

“They have major significance for cancer patients given dietary refined fructose consumption, and indicate that efforts to reduce refined fructose intake or inhibit fructose-mediated actions may disrupt cancer growth.”

Americans take in large amounts of fructose, mainly in high fructose corn syrup, a mix of fructose and glucose that is used in soft drinks, bread and a range of other foods.

Politicians, regulators, health experts and the industry have debated whether high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients have been helping make Americans fatter and less healthy.

Too much sugar of any kind not only adds pounds, but is also a key culprit in diabetes, heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association.

Several states, including New York and California, have weighed a tax on sweetened soft drinks to defray the cost of treating obesity-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The American Beverage Association, whose members include Coca-Cola (KO.N) and Kraft Foods KFT.N have strongly, and successfully, opposed efforts to tax soda.

The industry has also argued that sugar is sugar.

Heaney said his team found otherwise. They grew pancreatic cancer cells in lab dishes and fed them both glucose and fructose.

Tumor cells thrive on sugar but they used the fructose to proliferate. “Importantly, fructose and glucose metabolism are quite different,” Heaney’s team wrote.

“I think this paper has a lot of public health implications. Hopefully, at the federal level there will be some effort to step back on the amount of high fructose corn syrup in our diets,” Heaney said in a statement.

Now the team hopes to develop a drug that might stop tumor cells from making use of fructose.

U.S. consumption of high fructose corn syrup went up 1,000 percent between 1970 and 1990, researchers reported in 2004 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Source:  http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/08/02/cancer-fructose-idAFN0210830520100802

Aspartame is the most controversial food additive in history, and its approval for use in food was the most contested in FDA history. In the end, the artificial sweetener was approved, not on scientific grounds, but rather because of strong political and financial pressure. After all, aspartame was previously listed by the Pentagon as a biochemical warfare agent!

It’s hard to believe such a chemical would be allowed into the food supply, but it was, and it has been wreaking silent havoc with people’s health for the past 30 years.

The truth is, it should never have been released onto the market, and allowing it to remain in the food chain is seriously hurting people — no matter how many times you rebrand it under fancy new names.

The Deceptive Marketing of Aspartame

Sold commercially under names like NutraSweet, Canderel and now AminoSweet, aspartame can be found in more than 6,000 foods, including soft drinks, chewing gum, table-top sweeteners, diet and diabetic foods, breakfast cereals, jams, sweets, vitamins, prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

Aspartame producer Ajinomoto chose to rebrand it under the name AminoSweet, to “remind the industry that aspartame tastes just like sugar, and that it’s made from amino acids — the building blocks of protein that are abundant in our diet.”

This is deception at its finest: begin with a shred of truth, and then spin it to fit your own agenda.

In this case, the agenda is to make you believe that aspartame is somehow a harmless, natural sweetener made with two amino acids that are essential for health and present in your diet already.

They want you to believe aspartame delivers all the benefits of sugar and none of its drawbacks. But nothing could be further from the truth.

How Aspartame Wreaks Havoc on Your Health

Did you know there have been more reports to the FDA for aspartame reactions than for all other food additives combined?

In fact, there are over 10,000 official complaints, but by the FDA’s own admission, less than 1 percent of those who experience a reaction to a product ever report it. So in all likelihood, the toxic effects of aspartame may have affected roughly a million people already.

While a variety of symptoms have been reported, almost two-thirds of them fall into the neurological and behavioral category consisting mostly of headaches, mood alterations, and hallucinations. The remaining third is mostly gastrointestinal symptoms.

This chart will familiarize you with some of the terrifying side-effects and health problems you could encounter if you consume products containing this chemical.

Unfortunately, aspartame toxicity is not well-known by doctors, despite its frequency. Diagnosis is also hampered by the fact that it mimics several other common health conditions, such as:

2010-06-30-HP63010.JPG

How Diet Foods and Drinks CAUSE Weight Problems

In recent years, food manufacturers have increasingly focused on developing low-calorie foods and drinks to help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid obesity. Unfortunately, the science behind these products is so flawed, most of these products can actually lead to increased weight gain!

For example, researchers have discovered that drinking diet soda increases your risk of metabolic syndrome, and may double your risk of obesity — the complete opposite of the stated intention behind these “zero calorie” drinks.

The sad truth is that diet foods and drinks ruin your body’s ability to count calories, and in fact stimulate your appetite, thus boosting your inclination to overindulge.

Unfortunately, most public health agencies and nutritionists in the United States recommend these toxic artificial sweeteners as an acceptable alternative to sugar, which is at best confusing and at worst harming the health of those who take their misguided advice.

Even More Toxic Dangers of Aspartame

Truly, there is enough evidence showing the dangers of consuming artificial sweeteners to fill an entire book — which is exactly why I wrote Sweet Deception. If you or your loved ones drink diet beverages or eat diet foods, this book will explain how you’ve been deceived about the truth behind artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose — for greed, for profits, and at the expense of your health.

As mentioned earlier, almost two-thirds of all documented side effects of aspartame consumption are neurological.

One of the reasons for this side effect, researchers have discovered, is because the phenylalanine in aspartame dissociates from the ester bond. While these amino acids are indeed completely natural and safe, they were never designed to be ingested as isolated amino acids in massive quantities, which in and of itself will cause complications.

Additionally this will also increase dopamine levels in your brain. This can lead to symptoms of depression because it distorts your serotonin/dopamine balance. It can also lead to migraine headaches and brain tumors through a similar mechanism.

The aspartic acid in aspartame is a well-documented excitotoxin. Excitotoxins are usually amino acids, such as glutamate and aspartate. These special amino acids cause particular brain cells to become excessively excited, to the point that they die.

Excitotoxins can also cause a loss of brain synapses and connecting fibers. A review conducted in 2008 by scientists from the University of Pretoria and the University of Limpopo found that consuming a lot of aspartame may inhibit the ability of enzymes in your brain to function normally, and may lead to neurodegeneration.

According to the researchers, consuming a lot of aspartame can disturb:

  • The metabolism of amino acids
  • Protein structure and metabolism
  • The integrity of nucleic acids
  • Neuronal function
  • Endocrine balances

Furthermore, the ester bond in aspartame breaks down to formaldehyde and methanol, which are also toxic in their own right. So it is not surprising that this popular artificial sweetener has also been found to cause cancer.

One truly compelling case study that shows this all too well was done by a private citizen named Victoria Inness-Brown. She decided to perform her own aspartame experiment on 108 rats over a period of 2 years and 8 months.

Daily, she fed some of the rats the equivalent (for their body weight) of two-thirds the aspartame contained in 8-oz of diet soda. Thirty-seven percent of the females fed aspartame developed tumors, some of massive size.

How to Ditch Artificial Sweeteners, and Satiate Your Sweet Tooth

If you suffer from sweet cravings, it’s easy to convince yourself you’re doing the right thing by opting for a zero-calorie sweetener like aspartame. Please understand that you will do more harm than good to your body this way.

First, it’s important to realize that your body craves sweets when you’re not giving it the proper fuel it needs.

Finding out your nutritional type will tell you exactly which foods you need to eat to feel full and satisfied. It may sound hard to believe right now, but once you start eating right for your nutritional type, your sweet cravings will significantly lessen and may even disappear.

Meanwhile, be sure you address the emotional component to your food cravings using a tool such as the Meridian Tapping Technique (MTT). More than any traditional or alternative method I have used or researched, MTT works to overcome food cravings and helps you reach dietary success.

And, if diet soda is the culprit for you, be sure to check out Turbo Tapping, which is an extremely effective and simple tool to get rid of your soda addiction in a short period of time.

Non-Acceptable Alternative Sweeteners

I have written a few articles on fructose earlier this year, and I will be writing many more, so please be aware that I am absolutely convinced that fructose ingestion is at the core of our obesity epidemic.

And I’m not only talking about high fructose corn syrup, which is virtually identical to table sugar. The only major difference between the two is HFCS is much cheaper so it has contributed to massive increase in fructose ingestion, far beyond safe or healthy.

Please understand you need to keep your fructose levels BELOW 25 grams per day. The best way to do that is to avoid these “natural” sweeteners as they are loaded with a much higher percentage of fructose than HFCS.

  • Fruit Juice
  • Agave
  • Honey

Please note that avoiding these beyond 25 grams per day is crucial, even if the source is fresh, raw, and organic. It just doesn’t matter, fructose is fructose is fructose …

Acceptable Alternative Sweeteners

For those times when you just want a taste of something sweet, your healthiest alternative is Stevia. It’s a natural plant and, unlike aspartame and other artificial sweeteners that have been cited for dangerous toxicities, it is a safe, natural alternative that’s ideal if you’re watching your weight, or if you’re maintaining your health by avoiding sugar.

It is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar and truly has virtually no calories.

I must tell you that I am biased; I prefer Stevia as my sweetener of choice, and I frequently use it. However, like most choices, especially sweeteners, I recommend using Stevia in moderation, just like sugar. In excess it is still far less likely to cause metabolic problems than sugar or any of the artificial sweeteners.

I want to emphasize, that if you have insulin issues, I suggest that you avoid sweeteners altogether, including Stevia, as they all can decrease your sensitivity to insulin.

Lo han is another sweetener like Stevia. It’s an African sweet herb that can also be used, but it’s a bit more expensive and harder to find.

So if you struggle with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or extra weight, then you have insulin sensitivity issues and would benefit from avoiding ALL sweeteners.

But for everyone else, if you are going to sweeten your foods and beverages anyway, I strongly encourage you to consider using regular Stevia or Lo han, and toss out all artificial sweeteners and any products that contain them.

If you have experienced an adverse reaction to any aspartame product, call the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in your area.

Dr. Joseph Mercola is the founder and director of Mercola.com. Become a fan of Dr. Mercola on Facebook, on Twitter and check out Dr. Mercola’s report on sun exposure!

by Christine Dreher, C.C.N./TransformYourHealth.com

The evolution of our modern-day lifestyle continues to bring more challenges to our health and well-being. Most of our diets include so many refined, processed foods and sugar, not to mention having to deal with the chemical pollutants in the air we breathe and the food we eat. I believe these factors and excessive stress are the main reasons that the occurrence of disease continues to escalate.

The Evolution of Disease

Disease is our body’s way of telling us that something is out of balance. It is a cry for help. I believe that our bodies are capable of healing themselves when given the right tools, care and attention. The problem in our society is that we tend to address the symptoms of the imbalances, instead of treating the causes.

An example would be the overworked, stressed-out manager, plagued with afternoon fatigue (maybe due to depleted adrenal glands, hypoglycemia or candida), who rushes off for the “sugar fix” of a candy bar or coffee to keep going.

This is like putting a band-aid on a volcano. It may create a short-term remedy, but in the long run it makes matters worse. What started off as a small annoyance tends to escalate over time, requiring more drastic band-aids to quiet the uncomfortable symptoms. Eventually a small, annoying symptom can grow to become a chronic problem or disease.

So What Causes These Imbalances?

One of the major causes of an imbalanced system is the food in our pantries and refrigerators. The amount of processed and refined foods we consume has continued to increase over the last several decades including foods treated with preservatives, chemicals, pesticides and hormones. Not only are the chemicals creating havoc and toxicity in our systems, but the continual consumption of the processed and refined foods are also throwing off the delicate pH balance of our bodies.

What Is the pH Balance of the Body?

The pH level is one of the most important balance systems of the body. The pH level is a measure of acidity or alkalinity, on a scale of zero to fourteen, with zero being most acid, fourteen being most alkaline and seven being mid-range. You may have seen shampoos advertised as pH balanced. These are shampoos designed to match the pH level of the hair. The pH levels of our bodies vary from one organ or system to the next.

For example, the stomach pH is much more acid than the intestinal pH because the stomach needs an acid environment (hydrochloric acid) to break down food for digestion. Whereas, the flora (good bacteria) of the intestine need a more alkaline environment to assimilate and process the nutrients from the foods digested by the stomach.

How Does Eating Affect Our pH Level?

In my book, “The Cleanse Cookbook,” I write about the importance of maintaining a balanced pH level. In order to do this, we need to eat at least 75% alkaline-forming foods. The average all-American diet consists of about 80% acid-forming foods! Because processed and refined foods are extremely acidic to our systems, the body creates a buffering system (a chemical process to protect the body from being harmed by the acids). This buffering process requires the use of many nutrients from the body, including electrolyte minerals (organic potassium, magnesium, sodium, calcium, to name a few). Electrolyte minerals are not minerals from the ground. They minerals from plant sources that have gone through the process of photosynthesis.

Why are Electrolyte Minerals Important for our Bodies?

Electrolyte minerals are vital to the metabolic functions of our body systems. When we have a sufficient reserve of electrolyte minerals, the buffering process (the cushioning and removing of unwanted acids from our systems), is not a problem. When we are young, we usually have sufficient reserves. Over time, the electrolyte mineral reserves can become depleted by ingesting too many processed and refined acid-forming foods, or from excessive mental or emotional stress. When we run short of electrolyte minerals, our body is no longer able to maintain an efficient homeostasis (a state of equilibrium).

The body has a hierarchy of priorities for survival. Second only to breathing and sustaining our heartbeat, the most important metabolic function that our bodies perform is maintaining a specific pH. The most important pH level that the body must regulate is the blood’s pH level. The body’s blood pH level must be maintained at 7.4 (slightly alkaline). If it varies more than a point, death can result from a coma or a seizure. In order to maintain the blood’s critical pH balance, the body will compromise less important functions. Once the electrolyte reserves become depleted, the body begins to rob these electrolytes from the various organs and systems of the body to maintain the blood’s pH level. This is where the imbalance begins. The following are examples of altered pH levels and the resulting imbalanced internal body system:

If the bowels and intestines are robbed of electrolyte minerals, the pH level becomes altered. This creates an imbalance in the bacterial environment, which can leave the bowels and intestines open to pathogens (including candida and parasites), irritations and disturbances. Have you ever heard of irritable bowel syndrome or leaky gut syndrome?

Also, when the body becomes depleted of organic sodium (an essential electrolyte mineral, not table salt), the body may not be able to manufacture enough hydrochloric acid in the stomach. This can create an imbalanced digestive system, where foods are not being digested properly.

These imbalances can be aggravated further because our body systems will generally deplete electrolytes from the weakest areas first. So if someone already has a weakened body system, the further depletion of electrolyte minerals will cause a greater imbalance and more dysfunction. When our bodies become too depleted, overall functioning becomes weakened, affecting the immune system and the body’s ability to fight off bacterial and viral infections.

The Good News

We can begin to reverse this depletion process by replenishing the electrolyte minerals in our bodies. By eating more pH-alkaline forming foods (fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, fresh juices, sprouted seeds, alkaline grains), we can begin to replenish our reserve supply of electrolyte minerals. In my book, “The Cleanse Cookbook,” I explain this process in detail.

pH Testing Tools

Also in “The Cleanse Cookbook,” I introduce an amazing tool to measure our pH levels; it’s called pH papers. pH papers are yellow-colored papers that come on a roll or in strips that you may have seen in your high school or college chemistry classes. You can use them to measure the saliva and urine pH levels of your body. Three of these tests are explained in my book. They measure not only your pH levels, but can determine if you are deficient in electrolyte minerals.

The pH papers are a powerful tool for monitoring our pH balance system. pH testing also provides us with a way to take a more proactive role in our health. We can detect and correct the pH imbalances and electrolyte deficiencies in our systems before they manifest as symptoms of disease. As a cleanse coach, I have seen dramatic health improvements in so many people who simply get their pH levels balanced and their electrolytes replenished. The pH tests are easy and quick. All you need are pH papers and the instructions for interpreting your results. Both the pH papers and “The Cleanse Cookbook” are available by contacting me by email at seechristine@earthlink.net or calling (858) 673-0224.

If you are interested in more information about the internal pH system or internal body cleansing, I recommend reading not only “The Cleanse Cookbook,” but also “Cleanse & Purify Thyself,1.5” written by Dr. Rich Anderson, also available through me. Both books are great resources for understanding the pH balance of our bodies and the importance of internal body cleansing.

Christine Dreher is the author of the nationwide health-store best-seller “The Cleanse Cookbook.” She is the owner of Christine’s Cleanse Corner (a company created to help people cleanse and rebuild their bodies), an internal body cleansing coach, nutritional counselor, lecturer, teacher, and body fitness instructor. She has spent many years researching the causes and prevention of disease. Inspired by her own healing transformation, during her first 40-day cleanse process many years ago, she continues to help thousands of people transform their lives through her cleanse programs, books and articles, and lectures and coaching. Visit her website, email or write her at: Christine’s Cleanse Corner, Christine Dreher, P.O.Box 421423, San Diego, CA 92142.