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Why Are These Chronic Diseases on the Rise?

Have you noticed that there seems to be lots more chronic illnesses showing up lately?

If so, you’re not alone. Neurological problems (Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ADD, etc.), autoimmune diseases (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, etc.), endocrine disorders (diabetes, hypothyroid, osteoporosis, etc.) and some cancers (leukemia, multiple myeloma, and lymphoma) are all increasing.

The people who study these events mostly agree that environmental toxins are an underlying cause of these increases. What they don’t agree on is what problems result from which toxins. At best they conclude that there is a combined effect from multiple toxins creating these increases in disease.

Researchers typically consider environmental toxins to be things like heavy metals, chemical runoff seeping into water supplies and air pollution. All of these are toxic, to be sure. But there is another, much sneakier source of toxic exposure.

The Other Source of Environmental Toxins

The other area where we have exposure to environmental toxins is through the food we eat.

And aside from the obvious exposure, such as mercury in farm-raised salmon, there are less obvious ways we get exposed to harmful substances in our foods.

Here are some examples:

  • MSG – Eating MSG (monosodium glutamate) increases blood levels of glutamate to as high as 50 times normal. This level of glutamate is enough to cause brain injury.

    Even if you pay close attention to avoiding foods with MSG in them, it can hide in foods under other names. Among these are:

    • hydrolyzed protein
    • vegetable protein
    • soy protein isolate
    • soy protein concentrate
    • whey protein
    • natural flavoring
  • spices
  • enzymes
  • autolyzed yeast extract
  • stock
  • broth
  • carrageenan
  • Since glutamate is an excitotoxin (brain stimulant), if you are exposed to other excitotoxic substances you multiply the effect. Some of these sources include mercury exposure through vaccines, foods or breathing, and aspartame (NutraSweet®).

    Here is a list of foods that frequently contain MSG:

    • Canned soups
    • Pre-prepared stocks often known as stock cubes
    • Condiments such as barbecue sauce
    • Frozen dinners
    • Frozen seafood
    • Common snack foods such as flavored potato chips and flavored tortilla chips
    • Most fast food
    • Instant meals such as the seasoning mixtures for instant noodles
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids – Medical research indicates that excessive levels of omega-6 fatty acids (relative to omega-3 fatty acids) may increase the probability of heart problems, cancer and depression.

    The reason is that omega-6 fatty acids feed the inflammatory biochemical pathways in the body. Inflammation is strongly implicated in diabetes, cancer and heart disease as well as depression.

    Modern Western diets typically have ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 in between of 10 to 1 and 20 to 1. Some people’s ratio is as high as 30 to 1. Most experts agree that a ratio of less than 3 to 1 or less is optimal.

    The foods highest in omega-6 fatty acids include:

    • Vegetable Oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut, soybean and canola oils
    • Grain fed beef
    • Cheeses
    • Grains and grain products like bread, pasta, crackers, etc.
  • Sugar – Americans eat, on average, an astonishing 2 to 3 pounds of sugar each week. That’s around 135 pounds of sugar a year! Add this to the fact that all forms of refined and concentrated sugars have extremely strong effects on our bodies and you can see the problem.

    Excessive sugar intake has the following effects:

    • Spikes insulin in the blood, forcing sugar into your cells where the excess is converted to fat
    • Raises triglyceride levels, increasing the likelihood of cardiovascular disease
    • Impairs your immune system, making it harder to fight infections, colds, and even cancer
    • Increases your likelihood of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes
    • Contributes to hyperactivity, anxiety, depression and lack of mental focus
The Best Solution for Avoiding These Food-Based Toxins

At first glance, getting a handle on limiting toxic foods looks daunting. Rest assured that it’s not that difficult. By following basic guidelines and eating nothing but whole, fresh foods in their natural state you’ll go a long way towards eliminating the problem. If you want to go the extra mile and avoid pesticides and other toxins, you’ll also eat primarily organically raised food.

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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • LaurieJune 25, 2012, 5:39 pm

    Thanks for this great post. It’s important for people to understand that they have control over their health and that the first step to good health is eating healthy foods. I’m especially glad that you provided solid examples of foods that cause so many health problems. It can get confusing with so many products falling under so many different names, so thank you for spelling it out for us!

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