The USDA published its first nutrition guidelines in 1894 as a farmer’s bulletin. It recommended consuming a variety of nutrient-rich foods in proportion and moderation while lowering levels of fat, sugar, and starch intake. (Wikipedia, 2015)
Food Guides in the US 1894 -1920’s
A few of the United States’ earliest food guides, left to right: W. O. Atwater’s Food: Nutritive Value and Cost (1894), Caroline Hunt’s Food For Young Children (1916), Helen Atwater and Caroline Hunt’s How to Select Foods (1917)
In 1894, people were mostly eating REAL FOOD – there were no fast food franchises, highly processed foods, energy bars, sugar-filled carbonated soft drinks, genetically modified foods, factory farmed animals pumped full of antibiotics and fed GMO grains.
In the late 1970’s, the USDA nutritional guidelines reflected the new “low fat revolution”, urging Americans to reduce their intake of saturated fats and cholesterol – that is, to eat fewer traditionally healthy foods like eggs, butter, meat, and full-fat dairy. We now know that advice was seriously misguided and has been driving some of the world’s leading health threats – including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. (Gunnars, 2014)
The food industry responded to the new low fat guidelines by creating a slew of low fat “health foods”. Unfortunately, removing the fat from food also takes away its taste. So the industry replaced the missing fat with sugar. If you eat processed or fast foods and/or drink sodas or juice drinks, you’re consuming massive amounts of sugar in various forms.
Dr Stephan Guyenet, a neurobiologist and obesity researcher, says, “In the year 1822 we ate the equivalent of a 12 ounce can of soda every 5 days. Today, we’re eating the equivalent of a 12 ounce can of soda every 7 hours.”
“On average, Americans are eating about 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day, or 355 calories. This amounts to 70 pounds (32 kg) per year. Keep in mind that these are averages. Young males are eating about a 100 pounds of sugar per year… and many individuals are eating much, much more. (Gunnars, 2014)
Most processed foods, including ones calling themselves “health foods” contain sugar – often lots of it under various names. Among the ones to look for are:
Cane juice crystals
Cane juice solids
Corn syrup solids
Dehydrated cane juice
Dehydrated fruit juice
Fruit juice concentrate
Fruit juice crystals
High fructose corn syrup
– Colquhoun& ten Bosch, undated
This useful infographic from Dr Robert Mercola’s Newsletter lists the amount of sugar per 100 grams found in some common foods. As Mercola points out, sugars now constitute the majority of calories in most people’s diet. (Mercola, 8/31/2015)
I highly recommend watching the film. Here’s Fed Up‘s home page.
Note added on 9/1/2015:
A comment from Na’ama Yehuda (see Comments, below) reminded me to stress that not all sugars are equal. The sugars that occur naturally in fruit and dried fruit are a lot healthier for us than any form of refined sugar. As Na’ama says, concentrate on eating REAL FOOD, avoid processed junk foods filled with refined sugars and other unhealthy ingredients, and limit your total consumption of sugar.
A few weeks ago the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that glyphosate, the main chemical in Monsanto’s bestselling weed killer Roundup, is linked to cancer in humans. This conclusion was reached by a panel of scientific experts from 11 countries after they had made “a comprehensive review of the latest available scientific evidence”.(International Agency for Research on Cancer – World Health Organization, 2015)
Glyphosate is now used in over 750 different week killers. According to the WHO report, the chemical is also routinely detected in the air, water, the foods we eat and feed to animals.
The prestigious journal Lancet Oncology, reported that glyphosate is linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and lung cancer in humans and there is “convincing evidence” that it can cause cancer in lab animals. (Guyton, 2015)
Yet Monsanto continues to declare Roundup and glyphosate perfectly safe and our government refuses to allow GMO labeling – let alone banning it as many other countries have done.
Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” seeds have been genetically modified to be resistant to their best selling herbicide. Farmers who plant these seeds must then spray their crops with increasing amounts of Roundup to keep other weeds and plants from growing in their fields.
A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Because this involves the transfer of genes, GMOs are also known as “transgenic” organisms. – Institute for Responsible Technology
The first Roundup Ready genetically modified crops were soybean seeds introduced by Monsanto in 1996. Current Roundup Ready crops include soy, corn, canola, alfalfa, cotton, sorghum, and wheat.
Since Roundup Ready crop seeds are sterile, they have notoriously been referred to as “terminator seeds”. Farmers are unable to reuse the best seed from their current crops as they’ve done for centuries and instead must buy the most recent strain of seed from Monsanto each year. (Delano, 2009)
The prevalence of GMO crops in the US increases yearly. The US Department of Agriculture reports that herbicide tolerant (HT) soybean crops rose from 17% of US soybean acreage in 1997 to 68% in 2001 and 94% in 2014. Plantings of HT cotton increased from 10% in 1997 to 56% in 2001 and 91% in 2014. The adoption of HT corn, which had been slower in previous years, has accelerated, reaching 89% of US corn acreage in 2014. (USDA, 2014)
If you’re eating anything that isn’t organically grown or consuming processed foods, you’re inadvertently consuming a big dose of glyphosate. In 2005, the Grocery Manufacturers of America estimated that 75% of all processed foods in the US contain at least one genetically modified ingredient.
Ten years later, an estimated 80% of GMO crops worldwide are genetically engineered to survive being sprayed with massive levels of Roundup or other glyphosate-containing herbicides. As a result, 75% of the processed food available in the US likely are poisoned with glyphosate. (Food Democracy Now, 2015)
GLYPHOSATE CAN’T BE WASHED OFF PRODUCE
Glyphosate contamination in plants is systemic: Unlike many other agricultural chemical that are sprayed on crops, glyphosate is found in every cell of the plant.
You can’t wash it off no matter what cleaning method you use – and processed food and animal feed manufacturers who use GMO crops also can’t remove it. The glyphosate is INSIDE the plant, not a topical residue ON it.
To make the situation even more dangerous, farmers need to keep increasing the amount of glyphosate they spray on their crops because Roundup-resistant weeds are proliferating. And, in a double whammy, the US Environmental Protection Agency has significantly raised the levels of glyphosate it allows in food. (Mercola, 2014)
WHO’S THE FOOL?
Here’s the promised video!
Since it’s April 1st, this video clip of former Greenpeace member turned GMO lobbyist, Dr Patrick Moore, now one of Monsanto’s fools, is apt. Here he is in a recent interview with French TV station Canal + declaring that drinking glyphosate is so safe that, “you can drink a whole quart of it and it won’t hurt you”. Watch what happens when he’s offered a glass of it.
The Monsanto Chemical Works was founded in 1901 by John Francis Queeny, a former employee of a large wholesale pharmaceutical company. In 1902 the fledgling company sold its first product, an artificial sweetener it called Saccharin, to the Coca Cola Company. Even then, the government knew saccharin was toxic and sued to stop its manufacture – but lost in court. In 1905, Monsanto began to make a profit by selling vanillin and caffeine. In 1906, the US government started regulating and inspecting some food products but Monsanto made itself exempt from regulation by donating to politicians, research facilities, schools, and even the US Dairy Association – a practice it engages in to this day.
Monsanto is now a multi-billion dollar company with branches in 100 countries. It is the main producer of genetically modified crops and seeds in the world.
A sampling from this history to pique your interest:
Monsanto and their partners in crime Archer Daniels Midland, Sodexo and Tyson Foods write and sponsor The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009: HR 875. This criminal “act” gives the corporate factory farms a virtual monopoly to police and control all foods grown anywhere, including one’s own backyard, and provides harsh penalties and jail sentences for those who do not use chemicals and fertilizers. President Obama decided this sounded reasonable and gave his approval.
In recent decades, Monsanto has led an intense campaign of deception to get us to believe that Roundup and glyphosate are perfectly safe. So far, Monsanto has prevailed in the US.
In 2009, a French court ruled that Monsanto was guilty of falsely advertising Roundup as “biodegradable” and “environmentally friendly” and claiming it “left the soil clean”.
All these Monsanto claims are false.
Recent research has shown that glyphosate residues “enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease”.
In Argentina, fertility problems, birth defects, miscarriages,and cancer rates have soared in farming communities where Roundup Ready corn and soybeans are grown. In the Argentine province of Chaco, birth defects quadrupled in the 10 years since GE crops were introduced. And a recent Norwegian study published in Food Technology demonstrated that GMO soy bean plants contain a poor nutritional profile AND high levels of glyphosate, leading the researchers to question both their safety and quality. (Mercola, 2014)
Tell Congress and the EPA to follow the lead of other countries by banning Roundup and getting glyphosate off our plates:
THE 12 MOST HARMFUL MONSANTO PRODUCTS (DeNicola, 2014):
This artificial sweetener provides sweetness without calories. Found widely in drinks, candies, cookies, medicines, gum, fruit spreads, toothpaste and more. Studies have shown that consuming artificially sweetened drinks and foods drive us to eat more. This may be because artificial sweeteners don’t make the body feel full or because the sweetness promotes the desire to keep eating.
Aspartame is another artificial sweetener Monsanto has produced since 1985. Numerous studies have demonstrated its health hazards and it has been banned twice by the FDA – yet it is still legally and widely used in 6,000 products worldwide, including diet sodas, sodas, yogurts, gum, sauces, drink powders, cereals and much more.
Aspartame has been found to greatly increase the risk of fast-paced kidney decline. It has also been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, brain damage (by leaving traces of methanol in the blood), an imbalance in the antioxidant/pro-oxidant status in the brain, brain tumors, and heart-related disease.
Polychlorinated biphenyls are in a family of man-made organic chemicals known as chlorinated hydrocarbons. They were first manufactured in 1929 for use in plastics, cable insulation, caulking, adhesives and oil-based paints until they were banned in 1979 for being carcinogenic and contributing to a number of adverse effects on the human immune, reproductive, nervous, and endocrine systems. Although no longer manufactured, they continue to do damage. A 2011 study reported they are still being found in the blood of pregnant women.
Monsanto began manufacturing the synthetic polymer polystyrene in 1941. It is still in production and is widely used in food packaging (styrofoam). Polystyrene is non-biodegradable and comprises the majority of hazardous waste accumulating on our planet. Chronic exposure to it is tied to headache, depression, fatigue, and weakness.
DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) was a commonly used pesticide designed to combat malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. DDT has been linked to liver damage, infertility, and nervous system damage. It was banned in 1972 but can take many years to break down and is still being found in soils and waterways. Human exposure to DDT comes through eating contaminated fish and crops or through atmospheric deposition.
Dioxins are a group of chemically-related compounds that are among the most toxic chemicals known to science. Monsanto began promoting the use of chemical pesticides, including dioxins, in agriculture in 1945. The EPA has confirmed dioxins as a cancer hazard. They accumulate in the food chain and are primarily found now in meat and dairy products.
Agent Orange is an herbicide/ defoliant primarily known for its use by the US as a form of chemical warfare during the Vietnam War. Agent Orange caused over 400,000 deaths and 500,000 birth defects in Vietnam. It has caused health problems of some kind in over a million people. Agent Orange was contaminated with dioxin – something that Monsanto apparently knew about when it sold the compound to the US Government for use in that war.
Since a formal clean-up effort didn’t begin until 2012, damages from Agent Orange are still being felt. Some chemicals found in Agent Orange are also found in certain herbicides in use today.
Monsanto purchased a major oil refinery in 1955 and began producing petroleum-based fertilizers to apply to soils and plant tissues. Petroleum-based fertilizers destroy beneficial soil micro-organisms, eventually rendering the soil sterile and therefore fully dependent on external stimulants to produce crops. These fertilizers are used on farms around the world.
Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH)
Monsanto developed the genetically modified hormone rBGH to inject into dairy cows to produce more milk. While artificially increasing cows’ milk production, rBGH also raises the animals’ levels of pus, antibiotic residues, and a cancer-accelerating hormone called IGF-1. When consumed by humans, rBGH acts as a cancer accelerator and has been linked to breast, colon and prostate cancer.
Monsanto was a pioneer in genetically modifying organisms and continues to be a major player in the field. The company began its initiatives in the early 1990’s with the claim that GMO’s help “feed the world”.
Genetically modifying organisms is dangerous is so many ways. If you want to read more, here are some articles on the topic recommended by Collective Evolution:
GMOs are prevalent in many crops – most notably corn, sugar beets, potatoes, soybeans, tomatoes, squash, golden rice, salmon and animal feeds.
The US Government has so far resisted all efforts to require the labeling of GMO crops and Monsanto, along with many other large corporations, has successfully poured funds into state efforts to require mandatory GMO labeling.
And it’s not even true that GMO crops are better at “feeding the world”. For example:
Roundup, also known as Glyphosate, is the most widely used herbicide around the world. Monsanto founded its agricultural chemicals division in 1970, with Roundup being its star product.
Glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor and has been demonstrated to be carcinogenic. Endocrine disruptors can cause development disorders, birth defects, and cancerous tumors.
Although banned in many countries outside the US, Roundup is approved and still widely used today to destroy and control weeds. It is now found in our groundwater, soil, streams, tissues, and the air.
Monsanto was even involved in the development of the first nuclear weapons. After acquiring Thomas & Hochwalt Laboratories, Monsanto established a department that played a key role in the Manhattan Project from 1943 to 1945: researching methods for enriching uranium. The Manhattan Project was responsible for producing the atomic bombs the US dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the last days of WWII.