Junk Food Encoded in Children’s DNA and Beyond

Activist Post
by Heather Callaghan

Through the emerging information from epigenetics – the study of environmental exposure on genes – it becomes apparent that we are not the body equivalent to Las Vegas. What happens to us doesn’t stay with us – it moves on.

It’s not so much that disease moves on, but a “poorly trained” immune system does, according to a unique new study in Nutrition Journal.

It starts with inflammation from the Western diet and an infinite domino effect begins….

An excerpt from the abstract of “Fast Food Fever: reviewing the impacts of the Western diet on immunity”:

Detailed attention is given to the dietary impact on the gut microbiome and the mechanisms by which our poor dietary choices are encoded into our gut, our genes, and are passed to our offspring.

[…]

While today’s modern diet may provide beneficial protection from micro- and macronutrient deficiencies, our over abundance of calories and the macronutrients that compose our diet may all lead to increased inflammation, reduced control of infection, increased rates of cancer, and increased risk for allergic and auto-inflammatory disease.

On page 4:

What is perhaps of larger concern is that the harmful effects of diet can actually stretch across generations. A mother’s diet may potentially shape her child’s flavor preferences even before birth, potentially skewing their palette towards anything from vegetables to sugary sweets in ways that could influence subsequent propensity for obesity and/or unhealthy dieting. In addition, children inherent their microbiome from their mother mostly through parturition but also during breast-feeding and development until the bacterial balance matures around to four years of age.

It goes on to say that microbiome can be “seeded” into the unborn child while in the womb, but if diet toppled mom’s bacteria balance, the child’s inherited immune system doesn’t have an “education.”

Later, while the study definitely doesn’t condemn the genetic modification of food crops, major concern surrounds the inflammatory effects of certain Bt pesticide-resistant varieties and its potential genetic impact on gut bacteria, and perhaps that issue being passed on. They point out that it would be hard to fully determine since patent laws bar independent study without permission, and the potential for evidence suppression and conflict of interest on the word of biotech companies is a possibility. Indeed.

The study doesn’t contest that Americans are fed, but the inability to absorb nutrients which literally leaves them defenseless in the face of disease, or rather creates the environment for it with a poorly trained and equipped immune system. Lacking a good bacterial microbiome is intensifying the vulnerability and that seems to be what we pass on to offspring.

The authors conclude:

Of potentially greatest concern, our poor dietary behaviors are encoded into both our DNA scaffolding and gut microbiome, and thus these harmful immune modifications are passed to our offspring during their most critical development window.

Therefore, given the scope of influence, the vast economic impacts, and the potential for trans-generational inheritance, the dietary impacts on immune health should thus, at minimum, be afforded a level of attention equal to that given to the dietary impacts on cardiovascular health.

In the end, it takes a terribly hopeless tone, concluding that even probiotics can’t undo the damage or help posterity – meaning, more needs to be done. But what? Intervention? The target seems to be the “damage of our dietary choices.” Yet, most people are limited in their choices, especially at the grocery store where most of the choices have unlabeled GMOs and chemicals.

Recovery for Western health and future generations of course, remains to be seen. A great many atrocities appear aimed at deactivating the entire terrain of the human immune system. What do you suppose the ultimate purpose was for this study?

Please feel free to read the study and let me know what you think. You can see some interesting charts here.

Recently, I wrote about the impact of hunger, genocide and war on the skulls of Cherokee native Americans. Skulls were shrinking in size and that trait was being passed on genetically, but only during tumultuous times. While the discovery seems quite new, I point out that doctors were warning about the necessity of nutrition on genetic impact decades before, yet they were ridiculed at the time. We come full circle again.

But it’s not just junk food – the modern bogeyman in politics; it’s everything in the environment, especially chemicals, which we eat and are exposed to with everything we touch and the air we breathe. The devastating and gene-altering capability of environmental chemicals, even before conception (through the DNA of each parent), has been documented for decades.

7 Reasons Why Genetically Modified Foods Will Never Be Labeled And Why It Won’t Matter In The Future

Waking Times
by Natasha Longo

There are many arguments in favor of mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMO). However, corporate lobbyists have been very effective in preventing any GMO labeling legislation from being enacted into law. The public is in favor of the idea, but politicians are only on board until voting polls close after which point they revert back to the corporate ideology preventing people from ever knowing the truth about what’s in their food. In the west, the probability of such laws ever being passed are very unlikely. Hate to be a party pooper, but here are 7 reasons why GMO foods will never be labeled.

At least 21 countries and the European Union have established some form of mandatory labeling, but the food industry in the EU and US are two different beasts.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently requires labeling of GMO foods if the food has a significantly different nutritional property; if a new food includes an allergen that consumers would not expect to be present (e.g., a peanut protein in a soybean product); or if a food contains a toxicant beyond acceptable limits.

Even though it does exist, the generally accepted science of GMO foods does not clearly distinguish between its nutritional properties and those of non-GMO foods. Allergens are also known to be present in GMO foods, but this is largely ignored by the FDA. Also, now that the EPA has allowed Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide at levels 60 times above toxic exposure for canola, soy, sunflower, flax and peanuts, it’s a free pass to chemically spray most GMO foods beyond acceptable limits.

To government scientists, it’s all the same and they don’t see a difference, not because one doesn’t exist, but because they refuse to acknowledge it.

Monsanto writes “There is no need to test the safety of GM foods”. So long as the engineered protein is safe, foods from GM crops are substantially equivalent and they cannot pose any health risks.” The US Food and Drug Administration waived all levels of safety testing in 1996 before approving the commercialization of these crops. Nothing more than voluntary research is necessary, and the FDA does not even want to see the results. And there is certainly no need to publish any of it. If you remember 1996, the year that the first crops were commercialized, the research scientists of the US FDA all predicted that transgenic crops would have unpredictable hard to detect side effects, allergens, toxins, nutritional effects, new diseases.

Unless you are geographically located in a dozen or so countries in the world who have declared GMO (genetically modified organism) bans, then you’re likely eating GMO. It’s almost impossible to avoid all GMO foods, however educating yourself can make a big difference in the percentage of GMO foods you purchase as a consumer.

Although consumers have a right to know what’s in their food, especially concerning products for which health and environmental concerns have been raised, there are 7 reasons why they are unlikely to be be identified on any labeled food products:

1. Mandatory labeling would allow consumers to identify and steer clear of food products that cause them problems. This would cause a ripple effect on the entire food industry causing information campaigns on some of the largest and most successful brands in the world, effectively removing their popularity through incremental education.

2. For religious or ethical reasons, many people want to avoid eating animal products, including animal DNA. More GMO foods are now being engineered with insect DNA and more experiments are taking place with animal DNA. If consumers were more informed through labeling initiatives, it would cause a massive backlash on well known brands of processed foods by these groups. Transgenic animals and crops would also come under fire.

3. Labels on GMO foods would imply a warning about detrimental health effects, which would stir controversy among millions who strive daily to maintain or advance their levels of health and wellness through dietary strategies. There are significant differences between GMO and conventional foods in terms of side effects, allergens, toxins, nutritional effects, and new diseases. Although no nutritional or allergenic differences are acknowledged by the FDA, labeling foods as GMO would immediately place the decision making process back into the hands of the consumer by-passing the regulatory agency’s control.

4. Labeling of GMO foods to fulfill the desires of health conscious consumers would come at a consequence to all food manufacturers who use GMO ingredients. Experience with mandatory labeling in the European Union, Japan, and New Zealand has not resulted in consumer choice. Rather, retailers have eliminated GMO products from their shelves due to perceived consumer aversion to GMO products. Can you imagine what the effect would be in the US?

5. Consumers who want to buy non-GMO foods currently have an option to purchase certified organic foods, which by definition cannot be produced with GMO ingredients. Labeling GMO ingredients would also affect the entire organic foods industry now generating hundreds of millions in revenue. Many consumers would revert back to conventional foods if they learned they did not contain GMO ingredients. This would cause a loss in profits to some large food manufacturers who have organic divisions within their brands.

6. If GMO foods were segregated from non-GMO foods, the food system infrastructure (storage, processing, and transportation facilities) would need to change drastically in a short period of time to accommodate the need for this change. The cost of labeling involves far more than the paper and ink to print the actual label. Accurate labeling requires an extensive identity preservation system from farmer to elevator to grain processor to food manufacturer to retailer. Either testing or detailed record-keeping needs to be done at various steps along the food supply chain. It would be very chaotic and the expense would go down the tubes if the majority of consumers avoided foods labeled as containing GMO ingredients. It’s a process the food industry knows would be extremely painful if it were to ever materialize.

7. If anti-GMO activists won the fight to pass GMO labeling legislation, it would set a precedent to every other highly controversial health topic in the hands of regulatory agencies. What next? Public health agencies would then be at risk at losing their credibility on other hot topics of debate such as fluoride in drinking water or vaccination. If populations were to win one huge battle that would free them from being incrementally poisoned, all government policy would be then be scrutinized and consumer advocate groups would stop at nothing to ensure all toxic public health policy would be dumped. It’s a loss of control and that’s something the cartels of the world are not interested in.

What’s The Solution and What Does The Future Hold?

If you haven’t figured out yet that our governments are not our best health and safety advocates, you haven’t been paying attention. We need to take the control away from the government and put it back into the hands of the people.

Content-based verification requires testing foods for the physical presence of foreign DNA or protein. A current application of this type of procedure is the analysis and labeling of vitamin content of foods. Methods for detecting the presence of GMO components in crops and processed foods are being discussed all over the world.

As the number of transgenes in commercialized crops increases, the techniques for detecting an array of different transgenes are becoming more sophisticated and even portable.

In the not too distant future, consumers will be able to run on-the-spot tests for environmental toxins, GMOs, pesticides, food safety and more with their smartphones and other hand-held devices.

“Modern biological research is also allowing an extension of laboratory devices on to small computer chips to detect biological information within DNA sequences,” said biotech specialist Dr. Marek Banaszewski. “Bioinformatic algorithms within programs will aid the identification of transgenes, promoters, and other functional elements of DNA, making detection of genetically modified foods on-the-spot and real-time without transportation to a laboratory.”

In a paper published in the journal Lab on a Chip, the team demonstrated sensing of an immune system protein, but the slide could be primed for any type of biological molecule or cell type. The researchers are working to improve the manufacturing process for the iPhone cradle and are working on a cradle for Android phones as well. They hope to begin making the cradles available next year.

Other handheld devices currently in development are portable chemiluminescence detectors, but based on enzyme-catalyzed reactions emitting light. The detection devices for nucleic acids, biotin associated with the target DNA provides the handle for the chemiluminescent detection. The non-radioactive DNA detection chemistry will be able to readily identify single-copy genes in transgenic plants making them suitable for GMO detection.

You Are What You Eat

Waking Times
by Anna Hunt

“The Doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” – Thomas A Edison, 1847-1931

Eating healthy can be challenging in a world of convenient, processed and fast foods. In the US, food companies collectively spend more on advertising than any other industry, even more than Big Pharma (which coincidentally spends about twice as much on advertising as it does on research and development, as reported in Science Daily). We are talking about billions of dollars spent each year to make us believe that a sausage biscuit is just as good to eat as a bowl of granola because it has similar calories, or that you will have more fun when drinking a coke, and that processed GMO’ed snacks are “natural” and “healthy”.

On top of all this, billions more are spent to sell us pills to help with the various ailments and illnesses that often arise due to poor diet.

Many people are stuck in this vicious cycle because they lack proper nutritional education, and don’t have a personal history of eating well. Aside from a few days covering the food pyramid (which in itself is questionable, as there is a heavy dependence on grains and animal products and no mention of vegan or vegetarian diets), not much else is taught in schools about nutrition. Most medical professionals are not taught to address our illnesses with nutrition, but instead promote drugs, and shockingly some even dismiss diet as a cause of poor health.

Public and government organizations can in no way match what is being spent by the food processors to help promote healthy-eating initiatives. In 2006 alone, food companies spent $1.6 billion marketing their products to children, with millions more spent targeting other demographic groups. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Centers for Disease Control’s combined budget to spend on improving the public’s nutrition and physical activity totaled about $51 million in 2008. Source: Washington Post

These organization may try to raise awareness about good food, but their efforts simply cannot compete. The USDA outlines a set of dietary guidelines to help guide Americans towards healthier food choices and, as per the USDA, “confront [the] obesity epidemic.” But who listens and actually adheres to government guidelines about what to eat?

New research conducted by the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion in Alexandria, Virginia surveyed over 8000 Americans to find out what they ate in a day, and compared this to USDA nutritional recommendations. “Overall, the researchers found that children and adults as groups each scored 56, while seniors scored higher with 65, meaning they did a better job meeting the USDA standards than most younger people, but no one came close to a perfect score of 100.” Source: Fox News

Now that we understand that our health and diet is being attacked by corporations, and that our already over-reaching and over-extended government is in no position to positively influence public health, what can we do abut this serious issue?

As with many problems that face the world today, the best way to begin fixing this is to stop pointing fingers and to take a look in the mirror. What are you eating? What are you serving your children? What companies are you supporting with your spending dollars? What types of dishes are you bringing to pot-luck dinners during this Holiday Season? Perhaps an interesting dish that’s packed with super-healthy, leafy greens will start an inspiring conversation about food, versus leaving the guests bloated and reaching for antacids.

There are many resources on the Internet, numerous books and recipe apps that bring us a wealth of ideas on how to cook and eat healthy. Here are some of my favorites:

Greens Glorious Greens: More than 140 Ways to Prepare All Those Great-Tasting, Super-Healthy, Beautiful Leafy Greens, by Johnna Albi

Wild About Greens: 125 Delectable Vegan Recipes for Kale, Collards, Arugula, Bok Choy, and other Leafy Veggies Everyone Loves, by Nava Atlas

Power Foods: 150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients, by the Editors of Whole Living Magazine

Raising the Salad Bar: Beyond Leafy Greens–Inventive Salads with Beans, Whole Grains, Pasta, Chicken, and More, by Catherine Walthers


The 10 Things You Need to Eat: And More Than 100 Easy and Delicious Ways to Prepare Them, by Dave Lieberman

Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future, by David Wolfe

Related:  US diets not up to US standards, study finds

If a goat won’t eat it, why should I?

Farm Wars
by Barbara H. Peterson

Let’s face it. If we want something edible, we need to grow it ourselves, or at least deal with companies that actually care instead of simply saying they do in a public relations campaign all the while treating their customers like red-headed step children.

Take for example, Grimmway Farms. This company is the largest grower, producer, and shipper of carrots in the world. I recently acquired a package of their conventionally grown bagged whole carrots, so I decided to see if my goats would like them. They are being raised with no pesticides or GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Well, I may as well have been holding a skunk in my hand because they would have nothing to do with them. Fiona was raised on a porch and hand fed for a good portion of her life. She eats everything out of my hand. Except those carrots… Red is a good eater also, and will eat just about anything on the ranch. Except those carrots…

So, I contacted Grimmway. Here is the question and response:

Question or Comments:
What pesticides do you use for your conventional bagged carrots? My goats refuse to eat them.

Response:
Thank you for contacting us with your question. The best I can reply is that potentially we could use any pesticide approved by the USDA for use on carrots. Products actually used is considered proprietary information and will vary depending on the needs of each particular field.


Best regards,
Sherilyn Curti
Consumer Relations Coordinator

In other words, it’s none of your business, trust us and the USDA. Yeah, the same USDA that hides GMOs that are banned in other countries, yet are miraculously declared “safe” in the good old USA. Hey, the stuff doesn’t even have to be labeled!
So, why is it surprising that Grimmway would respond that knowing what pesticides are on my carrots is basically none of my business? Just eat the garbage and shut up. We know what’s best, and what’s best is our bottom line. Don’t bother us with your insipid questions.

I checked out What’s On My Food.org and found that there are typically 26 pesticide residues found by the USDA pesticide data program on carrots alone. No wonder my goats won’t eat them. I won’t either. Evidently goats are smarter than humans. They know poison when they smell it.

I’m done with Grimmway carrots, and I’m done with big box companies that don’t think we have a right to know what we are purchasing and putting on the table. Trust them? In a pig’s eye. Eat your own poison, I’ve had enough, thank you!

Kaiser Speaks about GMOs

Willamette Live

Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest not-for-profit health plan, has made an official statement on GMOs (genetically modified organisms in food,) calling the topic important both scientifically and politically.

In our last issue, Salem Weekly described “What You Need To Know About GMOs,” an article we found printed in Kaiser Permanente’s Northwest Fall 2012 newsletter, Partners in Health.

Because the author is not credited and the article itself is not available on Kaiser Permanente’s web site, Salem Weekly queried David Northfield, Media Relations Manager of Kaiser Permanente’s Communications & Organizational Research in Portland, to learn more.

Among other questions, we asked if the text of the article, reflected Kaiser Permanente’s official position on genetically modified organisms in food.

Northfield responded on November 25. He said, “The article appearing in this fall’s issue of Partners in Health, Kaiser Permanente’s newsletter for members, was written by one of our nutritionists, and presents her views and insights on the subject. As a mission-based non-profit healthcare organization, we believe it is important to share information with our members on a wide range of topics related to health care and health, but we do not take an organizational position on every issue.”

Northfield went on to say, “Kaiser Permanente believes the ongoing research and debate on bioengineered foods, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), is important. We also recognize there are important conversations about related initiatives and propositions. While we believe these are important scientific and political debates, we do not have policy positions on these subjects.”

Though Kaiser Permenente will not state an official policy on GMOs, the nutritionist-author of “What You Need To Know About GMOs” (who is not named,) described studies that showed significant physical damage caused by GMOs and listed ways its members could avoid them.

GMO crops, or biotech crops, are plants whose DNA has been modified by genetic engineering techniques. The process is believed to have begun in 1982 to make tobacco plants hardier.

It has burgeoned since then; a 2011 article published by an industry publication claims a 94-fold increase in worldwide acreage between 1996 and 2011.

In their article, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications calls biotech crops “the fastest adopted crop technology in the history of modern agriculture.”

Opponents to GMO foods organized in California this year with Proposition 37, which attempted to require food with GMO content to be labeled, and to prohibit from calling itself “natural.” The Proposition failed on November 6.

Currently in the United States, although ingredients like peanuts must be mentioned on labels, foods with GMOs are not required to be.

Biotech and food corporations spent an estimated $39,000,000 to defeat the California proposition and hide their GMO ingredients.

In addition to a software app suggested by Kaiser Permanente’s nutritionist, Salem Weekly recommends the affiliated web site, nongmoshoppingguide.com.

Meanwhile, an original hard copy of the Partners in Health issue, including the article “What You Need To Know About GMOs” is available in our offices.Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest not-for-profit health plan, has made an official statement on GMOs (genetically modified organisms in food,) calling the topic important both scientifically and politically.

In our last issue, Salem Weekly described “What You Need To Know About GMOs,” an article we found printed in Kaiser Permanente’s Northwest Fall 2012 newsletter, Partners in Health.

Because the author is not credited and the article itself is not available on Kaiser Permanente’s web site, Salem Weekly queried David Northfield, Media Relations Manager of Kaiser Permanente’s Communications & Organizational Research in Portland, to learn more.

Among other questions, we asked if the text of the article, reflected Kaiser Permanente’s official position on genetically modified organisms in food.

Northfield responded on November 25. He said, “The article appearing in this fall’s issue of Partners in Health, Kaiser Permanente’s newsletter for members, was written by one of our nutritionists, and presents her views and insights on the subject. As a mission-based non-profit healthcare organization, we believe it is important to share information with our members on a wide range of topics related to health care and health, but we do not take an organizational position on every issue.”

Northfield went on to say, “Kaiser Permanente believes the ongoing research and debate on bioengineered foods, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), is important. We also recognize there are important conversations about related initiatives and propositions. While we believe these are important scientific and political debates, we do not have policy positions on these subjects.”

Though Kaiser Permenente will not state an official policy on GMOs, the nutritionist-author of “What You Need To Know About GMOs” (who is not named,) described studies that showed significant physical damage caused by GMOs and listed ways its members could avoid them.

GMO crops, or biotech crops, are plants whose DNA has been modified by genetic engineering techniques. The process is believed to have begun in 1982 to make tobacco plants hardier.

It has burgeoned since then; a 2011 article published by an industry publication claims a 94-fold increase in worldwide acreage between 1996 and 2011.

In their article, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications calls biotech crops “the fastest adopted crop technology in the history of modern agriculture.”

Opponents to GMO foods organized in California this year with Proposition 37, which attempted to require food with GMO content to be labeled, and to prohibit from calling itself “natural.” The Proposition failed on November 6.

Currently in the United States, although ingredients like peanuts must be mentioned on labels, foods with GMOs are not required to be.

Biotech and food corporations spent an estimated $39,000,000 to defeat the California proposition and hide their GMO ingredients.

In addition to a software app suggested by Kaiser Permanente’s nutritionist, Salem Weekly recommends the affiliated web site, nongmoshoppingguide.com.

Meanwhile, an original hard copy of the Partners in Health issue, including the article “What You Need To Know About GMOs” is available in our offices.