By Dr. Mercola
According to the American Dietetic Association, registered dietitians are now given formal education by the Coca-Cola Company on how safe its ingredients are. The ADA's Commission on Dietetic Registration has approved a program created by the Coca Cola Company Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness that will educate dietitians about what it calls "urban myths" about food safety.
The program teaches that fluoride, sugar, artificial colors and non-nutritive sweeteners have been "carefully examined for their effects on children's health, growth, and development," and suggests methods dietitians can use to help get rid of "concern among parents about their children's health."
According to the Alliance for Natural Health:
"Program materials include gems like '[a] majority of studies so far have not found a link between sugar and behavior in children generally or children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.' This is certainly news to us, since we have seen many studies that say the opposite."
It is important to understand that conventional medical doctors are the trainers and teachers of dietitians and they will merely parrot what they are taught. There are some outstanding certified clinical nutritionists (CCNs) who do understand health, but they are a minority. Your regular dietitian might be dangerous as they will authoritatively "educate" you with misinformation that can actually make you worse.
It's truly unfortunate that you can't trust the advice of those being paid to be experts on diet and health. Dietitians can serve a vital role in helping people improve their health, alas, when their education is created by the likes of Coca Cola company, how sensible and trustworthy can it be, really?
After all, Coca Cola is in business to sell liquid sugar, or worse, fluids flavored with artificial sweeteners to taste like it. They have absolutely no incentive whatsoever to dissuade anyone from drinking it, and what better way to protect profits than to have an entire army of "myth busting" dietitians working on their side?
Dietitians Taught to Dispel "Urban Myths" about Food Ingredients
There are many food myths that need dispelling, but unfortunately those aren't the ones being dispelled in the continuing education created by the Coca-Cola Company Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness (Isn't that name an oxymoron?). Rather, the "myths" shattered here are those relating to the fact that food additives—such as fluoride, sugar, artificial sweeteners and food dyes—can be harmful to your, and your children's, health.
The program, "Children's Dietary Recommendations: When Urban Myths, Opinions, Parental Perceptions and Evidence Collide," was recently approved by the credentialing arm of the American Dietetic Association, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Registered dietitians earn Continuing Professional Education unit credits if they participate.
The program "tells dietitians that fluoride, sugar, artificial colors and nonnutritive sweeteners have been "carefully examined for their effects on children's health, growth, and development," the Alliance for Natural Health writes.
Furthermore, "the presenter, Dr. Ronald Kleinman, "explores prevalent misconceptions about these food ingredients" and suggests ways the dietitian can help quell unnecessary "concern among parents about their children's health."
In a time when so many children are suffering the effects of poor nutrition, it's extremely sad to see the junk food industry being allowed to "write the book" that dietary professionals are supposed to help their clients with. It further cements my recommendation to take your health into your own hands, and do your own research, rather than blindly following the recommendations from "health authorities."
Let's review a few of the ingredients that dietitians are now being misinformed about.
Fluoride is a Known Toxin. It's NOT Safe!
First, there is no doubt whatsoever that the fluoride added to water supplies under the auspice of preventing tooth decay is a toxic chemical waste product that should not be used by anyone, especially not infants, the elderly, or those with chronic health problems.
Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA) warn against using fluoridated water for mixing infant formula, although they've made no serious effort to actually spread the word and truly inform the public… They primarily cite an increased risk of disfiguring dental fluorosis as the cause for concern, but numerous studies have shown that fluoride can have far more devastating health effects than mottling your teeth.
Fortunately, we've come a long way in this information campaign, and increasing numbers of people are becoming aware of the dangers of water fluoridation.
The United States is one of only eight countries in the entire developed world that fluoridates more than 50 percent of its water supply. This despite the fact that there's no demonstrated difference in tooth decay between countries with fluoridated and non-fluoridated water, and no difference between states that have a high- or low percentage of their water fluoridated, and despite the fact that numerous studies have documented a long list of health problems related to fluoride consumption, including:
The Fluoride Action Network is a phenomenal resource for further education, and they're doing much to pressure the US government for change. We're working together to tackle this issue head on. Once we reach the tipping point, which may be as little as 5 percent of the population, we will be able to reverse the policies of water fluoridation.
For more information about how you can get involved, please see this previous article.
Does Sugar Affect Children's Behavior?
This new program will teach dietitians that "[a] majority of studies so far have not found a link between sugar and behavior in children generally or children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder." However, there are plenty of studies demonstrating that the converse is true, and that sugar has a major impact on mood and behavior.
For example, one recent study published in the journal Psychology Today found a strong link between high sugar consumption and the risk of both depression and schizophrenia. There are at least two potential mechanisms through which refined sugar intake could exert a toxic effect on mental health:
- Sugar suppresses activity of a key growth hormone in your brain called BDNF, which is critically low in both depression and schizophrenia.
- Sugar also triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation. In the long term, inflammation disrupts the normal functioning of your immune system, and disrupts proper brain function.
It's also a well-known fact that chronic inflammation plays a major role in heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. So consuming excessive amounts of sugar can truly set off an avalanche of negative health events – both mental and physical.
A diet high in sugar, fructose and starchy carbohydrates also causes excessive insulin release, which can lead to falling blood sugar levels, or hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia, in turn, causes your brain to secrete glutamate in levels that can cause agitation, depression, anger, anxiety and panic attacks.
One 1985 study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology found that reducing sugar intake had a positive impact on emotions. And another, the Los Angeles Probation Department Diet-Behavior Program: An Empirical Analysis of Six Institutional Settings, published in 1983, documented the results when juvenile delinquents were given a reduced-sugar diet—The saw a 44 percent reduction in the incidence of antisocial behavior during the subsequent 3 months, after the implementation of the revised diet.
So can sugar affect your child's behavior?
Yes, it can.
And if your child has behavioral- and/or learning problems, wouldn't it make sense to radically limit sugar and fructose for some time to see if anything changes for the better? That, after all, is far more important than what any study or health expert has to say about it.
Are Artificial Sweeteners a Safe Alternative?
If you've read this newsletter for any amount of time, you already know the answer to that question. There's little doubt in my mind that artificial sweeteners can be even worse than sugar and fructose, and there is scientific evidence to back up that conclusion. I've compiled a long list of scientific studies into the health effects of aspartame, and it covers a range of concerns, from behavioral- and mood changes, to brain damage, weight gain, pre-term delivery, and cancer.
So please, do your homework on this, and do not be swayed by sweet-talking dietitians, doctors, or any other health professional that tells you artificial sweeteners have gotten the 'green light' and is safe to use. There's simply too much evidence pointing in the other direction.
"Diet" drinks and foods are typically marketed toward diabetics and dieters. Unfortunately, they don't do either any good.
First of all, the research and the epidemiologic data suggest artificial sweeteners such as aspartame actually tend to lead to weight gain. One reason for aspartame's potential to cause weight gain is because the two amino acids that make up 90 percent of aspartame-- phenylalanine and aspartic acid – are known to rapidly stimulate the release of insulin and leptin; two hormones that are intricately involved with satiety and fat storage. They're also the primary hormones that regulate your metabolism.
So although you're not ingesting calories in the form of sugar, aspartame can still raise your insulin and leptin levels. And these, in turn, are two of the driving forces behind both obesity and diabetes. There are also other mechanisms at work that promote weight gain as opposed to weight loss when you consume aspartame.
You can read more about those in this previous article.
What the Science Says about Food Dyes
The issue of whether or not food additives such as artificial colors contribute to behavioral problems in children has been disputed for many years, and American dietitians will continue misleading parents if they believe what Coca-Cola Company tells them...
As an example of what researchers have discovered on this issue, take a look at this carefully designed randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the journal The Lancet, four years ago, which concluded that:
"Artificial colors or a sodium benzoate preservative (or both) in the diet result in increased hyperactivity in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the general population."
The seven ingredients tested in the study included:
✓ Sodium benzoate (E211)
✓ Sunset yellow (E110)
✓ Quinoline yellow (E104)
✓ Carmoisine (E122)
✓ Tartrazine (E102)
✓ Ponceau 4R (E124)
✓ Allura red AC (E129)
The results of this study prompted the British Food Standards Agency (FSA) to issue an immediate advisory to parents, warning them to limit their children's intake of additives if they notice an effect on behavior.
Not surprisingly, the U.S. did not issue any similar warnings.
The worst behavioral responses from the additives were seen in the three-year-olds, compared to the older children in the study. But even within each age group, some children responded very strongly, and others not at all, indicating there are individual differences in how well your body can tolerate the assault of artificial additives.
One theory is that the additives may trigger a release of histamines in certain sensitive kids. Still, I believe that food additives such as preservatives, sweeteners and colorings should be avoided as much as possible, regardless of whether they have a marked effect or not as they clearly have no redeeming nutritional value, and can carry major long-term health risks.