Are Americans dying from COVID-19… or from stress?

A Scientific American article is circulating in response to the widespread criticism surrounding the CDC’s claims of COVID-19 deaths. The article aims to convince Americans that COVID-19 death counts have not been inflated but acknowledges that case counts of COVID-19 “are a kind of quick and dirty accounting, says Shawna Webster, executive director of the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems… no one has time to double-check the information or look for missing lab tests.”

In response to the assertion that 94% of people who reportedly die from COVID-19 have at least one underlying medical condition, the article goes on to admit that, yes, in just “6 percent of the coronavirus mortality cases… COVID-19 was the only condition listed on the death certificate,” but theorizes that these may have been incomplete records because death certificates themselves are complicated and reporting is not always uniform.

The real crux of the article, and perhaps the most convincing statistic of all, is that despite the muddy details, there is a way to spin the numbers so that overall deaths in America appear to have increased and that some 200,000+ additional Americans have died this year when compared with prior years. The article itself qualifies this estimate: “The numbers in Woolf’s study come from provisional death data, the kind that [has not been fact-checked] for miscoding or other issues, so it comes with some degree of imprecision.”

In fact, a Johns Hopkins researcher has spoken out against this estimate and published a study finding that despite an increase in COVID cases, “the percentages of deaths among all age groups remain relatively the same.” Pulling from the CDC’s own data, the Johns Hopkins researcher explained, “The reason we have a higher number of reported COVID-19 deaths among older individuals than younger individuals is simply because every day in the U.S. older individuals die in higher numbers than younger individuals. As the analysis gained traction and the numbers refuting an increase in deaths circulated more widely, Johns Hopkins yanked the study – and then Google yanked evidence of the study having ever existed at all. (At the time of this post, a Google search no longer returns any evidence whatsoever of the Johns Hopkins study having ever existed or retracted, but you can still access archived pages of proof of the study, data, and full analysis using an alternative search engine like duckduckgo.com).

Even so, what if there really are additional deaths this year? It seems worth exploring. Mysteriously, the Scientific American article mentions that more than a third of these additional deaths could not actually be traced or related to COVID-19 in any way, but nonetheless they are additional deaths. That’s food for thought.

Why the uptick in deaths during 2020? Could it be that COVID-19 is really the greatest danger to humanity of our modern times?

Imagine for a moment that the American people were under greater stress than usual beginning sometime in March of 2020. Did you know that stress itself significantly increases a person’s rate of death?

That applies to even minor stress, which increases one’s chances of dying from anything – cancer, heart disease, accidents, injuries. Even the common cold is more likely to kill you if you’re stressed and anxious. Study after study finds that “the greater the level of psychological distress, the more likely a person was to die...” According to a study published in the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal, “even people displaying minor symptoms of psychological distress were found to have a 20 percent increased risk of dying…”

On the other end of the spectrum, what about “those with the highest levels of psychological distress”? Their chances of dying jumped 41 percent. Still other studies have found the increase in death rate resulting from stress to be as high as 60 percent.

It’s no stretch to imagine that the American people have been mildly stressed since March of 2020 whether due to genuine fear of COVID, concerns about the economy, real job loss, lack of access to child care, relational stress, sudden shifts in lifestyle, and more.

Based on the stress alone that American people have experienced since March, we should expect to see an increase in American deaths this year of at least twenty percent across the population. That’s assuming that Americans are only experiencing very “minor” stress from COVID.

If Americans are “mildly” stressed about COVID, we would expect the increase in deaths to be far greater than 200,000.

So if that 200,000 is easily explained away by an increase in stress, where are all the COVID-19 deaths we’ve been told to fear?

. . .

The actionable message here is this: Don’t stress. But how?

A 2012 NPR article “Best To Not Sweat The Small Stuff, Because It Could Kill You” reported on a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Experimental Gerontology finding that “the most stressed-out people have the highest risk of premature death.” Helpfully, the article goes on to provide ways to combat this effect:

  1. Exercise for 30 minutes per day. “When it comes to fighting stress,” Waldinger says, that’s enough. “More than 30 minutes a day is not necessary — you don’t get any boost. So if you think just in terms of stress relief and antidepressant effect, 30 minutes is enough. Note: This may be difficult if your fitness studio has been closed or if you’re confined to a small room in a nursing home or a studio apartment in a major city. Don’t let that stop you. Get outside, go for a walk; exercise in your room if you must.
  2. Meditate or pray. Note: This may be difficult if your yoga studios, temples, synagogues and churches have been shut down. But take time to meditate by yourself or pray with your family.
  3. Breathe deeply. “Breathing may be the simplest and most immediate fix,” says Carolyn Aldwin who directs the Center for Healthy Aging Research at Oregon State University and led the study. Most importantly, she says, avoid breathing “rapidly and shallowly.” Note: Deep breathing of fresh air is not possible if you’re wearing a mask. For your health, seek out ways to breath fresh air and breathe it deeply.
  4. Finally, drink less alcohol, which disturbs sleep and acts as a depressant. Note: Bars are the one business most states have allowed to remain open and despite the negative health effects, alcohol sales have skyrocketed. In fact, “Nielsen reported a 54% increase in national sales of alcohol for the week ending March 21, 2020, compared with 1 year before; online sales increased 262% from 2019.” That’s an article for another day – because even light drinking increases your chance of premature death by twenty percent – but don’t fall into the trap and let government policies determine how you relieve stress, or whether you die from it.

Now that you’re armed with the facts, that 200,000 number probably sounds low. Given the job losses, closures of schools, food shortages, and rampant anxiety and depression of 2020, we would expect to see a much greater death toll due to stress alone than a mere 200 thousand additional deaths out of a population 328+ million. There’s at least one solution to protect your health: Fear not. COVID-19 deaths can be chalked up to a sort of reverse placebo effect. Perhaps the only thing to fear really is fear itself.

Wellness & Equality hopes that this article relieved some of your COVID-19 stress and anxiety.

Not Self-Driving Cars: Let’s Call Them What They Are

For the self-driven car industry to flourish, human-driven cars will have to be illegal. Are you ready to part with your right to drive? 

Driving home from a store tonight, I typed my home address into my phone, but my phone re-routed me to an adult care home several hours away. I had never heard of this “home,” never looked it up, and have no connection to it whatsoever, but every time I plugged in my home address my phone replaced it with this adult care home and began GPS to that location, 3 hours away. As I began the 15 minute drive to my house from memory, my phone continued overriding my attempts to go to my own home and instead fed me incorrect directions to a far away location. My phone and I continued fighting (me trying to manually plug in the address, the phone ignoring or over-riding what I was doing and re-routing me to this random location) until my phone finally died. I didn’t have a car charger with me so tried to create the route from memory, but quickly realized that I did not know the roads near the store very well and that I was at risk of getting lost. Within a few minutes, I realized my best course of action was to drive straight back to the store and ask for help. It was late at night and the store was mostly empty. I passed rows of automated check-out lines and found a living, breathing human at the Customer Service Center, whom I asked if I could please borrow a phone or look up directions. The woman let me use her computer to look up directions. I typed in my address… but the Google directions were, once again, wrong. They were missing streets that I knew I needed to take. I showed her how on the map how there were all sorts of additional streets that the directions were not including and that the directions made no real sense. She was perplexed. She printed out the map for me, gave me a hard copy of the map, and that’s how I finally got home.

If you’ve ever had a problem with GPS or your cell phone, I encourage you to take some time to think about your views on self-driving cars. It’s one thing to override/ignore a phone, but an entirely different thing to override/ignore a massive powerful automated 2,000 or 10,000 pound car which humans do not have physical power over. When self driven cars are officially rolled out to the public, manufacturers will promise they are equipped with an override/off button. But I’ve noticed that at times, my cell phone refuses to turn off. I try and try to turn off, it insists on staying on, and eventually I just give up, plug it in, and let it remain on. Have you ever woken up in the morning with the screen of your TV on after turning it off the night before? From time to time, our ROKU remote turns the TV on the middle of the night. Technology is not what it used to be; the new levels of complexity make it more dangerous. Our lives should not depend on it.

Self driving cars will never be as safe as a conscientious driver in the real world on real roads. The argument for the safety of self driving cars over the human brain cannot be won, only fabricated. Allowing manufacturers of self driving cars to test their products with computerized programs will offer a significant advantage to the self driving cars and a steep disadvantage to the human drivers. We have another situation of the fox guarding the chicken coop – does it really seem logical to allow the manufacturers of self-driven cars to tell us how safe they are? Self driven cars must be tested in the real world, on real courses, in unpredictable circumstances that the manufacturers did not create and are not privy to prior to tests. Manufacturers will make an argument that human drivers are not always conscientious and alert, that they are distracted by cell phones, etc. and perhaps slowly we will come to believe that self-driving cars need only be safer than a distracted driver. In a way, cell phones have paved the way for self driving cars. Cell phones have increased our comfort relying on GPS and they are an easy way for the self driving car auto industry and eventually the government to claim we are all too distracted/unfit to drive. With cell phone carriers and manufacturers and apps all tracking the activity of cell phone users, you can be sure that when they are ready to push self driving cars, there will be no shortage of studies showing how often humans use cell phones while driving. At our own expense, we are spiraling into a more automated world – a spiral that will continue until we vote against giving up our rights and freedoms in the name of technology.

The inner circles of real estate and commercial developers are already planning for a future where self driven cars rule the roads. Planners are being instructed to build larger parking lots in urban areas with the expectation that greater numbers of people will be commuting more often. Some experts are predicting a swing back to suburban and rural living as cities become overcrowded and people become more comfortable with self driving cars. It’s an easy sell: Just imagine the commute to work as a luxury in which you brew a latte and read the news in your personal self driven limo. But is it worth voting away your rights and freedoms?

For self driving cars to be even close to as safe as human directed modes of transportation (from walking to biking to driving to flying), self driving cars will have to communicate with each other just as humans communicate through their windshields with eye contact, a nod, a wave. Self driven cars will be part of an online or GPS communication grid of some sort and that will be part of the selling point – that self driven cars will “know” where other self driven cars are so that if one car glitches or takes a sudden turn, the other automated cars will receive an alert and slow down to avoid a collision. But how would a self driving car communicate in this way with a human driven car? It’s impossible. Human driven cars won’t be on the communication grid. As passengers get used to self driving cars silently communicating with each other in a way that seems more sophisticated than eye contact between drivers, waving, turn signals, etc. the passengers of self driven cars will lose faith in human driven cars. Those old methods of communication will all seem archaic.

And so self driven cars come with a caveat: For the self driven car industry to flourish, human driven cars will have to be illegal. If we are honest about this possible future – in which you lose your legal right to drive your personal car – we can think clearly and formulate our views before we are swept away by a narrative woven by manufacturers.

Today, when I read about self driving cars causing deaths (for example, the self driven car that ploughed into a semi truck, decapitating the driver of the self driven car and injuring the driver of the truck), I think, “Well, the self driving car should have stopped instead of ploughing into the semi truck.” We still feel confident demanding more from self driven cars. But in the future, the public will slowly be sold a story that makes them think instead, “How is the self driven car supposed to respond to unpredictable behavior like that? The human-driven car shouldn’t have turned in front of the self-driven car without warning.”

And then the self driving car industry will make a new argument – let’s end drunk driving, let’s end road rage, let’s end unpredictable driving, let’s end human error, let’s make it not only illegal but impossible. It will be an easy sell. Government officials will tell stories of children killed by human-driven cars and say things like, “We have to save our children. We have to protect our citizens.” The self driving car industry will parade statistics about saving the environment, about the efficiency of self driving cars causing less pollution.

And just like that, we will lose our RIGHT to drive on public roads because people, with the best of intentions, will vote it away. 

Keep in mind that even if self driving cars release less smog, for example, all of that pollution will simply be replaced by new forms of pollution that are equally if not more harmful to people – EMF radiation, for example, as 10,000 pound computers connected to the Internet fill the freeways.

If we had any privacy as citizens before this change, there will be none. No leaving your cell phone at home. You’ll be driving in a giant car that is a borrowed cell phone from Big Brother. If you want to go anywhere, your choice will be to:

(a) contact a self driven car and hope that the technology both understands and approves of your errand, and then takes you where you want to go

(b) walk, bike, or move in some alternative way; however, we should be aware that walking and biking will very likely become more dangerous, not less. A computer is not equipped to detect the group of oblivious adolescents I drove past tonight as they stood on the side of a narrow, dark road wearing dark clothing with a background of dark trees and bushes. Fortunately, I was alert and recognized their subtle shapes and movement in time. Will self-driven cars be equipped with heat sensors or some sort of technology that detects the heat of animals/people in advance? Perhaps. And will laws then be passed allowing increased speed limits for self driving cars as we the public are freshly convinced of their safety, once again impacting the safety of walkers and bikers?)

We are often encouraged to vote away our rights and freedoms for the sake of science, for the sake of technology, for the greater good. But is the loss of our rights and freedoms really for the best? Is a world in which our mode of transportation is fully tracked as if we are all suspected murderers really right?

First and foremost, as we embark on this debate as a society, let’s be fair and clear about the terms we use. We should all take issue with the term “self driving cars.” There is no “self” driving the car. You could more accurately call it an automated car or a computer-driven car. The term “self-driving car” is a PR strategy – it’s a way to humanize the automated car as if it has a “self,” a slogan to make the public more comfortable with this dangerous technology. Journalists should not be using this term.

Dear USA Today, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, Chicago Tribune, NewsDay, New York Daily News, AM New York, Boston Globe, New Hampshire Gazette, Hartford Courant, Poughkeepsie Journal, Register Star, Augusta Chronicle, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Daily Hampshire Gazette, Berkshire Eagle, Daily Mail, Recorder, Rutland Herald, Norwhich Bulletin, Keene Sentinel, Post and Courier, Press-Republican, Fayetteville Observer, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Cherokee Phoenix, Ledger-Enquirer, Post-Standard, Philadelphia Inquirer, Barnstable Patriot, Boston Post, Observer-Dispatch, the many other publications whose intention is to inform our citizens, and all conscientious members of the media:

Why are you using the terms “self-driven cars” and “self-driving cars” to describe this technology? For the sake of impartiality, correctness, fair representation, accurate reporting, for the sake of not becoming a marketing arm for the manufacturers of these cars, to support the future wellness and equality of American citizens as we try to make informed decisions, please choose a description that is more fair to humans with selves. Let’s call them automated cars, computer-driven cars, computerized cars, Internet cars, driverless car, robotic car, or choose a new name altogether. 

But above all, let’s remember: 

A car does not have a self. A car driven by a human is a car driven by a self.

Glyphosate in Cheerios and Oatmeal Causes Cancer, ADHD, and Autism

My husband and I have begun joking that oatmeal is a “tantrum starter.” No matter how we doctor that oatmeal to make it more filling (adding nuts, coconut oil, organic butter, fruit, organic yogurt, pumpkin puree, etc.), our children seem to have more tantrums on the mornings they eat oatmeal. Even after nights of good sleep and mornings that start out well, it seems like oatmeal can ruin everything. They struggle to follow directions, dress themselves, and brush their teeth. Then I noticed that I get body aches after eating Trader Joe’s gluten-free oatmeal. All arrows point to the oatmeal but until recently, we laughed at the possibility – how could our innocent oatmeal be causing these problems? Hasn’t oatmeal been around for centuries? Have you noticed any of these side effects after eating cereal or oatmeal?

While ceral and oatmeal have been dietary staples for generations, a new pesticide in them is wreaking havoc: glyphosate.

Recently, I was at Trader Joe’s when I heard a mother with a cart full of three kids announce loudly, “Put back the cereal — it causes cancer!” Her children sulked as she browsed the breakfast cereals.

“Are you talking about an ingredient?” I asked her.

“No, I’m talking about glyphosate,” she told me. “My children have a friend – a little kid – dying of cancer right now. And their uncle, too. And now we know that the Cheerios they both ate every day for breakfast caused their cancer.” She shook her head, disgusted. “Cheerios! Using a chemical that causes cancer! Can you believe it? And it’s in all these cereals.” She waved at the boxes lining the aisle.

I had heard about this before: General Mills, the maker of Cheerios, allows its cereal to be saturated with glyphosate – the toxic chemical in Round Up – far beyond levels considered safe by any scientists. Since learning about glyphosate, I hadn’t allowed my children to eat conventional wheat products – but, busied by the demands of mothering and life, I hadn’t researched glyphosate in several years. Over time, we had replaced wheat with oats and other grains.

Then it occurred to me: Could there be glyphosate be in the gluten-free oatmeal I was serving my kids?

That night, I researched glyphosate. Here’s what I found:

–          The use of glyphosate has increased exponentially in the past several years. It’s no longer just in wheat; glyphosate is now used in oats, corn, soy, potatoes, beets, almonds, sunflower seeds, canola, lentils, peas, and most grains.

–          The United States allows levels of glyphosate significantly higher than other countries.

–          Exposure to glyphosate can actually cause symptoms that mimic celiac disease, explaining the unusual rise in Americans who are now gluten intolerant.

–          Glyphosate has been strongly correlated with attention disorders like ADHD, autism, thyroid and hormonal dysfunction, infertility, birth defects, colitis, depression, diabetes, ALS, MS, brain cancer, breast cancer, other cancers, and more.

–          Due to aerial drift during spraying, glyphosate is now contaminating many American crops, even organic.

Since glyphosate is strongly correlated with ADHD, autism, and depression, it seems reasonable that the current levels in breakfast cereals and oatmeal could, at a minimum, cause tantrums and inability to focus. Have you noticed that your children have more tantrums after consuming non-organic cereal, oatmeal, and other products made with wheat, corn, soy, and other ingredients treated with glyphosate?

At our house, we’re trying something new: Can we have a breakfast free of glyphosate every day?

Eating breakfast in America without consuming glyphosate is surprisingly hard to do, considering that even chickens scratching in glyphosate-soaked American soil are laying eggs that test positive for glyphosate. But we’re trying. We’re starting the day with organic fruit, organic veggies, probiotics from kombucha or yogurt from grassfed cows (not GMO glyphosate-laced feed), and/or sauteed vegetables served with eggs from chickens who have been pastured and fed organic non GMO feed (conventional animal feed contains glyphosate).

What about you? What’s your favorite glyphosate-free breakfast? 

Sources:

NYT Article: Reports Find Controversial Herbicide in Cheerios and Quaker Oats

Article: Many Surprising Foods Found To Contain Monsanto’s Deadly Poison

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/05/03/glyphosate-food.aspx

Study: Glyphosate Causes Adverse Neurologic and Neurobehavioral Developmental Effects In Children Born to Applicators

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1241196/

Expert: Glyphosate Linked To Chronic Illness, Infertility, and Birth Defects

NYT Article: Safety of Weed Killer Is Doubted

NYT Article: Monsanto Sued Over Glyphosate

Top 70 Crops Sprayed With Glyphosate

Eco Watch: 15 Health Problems Linked To Monsanto Round Up

https://www.ecowatch.com/15-health-problems-linked-to-monsantos-roundup-1882002128.html

Growers Sound Alarm Over Aerial Drift of Glyphosate and GMO Concerns

What Med School Never Taught Your Doctor About Vaccines

 

“Maybe the problem isn’t mothers who don’t believe in science; maybe the problem is that medical schools have stopped teaching the science to doctors.”

Back when my first baby was born, I believed all vaccines worked. I believed all vaccines were safe. When I took my firstborn to the doctor for a routine set of infant vaccines, I had a simple question for my pediatrician. I’d recently read a study revealing that babies who receive the rotavirus vaccine were more likely to suffer an intestinal disorder called intestinal intussusception in which their intestines collapse into each other. The condition is painful and deadly. I expected that our pediatrician would easily put my new-mom fears to rest. Since rotavirus is not considered deadly in first world countries with access to clean water, but intussusception is considered deadly or at least permanently disabling, I assumed he could explain why the rotavirus vaccine was so important, despite its risks. But when I mentioned the study to our pediatrician, he did not even know the study existed. When he saw my surprise, he cursorily skimmed the article I was holding and then announced that it was “hogwash.” I wanted to believe him, but he seemed uncomfortable, like a child who doesn’t want to answer his mother’s questions. If he had been well versed in the science of vaccines, I probably would have trusted him, but now I was suddenly aware that I had read more studies about vaccine safety than our pediatrician. I decided to hold off on the rotavirus vaccine and I took my eight-week-old infant home. Back at home, I dug deeper into the research—and found much, much more disturbing information on vaccines.

At least a dozen of my closest friends are doctors who have graduated from top American medical schools. I’ve spoken with many of them about their medical education. I have learned that mainstream medical schools teach their students very little about preventive health, but spend entire semesters teaching techniques to ensure “patient compliance.” Courses on patient compliance, sometimes called patient “adherence” or “capacitance,” teach doctors how to convince patients to listen to them, even when patients voice serious concerns about the doctors’ recommendations. This seems like a generally dangerous practice and a poor use of time during medical school, when there is so much to learn in such a short time. Why all this focus on patient compliance?

What many medical students don’t realize is that their education is funded by drug companies who benefit from overprescription. Most people have heard of pharmaceutical reps whose job it is to convince doctors to push specific drugs on unsuspecting patients, but did you know that those same drug companies wine and dine medical students, pay medical school professors millions of dollars each year, and begin lecturing medical students even before they are doctors?

Over the years, Harvard Medical School has received hundreds of millions of dollars from drug companies. TIME reports, “1,600 [Harvard professors] admit that either they or a family member have had some kind of business link to drug companies — sometimes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars — that could bias their teaching or research.”

Several of my pediatrician friends have told me that they are sick of mothers who don’t believe in vaccine “science,” but these same pediatricians have admitted to me that they haven’t actually read a scientific study on vaccines in years. My friends—so many of whom are intelligent, well-intentioned doctors who genuinely hope to help their patients—simply trust that their medical schools have taught them all they need to know about health.

So what do doctors learn about vaccines in medical school? Not much. A reader sent us the above screen shot of a woman taking to Instagram to complain that her roommate, a doctor, is storing live typhoid vaccine in their communal refrigerator. Most people know that live viruses are the stuff of chemical warfare, but this doctor was apparently not concerned. Why didn’t she learn how to safely store vaccines in medical school? Even the U.S. government admits, “It is the nature of living things to change, or mutate, and the organisms used in live, attenuated vaccines are no different… An attenuated microbe in the vaccine could revert to a virulent form and cause disease….”

But Pharma-funded medical schools know that if they were to teach their students about the dangers of live vaccines—including the fact that live vaccines are excreted in the mucus and feces of injected children and can even be spread to other children for days and weeks following vaccination, a phenomenon known as “shedding”—that they would be opening up a broader conversation about vaccine safety. It’s a conversation that Big Pharma and medical schools don’t wish to have.

So, instead, medical schools ignore the conversation about vaccine safety altogether. They encourage doctors to focus on “compliance,” not science.

Maybe the problem isn’t mothers who don’t believe in science; maybe the problem is that medical schools have stopped teaching the science to doctors.

WE_LiveTyphoidVaccine_MedStudent_RoomateFridge.jpg

Above: A medical student’s roommate complains that “Literally the only thing on [Med Student’s] side of the fridge is a live typhoid vaccine.” The medical student was never taught that vaccines should not be stored in home refrigerators.

Sources:

Time Magazine: Is Drug-Company Money Tainting Medical Education?

http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1883449,00.html

U.S. Government: Types of Vaccines

http://www.vaccines.gov/more_info/types/

How Much Money Do Pediatricians Really Make From Vaccines?

If you want to be sure your pediatrician has your child’s best interest, this is mandatory reading. Pediatricians around the country have begun refusing to accept families who opt out of some or all vaccines. Thanks to a tip sent to Wellness & Equality by a reader, now we know why.

When my friend’s child suffered a life-threatening reaction to a vaccine a week after her first birthday, my friend assumed her pediatrician would write her a medical exemption from future vaccines. Shortly after receiving a routine set of vaccines, the happy, vibrant one-year-old spiked a 106 degree fever, began having seizures, and was hospitalized. When the unexplained “illness” passed after a week in the hospital, the little girl had lost her ability to walk. My friend describes how her daughter, who had learned to walk several months earlier at 9 months, suddenly “stumbled around like a drunk person” for weeks following the vaccines. My friend met with a team of pediatricians, neurologists, and naturopathic doctors, and they agreed: Her daughter had suffered a brain injury caused by a reaction to one of the vaccines. Hoping the injury would be temporary and that she might recover and ease her brain inflammation if they could help her small body quickly eliminate the vaccine additives that caused the reaction, my friend’s daughter underwent an intensive detoxification program overseen by a nutritionalist. Slowly, her daughter relearned to walk.

My friend is a practicing attorney who graduated from a Top 10 college. The evidence was overwhelming that her daughter’s reaction had been caused by vaccines, she told me.

But a few months later, when she took her daughter back into the pediatrician for a visit, he wanted to vaccinate her daughter again. She was baffled. Why?

After a reader sent us a link to a PDF file of Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Physician Incentive Program available online, Wellness & Equality learned that insurance companies pay pediatricians massive bonuses based on the percentage of children who are fully vaccinated by age 2. 

BCBS_ProviderIncentiveProgram.png

So how much money do doctors really make from vaccines? The average American pediatrician has 1546 patients, though some pediatricians see many more. The vast majority of those patients are very young, perhaps because children transition to a family physician or stop visiting the doctor at all as they grow up. As they table above explains, Blue Cross Blue Shield pays pediatricians $400 per fully vaccinated child. If your pediatrician has just 100 fully-vaccinated patients turning 2 this year, that’s $40,000. Yes, Blue Cross Blue Shield pays your doctor a $40,000 bonus for fully vaccinating 100 patients under the age of 2. If your doctor manages to fully vaccinate 200 patients, that bonus jumps to $80,000. 

But here’s the catch: Under Blue Cross Blue Shield’s rules, pediatricians lose the whole bonus unless at least 63% of patients are fully vaccinated, and that includes the flu vaccine. So it’s not just $400 on your child’s head–it could be the whole bonus. To your doctor, your decision to vaccinate your child might be worth $40,000, or much more, depending on the size of his or her practice.

If your pediatrician recommends that your child under the age of 2 receive the flu vaccine–even though the flu vaccine has never been studied in very young children and evidence suggests that the flu vaccine actually weakens a person’s immune system over the long term–ask yourself:  Is my doctor more concerned with selling me vaccines to keep my child healthy or to send his child to private school?

Sources:

The Physician Alliance Blue Cross Blue Shield Incentive Program [Please read our update below to find out how you can access the pamphlet.] 

Update 4/30/2017: After Wellness & Equality published this article, Blue Cross Blue Shield locked online access to their incentive program and then removed the page altogether. Clearly this incentive program was never intended to be public knowledge and created a bit of PR issue for them. Fortunately, another website managed to save the entire BCBS incentive program booklet and has published it in entirety online… You can read it here:  Blue Cross Blue Shield Physician Incentive Program

Getting A Flu Shot Every Year? More May Not Be Better

Distribution of Pediatric Practice: Size, Age, Sex 

 

 

Study Links Vaccines To SIDS: Infant Mortality Rates Regressed Against Vaccine Doses

Do mandatory vaccines save lives and protect infants who are too young to be vaccinated? Or, as so many mothers continue to ask, could mandatory vaccines actually increase infant mortality? Read on to learn about the major study that found “a high statistically significant correlation between increasing number of vaccine doses and increasing infant mortality rates…”

The correlation between vaccines and SIDS is high enough that the CDC has been forced to acknowledge it. The current CDC website reads, “Babies receive many vaccines when they are between 2 to 4 months old. This age range is also the peak age for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), or infant death that cannot be explained. The timing of the 2 month and 4 month shots and SIDS has led some people to question whether they might be related….” (Source: CDC).

The CDC goes on to list a small number of studies that claim to disprove the link, but there are many more studies (a few are listed here, but not listed on the CDC website) that do find a connection. Like this one: “Infant Mortality Rates Regressed Against Number Of Vaccine Doses Routinely Given: Is There A Biochemical Or Synergistic Toxicity?” The study authors found “a high statistically significant correlation between increasing number of vaccine doses and increasing infant mortality rates.”  You can read the full analysis here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3170075/

Here’s a screenshot of the analysis:

Infant mortality rates regressed against number of vaccine doses routinely given: Is there a biochemical or synergistic toxicity?

InfantMortalityRegressedAgainstNumberofVaccines.png

To further corroborate this finding, a 2007 case study documents the death of 3.5 month old twin girls at the exact same time 2 days after their DTaP and Hep B vaccines. The cause of death was unknown, so it was termed Simultaneous Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Simultaneous SIDS is an exceptionally rare event, so the fact that both twins died at the same time in the 48 hours following a routine set of vaccinations almost certainly implicates the vaccines in the twins’ deaths.

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In fact, the correlation between SIDS and infant death is playing out here in the United States. Recently, California joined Mississippi and West Virginia to legally require childhood vaccines by eliminating parents’ rights to opt out of any vaccines. The law mandates vaccines against “any disease deemed appropriate by the department,” including chickenpox, a mild childhood illness that the UK refuses to add to their schedule due to evidence that the chickenpox vaccine increases adult cases of the far more serious and painful disease shingles. (Source: NHS Scotland.)

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Has the law helped improve the health of children in Mississippi or West Virginia? Let’s take a look….

Among all 50 states, Mississippi has the #1 HIGHEST rate of infant death before age 1. Yes, that’s right: Mississippi ranks LAST place (#50 out of 50) in keeping infants alive. A Washington Post article acknowledges, “Overall, the residents of Mississippi are the unhealthiest in the country.”

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Daily Beast article praising Mississippi’s vaccine laws is titled, “Mississippi: Last In Everything, First In Vaccines.” The connection between being FIRST in vaccines and LAST in ALL other markers of children’s health is not lost on everyone, however. The Daily Beast article mentions a letter to the editor in which Lindey Magee, co-director of the group, Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights (MPVR), writes that, “Mississippi families are being exploited for its reputation of ignorance and lack of education.”

Similarly, West Virginia also has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country, just a few spaces away from Mississippi.

The current slew of American vaccines are some of the least effective, least regulated vaccines in history, but even if they were effective, most parents are less concerned with mild rashes like measles and far more concerned with keeping their children alive.

As anyone who has researched vaccine science knows, NO credible studies have demonstrated that higher rates of vaccination in comparable populations saves children’s lives and improves their long-term well-being.

So why is California following the lead of two states with the highest infant mortality rates in our entire country?

That’s a question for California’s state lawmakers, many of whom regularly accept money from the pharmaceutical companies who will benefit from the new mandatory vaccine law.

 

 

 

 

A History Lesson: Can You Trust Your Doctor?

I believe in the goodness of people, so I believe your doctor probably has good intentions. Just like the generations of doctors before him or her. Just like the doctors a few decades ago, who told their patients that smoking cigarettes was perfectly safe, even good for your health. Those cigarette-prescribing doctors pointed their patients to the body of published “science” that supported the safety of smoking at the time.

Had you asked your OBGYN back in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, or 70s how to reduce your chance of miscarriage, your doctor would have told you to take diethylstilbestrol (DES) during your pregnancy, a drug that caused cancer in ten million daughters born to mothers who listened to their doctors. Doctors told their patients that DES was safe and the “science” said DES was safe; DES was recalled after 37 years on the market. 

Had you asked your doctor how to lose weight between 1973 and 1997, your doctor would have helpfully written you a prescription for Fen-Phen, a drug that caused massive heart attacks in patients for almost three decades. Fen-Phen remained on the market for 24 years before it was recalled. 

Had you asked your doctor how to lower your cholesterol in 2000, he would have prescribed Baycol, a drug whose side effects killed tens of thousands of people in just a few short years. Baycol was recalled only after 100,000 people were killed. 

Had you asked your doctor how to heal arthritis pain in the early 2000s, he would have prescribed Vioxx, a Merck drug. Vioxx was recalled after damaging the hearts and cardiovascular systems of more than 140,000 people. 

Had you complained of inflammation to your doctor in 2005, he would have prescribed Bextra, a Pfizer drug that caused heart attacks, strokes, and fatal skin conditions. After Bextra was recalled, Pfizer’s subsidiary admitted to “intent to defraud or mislead” with their promotion of the drug. 

Had you sought treatment for Type 2 diabetes in 2000, your doctor would have prescribed Rezulin, a drug that was found to increase hepatitis cases. When one doctor did voice concerns about Rezulin’s safety, the FDA fired him. The drug was only pulled after overwhelming evidence showed that it was dangerous–at a time that was already too late for many people who had been hurt by it.

Did you know that doctors used to prescribe tobacco cigarettes to prevent illness? Physicians played an integral role in the promotion of smoking. Those cigarette-promoting doctors were probably decent people who simply believed in the “science” of the time. Those doctors, with the best of intentions, believed they were helping their patients.

In the year 2016, if you take a healthy newborn to an American doctor, your doctor will recommend injecting your baby with 49 doses of vaccines containing a cocktail of known toxins, including aluminum, formaldehyde, MSG, aborted fetal cells, cow cells, chick embryo cells, monkey kidney cells, and some of today’s most common childhood allergens. Your doctor  might even mention the “science” that supports the safety of such a schedule, but the truth is that no prior generation has ever received this number of vaccines at such a young age. Zero long-term studies have examined the safety of the schedule. In the same way that we allowed cigarette manufacturers to fund and interpret the “science” of cigarette safety, our current system allows vaccine manufacturers to fund, oversee, and interpret the “science” of vaccine safety.

If you listen to your doctor and allow him to vaccinate your baby with a vaccine full of ingredients you haven’t researched, and then you call your doctor a few hours later because you’re concerned about your baby’s reaction, your doctor may tell you that nonstop crying, fevers, and even seizures requiring hospitalization are a normal response to those vaccines. This generation of American children is the first to experience a new “normal” when it comes to health: more autoimmune conditions than ever before, 1 in 42 boys diagnosed with autism, never-ending rashes, rampant obesity, incessant illnesses, and severe, lifelong allergies that many will never outgrow.

One day, with the 20/20 hindsight of history, we will look back on the vaccine debate in the United States and we will understand it more clearly. 

Until then, you can trust your doctor. But when you choose whether to trust your doctor without doing your own research, remember that your doctor, like millions of doctors throughout history, is only human.

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Sources here.

Source of vaccine ingredients: CDC.

 

What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Hormonal Contraceptives

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Much of the current research about the safety of hormonal contraceptives has been funded by the very pharmaceutical companies that stand to profit from the sale of birth control. Couple this with the political debates surrounding women’s reproduction—at a time when many feminists feel the pill is the answer to women’s liberation—and we have a nation of women in the dark about birth control.

Here are the facts: The pill works by stopping ovulation. When a woman swallows the hormones in birth control, her ovaries stop releasing eggs. This may sound minor, but the monthly release of that tiny egg is responsible for a number of important processes in a woman’s body. While it’s true that hormonal birth control can prevent pregnancy, do you know what else it does?

9 Facts You Need To Know About The Pill

  1. The hormones in the pill increase your risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer, and liver cancer. If you have a family history of any of these diseases, you are especially at risk. There’s a reason why the World Health Organization classifies hormonal contraceptives—along with tobacco, asbestos, and radium—as carcinogens. According to BreastCancerFund.org, “Numerous studies have demonstrated an increased risk of breast cancer in women using oral contraceptives (Althuis, 2003; Dai, 2009; Delort, 2007; Kumle, 2002; Rosenberg, 2009). This is not surprising….” As one surgeon explained, the birth control pill is a ‘Molotov cocktail’ for breast cancer. The facts are frightening: “A 2006 Mayo Clinic meta-analysis concluded that breast cancer risk rises 50 percent for women taking oral contraceptives four or more years before a full-term pregnancy. In 2009, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that women starting the pill before 18 nearly quadruple their risk of triple negative breast cancer. Even more shocking, Swedish oncologist Hakan Olsson concluded that pill use before the age of 20 increases a young woman’s breast cancer risk by more than 1000 percent,” reported LifeSiteNews.

As one surgeon explained, the birth control pill is a ‘Molotov cocktail’ for breast cancer.

  1. The pill causes hair loss. According to the American Hair Loss Association, “The AHLA believes that it is imperative for all women, especially those who have a history of hair loss in their family, to be made aware of the potentially devastating effects of birth control pills on normal hair growth.” Of course, this is one of the side effects your doctor might mention after you experience it. If the possibility of losing your hair would be especially upsetting for you, that’s something to take into consideration before taking the pill.
  1. The pill increases your risk of developing osteoporosis. The correlation between oral contraceptives and brittle bones is so well-established that the New York Times mentions birth control as a known cause of osteoporosis in their basic overview of the disease. The New York Times goes on to recommend that “women who take birth control pills should be sure to get adequate calcium and vitamin D from diet or supplements.” But there’s just one problem with this recommendation…
  1. The pill depletes your body’s natural stores of vitamins and minerals. Studies confirm that women who take the pill have lower levels of B vitamins like folate, fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), zinc, and iron. Regardless of how much you consume, birth control pills lower the levels of these nutrients in your body. Clinically, it can be nearly impossible to bring these vitamins up to ideal levels while taking the pill. In fact, this is one of many reasons why OBGYNS recommend that women wait several months to get pregnant after going off the pill—to give your body time to replenish those depleted stores and adequately nourish new life.

Clinically, it can be nearly impossible to bring vitamins up to ideal levels while taking the pill.

  1. The pill increases your risk of blood clots, pulmonary embolism, heart attack, and stroke. While your overall risk may be small, these side effects are deadly. Yet so many doctors write prescriptions for birth control without so much as mentioning these potential side effects to their patients. If you take birth control, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of a blood clot, heart attack, stroke, or pulmonary embolism. Men, is not wearing a condom really worth subjecting your girlfriends and wives to these life-threatening risks? 
  1. The pill increases the likelihood that you will experience anxiety and depression. When you alter a woman’s hormones, you alter her emotions. Here’s just a sampling of the mood-related side effects that women report after taking the pill: mood swings, anxiety, depression, and lowered libido. When woman are fertile, they are healthier, happier, and have a higher sex drive. (It’s all part of nature’s tricky little plan!) That’s why many women who take birth control, which destroys fertility, report a loss of interest in sex. Even worse, these mood-related issues don’t always disappear immediately after a woman stops taking the pill. It can take months to regulate your hormones again after birth control. This is the type of information that good doctors should share with their patients before they begin taking birth control.
  1. The pill destroys your natural ability to choose a genetically compatible mate. Did you know that beneath the scent of soap, shampoo, or cologne, every man has a natural scent that helps women subconsciously sniff out genetic compatibility? Call it nature’s way of ensuring healthy offspring. In our logic-based, online-dating-obsessed world, many women forget that the process of mate selection is, on some levels, instinctual—and for good reason. From a scientific perspective, the more gene variability between two partners, the healthier their offspring will be. Even better, you don’t have to think about this process; nature takes care of it for you. In a study that asked women to sniff the sweat of male strangers, women expressed strong preferences for the body odor of men with major histocompatibility (MHC) genes that differed from their own. However, this was not the case for women who were taking hormonal contraceptives; women on the pill were unable to identify their genetically-compatible mates. What this means is that women on the pill are, in theory, not attracted to the odor of genetically-compatible strangers, nor are they repulsed by the odor of male family members. Other studies have shown that women on the pill choose less masculine, more feminine mates. These findings have led some scientists to question whether hormonal birth control is impacting the health of future generations. Could women who choose their mates while taking birth control—even if they ultimately stop the pill to conceive a child—have babies with more birth defects, more childhood disorders, lower rates of immunity, and higher susceptibility to illness? And if you don’t find your partners’ natural scent attractive—but you don’t find this out until years into the relationship when you’re ready to conceive a child and stop taking the pill—could that impact whether you feel attracted to your partner for the long haul?

Women on the pill were unable to identify their genetically-compatible mates… These findings have led some scientists to question whether hormonal birth control is impacting the health of future generations. Could women who choose their mates while taking birth control—even if they ultimately stop the pill to conceive a child—have babies with more birth defects, more childhood disorders, lower rates of immunity, and higher susceptibility to illness?

  1. The pill robs you of your most attractive time of the month: ovulation. As if birth control wasn’t complicating your dating life enough already! When a woman ovulates—that is, the 24-48 hours during which her body releases an egg each month—she becomes more attractive to men. Her face appears more symmetrical and more feminine, her voice sounds more appealing, her pupils dilate, her waist-to-hip ration becomes more attractive, and her vaginal secretions change in taste and scent. Because the pill stops ovulation, the pill robs you of this time. What woman doesn’t want to have a few extra days of the month where she looks and feels her very best? A well-known study of strippers found that au natural strippers made significantly more money overall than their pill-popping sisters ($53 per hour vs. $37 per hour on average) and made twice as much money while ovulating ($70 per hour).

The sad truth is that for some women, taking the pill will mask fertility issues that could have been addressed at a younger age—if only the woman was not taking the pill and knew she was having symptoms… Other women will experience “post-pill amenorrhea,” the term doctors use to describe a lack of periods for 6 months or longer after stopping the pill. Doctors theorize that post-pill amenorrhea is caused by hormonal suppression of the pituitary gland, but it’s not fully understood why some women experience post-pill amenorrhea.

  1. The pill may impact your future fertility. Did you know that birth control can impair your future fertility? Even well-intentioned organizations that genuinely want to empower women through birth control hide this fact from women. Why? Perhaps they are concerned that women will forego birth control altogether and suffer an unwanted pregnancy. Perhaps they underestimate the number of intelligent, ambitious women who will ultimately want children in the future—even if they don’t right now. Fortunately, there are safe, effective alternatives to hormonal contraceptives and it’s your right to know your options. The sad truth is that for some women, taking the pill will mask fertility issues that could have been addressed at a younger age—if only the woman was not taking the pill and knew she was having symptoms. Unfortunately, many woman stop taking the pill when they want to conceive a child, and by then, it’s sometimes too late to address these issues. While many women will go on to have healthy babies after taking the pill, other women will experience “post-pill amenorrhea,” the term doctors use to describe a lack of periods for 6 months or longer after stopping the pill. Doctors theorize that post-pill amenorrhea is caused by hormonal suppression of the pituitary gland, but it’s not fully understood why some women experience post-pill amenorrhea. The first line of treatment is simply to wait for a “spontaneous” resumption of the menstrual cycle; however, this is dangerous, impractical advice for a woman in her late twenties or early thirties who wants to conceive. For these women, treatment usually involves the fertility drug Clomid, which may or may not work. Here’s what your doctor won’t tell you about birth control: If there’s a chance you may want children in the next few years, stop taking the pill now, track and learn about your cycle, and use a non-hormonal method of birth control for the interim.

Make the choice to take charge of your health. If you have a woman in your life whom you love, please keep her safe by sharing this article with her. There are safe, convenient alternatives to hormonal birth control, from condoms to the Fertility Awareness Method. Before making a decision about birth control, research your options and know the risks.

 

 

Dasani Bottled Water Has 4 Ingredients: Tap Water, Known Teratogen, Lethal Drug, and Salt

Dasani Coca-Cola

I remember the first time I tasted Dasani bottled water. It was 2004 and I was at a gym in Orange County, California. The drinking fountain at the gym was out of order so I purchased a bottle of water from a vending machine. I cracked open that lid and—YUCK! I had never tasted water so disgusting. Who knew water could have such a strong taste? At the time, I assumed my taste buds were off and eventually I drank Dasani bottled water again… always with the same reaction. Gross! I’ve finally learned my lesson. Unless I’m extremely parched, I would rather remain thirsty than drink Dasani. While everyone’s bodies are different, I personally have a visceral reaction to Dasani. After drinking Dasani, my stomach sometimes hurts and I almost always have terrible dry mouth. Have you noticed any of these side effects after drinking Dasani?

Years later, during a trip to Costco, I noticed that Costco brand Kirkland Signature water lists several ingredients added “for taste.” Out of curiosity, I drank the water and—light bulb!—there was that familiar, metallic Dasani taste. It seemed clear to me that Costco and Dasani had shared water “recipes.” When I noticed that Costco brand water had multiple ingredients in addition to water, I wondered if Dasani had additives as well. What I learned surprised me. Not only does Dasani water have additives, but these additives are known to cause much more than dry mouth and abdominal pain. These chemicals can, at high levels, cause birth defects and death.

Dasani bottled water contains four ingredients: tap water, magnesium sulfate, potassium chloride, and salt. The Dasani label claims these ingredients are added for taste, and while that may be true, these ingredients change a lot more than taste. Do you know what’s really in your bottled water? 

Dasani Ingredient #1: Tap Water. It’s no secret that Dasani, which is owned by Coca-Cola, bottles tap water. In general, I have no problem drinking tap water. Although tap water often tastes noticeably different from spring water, I acknowledge that drinking tap water is an environmentally conscious choice…. but bottling tap water?! That seems to defeat the purpose. If you’re going to drink tap water, drink it from the tap.

Dasani Ingredient #2: Magnesium Sulfate. AKA Epsom Salts or Bath Salts. FDA Pregnancy Category D Teratogen, Drying Agent, and Laxative. On its own, anhydrous magnesium sulfate is a drying agent. (Side note: Could this explain the strange dry mouth I experience after drinking Dasani water? It’s ironic that Coca-Cola has added a “drying agent” to a beverage that is intended to quench thirst. If trace amounts of magnesium sulfate residue remain on your tongue after you drink a bottle of water, making it difficult to quench your thirst, it seems reasonable to question whether this might encourage you to purchase another bottle of water or perhaps a soft drink, either of which would benefit Coca-Cola. Could this be a dangerous ploy from the marketing masterminds at Coca-Cola?) In addition, magnesium sulfate has many powerful purposes in medicine. Off label, it has been used to delay labor by inhibiting uterine contractions in pregnant women. However, this practice is declining because recent studies show that magnesium sulfate causes birth defects at high doses. After studies suggested that just 5-7 days of in utero exposure to high doses of magnesium sulfate caused birth defects, the FDA recommended that magnesium sulfate be classified as a Category D Teratogen. Coca-Cola would probably prefer that the many pregnant women drinking Dasani water don’t know that an ingredient in their water can, at high doses, affect unborn babies. So what exactly happens to the babies of mothers who are exposed to high doses of intravenous magnesium sulfate? After just 5-7 days, exposed babies experienced bone structure changes and weaker bones. For these reasons, magnesium sulfate is now listed as a known teratogen (Pregnancy Category D) with positive evidence of human fetal risk, according to the FDA. Yes, Dasani water lists a known teratogen as an ingredient. As with any chemical, the dose makes the poison, but I personally choose to avoid water with additives. You can learn more about the FDA’s position here. One more thing: Magnesium sulfate is known to have a “bitter taste.” So why is Coca-Cola adding it to their already foul-tasting water?

Dasani Ingredient #3: Potassium Chloride. FDA Pregnancy Category C. Potassium chloride is commonly used as a fertilizer, but it’s also used in lethal injections to stop the heart and, in some cases, in late trimester abortions to stop the heart of the fetus. Interestingly, potassium chloride is known to have a “weak, bitter, unsalty flavor” with a “chemical or metallic aftertaste” which again calls into question how this ingredient could possibly improve the “taste” of poor-tasting Dasani water. If you would like to learn more about the role of potassium chloride in lethal injections, you might be interested Stephen Fox’s article, “Can Ingredients In Dasani Bottled Water Kill You?” over at The Water Filter Lady’s BlogIn addition to possible birth defects, the list of side effects from potassium chloride is endless: bowel lesions, gastrointestinal disruptions, cardiac arrhythmias, muscle weakness, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, dyspepsia or heartburn, GI tract bleeding, hypersensitivity, nervous system damage, and more. While potassium and magnesium are found in natural food sources – and are, in their natural forms, vital to the body – anytime you separate a chemical compound from their natural food sources, they may behave differently than they would in their natural forms. That’s why it’s very difficult to overdose on bananas, but much easier to overdose on potassium chloride. That’s also why so few people are able to successfully use processed foods to lose weight and stay healthy. How much potassium chloride is added to Dasani water? Do you trust Coca-Cola and Dasani to make that decision for you?

Dasani Ingredient #4: Salt. As I’ve written before, I believe that table salt gets a poor reputation simply because sodium is added to almost all processed foods. While table salt itself is rarely dangerous, adding unspecified amounts of sodium during “food processing” can absolutely create unnecessary health issues for many people. While one bottle of Dasani water may not have much salt, if you drink six or seven bottles of Dasani water in one day, suddenly the amount could be much higher. That said, the real concerns are magnesium sulfate and potassium chloride.

Dasani is not the only manufacturer selling water with additives. Next time you buy bottled water, take a look at the ingredients. There should only be one: water. 

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Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, dietitian, or nutritionist, nor do I claim to have any formal medical background. I do not claim to cure any condition or disease. I am unable to provide medical aid or nutrition for the purpose of health or disease. Before making any dietary changes or beginning any new fitness program, please consult with your doctor. The information held on this blog is merely the opinion of an active, health-conscious, informed citizen. The research and information covered in this blog is open to the public domain for discussion. All information is intended only to help you cooperate with your doctor, in your efforts toward desirable weight and health.

Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Worse Than Sugar?

Photo: When Mary Poppins sang about a spoonful of sugar in 1964, most Americans had never even heard of high fructose corn syrup.

A study funded by the Corn Refiners Association and published online at The Atlantic today suggests that “High Fructose Corn Syrup Is No Worse Than Real Sugar.”

To sum up the study: Overweight and obese men and women between the ages of 25 and 60 were split into five groups and provided diets with varying levels of sucrose or  high fructose corn syrup (HFCS): 10% sucrose, 20% sucrose, 10% HFCS, 20% of HFCS, or a diet designed to maintain weight. The sucrose or HFCS was consumed as liquid. All groups were required to exercise.

The study sidesteps the toughest criticism of HFCS — that, calories aside, it is linked to obesity in those who consume it — and instead asks a simpler, less-incriminating question: Does high fructose corn syrup cause more weight gain than sugar when participants are already overweight and are not allowed to act on cravings or consume additional calories?

While it’s true that a calorie is equal to any other calorie when analyzed as a mathematical measurement of energy,  where health becomes more nuanced is when we realize that calories from different sources have different effects on the body. In a clinical atmosphere, when you control a person’s caloric intake completely, it’s not always possible to see those effects. If a member of the study was fiendishly craving chocolate chip cookies but was instead provided with a plate of broccoli, the study authors are essentially ignoring the shift in hormones and chemicals that has taken place in that participant’s body.

Weight loss frustrates doctors because it should be simple: fewer calories in, more calories out.  Clearly, it’s not so simple. Many studies contradict this one. A Princeton study found that rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar. A simple analysis of data shows us the relationship between HFCS and obesity: “The consumption of HFCS increased more than 1000% between 1970 and 1990, far exceeding the changes in intake of any other food or food group,” according to an article published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. During those same years, the percentage of obese adults doubled.

Could it be that the exponential increase of drinking sugar is to blame for obesity and not the sugar itself? Absolutely. But this doesn’t mean that HFCS is not to blame — HFCS is perfectly suited to liquid sugar consumption. Parents who eliminate HFCS from their diets and the diets of their children go a long way toward decreasing liquid sugar intake as well.

I’m disappointed by The Atlantic‘s one-sided regurgitation of the study, which seems to come straight from the marketing department of the Corn Refiners Association. To conclude his analysis, James Hamblin writes, “There’s no reason you should pay more or go out of your way for a food just because it’s made with ‘real sugar’ instead of HFCS. Which, to be clear, is also real sugar.” Hamblin ignores the fact that, even if this study were absolutely true, it has nothing to do with those who maintain a healthy weight. It’s interesting that the study only recruited men and women who were already very overweight or obese, which Hamblin never acknowledges in his conclusion.

A quantum leap in logic is made when Hamblin suggests that Americans — almost 70% of whom are overweight or obese — should not seek out food made with ‘real’ ingredients when food made with HFCS is available. Hamblin’s bias — or the bias of those providing him information — is clear in his use of quotation marks. Health writers sometimes use quotation marks around the word “sugar” as shorthand for “imitation sugar” since there is currently no one word to describe the newer “sugar” imitations created by food giants. Quotation marks around the word “sugar” help to differentiate between newer “sugars” and the table sugar Americans have known for decades.  Instead, Hamblin uses quotation marks around the word “real” and the phrase “real sugar.”  Real sugar is real sugar, no quotations necessary. Hamblin seems to have it backwards. Back in 1997, even the Corn Refiners Association freely admitted that HFCS and sugar are different products “in terms of their physical and functional characteristics.”

I could suggest a more productive study in which the Corn Refiners Association monitors both people who are obese and people of healthy weights, allowing them to eat whatever they typically eat, and then measuring the amount of sucrose and HFCS consumed by each of the groups.  But those studies have been done and the results are clear. I could ask questions about this study to shed more light on its outcome. For example:  After the study, which group gained weight back the fastest?

Instead, here’s a more important study that you can do on your own:  Eliminate HFCS from your diet for 3 weeks.  Have a craving for a sweet snack while you’re out and about?  Swing by the grocery story and pick up some strawberries.  Have a craving for chocolate chip cookies? Bake a batch with real sugar and butter. Like pancake syrup? Try out 100% maple syrup. Read every ingredient on every package you consume — no high fructose corn syrup.

Then answer this: Have your cravings for sugar increased or decreased? Have you lost or gained weight? Overall, how do you feel?

Theory is one thing and practice is another. The Corn Refiners Association study is caught up in theory while casting a blind eye toward the very serious obesity epidemic and how the day-to-day choices that Americans must make every day affect their health.