Live 33% Longer by Eating More Veggies and Fruits

fruitveggiesVeggies and fruits tend to be low in calories, high in nutrients, and rich in fiber.  They’re also the only source of phytochemicals, and the smartest (most skinnifying) source of carbohydrates., the nutritional term for foods that contain natural or added sugar.  In addition to all these advantages, now there’s even more evidence that Mom was right about eating your veggies.  A new study shows that you’ll live longer if you eat more than the 5 recommended servings per day.

This observational study was conducted in the U.K. over a 7.7 year period, and published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. (The source for this blog post is a summary of the study published in the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter: July 2014 Edition.)  Study results revealed a “robust association” between high veggie and fruit consumption with a dramatic increase in participant longevity by 33% for any cause of mortality.  Even more, the risk of death from cardiovascular disease was 31% lower, and the risk of death from cancer was 25% less.   Vegetables provided a slightly greater benefit than fruits because fruits did not provide any incremental advantage after 3-4 servings were consumed. Another important finding was that frozen fruits and veggies provided as many protective benefits as fresh fruits and veggies, but canned fruits and veggies were actually linked to an increase in mortality.

Note that the U.K. study did not count starchy veggies like potatoes, yams and plantains as veggies.  It used the following guidelines as the basis for determining a single portion.
- 2 or more small fruits (2 plums, 3 apricots, 7 strawberries)
- 1 medium-sized fruit (apple, orange, pear, banana)
- 1/2 grapefruit, 1 slice of melon, 1 slice pineapple
- 2 broccoli spears, 5 asparagus, 3 stalks of celery
- 4 heaping tablespoons of cooked kale/spinach/green beans
- 3 heaping tablespoons of beans or peas
- 1 large bowl of salad greens
- 1 5-ounce glass of unsweetened fruit or veggie juice


September 16, 2014 in Health, Nutrition by

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The Code of a Good Training Partner: From Thinner, Leaner, Stronger by Michael Matthews

ThinnerLeanerStrongerThis is an excerpt from THINNER, LEANER, STRONGER by Michael Matthews.  Training partners can be very helpful in getting you to show up and exercise, especially when  you don’t feel like it.  Establishing rules or a “code” for partners helps to avoid the problem of constant cancellations of training sessions or dissolving a training session into a chat fest.  Here’s Michael’s training code:

1.  I will show up on time for every workout, and if I can’t avoid missing one, I’ll let my partner know as soon as I know.
2.  I will come to the gym to train — not to chat.  When we’re in the gym, we focus on our workouts, we’re always ready to spot each other, and we get out work done efficiently.
3.  I will train hard to set a good example for my partner.
4.  I will push my partner to do more than she thinks she can.  It’s my job to motivate her to do more weight and more reps than she believes possible.
5.  I will be supportive of my partner and will compliment her on her gains.
6.  I won’t let my partner get out of a workout easily.  I will reject any excuses that are short of an actual emergency or commitment that can’t be rescheduled, and I will insist that she comes and trains.  In the case where there’s a valid excuse, I’ll offer to train at a different time so we can get our workout in (if at all possible).

Click HERE for the link to THINNER, LEANER, STRONGER at

April 2, 2014 in Fitness by

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Greek Yogurt vs “Regular” Yogurt

FageYogurtGreek-style yogurt isn’t imported from Greece or any other country.   The name Greek simply reflects a thicker style of yogurt that’s preferred by people living in the Mediterranean region.  Note that the FDA doesn’t regulate the term “Greek yogurt,” which means that the thickening process varies from product to product based on the recipe used by the food manufacturer.  All Greek-style yogurts start as regular yogurt.  The healthiest Greek-style yogurt products are made by straining out the excess liquid whey, thus leaving a thicker product.  Other Greek-style products are thickened with pectin, corn starch, carrageenan (a suspected carcinogen) and/or gelatin rather than being strained.  Always check the ingredients list to see what’s in the product you’re considering.

Thickening impacts the nutritional profile of the yogurt because it creates a more concentrated product.  Six ounces of Greek yogurt, for example, has 17 grams of protein.  Compare this to six ounces of regular yogurt which has around six to eight grams of protein.  Carbohydrate and fat content varies based on whether sugar has been added by the food manufacturer or fat has been removed.  Avoid products made with granola, fruit, syrups or chocolate.  These additives often turn the  yogurt into candy.  Terms like authentic or traditional typically signal that the yogurt is made with whole milk or whole milk and cream.  Obviously, if  you’re interested in caloric content, choose a plain, low-fat option. Another difference is calcium content.  Greek-style yogurt usually has around 150 milligrams of calcium rather than the 300 milligrams of calcium in regular yogurt.  It’s reduced because calcium is lost during straining.

Yogurt is made by adding bacteria (primarily lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophiles) to milk.  These friendly bacteria have been shown to prevent or shorten episodes of diarrhea associated with taking antibiotics.  Claims regarding protection to the auto-immune system and/or regarding protection against ordinary colds or flu, are still  unproven.  In any case, for a superior product, always look for terms like active or live cultures on the yogurt label.

Greek yogurt is a reasonable taste and texture substitute for sour cream, cream and mayonnaise. According to a recent retail research study, more than half U.S. households bought Greek-style yogurt last year.  This is the biggest growth area in the yogurt market and represents 44% of this multi-billion dollar industry.

April 1, 2014 in Nutrition by

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New FDA Nutrition Label: Great for Sugar Awareness

NewLabel2The updated Nutrition Label proposed by the FDA is the most major, practical and consumer-friendly change since the label was instituted, almost 20 years ago in 1993.

One of the most important revisions is new information about added sugars.  Now you don’t need a PhD to figure out how much sugar has been added by food manufacturers to make the food or drink sweeter.

The new and old label both include total sugars, which is a combination of naturally-occurring sugars and sugars (and other caloric sweeteners) that are added to the product by food manufacturers.  What’s new is that the new label now also provides a specific breakdown of added sugars.   Previously, the only way to identify added sugars was to look at the ingredients list and figure it out on your own.

It’s still a good idea to look at the ingredients list because this is the one and only place to see the types of sugars that have been added and the relationship of the added sugars to other ingredients.  So, for example, if high fructose corn syrup is listed as the first ingredient and sugar is listed as the second ingredient, then you know that the two most important and dominant ingredients in the food/drink are caloric sweeteners.

Other important label changes include:

1.  Bigger, more prominent display of caloric values.
2.  More realistic serving sizes to reflect actual portions consumed.
3.  Per package nutritional and caloric values will be provided when the food or drink is typically consumed by one person in one eating event.
4.  Dual nutritional columns for individual servings and per package amounts will be provided for certain larger packages,
5.  Total fat will continue to be displayed, but now saturated fat content will be included as a sub-set of this value.
6.  Potassium content will be displayed.
7.  Vitamin D content will be displayed.

For more information, visit the FDA page about the new label.

March 4, 2014 in Nutrition by

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ASPARTAME: A dangerous excitotoxin that harms your brain

Aspartamaspartamee, also known by the brand names NutraSweet and Equal, is a common and popular artificial sweetener. It’s also a powerful excitotoxin.  Excitotoxins are a class of chemical substances that have the harmful potential to excite, exhaust, damage and ultimately kill brain cells. The McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine says excitotoxins result in “diverse neurologic diseases.” (Three other common artificial sweeteners – sucralose (Splenda), saccharin (Sweet N Low) and stevia blends – are not excitotoxins.)

Over 100 countries, including the U.S., claim aspartame is safe for human consumption. The FDA says, “Few compounds have withstood such detailed testing and repeated close scrutiny.” Aspartame was first approved by the FDA in 1974. Approval was repealed for a short time in 1980. Then it was again approved by the FDA in 1981. Aspartame has been in our food supply ever since.  A timeline of the FDA aspartame-approval process is available here. The cozy political connection between Ronald Reagan (then a newly elected president) and Donald Rumsfeld (then the CEO of Searle, the owner of aspartame) allegedly resulted in the speedy FDA approval the second time around.

After FDA approval, aspartame quickly became the most popular artificial sweetener in the world. That is because cyclamate, another artificial sweetener, was banned in the U.S. in 1969 and a different product was wanted and needed by the dieting and diabetic public. At the same time, Saccharin was suspected of causing bladder cancer. Consequently, all saccharin products had to display a cancer warning from the 1970s until 2000 when Bill Clinton removed it during his last week in office, perhaps the first ever presidential pardon for a food product.

Aspartame dominated the artificial sweetener market for 30 years until the introduction of sucralose in 1998. Since then, sucralose has taken over as the most popular, and stevia blends aren’t far behind. That said, over 6,000 drinks, food products, pharmaceuticals and vitamin supplements are still made with aspartame. It’s especially prevalent in diet sodas, low-fat foods, yogurts, cereals, shakes, gums, and some sugar-free foods.

The recipe for aspartame is to combine two amino acids, L-phenylalanine and L-aspartic acid, with a third component called a methyl ester group. All three ingredients have the potential to create serious, chronic neurological problems and are the subject of relentless anecdotal reporting by individuals and warnings by independent health experts. Problems range from headaches to seizures, strokes, tumors and progressive neurological diseases. None of this is officially recognized.

Let’s take a look at each ingredient in aspartame:

● The amino acid phenylalanine is serious health threat for people with the genetic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU). It’s known to cause mental retardation, brain damage, seizures and other problems and must be avoided. The FDA requires a warning on any food that contains aspartame: “Phenylketonurics: Contains phenylalanine.”

Note that large doses of aspartame can also cause a rapid increase in the brain levels of phenylalanine in people who do not have PKU. This is particularly problematic if aspartame is taken in conjunction with a sleep disorder, an anxiety disorder, or with medications that contain levodopa or that contain oxidase inhibitors or neuroleptics.

● The amino acid called L-aspartic acid or aspartate is an excitotoxin. Researchers noticed that a certain class of chemicals over-excite brain cells and cause them to dysfunction or die. They called these chemicals excitotoxins because they harm and kill with over-stimulation. At least 70 excitotoxins have been identified, but the two most prevalent are aspartame and MSG. Other common ingredient terms that hide the presence of excitotoxins include natural flavors, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, plant protein and others.

Excitotoxins are said to be safe because of the blood-brain barrier, which regulates and prevents harmful substances from entering the brain. The basic idea is that small amounts of aspartame (and other excitotoxins) do not impair brain functionality or cause disease because the blood-brain barrier keeps them out. New research, however, leads to a different conclusion. Some experts now believe the barrier can be compromised, especially when excitotoxins accumulate over time and reach a certain threshold. The greater the intake of excitotoxins, the faster the threshold is reached.

Several new theories attempt to explain the reason for the breach of the blood-brain barrier. One has to do with the role of calcium, which opens the brain barrier channel and allows high concentrations of excitotoxins to reach brain cells. Another has to do with the fact that excitotoxins stimulate the release of free radicals, and free radicals most likely play a major role in all neurodegenerative diseases and problems. Aging also makes the brain barrier less resilient and more vulnerable to excitotoxins. Then there’s the impact of reduced calorie intake, common to people on a diet who drink and eat products made with excitotoxins. When brain energy is low, the effect of excitotoxins is aggravated and exaggerated. For a more scientific and more comprehensive explanation of these theories and others, read Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills by neurosurgeon Russell Blalock, MD.

● Methyl alcohol is a wood alcohol. When methyl alcohol is bonded to phenylalanine it forms a methyl ester bond. The bonding of these two chemicals is what makes aspartame 200 times sweeter than sugar. Because the phenylalanine-methyl alcohol bond is very weak, the two substances can easily separate. Heat, for example, breaks the chemical bond, and it’s the reason you can’t cook with aspartame or why you shouldn’t expose diet sodas to heat (as when left in a car on a hot day). When heat is applied to aspartame, you end up with all of the poison and none of the sweetness.

Once the bond between methyl alcohol and phenylalanine is broken, the methyl alcohol is free to pass through the brain barrier and rapidly converts to formaldehyde. Formaldehyde has the potential to damage DNA and contribute to more serious and chronic neurological diseases, particularly multiple sclerosis.

Dr. Woody Monte, a world expert on methyl alcohol toxicity, says, “Multiple sclerosis behaves sort of like an autoimmune disease…The formaldehyde is what causes it.” Formaldehyde destroys the myelin basic protein, one of the triggers for MS.

For more information about the dangers of methyl alcohol, read Dr. Monte’s book While Science Sleeps: A Sweetener Kills. If you’re interested in a personal story about recovery from multiple sclerosis that’s attributed to the elimination of aspartame and other excitotoxins from the diet, check out Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World, a documentary by Cory Brackett.

So here’s what we know about brain dysfunction and disease:

● 28 million people in the U.S. suffer from migraine headaches.

● 1 out of every 19 people dies from a stroke.

● 221 people out of every 100,000 have a brain tumor. Brain tumors are the second leading cause of deaths in people under 20. From 1973 to 1990, brain tumors in people over the age of 65 increased by 67%.

● One out of every 88 kids has autism.

● One out of every six kids has some kind of developmental disability.

● One out of every three seniors has Alzheimer’s disease or some kind of dementia.

● 1.2 million people have Parkinson’s disease, the 14th leading cause of death in the U.S.

● 400,000 people have multiple sclerosis.

● Two out of every 100,000 people have ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Why so many brain disorders for so many people?

Is to too simplistic to think there might be something subtle in our environment triggering disease and making us sick in the head? What if that something is in our food supply? Every single ingredient in the aspartame recipe has the potential to result in brain damage. It’s a poison with triple potency, and it’s everywhere! The problem is that disease and dysfunction often take several years to manifest. And when a neurological problem shows up, it’s hard to prove the cause.

Because the brain is not fully developed in fetuses and young children, excitotoxins of all kinds are exceptionally dangerous to them. Seniors and people with a family history of neurological disorders also have a greater risk than others. And for the rest of us, the brain is under constant, exhausting pressure from excitotoxins. How much stimulation can it take before you wear it out?

Russell Blaylock says, “The FDA has failed in its stated purpose of protecting the public from harmful substances being added to our food supply. Millions of lives are at stake—including those of future generations. People must be warned.”

Don’t wait for the government to catch up. Your safest bet is to be self-informed and to avoid aspartame. Always read the ingredients list. There are plenty of other non-caloric sweeteners to choose that are not excitotoxins.
This article was originally published at

January 19, 2014 in Nutrition, Sugar/Caloric Sweeteners, Thumbs Down by

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Omega-6 Polyunsatured Oil – BEWARE!

cornoilWhen health food experts talk about good fats and bad fats, they mean you should distinguish between saturated and unsaturated fats, with all unsaturated fats being good and all saturated fats being bad. Many health organizations, for example, continue to promote the indiscriminate use of polyunsaturated fats over other types of fats. This article challenges the premise that all unsaturated fats are good, particularly omega-6 type polyunsaturated fats.

The first thing you need to know is that there are two types of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated fats are chemically stable because they have only one double bond in the fatty acid chain. Mono means one. Stable fat is desirable because it’s hearty, and it doesn’t convert to a different substance when heat is applied. Common sources of monounsaturated fats include olive oil and olives, red meat, whole milk products, nuts and avocados. Olive oil is an essential, prominent, health-promoting ingredient in the Mediterranean diet.

Polyunsaturated fats (also referred to as PUFAs or polyunsaturated fatty acids) are chemically unstable because they have multiple double bonds in the fatty acid chain. Poly means many. Unstable polyunsaturated fats are more susceptible to going bad, and they can be innocently converted into an unhealthy trans fat by high heat. It’s safer to cook with olive oil (a monounsaturated oil), tropical oils, butter or high heat canola oil. Another problem with all polyunsaturated fats is that they oxidize quickly. Oxidation is a natural process that results in a 1% to 2% production of free radicals, and free radicals have the potential to mutate and damage cells.

This is a little complicated because there are also two types of polyunsaturated fats, omega-3 and omega-6. Both types are essential for proper cell functioning, but they compete with each other for entrance into cell membranes. Omega-6 fats dominate, and too much omega-6 fat tends to make cell membranes flabby. One of the reasons why omega-6 polyunsaturated oils lower cholesterol is that cell membranes have been compromised, and cholesterol be absorbed into tissues more easily.

A small but important nutritional detail is keeping the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats in proportion. Some experts say the ratio should be one-to-one. Others say it can be four-to-one (omega-6 to omega-3). The typical Western diet far exceeds both of these recommendations and is estimated to be in the range of 15-to-one up to 30-to-one, with omega-6 fats overwhelming omega-3 fats.

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats are found in cold water fish, shellfish, green plants and algae. The colder the water, by the way, the higher the concentration of omega-3s in the fish. Fish need it to survive the extreme temperatures. Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats are found in corn, seeds, seed oils, grains and from the animals that eat these foods. Omega-3 fats enhance immunity and reduce inflammation. Conversely, overdosing on omega-6 fats inhibits immunity, impairs cell function, promotes inflammation and lowers vitamin E levels.

Consider these tidbits about polyunsaturated fats: – I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter is made with a vegetable oil spread (soybean oils and canola oils) which are predominantly omega-6 type polyunsaturated oils. This is a so-called healthy food that’s supposed to be superior to butter, a saturated fat. – Most chips, cookies, baked goods and fried foods are made with omega-6 type polyunsaturated oils. – Corn oil has a ratio of 100-to-one (omega-6 to omega-3). In experimental studies, mice fed corn oil were more likely to develop and grow cancer tumors. – Polyunsaturated oils are typically extracted with chemical solvents that accelerate oxidation.

Then there’s the Israeli Paradox. Israelis consume the highest ratio of polyunsaturated fat in the world; and their national consumption is estimated at 8% higher than the U.S. and 10%-12% higher than Europe. According to the nutritional guidance we all receive, this should make Israel the healthiest country in the world. Yet Israelis have a high prevalence of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and other related conditions grouped together as syndrome X. There’s also a higher incidence of cancer, especially in women.

Bottom line: Teach yourself to recognize omega-6 type polyunsaturated fats and manage your consumption of them. There are two easy ways to do it. First, cut back on or eliminate processed foods, fast foods and butter-alternative spreads. Second, limit the use of polyunsatured oil products to salads or as a dressing for vegetables after they’ve been cooked. If your budget can afford it, look for oil products that are cold-pressed, expeller-pressed, extra virgin or unrefined.

This article was orginally published on


January 9, 2014 in Nutrition, Thumbs Down by

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BOOK REVIEW: 21-Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo – 1 thumb down

The 21-Day Sugar Detox received many, many 5-star reviews at, but except for the recipes, it didn’t resonate with me.  Here’s a copy of my review at and why I rate it one-thumb down.
The 21-day Sugar Detox program IS NOT A WEIGHT LOSS program. Rather, it’s a highly restrictive sugar detox program for sugar addicts. Going through the recommended diet without the prospect of losing a pound is not appealing or inspiring. Every serious food addict knows that being overweight or obese is a persistent and disturbing side effect of out-of-control eating.  An eating program that does not also solve the concurrent weight problem is flawed in a major way.

In addition to caloric and artificial sweeteners, Sanfilippo limits consumption of fruit, refined carbohydrates, grains and legumes, some starchy veggies and some dairy products. Her preference for tropical oils over olive oil, a heat stable monounsaturated fat with well-documeted highly protective health qualities, defies all logic and is a totally unnecessary dietary hardship.

After the 21-day period, Sanfilippo says “so-called” natural caloric sweeteners are okay in small quantities. Her definition of natural sweeteners includes concentrated substances like brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup and others. She says these sweeteners are “less processed” and been “made for hundreds of years.” Huh? What about the dramatic impact on blood sugar or that fact that highly concentrated caloric sweeteners provoke binge eating in some food addicts?

I would have liked Sanfilippo to be more aware of and focus on the specific issues that plague sugar addicts. This is, after all, a book about breaking free from sugar addiction. She attributes sugar addiction to a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which may or may not be the complete reason people pig out on sugary confections and wheat products. In any case, this concept is explained more comprehensively and convincingly by Dr. William Davis in his book, “Wheat Belly.”

Unfortunately, Sanfilippo’s explanation of how to initiate the program is incomplete and confusing, but her food lists and her 21-day menu are both good. You can more or less figure out what to do from these two resources. In fact, Sanfilippo’s recipes are the very best part of the book and are the primary reason I gave it a 3 rating instead of a 2 at  I wish she would have included calories and other nutritional info in the recipes, though.

This book was disappointing because Sanfilippo doesn’t say anything about the evils of sugar and refined carbohydrates that we haven’t heard many times before. Except for the recipes, I recommend instead “The New Atkins for the New You.” The writing is better. The science is better. The results are better.

January 6, 2014 in Product Recommendations, Recipes, Thumbs Down by

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Sugar-Free Lozenges: Cepacol and Cold-Eeze are best!

Four sugar-free lozenge products were studied and compared:  Halls Sugar-Free, Cepacol Sugar-Free, Ricola Sugar-Free and Cold-Eeze Sugar-Free.  Cepacol and Cold-Eeze are recommended.  Halls and Ricola are not recommended.  Comparative detail is provided below.

Halls lozenges are appropriate for coughs due to a cold and for minor throat irritation.  The active ingredient in the Halls product is menthol.  Depending on the type sugar-free product, the amount of menthol varies from 2.5 mg to 9 mg per drop.  Halls has 5 calories per drop and is sweetened with asesulfame potassium and aspartame.  Aspartame is the most objectionable artificial sweetener, especially for children and pregnant women, and because of this the Halls products are NOT RECOMMENDED.   The Halls sugar-free product line is available in multiple flavors including black cherry, citrus, honey-berry, honey-lemon, mint and menthol.  Halls is manufactured by Halls Brothers, a U.K. company, and is distributed by Cadbury Adams USA.  For more information go to

Cepacol lozenges are appropriate for sore throat and mouth, minor mouth irritation and pain from canker sores.  The active ingredients in the Cepacol product is benzocaine 15 mg and menthol 3.6mg.  Caloric information for Cepacol is not provided and is therefore asumed to be less than 5 calories per drop.  Cepacol is sweetened with maltitol, a sugar alcohol that can have a laxative effect, particularly when the recommended dosage is exceeded.  The Cepacol sugar-free product line is available in two flavors:  cherry and honey lemon.  Cepacol is manufactured by Reckitt Benckiser, another U.K. company.  The website does not provide detailed product information and is not worth visiting.



Ricola lozenges are appropriate for use as a cough suppressant and for oral pain relief.  The activeRicolaSF ingredient is menthol 4.8 mg.  Each drop has 8 calories and 3.6 grams of carbohydrates.   Ricola is sweetened with aspartame, the least desirable artificial sweetener, and also with sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that can have a laxative effect.  The Ricola product is NOT RECOMMENDED because of the use of aspartame.   Ricola is manufactured by Ricola, LTD, a Swiss company.   The website provides complete and comprehensive information about their products and is excellent.





Cold-Eeze lozenges reduce cold symptoms including cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, post nasal drip and hoarseness.  The active ingredient is zincum gluconicum 13.3mg.  Note that the maximum adult daily zinc intake should be limited to 40mg per day.  Caloric information is 9 calories and 2.24 carbs per drop.  Cold-Eeeze is sweetened with ascesulfame-K and “natural flavors,” which may possibly include neotame, a cousin to aspartame.   Cold-Eeze is the only product to claim conclusive results based on published, peer-reviewed clinical studies.  Cold-Eeeze products are manufactured by ProPhase Labs, a U.S. company.  The http://www.coldeeze.comwebsite is excellent and provides extensive product information.

November 18, 2013 in Health, Product Recommendations, Thumbs Up by

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CARRAGEENAN WARNING: A toxic food additive in dairy products

Here’s a copy of an email that I just sent to Cabot Creamery Cooperative after discovering that their Vermont-style cottage cheese is made with carrageenan, a non-nutritional and toxic food additive that’s used to bind, emulsify and thicken foods.  Carrageenan has just recently come to my attention as a dangerous substance.  Carrageenan causes internal inflammation, the root of many health evils.  It promotes insulin resistance, the cause of type 2 diabetes, and it may exacerbate or trigger some cancers.

Unfortunately for us, carrageenan is prevalant in many dairy products, not just Cabot Creamery products.  I also just noticed it’s an ingredient in the cough drops that are in my medicine cabinet.  More info coming about carrageenan shortly.  In the meantime…beware.

* * * * * * * * * *

RE:  Cabot Vermont Style Cottage Cheese

Dear Cabot Creamery Cooperative,

Thank you for putting your email address on your product container and for making it so easy for me to communicate with you. I appreciate your willingness to hear directly from your consumers.
I’ve been a huge and devoted lifelong fan of your Vermont-style cottage cheese.  Cabot has a superior taste, texture and consistency, and I really love it.  In fact, when Cabot is unavailable at my local grocery store, I go without cottage cheese at all.  Unfortunately, I just realized that your cottage cheese is made with carrageenan, and because of this I will not be purchasing any more of it.  The purpose of this email is to ask you to PLEASE CONSIDER REWORKING YOUR RECIPE without any dastardly carrageenan in it.  There must be something less objectionable you can use to emulsify, bind or thicken your product.

As you already know, all forms of carrageenan are linked to inflammation, especially in the gastro-intestinal region.  Carrageenan also produces “profound glucose intolerance in mice.”  Type 2 diabetes is caused by glucose intolerance, and this disease is already at an epidemic level in our country. People with type 2 diabetes think they’re doing something smart and healthy by eating your cottage cheese, but maybe they’re making the condition worse.  I have also read reports that carrageenan promotes cancer.  In his book Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients, author Russell Blaylock specifically draws attention to avoidance of foods that are made with carrageenan.  This advice is widely endorsed and distributed by other nutritional and health experts, too.  Go do a Google search and see for yourself.

The Cabot Vermont-style brand is associated with healthy, wholesome and natural products.  Carrageenan is not healthy, wholesome or naturalFor all that is good and holy, why put a toxic substance like carrageenan in our food supply?  I would gladly pay more for a carrageenan-free product.

I just signed the national petition to the FDA asking them to make carrageenan illegal.

Don’t wait for the FDA to catch up.  Thy lag and do not lead.  PLEASE DO THE RIGHT THING AND RECONSIDER NOW!  You can lead, and this can be a product differentiator for you.

Most sincerely,

Karen Bentley


Dear Ms. Bentley,

Thank you for contacting Cabot and sharing your comments.  I will ensure your suggestion to remove carrageenan from our Cottage Cheese is recorded in our database.  Our New Products Team often reviews our ingredients and they value customer feedback.

Please be assured that carrageenan is not a common ingredient in our products.  Our cheeses, butters, yogurt are free of carrageenan.

Thank you again for sharing what is important to you.  We pledge to continue working diligently to earn your loyalty because of the quality of our products and because 100% of our profits go to our farmers.





Michael Provost | Customer Satisfaction

1 Home Farm Way | Montpelier, VT 05602

Phone:802.371.1265 | Fax:802.371.1200


November 3, 2013 in Health, Nutrition by

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Sugar Alcohol Warning: Dangerous to Pets

SmallPetsALERT!!!  PetNation reports that the sugar alcohol “xylitol” is poisonous to small pets.  Sugar alcohols are a lower calorie sweetening agent that are used by food manufacturers for sugar-free and no-sugar added (NSA) foods such as gums, mints, candy and ice cream.

When the recommended serving size for sugar alcohols is exceeded (which is very easy to do), sugar alcohols cause every kind of gastro-intestinal distress for humans including cramping, bloating, farting and diarrhea. These substances have a more exaggerated effect on pets and can be lethal and/or will make them very sick.

The two most typical sugar alcohols are xylitol and maltitol.  All sugar alchols are easily identified by the “ol” ending.  Please be extra careful with sugar-free mints, gum and candy that are in your purse or laying around the house or car where a pet can reach it.

October 28, 2013 in General, Sugar/Caloric Sweeteners by

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Sucanat: Is it better than table sugar?

Sucanat1Sucanat is the abbreviation of Sugar Cane Natural, and is a type of sugar.  It’s marketed as natural, wholesome, healthier alternative to table sugar, but is it?  Unlike an apple or a stalk of broccoli, sucanat cannot be picked off a plant, shrub or tree. Therefore, we know that sucanat is not a “natural” food.  Yes.  It undergoes less processing than table sugar, but it’s still a refined and processed food.

Sugar is made from either beets or sugar cane, but sucanat is only made from sugar cane.  The sugar cane is crushed to create a juice.  The juice is cooked and reduced into a syrup.  The syrup is dehydrated to create large golden-brown sugar granules.

Sucanat and table sugar have many similarites.  They both measure the same.  They’re both heat tolerant and can be used in every cooking method. They both have 15 calories per teaspoon.  Thus, there’s no reduced calorie benefit and there’s no reduced blood sugar benefit from using sucanat.

Sucanat is about 10% less sweet than sugar, but it has a stronger flavor because molasses has not been removed.  Many people simply prefer the more robust flavor.  Sucanat has 20 mgs of potassium and insignificant (trace) amounts of other minerals.

Oh, and one more thing.  A 10-lb bag of sucanat costs about $45.  A 10-lb bag of sugar costs about $6.

October 25, 2013 in Nutrition, Sugar/Caloric Sweeteners by

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The Power to Stop: 30-Day Coaching/Mentoring Program

The Power to Stop:  30-Day Online Coaching Program is for all out-of-control eaters or for anyone with a food addiction.  Be honest. Do you perform better if someone else is paying attention to you? Most people do.

This program stacks the deck in your favor, and dramatically strengthens your intention to achieve and sustain the 30-day stopping goal. It’s much more invigorating and enjoyable to share your stopping experience with another, too.

Video: The Power to Stop: 30-Day Coaching/Mentoring Program by Karen Bentley

Stop any unwanted behavior with Karen Bentley’s Power to Stop 30-day coaching/mentoring program. Stop over eating. Stop drinking. Stop smoking. Stop drugging. Stop sexing. 10 game-changing reasons this easy,doable 4-step program delivers stopping results. Get more info at

The 30-Day Online Coaching Program gives you the inspiration to act because someone else cares. It also gives you a standardized daily practicing process to follow, and a friendly monitoring and feedback system. This dramatically increases the likelihood that you’ll walk your own talk and do what you actually say you’re going to do.

October 22, 2013 in Everything Else by

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Oreos are as addictive as drugs

Hot off the press.  Oreos are as addictive as morphine and cocaine.  A team of researchers at Connecticut College did a study and discovered that high sugar foods like oreos (especially the creamy center) stimulate a rat’s brain the same way that drugs do.   The more you eat foods made with sugar and other caloric sweeteners, the more you crave them.

oreoandratIt really is the sugar, stupid!

October 16, 2013 in Food Addiction, Scientific News, Sugar/Caloric Sweeteners by

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4 EASY, Healthy, Sugar-free Snack Ideas

A basic weight loss success strategy is to keep yourself full.  Seriously, just say no to hunger.  The most vulnerable time of the day is in the afternoon, around 4 pm.  Instead of reaching for those chips, pack your frig full of foods that fill you up.

Here are four easy-peasy satisfying snacks that don’t have any caloric sweeteners, potatoes, flour or gluten.  

Snack #1
1/4 cup store-bought hummus
Baby carrots

Snack #2
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup fresh blueberries

Snack #3
14 raw almonds
1 medium-sized piece of fruit (apple, pear, orange)

Snack #4
1 hard-boiled egg, cut into quarters
1/2 tomato, chopped
1/2 dill pickle, chopped
2-3 leaves fresh basil, chopped in strips (optional)



October 14, 2013 in Recipes by

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Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients: Two Thumbs Way, Way Up!

NaturalStrategiesThis important book is for anyone who has cancer, had cancer, has a genetic predisposition towards cancer or who’s passionately interested in leading edge nutritional information. It’s featured on the Sugar-Free Institute site because sugars and caloric sweeteners are prominently highlighted as foods that promote the growth of cancers and make them behave more aggressively.  “…Cancer cells, unlike normal cells, are restricted to using glucose as their main energy fuel,” says author Russell Blaylock, MD.   

Blaylock persuasively and effectively drives home the message that cancer can be prevented, lessened, and possibly even cured by what you eat. Nutritional fitness is especially important for those dealing with chemo and radiation treatments because they do such great damage to the immune system.

His bottom line advice is to veggie overdose and to cut out caloric sweeteners,
processed foods, additives and omega-six oils. Those are the supposedly-healthy
polyunsaturated oils that every major health organization says you should eat.
Blaylock also advocates supplementation and gives explicit advice about types,
quantities and how to determine a good manufacturer from a not-so-good one.

Blaylock’s writing style is particularly smart and easy-to-read. He has the rare
ability to explain complex ideas in a way that most people can understand. This
book was so interesting, so informative and so filled with information you won’t
find elsewhere, I literally could not put it down. Honestly, I finished it in
two days with no skimming. I have read hundreds of books on diet and nutrition,
and Natural Strategies stands way up and way apart from the pack.

Do yourself a favor, spend the $11 and give yourself or someone you love the gift of life.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Click on the link below to buy it at

September 25, 2013 in Health, Nutrition, Product Recommendations, Thumbs Up by

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About Karen Bentley

Karen Bentley Karen Bentley is the founder of The Sugar-Free Institute and an expert on sugar-free eating. She’s also an author, educator, coach and speaker. Her most recent book, The Power to Stop, is an Amazon Kindle bestseller.

Be A Sugar Detective

Video: Be a Sugar-Free Food Detective by Karen Bentley

Karen Bentley teaches you how to read the ingredients list on packaged foods to figure out how much sugar has been added by the food manufacturer. Find more information at

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