As an acupuncture and shiatsu practitioner, I am frequently asked for dietary recommendations. Here is some advice that I give to everyone. This information is not taught in schools or acknowledged by the medical industry. But it is true nonetheless. Some of the foods consumed by many people on a daily basis are highly toxic. But for political and economic reasons, this fact is suppressed.
1) High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is an inexpensive sugar that has essentially replaced cane sugar in almost all processed foods over the last 30 years. It’s no coincidence that diabetes and obesity have increased by over 150% during the same time period. It is my belief that the introduction of HFCS into the western diet has had a direct causative effect on the dramatic increased incidence of these two killers. Here is what Dr. Joseph Mercola has to say about HFCS:
“In case you forgot, or never knew in the first place, the number one source of calories in the US is high fructose corn syrup. Let me say that in different words so you more fully appreciate the impact of this fact. Remember that fat has 250% more calories than sugar, but even with this major disadvantage, the food that most people get MOST of their calories from is sugar from corn, primarily in the form of soft drinks.
Even though I have known this for years, it is still shocking to me every time I reflect on the enormity of this truth. But, like W. Clement Stone, I believe that there is a nugget of good in this horrible fact. The good is that stopping this pernicious habit is one of the easiest things to do. Since this is such a pervasive problem in the US, we could make radically outrageous improvements in our health as a culture if we just simply stopped everyone from drinking soda.
I am HIGHLY confident that the health improvement would be FAR more profound than if everyone stopped smoking because elevated insulin levels are the foundation of nearly every chronic disease known to man, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, aging, arthritis, osteoporosis, you name it, and you will find elevated insulin levels as a primary factor. The evidence of increased triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels is just the latest among countless findings pointing to the dangers in HFCS.
Part of what makes HFCS such an unhealthy product is that it is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar, and, because most fructose is consumed in liquid form, its negative effects are significantly magnified.
The delusion that fructose is an acceptable form of sugar is quite prevalent in many nutritional circles. In fact, nearly all simple sugars are metabolized quickly and disrupt insulin levels, which contributes to most chronic illness. Eating small amounts of whole fruit will not provide tremendous amounts of fructose and should not be a problem for most people, unless diabetes or obesity is an issue but fruit juices, sodas and other beverages sweetened with fructose should be avoided.
To add insult to injury, the corn that the high fructose corn syrup is metabolized from nearly all comes from genetically modified corn which is fraught with its own well documented side effects and health concerns.
Sodas, of course, are not the only source of HFCS (though they represent one of the main ones). This dangerous sweetener is also in many processed foods and fruit juices, so to avoid it you need to focus your diet on whole foods and, if you do purchase packaged foods, become an avid label reader.”
2) U.S. Meat Because of the ways that animals are raised, herded and slaughtered in the U.S., much of our meat is contaminated with highly toxic strains of e-coli bacteria. Aside from the questions of horrific animal cruelty, which is a separate issue, our exposure to these toxins presents a serious health risk in the U.S., so much so that many countries will not allow the importation of U.S. meats.
If you eat meat, I would recommend the following guidelines. First, limit your consumption to 5 ounces per day. This is more than enough to provide for your daily protein needs if you eat a balanced diet of whole grains, vegetables, fresh fruit, nuts and seeds. Second, eat only meats from organically raised, free range animals. Third, I would recommend that you limit your meat sources to deep water fin fish, organic chicken and turkey.
3) Artificial Sweeteners For a sweetener, I recommend raw sugar, raw honey, maple syrup, or molasses over refined or more concentrated sweeteners. As an excellent sugar substitute, try Stevia extract. Avoid Aspartame (under brand names NutraSweet, Canderel, and AminoSweet) or other chemical sweeteners. Aspartame in particular has proven to be extremely toxic for most people and has been banned in some countries. Likewise, Agave syrup has been touted as a healthy substitute for sugar but in reality, it’s not much better than High Fructose Corn Syrup which has serious health consequences, as explained above.
4) Dairy products create so many problems for many people that I recommend avoiding dairy as much as possible. The fats and proteins in processed cow’s milk are simply not compatible for the majority of westerners. Most people experience an improvement in their overall health after eliminating dairy for a few months. The one exception is 6 to 8 ounces of organic goat milk yogurt or kefir every day which I consider a superfood.
5) Un-fermented Soy products (soy beans, tofu, soy protein isolate such as in soy protein powder, protein bars, etc.) fall into a category known as goitrogens — foods that promote formation of enlarged thyroid. Some goitrogens also have a definite antithyroid effect, and appear to be able to slow thyroid function, and in some cases, trigger thyroid disease. The studies are controversial and it’s unclear how much we should be concerned about this danger. But my advice to my clients is that if you have a tendency for low thyroid function or if you suffer from fatigue or other low thyroid symptoms, it would be better to avoid un-fermented soy products. Fermented soy products such as miso and tempeh do not have goitrogenic properties and may be consumed freely without any concerns about thyroid function.
Thank you for visiting my blog. If you have questions about acupuncture and shiatsu, or if you have a specific health concern, please contact me at:
Bart Walton, L.Ac.
Licensed Acupuncture & Shiatsu