Archive | July, 2013

Why do you Use Aspartame?

12 Jul

Aspartame, an artificial sweetener marketed under the names of NutraSweet® and Equal® and now AminoSweet (marketed in Europe as a natural product) is marketed to reduce weight. A recent study published this week from a Purdue researcher, suggests the opposite. There are massive studies on this product, and to this day, the battle between health advocates and the food industry rages on. Do you use Aspartame to lose weight?

85% of all complaints registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concerns aspartame’s adverse reactions.”

Currently, aspartame is found in more than 6,000 products and is consumed by over 200 million people around the world.”

A 60 minutes report from December of 1996 had some highlights listed below:

  1. Debate began in 1975 about its effect on causing brain cancer.
  2. In 1980, the FDA had 2 separate panels (3 scientists each) evaluate the product release. Both panels said the product should not be released without further testing.
  3. In 1981, Dr. Arthur Hall Hayes was appointed the Commissioner of the FDA. He over-ruled both panels and approved the release. Two years after it was approved for dry products, it was approved for soft drinks. Hayes left the FDA a few months later to take a job for the PR firm that works with Searle, the then owner of Aspartame. (Dr. Hall was selected by Donald Rumsfeld, former CEO of J.D. Searle, who in 1981 was on Ronald Reagan’s transition team. The History of Aspartame)
  4. Out of 164 tests conducted on Aspartame, 74 funded by industry, 100% found it to be safe. Of the 90 independent studies, 83 identified a problem.

Bittersweet: The Truth About Aspartame

Aspartame and brain tumor links in 2005 (methanol and formaldehyde)

Data from 2012 :

Brain tumors are the:

Second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children (males and females) under age 20 (leukemia is the first).

Second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in males ages 20-39 (leukemia is the first).

Fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in females ages 20-39.

Eating a healthy diet during brain cancer treatment, and before can be found here.

“Most people think they are a victim of their genes, helpless to stave off some of the most dreaded diseases. We aren’t helpless at all; in fact, the power is largely in our hands. It’s on our forks, actually.”


Corruption Worldwide is on the Rise

10 Jul

We cynically accept the concept that politicians are liars and crooks. Jesse Jackson Jr., is the latest and most publicized politician to plead guilty of “fraud, conspiracy, making false statements, mail fraud, wire fraud, and criminal forfeiture.”

A seemingly well documented list of American Politicians convicted of crimes can be found here. It is interesting to note both the trend and the political party of the convictions, but primarily the list supplies a foundation for that “cynical” concept about politicians, a concept that is widely held. Uselessness is of course, a whole other topic, brought to light by a recent bill to fund a National Park on the Moon.

This week, the ratings agency Standard & Poors told a court, its ratings were “puffery”. S&P published more than 1 Million ratings in 2012, using more than 1400 credit analysts in 23 countries, yet their legal defense in their lawsuit is “…
that nobody could reasonably think that they had a reputation for producing independent and credible ratings“.
The federal government is seeking upwards of $5B in civil penalties from S&P as it relates to the residential mortgage business “bubble”.

“puffery” – –  in effect as worthless as the bullshit from a used-car salesman.

What does the S&P downgrade of Italy’s credit now mean, given their defense in the lawsuit? Is it simply that Italy cannot afford to pay S&P for a higher rating?

We now find that Bribery and Corruption worldwide is growing. One in Four paid a bribe for accessing public institutions and services. And in India, close to 50% of the people surveyed are paying a bribe for educational services. Getting an education and degree for your child is much of an issue in China and it is in the US. Parents rioted when their children were not allowed to cheat on exams.

“We want fairness. There is no fairness if you do not let us cheat.” 

Obesity Now Considered a Disease – Industry vs Obamacare

9 Jul

In Michael Moss’ book, Salt Sugar Fat, the methodology of the food industry to create food that tastes good is explored. Unfortunately, what tastes good, and especially those things that we are compelled to eat in quantity are not good for our health. Those good tasting ingredients in the book title, usually result in an increase in weight that leads to obesity.

To claim that obesity is a disease, as the AMA now has determined, is misleading. Lung cancer is a disease that can kill you. Obesity is more of a leading indicator of heart disease, which can kill you.

What we should expect to see is a push by Obamacare to focus on counseling for obese patients. We should not expect to see the food industry create products that are filling, inexpensive, and healthy. A start-up company may introduce an effective solution, with Soylent.

What may be on the horizon is the association of obesity to popular food products, with a result similar to the association of cigarettes and lung cancer. The result would be the struggle between the food industry and Obamacare, or whatever it may be called in the future.

Living without Food

5 Jul

In an attempt to address the nutritional needs of potentially billions of people, a software engineer, originally trying to further simplify a raman noodle meal, developed a powdered food product.

Just like BioCurious who wants to create a Glow-In-The-Dark plant, Rob Rhinehart resorted to crowdsourcing for funding. Where BioCurious needed $65,000 and raised over $480,000, Rob needed $100,000 and got over $750,000. (See Genetic Modification Gone Haywire)

Rhinehart said it only took a bit of research and elementary chemistry to create the first batch of the mixture, which he has tweaked over time. He has been living exclusively on Soylent for about five months now and said he has never felt better in his life. His bloodwork is excellent, he is maintaining a healthy weight for his height, and he has plenty of energy. He even runs frequently.

A recent report estimates that over 50% of the world’s food goes to waste, so this may offer hope. The current Soylent V.8 ingredient list can be found HERE.

Lyme disease – Not Straightforward Answers

3 Jul

Lyme disease is caused from a spirochete transmitted by a deer tick, usually in the NorthEast US. The treatment and detection is under a great deal of debate between the mainstream healthcare providers and patients who appear to be chronic.

Legislation in Maine is being proposed to require the state to offer up “alternatives” for the treatment of Lyme disease. These “alternatives” are solutions that patients have found successful, yet are not recognized by mainstream professionals, who officially claim that Lyme disease is not a chronic disease. The Mayo Clinic says that treatment can be achieved in no later than 28 days. Patients claim to be dealing with the disease for years.

The cause of Lyme disease, being a spirochete, shares similarities with Syphilis. The spirochete can bore through tissue and has some very insidious behaviors. As with syphilis, this spirochete can make its way into the brain, and is sometimes linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

“Another unique feature to Borrelia burgdorferi are Blebs. This bacteria replicates specific genes, and inserts them into its own cell wall, and then pinches off that part of its cell membrane, and sends the bleb into the host. Why it does this we don’t know.”

Not far away from the patients is the cost of the treatment. As it is officially “easy” to treat, insurance coverage beyond an initial treatment is rare. Patients on long term treatment can spend hundreds of thousands, and now find that the antibiotic, Doxycyclin is in short supply.

Here you have a case of the patients, like Sally Jordan (above) pitted against the American Lyme Disease Foundation, ALDF. Good luck Sally!

Not So OTA – AEREO, A New Model

2 Jul

So if you’d like to cut the cord of your cable company and go Over The Air (OTA), there may soon be another option, beyond putting up rabbit ears.

Aereo is a new company who recently moved into Chicago after facing some legal battles against the national broadcast networks.

They have a very unique technology where they are able to transmit local broadcast signals over the internet. In Chicago (any local markets), they use individual antennas to pick up the OTA channels, and allow customers on the internet to select which antenna (local channel) they want to receive. The local programming is provided live, over the internet with the help of a specially designed antenna at the customer’s end. The only fee paid to watch the local channels is paid to Aereo.

“Aereo and Barry Diller, the billionaire investor who sits on Aereo’s board, say they’re taking the risks and going to all this trouble because they’re betting consumers are tired of paying $150 a month on cable bundles, especially when most people only watch a fraction of the channels.”

There may be some staying power for this technology, even in the event that the national networks stop broadcasting OTA signals. New networks could pick up the local transmitters and start their own broadcast networks, with the help of the Aereo technology.

It is not highly unlikely that you will be able to eliminate commercials from this new internet technology. For this reason, I do not see this technology ever losing in court. The broadcast networks actually have a case for their advertisers that they are reaching an even bigger audience, and an audience (unlike OTA viewers with computers) that cannot avoid the commercials.