People eating ultra-processed foods eat more calories and gain more weight than when they eat a minimally processed diet. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the results of a small study of 20 adult volunteers in the first randomized controlled trial examining the effects of eating the same amount of calories in processed foods as in unprocessed foods.
Ultra-processed foods are defined by the NOVA classification system. This system considers foods “ultra-processed” if they have ingredients predominantly found in industrial food manufacturing, such as hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, flavoring agents, and emulsifiers.
“Though we examined a small group, results from this tightly controlled experiment showed a clear and consistent difference between the two diets,” said Kevin D. Hall, Ph.D., an NIDDK senior investigator and the study’s lead author. “This is the first study to demonstrate causality — that ultra-processed foods cause people to eat too many calories and gain weight.”
I’ve been advocating a whole-foods based diet for twenty years and am excited to see the research backing me up. If you’re looking to lose weight by transitioning away from eating processed foods, you owe it to yourself to check out Glorious One-Pot Meals!
If you’re not familiar with Glorious One-Pot Meals, it’s my unique, quick and easy method of flash-cooking whole foods without a lot of effort. Watch this 5-minute cooking demonstration to whet your appetite and show you how easy it is to make meals out of wholesome whole foods that won’t pack on the pounds!
That means that in any group of three people, at least one is likely infected with this particular parasite. If you suffer from a chronic condition that has inflammation at its base, this could be you.
Parasites and Obesity
The CDC calls T.gondii one of the top “Five Neglected Parasitic Infections” based on its high prevalence in the US, severity of illness, and potential for prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/npi.html; accessed 9-25-2013).
Latent T. gondii infection has been previously associated with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and personality disorder, and it causes significant activity of T-cells, the ones that are responsible for inflammation. Since obesity is a chronic stage of inflammation and irrational thought can be due to inflamed brain tissue (read Brain Rules to see how this works), all of this makes sense to me.
Even more, this new research has now proved a relationship between parasitic infection and obesity. What other conditions might a hidden parasitic infection affect? Plenty.
T-Cells and Parasites
Here’s what happens in your body when you have a parasitic infection regardless of if the parasite is active or already encapsulated into a cyst.
The T-cells, a subset of white blood cells that are responsible for determining the threat rating of foreign substances in the body, determine the parasite presence is a threat and prime the immune system to fight it off. The immune system releases mediators, or inflammatory activators, to start off the battle strategy. This works pretty well when fighting viral and bacterial invaders but not at all with parasites.
The T-cells notice that the threat is still there and continue their inflammatory assault, sometimes for decades. The body remains in a chronically inflamed state with no resolution until other interventions are taken to kill off the parasites. An inflamed state could manifest as anything from migraines to fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, sinusitis, or even autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis.
Chronic inflammation, as we are finally starting to realize, is bad, bad, bad.
Chronic inflammation damages tissues and disrupts systems, like the integrity of the myelin sheaths of the nervous system (resulting in MS), the elasticity of the veins and arteries (heart disease), and of course, our front line of defense, the digestive system.
When the digestive system is subjected to chronic inflammation, it no longer does its job well and new food sensitivities emerge, triggering more T-cell activity and bringing inflammation in the body on a constant basis.
The parasitic infection that is at the root must be addressed for complete healing to occur.
Should You Test for Parasites?
The problem with using Western medicine to test for parasites is that it doesn’t necessarily look for the critters in the right places. The standard is to look for parasites in a stool sample or two. Unfortunately, parasites like T.gondii, for example, take up residence in the brain and will not show up in a stool sample.
Even blood testing won’t tell us everything. Advanced blood testing for the parasite Chagas, which we know lives in the blood, involves surveying a blood sample using a high tech medium designed to illuminate this microscopic parasite, but the sophisticated test won’t show the presence of a liver fluke in the liver.
This is whyallparasite testing is notorious for false negatives. The danger is that the patient believes they don’t actually have a parasite based on the lab report so does not take steps to eradicate the parasite and continues to see his or her health deteriorate.
When I suspect parasites in a client (more than 75% of the time), I never recommend wasting money on testing but instead suggest starting an herbal parasite cleanse immediately.
How Do You Get Rid of Parasites?
The pharmaceutical drugs of choice for parasite eradication, Flagyl and Ivermectin among others, can be effective though they only kill off adults and do not affect the eggs or protected cysts. They are also brutal on the body. Using Flagyl to kill a parasite, as one G.I. doc told me, is like using a shotgun to kill a mosquito; there’s a lot of collateral damage in the process.
In my personal experience, Flagyl leaves your body feeling fragile, like an empty eggshell, because it is so toxic that it has killed off everything, both the good and the bad, in your body. As a result, the course of drugs leaves your digestive system in bad shape. Worse, because it leaves the eggs and cysts behind to repopulate, symptoms often return within months or years.
Better to use a gentle combination of anti-parasitic herbs for several weeks to address all of the stages of a parasite life cycle without destroying your body in the process. Most people don’t feel anything different while going through the herbal regimen I advocate, but eliminating the source of constant inflammation brings immeasurable relief from symptoms of all kinds.
Will Eradicating Parasites Cure My Ailments?
It depends on how much damage has already been done in your body as to how much healing needs to happen once the parasites are out of the way. It’s likely that digestive system damage has lowered your tolerance thresholds and you are now a hypersensitive person who needs to learn how to avoid personal inflammatory triggers during the post-parasite healing phase.
Healing can only happen in the absence of inflammation.
I work with my clients to design customized anti-inflammatory diets to quickly reduce inflammation and supplement with supportive digestive enzymes to speed healing.
The one thing I know for sure is that if you have a parasitic infection and you don’t address it, there is only so much better you will ever get. You can medically suppress T-cell activity and become immuno-compromised, but you can’t convince the T-cells to ignore the presence of a parasite for long.
Where Can I Find A Parasite Cleanse?
Contact me and I’d be happy to tell you all about the regimens to get rid of parasites and end your chronic inflammatory issues once and for all.
Childhood obesity is on the rise; what’s a Mom to do?
If you are concerned about your child’s weight, or just want to learn tips for raising a child that values health, attend this 7 session FREE tele-summit. You will learn, from experts, how to nurture your child physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually so they grow into adults that know how to “BE” healthy and not “do” diets.
The sessions are at 8pm EST: Oct. 6 – Sylvia Rimm, PhD, New York Times best-selling author of Rescuing the Emotional Lives of Overweight Children.
Oct. 8 – Dharlene Marie Fahl, Lean Teen Self-Esteem
Oct. 13 – Carol S. Dweck, PhD, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist and author of Mindset
Oct. 15 – Frances M. Berg, internationally known authority on weight and eating and author of Underage and Overweight
Oct. 19 – Charlotte Reznick, PhD, LA Times best selling author of The Power of Your Child’s Imagination
Oct. 21 – Dr. Christine Wood, a practicing pediatrician and author of How to Get Kids to Eat Great & Love It!
Oct. 22 – Pat Altvater, host of the tele-summit and creator of the Women Outsmarting Weight System.
Attend as many of the sessions as you’d like, listening on the phone from the comfort of your home. Visit Healthy Talks for Moms to register and receive call information.
Childhood obesity is on the rise – adult obesity is through the roof!
My colleague, Pat Altvater, the tele-summit host, works with overweight adult women, including many that were heavy children. Altvater notes that being overweight as a child has long lasting effects, including, vividly remembering the snide remarks and names they were called as a child as well as the isolation and rejection they felt when they were put on diets.
Altvater’s preliminary research findings, from interviews with women who were overweight as children, indicate that the habits and beliefs they acquired early in life lead most to a lifetime of yo-yo dieting. As adults, they are caught in a cycle of trying the latest quick fix or diet program, failing to take consistent action, and then judging themselves harshly for their failure, which typically just diminishes their self-esteem and adds more pounds to their overweight body.
Children need to know how to “BE” healthy and not just how to “do” diets.
Benefits for moms:
coping with childhood obesity
learn how to raise children who value health
tips for how to have a healthy Halloween
Attend one or attend them all!
Register for the series and you will receive the call-in information as well as bonus gifts, valued at over $150, such as positive self-esteem MP3 songs, a natural foods cookbook, eating tips for kids, as well as reports and books to help you, the Mom.
Receive these bonus items provided by our experts and partners just by registering!
For more information about the strategies that will be covered by each expert and to register for the FREE series, go to Healthy Talks for Moms.
Once you register, you will receive the dial in information and the valuable bonuses.
The Corn Refiners Association would like us to believe that ingesting high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is as natural for the body as eating an ear of corn. They even snail-mailed me a whole package filled with convincingly-assembled literature after I wrote a post critical of HFCS, not to mention their slick television campaign showing teenagers drinking sodas and talking about how “natural” HFCS is.
Luckily, we, the purchasing public, are not so easily fooled.
High fructose corn syrup is the result of a highly complex chemical process conducted in a laboratory — this stuff does not occur naturally on our planet, it has to be synthesized. Just knowing this should be setting off warning bells.
If you read Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, you know that we overproduce corn in this country, and in an effort to help our farmers add value to the US corn crop the University of Iowa developed a host of corn byproducts, including HFCS.
HFCS exploded on the market in the early 1980s because it was cheaper than sugar and had a longer shelf-life. Coincidentally, the obesity epidemic in this country really began to build around this time (it really exploded in the 1990s). In the last twenty years, HFCS has captured 56% of the sweetener marketplace. Hmmmm…. Could there be a connection?
Is it better to ingest products made with sugar than those made with HFCS? In a word: Yes.
While sugar will be metabolized much better than HFCS, it can still carry a glycemic load and can spike blood sugar levels and then send you crashing down afterward. The most preferable way to eat sugar is to have sweet things following a healthy meal, when the stomach has other foods in it to buffer the digestion. The least perferable way to eat sugar is on an empty stomach.
Most unfortunately, I did see recently that soon all of the sugar beets in this country will be genetically modified beets. Sigh.
19% of the adults in my state are considered “obese”, yet we’re still considered the skinniest state in the nation. No wonder weight loss is such a large and growing industry! If almost 1 in 5 Coloradans are obese, and we’re the skinny state, what does that mean for the rest of the country?