I read two articles this week linking modern food to our illnesses. It boils down to the fact that processed foods like soda and refined carbs like chips, cookies, etc. cause cancer and heart disease.
Coke and Pepsi have a chemical in them to give their drinks that rich caramel color. It's known as 4-methylimidazole (4-MI) and in high doses it causes cancer in animals. The Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA last week to ban certain caramel colorings, including 4-MI, because of their link to cancer. Of course, the supplier of the coloring says it's safe. The FDA takes the middle ground suggesting that people would have to drink a 1,000 cans of soda "to reach the doses administered in the studies that have shown links to cancer in rodents."
We don't drink soda in our house, but this is good to know and only further reinforces how pointless it is to drink soft drinks. I indulge maybe once a year in a cold Coke from a can on a hot day after gardening in the sun, but that's about it. I do know a lot of friends, Southerners in particular, who probably hit the 1,000 can of soda mark faster than they would like to know.
The second article was about what really causes heart disease. Heart surgeon, Dr. Dwight Lundell, writes the piece. He's got 25 years in the field and has performed more than 5,000 open heart surgeries. He admits that science has been wrong for decades. He writes, "The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine."
The biggest culprits of inflammation that lead to heart disease, Lundell note? Simple, highly processed carbs like flour, sugar and all the products made from them, as well as the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower found in many processed foods. The rest of his article is a fascinating breakdown of how processed foods cause inflammation. Read the full article for the science.
What to do? He suggests eating food your grandmother served and not the processed food that fills grocery store aisles. Lundell offers hope. He says if you eliminate these inflammatory foods and eat whole, fresh, nutrient-dense food, you can reverse years of damage in your arteries and throughout your body from eating the typical American diet.