9 Steps to Perfect Health - #1: Don't Eat Toxins | Chris Kresser
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9 Steps to Perfect Health – #1: Don’t Eat Toxins

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This content is part of an article series.

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Imagine a world where:

  • diabetes, heart diseases, autoimmunity and other modern diseases are rare or don’t exist at all
  • we are naturally lean and fit
  • we are fertile throughout our childbearing years
  • we sleep peacefully and deeply
  • we age gracefully without degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis

While this might sound like pure fantasy today, anthropological evidence suggests that this is exactly how human beings lived for the vast majority of our evolutionary history.

Today, most people accept diseases like obesity, diabetes, infertility and Alzheimer’s as “normal”. But while these diseases may now be common, they’re anything but normal. Humans evolved roughly 2.5 million years ago, and for roughly 84,000 generations we were naturally free of the modern diseases which kill millions of people each year and make countless others miserable. In fact, the world I asked you to imagine above – which may seem preposterous and unattainable today – was the natural human state for our entire history on this planet up until a couple hundred years ago.

What was responsible for the change? What transformed us from naturally healthy and vital people free of degenerative disease into a world of sick, fat, infertile and unhappy people?

In a word? The modern lifestyle. And though there are several aspects of our current lifestyle that contribute to disease, the widespread consumption of food toxins is by far the greatest offender. Specifically, the following four dietary toxins are to blame:

  • Cereal grains (especially refined flour)
  • Omega-6 industrial seed oils (corn, cottonseed, safflower, soybean, etc.)
  • Sugar (especially high-fructose corn syrup)
  • Processed soy (soy milk, soy protein, soy flour, etc.)

What is a toxin?

At the simplest level, a toxin is something capable of causing disease or damaging tissue when it enters the body.

When most people hear the word “toxin”, they think of chemicals like pesticides, heavy metals or other industrial pollutants. But even beneficial nutrients like water, which are necessary to sustain life, are toxic at high doses.

In their book The Perfect Health Diet, Paul & Shou-Ching Jaminet apply the economic principle of declining marginal benefits to toxins:

It implies that the first bit eaten of any toxin has low toxicity. Each additional bit is slightly more toxic than the bit before. At higher doses, the toxicity of each bit continues to increase, so that the toxin is increasingly poisonous.

This is important to understand as we discuss the role of dietary toxins in contributing to modern disease. Most of us won’t get sick from eating a small amount of sugar, cereal grain, soy and industrial seed oil. But if we eat those nutrients (or rather anti-nutrients) in excessive quantities, our risk of developing modern diseases rises significantly.

That’s exactly what’s happening today. These four food toxins – refined cereal grains, industrial seed oils, sugar and processed soy – comprise the bulk of the modern diet. Bread, pastries, muffins, crackers, cookies, soda, fruit juice, fast food and other convenience foods are all loaded with these toxins. And when the majority of what most people eat on a daily basis is toxic, it’s not hard to understand why our health is failing.

Let’s look at each of these food toxins in more detail.

Cereal grains: the unhealthiest “health food” on the planet?

The major cereal grains – wheat, corn, rice, barley, sorghum, oats, rye and millet – have become the staple crops of the modern human diet. They’ve also become the “poster children” of the low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet promoted by organizations like the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Diabetes Association (ADA). If you say the phrase “whole grains” to most people, the first word that probably comes to their mind is “healthy”.

But the fact is that most animals, including our closest relative (the chimpanzee) aren’t adapted to eating cereal grains and don’t eat them in large quantities. And humans have only been eating them for the past 10,000 years (a tiny blip of time on the scale of evolution). Why?

Because plants like cereal grains are always competing against predators (like us) for survival. Unlike animals, plants can’t run away from us when we decide to eat them. They had to evolve other mechanisms for protecting themselves. These include:

  • producing toxins that damage the lining of the gut;
  • producing toxins that bind essential minerals, making them unavailable to the body; and,
  • producing toxins that inhibit digestion and absorption of other essential nutrients, including protein.

One of these toxic compounds is the protein gluten, which is present in wheat and many of the other most commonly eaten cereal grains.

In short, gluten damages the intestine and makes it leaky. And researchers now believe that a leaky gut is one of the major predisposing factors for conditions like obesity, diabetes and autoimmune disease.

Celiac disease (CD) – a condition of severe gluten intolerance – has been well known for decades. Celiacs have a dramatic and, in some cases, potentially fatal immune response to even the smallest amounts of gluten.

But celiac disease is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to intolerance to wheat and other gluten containing grains. Celiac disease is characterized by antibodies to two components of the gluten compound: alpha-gliadin, and transglutaminase. But we now know that people can and do react to several other components of wheat and gluten. The diagram below shows how wheat and gluten are broken down in the body:

diagram of components of wheat

Current laboratory testing for gluten intolerance only tests for alpha-gliadin and transglutaminase, the two components of gluten implicated in celiac disease (highlighted in red in the diagram). But as you can see, wheat contains several other components including lectins like wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), other epitopes of the gliadin protein like beta-gliadin, gamma-gliadin and omega-gliadin, another protein called glutenin, an opioid peptide called gluteomorphin, and a compound called deamidated gliadin produced by the industrial processing or digestion of gluten.

So here’s the thing. Studies now clearly show that people can react negatively to all of these components of wheat – not just the alpha-gliadin and transglutaminase that celiacs react to. And the worst part of this is that up until about 2 weeks ago, no commercial labs were testing for sensitivity to these other subfractions of wheat.

This means, of course, that it’s extremely likely that far more people are intolerant to wheat and gluten than conventional wisdom would tell us. In fact, that’s exactly what the latest research shows.

Dr. Kenneth Fine, a pioneer in gluten intolerance research, has demonstrated that 1 in 3 Americans are gluten intolerant, and that 8 in 10 have the genes that predispose them to developing gluten intolerance.

This is nothing short of a public health catastrophe in a nation where the #1 source of calories is refined flour. But while most are at least aware of the dangers of sugar, trans-fat and other unhealthy foods, fewer than 1 in 8 people with celiac disease are aware of their condition. A 1999 paper in the British Medical Journal illustrated this well:

Graphic depicting incidence of undiagnosed celiac disease

Patients with clinically obvious celiac disease (observable inflammation and destruction of the gut tissue) comprise only 12.5% of the total population of people with CD. 87.5% of those with celiac have no obvious gut symptoms. For every symptomatic patient with CD, there are 8 patients with CD and no gastrointestinal symptoms.

But does that mean patients with CD without gut symptoms are healthy? Not at all. It was long believed that the pathological manifestations of CD were limited to the gastrointestinal tract. But research over the past few decades has revealed that gluten intolerance can affect almost every other tissue and system in the body, including:

  • brain;
  • endocrine system;
  • stomach and liver;
  • nucleus of cells;
  • blood vessels; and,
  • smooth muscle,

just to name a few!

This explains why CD and gluten intolerance are associated with several different diseases, including type 1 diabetes, thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia, psychiatric illness, ADHD, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, obesity and more. The table below from the same 1999 BMJ paper depicts the increased incidence of other diseases in patients with CD:

table showing associations of other diseases with celiac disease

As you can see, up to 17% of people with CD have an “undefined neurological disorder”. But even that alarmingly high statistic only accounts for people with diagnosed CD. We know that only 1 in 8 people with CD are diagnosed. We also know that those with CD represent only a small fraction of the population of people with gluten intolerance. With this in mind, it’s not hard to imagine that the number of people with gluten intolerance that have “undefined neurological disorders” (and other associated conditions on the list above) could be significantly higher than current research suggests.

Finally, we also now know that when you are gluten intolerant – which 33% (if not more) of you are – you will also “cross-react” with other foods that have a similar “molecular signature” to gluten and its components. Unfortunately, the list of these foods (shown below) contains all grains, which is why some medical practitioners (myself included) recommend not just a gluten-free diet, but an entirely grain-free diet. As you can see, it also contains other foods like dairy (alpha & beta casein, casomorphin, milk butyrophilin) and coffee (which is a very common cross-reactant).

  • alpha-caesin
  • beta-caesin
  • casomorphin
  • milk butyrophilin
  • cow’s milk
  • american cheese
  • chocolate
  • coffee
  • all cereal grains
  • quinoa
  • amaranth
  • buckwheat
  • tapioca
  • rice
  • potato
  • corn
  • sesame

Industrial seed oils: unnatural and unfit for human consumption

Industrial seed oils (corn, cottonseed, soybean, safflower, sunflower, etc.) have not been a part of the human diet up until relatively recently, when misguided groups like the AHA and the ADA started promoting them as “heart-healthy” alternatives to saturated fat.

The graph below shows how dramatically seed oil consumption has risen over the past several decades:

pufaconsumption

Throughout 4-5 million years of hominid evolution, diets were abundant in seafood and other sources of omega-3 long chain fatty acids (EPA & DHA), but relatively low in omega-6 seed oils.

Anthropological research suggests that our hunter-gatherer ancestors consumed omega-6 and omega-3 fats in a ratio of roughly 1:1. It also indicates that both ancient and modern hunter-gatherers were free of the modern inflammatory diseases, like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, that are the primary causes of death and morbidity today.

At the onset of the industrial revolution (about 140 years ago), there was a marked shift in the ratio of n-6 to n-3 fatty acids in the diet. Consumption of n-6 fats increased at the expense of n-3 fats. This change was due to both the advent of the modern vegetable oil industry and the increased use of cereal grains as feed for domestic livestock (which in turn altered the fatty acid profile of meat that humans consumed).

The following chart lists the omega-6 and omega-3 content of various vegetable oils and foods:

efa content of oils

Vegetable oil consumption rose dramatically between the beginning and end of the 20th century, and this had an entirely predictable effect on the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in the American diet. Between 1935 and 1939, the ratio of n-6 to n-3 fatty acids was reported to be 8.4:1. From 1935 to 1985, this ratio increased to 10.3:1 (a 23% increase). Other calculations put the ratio as high as 12.4:1 in 1985. Today, estimates of the ratio range from an average of 10:1 to 20:1, with a ratio as high as 25:1 in some individuals.

In fact, Americans now get almost 20% of their calories from a single food source – soybean oil – with almost 9% of all calories from the omega-6 fat linoleic acid (LA) alone! (PDF)

This reveals that our average intake of n-6 fatty acids is between 10 and 25 times higher than evolutionary norms. The consequences of this dramatic shift cannot be underestimated.

So what are the consequences to human health of an n-6:n-3 ratio that is up to 25 times higher than it should be?

The short answer is that elevated n-6 intakes are associated with an increase in all inflammatory diseases – which is to say virtually all diseases. The list includes (but isn’t limited to):

  • cardiovascular disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • obesity
  • metabolic syndrome
  • irritable bowel syndrome & inflammatory bowel disease
  • macular degeneration
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • asthma
  • cancer
  • psychiatric disorders
  • autoimmune diseases

The relationship between intake n-6 fats and cardiovascular mortality is particularly striking. The following chart, from an article entitled Eicosanoids and Ischemic Heart Disease by Stephan Guyenet, clearly illustrates the correlation between a rising intake of n-6 and increased mortality from heart disease:

landis graph of hufa and mortality

As you can see, the USA is right up there at the top with the highest intake of n-6 fat and the greatest risk of death from heart disease.

On the other hand, several clinical studies have shown that decreasing the n-6:n-3 ratio protects against chronic, degenerative diseases. One study showed that replacing corn oil with olive oil and canola oil to reach an n-6:n-3 ratio of 4:1 led to a 70% decrease in total mortality. That is no small difference.

Joseph Hibbeln, a researcher at the National Institute of Health (NIH) who has published several papers on n-3 and n-6 intakes, didn’t mince words when he commented on the rising intake of n-6 in a recent paper:

The increases in world LA consumption over the past century may be considered a very large uncontrolled experiment that may have contributed to increased societal burdens of aggression, depression and cardiovascular mortality.

And those are just the conditions we have the strongest evidence for. It’s likely that the increase in n-6 consumption has played an equally significant role in the rise of nearly every inflammatory disease. Since it is now known that inflammation is involved in nearly all diseases, including obesity and metabolic syndrome, it’s hard to overstate the negative effects of too much omega-6 fat.

Sugar: the sweetest way to wreck your health

About 20 years ago, Nancy Appleton, PhD, began researching all of the ways in which sugar destroys our health. Over the years the list has continuously expanded, and now includes 141 points. Here’s just a small sampling (the entire list can be found on her blog).

  • Sugar feeds cancer cells and has been connected with the development of cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, lung, gallbladder and stomach.
  • Sugar can increase fasting levels of glucose and can cause reactive hypoglycemia.
  • Sugar can cause many problems with the gastrointestinal tract, including an acidic digestive tract, indigestion, malabsorption in patients with functional bowel disease, increased risk of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • Sugar can interfere with your absorption of protein.
  • Sugar can cause food allergies.
  • Sugar contributes to obesity.
But not all sugar is created alike. White table sugar (sucrose) is composed of two sugars: glucose and fructose. Glucose is an important nutrient in our bodies and is healthy, as long as it’s consumed in moderation. Fructose is a different story.

Fructose is found primarily in fruits and vegetables, and sweeteners like sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). A recent USDA report found that the average American eats 152 pounds of sugar each year, including almost 64 pounds of HFCS.

Unlike glucose, which is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and taken up by the cells, fructose is shunted directly to the liver where it is converted to fat. Excess fructose consumption causes a condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is directly linked to both diabetes and obesity.

A 2009 study showed that shifting 25% of dietary calories from glucose to fructose caused a 4-fold increase in abdominal fat. Abdominal fat is an independent predictor of insulin sensitivity, impaired glucose tolerance, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides and several other metabolic diseases.

In a widely popular talk on YouTube, Dr. Robert H. Lustig explains that fructose has all of the qualities of a poison. It causes damage, provides no benefit and is sent directly to the liver to be detoxified so that it doesn’t harm the body.

For more on the toxic effects of fructose, see The Perfect Health Diet and Robert Lustig’s YouTube talk: Sugar, The Bitter Truth.

Soy: another toxin promoted as a health food

Like cereal grains, soy is another toxin often promoted as a health food. It’s now ubiquitous in the modern diet, present in just about every packaged and processed food in the form of soy protein isolate, soy flour, soy lecithin and soybean oil.

For this reason, most people are unaware of how much soy they consume. You don’t have to be a tofu-loving hippie to eat a lot of soy. In fact, the average American – who is most definitely not a tofu-loving hippie – gets up to 9% of total calories from soybean oil alone.

Whenever I mention the dangers of soy in my public talks, someone always protests that soy can’t be unhealthy because it’s been consumed safely in Asia for thousands of years. There are several reasons why this isn’t a valid argument.

First, the soy products consumed traditionally in Asia were typically fermented and unprocessed – including tempeh, miso, natto and tamari. This is important because the fermentation process partially neutralizes the toxins in soybeans.

Second, Asians consumed soy foods as a condiment, not as a replacement for animal foods. The average consumption of soy foods in China is 10 grams (about 2 teaspoons) per day and is 30 to 60 grams in Japan. These are not large amounts of soy.

Contrast this with the U.S. and other western countries, where almost all of the soy consumed is highly processed and unfermented, and eaten in much larger amounts than in Asia.

How does soy impact our health? The following is just a partial list:

  • Soy contains trypsin inhibitors that inhibit protein digestion and affect pancreatic function;
  • Soy contains phytic acid, which reduces absorption of minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc;
  • Soy increases our requirement for vitamin D, which 50% of American are already deficient in;
  • Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.
  • Vitamin B12 analogs in soy are not absorbed and actually increase the body’s requirement for B12;
  • Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines;
  • Free glutamic acid or MSG, a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing and additional amounts are added to many soy foods to mask soy’s unpleasant taste; and,
  • Soy can stimulate the growth of estrogen-dependent tumors and cause thyroid problems, especially in women.

Perhaps most alarmingly, a study at the Harvard Public School of Health in 2008 found that men who consumed the equivalent of one cup of soy milk per day had a 50% lower sperm count than men who didn’t eat soy.

In 1992, the Swiss Health Service estimated that women consuming the equivalent of two cups of soy milk per day provides the estrogenic equivalent of one birth control pill. That means women eating cereal with soy milk and drinking a soy latte each day are effectively getting the same estrogen effect as if they were taking a birth control pill.

This effect is even more dramatic in infants fed soy formula. Babies fed soy-based formula have 13,000 to 22,000 times more estrogen compounds in their blood than babies fed milk-based formula. Infants exclusively fed soy formula receive the estrogenic equivalent (based on body weight) of at least five birth control pills per day.

Click here for a complete list of studies demonstrating the harmful effects of soy products.

400 Comments

Join the conversation

  1. Is there any studies showing the effects of soy formula once that baby becomes an adult? My husband was on soy formula his whole first year. He deals with anxiety and depression, IBS and a couple of different skin conditions. I’m trying to heal his gut and clean up our diet, but it’s slow moving because he is not very motivated to participate.

  2. Hi,

    I have pre-diabetes and I’m on a ketogenic diet (< 20 gr carbs per day). I've lost 25 lbs and my blood sugar has come way down. I've been experimenting with some low carb breads lately (1 net carb per slice), and I found one that's really good (Yay, grilled cheese sandwiches again!). The odd thing is my 2hr pp and FBG have gone way down since I've been consuming these products (about a week, so not a long experiment so far). Still losing weight at a steady clip, no stalls, and no gastro issues.

    So, to my concerns. Is there any reason to be wary of these products? Are they too good to be true? Why are they having a positive effect on blood sugar?

    Here are the ingredients for the white bread:

    Wheat protein isolates, resistant wheat starches, flax seed meal, vital wheat gluten, butter, coconut oil, Inulin (chicory root fiber), salt, instant dry yeast, calcium propionate (as a preservative), vinegar, organic stevia rebaudiana leaf natural herbal extracts, natural luo han guo monk fruit and natural enzymes.

    Per slice: 135 cals, 5.5 gr fat, 9 gr carbs, 8 gr. fiber, 12 gr protein

    • From reading the material it is obvious that anything, and I do mean anything, that is good is bad for you. The perfect diet would be cardboard, low salt, and water (limited, of course). You could make the cardboard look like anything you want. Getting humans to eat the diets recommended in these articles completely goes against the nature of the beast and will never last. Of course, they know that. Living from 105 to 115 tied to a chair is the reward for being tortured for decades living on horrible food. The truth is you will eventually croak, all of us will. So what will your life be like until you finally do? Eating a daily dose of cardboard and water would not result in much of what they term “quality of life”. I say eat whatever you want, don’t overdo anything and you will do fine. Yes, you may end up with some diseases, we all do, but at least you will be smiling. Smiling is the best medicine for just about anything.

      • Hi Dan, you may feel differently if you were living with chronic pain and anxiety/depression for most your life, had been to many doctors trying to determine the cause of nerve pain coming and going all over your body. Food with a shelf life of “forever” is not food and can causes permanent neurological damage in more people than we currently realize. Best to you…glad you feel good. Many of us thank God for articles like this that have saved us from going crazy due to chronic pain. Not sure if you are aware but there is an opioid epidemic in this country. I would rather not eat sugar and grains than be on opioids…thanks.

        • I have IBS and I can vouch for a gluten-free diet and milk and soy bean free also to have a MAJOR good effect on my symptoms. Do I want pizza? Sure I do. Do I eat pizza? Hell no!!! I want to live pain and bloat free. No big deal. And I sure as hell don’t eat cardboard! A bit ingenuous to say the least Dan.

  3. I have gastroparesis. I have Hashimoto’s, osteoporisis, hair loss, heart PVC’s, IBS or IBD, chronic fatigue, gerd. I can’t eat veggies, fruits, meats, fats and fiber. I am celiac intolerant. I am lactose intolerant. I’m deathly allergic to pistachios. I do eat shrimp, rice noodles, potatoes, soups and Kahlua. 🙂 I know some of these have ingredients I shouldn’t eat, I don’t ever even feel hunger pangs. It’s easier, more comfortable, to just not eat at all. I’m at wit’s end. I’d love to have a basic list: “Eat this”. “Don’t eat this”. I am 69 and all I want is shrimp, scallops, crab.

  4. I have a question about flax seed. I am reading research that supports flax seed consumption and others say it has negative impact on breast tissue. If soy is estrogenic and flax seed is 20 times higher that soy then I assume that flax seed lignans can cause cancer. Please include research if you can with your answers.
    thanks.

    • Phytoestrogens and breast cancer treatment

      Tamoxifen is a medication known as a selective estrogen receptor modulator, or SERM. Tamoxifen often is prescribed as part of the treatment for ER+ breast cancer. Tamoxifen binds with estrogen receptors, without activating growth in breast cancer cells. In this way, tamoxifen prevents a women’s own estrogen from binding with these cells. As a result, breast cancer cell growth is blocked

      One study in mice concluded that flaxseed inhibited the growth of human estrogen-dependent breast cancer, and strengthened the tumor-inhibitory effect of tamoxifen. Multiple other studies with mice have shown that dietary flaxseed works with tamoxifen to inhibit breast tumor growth.

      Researchers don’t yet know if these results will apply to women with breast cancer, but this approach—adding flaxseeds to the diet—looks promising. And several studies in women have shown that higher intake of lignans, the key phytoestrogen in flaxseeds, is associated with reduced risk of breast cancer.

      Further, lignans in the diet are associated with less aggressive tumor characteristics in women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. In other words, women who have already been eating lignans at the time of diagnosis seem to have tumors that are less aggressive.

      https://www.oncologynutrition.org/erfc/hot-topics/flaxseeds-and-breast-cancer/

      http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/flaxseed

      http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/confirmed-flaxseed-contains-estrogens-regress-cancer

  5. What are toxins to you maybe the medicine to others. You need to study people, different people have different biochemical reactions to the foods.

  6. WELL!!!
    Lots of good information, bottom line what you believe as your reality is exactly that. If you give any of this information your focus as being right, truthful, factual then for “YOU” it is. I chose to change somethings in my diet because I was feeling less than I liked, I believe what you think and feel is exactly what you receive. Law oF Attraction. I don’t give much to the scientists or reserchers that make their living looking for problems, and in most cases for a group that wish to be validated as how they what it to go, meaning in their favor. Looking for the goods and reporting those will do a lot more good and more mentally healthy than judging things as “worng”bad” dangerous. I am not placing any judgement on anyone reporting their findings, weather they are view “good”or bad”. I Know a lot of people reading this will have thier intelectual button pushed, that’s ok, I know you aren’t on the same vibrationa frequency as me cause if you were they you would agee. I am truely GRATEFUL for all of you and what you write here. It is mostly interesting how people think and bring their points to lite…

    • You’re in denial. It is not a matter of anyone’s opinion- try a diet of nothing more than fruits, vegetables, greens, beans, and seeds/nuts for six weeks, cut out everything else and see how you’ll feel: better than ever before in your life.

      • I think its worth a try, and some how,
        I think, in reality, its what we should
        PRIMARILY eat. I like the idea of your 6 week program. Afterwords,
        some animal protein, added would be proper. However, the above diet, should be the PRIMARY DIET.
        Seems right.

  7. Soy and Corn are two of the most toxin food you can put into your body. Both are from seed crops sold to farmers by Monsanto. Both of these seeds are impregnated with the Herbicide Round-up. And the plants are sprayed every ten weeks with Round-up. Round-up has the same make up as Agent Orange that was used in Vietnam, that killed thousands of GI’s and still killing children & Adults in that country. Both contain 2-4-D. Tomorrow morning have a bowl of Corn Flakes and wash it down with Soy Milk and you will have your daily requirement of Round-up in your Gut. Than wonder why you can’t digest food for the rest of the day. Thanks Monsanto and their Ex-Lawyer who is now the head of the FDA to get everything approved to make them Millions.
    Its called GMO…

    • I don’t completely agree with you or with Dr. Kessler. All foods are potentially toxic, even those necessary for health such as carbohydrates and proteins which can damage your body via diabetes/hyperglycemia or kidney damage, respectively, if taken in large enough quantities. Much of the whohaa against wheat products is due to an unfortunate scientific and historical bias. Wheats and similar grass products have been extremely common in foodstuffs since agriculture was started, so there is tremendous historical and research bias on being able to find allergic responses to something used that commonly. In actuality, however, wheat and other plain grass products are actually the least toxic of all foods. Peas and legumes are much worse in terms of “natural” toxins and produce real disease (like lathyrism) not just allergic diseases (which are much more sporadic and person dependent and much less severe as well usually). There is an evolutionary reason for this in that wheats grow in large quantities, and have not evolved the need to make toxins to defend themselves. Plants which grow as weeds and more sporadically (like many legumes) however produce many toxins. This is well-domented in the farming industry and in humans as well (lathyrism) and by biochemical studies. Wheat really gets a bad rap, when actually it is the least toxic of plants you can eat. I suggest you read an excellent monograph on the subject “Natural Toxicants in Foods” published by for more information. These “scientific” studies, although producing some useful information, are tremendously biased. Once people “switch to” other products, I think we will find out that we exchanged one small poison for a much worse one. The same is true for milk. Milk is actually the only product specifically “designed” by evolution for mammals to eat, and there are many studies done by Japanese researchers in the 60’s showing it had many health benefits, particular for stroke. While milk is fattening and should be only taken in moderation, it should be considered a health food.

      • Disagree. Nut milks, such as almond and cashew, are much better for the human body. We are not baby cows.

      • Not sure if you are aware now that some time has passed but Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity is a real condition and can cause real never damage AND 100% curable by avoiding gluten. I had chronic nerve pain in my hands and feet that no doctor could explain. I could not even turn a door nob without throbbing pain. I had carpal tunnel so bad I thought I was going to have to quite a job I like. No one could help me. Then on my own I came to this site and learned that sugar and grains can inflame the body. I removed them from my diet and miracles happened. After further experimentation, I know for me gluten is the biggest culprit. I am healthy in all respects now. No more ibuprofen to control pain. No more dreading that the pain may get worse since I know how to control it now. Yay me!!

    • Check your facts on Round-up and 2-4D. I think you will find that they are two different chemicals. Not good to eat either but Round-up and 2-4D are not the same.

  8. grains etc form the bulk of most societies’ main staple food, what then is the alternative to its replacement?

    • Almond, coconut, pecan, macadamia nut Flour is the alternative. Has reversed all my gastric issues since discovering the Paleo diet. Takes more thought & you need to cook & prepare all your meals but totally worth it!

      • Hi Jen , this is good to hear , I have a lot of digestion issues , that I am giving up on myself . Please advise what exactly you be change in your diet

        Thank you

        • Gulia, I would suggest starting with Whole30. http://www/whole30.com and the book It Starts With Food (it’s a quick read took me 2 days of off and on reading on my Kindle – I think the Kindle download is $.99 on Amazon) . The short version – eliminate added sugar, soy, alcohol, grains, legumes (beans and peanuts – with the exception of green beans and sugar snap peas), artifical ingredients, and processed foods for 30 days. It will allow your digestive system to heal, reduce internal inflammation, and reboot your hormones. It will break your addiction to sugar and force you to evaluate your relationship with food. I’m 42, I have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome – aka my hormones are a mess), i’m overweight (thank you PCOS and Diet Coke addiction). I am on day 27. My energy is thru the roof. I sleep like a rock. No more afternoon slump where I can barely keep my eyes open at work. I haven’t had heartburn since before Day 1. My skin looks amazing. I’m sure that I have lost weight (but no idea how much) because i don’t have to fight with my seatbelt. Day 4 (4 days only 4 days) one of my co-workers asked me what I was doing and I said “ummm working?” and she said “No what are you doing? Your face looks different” – I hadn’t told anyone at work that I was doing Whole30 – just that I would not be going out to lunch with them in January. Less that a week later the same person stopped me in the break room and said “seriously, you look different every single day”. There are very few shortcuts on Whole30. I swear I run 2 loads of dishes a day thru the dishwaser. I make my own mayo now. I use coconut aminos in place of soy sauce (and frankly, I think it tastes better) and while my grocery bill has gone up, it hasn’t gone up nearly as much as our “dining out” expenses have gone DOWN. In fact the only place we have gone out to eat is Outback – they are more than happy to fix me a plain seared steak and plain mixed veggies and I typically get a plain sweet potato – I carry a small jar of clarified butter in my purse, a small shaker of sea salt and another of cinnamon. This weekend I will be going thu my pantry and packing up stuff to take to the local food pantry (things like canned soup, salad dressing, marinades, boxes of mac n cheese, etc). I have zero desire to eat any of it anymore. I’ve been blogging about it and posting what we have been eating since Day 1 – feel free to take a look. I’m looking at options for where I’m going to go from here. Paleo, Primal, roll into a second Whole30, LCHF. We’ll see.

          • I am a Carer for my son who is Autistic and ADHD/Anxiety and I have digestive problems, Acid reflux, nausea(which is getting me down), IBS, and discomfort at times in my stomach as well as Anxiety. I am watching what I eat I am hungry at times but sometimes scared of eating certain foods that may trigger and make things worse. I am taking propranolol for the Anxiety and was taking Lansoprazole until 3 days ago to see if I can manage without it, struggling as the nausea came back and some acid reflux burning. I just wondering due to me heavy stress load will changing my diet has I began make a lot of difference if I am under this continuous stress. to be honest I do not know how much I can take I am losing motivation in everything. please anyone any advice tips I hate this sickly feeling.

            • Hi Valerie,
              On the autism support website
              http://www.tacanow.org, search for Special Diets for Autism…
              a lot of our kids with autism have gut and digestion issues like you have.
              Also, Timothy Buie is one of the gastroenterologists they swear by. He has a lot of interviews online if you google him. TACA has a lot of information on the website, and they have chapters in a number of states now,
              with regular meetings. Feel free to email or livechat TACA, they’ll be there for you…hang in there! Dave

      • I agree its improved mine as well. And have seen major changes in both my childrens autism by simpling eatting healthy. Its not a diet. Its clean eatting!

  9. It’s incredible the type of food that we are eating, we don’t know about the risk that we have =(

  10. If you want to portray widely accepted health foods as being toxic, you need actual data to back up your claims. A bunch of unreferenced theories about why they could be bad isn’t worth as much as studies that actually show they’re good, which is what all the organizations promoting whole grains are basing their recommendations on. When every study ever conducted to look at the link between whole grain foods and health finds that whole grains lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, and other ailments, you can’t just point to wheat and talk about your theories on gluten and gliadin. If your theory isn’t represented in the real world, then your theory is either wrong or incomplete.

    Also, for all the soy bashing that had no references, the one reference given for soy’s effects on sperm quality in men didn’t say it lowered sperm count, just sperm concentration. In other words, it increased the ejaculate volume. The American Institute for Cancer Research also considers phytic acid an important component in reducing cancer risk, suggesting that the phytic acid in soybeans may be the cause of the well established protection soy consumption has with breast cancer.

    http://preventcancer.aicr.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=7499&news_iv_ctrl=0&abbr=res_

    • Soy is generally genetically modified now. That can be checked out via many sources. Similar to how there is no longer a single grain of real wheat left in the U.S., which is is causing a huge spike in gluten sensetivities and health issues, soy is becoming more and more modified (fake!), which leads to problems. I recommend the book, ‘Wheat Belly’.

  11. I use rape seed oil, eat nuts, love my Daily milk and cheese, a few eggs sometimes, I eat bread, seafood, vegitables, fruits, and a lot of other stuff. I will never start with theese american meat eater diets, there comes a new one every year. I am a pescetarian and will allways bee.

  12. I’m afraid you lost me here. Are you really claiming that grasses evolved gluten as a toxin so that humans would not eat them? That seems to lack any semblance of credibility to me. Firstly, plenty of ruminants seem happy to eat them, and they would be the obvious predator number one. Secondly, we have coevolved with cereals so getting us to eat them seems actually to have been quite a smart strategy in their bid for world domination. Thirdly, isn’t the whole point of fruits to get animals to eat them so that the cool ability of animals to move and defecate can work to the plant’s advantage? How did cereals get to be so smart as to intoxicate us where vegetables never made it out of the starting blocks? And in what way is it relevant that chimps don’t eat grains? They mainly eat fruit which you’re not too keen on either I understand, and their gut length is four times ours. So their diet is not our diet. Human diet has demonstrably evolved in historical times, aided by natural and sexual selection. This makes the paleo metaphor no more than that. It seems that the hypothesis of widespread gluten insensitivity has been retracted by those who made it. Most of us have been consuming grains for centuries and millennia, without the apparent acuteness of the problems we see today. This suggest to me that we are mostly genetically adapted to eat them and that the maladaptation, which is probably carbohydrate intolerance as a whole rather than any specific intolerance of cereals, is more epigenetic or environmental, with the most likely culprits being deterioration in the quality of the gut microbiome and the standard american diet taken in its globality. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a good program to fix it – the evidence it works for those who come looking for it seems strong. But these people are unrepresentative of modern humanity as a whole and conclusions drawn on this basis should remain within the scope of an approach designed to address specific pathologies, rather, I think, than making universal claims which sound scientific and may generate unnecessary anxiety on the part of people to whom they do not apply.

    Just to put this in context. Doesn’t mean you’re not doing great work.

    • This article is absolutely ridiculous. So basically he’s saying common grasses and grains “evolved” to harm people lol… So what do cows, chickens/poultry, deer, and other animals eat to sustain their health…protein shakes? No…they eat grasses and grains. Because within those are the amino acids they need. So what do “nutritionists” and “doctors” do? They tell us to kill these animals and ingest their flesh to get enough “protein” lol. You are stealing the amino acids from the animals they got from the plants. The plants did not “EVOLVE” to harm us. It is companies like Monsanto that has altered the seeds. They are trying to make us sick. Including this “doctor” here who I think is nothing more than a paid shill. Believe me…you can not live on meat, vegetables and fruit. Your brain will go crazy. If you do not have starch you will die.

      • That is totally false. Starches are the worst thing anyone can eat. They are nothing but sugar. They can cause insulin resistance which leads to type II diabetes. You will not die if you don’t eat starch.

      • FYI Cows and other ruminants ferment their food. They have a large stomach for just that purpose, eating the bacteria that eat the plants in the warm, moist environment that their stomach provides. Chewing their cud is them spitting up balls of plant material and breaking it down further for the bacteria to get at easier. Anyway, it is true that fermentation breaks down many toxic chemicals in food. Even single stomach herbivores, like horses, use a cecum to ferment plant material (ours is very tiny). Though, I’m not sure if that would help them since the cecum is after the stomach.

        Given our small cecum and teeth designed for an omnivorous diet, meat is part of our diet, as is fruits and nuts. Tubers are a large source of starch if you aren’t eating grains. But, as we did with milk and some legumes, we have been eating wheat and other grains long enough that we should be resistant to any toxins found in it.

        Soy does have a known toxin and eating raw soybeans is a bad idea because of this. However, it’s toxins are easily removed by boiling or fermenting them. And yes Asians do eat soybeans that aren’t a condiment or fermented. Soymilk and tofu, for example, have been around for at least a couple thousand years. Edamame has also been around for a while.

      • Oh and there is no way a company would purposely make their customers sick, healthy costumers eat more of what they grow. Also, roundup is bad and luckily losing it’s affect vs weeds, but GMOs themselves you cannot say are bad. Genetic engineering is a process. You don’t say all art is bad because a few pieces of art are bad. Genetic engineering can make perfectly healthy food, the result is all in the hands of the person who is creating it. So don’t attack them, attack this idea of owning DNA to the point that no one can research it without the company breathing down their neck.

      • We are not cows, chickens/poultry, deer, etc. Check out “Eat to Live” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman if you truly are ready to get healthy.

  13. This fructose as a poison thing. I’ve watched Lustig’s videos and accept he’s the expert, but still have a hard time thinking about apples and blueberries as full of poison.
    How much is too much fruit ? What about smoothies and cartons of juice ?
    I like to fill a big bowl with fruit and nuts and chomp it all – say two bananas, two apples, two peaches, kiwi fruit, handful of blueberries, lemon ?
    Delicious.
    Is that bad ?

    • I’ve watched Lustig’s video too and i remember him saying “I have nothing against fruit, because it comes with its inherent fiber, and fiber mitigates the negative effects. The way God made it, however much sugar is in a piece of fruit, there’s an equal amount of fiber to offset it”.

      I’ve taken this approach further cause I like to understand things better. Take vitamins… they are toxic too and people think they are healthy?. Our industrialized nation take out these vitamins out of fruits or vegetables and put them together in a pill and they say that it works like a real natural food. And the worst thing is that they replace many vitamins and minerals with synthetic ones. Natural food can’t be compared with processed food. Natural ingredients can’t be compared with processed ingredients.

    • if you maybe eat it over a weeks period of time but my gosh, not in one day; thats too much sugar

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