Foods To Never Touch

Doctor_MercolaIt is rare that I post an article from another source here on this site.  Mostly I don’t find too many that I agree with sufficiently to post them in their entirety.  This is an exception.  I found the following article from Dr. Joseph Mercola, M.D. to be excellent.  I agree with nearly everything in it.  And I feel that anyone who reads it and utilizes the information will get real value.  So here it is for your health!  –  Jeff Bell

                 Please feel free to comment.

 The 7 Foods Experts Won’t Eat
Posted by: Dr. Mercola
December 29 2009 | 4,884 views

1. Canned Tomatoes – The expert: Fredrick vom Saal, PhD, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A

The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Acidity — a prominent characteristic of tomatoes — causes BPA to leach into your food.

2. Corn-Fed Beef – The expert: Joel Salatin, co-owner of Polyface Farms and author of books on sustainable farming

Cattle evolved to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feed their animals corn and soybeans, which fatten up the animals faster for slaughter. A recent comprehensive study found that compared with corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

3. Microwave Popcorn – The expert: Olga Naidenko, PhD, a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group

Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize — and migrate into your popcorn.

4. Nonorganic Potatoes – The expert: Jeffrey Moyer, chair of the National Organic Standards Board

Root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil. In the case of potatoes they’re treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they’re dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting.

5. Farmed Salmon – The expert: David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany

Nature didn’t intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT.

6. Milk Produced with Artificial Hormones – The expert: Rick North, project director of the Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers.

7. Conventional Apples – The expert: Mark Kastel, codirector of the Cornucopia Institute

If fall fruits held a “most doused in pesticides contest,” apples would win. And increasing numbers of studies are starting to link a higher body burden of pesticides with Parkinson’s disease.


Yahoo Shine November 24, 2009

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

This is one of the best “foods to avoid” lists I’ve seen come out of the mainstream media. It is very rare when this happens, but I agree with every food on this list.

The reality is that most food nowadays is far from pure. Pesticide residues have been detected in 50 percent to 95 percent of all commercially grown U.S. foods, and that is only one type of toxin.

Babies are actually born toxic due to the toxic load of their mothers, some of which comes from dietary contaminants and food additives. One study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that blood samples from newborns contained an average of 287 toxins, including mercury, fire retardants, pesticides, and Teflon chemicals!

The list above is a great starting point to cleaning up your diet, but focusing on organically grown, biodynamic whole foods is really the key to success here.

I want to expand on some of the toxic foods mentioned above, as well as add a few more to the list, so you can significantly reduce your exposure to toxins in the foods you eat.

Why Fresh is Better Than Canned

Many leading brands of canned foods contain BPA — a toxic chemical linked to reproductive abnormalities, neurological effects, heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, heart disease and other serious health problems.

According to Consumer Reports’ testing, just a couple of servings of canned food can exceed the safety limits for daily BPA exposure for children.

The current US federal guidelines put the daily upper limit of “safe” exposure at 50 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight. You should know, however, that even low-level exposure to BPA can be hazardous to your health, and Consumer Reports’ testing found that eating popular canned foods may expose you to excessive amounts of BPA:

• Del Monte Fresh Cut Green Beans had BPA levels ranging from 35.9 ppb to as much as 191 ppb
• Progresso Vegetable Soup had BPA levels ranging from 67 to 134 ppb
• Campbell’s Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup had BPA levels ranging from 54.5 to 102 ppb

So, ideally avoid canned foods entirely and stick to fresh fruits and vegetables, or switch over to brands that use glass containers instead.

Grass-Fed is the Healthy Choice for Beef

Grass-fed beef is vastly superior to grain-fed beef, and in fact it’s the clear beef of choice you should be eating. It is far more important to choose grass-fed than to choose organic, as most grass-fed beef are also organic
Not only is it raised in a more sustainable way for the environment and a more humane way for the animal, but it’s the superior choice for your health.

Grass-fed beef, for instance, is lower in fat than regular beef and, more importantly, contains higher amounts of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid. Grass-fed animals have from three to five times more CLA than grain-fed animals.

CLA has been making headlines for its extreme health benefits, which include:

• Fighting cancer and diabetes
• Helping you lose weight
• Increasing your metabolic rate, a positive benefit for promoting normal thyroid function
• Helping you maintain normal cholesterol and triglyceride levels
• Enhancing your immune system

Keep in mind that grass-fed meat is almost always preferable to certified organic meat also because most organic beef is fed organic corn, which is what causes the myriad of health problems associated with eating beef. If you can find organic, grass-fed meat, that would be ideal.

What You Need to Know About Milk

I strongly recommend you avoid milk that has the added growth hormone rBGH.
Samuel Epstein, MD, a scientist at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, is one of the top experts on cancer prevention, and he has been speaking out against rBGH in milk, the so-called “crack for cows,” for years.
For starters, Dr. Epstein points out that rBGH milk is “supercharged with high levels of a natural growth factor (IGF-1), excess levels of which have been incriminated as major causes of breast, colon, and prostate cancers.”
But that’s not all.

“This milk is qualitatively and quantitatively different from natural milk,” states Dr. Epstein. “In addition to the issue of increased IGF-1 levels, these differences include:

• Contamination of milk by the GM hormone rBGH
• Contamination by pus and antibiotics resulting from the high incidence of mastitis in rBGH-injected cows
• Contamination with illegal antibiotics and drugs used to treat mastitis and other rBGH-induced disease
• Increased concentration of the thyroid hormone enzyme thyroxin-5′-monodeiodinase
• Increased concentration of long-chain and decreased concentration of short-chain fatty acids
• A reduction in levels of the milk protein casein.”

You very well may be drinking rBGH milk and not know it, as no labels are required. This is despite the fact that nearly every American wants it labeled, but the government, as usual, bowed to industry lobbyists and, amazingly, does not require this on the label.

However, as increasing numbers of people and dairies choose to avoid rBGH, you can find labels that say “rBGH-free” or a similar variation. Organic milk is also rBGH-free.

This is certainly preferable to milk that contains this dangerous hormone … but I still don’t recommend drinking any milk, organic or otherwise, that is pasteurized.

You can avoid both the risks of rBGH and pasteurization by only drinking raw milk that comes from a small farmer you know and trust. This is the only way to drink milk if you’re interested in protecting your health.

The Most Important Foods to Buy Organic
Most fruits and vegetables contain unacceptable and unsafe levels of pesticides, so it’s a wise choice to buy organic produce as often as you can.

However, if you need to pick and choose which foods to buy organic, the most important foods to buy organic are animal products — not produce. This is because animal foods, which are raised on pesticide-laced feed, tend to have higher concentrations of pesticides.

Non-organic meats have up to five times more pesticides than non-organic vegetables.

Non-organic butter can have up to 20 times as many pesticides as non-organic vegetables.

So when prioritizing your purchases, look for organic meats, eggs and dairy products before anything else.
There is one exception to this rule, and that is you may be better off choosing fresh local foods over organic foods. Often, locally grown foods are raised according to organic standards at a more affordable price.

Is Farmed Salmon the Only Seafood to Avoid?

Farmed salmon is among the worst seafood choices out there, as numerous studies show the salmon contain toxins and cancer-causing pollutants. Farmed salmon typically have at least 10 times more cancer-causing persistent organic pollutants than their wild counterparts.

That said, I do not agree that farmed salmon is the only fish you need to stay away from.

A recent study from the U.S. Geological Survey detected mercury in every fish sampled from nearly 300 U.S. streams. Among them, 27 percent contained mercury at levels that equaled or exceeded the U.S. EPA’s criterion for the protection of human health, and more than two-thirds exceeded mercury safety levels for fish-eating mammals like mink and otters.

Therefore, I do not recommend eating any fish — whether farm-raised or from an ocean, lake, river or stream — unless you have lab results in your hand that can attest to its purity.

There are still some safe areas out there, such as in certain pristine waters in Alaska, but it will take some searching on your end to seek them out. The ONLY safe fish I have discovered so far is Vital Choice wild red salmon, which remains the only source of fish I’ll eat.

Eating smaller fish, like anchovies and sardines, is also an option, as their small size makes them far less likely to be contaminated.

An important point to remember if you’re not eating fish is that your body still has a requirement for omega-3 fats. Fortunately, you can easily meet your omega-3 needs by taking a high-quality krill oil supplement, instead of risking your health by eating contaminated fish.

Another Food to Avoid: Unfermented Soy

This one did not make the above list, but it’s one I would definitely add.

Any soy that is unfermented — soy milk, tofu, soybean oil, soy burgers, and all the other processed soy products out there all belong to this category — is not a health food and in fact is not a food I would advise eating at all. This is true whether it is “organic” or not.

Soy infant formula is also on this list and is one of the absolute worst foods you can give your baby.
Unfermented soy products have been linked to everything from reproductive disorders and infertility to cancer and heart disease.

Further, unfermented soy contains isoflavones that are clearly associated with reduced thyroid function. Eating unfermented soy products is likely the single largest cause of hypothyroidism in women.

Another major problem with unfermented soy is that it contains natural toxins known as “antinutrients.” This includes a large quantity of inhibitors that deter your enzymes needed for protein digestion.

While a small amount of these antinutrients would likely not be a problem, the amount of soy that many Americans are now eating (and drinking in the form of soy milk) is quite significant.

The result of consuming too many of soy’s antinutrients is extensive gastric distress and chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake, which can result in pancreatic impairment and cancer.

For more details on soy foods, including the fermented varieties that can actually be healthy, please read Why This Type of Soy is Better.

Guidelines for Healthy Food

Whatever food you’re looking to eat, whether imported organic or locally grown, from either your local supermarket or a farmer’s market, here are the signs of a high-quality, healthy food:

1. It’s grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers (organic foods fit this description, but so do some non-organic foods)

2. It’s not genetically modified

3. It contains no added growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs

4. It does not contain artificial anything, nor any preservatives

5. It is fresh (if you have to choose between wilted organic produce or fresh conventional produce, the latter may be the better option)

6. It did not come from a factory farm

7. It is grown with the laws of nature in mind (meaning animals are fed their native diets, not a mix of grains and animal byproducts, and have free-range access to the outdoors)

8. It is grown in a sustainable way (using minimal amounts of water, protecting the soil from burnout, and turning animal wastes into natural fertilizers instead of environmental pollutants)

If the food meets these criteria, it is likely a good choice. Most often, the best place to find these foods is from a sustainable agricultural group in your area. You can also review my free nutrition plan to get started on a healthy eating program today.

Related Links:  (Click Back-Arrow Twice To Return To This Page.)

The Five Absolute Worst Foods You Can Eat

Ten Worst Breakfast Cereals

12 Food Additives to Avoid

I hope you have enjoyed and found value in this post and article from Dr. Joseph Mercola, M.D. I will continue to share and promote those articles I find that I beleive have the greatest potential in helping you to optimize your health and to take back control of your health.

Please comment and let me know what you think of these articles that I post. Please also feel free to let me know if you find an article that you think it worthy of being posted here.

To your health!

Jeff Bell

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  1. admin
    Posted January 23, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    I do have one comment about his list of foods: Even grass-fed, organic beef is something I avoid. Instead I opt for grass-fed, organic buffalo meat. The reason is that it is far more digestable and healthy. This is NOT because it it lower in fat. There is nothing wrong with fat, as long as it is from a healthy source. Rather, this is because the proteins in buffalo are more compatable with humans and more easily digested and used by our mteabolisms. This is not a subtle difference. When I was a competing endurance athlete, I could eat a large portion of buffalo meat shortly before a long race and do just fine. In fact, I did this often. I think I would have had a heart attack had I tried the same thing with meat from a cow.

    BTW, back then, buffalo meat was not very easy to find. Now it is. I highly recommend it for those who include red meat in their diets.

  2. Alexis
    Posted January 24, 2010 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Crap. You’ve named the entire contents of my kitchen.

    canned tomatoes? Awk! Corn fed cattle… let me just ask this. Why would a farm opt for feeding his cattle corn and just not let them graze? I can’t imagine the corn is a cheaper option. LOL!

    Great list! I’ll post in the kitchen and begin taping off my cabinets with police tape.


    • admin
      Posted January 24, 2010 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Thanks for your comment.

      Sorry, but please don’t shoot the messenger. I’m allergic to lead.

      Seriously, I had the same reaction when I started learning about all the foods that I should never eat again. I don’t think it works to make too many absolute “rules” about food. It’s just too hard for most of us to do, and if we let it, it can take a huge chunk of the joy out of life.

      Rather, I think it makes sense to learn about and know about these issues with our foods, and then to make the best choices we can, as often as possible.

      As far as canning goes, the lining that is used in commercial, metal cans, has some potentially dangerous chemicals in it. They tend to be “activated” or leached into the food more when the food in the can is more acidic. IN the old days, most “canning” was done in glass jars, so this was not an issue. It is a fair amount of work, but one can learn how to can foods the old way again.

      More and more small groups in neighborhoods are teaming up to grow organic produce, and some of that can be canned using the old ways, that are quite safe.

      Raising cattle: Corn fed is far cheaper because one can cram the cows in so they are very densely populated. Then the corn and other grains, can be treated so that the cows reach market weight mucvh, much faster. If they are grass fed, then a lot more land is required and they are ready for market much sooner.

      That said, I avoid cow meat nearly entirely. I find buffalo meat, which is almost always grass fed and organic, to be a far better food. It costs about the same as organic beef from cows, and it is far easier to digest and has far less tendancy to lead to arterial inflammation and related problems.

  3. Lynne Brown
    Posted January 24, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    There is no difference in the Wild Alaskan Salmon and the BC salmon, nor is there significant differences in the Wild vs Farmed salmon protein. I am not suggesting that you are a lobbyist for the Alaskan Salmon Marketing folks, but BC wild and farmed salmon is good for you and you are doing people an injustice by steering them away from healthy protein.

    • admin
      Posted January 24, 2010 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your comment.

      First of all, the list is Dr. Mercola’s, not mine. I re-posted it on this site because I think that most of the information in it is useful and accurate – I agree with most of what he says, but not all. I have no marketing axe to grind here.

      That said, while I am reasonably confident that most wild salmon, caught in reasonably pollution-free water, should be just fine, I am not so sure about farm-raised salmon. Perhaps there is some farm-raised salmon that I do not know about and that does not present health problems. However, the farm-raised salmon that I am familiar with all has these problems:

      They are raised in very high-density environments that makes it prone to infections, so to combat that vulnerability, anti-biotics are used. This is analogous to the same problem that happens with cattle raised in a feed lot – the high density conditons make them prone to infections so they are routinely given lots of antibiotics throughout their lives.

      The food that most farm-raised salmon is fed is not natural for salmon, and so they tend not to grow in quite the same way. In some cases this makes them not as healthy for us to eat. The “excess” food material that falls through the farm netting also tends to pollute the local water. If antibiotics are used, they also pollute the water around the farm.

      Then there is the issue of artificial color. I reallize that one can find farm-raised salmon that does not have color added, but most does. For reasons that I do not understand, most farm-raised salmon lacks that beautiful pink or red meat and so often food coloring is added. This has been shown to have various levels of toxicity.

      As far as tha actual chemical compostion of the protein found in wild versus farm-raised salmon, I really do not know. But it would not surprise me to learn that the protein is different just because the food that the wild salmon eats is significantly different from the food that most farm-raised salmon eats.

      All in all I think the issues I have raised are sufficient to at least cause one to take a careful look at farm-raised salmon. And I would certainly avoid any farm-raised salmon that has been raised with anti-biotics or that has had color added.

      Again, I have no axe to grind, and I have no financial motivation in this discussion. My only goal here is to be as helpful at I can to people wanting to maximize their own health.

  4. Farmed
    Posted January 25, 2010 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    “The food that most farm-raised salmon is fed is not natural for salmon”. Eeh. Do you have a clue about what farmed salmon is beeing fed, or have you just “heard somewhere” that its not natural? I think you should stop pretending you are some kind of expert and stop doing people injustice by steering them away from healthy protein.

    Added colour? Thats the funniest thing I have heard in a while. Did you know that farmed salmon was one of the two main dishes in Bocuse d’Or a couple of years ago? Do you think the worlds best chefs would have used color added fish? Get your facts straight, please. There are some antioxidants in fish feed which give salmon its color – especially one called astaxhanthin, which is one of the most powerful antioxidants. Astaxhanthin is a caroten (like vitamin A) and have a reddish color. Astaxhanthin in farmed salmon and wild salmon are exactly the same, and both get the antioxidant through their feed. But you prefer referring to some demarketing campaigns which have created a myth about “color added farmed salmon”. I’m sorry – but you seem to be just another useful fool for these guys..

    • admin
      Posted January 25, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your reply. It is possible that I do not have correct information. However, I do not appreciate being called a fool. That assumes that I am not of good will, and that I am not doing my best to get to and work with facts, which is not true nor is it a useful assumption. My goal is to help us all to improve our health. That is a worthy and honorable goal. If I find that I disagree with you, or if I find that statements you make are not in accord with what I believe to be true, I will point out the discrepancy, but not resort to name calling. I hope you will think carefully about that. It does nothing to serve the larger cause that we all hold dear.

      Now on to color added or not: I have no way to know much about the farm-raised salmon that is available in Canada, which is what I assume you are talking about. I can tell you that almost ALL of the farm raised salmon in the U.S. does have color added. It is clearly listed on the label, and must be by law. Further, almost all of it is raised in very tightly confined environments, and is treated with heavy doses of anti-biotics. It is entirely possible that the farm-raised salmon in Canada is raised in an entirely different way. There are many things about the way that things are done in Canada that are far superior to the ways things get done here. So I would look forward to learning more about and if possible even trying some typical farm-raised salmon from Canada. (BTW, the canned salmon that I use and that I stock in my emergency food supply is from Canada, but it is wild caught.)

  5. Elsa
    Posted January 26, 2013 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    Jeff, you are such a polite person. I however am not that polite: ‘Farmed’ poster, January 25, 2010, is as dumb as a door knob. His comment “Do you think the worlds best chefs would have used color added fish?” makes him or her sound like an idiot. Of course they would. Colored fish or beef looks prettier and a famous chef wants his dishes to look their best regardless of how many toxins it has in it just as long as taste is not affected by them. Chefs prefer farm-raised fish because they can order each filet at a very precise weight/size which is great for calculating exact costs and with no waste it equals higher/predictable profits.
    There is lots of published studies on the pollution that aquafarming causes of surrounding environment, fish mutations/deformed that occur due to the heavy dosages of antibiotics that the fish are subjected to on a regular basis.
    The antibiotics alone is reason enough to not buy farm-raised fish.

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted February 5, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Well, thanks for your kindness towards me. I am not sure if the person who posted that comment, asserting that there is nothing wrong with farm-raised salmon, is ignorant about the real health risks, or if they have a hidden agenda, such as promoting and marketing farm-raised salmon from Canada. I just don’t know. That said, I think their ad-hominum attack on me rather than just stating a contrary view was uncalled for. I do not think it furthers the dailog or adds to the useful information for us to attack each other at the personal level when we find we have views that are not in agreement. Further, I do think that most farm-raised fish, salmon in particular, are not safe for us, nor for the overall ecology. That said there are a few salmon farms in the world that seem to do things right. I know of at least one in Norway and one in Scotland that do not use any antibiotics, artificial color or other bad stuff. They also are very careful about how they feed the salmon and make sure that none escape from the pens. In fact I use their salmon to make sushi. To me, it tastes every bit as good as the best wild caught salmon.

      I know nothing about the restaurant business, other than the fact that it takes a special knd of genius to run a restaurant and make a profit. You obviously know a great deal more than I do about this. What you say makes sense. I assume that the very best restaurants still use wild-caught salmon, or at least if they use fram-raised salmon, it is from one of the few good farms, and it is disclosed on the menu. Is that true?

      Speaking of salmon, at the opposite end of the spectrum from the few good farms we have the GMO salmon. That is such a nightmare that I can’t think of anything bad enough to say about it. I guess Einstein had it right when he said that “…man is the only animal smart enough to build an atom bomb and stupid enough to do it…” I hope we wake up before it is too late…

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