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Hit-Or-Miss

Splenda, Cancer And That New Study We Need To Read More Carefully

Sucralose, the artificial sweetener known as Splenda that gives many treats their sugary taste is under fire yet again. Seriously, the cancer media panic is spreading. Fox. Forbes. Charlotte Observer. Foodbeast. Now, it’s trending on Facebook.

As FoodInsight.org points out, there have been more than 100 scientific studies on sucralose safety over the past 20 years. The European Union Scientific Committee on Food (SCF), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Food Standards Australia/New Zealand (FSANZ), the Health Protection Branch of Health and Welfare Canada, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), and Japan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare have all declared sucralose safe.

But hell — we shouldn’t count out some wild researcher who might have found something the others may have missed, right? Well, let’s start from the top…

What is Splenda (sucralose)?

splenda

Splenda.com defines their product as a no-calorie sweetener that can be used as part of a healthy diet to reduce calories and carbs from sugar that you consume.

It is made through a patented process that starts with sugar and converts it to a no-calorie, non-carbohydrate sweetener. The result is a very stable sweetener that tastes like sugar, but without its calories. After you eat SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener, it passes through the body without being broken down for energy, so the body does not recognize it as a carbohydrate. — Splenda.com

 

The “new” findings:

scary

The new study feels like a science story we’ve heard before: someone found a direct link between Splenda (sucralose) and Leukemia and other cancers of the blood.

Frankly, I think there’s something intrinsically suspicious about Splenda. I feel it weird to be able to get all the sweetness I crave with no calories or carbs — Splenda at it’s core is fishy. I grew up on the adage that if it’s too good to be true, it most definitely always more than likely kind of is.

So what’s up with that study people are sourcing?

Media is currently citing a story published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health. But how is this study different from the ones prior that have been shut down or gone into the infinite abyss of questioning and finger pointing conspiracy theorists who believe someone influenced the study?

If you skim the unusually worded writeup from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, they claim the study making its rounds today is different from those priors. They claim it was published “from the respected Ramazzini Institute, an independent laboratory based in Italy, which found that the chemical cause leukemia and related blood cancers in male mice.”

The Ramazzini Insitute, yet another institute my non-PHD-having-ass has never heard of, has an apparent track record of making their “relevant” research available, in partsm to the public, while being vague when it comes to explaining the logic behind their design and interpretation of data.

Forbes caught this issue back in 2003 and now it looks like the same issues arise with their most current study.

 

The highlights of the study need clarity

The daily sucralose intake of the animals in the study needed more definition, so Forbes contributing writer Emily Willingham asked Soffritti, an author on the study to clarify the daily intake of the animals as it is unclear in its current formatting.

According to the study’s authors:

We found a significant dose-related increased incidence of males bearing malignant tumors (p < 0.05) and a significant dose-related increased incidence (p < 0.01) of hematopoietic neoplasias in males, in particular at the dose levels of 2,000 ppm (p < 0.01) and 16,000 ppm (p < 0.01).

Here is Emily’s question/answer with the author:

EJW: When you say that you fed the animals 500 ppm, etc., is it correct that that also can be given as 500 mg/kg per animal? If not, how does that ppm value translate into per kg values?

Soffritti: You may consider approximately 60 mg/kg bw.

That means the authors used 12x the recommended daily limit for humans. So yes, too much of anything is bad. Too much water? You drown.

Splenda reduced cancer rates in some mice

Currently unhighlighted in the report is that Splenda indeed reduced cancer rates in some mice. It even resulted in lower body weight as well:

Their results show a dose-related decrease in cancerous tumors in female mice, from 67% in females exposed to no sucralose to 59.4% in female mice exposed to 16,000 ppm. At 8,000 ppm, the decrease is even steeper, down to 55.4%. The increase in males from 0 ppm to 16,000 was from 56.4% to 62.9%, but at 8,000 ppm, the rate was 53% in males, 10% lower than the zero exposure level.

The same pattern of decrease is evident for females and blood cancers–sucralose-stuffed female Swiss mice had half the cancer rate with 16,ooo ppm sucralose vs. no sucralose.

For the entire mouse population, males and females combined, cancer rates were practically identical across doses; at 0, 500, 2,000, 8,000 and 16,000, rates for the whole mouse population were 61.6%, 61.6%, 60.7%, 54.2% and 61.2%, respectively.

For the blood cancers, the pattern was similar for the whole population: 22.4%, 19.2%, 25.7%, 26%, and 29.1%, respectively, at 0, 500, 2,000, 8,000 and 16,000 ppm.

In other words, high levels of sucralose resulted in lower cancer incidence in some animals — but we’re not talking about that now, are we?

 

So am I gonna die, or nah?

Regardless of Soffritti et al.‘s messy conclusions and questionable highlights, discussion and further research are still needed and encouraged. Hell, Soffritti even ends their abstract with a J.J. Abrams-style conclusion, stirring the pot:

Conclusions: These findings do not support previous data that sucralose is biologically inert. More studies are necessary to show the safety of sucralose, including new and more adequate carcinogenic bioassay on rats. Considering that millions of people are likely exposed, follow-up studies are urgent.

Right or wrong, some good efforts were made on this study. I personally don’t use Splenda, primarily because the general conspiracy has seeped into my being, and generally just drink less sugar-based shit in general, real sugar or not. That said, if someone can dig further into Soffritti’s research and tell me I might be lowering cancer risk and losing weight by enjoying Splenda…then I feel like we can talk more!

Forbe’s contributor Trevor Butterworth hit it on the head in 2003 with his conclusion of Soffritti’s work:

Ramazzini’s track record of walking its talk in terms of scientific data may be abysmal; and investigations into its research methods may reveal a six-lane highway of ineptitude; but even a broken clock tells the time accurately twice a day. Careful scientists will not want to dismiss any findings out of hand completely. Which is why the fact that this cancer panic is being promoted before the publication of any data, and at an event for children, which makes it look deeply suspicious, unethical, and indeed, cynical. We’ve been here before.

Real conclusion on Splenda? We’re still looking for one.

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Health

FDA Is Banning Certain Pizza Boxes We Use Cause They Might Kill Us

Pizza-Box-FDA

In a shocking development for pizza lovers, the Food and Drug Administration is saying that there are chemicals in your pizza boxes that may cause serious health problems.

Three substances are being banned by the FDA, specifically for the waxy pizza boxes designed to prevent grease and water from soaking in. The substances all contain perfluoroalkyl ethyl which are classed as aspoly and perfluoroalkyl substances.

These chemicals are said to increase health problems and increase the risk of cancer as they can stay in the body for years. Common household items like wax pastry bags and microwave popcorn bags may also contain the substances.

Numerous health groups filed a petition against the chemicals leading to the ban which went into effect Monday.

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Hit-Or-Miss

TV Chef Sandra Lee Just Revealed She Has Breast Cancer

Sandra-Lee-BC

Sandra Lee is probably best known for her television series Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee. During a recent photo shoot, the 46-year-old chef discovered that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Lee had just walked off the set when she received the phone call from her doctor, Just Jared reports.

In her show, the Food Network celebrity chef takes fresh ingredients and combines them with store-bought foods and creates meals that taste like they’re made-from-scratch. These include anything from single dishes, desserts, or even entire meals.

According to Lee, her doctors stronger urged her to pursue a double mastectomy. She strongly advises women in their 20s and 30s to get their mammograms before its too late.

Photo: Facebook

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Health

Scientists Finally Discover Exactly Why Eating Red Meat Causes Cancer

red-meat

A new study out of the University of California, San Diego has discovered the culprit behind why red meat leads to higher instances of cancer in humans — and it all has to do with a sugar.

Humans are the only animals that have a higher risk of cancer when it comes to eating red meat. Other carnivores eat red meat naturally with no ill side effects. The study, which was published Dec. 29 in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” discovered that a unique sugar called Neu5Gc, found in most mammals but not in humans, triggers an immune response that in turn causes inflammation. Most other carnivores’ bodies are built to process this sugar — human bodies are not.

The study lead, Ajit Varki, MD, is a distinguished professor of medicine and cellular and molecular medicine and member of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. He explained the effect Neu5Gc had in mice:

“Until now, all of our evidence linking Neu5Gc to cancer was circumstantial or indirectly predicted from somewhat artificial experimental setups … This is the first time we have directly shown that mimicking the exact situation in humans — feeding non-human Neu5Gc and inducing anti-Neu5Gc antibodies — increases spontaneous cancers in mice.”

When humans eat a diet that includes lots of red meat, the sugar molecule triggers the immune system to constantly produce antibodies to fight it off. This leads to chronic inflammation, which many studies have shown promotes tumor growth, leading to cancer.

“The final proof in humans will be much harder to come by … But on a more general note, this work may also help explain potential connections of red meat consumption to other diseases exacerbated by chronic inflammation, such as atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes. Of course, moderate amounts of red meat can be a source of good nutrition for young people. We hope that our work will eventually lead the way to practical solutions for this catch-22.”

If for some reason you believe eating red meat every day (even if it is grass-fed) isn’t a bad thing, now you have proof. Sorry, meat eaters, humans just aren’t built to be true carnivores.

Source: UC San Diego

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Health

Researchers Discover Something Terrible in Rice That Commonly Causes Cancer

love-sushi

Researchers have discovered some troubling news about a popular food we all eat: rice is loaded with cancer-causing inorganic arsenic — so much that they are recommending small children not to eat rice “more than twice per month.”

In findings released yesterday, Consumer Reports analyzed FDA data on 656 foods containing rice and found noticeable levels of inorganic arsenic, which is linked to different types of cancer.

Arsenic is known to be present in a lot of foods, including fruits, grains and vegetables. They absorb arsenic from the soil and pesticides they are in contact with. However, rice absorbs arsenic more easily than most foods do. Consumer Reports researcher Dr. Michael Crupain explains:

“Arsenic in our food is a real public health problem and we think it’s important to eat less of it.”

Long-term exposure to arsenic leads to higher rates of skin, bladder and lung cancers, according to Consumer Reports. For small children under 5 years old, Crupain says:

“We found that hot rice cereal and rice pasta can have much more arsenic than we saw in our previous tests … So we now recommend that children rarely eat these foods, which means not more than twice per month.”

Which rice contains the lowest levels of arsenic?

One of the biggest findings was that the level of arsenic present in rice depends on where it was planted in.

CRM_Arsenic_Test_tubes_Page-41

from ConsumerReports.org

Sushi rice (thank God) from the U.S. and white basmati rice from California, India and Pakistan contain half of the amount of arsenic compared to most other types of rice. The deathblow here is to brown rice lovers — researchers found that brown rice actually contains 80 percent more arsenic than white rice.

So should you throw out all your rice?

Before everyone freaks out, the USA Rice Federation said the following in a statement:

“Studies show that including white or brown rice in the diet provides measurable health benefits that outweigh the potential risks associated with exposure to trace levels of arsenic.”

The FDA has yet to set an exact safety level for arsenic in rice, however, they recommend parents to avoid serving rice cereal and rice pasta for their young children as their first solid food.

Originally written by Jacob Wagner for NextShark

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#foodbeast

Infographic Quickly Confirms & Disproves Food-Related Old Wives Tales

Old Wives Tales

Picthx @Britt_Klontz

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Health

Science Says Marinating Meat with Beer Can Reduce Your Cancer Risk

marinated-steak-cancer

There’s nothing better than a cold one and some hot steaks on the grill. What’s not so fun is having Debbie downer tell you about all the carcinogens you’re inserting into your food along with the smoky, meaty flavor. Now you have a shot back. Turns out that pouring beer on your meat before grilling it makes it less likely to form carcinogens in the first place.

According to the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, marinating with beer reduces PAHs or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons — the carcinogens that form on meat cooked on a grill or BBQ. Limiting exposure to PAHs is recommended as they’ve been linked to cancer in other animals.

Researchers conducted what could go down in history as the tastiest experiment ever.  In the name of science, they marinated several pork loin steaks in different beers, while maintaining a control with no beer. They found that dark beers reduced net PAHs by 53 percent, compared to a control with no beer.They also compared results from a non-alcoholic pilsner, which reduced only 25 percent, and an alcoholic pilsner which performed the worst, reducing only 13 percent.

Time to break out some Guiness and steaks. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

H/T PS Mag + Picthx freecandy13

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Health

Despite State Laws, High Levels of Carcinogens Found in Soda

soda-laws

A new investigation from Consumer Report discovered that a potential carcinogen is found in Pepsi One and other sodas.  While the cancer risks of soda aren’t (sadly) news, what is shocking is that the levels of a caramel coloring found in the drinks are well above what the state of California says is safe.  This is after establishing in 2011 that the carcinogenic chemicals could not exceed a certain limit without including a label to warn consumers.

While Pepsi is accusing Consumer Report for false measures and incorrect conclusions, they note that Pepsi One contains less than the amount considered safe to be consumed per day.  This does not take into account those who often consume more than one, or even two, sodas a day.  For those who do, the chemical amount quickly exceeds the daily dose.

While Pepsi and the FDA are still scrambling to assure the public of the chemical’s “safety” and its limited amounts in your beverages, the full report tells a different story. Our take? If you can’t kick the habit, take it down to one can a day, and make sure to read your labels.

H/T Take Part + Picthx Greg Verdino