Diabetes has become an epidemic, instances of those developing type 2 diabetes are increasing at an alarming rate. We know that a poor diet that is high in sugar and animal protein combined with inactivity are two common factors of the typical Western diet and way of life that can lead to type 2 diabetes. What is not very well-known and not often discussed is that there are many are dealing with this disease for lesser-known reasons that are sometimes completely out of their control.
In this day and age, we are exposed to thousands of chemicals in our environment, usually every day. Chemicals are found in everything from the food we eat, the air we breathe, the clothes we wear, the water we drink and, quite frankly virtually every aspect of our lives, and a lot of them are bad. The effects of all these chemicals (the bad ones) is almost like the elephant in the room, it’s not often that fingers are pointed to these chemicals and the potential harm they are doing to our bodies. Certain chemicals like the BPA found in plastic and canned goods, vehicle exhaust and phthalates, these common environmental chemicals can alter our health in several different ways.
A cost analysis published in the Lancet in 2016 stated that diseases related to everyday household chemicals cost the United States $340 billion annually, let that sink in for a moment. An increasing amount of research has been pointing towards many other environmental contaminants and chemicals that can drastically increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, there are much more important factors to be aware of, it’s not only diet and physical activity like we have been led to believe.
What Chemicals Can Trigger Type 2 Diabetes?
1. Arsenic – Research has shown that chronic exposure to arsenic can interfere with insulin secretion, which can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A study published in the American Journal of Physiology in 2017 stated that arsenic, “contaminates the drinking water of approximately 100 million people globally and has been associated with insulin resistance and diabetes.”
2. BPA – Also known as Bisphenol A is a synthetic compound that is often used to produce certain types of plastics in toys, canned foods, drink liners, even medical devices. Research has shown that BPA is associated with many health disorders. The Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, human and lab studies suggest that BPA exposure is linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This chemical acts directly on pancreatic cells and impairs insulin and glucagon secretion which can trigger an insulin resistant state.
Best ways to avoid BPA? Limit your exposure to plastic of all kinds, choose glass or stainless steel whenever possible and say no to the receipts from the cash register which are usually coated with BPA or similar chemical compounds.
3. PCBs – Or, polychlorinated biphenyls are chemicals that are used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications. They were officially banned in the U.S. in 1979, however these chemicals tend to linger. Research shows that PCB’s will remain in the human body for a long time after exposure because the toxins accumulate in our fatty tissues.
Bob Weinhold, a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists examined studies conducted on mice that showed how exposure to PCB was associated with significant impairment of glucose and insulin tolerance. Researchers also found that exposure to PCB increased the concentrations of cytokines which are also related to insulin resistance.
There are ways to reduce your exposure to PCB chemicals, you can read more about that HERE.
4. PAHs – Or, Polyacrylic Aromatic Hydrocarbons are naturally occurring chemicals that can be found in gasoline, crude oil and coal. They are produced when coal, gas, oil, tobacco and garbage are burned and contaminate the air we breathe with vehicle exhaust, cigarette smoke, burnt wood, and burnt meat.
A study published in 2014 in Occupational and Environmental Medicine indicated that high urinary levels of PAHs in participants who were monitored over a 5 year period are associated with the development of type 2 diabetes in U.S. adults between the ages of 20 to 65 years. Researchers pointed to previous studies that have also reported that chronic exposure to PAHs is linked to oxidative stress and inflammation also playing a major role in the development of type 2 diabetes.
Smoking cigarettes and consuming PAHs in food are the primary sources of PAHs in the U.S. To limit your exposure, do not smoke, and do not cook meat or other foods at extremely high temperatures. Limit your intake of grilled and charred foods.
5. Phthalates – Are chemicals that again are used in plastics, in order to increase durability, flexibility and transparency of many plastic products. A study conducted in Australia detected phthalates in 99.6 percent of the participant urine samples and were able to find that phthalate concentrations were positively associated with type 2 diabetes as well as hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Researchers adjusted for other factors that normally contribute to these health factors such as alcohol consumption and smoking, but the link between the phthalates and the disease stayed the same.
6. Mercury – We all know that mercury is a dangerous substance and should be avoided at all costs, but research has also shown that specifically mercury can induce hyperglycemia by altering the function of pancreatic beta cells. A systematic review published in Environmental Research looked at 34 studies that measured the increased risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome due to exposure to mercury.
7. Cadmium – Is found naturally in the environment and is released through smelting and mining. It’s used in many industrial processes such as metal plating, stabilizing plastics and producing pigments. It can contaminate food that comes from soil or water that contains cadmium.
In 2017, a meta-analysis evaluated 9 different studies with a combined total of 28,691 participants in order to determine if there was an association between cadmium exposure and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Researchers found that for every 1 microgram per gram of urinary cadmium the risk of diabetes increased by a whopping 16 percent.
Exposure to cadmium through diet alone isn’t believed to be a cause for concern, but smokers and those exposed to high levels of cadmium through their occupations are at a greater risk. A full list of occupations that increase the risk of toxic cadmium exposure is provided by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
8. Pesticides – These are chemicals that are used abundantly in agriculture to prevent and destroy pests and insects that might interfere with the growth and productivity of crops.
A systematic review and meta-analysis published in Environment International reviewed the role of pesticides in the pathogenesis of diabetes. Included were 22 studies and a positive association between increased pesticide exposure and the prevalence of diabetes. The adverse effects of pesticides can be chronic or acute depending on your level of exposure. To reduce your exposure, go organic whenever possible, but especially when purchasing any foods from the dirty dozen list, these are the foods that contain the highest levels of pesticides.
9. Nickel – Nickel is a metal that is used to make coins, jewelry, batteries and heat exchangers. This metal is released into our environment from the stacks and large furnaces at power plants or trash incinerators. It is also released in industrial waste water and ends up in the soil.
A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology looked at the association of nickel exposure with the prevalence of type 2 diabetes among adults in China. What was found was that the median concentration of urinary nickel among the 2,115 participants observed was 3.6 milligrams per liter and the prevalence of diabetes was 35 percent. These elevated levels of urinary nickel were positively associated with higher fasting glucose levels and insulin resistance.
H/T: Dr. Axe
Organic Certification: What the USDA Organic Label Means
- The Facts:
Organic and natural labels mean different things, and various types of labels tells you what percentage of ingredients are actually organic. We'll explore what to look for.
- Reflect On:
Do you sometimes buy products thinking they are organic or fully natural based on their wording? Have you later found out that those products aren't natural or organic at all? Read labels more closely at grocery stores to be aware.
Don’t get conned by fraudulent claims of “natural” or “organic.” Learn what to look for, and why it’s important, to ensure you’re getting the quality you are paying for.
The industrial age of the 20th century brought about changing agricultural practices that have generated increasing alarm about the effects of these practices on the environment and health. The use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, irradiated and genetically altered food and fiber products has created a groundswell of rightful concern. It has led to the growing demand for non-toxic, organic products that many are willing to pay a higher price for to ensure the healthful purity of food and clothing provided for their families.
With such profit opportunities, it’s little wonder that the lucrative organic product market has suffered abuse with so-called “organic” labels being fraudulently placed on products that have not earned the right. As a result of pressure from farming and consumer groups, legislation for the standardization of organic certification was introduced in the 1980s. It has been updated to include more vigorous enforcement and control methods since, with the current standards established in 2002 by the USDA.
The Standards of USDA Organic Certification
Specific standards must be met in order to legally claim a product as USDA certified organic. Organic producers must utilize methods that conserve water, maximize soil health, and reduce air pollution. The specific standards to earn USDA organic certification include:
• Free of synthetic chemicals such as insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics, and additives
• Free from irradiation and genetically modified organisms
• Agricultural products grown on land that has been free of prohibited substances for a period of three years
• Animals used for meat, eggs, milk or other animal products must be exclusively fed foods that are organically grown, may not be given antibiotics or hormones, and must have access to outdoors.
• Clean and sanitized harvesting and processing equipment throughout the process from harvest to finished, packaged product
• Detailed chain-of-handling records from the field through final sales
• Physical separation of certified organic products from non-organic products throughout the process of production
• Regular on-site inspections from USDA-approved inspectors to ensure compliance
Understanding the Certified Organic Label
Once the rigorous process of certification has been completed, organic producers may place the USDA certified organic seal on their products. Currently, there are four levels of certified organic products, with a specific definition of the percentage of organic ingredients the final products contains. They are as follows:
• 100% organic: all production methods and ingredients are USDA certified organic.
• Organic: at least 95% of the production methods and ingredients are USDA certified organic with remaining ingredients included on the National List of allowed ingredients.
• Made With Organic Ingredients: at least 70% of the ingredients are USDA certified organic with remaining ingredients included on the National List of allowed ingredients.
• No organic wording or seal: less than 70% of the ingredients are USDA certified organic and no claims may be made on the front or back of the product.
Manufacturers or producers who knowingly label a product “organic” when it does not meet the USDA standards are subject to fines up to $11,000 per violation.
Why Organic Certification is Important
When you see the official USDA organic certification seal on food, clothing, and bedding products, you can be assured that these products have met the meticulous standards required and are free of chemicals, toxins, antibiotics, and hormones. When you see the USDA certified organic label, you will understand the value of the higher priced organic products as compared to non-organically produced products.
With the current stringent organic certification requirements enforced by regular inspections from USDA accredited agents, the USDA certified organic label has great meaning and importance to the consumer. Look for the label to know that you are getting the quality you are paying for.
WHO Finds Global Lack Of Inactivity Rising Especially In Wealthier Countries — What You Can Do
- The Facts:
Inactivity is on the rise and it's the cause of a wide range of health concerns. Our population is only becoming more inactive, not less, and it's time to change that.
- Reflect On:
There are many factors of our modern world that make us less active. Our jobs, driving rather than walking/biking, too much screen time. What can you do differently to bring more activity into your life? What story stops you from starting?
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than a quarter of the entire population on this planet are not getting enough physical exercise, this number has barely improved since 2001. There are many factors that contribute to this, but just how much damage are we doing by failing to be active?
The lack of physical exercise raises the risk of many health problems, such as heart disease, type-2 diabetes and various types of cancers.
Interestingly, according to their study published in The Lancet Global Health, higher income countries, such as the UK, were among the least active population. Women were also found to be more sedentary throughout the world, excluding two regions in Asia.
The study looked at self-reported data on activity levels from 358 population based surveys covering 168 countries and included 1.9 million people.
The populations of higher income countries, which include the UK and USA showed an increase in the proportion of inactive people and had actually risen from 32% in 2001 to 37% in 2016, in the lower income countries it remained at 16%.
Those who were classified as inactive did less than 150 minutes of moderate exercise and around 75 minutes of intense activity per week.
It was found that women were less active than men overall, except for in South and Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and higher-income Western countries. The authors believe that this was caused by a few different factors including extra childcare duties and cultural perspectives that may have made it more difficult for them to exercise.
Why More Inactivity In Wealthier Countries?
According to the researchers, in the wealthier countries, many of the jobs have transitioned to more office or desk jobs, meaning a more sedentary type of lifestyle. On top of that much of the population of these countries drive automobiles or take public transit to and from work which in many cases accounts for a lot of their time.
In the lower income countries, many of the jobs require the people to be more active, are physically demanding and people often have to walk to and from their jobs.
The WHO has had a goal to reduce the global levels of inactivity by 10% by 2025, the authors of the study feel that at the rate we are currently going, this target will be missed.
Lead author of the study, Dr. Regina Guthold said, “Unlike other major global health risks, levels of insufficient physical activity are not falling worldwide, on average, and over a quarter of all adults are not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity for good health.”
Regions with increasing levels of insufficient physical activity are a major concern for public health and the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.”
Co-author, Dr. Fiona Bull added, “Addressing these inequalities in physical activity levels between men and women will be critical to achieving global activity targets and will require interventions to promote and improve women’s access to opportunities that are safe, affordable and culturally acceptable.”
According to the WHO,
Exercise guidelines for 19- to 64-year-olds
- at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week
- strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles
- break up long periods of sitting with light activity
What is moderate aerobic activity?
- Walking fast, water aerobics, riding a bike on level ground or with a few hills, doubles tennis, pushing a lawn mower, hiking, skateboarding, rollerblading, volleyball, basketball
What counts as vigorous activity?
- Jogging or running, swimming fast, riding a bike fast or on hills, singles tennis, football, rugby, skipping rope, hockey, aerobics, gymnastics, martial arts
What activities strengthen muscles?
- lifting weights, working with resistance bands, doing exercises that use your own body weight, such as push-ups and sit-ups, heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling, yoga
What activities are both aerobic and muscle-strengthening?
- circuit training, aerobics, running, football, rugby, netball, hockey
I was surprised to see that the WHO didn’t touch on inactivity due to too much screen time — watching television, Netflix, Facebook scrolling, messaging, texting, browsing etc. Certainly, the increase in screen time plays a roll with the amount of inactivity, especially in the higher income countries. If you are someone who spends too much time staring at a screen, then it is important to consider the above information. Can you limit your screen time and replace it with something active? Or would you consider jumping rope, or rebounding while watching the television? Our health is our greatest wealth and having awareness about an issue is the first way to create change and take responsibility for our lives.
Could you walk or bike to work instead of drive? What about trying a new sport? Could you commit to adding a few hours each week of physical activity? These small decisions could have a profound impact on your health, longevity and overall well-being.
List Of Products & Brands That Tested Positive For Monsanto’s Glyphosate
- The Facts:
Glyphosate is a carcinogenic chemical that can be found in an alarming number of food products. Traces have even been found in companies that employ the "Organic" label.
- Reflect On:
Think about what you buy and consume. By voting with your dollar and opting out of foods that contain this chemical, you are telling Monsanto you don't want it. The power lies in the hands of each and every one of us.
Finally, the corporate giant Monsanto, an organization that has hailed itself as the answer to global food shortages and is “working to help farmers grow food more sustainably” has been outed and is currently facing backlash after a near $300 million lawsuit was settled proving that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the roundup herbicide, causes cancer. The company was found guilty of malice and covering up the fact that their most popular product does indeed cause cancer.
On their website, it still states that “Glyphosate has a 40-year history of safe and effective use. In evaluations spanning those four decades, the overwhelming conclusion of experts worldwide, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has been that glyphosate can be used safely.” Seems they are still in denial, despite the lawsuit.
This is great news, however, as this story was too big to be kept from the mainstream. Many are starting to wake up to the fact that Monsanto isn’t as safe of a company as they would like you to believe. Despite years of mounting evidence that glyphosate is carcinogenic, Monsanto has been able to deny the fact, stating that no products contain a high enough level to pose a risk, failing to acknowledge the cumulative effect within the body.
Americans have applied 1.8 million tons of glyphosate since its introduction in 1974. Worldwide, 9.4 million tons of the chemical have been sprayed onto fields. For comparison, that’s equivalent to the weight of water in more than 2,300 Olympic-size swimming pools. It’s also enough to spray nearly half a pound of Roundup on every cultivated acre of land in the world.” ~Newsweek
Which Foods Have Glyphosate?
The issue is, it can be difficult to know exactly which products are genetically modified, and thus are likely to contain Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide or some form of glyphosate. In the past, a safe bet was to be sure to purchase only organic products; however in recent years even certain brands of organic foods have been compromised as glyphosate has been found in some of these as well. Thanks to WakingTimes for providing this list of foods containing glyphosate:
- Original Cheerios
- Honey Nut Cheerios
- Annie’s Gluten Free Bunny Cookies Cocoa & Vanilla
- Kellog’s Corn Flakes
- Kellog’s Raisin Bran
- Kashi Organic Promise
- Kellog’s Special K
- Kellog’s Frosted Flakes
- Cheez-It Original
- Cheez-It Whole Grain
- Kashi Soft Bake Cookies, Oatmeal, Dark Chocolate
- Ritz Crackers
- Triscuit Crackers
- Oreo Original
- Oreo Double Stuf Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
- Oreo Double Stuf Golden Sandwich Cookies
- Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips (Frito-Lay)
- Lay’s: Kettle Cooked Original
- Doritos: Cool Ranch
- Fritos (Original) (100% Whole Grain)
- Goldfish crackers original (Pepperidge Farm)
- Goldfish crackers colors
- Goldfish crackers Whole Grain
- Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies
- Oatmeal Cookies Gluten Free
- 365 Organic Golden Round Crackers
- Back to Nature Crispy Cheddar Crackers
- Breakfast Cereals as Tested by the Environmental Working Group (2018)
- Nature’s Path Organic Honey Almond granola
- Back to Nature Classic Granola
- Quaker Simply Granola Oats, Honey, Raisins & Almonds
- Back to Nature Banana Walnut Granola Clusters
- Nature Valley Granola Protein Oats ‘n Honey
- KIND Vanilla, Blueberry Clusters with Flax Seeds
- Instant Oats
- Giant Instant Oatmeal, Original Flavor
- Simple Truth Organic Instant Oatmeal, Original
- Quaker Dinosaur Eggs, Brown Sugar, Instant Oatmeal
- Great Value Original Instant Oatmeal
- Umpqua Oats, Maple Pecan
- Market Pantry Instant Oatmeal, Strawberries & Cream
- Oat Breakfast Cereal
- Kashi Heart to Heart Organic Honey Toasted cereal
- Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal
- Lucky Charms
- Barbara’s Multigrain Spoonfuls, Original, Cereal
- Kellogg’s Cracklin’ Oat Bran oat cereal
- Snack Bar
- Cascadian Farm Organic Harvest Berry, granola bar
- KIND Oats & Honey with Toasted Coconut
- Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, Oats ‘n Honey
- Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip granola bar
- Kellogg’s Nutrigrain Soft Baked Breakfast Bars, Strawberry
- Whole Oats
- 365 Organic Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
- Quaker Steel Cut Oats
- Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
- Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats
- Nature’s Path Organic Old Fashioned Organic Oats
- Whole Foods Bulk Bin conventional rolled oats
- Bob’s Red Mill Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (4 samples tested)
- Orange Juice Brands as Tested by Moms Across America(2017)
- Minute Maid
- Stater Bros.
- Signature Farms
- Ben & Jerry’s Ice Creams
- Staple Crops as Reported by Friends of the Earth Europe(2013)
- Soybean fodder
- Cotton seed
- Maize grain
- Barley straw and fodder Grass hay
- Sugar beet
The most effective way to avoid glyphosate in your diet is to eat a whole-food plant-based diet, which means limiting your intake of processed foods as much as possible. Look for the “Non-Gmo Verified Project” stamp to ensure your foods do are not genetically modified and thus should not contain glyphosate. The fact of the matter is, the more informed we are in regards to these chemicals, the more power we have over our own health. It’s up to us to take responsibility for our own lives, our bodies and what we are putting inside. Vote with your dollar and avoid GMO’s whenever possible.
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