Saturday, March 23, 2013
While flipping through Netflix last night, I found the documentary "Hungry for Change." I shrugged and watched it, not expecting much (I liked Food, INC but after I researched some of the facts, I found some of it was exaggerated propaganda). "Hungry for Change" talks about how "dieting" isn't effective, claims that whole, natural foods are essential, and exposes the dangers of some processed foods and additives. Of course whole foods are better, but they were using scientific facts to support their cases. This intrigued me. I am a naturally skeptical person; I like proof. I liked what these people were saying (and some of it was common sense, of course), but I wanted to know that they weren't touting propaganda. After doing research on every talking point they made, I found that they were stating facts almost 100% of the time. The miniscule parts where they were not being completely "factual," they simply weren't including alternative possibilities-but they WERE presenting truth. I now think everyone should watch this documentary and look into these topics more, especially if you're a serial dieter, overweight/obese, or someone living with a chronic disease.
Pubmed is the website where credible studies are published. In my eyes, it is the library of truth. As I was watching this movie, I was thinking, "What they're claiming sounds too good to be true," and "These people may not know what they're talking about on a scientific level."
But every time I paused this video to fact check (and, again, I did so for EVERY major claim they made, whew), they were reporting truth. Here are some key articles that I think people would be interested in. I did check more than one article for each fact to ensure scientific repeatability. Some may be hard to read, but here's a clue: skip to the last few sentences for conclusions.
Aspartame is horrible: This was the hardest to come to a conclusion on. There were studies that contradicted each other. However, the reviews I read that claimed aspartame is okay were discussing how people were consuming "considered safe by FDA" levels, and I don't feel like this is necessarily a good way to state whether something is safe or not as it's not exploring actual effects.
pubmed/17805418 (study done on rats with lifetime exposure at "considered safe" levels showed, especially in males, that incidents of lymphoma and leukemia cancers were drastically increased)
pubmed/23280025 (test done on mice being fed aspartame shows that oxidative stress in brain is increased and glucose levels are decreased when mice were fed aspartame, especially at high levels. Glucose is basically the only food for brain - ketones can also feed brain cells but that's a whole other lesson in biochemistry and, as any diabetic would know, ketones are NOT ideal to have at high levels in blood... Also see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu
bmed/22922192 for oxidative stress)
pubmed/23088901 (Shows that while eating the same number of calories, rats fed with non nutriative sweeteners weighed more than rats fed with sucrose sweetener. The scientists state that they didn't study the cause- whether it was due to lower metabolism or higher water retention)
Benefits of parsley: Most of the articles I found were along the same lines, so I'm only posting one. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu
bmed/19579798 (This shows parsley is protective against oxidative or "free radical" damage)
Benefits of cilantro (coriander): Amazingly, I found a wide variety of scientifically confirmed benefits for cilantro.
pubmed/22671941 (says that the clinical studies show that consuming cilantro was MORE effective at treating type 2 diabetes than the common medicinal treatment)
pubmed/22750725 (shows that cilantro protects heart health)
pubmed/23434078 (shows that cilantro reduces cytotoxic effects of insecticides in human cells)
Obviously, there is nothing to lose by making the lifestyle changes suggested in this documentary. The narrators repeated some key ideas that have helped me lose almost 80 pounds this last year: Start including good foods - don't exclude the bad, but let the good push out the bad; be balanced mentally and physically and the stress will stop, which allows your body to stop 'thinking' it's in a crisis; eating whole foods makes you feel better overall; developed countries, America in particular, are addicted to fat and sugar almost as if addicted to drugs; weight loss and health is about MAKING GOOD DECISIONS OVER AND OVER; stop talking to yourself in ways like 'you're so fat,' 'you're a failure,' 'you're gross,' and start speaking to yourself in an accepting manner.
I realize this was a novel of a blog, but I hope it helped some people look at scientific facts to help make food decisions. I know I will think twice about what I put into my mouth based on the information I learned from the documentary and my subsequent research.