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The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

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The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

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The Tainted American Diet

If someone were told they were eating poison, they would likely stop eating it. Unfortunately for Americans, not eating poison is very difficult; many do not know that they are consuming chemicals such as butane and arsenic (and many others) in the first place. Once they are made aware, finding poison free food is hard since 60 percent of food contains additives- additives that can cause cancer, asthma, ADHD, harm DNA, harm reproductive and immune systems, neurological harm, seizures, heart problems and a laundry list of others. 

Smoking is one of the biggest killers across the world because of the high number of carcinogens, which are chemicals that can cause cancer in living tissue. It turns out that most of the country might as well be smoking since we have a long list of carcinogens in our food like butane, mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, aluminum, nitrates, potassium bromate, Butylated hydroxyanisole, Butylated hydroxytoluene, Propyl gallate, Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, canola oil, peanut oil, Sodium benzoate, Propyl gallate, Carrageenan, Polysorbate 60, Camauba wax, Magnesium sulfate, Paraben, Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, Saccharin, Aspartame, Red #40, Blue #1, Blue #2, Citrus red #1, Citrus red #2, Yellow #6, Red #2, Red #3, Caramel coloring, Brown HT and likely many others are all known as carcinogenic or associated with cancer. Additives like these are in virtually every kind of food from meat to vegetables and, in most cases, totally unnecessary. These are just the ones known as carcinogenic, there are many other toxic chemicals used in and around our food that can cause very awful side effects.

All of the bread that you eat likely contains poison as well. “In 1993, the federal government signed a deal to spray our entire grain supply with folic acid,” said human biologist Gary Brecka in a conversation with Joe Rogan. Brecka claims, “Folic acid is the most prevalent nutrient in the human diet.” Folic acid- a nutrient not found in nature- is processed by our bodies through methylation into “methylfolate, this is one of the most commonly utilized methylated nutrients in the human body,” Brecka says. The problem is that the Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene needed for the methylation of folic acid “is estimated to be compromised in somewhere between 40 to 60 percent of the population depending on the study,” according to Brecka. Brecka explains that the lack of the MTHFR gene “is correlated to higher instances of ADD, ADHD, OCD, manic depression, bipolar. It is correlated to poor gut motility, mood imbalance and anxiety. Because if you put this material into the human body and you can’t process it, you can’t methylate it. First of all you have a deficiency in the form your body needs, and an excess in the nutrients you can’t process.” Brecka said the standard American breakfast of bagels and cereal are very high in folic acid and that, “It can literally be like cocaine for a six year old, it can make the mind race.” Folic acid is also thought to be linked to cardiovascular disease and strokes. Flours containing folic acid are called enriched or fortified on food labels.

Like folic acid, seed oils are all too common in the American Diet- estimated to be 32 percent of daily calories for most Americans. Seed oils first rose to popularity in the early 1900s when soapmakers realized that the now unnecessary “toxic waste” known as cottonseed oil could be “hydrogenated” and made into a lard alternative. Soon others realized the potential for other seed oils such as soy and grapeseed. Seed oils are processed with petroleum solvents and chemical deodorizers which produce trans fat. When repeatedly heated, like in uses for cooking, toxic byproducts are created. Seed oils are known to cause excessive inflammation, a rise in omega-6 fats and may cause cancer and heart disease-seed oils were at one point called heart healthy. The soap makers who originally processed seed oils bribed the American Heart Association with $1.5 million in the late 1940s.

Similarly to seed oils, bad science also had a significant impact on red meat. Red meat is one of the most nutrient dense foods we can eat, and with new research arising the current claims that red meat causes cancer, death, heart disease and diabetes are being proven wrong. The demonization of red meat stems partially from the demonization of saturated fat. The studies with many recommendations involving saturated fats were paid for by the sugar lobby in the 1960s-to take blame away from sugar and put it onto fat. Red meats are frequently criticized because of their relationship with cholesterol. In preliminary findings from Matt Budoff, a UCLA cardiologist, low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) commonly referred to as “bad” cholesterol showed “the absence of coronary plaque were frequent findings among individuals with high LDL-C.” New data from this study a year later was released on Dec. 8, 2023. 

Dr. Shawn Baker, a medical doctor who served as a combat trauma surgeon and chief of orthopedics with the United States Air Force, said in an interview with Joe Rogan, that Harvard studies are inaccurate because they “count lasagna as red meat, were going to count sandwiches as red meat, and the people that eat red meat are overweight they are smokers, we [Harvard] didn’t really correct for that, but the headline is ‘Red meat causes diabetes’. Meanwhile we got a study that Harvard did a few years ago that said ‘look these people are eating nothing but red meat and their diabetes are going away.’” He also says “they didn’t account for sugar intake when claiming that beef causes diabetes.” Red meat can still be bad depending on how it is processed. Most ground beef is not made from just one cow; in fact, one hamburger patty can contain meat from 100 different cows. Ultra processed meats are known to contain nitrates and dyes, and the meat itself is likely to be unsustainably raised, injected with hormones and not grass fed. 

The only question about the poison we eat every day is why? Why would a government allow carcinogens and other horrible things to be added to food? The Food and Drug Administration is responsible (as well as the USDA) for regulating what goes into our food. Many high ranking officials in the FDA work for pharmaceutical companies after they leave the FDA. Pharmaceutical companies don’t make money unless there are sick people. When the food causes sickness, medicine, rather than a better diet, will be needed. The FDA is funded by these pharmaceutical companies, the regulators paychecks depend on what the drug companies want.

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