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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

SWEET!! (or NOT)

You guys all know (I think) that I was on the Atkins diet a ways back. The Atkins people are big supporters of the Sucralose/Splenda sweetener. This sweetener is now in a LOT of food and drink. I used quite a bit of it, and we still have it in the house and I use it occasionally. However, those of you that see me regularly also know I do NOT use it for most of my sweetener needs. I did some research on it and was convinced it was not good for humans, especially in any quantities. I came across this today. It is a study from Duke University that shows that the sweetener is NOT healthy. You folks that know me also know that I have strong feelings about health, supplements and foods. I will not be using Splenda any longer at all, when given a choice (it is in so much of the diet foods and drinks, I do not know if I can avoid it totally). I would advise you to do the same. As for what you should be using, who knows. It may be that in small amounts sugar (cane, not fructose or corn syrup) is the best. I will use the pink packets, and maybe stevia. Here is the study info: This study, from Duke University, isn't the first warning that heavy intake of sucralose (better known by the brand name Splenda) may be linked to health problems. Several years ago an HSI member wrote to ask if sucralose was as bad as other artificial sweeteners. In response, HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D., noted that any claim about sucralose being "natural," is naturally false. Dr. Spreen: "The stuff is patented and involves taking sugar molecules and treating them with (ulp) chlorine. "The argument is that the chlorine is not absorbed at all, so therefore the agent is harmless. There have since been reports of up to 30% being absorbed and symptoms being caused. I don't really know what percentage, if any, is absorbed (though I bet it's higher than zero). However, I don't trust the stuff, though it may have less after-taste than stevia." According to the sucralose "Final Rule" issued by the FDA, the body may absorb from 11 to 27 percent of ingested sucralose. But research from the Japanese Food Sanitation Council doesn't agree, estimating that as much as 40 percent is absorbed. ------------------------------------------------------------------ Cake & coffee ------------------------------------------------------------------ How chlorine absorption from sucralose affects us isn't clear. But something in the sweetener appears to prompt stomach pains and gas pains – the two primary complaints about sucralose. This new study may explain the indigestion discomfort, while also raising the possibility of greater harm. For 12 weeks, Duke researchers fed varying amounts of sucralose to rats. Fecal samples were examined weekly. Analysis showed that sucralose altered pH balance in the intestines and prompted weight gain. But two additional results were quite worrying: Good bacteria in the intestines were dramatically reduced – by 50 percent! – while P-glycoproteins were increased – a condition that limits the absorption of oral drugs. According to James Turner, chairman of the consumer advocacy group Citizens for Health, just two slices of sucrose-sweetened cake and two cups of coffee with Splenda might be enough to affect P-glycoproteins and compromise drug absorption – a potentially devastating situation for patients undergoing chemotherapy. Mr. Turner has called on the FDA to insist that Splenda products carry a warning label to caution patients on medications and those with gastrointestinal issues. Of course, more research will be needed to confirm these findings. But anyone following the Atkins diet should know that most of the Atkins snack and dessert products are sweetened with Splenda. In keeping with the Atkins diet, Splenda use avoids blood sugar spikes that lay the groundwork for type 2 diabetes – a benefit that may come packaged with potential risks.

Follow Up

I have been told that I have offended some with my last post. I am glad there were people to offend. That being said, I thought a bit of follow up and explanation was in order. First, I do not think being a democrat makes you inherently any worse or any better than being a republican or an independent (of which I am one). In fact, the current republicans are not much (if any) better in practice than the democrats. Given the history of control (see the last post for details) where the democrats have controlled Congress for the vast majority of the post WWII era, I do feel the democrats and their core beliefs to be flawed greatly. Some current commentary - see this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MGT_cSi7Rs The democrats are going on and on about how the George Bush policies of deregulation caused the financial mess we are in. - B.S. The problem has been of "half ways". The financial sector (like the airline and transportation sectors, and others) have never been "deregulated". In fact, one could argue that there are more regulations now for all areas of our economy and business than ever before. The problem was lack of enforcement, and possibly oversight. Just like with illegal aliens - (I love when this is called an "immigration problem" - I have said here before - calling the illegal aliens an immigration problem is like called bank robbery a withdrawal problem!) - and gun control - there are too many laws on the books not too few. There is no will to enforce the laws. Banks and other mortgage institutions were made to write loans to people that had no business getting them. These were people that were turned down for loans under normal circumstances. I hear people say this was caused by greed. How is it greedy to loan money to a person that you know cannot pay you back? Banks and lending institutions loan money to be paid back with a profit. That is what they do. That is what their shareholders and owners require them to do. The government and local activist organizations made them out to be benevolent societies - doing "good" for the undeserving vs doing their best for the investors. As for the democrats, the video above shows how THEY kept the regulators from being appointed to give the oversight to the lenders. Now, on taxes (I have a LOT of old post here, so read them if you want a more thorough picture) - Obama and the democrats say they want to tax corporations and "windfall profits". Read this carefully - CORPORATIONS DO NOT PAY TAXES - they collect taxes and pass them on to the government. YOU PAY corporate taxes. If the taxes on a company go up by ten percent, they raise their prices by ten percent - or cut their payroll by ten percent, OR GO OVERSEAS! Our corporate tax rates are some of the highest in the world. That, combined with labor unions that outlived their purpose thirty or more years ago, is the reason that companies are moving overseas. Remember, corporations have a legal duty to make money for their shareholders. If they cannot make a profit here due to high taxes and/or high salaries - they are mandated to adjust to make a return. Corporations do NOT exist to pay salaries, or to pay taxes, or to build pension funds - they exist to MAKE MONEY! If the ability to make money is taken away - they will go away. Then, NO JOBS! As for the rest of the tax story - read the old posts. One last comment on the above - If you are upset at the money a corporation is making - BUY IT! That's right, buy it. Almost every well known corporation is a publicly traded on one or more stock markets. Buy some stock. Share the wealth. You will then get a piece of the profits they earn (and maybe have a greater understanding of why corporate taxes are bad, when your shares fall due to lower earnings caused by a high tax burden). A lot of people have whined about the oil companies of late and their grossly inflated profits. Buy stock! You will share the profits. Of course, the years and years that the oil companies do NOT make those high profits (which are numerous - the oil companies are one of the LOWEST in profits over the long haul historically) you will not either. If you don't like the money Wal-Mart makes - BUY STOCK! If you had bought stock in Wal-Mart when you first heard of it, you would have made one of the best returns on your investment that you can make. Instead, people would rather lament how Wal-Mart takes away from the Mom and Pop stores and ruins small towns. (all while shopping there - more people shop at Wal-Mart than any other store - and on the subject of Wal-Mart - they are blasted for selling more Chinese made goods than any other retailer. That is true - but did you know they sell more American/U.S. made goods than any other retailer? True - THEY ARE THE LARGEST RETAILER IN THE WORLD BY A HUGE MARGIN - they sell more of ALL types of goods than almost anyone else) I am rambling now. Not even sure I made my point. Just watch the video, read the older posts. and do NOT vote for a democrat for any national office. Change is voting the democrats OUT.