The Jekyll and Hyde of Fluoride

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Several years ago, I changed my toothpaste. I did this because I’d worked out, through experimentation, that SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate), a foaming agent found in many bathroom and kitchen products, gave me clammy hands and mouth ulcers. Not surprisingly, I didn’t want it in my mouth any more. I found a different toothpaste that was SLS-free and began using it exclusively.

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One side-effect of using this new toothpaste was that I was no longer brushing with fluoride, as the new toothpaste I’ve been using has no SLS or fluoride in its ingredients. I did wonder, at the time, if this might cause problems with my teeth, as fluoride is continually recommended to help avoid tooth decay. As this website article states, it's the 'super-hero of cavity fighting'. In the end, I thought it would be an interesting experiment to see how I got on without it. The years have gone and my teeth are still fine. I have no need for fillings, I have no gum problems and although my teeth aren’t perfect (they’re naturally a very pale yellow and a bit wonky), everything is fine inside my mouth. It would seem that I don't need this 'super-hero'.

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Keep them ill, keep them scared

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The United States of America, along with the United Kingdom and France, are very keen on Ancient Greek and Roman architecture. Their capitals are filled with columned temples, obelisks, triumphal arches and other visual motifs from those ancient, Mediterranean civilisations. These countries' also like to talk about how they've inherited a key process in collective decision-making, known as democracy.

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Democracy was developed by the Athenian city-state, and others, as a way to collectively decide what to do. Athenians would discuss openly their views on key subjects and then take a vote. This process is now used worldwide to decide national matters. This all sounds great but in truth, how much is modern, Western democracy really like Classical, Athenian democracy? Read More...

The dangers of milk

In previous blogs, I've talked about the increasing evidence that diets high in animal protein - meat and dairy - are bad for our health. The most interesting example, I think, was the excellent health documentary Forks over Knives, but there is also evidence specifically about diet changes, gut flora and bowel cancer, as well as the news that meat-free diets can make your cells younger.

A new article out this week adds to that corpus of knowledge. The article appeared in this week's New Scientist magazine and reports on a recent health study of tens of thousands of people in Sweden. The study ran for over 20 years and focussed on milk consumption by adults. It found that:

'the more milk people drank, the more likely they were to die or experience a bone fracture during the study period.'


The study also found that women who reported that they drank three-or-more glasses of milk a day had almost double the risk of dying during the study period as those who reported only drinking one.

This evidence flies in the face of the traditional view of milk; that it's a healthy food and that it helps our bones because it contains calcium. Clearly, this view needs a very strong review. As far as I can remember, the forks over knives documentary gives an explanation that fits the Swedish study very well. Forks over Knives explains that milk does contain calcium but our bodies can't absorb that calcium because we don't have the appropriate enzymes (not surprisingly, as we're not calves). After digestion, the proteins and other elements in milk can create an acid environment in our blood. Our body has to rectify that acid-alkaline balance by drawing calcium from our bones. The bizarre net result is that drinking milk causes us to lose calcium from our bones, not gain it.

This theory is not mentioned in the New Scientist article. It reports that the scientists at Uppsala University could not state a definite causal connection to explain the results of their study. They felt the most likely explanation was that drinking milk was causing inflammation.

Whichever it is, the facts speak for themselves. Don't believe anyone who says that drinking milk is good for your bones.

Animal protein in diet

In recent posts, I've been talking about evidence that diets high in animal protein can give rise to a much higher risk of cancer. The scientific evidence for this has been shown in several paper for many years, but it was the excellent documentary 'Forks over Knives' that drew my attention to the issue, along with many other people. Since then, there have been more articles in the mainstream press about meat, diet and cancer, including the fascinating report that a meat-free diet can make your cells younger.

This post is about an article in today's Guardian newspaper that reinforces the idea put forward in those previous articles. The guardian article states that a US study of six-thousand people, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), concluded that:

High levels of dietary animal protein in people under 65 years of age was linked to a fourfold increase in their risk of death from cancer or diabetes, and almost double the risk of dying from any cause over an 18-year period.


This conclusion matches the scientific evidence quoted in the Forks over Knives documentary that a diet that contains more than 5% animal proteins significantly increases the risk of cancer. According to that scientific research, reverting to a diet low in animal protein can reverse the problems caused by the high-animal-protein exposure; the damage can be undone.

I'm hoping very much that Britain's heart disease and cancer charities respond to this mounting evidence and push forward campaigns to encourage people to reduce their animal protein consumption. As the NHANES study reported, a high animal protein diet can be as dangerous to a person's health as smoking.

Diet changes, gut flora and bowel cancer

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A few months ago, I wrote a blog article about the excellent Forks over Knives documentary. The documentary made a fascinating and convincing case for the connection between major illnesses and a diet high in animal proteins. As a follow-on from that entry, I thought I’d mention a new article in this week’s New Scientist magazine. It reports on some very interesting new research. To quote:

Switching to a diet based exclusively on animals or plants triggers rapid changes to the microbes that rule your gut. This knowledge could help fine-tune diets to improve health, as well as reduce the risk of illnesses like inflammatory bowel disease.

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Meat-free diet can make your cells younger

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This is a follow-on article from my earlier blog post this month about the ‘Forks over Knives’ documentary, a film that I’d strongly recommend people seeing, as it puts forward a fascinating health case for following a diet low in animal proteins.

The New Scientist magazine last week reported on a study by the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California to see if diet and lifestyle could reduce or revert cell-ageing in 10 men in their early sixties with prostate cancer. They were ‘asked to follow a strict healthy-living regime rather than take a course of drugs. They ate a meat-free diet, did exercise and yoga daily and went to weekly group therapies. After five years, the telomeres on a type of white blood cell were 10% longer on average in these men. In contrast, 25 men with the same condition who kept to their usual lifestyles saw the telomeres on these cells shrink by an average of 3% over the same period.’ Read More...

Forks over Knives documentary

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Forks over Knives’ is an American documentary that explores the effect of reducing the animal protein in a person’s diet and the health benefits that can give. On the face of it, you might think it would be a polemic pushing an ethical eating agenda but, in fact, it has a very different message. Although the contributors to the documentary do discuss animal welfare, the message they impart is about human health. The documentary explains that there is extensive scientific research that shows that a diet that contains more than 10% animal protein carries a large increased risk in cancer. I checked for supporting scientific evidence for such a bold claim and found that there is a lot of evidence supporting that view. Here’s a useful link at the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Read More...