>SNIP.. But I really have to wonder why it is so important to you to
>emphasize so strongly and emphatically that other factors are _more_
>important than pesticide use/residues in impact on health.
(David replies): It's simply my belief that the pesticide issue has less to
do with *dietary inadequacy* and *chronic degenerative diseases* than do
eating habits and food processing's damage through the addition of fat
(usually harmful hydrogenated fat), salt, and sodium, along with depletion
of fiber. BUT pesticides do have other very severe health effects such as
birth defects, neurological problems, infertility, immune disorders, and, in
some cases, cancer. For farmers and field workers, especially, pesticides
are a very serious personal health concern.
>SNIP..My assessment is that David is quite knowledgeable about the
>mainstream perspective on nutrition
(David replies): Thank you, but I'm not sure what "mainstream" is. My diet
doesn't exactly support the status quo since I'm a low-fat, high-fiber,
semi-vegetarian who's typical daily menu consists of uncooked oats, some
canola oil, skim milk, pinto beans, whole-wheat bread, brown rice, salmon or
sardines, fat-free yogurt, and plenty of fruits and veggies.
>SNIP.. Regarding obesity, after dividing the issue into IMPACT OF EATING
>HABITS AND FOOD SUPPLY ALTERATION" and "IMPACT OF NUTRITIONALLY SUPERIOR
>ORGANIC FOOD", you say "The main dietary factors are excess calories, esp.
>from fat and sugar, and lack of dietary fiber." and assess the "IMPACT OF
>NUTRITIONALLY SUPERIOR ORGANIC FOOD" as moderate (compared to "very
>important" for IMPACT OF EATING HABITS AND FOOD SUPPLY ALTERATION).
>You say, "Any vitamin/mineral/phytochemical superiority has little direct
>impact on obesity."
(David replies): Well, I'll stand by that statement generally, but I also
feel that vitamins/minerals/phytochemicals can have a big impact on
obesity's associated risk factors (as I stated in my original post).
>How much have you researched the vitamins and minerals, especially in
>alternative (non AMA literature) ex. the results from identifying and
>adjusting low chromium levels?
(David replies): Quite a bit, and I think there's enough solid research
evdience to justify taking vitamin C (500 mg/day), vitamin E (100-400 IU),
folic acid (400 mcg), and calcium supplements (for many women). But, the
chromium picture is cloudy. Recent studies show no benefit re muscle
building and weight loss; U.S. trials with diabetics have been mostly
disappointing, but a recent Chinese trial was more positive. Diabetes isn't
a chromium deficiency disease, although a deficiency will aggravate it. Then
again, few people are deficient in chromium. (The above is opinion not
>Have you investigated why the sweetening herb stevia is banned
>from U.S. sodas and other products, when it's used freely and safely all
>over the world, including in Japan and South America, is much sweeter than
>sugar for the same quantity, and yet instead of being bad for the pancreas
>(as sugar is) is quite nutritious for it.
(David replies): No, but I'd like to look into that, especially given our
run-away sugar consumption. However, sugar doesn't cause diabetes, rather,
diabetes causes metabolic difficulties with sugar and all carbohydrates,
except those with a very low glycemic index such as beans, lentils,
non-instant oatmeal, and apples.
>SNIP..You talk about cancer but don't seem to consider the fact that a very
>conservative mainstream analysis has stated that 2% of >cancer deaths in
>this country are caused by pesticides - or 10,000 human >beings.
(David replies): I'm familiar with that sad statistic, and we should do all
we can to prevent that tragic and avoidable loss of life. We should also
seek to resolve another depressing situation: some 30% of cancer deaths are
now thought to be related to diet and obesity (according to the Harvard
School for Public Health or maybe it was the NRC) and 70% to diet, smoking,
drinking, and lack of exercise.
>Who are you to say that vitamins/minerals and organic food are less
>important than eating grains, fruits and veggies? That's not evidence,
>that's not a fact, that's an opinion!
(David replies): Hmmm... What I said was that fruits, veggies, and whole
grains can have a big preventive health impact *whether organic or
non-organic*. Any higher micronutrient and phytochemical content of organic
foods would definitely be a bonus, but it's incremental effect is probably
moderate compared to that gained by getting Americans to double or triple
their consumption of fruits. veggies, and whole grains (which they need to
do to meet the 1995 Dietary Guidleines). That's an opinion, not necessarily
>SNIP..Another example of how silly this gets is under Osteoporosis......
>After setting an assumption that organic foods have more nutrients, you put
>"Only 15% of U.S. women over age 35 meet their daily calcium needs." under
>"IMPACT OF EATING HABITS AND FOOD SUPPLY ALTERATION"- leaving IMPACT OF
>NUTRITIONALLY SUPERIOR ORGANIC FOOD" as "moderate", with no mention of
>calcium. But you said your assumption was that we got more nutrition from
(David replies): We probably do, but the amount of extra calcium possibly
found in organic fruits and veggies has less impact than eating more
high-calcium foods in general (whether organic or non-organic).
>And this disregards the whole conversation that dairy isn't fit for the
>human body and does harm to it, which would lead one to get more from
plants >and increase the importance of having the most nutritious plants
(David replies): Well, I'm not a big dairy fan, either, as far as full-fat
or even low-fat products, because myristic acid (the main saturated fat in
milk) is one of the most artery clogging. But, I don't have as much against
non-fat dairy products since they can be significant calcium contributors
(along with calcium supplements), especially for women who need 1200-1500
mg/day and for children during growth and development. There are 2
downsides: 1) Dairy products contribute to protein overload which can stress
the kidneys; excess proteein also partly offsets calcium gain by increasing
losses due to the mild acidosis effect of protein digestion; 2) Any
extracted dairy fat returns to the food supply as surplus butter or cheese
in school lunch programs.
I enjoy eating major plant sources of calcium like broccoli and most dark
green leafy veggies, but most folk aren't willing to eat enough to get more
than about 300-400 mg of calcium a day (still an important contribution).
The problem is that most Americans (esp. women with their higher needs) will
have trouble getting enough calcium from plant sources alone (or even from
dairy products) due to calcium-draining U.S. lifestyle factors (excessive
alcohol, salt, protein, smoking, along with lack of exercise) which probably
end up at least doubling our calcium needs compared with folks in the 3rd
World or China. The Nat. Institute of Health considers these factors when
determining calcium requirements.
>SNIP,,Which brings me back to my main question - Why is it so important for
>you to prove that choosing organic/nutritious ag is of so much less
>importance? Why isn't it enough to say that there are many inter-related
>unhealthy aspects in our food choices and there are a spectrum of positive
>choices we can make in our food to improve our health - including organic?
(David replies): They're all important. That's why I said the organic
movement should *incorporate* nutrition/food preparation education
activities and the promotion of minimally processed, "whole" foods into its
current agenda of pesticide issues, conservation, and the superiority of
>SNIP..Anyway, I value the information and perspectives various group
members >have contributed (and, I'm sure will contribute) to this
conversation, and >value the opportunity for us all to have a constructive
civil dialogue that
>supports us in working cooperatively together (i.e., no unncessary
>oppositions or "better than"s) in creating a healthier future for us all.
>I too hope that can include a cooperative and mutually-supportive alliance
>among those working on the whole range of issues regarding health and
(David replies): Now that's something we both agree on, Patricia! I admire
your very well-intentioned persistence and obvious humanitanian concerns in
standing up for your beliefs, and I wish you well. In many areas, we're
closer to agreement than you may realize.
P.S. Please forgive my snipping out some of your original post in the
interest of keeping this one to a more manageable length for readers.