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Misguided Government Food Guides – Celiac.com

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Celiac.com 6/26/2021 – The USDA Healthy Eating Guide and Canadian Food Guide have failed us. They advertise foods that are literally toxic to people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, which makes up at least 12% 1 and maybe even 42% 2 of the population. And they promote dairy products when 2/3 of the world’s adult population is lactose intolerant3 and ignores this statistic that many others have allergies to milk proteins. If our government agencies can be this far wrong, how useful are the rest of the dietary recommendations? In short, they are useless to those who wish to promote long life and good health through diet. These political documents are little more than reflections of the powerful maneuver of competing and complementary industries and economic forces with enormous self-interest in maintaining the status quo in our food supply. And these forces have exerted their influence since the very first USDA food guide was published in 1898, when the first Canadian food guide was published in 1942, and with each subsequent revision of each of those documents.

The discerning reader will find that these nutritional guides are more like promotional literature than objective recommendations. However, both government agencies that issue and support these healthy eating guidelines strongly insist that they are valuable, science-based instructions for their respective citizens. Conversely, a massive long-term study of nutrition and chronic disease among more than 67,000 female health workers conducted at Harvard University over a period of 12 years has clearly discredited such claims4. We can also challenge such claims on a purely logical level.


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From a historical perspective, the current USDA and Health Canada nutritional information was first published in 1898 and 1942, respectively. The minor changes since 1933 in the United States and 1942 in Canada have brought about little meaningful changes. Hence, this information was first published decades before modern scientific evidence was available to support or refute these flawed claims. Once a government agency has issued such shrill “Healthy Eating Guides”, they certainly have a legitimate interest in maintaining the general direction of their recommendations. And that’s what seems to have happened. Despite the abundance of discrediting research data, the revisions to the USDA and Health Canada recommendations over the past 65-75 years have been little more than cosmetic, and sometimes offer concessions to special interest groups.

Examination of relevant, current medical research shows that the evidence for two major food groups supported by these food guides is overwhelmingly discredited – dairy and grain-derived foods. There is also considerable evidence debunking the anti-fat bias of these guides. For example, a report on a study of nearly 20,000 postmenopausal women who followed a low-fat diet for 12 years showed that a low-fat diet high in fruits, vegetables, and grains did not significantly reduce the risk of heart attack disease, stroke, or cardiovascular disease5 . I will not waste the reader’s time quoting and quoting from the many congruent studies. Nor am I going to suggest that there are no reports to support these guides. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that, despite our sophisticated (and very expensive) medical systems that increase lifespan by warding off fatal injuries and infections, North Americans are becoming increasingly obese and dying at alarming rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Our sedentary lifestyle certainly doesn’t help, but our diet is miserable. Every step we take that brings us closer to the dietary recommendations of our government agencies takes us further away from our desired healthy lifestyle. In my own desperation, just before I was diagnosed with celiac disease, I ate bran muffins every morning on the recommendation of my doctor and got sicker and sicker.

Many of us with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity have been forced to reevaluate the food guide recommendations and look for meaningful, valid data that will guide us towards healthier diets. But such individual quests are both inefficient and fraught with danger. We need our elected officials to put political and economic concerns aside and to bring the economic clout of their elected offices to bear on this issue. Dietary recommendations must be based on sound scientific evidence and data review from both sides of conflicting views. The one-sided myopic views of special interest groups and those with vested interests in the current nutrition guides must be put aside in favor of finding real answers for those of us who rely on our elected leaders to make prudent judgment in the guidelines they offer us at.

References:

  1. Hadjivassiliou M, Gibson A, Davies-Jones GA, Lobo AJ, Stephenson TJ, Milford-Ward A. Does cryptic gluten sensitivity play a role in neurological diseases? Lancet. Feb 10, 1996; 347 (8998): 369-71.

  2. Good, Kenneth. Personal communication.

  3. Sahi T. Genetics and epidemiology of adult-type hypolactasia. Scand J Gastroenterol Suppl. 1994; 202: 7-20.

  4. McCullough ML, Feskanich D, Stampfer MJ, Rosner BA, Hu FB, Hunter DJ, Variyam JN, Colditz GA, Willett WC Adherence to Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Risk of Serious Chronic Disease in Women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Nov; 72 (5): 1214-22.

  5. Howard BV, Van Horn L, Hsia J, Manson JE, Stefanick ML, Wassertheil-Smoller S, Kuller LH, LaCroix AZ, Langer RD, Lasser NL, Lewis CE, Limacher MC, Margolis KL, Mysiw WJ, Ockene JK, Parker LM , Perri MG, Phillips L, Prentice RL, Robbins J, Rossouw JE, Sarto GE, Schatz IJ, Snetselaar LG, Stevens VJ, Tinker LF, Trevisan M, Vitolins MZ, Anderson GL, Assaf AR, Bassford T, Beresford SA, Black HR, Brunner RL, Brzyski RG, Caan B, Chlebowski RT, Gass M, Granek I, Greenland P, Hays J, Heber D, Heiss G, Hendrix SL, Hubbell FA, Johnson KC, Kotchen JM. Low-fat eating patterns and risk of cardiovascular disease: the Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial. JAMA. February 8, 2006; 295 (6): 655-66.

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Women’s Health

Editorial: Roe v. Wade could soon be history. What will you do in this moment? – Decaturish

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By State Sen. Elena Parent

A political earthquake struck the United States on Monday, May 2, 2022. Politico published a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that showed 5 conservative Supreme Court justices had voted to explicitly overturn Roe v. Calf.

For half a century, since Roe in 1973 (reaffirmed in 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey), women across the country have had a constitutional right to end a pregnancy pre-viability. That will end if this draft opinion becomes official, devastating women’s reproductive rights in many states across the country, including Georgia. While not completely unexpected, the draft opinion is extreme in both its rhetoric and judicial philosophy. The impact will be seismic, and more than half of US women could lose their right to abortion or see it severely restricted.

The opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, rests on an originalist judicial philosophy: rights that are not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution nor deeply rooted in the country’s history and tradition are not worthy of constitutional protection. Taken at face value, this can logically be extrapolated to mean that no right based on the right to privacy given over the past 60-plus years is a right after all, and all should be returned to legislatures to decide. gay marriage? Interracial marriage? Right to use contraception? All in question.

For women’s health specifically, the decision could have ramifications for access to birth control, the morning-after pill, and medication abortions. The Georgia Senate passed a bill with restrictions on medication abortions this past session, which did not pass the House. I expect that this bill, and others more restrictive, will see a renewed push when we reconvene. Some states, like Louisiana and Tennessee, have already begun to criminalize abortion, which could put women who have had miscarriages, already facing stress and heartbreak, in jeopardy of being falsely charged. Women’s rights to control their bodies, their families, their careers, and their lives are at risk. This means that women’s equality is at risk. According to the Brennan Center, one of the leading indicators of the health of a democracy is the status of rights for women. I do not overstate the risk of this decision could have on not just women, but our entire democracy.

If this opinion is adopted, the impact on Georgia would be profound. Even though a majority of Georgians support the right to choose, the Republican-controlled General Assembly passed HB 481, also known as the ‘heartbeat bill’, in 2019. This banned all abortions after fetal cardiac activity is first detected, at approximately six weeks of pregnancy—prior to when many women know they are pregnant. This law was blocked by the courts, but a Supreme Court decision undermining federal protection for abortion would pave the way for its implementation. Republican candidates in Georgia have already promised to pass an outright ban on abortion, without exceptions. A majority male Legislature, Governor, and Supreme Court making these hypocritical decisions for women is infuriating.

Ironically, Georgia otherwise does a poor job elevating women and children. Georgia is number 1 in maternal mortality and ranked 38th on an index of child well-being by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which looks at 16 categories from poverty to access to education. Implementation of HB 481 means that women will have to remain pregnant, but upon birth, the state will not be as concerned about the outcomes of this woman or her child.

But HB 481 is even more radical than that. It grants personhood to an unborn fetus, giving it rights equal to the woman carrying it. The “logic” here is to set the foundation for a complete and total ban on abortion. This opens a legal and ethical minefield that was not vetted during the consideration of the legislation and could lead to all kinds of restrictions on the lives and freedoms of pregnant women. The law requires that the father provide support for prenatal care, but there is no safe way to test for paternity that early in a pregnancy. What if women engage in risky behaviors? What actions could be taken and by whom? Could women be surveyed for their pregnancy? How will this effect fertility treatments like IVF? Will this limit a couple’s ability to fertilize more eggs than they wish to carry? Much of this will be decided when the lawsuits begin. The father of the fetus, and friends and family members of the pregnant woman, will also be under a microscope should something go wrong with a pregnancy.

If this decision is confirmed, what can we do? First and foremost, we must exercise our power and vote. 68% of Georgians oppose overturning Roe v. Wade according to a recent AJC poll. This upcoming midterm will be critical for women and all Georgians. We must elect pro-choice candidates like Senator Raphael Warnock. Stacey Abrams as Governor and Jen Jordan as Attorney General will have a significant influence on how these laws are implemented. We have the chance to flip legislative seats all over the state. We can advocate for pro-choice policies. This may be as simple as writing an email to State and Federal lawmakers, or as complex as organizing to wield the immense political and economic power held by pro-choice Americans. We can donate to organizations that are advocating and litigating these issues like Planned Parenthood or to organizations supporting access for poor women and women of color, who will be disproportionately impacted by this decision.

When the public so disproportionately favors abortion rights, the cause is not hopeless. Yes, abortion opponents have stacked the courts and gerrymandered the districts. But if the people rise up, these rights can be restored. What do you want to do at this moment?

State Senator Elena Parent was elected to the State Senate in 2014. She represents District 42, which includes portions of central and north DeKalb County

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Women’s Health

Report calls out gaps in women’s heart disease research, care |

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American Heart Association News

Women continue to be underrepresented in research for heart disease, and extensive changes are needed in how women’s heart health is studied, taught and treated, a new report says.

The report, published Monday as a presidential advisory from the American Heart Association in its journal Circulation, seeks to address problems that range from the way basic science is conducted to how women receive care.

“We are losing ground on key indicators of cardiovascular health among women, including blood pressure control, weight management and diabetes,” advisory co-author Dr. Véronique L. Roger said in a news release. Roger is a senior investigator at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health.

Some heart disease risk factors are specific to women, the advisory said. For example, risks are higher for women who start their menstrual cycle younger than 11 or enter menopause younger than age 40.

Women also face risks related to high blood pressure or diabetes during pregnancy, as well as from oral contraceptive use and hormone replacement therapy. Depression and anxiety are associated with heart disease more frequently and at younger ages in women than in men.

Women also are disproportionately affected by inflammatory and autoimmune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma, which are associated with increased risk of heart inflammation, heart and valve disease and heart attacks. And women face heart risks related to treatment for breast, uterine or ovarian cancer.

Despite all that, women continue to be underrepresented in research, leading to gaps in knowledge and understanding of how heart disease affects women.

“Comparing data from women with data from men inherently positions data from men as the gold standard,” said Roger. “For example, the belief that women having a heart attack will present more often with atypical symptoms carries an undertone that women present in the ‘wrong way.'”

Using data specific to women could improve diagnosis and treatment for heart disease, the advisory said. But nearly 7 out of 10 post-graduate medical trainees reported little to no training regarding gender-based medical concepts. Only 22% of physicians and 42% of cardiologists said they felt prepared to adequately assess heart disease specific to women.

“We must urgently address the pervasive gaps in knowledge and health care delivery to reduce gender-based disparities and achieve equity,” said report co-author Dr. Nanette K. Wenger, emeritus professor of medicine in the division of cardiology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

The advisory said that declining heart health among US women who are considering pregnancy, and less-than-optimal levels of heart health among pregnant women, was particularly worrisome. Heart problems may lead to pregnancy challenges for the mother and health risks or complications for her and her children.

Solving that will take cooperation from experts in several fields, Wenger said. “We recommend cardiologists, primary care physicians and obstetricians and gynecologists work together to quantify and reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease throughout a woman’s life.”

According to AHA statistics, heart disease is the leading cause of death for US men and women, and 44% of women age 20 years and older between 2015 and 2018 had some form of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure.

But awareness among women, which rose before 2009, is slipping. In 2019, only 44% of women understood that heart disease was women’s leading cause of death.

The advisory recommended several actions, such as:

‒ launching new, culturally sensitive heart health awareness campaigns that emphasize the benefits of prevention and education.

‒ conducting more research studies focused on women, especially women from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, and at younger ages.

‒ collecting and analyzing data to help deliver more effective health care.

Affordable health insurance coverage and out-of-pocket costs are the two most important factors affecting whether people get health care, the advisory said, noting that under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, women between the ages of 19 and 64 saw the largest coverage gain of any demographic group.

In recent years, Medicaid coverage expansion through the ACA has been shown to increase coverage and health care among low-income women of reproductive age.

“We need to help women develop a ‘lifetime approach’ to their health, where they are empowered to proactively manage their heart disease risk in every life stage,” said Wenger.

If you have questions or comments about this American Heart Association News story, please email editor@heart.org.

Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. Permission is granted, at no cost and without need for further request, for individuals, media outlets, and non-commercial education and awareness efforts to link to, quote, excerpt or reprint from these stories in any medium as long as no text is altered and proper attribution is made to American Heart Association News.

Other uses, including educational products or services sold for profit, must comply with the American Heart Association’s Copyright Permission Guidelines. See full terms of use. These stories may not be used to promote or endorse a commercial product or service.

HEALTH CARE DISCLAIMER: This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. If you are in the United States and experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or call for emergency medical help immediately.

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Women’s Health

Photos: Aspen Democrats rally in support of women’s rights

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A woman wearing a “my body, my choice” sign listens to the speakers during a pro-women’s rights rally put on by the Pitkin County Democrats on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Paepcke Park in Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

The Pitkin County Democratic Party hosted a rally on Saturday afternoon at Aspen’s Paepcke Park in support of women’s reproductive rights. The event was in response to the leak of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s draft decision on Roe v. Wade, which could potentially take away a woman’s right to an abortion at the federal level.

The organization said the event was “in support of a woman’s constitutional right to make her own reproductive health decision without a Republican in her uterus.”

The speakers included the Pitkin County Democrats’ own Howard and Betty Wallach, as well as current Aspen City Councilwoman Rachel Richards. Numerous women also took to the stage to share their stories and feelings when the microphone was opened up to the audience.

Next on the schedule for the Pitkin County Democrats is a town hall session at the Aspen Public Library on Monday from 5 to 6 pm with Colorado State House of Representatives District 57 Democratic candidates Elizabeth Velasco and Cole Buerger. The two candidates are seeking to run against District 57 incumbent Perry Will, a Republican from New Castle.

The entire Roaring Fork Valley, including Aspen and Basalt, will be part of District 57 next year as part of recent redistricting.

Monday’s event is not a debate, and will largely be Howard Wallach asking questions to the two candidates.

Howard Wallach of the Pitkin County Democrats talks during a rally on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Paepcke Park in Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Josie Brands, who was among a group of middle school students raising money for the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, at an abortion clinic in Mississippi, accepts a donation during a pro-women’s rights rally on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Paepcke Park in Aspen .
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

People gather to take a photo with their signs after a pro-women’s rights rally put on by the Pitkin County Democrats on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Paepcke Park in Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Aspen city councilwoman Rachel Richards talks during a pro-women’s rights rally on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Paepcke Park in Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

People gather to listen to the speakers during a pro-women’s rights rally put on by the Pitkin County Democrats on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Paepcke Park in Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Eleanor Carroll, right, and Josie Brands were among a group of local middle school students raising money for the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, at an abortion clinic in Mississippi, during a pro-women’s rights rally on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Paepcke Park in Aspens.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Betty Wallach of the Pitkin County Democrats talks during a rally on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Paepcke Park in Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

A sign for the Pitkin County Democrats was on display during a pro-women’s rights rally on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Paepcke Park in Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Eleanor Carroll was among a group of middle school students raising money for the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, an abortion clinic in Mississippi, during a pro-women’s rights rally on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Paepcke Park in Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

acolbert@aspentimes.com

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