This month's Bulletin contains some alarming and sobering news from the worlds of food and medicine.
A startling study sheds new light on just how unhealthy and heavily processed most packaged foods are. The details will make you want to eat some farm fresh vegetables!
Then we'll look at a discovery about the bone-harming effects of a common chemical- and what you can do to avoid it. And last but not least, you'll hear about the burn-out experienced by many doctors nowadays and its tragic effects.
Packaged Foods In The USA Are “Ultra-Processed”
Western diets are plagued with prepared and packaged foods that replace fresh, healthy ingredients with chemical additives and acidifying sweeteners, fats, and sodium. New research has revealed the shocking truth about just how heavily processed those prepared foods are.
Researchers at Northwestern University set out to scientifically assess how much processing packaged foods undergo in the United States.
“After analyzing over 200,000 U.S. packaged food products including bread, snacks, salad dressings, sugary sweets, and sugary drinks researchers found that a whopping 71% were classified as ultra-processed. Furthermore, 86% of the packaged foods sold by the 25 top manufacturers were found to be ultra-processed.
For reference, the term “ultra-processed” was defined as foods that “are industrial formulations made entirely or mostly from substances extracted from foods (oils, fats, sugar, starch and proteins).” These foods are usually created in laboratories and derived from hydrogenated fats and modified starch.”1
Among the worst offenders were bread and bakery products which showed high levels of all four problem categories- calories, saturated fat, sodium, total sugars. One of the researchers' hopes is to pressure manufacturers to produce healthier foods.
That may be a long wait. You're better off making your own bone-healthy meals from whole foods and including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid eating packaged and processed foods. As this study shows, not only are they unhealthy, but they're so heavily processed to the point that they effectively cease to offer anything of value at all.
A study found that 71% of packaged foods are “ultra-processed”- containing many ingredients derived from hydrogenated fats and modified starch in laboratories- and full of unhealthy levels of fats, sodium, and sugars.
Triclosan Shown To Diminish Bone Density
Triclosan (TCS) is an antibacterial and antifungal compound that is commonly used to kill or reduce bacteria in household and personal care products, including kitchenware, hand sanitizers, soaps, shampoos, and even toothpaste.
The FDA first proposed a rule for chemicals like triclosan in 1972, when Congress forced the agency to publish guidelines for antibacterial chemicals. In 2016, 44 years after it was supposed to take action, the FDA finally stated that TCS (along with 18 other antimicrobial chemicals) are “not recognized as safe and effective,” and constitute a new drug that requires approval.
The Save Institute has frequently warned of triclosan for several years because of the many studies which have linked the chemical to, among other things, breast cancer and liver damage.2,3
And now, a new study shows that exposure to triclosan also results in bone loss.
“Researchers utilized data derived from a 2005-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to examine the association of urinary TCS concentrations with BMD and osteoporosis in 1848 US adult women aged 20 years and older. The study included 939 premenopausal women and 909 postmenopausal women.”
“The data revealed significant associations between tertile 3 of urinary TCS concentration and lower BMD in regions of total femur, intertrochanter, and lumbar spine as compared to tertile 1. The negative correlation between TCS urine concentration and BMD unveils diminishing bone health that intensifies through TCS exposure. Compared with women in tertile 1, subjects in tertile 3 were nearly 2.5 times more likely to have osteoporosis prevalence in intertrochanter. The association was found to be most prominent in postmenopausal women.”4
In short, greater exposure to TCS correlated directly with more bone loss, especially in postmenopausal women.
While many companies have removed the chemical from their products since 2016, some did not. Manufacturers in the United States are now required to disclose on their products’ labels if it contains TCS. However, due to the FDA's egregious delay in assessment and regulation, an untold number of people were exposed to triclosan for multiple decades.
Check ingredient lists for triclosan and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or better yet, make your own safe and healthy alternatives at home. Triclosan is an unfortunate example of how many bone-damaging toxins are all around us- and how often we are absorbing them without even realizing it. That's all the more reason to support the health of your liver, which is tasked with cleansing your system of toxins.
Triclosan, a common antibacterial chemical, was found by researchers to increase bone loss in a dose-dependent manner, especially in postmenopausal women. Triclosan is commonly found in soaps, toothpaste, detergents, and other personal care products. Until recently, the FDA did not regulate or require disclosure of the use of triclosan in products sold to the public.
Doctors Experiencing Burnout And Declining Mental Health
A yearly report that surveys doctors about the stresses of their profession found that more and more doctors are experiencing severe burnout.
The study relates this data to the fact that physicians commit suicide at a rate more than twice that of the general population- the highest suicide rate of any profession.
“The annual Medscape report, released Wednesday, finds that on average, 44 percent of the medical professionals your existence depends on report feeling stressed out to the point where they’ve considered leaving the field altogether.
A higher percentage of these wiped-out life-savers are women, according to the survey of more than 15,000 doctors.
“It’s alarming,” says Brunilda Nazario, lead medical director at WebMD, which owns Medscape. “These numbers haven’t changed, and the problem just continues to be a trend, despite increasing programs to address wellness,” such as “nutrition and exercise programs, or more time off.”
The reason for the scary numbers isn’t what you would think: Most doctors say it’s the level of paperwork and data input they’ve had to do since medical records went digital. Doctors end up spending about 45 minutes per patient visit on tasks like “inputting data codes for the visit,” Nazario says, leaving little face-to-face time with patients.”5
The negative effects of the profession don't just take a toll on doctors- sometimes patients pay the price. Just less than half of the survey participants said that depression doesn't affect their interaction with patients. Here are the negative impacts other doctors reported:6
- 35% say that they are easily exasperated with patients
- 26% say they're less motivated to be careful with taking patient notes
- 16% report expressing their frustration in front of patients
- 14% admit to making errors they might not normally make
These negative effects of overwork and stress on doctors underscore the importance of self-advocacy. It's essential that you educate yourself and arrive prepared to have a clear and productive conversation with your healthcare provider. The Osteoporosis Reversal Program contains a dedicated section titled Doctor Communication Tutorials to help you do just that.
An annual study reports that doctors are experiencing severe burnout resulting in decreased mental health, high rates of suicide, mistakes, and reduced patient care.
You Are Your Own Best Ally
The news pieces in today's Bulletin underscore the importance of doing your own research, digging deeper into questions about the products you use, and taking back control of your health and wellness.
Stop Worrying About Your Bone Loss
Join thousands of Savers from around the world who have reversed or prevented their bone loss naturally and scientifically with the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.