A toxin is something capable of causing disease or damaging tissue when it enters the body. The greatest offenders in our diet include:
Cereal grains (refined flour, wheat, corn, rice, barley, sorghum, oats, rye, millet)
In order to protect themselves from being eaten these plants produce toxins that damage the gut lining, bind essential minerals making them unavailable to the body and inhibit digestion and absorption of other essential nutrients like protein leading to nutrient deficiencies.
One of these toxins is gluten. Gluten intolerant research has demonstrated that 1 in 3 Americans are gluten intolerant. The most sensitive people develop Celiac disease which is when a person has a (potentially fatal) immune response to even the smallest amounts of gluten. 87.5% of those with Celiac have no obvious gut symptoms. Gluten leads to inflammation and destruction of the gut tissue even in people without a high sensitivity.
Gluten intolerance can also effect almost every other tissue in the body including: brain, endocrine system, stomach, liver, blood vessels and smooth muscle. Gluten intolerance is associated with several different diseases, including type 1 diabetes, thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia, psychiatric illness, ADHD, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, obesity and more.
Omega-6 industrial seed oils (corn, cottonseed, safflower, soybean, sunflower, sesame, peanut, ect.)
Anthropological research suggests that our hunter-gatherer ancestors consumed omega-6 and omega-3 fats in a ratio of roughly 1:1. It also indicates that both ancient and modern hunter-gatherers were free of the modern inflammatory diseases, like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, that are the primary causes of death and morbidity today. Today, estimates of the ratio range from an average of 10:1 to 20:1, with a ratio as high as 25:1 in some individuals.
Elevated Omega-6 intakes are associated with an increase in all inflammatory diseases. Some of these diseases include: Cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease, macular degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, cancer, psychiatric disorders such as depression, and autoimmune diseases.
Sugar (especially high-fructose corn syrup)
Sugar feeds cancer cells and has been connected with the development of cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, lung, gallbladder and stomach. Sugar can cause many problems with the gastrointestinal tract, including an acidic digestive tract, indigestion, malabsorption in patients with functional bowel disease, increased risk of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Sugar can interfere with your absorption of protein, cause food allergies and it contributes to obesity.
Refined sugar is particularly problematic because it tends to promote overeating. When people eat whole food sources of sugar like fruit they tend to reduce caloric consumption to compensate. When they consume liquid-sweetened beverage like soft drinks they tend not to reduce consumption and thus their calorie intake increases.
Processed soy (soy milk, soy protein, soy flour, etc.)
Most people are unaware of how much soy they consume. It is present in almost every packaged and processed food in the form of soy protein isolate, soy flour, soy lecithin and soybean oil. Soy in the U.S. and other western countries is consumed highly processed and unfermented and eaten in much larger quantities than in Asia where soy, in the form of tempeh, miso, natto and tamari, is typically unprocessed and fermented which partially neutralizes the toxins in soybeans.
How does soy impact our health? The following is just a partial list:
- Soy contains trypsin inhibitors that inhibit protein digestion and affect pancreatic function;
- Soy contains phytic acid, which reduces absorption of minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc;
- Soy increases our requirement for vitamin D, which 50% of American are already deficient in;
- Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.
- Vitamin B12 analogs in soy are not absorbed and actually increase the body’s requirement for B12;
- Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines;
- Free glutamic acid or MSG, a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing and additional amounts are added to many soy foods to mask soy’s unpleasant taste; and,
- Soy can stimulate the growth of estrogen-dependent tumors and cause thyroid problems, especially in women.