Is brown rice toxic or nutritious? It all depends.

Rice is one of those foods that people seem to be on two sides of the fence about. For most, it’s a sacred source of nutrition; for others it’s a source of empty calories and even a toxin. It turns out there’s evidence to support both perspectives, but whether or not brown rice is nutritious or toxic really depends on how it’s prepared.

When properly prepared, rice is more than empty calories, and it doesn’t have to be abandoned just because it’s high in carbohydrates. The predominate type of carbohydrate in rice is glucose, which is the body’s preferred source of energy. The brain, in particular, depends on glucose for proper functioning. Glucose is also an awesome source of energy for athletic activities, as it can be stored as glycogen for use during intense activities.

In addition to being an excellent source of energy, brown rice is high in fiber and a number of micronutrients. These nutrients support a healthy metabolism, strengthen the bones, and may help prevent cancer. Brown rice supplies vitamins B6, niacin, thiamin, manganese, selenium, and zinc. It also contains a phytonutrient called lignan, which is converted by bacteria in the intestines into enterolactone and appears to have health promoting properties.

Yet, despite all the awesome nutrients brown rice contains, there are a couple of instances when brown rice is toxic rather than nutritious: when it’s not soaked and when its not adequately boiled.

Brown rice must be soaked because it contains a chemical called phytic acid that prevents minerals from being absorbed by the small intestines. If these important nutrients aren’t absorbed then rice does indeed become an “empty carb.” Soaking activates an enzyme called phytase that breaks down phytic acid and allows all the healthy minerals to be absorbed. The only problem is that that rice contains very little phytase potential, so fermentation is the best way to develop phytic acid reducing enzymes. While it may sound a little complex, having a fermenting rice soaking solution on hand is relatively easy and is a traditional Chinese practice. Heres how:

Soak your brown rice in non-chlorinated water for 24 hours. Drain the soaking water before cooking, but save 10% of the water for future soaking use (stored in the refrigerator). The next time you soak your rice, add the saved water to the soaking solution. Repeat this cycle every time you cook brown rice. Over time this solution develops phytase enzymes that will deactivate up to 96% of the phytic acid content in your brown rice.

After soaking your rice to deactivate the phytic acid, the next step is properly cooking it to remove the arsenic content. Rice concentrates arsenic, a carcinogenic toxin, more than any other grain. Regular consumption of improperly cooked rice can lead to unhealthy blood levels of this dangerous chemical. There’s any easy method, however, to drastically reduce the arsenic content:

Cook your brown rice like you would cook pasta — boiled in plenty of water. Today, most people add just enough water to their rice so that the rice is ready at the same time all the water is absorbed or evaporated, but this can actually contribute to even higher levels of arsenic consumption. The traditional way of preparing rice is to boil it in water at a 1:6 ratio. To use this method, simply cook your brown rice in a large pot and boil for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, drain the excess water and allow the rice to rest (covered) off the heat for 10 minutes. Not only does this method reduce the arsenic, it also produces a great tasting and nicely textured brown rice!

Sure, it might require a little more effort than microwaving a TV dinner, but properly preparing rice is mostly a matter of planning ahead. The result: a delicious, affordable, high energy, and nutrient-rich food!

Recommend Products: Bulk Organic Brown Rice

Whole Health Source – Brown Rice
Science Direct – Soaking Brown Rice
Rice Consumption and Arsenic Content 
Arsenic In Rice: How Concerned Should You Be?

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Originally posted 2013-03-02 05:22:00.

Avoid Harmful Toxins Without Living in a Space Suit

With the number of chemicals that we’re exposed to on a daily basis and the growing dichotomy between people who are either hysterical or extremely skeptical, it can be difficult to sort out what chemicals pose a real threat to our health. Perhaps even more challenging is figuring out how to take practical steps to limit exposure to the substances that are truly harmful.  After all, it’s not very practical to walk around in a space suit or (if you’re a parent) to provide space suits for all your children.  In an attempt to make things a little simpler, we’ve compiled a list of a few of the chemicals that pose real threats and ways to easily avoid them.  

BPA – Bisphenol A: an organic chemical used in the production of hard plastics.  BPA is a xenoestrogen and functions as a hormone in the body, disrupting the endocrine system and the body’s normal hormone function.  Studies have found that even low doses of BPA can affect reproductive health and normal development.  There’s evidence to suggest that ingestion of BPA can also contribute to neurological problems, weight gain, thyroid disfunction, and cancer.

  • Common sources of exposure: Canned foods, water bottles and other #7 plastics, coffee makers made with hard plastic, and receipts.
  • Ways to limit exposure: Instead of buying canned foods, buy frozen or jarred foods.  Purchase BPA-free plastic drinking bottles or use stainless steel containers.  Handle receipts as little as possible and be sure to wash your hands after touching them.  

PTFE (Polytetrafluoroetheylene) and PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid): chemicals used in the production of non-stick cookware, as well as waterproofing, friction-reducing, and stain-resistant technologies.  PTFE is relatively stable and harmless in its solid state, but when heated at high temperatures it breaks down (starting at 392 degrees) and emits toxic fumes.  PTFE fumes have killed pet birds and are toxic for human inhalation.  PFOA is a toxic and highly pervasive pollutant and can last in the environment indefinitely.  PFOA disrupts normal hormone function, damages cells, and is carcinogenic.

  • Common sources of exposure: teflon, non-stick cookware, snack food/popcorn bags, stain-repellant sprays and coatings.
  • Ways to limit exposure: Cook with stainless steel or ceramic coated cookware.  Eat less greasy snack foods and more whole foods.  Avoid using stain repellants by getting a cover for your furniture.  Wear untreated cotton or wool fabrics.

Pesticides: There are a variety of pesticides used on America’s vast crops.  Some of them include: Pyrethrins, dibromochlorophane, Imazalil, organophosphates, and clothianidin.  Government agencies and chemical companies have tried to say that use of these chemicals isn’t posing any real harm, but if that’s the case then why do they cause health problems for the workers that are regularly exposed to them?  In the lab pesticides are known to disrupt the endocrine system, negatively affect reproductive health, cause cancer , and worsen outcomes for neurological health.  There’s also increasing evidence that non-occupational exposure is having negative outcomes for the general population.  In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently made a recommendation to reduce children’s exposure to pesticides, as early exposure is associated with cancer and decreased cognitive abilities.  

  • Common sources of exposure: non-organic fruits and vegetables, water, and the air.
  • Ways to limit exposure: If you live near an area where there is constant spraying of pesticides, you might consider moving.  Otherwise, buying organic fruits and vegetables is an easy and proven way to reduce pesticide exposure.   According to the the Environmental Working Group, the 10 fruits and vegetables with the highest amount of pesticides, starting with the highest, are: apples, celery, sweet peppers, peaches, strawberries, imported nectarines, grapes, spinach, lettuce, and cucumbers.  Buy these fruits and vegetables organic whenever possible.  

Disinfectant products, Chromium-6, Nitrate, and Arsenic: toxic and carcinogenic chemicals commonly found in our water supply and in some foods.  Chromium-6, in particularly, has been found at levels above proposed goals in a number of municipal water sources.  

  • Common sources of exposure: Tap water, Rice (Arsenic)
  • Ways to limit exposure: Install a charcoal water filter.  If you eat rice, choose brown rice and soak it in water for a day before consuming, then rinse and drain before cooking.

Triclosan: an organic chemical used for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.  Its anti-bacterial health benefits, however, are limited.  Exposure to triclosan is connected to an increased occurrence of allergies. It is toxic when inhaled and may disrupt thyroid function.  Triclosan can also react to form dioxins, which are extremely toxic and carcinogenic.

  • Common sources of exposure: Hand soap, toothpaste, and deodorant.
  • Ways to limit exposure: Read the labels on soaps, toothpastes, and deodorants and choose triclosan-free options.

The effect manmade chemicals can have on human health is another example of how human civilization often brings us further away from good health, instead of closer to it.  It’s important to carefully examine and discriminately select human technologies based on the consequences they have for all living creatures.  We don’t have to live in a bubble or wear a space suit; we just need to make smart choices.

Chemical-free product suggestions:
Kleen Kanteen (REI) – stainless steel, BPA-free drinking container
Ceramic-Coated Non-Stick Frying Pan – PTFE and PFOA-free (
Brita or Under-Sink charcoal water filters
Natural soap -triclosan-free (

Environmental Working Group, BPA and Male Infertility, BPA Exposure and Child Obesity, PFOA Toxicity, PTFE Inhalation, PTFE and PFOA in Food Packaging,  Are Organic Foods Safer?Pesticides Pose Serious Risk to Children

Originally posted 2013-02-26 23:17:00.

Potatoes – a tubular superfood!

Starchy carbohydrate-filled little calorie bombs, coated in refined salt and fried in poly-unsaturated fat, creation’s tubular superfood has been given a horrible reputation!  It’s time to redeem the potato’s righteous place on our plates.  The potato shouldn’t be guilty for the health crimes committed by potato chip manufacturers and fast food restaurants.  In and of itself the potato is an incredibly healthy food – it’s how it’s cooked and what it’s cooked in (often refined seed/vegetable oils) that can make eating potatoes hazardous to health.  If you follow the guidelines in this article, you’ll discover how and why to include potatoes as part of a healthy, creation-based diet.

The evidence: While we’ve ruined potatoes by frying them in refined oil (which promotes weight gain and throws off the body’s proper Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio), people from cultures around the world have enjoyed potatoes as a staple food and maintained excellent health for thousands of years.  Before the Great Irish Famine of 1845-1849, potatoes were the primary food source for the Irish.  Reports reveal that the general population was in excellent health – the men were well nourished and muscular, and fertility rates were high.  In fact, there’s reason to believe that introduction of the potato to Europe contributed to significant population growth in the entire continent.  

The potato was first domesticated about 10,000 years ago in Peru and was a staple food in the diets of many South American peoples, including the Incas.  Hundreds of different varieties were grown that provided varying amounts of almost every known vitamin and mineral, as well as a number of other health-promoting phytonutrients.  Today there are only a few commercially grown varieties available in the U.S., but these can still contribute a significant amount of healthy nutrients to one’s diet.  Potatoes contain high amounts of minerals like potassium, manganese, phosphorous, and copper, as well as vitamins C, B6, and thiamin.   The potato’s potassium content is especially important.  

Potatoes contains more potassium than even bananas or broccoli.  Potassium is crucial for maintaining healthy blood pressure and muscle function.  Recent studies indicate that consuming enough potassium might be more important than reducing salt intake for good cardiovascular health, and many Americans are potassium-deficient.

Surprising as it may be, potatoes are also a decent source of protein.  While there are only a couple of grams of protein per potato, eaten as a staple, potatoes can still provide quite a bit of protein.  Potatoes are also unique in that they contain a complete protein.  The quality of the protein is likely what enabled people, like the Irish, to maintain good health on a predominately potato diet.  

A couple of years ago a potato farmer from Washington named Chris Voigt set out to redeem the potato’s good name by going on an all potato diet for 60-days, eating 20 potatoes per day.  The result  — he lost 21 lbs and lowered his cholesterol by 67 points!   While an all-potato diet isn’t the most balanced our healthiest long term diet, it’s clear that potatoes aren’t the cause of weight gain.  Given their history as a healthy staple food, their high vitamin and mineral content, and the quality of protein they contain, I think the argument can be made that potatoes are actually a superfood.  To top it all off, potatoes are gluten free, making them a great alternative source of carbohydrates for those who are gluten-sensitive.  

How to enjoy: Eat them almost anyway except for fried in refined seed oil (which means no potato chips or fast-food french fries).  The one concern with potatoes is that they contain natural pesticides (like most other plants) called glycoalkaloids that can be harmful to humans if consumed in large quantities.  Glycoalkaloids are found mostly in and directly underneath the skin.  Peeling the skin will remove most of the glycoalkaloid content of domesticated varieties, so if you eat potatoes often, it’s best to peel them.  Also, avoid potatoes that are sprouting or turning green — these potatoes can have higher glycoalkaloid content.  

If peeled, potatoes can also be eaten raw.  Try adding them diced to salads or vegetable trays.  When pan frying potatoes, use a little bit of butter/olive oil/ or coconut oil, instead of refined seed oils, and a small amount of water.  

Together we can redeem the potato’s reputation as one of creation’s truly tubular foods — a gluten-free source of potassium, vitamin C, healthy energy, and quality protein!

Originally posted 2013-01-24 00:40:00.

Dry Skin and the Soaps You Use

To prevent the spread of germs, many are washing their hands more frequently, leading to dry skin, especially during the winter months when the common cold is rampant and the air is harsh and arid. While nutrition plays a very important role in the quality of a person’s skin (coenzyme Q10, omega 3s, and drinking lots of water), it is also crucial to care for skin from the outside. Skin is, after all, the largest organ in the human body, and the outermost layers are primarily moisturized externally.

Why does washing my hands dry out my skin?

Hot water
Frequent contact with water, especially hot water, can strip skin of its natural oils.

Removal of glycerin
Thanks to the industrialization of soap production, glycerin is frequently removed from our modern soaps. Glycerin (also called glycerol when in its pure, chemical form) is the natural byproduct of the soap-making process. Combining fat (animal tallow or vegetable oils such as coconut, olive, or palm kernel) and an alkali (lye, sodium, ash) makes soap, which produces the moisturizer glycerin. Around the late 1800s, commercial soap-makers found that glycerin could be extracted from soap and re-sold for high profits, as it is used to make dynamite, medicines, and many cosmetic products. Since glycerin became such a high-demand product, it is stripped from most soap and thus leaves the modern consumer with hands stripped of moisture.

Antibacterial soaps
Antibacterial soaps have been found to dry skin, and, furthermore, don’t show any long-term benefit of truly fighting bacteria. In fact, frequent use of antibiotic soap begins to produce antibiotic resistance to bacteria and can strip the skin of its natural defenses.

Commercially made liquid soaps are frequently made with sulfates (commonly sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate) for their lather and foam producing properties. However, sulfates also dry out the skin. How well a soap lathers does not determine how well it cleanses, so there isn’t much added benefit of adding sulfates, except for the nice foaming action.

Thus, most soaps sold in modern convenience stores are extracted of natural moisturizers and instead filled with ingredients that dry our skin.

How can I prevent having dry skin from soap use and frequent hand-washing?
Since washing our hands regularly is said to be the best way to prevent the spread of germs, giving up hand washing is not an option. There are several things you can do, however, to prevent dry skin:

  • Use tepid water when washing. Hot water can further dry out skin. Many of us love hot showers, but this is another good reason to turn the shower temperature down, even if just a little.
  • Find soap that contains glycerin or make your own!
  • Avoid anti-bacterial soap.
  • Use soap that is sulfate-free. Sulfates are found in many household products such as body washes, hand soaps, shampoos, facial cleansers, and even toothpaste.

Originally posted 2013-01-04 22:18:00.

Why sugar is toxic:

We all know it’s unhealthy to eat too much sugar, but now we’re starting to understand how unhealthy some sugars really are. Researchers are discovering that not all sugars are created equal. Too much glucose and other sugars can be bad, but too much sucrose or fructose can be plain TOXIC. Below you’ll discover the reasons many researchers are convinced that excess sugar consumption promotes disease and obesity. Keep in mind that these are simplified explanations, and the exact workings of these concepts are under constant scientific debate.

Empty calories
It’s easy to consume hundreds of excess calories in the form of fruit juice, soda, candy and other junk foods without feeling full. In the U.S., calorie consumption per capita has increased over the last 50 years and is directly correlated with an increased consumption of sugar. Fast-food and other refined foods are loaded with calories but lack essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are easy and tasty to consume, but they don’t provide the feeling of being satisfied associated with eating whole foods. As a result, people in the United States and other Westernized countries are eating more than enough calories but are still deficient in many important vitamins and minerals. Eating a whole-food (creation-based) diet promotes feelings of satiety, as well as an adequate supply of vital nutrients.

Glycation is the bonding of glucose or other sugars to proteins in the body (keep in mind that protein is the primary building block of life). Glycated bonds are generally destructive to the body, causing oxidation and damage to cells. The amount of glycated hemoglobin and other important proteins in the body increases with the level of sugar consumed. While too much glucose (the sugar found in whole foods like bread, pasta, and potatoes) can promote glycation, fructose and sucrose (the primary sugars used for sweetening), can cause 10 times the amount of glycation. Glycation is indicated in the hardening of the arteries, Alzheimer’s disease, cellular damage, and cancer.

Insulin resistance
Too much glucose in the blood stream eventually causes insulin resistance. Insulin is the hormone that signals cells to uptake sugar for energy use or storage. When the blood stream is constantly flooded with insulin, the body’s cells grow resistant to insulin and normal uptake of sugar is interrupted. Fat cells, however, continue to remain sensitive to insulin (even when skeletal and muscle cells grow resistant), storing glucose for later energy use – resulting in weight gain around the mid section. A constant rise in the body’s at-rest blood sugar level is known as hyperglycemia/diabetes. Hyperglycemia requires close management. If not properly controlled, high blood sugar levels can cause damage to the brain, kidneys, and neurological system.

Leptin resistance
Leptin is a hormone released by the body’s fat cells and is responsible for maintaining body-weight and metabolic equilibrium. When the body has enough stored-energy, leptin signals the brain to feel full and satisfied after meals. A person with leptin resistance, however, continues to feel hungry even after eating. Leptin resistance is associated with over consumption of fructose and sucrose. These sugars are processed by the liver and transformed into triglycerides (fats) and released into the blood stream. It is thought that high triglyceride levels are responsible for blocking the brain from properly receiving leptin signals. Obese people have high levels of circulating leptin, but the leptin can’t perform its function.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
The liver processes fructose and sucrose similarly to the way it processes alcohol. As a result, these sugars can have the same effect on the liver as alcohol, causing fat-build up and damage of the liver.

Uric acid production
When the liver processes fructose/sucrose (but not glucose and other sugars), one byproduct is excessive production of Uric Acid. Excessive Uric Acid interferes with Nitrogen Oxide production. Nitrogen Oxide is responsible for regulating the body’ blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels. Thus, fructose/sucrose consumption from sweets, juice and soda can lead to hypertension, usually evidenced by a rise in systolic blood pressure.

Increased triglyceride level
A high blood triglyceride level is a well-confirmed precursor to or indication of cardiovascular disease. High triglyceride levels used to be attributed to fat consumption. Today many scientists are starting to believe that high triglyceride levels are linked to refined sugar consumption and insulin resistance. Fructose doesn’t signal insulin production, thus when corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners are consumed, they are transferred to the blood stream as triglycerides but without the insulin signals to absorb them. Healthy fats, consumed as part of a healthy diet, don’t remain in the blood but are used by the body for energy.

Effects on LDL cholesterol
Low-density-lipoproteins play an important role in the body. They are responsible for transporting lipids (fats) within the water-based blood stream. Too much LDL, however, is thought to cause atherosclerosis. Since increased fat consumption causes higher cholesterol levels (including LDL), people are warned not to consume fats. The misnomer, however, is the idea that all LDLs are the same. This simply isn’t true. There are two primary types of LDL: one is light, large, and fluffy; the other is small and dense. It is the small and dense LDLs that are responsible for penetrating beneath the endothelial cells of the blood vessels, leading to arterial plaque build-up. By contrast, light and fluffly LDLs float along in the blood stream, serving their function, without damaging the blood vessels. While the mechanisms aren’t exactly understood, high production of dense LDL is associated with high consumption of refined sugars. Low-sugar diets, high in healthy fats (not trans fats or over consumption of Omega 6s) cause the body to produce a light and fluffy, harmless form of LDL.

The above information points to the importance of reducing or eliminating consumption of refined sugar, excess fructose in the form of fruit juice or other sugary drinks, or added sugar. It should be noted that the fructose in whole fruits and vegetables is buffered by the whole-food content of fiber. Fiber inhibits fructose absorption. Glucose and healthy fats from whole foods are the body’s best energy sources. An emphasis on whole food consumption promotes healthy nutrition, good energy levels, healthy metabolism, and cardiovascular health.

For more information check out:

Originally posted 2011-09-19 01:07:00.

One Simple Rule For Eating Healthy

Sugar PlantWith all of the different information we have about what’s healthy and what’s not, you think it would be easier to hop on the bandwagon and follow it all the way to perfect health. The reality is that there is a lot of misinformation. As our world has been industrialized, so has our food system. The food industry is full of big business trying to maximize their food production in order to maximize their profits. As consumers, we must realize that food companies do not have our best interest in mind. Money is their motive, not our health. With that said, we can assume that the information at our fingertips is not the most trustworthy. Big food businesses fund their own research, which leads to biased interpretations and applications of information. This information is then fed to the public and is taught like fact.

As early as the 1800s, researchers could read the writing on the wall: 

“In medicine, we are often confronted with poorly observed and indefinite facts which form actual obstacles to science, in that men always bring them up, saying: it is a fact, it must be accepted.”  — Claude Bernard, in An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine, 1865

In the midst of all the chaos there is in the health world, I’d like to offer one simple rule for healthier eating: Eat whole foods. Eat the foods that are found in God’s creation. You’ve probably heard this before, so I’m going to say it a little differently this time: Eat ingredients rather than food products. You may be consuming a lot of boxed meals, health bars, “juice” drinks, shakes, mixes, potions, or whatever else, but they’re not whole foods. For the most part they are unhealthy, food products.

Food companies know that some consumers want to eat healthier, so they make products that appear to meet these demands. They can’t risk losing such a large population of “healthy” consumers. The problem is, these food products still aren’t whole foods. Most of them are still filled with loads of sugar, unhealthy fats, aging ingredients, or preservatives. The big food businesses (with profit in mind) will never create a truly healthy product. The reason is that God created everything we need for optimal health, and it is up to us to make use of it.

Garden harvest

Try using whole ingredients to make your own raw trail mixes, protein shakes, and snack bars if you like these items on the go. More importantly, eat real food at every meal. If you’re eating ingredients rather than food products, you’ll know exactly what you’re eating, as everything on your plate will be fairly easy to identify. Avoid anything that is pre-made. CREUS offers various do-it-yourself recipes from Mayonnaise to Clarified Butter (ghee); take advantage of these. God gave us an abundance of ingredients to work with, and He created them with our best interest in mind. This week, I challenge you to focus on eating food made of real ingredients rather than pre-made food products.

Originally posted 2013-09-05 12:23:59.

What's the point of organic fabrics?

organic-cotton-health-benefitsContrary to the belief of some, purchasing clothes or products made from organic fabrics won’t immediately reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals.  Non-organic fabrics are washed and don’t contain the chemicals that they’re grown with (What you wash your clothes with is more important).  Since that’s the case, you might be wondering, “Then what’s the point of organic fabrics?” Well, even though you don’t need to worry about harmful chemicals remaining in the clothes you buy for yourself or your family, there’re definite reasons to be concerned about all the chemicals used to get non-organic fabrics onto the shelf or hangers.

Non-organic cotton fabrics are the most egregious of all.  In 2003, over 50 million pounds of chemical pesticides were used on cotton crops grown in the United States.  Of these pesticides, several of them are known carcinogens, and many of them are harmful to animal species.  It’s important to remember that when chemicals like pesticides are sprayed into the environment, they don’t just go away.  They permeate the air, ground, and water supply.  On that same token, in the year 2000, over 2 billion pounds of synthetic fertilizers were used to grow cotton.  Synthetic fertilizers like nitrogen are extremely disruptive and damaging to natural plant and animal ecologies.  To put in perspective how much synthetic fertilizer is used to grow non-organic cotton, think about this: the cotton in one non-organic t-shirt takes 1/3 pound of synthetic fertilizer to grow.

So, when it comes to the question, “What’s the point of organic fabrics?” The answer is that by choosing organic fabrics you choose a healthier environment for you, your family, and our non-human animal friends for years to come.

References: Organic Trade Association, Patagonia

Originally posted 2013-05-01 23:16:13.

Phosphorous – Another Reason to Avoid Soda?

Phosphoric acid in sodaIf you needed another reason to avoid drinking dehydrating, addicting, and fattening sodas, we might have one for you — soda’s phosphorous (or phosphoric acid) content. Phosphorous is added to soda, primarily colas, as a sour flavoring ingredient, and too much of it in your diet may lead to decreased bone density.

In and of itself, phosphorous, which is a mineral acid, isn’t bad. In fact, in the right balance phosphorous is essential for our health: our bones use phosphorous to form their structure, our cells use phosphorous for energy, and phosphorous is needed in order to active numerous hormones, enzymes, and other cell-signaling molecules. Without phosphorous we can’t survive, but since it’s so prevalent in our foods, phosphorous deficiency is extremely rare and usually only occurs on the brink of starvation.

Too much phosphorous, however, can be a problem, especially for those who aren’t getting enough calcium or who have trouble with their kidneys.  Phosphorous and calcium are carefully regulated by the kidneys, and when there’s an excess amount of phosphorous in the blood stream, the kidneys stop releasing the active form of vitamin D (essential for calcium absorption).  The repercussions: Long-term elevation of phosphorous in the blood stream can cause decreased bone density, which can contribute to osteoporosis.  Here’s why cola can be an issue; at 40 mg of phosphorous per 12 oz, it’s relatively high in phosphorous, and several studies have linked excess cola consumption, in particular, with decreased bone density.

Soda’s phosphorous levels aren’t the only culprit though, soda is also high in caffeine and sodium — both can cause a loss of calcium.  At the same time, soda is low in calcium and other bone enhancing minerals and vitamins.  These nutrient embalances are exacerbated by the fact that people who drink lots of soda during the day tend not to consume enough milk or other calcium containing foods to offset the amount of phosphorous ingested.  Thus, overall, the problem with soda isn’t just that it contains phosphorous (a lot of foods contain phosphorous) but that it contributes to an unbalanced level of phosphorous and calcium in the bloodstream.  Soda isn’t the only offended either; phosphorous is being added to an increasing number of other processed foods as well.

Reducing or eliminating soda and processed foods from your diet is the best way to ensure an optimum phosphorous to calcium ratio.  Eating high quality dairy products from grass fed cow is another way to boost calcium levels.  Then, if you want to be even more ahead of the game in terms of bone and cardiovascular health, combine a whole-food diet with outdoor exercise.  The vitamin D from the sunshine, the healthy stress on the bones from exercise, and the proper calcium to phosphorous ratio will work together to help keep your bones healthy for life.

References: Linus Pauling Institute, PubMed

Originally posted 2013-04-30 03:16:53.