Friday, March 9, 2007

The Hundred-Year Lie

The first time I tried to read this book, I got so depressed I had to put it down. But, the with the library due date looming, I decided to give it another shot. Randall Fitzgerald writes a book detailing the history of the food and drug industry and the rise of health care costs and diseases. His argument, while a bit alarmist (which is why I had to put it down the first time) seems sound, and even though there was a lot of technical information, it was easy for the layperson (me) to read. Here are some excerpts from his book:

"Did you know that there are over 100,000 chemicals in use today? Most of them have not been tested for toxicity in humans, either alone or in combination with other chemicals.
What's even more disturbing is that in order to test all existing chemicals for synergistic effects on human health, it would take nearly 200 million different experiments which, with current technology, would take up to 1,000 years to complete. Safety is a of many myths exposed in The Hundred-Year Lie."

"Some general and common sense truths emerged in this book:
NOT all synthetics, at least as far as we know, are toxic to us.
NOT all naturally occurring substances from Nature are benign.
However, broadly speaking, the evidence indicates that most naturally occurring foods and medicines are healthy for us, as they have been for our species for thousands of years, while many if not most synthetic chemicals in foods and medicines pose some health risk."

Doctors and scientists seem to treat synthetic chemicals as innocent until proven guilty - take the Vioxx example. Vioxx was prescribed for arthritis and was finally taken off the market in 2004 after thousands of people experienced heart attacks and strokes as a result of taking the drug. The FDA had evidence 4 years earlier that the drug caused major problems based on the negative results of twenty-nine clinical trials.

A common theme that Fitzgerald touches on is the synergistic effects of synthetic chemicals in our bodies. Doctors and Scientists have no idea what the chemical load that we all carry around may be doing to our bodies. Scary! The book does end well, as the author tells us that it is up to us to do something about it. That means limit our exposure to chemicals and processed foods. Eat organic, fast often, and eat a raw foods diet that includes wheat grass juice as often as you can. Try alternative medicine (Ayurvedic, Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, etc.) for general wellness, as those tend to focus on prevention of illness rather that just treatment of illness after the fact.

We can take control of our toxicity and we cannot rely on the FDA and drug manufacturers to tell us what is good for us. After all, the FDA relies on the drug companies to test their own products for safety and efficacy. In other words, the drug companies are left to police themselves. Hmmm...

I do recommend this book. It is very enlightening, well researched and well written. Ultimately I feel better after reading this book and knowing what I know, because now I can make informed decisions and take steps to become healthier for myself and my family.

Check out The Hundred-Year Lie blog HERE.


mdtolic said...

It's not exactly about food, but have you read the recent stuff about England's proposed "Green Bill"?

"Homeowners who refuse to make their properties energy efficient will face financial penalties under drastic government plans to transform Britain into the world's first 'green' economy."

"The Government said that every new home should be 'carbon neutral' within ten years - and existing properties subject to a 'home energy audit' to assess how green they are."


Karen said...

Wow, thats amazing! I was listening to NPR the other day and they were talking about Tony Blair's efforts to make the UK more green. Definitely something to follow1.