Last year the FDA determined that walnuts sold by Diamond Foods cannot be legally marketed because the walnuts "are not generally recognized as safe and effective" for the medical conditions referenced on Diamond Foods's website.
According to the FDA, these walnuts were classified as "drugs" and the "unauthorized health claims" cause them to become "misbranded," thus subjecting them to government "seizure or injunction."
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Ingesting nuts used to be considered unhealthy because of their high fat content. This misconception has changed over the past 18 years as human studies have revealed sharply reduced incidence of heart disease in those who consume walnuts.1-12
Unlike some nuts, walnuts provide a unique blend of polyunsaturated fatty acids (including omega-3s), along with nutrients like gamma-tocopherol that have demonstrated heart health benefits.13-24
The March 4, 1993, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine published the first clinical study showing significant reductions in dangerous LDL and improvement in the lipoprotein profile in response to moderate consumption of walnuts.14 Later studies revealed that walnuts improve endothelial function in ways that are independent of cholesterol reduction.1, 25-27
One study published by the American Heart Association journal Circulation on April 6, 2004, showed a 64% improvement in a measurement of endothelial function when walnuts were substituted for other fats in a Mediterranean diet.1
As most Life Extension members are aware, the underlying cause of atherosclerosis is progressive endothelial dysfunction.28 Walnuts contain a variety of nutrients including arginine, polyphenols, and omega-3s that support the inner arterial lining and guard against abnormal platelet aggregation.2,13,29-31 These favorable biological effects explain why walnut consumption confers protection against coronary artery disease.
The US National Library of Medicine database contains no fewer than 35 peer-reviewed published papers supporting a claim that ingesting walnuts improves vascular health and may reduce heart attack risk.
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On the contrary, the FDA has issued waves of warning letters to companies making foods (pomegranate juice, green tea, and walnuts) that protect against atherosclerosis.1,32-36 The FDA is blatantly demanding that these companies stop informing the public about the scientifically validated health benefits these foods provide.
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You might not associate these mostly-fried snack foods as being good for you, but the FDA has no problem allowing the Frito-Lay® website to state the following:
"Frito-Lay® snacks start with real farm-grown ingredients. You might be surprised at how much good stuff goes into your favorite snack. Good stuff like potatoes, which naturally contain vitamin C and essential minerals. Or corn, one of the world's most popular grains, packed with thiamin, vitamin B6, and phosphorous—all necessary for healthy bones, teeth, nerves and muscles.
"And it's not just the obvious ingredients. Our all-natural sunflower, corn and soybean oils contain good polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which help lower total and LDL 'bad' cholesterol and maintain HDL 'good' cholesterol levels, which can support a healthy heart. Even salt, when eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet, is essential for the body."37
Wow! Based on what Frito-Lay® is allowed to state, it sounds like we should be living on these snacks. Who would want to ingest walnuts, pomegranate, or green tea (which the FDA is attacking) when these fat calorie-laden, mostly-fried carbohydrates are so widely available?
According to the Frito Lay® website, Lays® potato chips are "heart healthy" because the level of saturated fat was reduced and replaced with sunflower oil.38 Scientific studies do show that when a polyunsaturated fat (like sunflower oil) is substituted for saturated fat, favorable changes in blood cholesterol occur.39
Fatally omitted from the Frito-Lay® website is the fact that sunflower oil supplies lots of omega-6 fats, but no omega-3s.40 The American diet already contains too many omega-6 fats and woefully inadequate omega-3s.
Excess omega-6 fats in the diet in the absence of adequate omega-3s produce devastating effects, including the production of pro-inflammatory compounds that contribute to virtually every age-related disease, including atherosclerosis.41-45
For the FDA to allow Frito-Lay® to pretend there are heart benefits to ingesting their unhealthy snack products, while censoring the ability of walnut companies to make scientifically substantiated claims, is tantamount to treason against the health of the American public.
Don't Forget the Acrylamides
When carbohydrate foods are cooked at high temperature (as occurs when potatoes are fried in sunflower oil to make potato chips), a toxic compound called acrylamide is formed.46
According to the National Cancer Institute, "acrylamide is considered to be a mutagen and a probable human carcinogen, based mainly on studies in laboratory animals. Scientists do not yet know with any certainty whether the levels of acrylamide typically found in some foods pose a health risk for humans."47
In response to these kinds of concerns, the FDA funded a massive study to ascertain the acrylamide content of various foods. The FDA found that potato chips and other fried carbohydrate foods were especially high in acrylamides.48
The FDA, however, has not stopped companies selling high acrylamide–containing fried carbohydrates from promoting these foods as "healthy."
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The FDA and FTC (Federal Trade Commission) are proposing new regulations that will stifle the ability of natural food companies to disseminate scientific research findings.
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Now the Good News…
On April 5, 2011, a bipartisan bill was introduced into the House of Representatives called the Free Speech About Science Act (H.R. 1364). This landmark legislation protects basic free speech rights, ends censorship of science, and enables the natural health products community to share peer-reviewed scientific findings with the public.
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I ask that each of you log on to our Legislative Action Website (www.lef.org/lac) that enables you to conveniently email and ask your Representative to co-sponsor the Free Speech About Science Act (H.R. 1364).
Passage of the Free Speech About Science Act will stop federal agencies from squandering tax dollars censoring what you are allowed to learn about health-promoting foods.
Our Legislative Action Website provides you direct contact with your Representative to let them know that you want H.R. 1364 (Free Speech About Science Act) enacted into law.