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September/October 2005 Feingold Email Newsletter
Dear Feingold Association Members & Friends,
- Outreach Clinic in Canada
- Trick-Or-Treat for UNICEF
- More Halloween Ideas
- Strattera -- a New Warning
- Katrina and the Sweet Stuff
- LycoMato: the New Red
- Bran Flakes
- Trans-Fats vs TBHQ
- Yay Pittsburgh!!!
[ ] OUTREACH CLINIC IN CANADA
The Great Plains Outreach Clinic for autism, ADHD, PDD, and other behavioral disorders will be coming to Toronto, Canada, on October 22 and 23, 2005. See details.
[ ] TRICK-OR-TREAT FOR UNICEF
Little Evan Haskel loves to celebrate Halloween by dressing up in various costumes, but he skips the candy. Last year his parents suggested that he and his sister use the holiday to collect donations for UNICEF, and explained how it would work. Evan was thrilled with the idea.
His mom writes, "On Halloween he and his sister were joined by neighborhood friends as they trekked up and down the streets of their neighborhood. Without fail, Evan's request for money for UNICEF created delays as folks scrambled to get their wallets. He was always the last one to leave a house, but collected money from every one of them. He never gave up his quest and collected nearly $30 in an hour. We were so proud of his commitment to help others that we added another $20 to bring his total donation to $50."
To order the UNICEF collection boxes, you can contact UNICEF at 1800-4UNICEF, or go on-line. It can take several weeks for the order to be filled, so be sure to contact them early.
[ ] MORE HALLOWEEN IDEAS
(1) Have a scary Halloween party complete with ghost stories told by flashlight (or firelight) in the dark for your kids and their friends. Since it is your party, you control the candy and can make sure it is all safe for your Feingolders. Specialty candy can be ordered through the Squirrel's Nest and if your local health food store carries Sunspire products, look for their holiday offerings.
(2) Remember that you don't need orange cookies. Chocolate cookies and white sugar cookies look just as good on plastic orange plates. But if you DO want orange cookies, you can buy all-natural food coloring from Squirrels Nest if not carried in your local health food store. Check the October issue of Pure Facts for more resources for natural coloring.
[ ] STRATTERA -- A NEW WARNING
September 30, 2005, the New York Times reported that the Food and Drug Administration has ordered a Eli Lilly to place a prominent "black box" warning -- the FDA's most serious alert -- on the label of the drug Strattera, commonly used for ADHD as an alternative to stimulants. Unfortunately, this drug is similar to antidepressants, which have been implicated in triggering suicidal thinking in children and adults. Similar results are being seen with Strattera.
Dr. Thomas Laughren of Eli Lilly, the drug's manufacturer, says that the evidence is not strong enough to change the way doctors prescribe it, but that parents need to know. In the studies, presumably, children were actually asked how they felt, or monitored in some way. In real life, however, children are not usually asked such questions, and may hide their depression under a mask of aggression or activity. Parents should be counseled how to recognize suicidal thinking in their children should it be present.
[ ] KATRINA AND THE SWEET STUFF
Sugar beet farmers have seen an immediate call for their crop in response to the closing of sugar cane refineries in Katrina's wake. In the first week of September, the Michigan Sugar Co., a grower-owned cooperative, was allowed to put more than 50 million pounds of stored sugar on the market.
What that means for Feingold members is that many products which used to use cane sugar may switch to beet sugar without changing their ingredient labels. Furthermore, cane sugar may become more expensive or harder to find in the supermarket. Not that there is anything wrong with beets -- but BHT and BHA are used in the manufacture of beet sugar, as an antifoaming agent. We believe that the residue of these chemicals is very small, but it is possible that it may be enough to bother some of our more sensitive members. As the percent of our sugar consumed shifts toward beets, we may begin to see some unexplained reactions.
[ ] LYCOMATO: THE NEW RED
Effective August 26, the FDA will allow the use of LycoMato tomato lycopene extract as a red coloring. The coloring is made from tomato, so it is considered natural. According to the manufacturer's press release, LycoMato Powder contains beneficial tomato phytonutrients including lycopene, beta-carotene, and tocopherols. The synergistic action of these antioxidant phytonutrients transforms an ordinary food into a functional food with numerous health benefits, including the support of cardiovascular and prostate health and prevention of DNA damage. (Is this the same DNA damage now admittedly being caused by FD&C Red #40 and all the other FD&C colorings?) The coloring is planned to be used as a natural red colorant in a variety of foods such as soy meat substitute products, pasta, cereals and smoothie drinks.
The company claims that numerous epidemiological studies on the benefits of a diet containing tomato products support the benefits of LycoMato.
Our question is whether it would be a safe natural coloring for our members; and if so, whether it would be acceptable on Stage One or only on Stage Two. After all, tomato contains salicylate, not allowed on Stage One. However, is the salicylate compound still present in the coloring powder? This is not yet known.
Until and unless we can determine that the coloring does not contain salicylate, products containing it will be considered Stage Two, just as if they contain tomatoes.
[ ] BRAN FLAKES
A gentleman at the table next to ours in a recent conference noticed that our Foodlist contains Kellogg's Bran Flakes. He commented that they now contain BHT, so I wasted no time in contacting Cindy at Product Information. It appears that the Bran Flakes he had in mind would be called Bran Flakes Complete, which do contain BHT and have never been acceptable. Kellogg's Bran Flakes (without the word "complete") used to be acceptable, but are no longer being manufactured. It is a little confusing, and another reason you should get a new Foodlist every year. If you like bran, stick with Post Raisin Bran (Stage Two) or Post Grape Nuts Flakes (Stage One), which are acceptable now and - we hope - will stay that way.
[ ] TRANS-FATS vs TBHQ
In recent years, more and more products added "partially- hydrogenated oil" as an ingredient. This is called a "trans-fat" which is a man-made chemical that does not occur in nature. It is not eliminated on the Feingold Program because it has never been implicated in problems of behavior, asthma, etc. - but we have written articles in our Pure Facts urging people to avoid it as much as possible for general health reasons. Recently, the FDA itself has decided that there is no safe level of trans-fat, so -- just as they do for cigarettes -- rather than ban it, they are going to force companies to put a warning on products that contain it. This new ruling will take effect January 1, 2006.
In response, many companies are changing their products to remove trans-fats. While we applaud this effort, of course, many of these products will now contain an oil preserved with TBHQ, a petrochemical preservative not acceptable on the Feingold Program. For the general population, this will lead to a massive increase in exposure to this chemical, recognized in research (Peters 1996) as promoting bladder cancer. For the members of the Feingold Association, this means fewer products listed in our Foodlist & Shopping Guide as those products are removed.
When you buy your favorite snacks next time, look for the words "no trans-fats" -- if it is there, look for TBHQ where there is oil in the ingredient lists. Some companies, such as Kellogg's, have a history of responsible listing, and are indeed listing the TBHQ when used. Unfortunately, if you don't see it, that does not mean it is not there -- because companies are not required to list such "secondary" ingredients. Look instead for the company phone number, and call them to ask if their oil now contains TBHQ. And while you're at it -- COMPLAIN!! TBHQ has no health value for you; it allows the company to save money by buying oil in huge batches, storing it unrefrigerated, and using old oil that should be rancid already.
[ ] YAY PITTSBURGH!!!
Voting down criticism that prohibiting junk food at sports events was too restrictive, the Pittsburgh School Board is refusing to allow sodas and chips to be sold at Cupples Stadium on the South Side.
They had passed a sweeping junk food ban earlier this year, eliminating all junk food from school vending machines, and decided that they should have a consistent policy at all facilities.