September 26th 2013, 12:51 | Bryan Hubbard
If we were asked to name the deadliest weapon dispersed during the 20th century, we wouldn't choose the A-bomb or the efficient gas chambers of Auschwitz or drone warfare, or even sophisticated microbiological weaponry. And we wouldn't have to think very long about it, either.
There's no contest. It has to be processed sugar, by a couple of million country miles.
Refined sugar is essentially the modern world's Genghis Khan, responsible for more deaths than all other sophisticated weaponry combined. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer's, eye disease, liver disease, virtually the whole of degenerative disease in modern times beats a path back to the white stuff which, over the years, has become the centrepiece of a silent war waged on all of us by the processed food industry.
But as our Special Report reveals (see page 24 on the October issue of WDDTY magazine), there's a new threat in food even more deadly than 'white gold' per se, which has been brought about ostensibly to make sugar cheaper and last longer on shelves and in products, particularly in liquid products like soft drinks.
Today, the sweetener used in the majority of processed foods is a Frankenstein mix called 'high-fructose corn syrup' (HFCS), the resultant sludge of a three-stage processing of corn syrup and fruit sugar that, in many instances, makes use of mercury via the caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) required in its manufacture. This, the most toxic metal known to man, then finds its way into those foodstuffs and also in our air and water supply. Just three HFCS plants in the UK, for instance, are responsible for a third of all mercury emissions in the air and almost half of all levels found in the British water supply.
Spot tests on HFCS products reveal that about a third of samples of processed foods contain high amounts of mercury, and that consumers of soft drinks and other processed foods could be ingesting, on average, some 28 mcg of mercury-six times the levels that government agencies consider safe-with teenagers swallowing twice that amount.
While we're on the subject of food, the other big bane of modern times is the state of our digestion. Faulty digestion and problems labelled 'irritable bowel' may well be the most underrated condition of all because it's only an early signpost to the fact that you're just not processing your body's fuel as efficiently as you could, which then leads to all manner of puzzling illnesses. But in most cases, IBS isn't one condition but several-a faulty gut membrane, a bad bacterial balance, unwelcome guests like parasites or even food allergies. Follow our seven-point checklist (page 34 on the magazine) and you'll be able to diagnose, treat and finally beat your bad gut.
We may be highly critical of the tools of modern medicine, but doctors are now starting to agree with us. Read about Dr Jayne Donegan, a GP who became a vaccine sceptic after performing her own trawl through the scientific literature (page 18 on the magazine). And even Carole Kelly, once voted 'GP of the Year' by the Royal College of General Practitioners, has left general practice behind to devote herself to alternative medicine after a nutritional approach helped her overcome her food allergies (page 76).
Besides food, we also examine drink this month-especially how much is good for your health-in the midst of so much conflicting evidence (page 22).
By now your children are settled back at school, but for those who are struggling with the new tougher guidelines, our Children's Corner columnist, movement expert Anat Baniel, shows how tiny variations in movement can cause big advances in learning, especially in children with special needs (page 53 on the magazine).
For men only: read what we have to say about vasectomy before going ahead with the snip (page 60). And for women, if you suffer from cellulite, our Medical Detective tells you how to shed it (page 80 on the magazine).
Autumn is not just a good time to take stock of your own health, but also that of your pets. Our resident natural vet Paul Boland offers a full MOT for your dogs and cats to help them avoid unnecessary medication (page 56).
As face oils are replacing moisturizers and handwashes replacing bars of soap as the new must-haves, check out our favourites in our Healthy Shopping section (page 83 on the magazine).
Raw-food chef Mark'eta Bola offers a master class in sensual spices (page 63) and our Food as Medicine columnist Annemarie Colbin argues that the best way to deal with a fever is to warm it up rather than trying to cool it down (page 66).
And find out about resonant frequency, and how it may well be the best drug of all (page 68 on the magazine).