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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Watching Dr. Oz 9/14/11: Arsenic in Apple Juice and Anti-Aging Super Foods

The Dr. Oz Show
Airdate: September 14, 2011
Dr. Oz: Arsenic in Apple Juice

  • Is arsenic in your apple juice?
  • Slow down the aging process with these 4 super foods
It is considered a healthy drink choice for kids and adults. Even Dr. Oz has recommended it as a beneficial beverage which could be used to help reduce the intake of sugar-filled drinks. Yet on today's Dr. Oz Show he rethinks the safety of this common and decidedly very American drink.

How can arsenic get into apple juice, cookies, cakes, snack bars, blended juice drinks? Is the juice that our nation's children drink on a near daily basis be toxic? What can you do to limit your exposure and your family's exposure to arsenic in juice?

The Dr. Oz Show conducted independent laboratory studies of major brand apple juice drink boxes and the results stunned Dr. Oz as well as his audience.

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Dr. Oz: Arsenic in Apple Juice

Pesticides containing inorganic arsenic are applied to apples harvested in China. The water supply in China contains higher levels of naturally occurring organic arsenic than in the U.S. Harvested Chinese apples are juiced to create juice concentrates that are exported to the U.S. Once here, the concentrate is mixed with water that also has trace amounts of organic arsenic increasing slightly the total amount of total arsenic in the finished product.

The imported and reconstituted juice concentrate is then used to produce apple juice as well as used as an ingredient in other processed foods such as cookies, cakes, snack bars and other blended juice drinks.

Apples grown in Argentina and Brazil are similarly sprayed with arsenic containing pesticides which are also exported to America to be made into the same drinks and snacks.

Visiting a park in New York, Dr. Oz asked moms and their kids what drink they enjoy after an energetic day on the playground. Apple juice. Not one of the moms were aware of the startling fact that the apple juice they were giving their children, universally considered a healthy drink choice, may contain what, to many, is considered unacceptable levels of arsenic.

Dr. Oz took those very juice boxes that the New York moms were going to give their children, giving them water instead, and tested the juice in an independent laboratory. He also tested juice boxes purchased in supermarkets across the country.

The EPA has set limits for the level of acceptable total arsenic in our drinking water at 10 parts per billion (ppb). Arsenic is an element found naturally in the ground, called organic arsenic, where it can seep into the water table. According to the EPA's website, this organic arsenic is naturally found in our environment from rocks and soil to volcanic activity. We humans also use another form arsenic, inorganic, as a wood preserver, in agricultural pesticides, paints and even soap.

Negative health effects from short- and long-term exposure to arsenic are startling:

Human exposure to arsenic can cause both short and long term health effects.  Short or acute effects can occur within hours or days of exposure. Long or chronic effects occur over many years. Long term exposure to arsenic has been linked to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidneys, nasal passages, liver and prostate. Short term exposure to high doses of arsenic can cause other adverse health effects, but such effects are unlikely to occur from U.S. public water supplies that are in compliance with the arsenic standard. EPA Website: Basic information about the arsenic rule

If arsenic in drinking water is unsafe to the extent that the government has set limits on the allowable amount Americans consume why is this same standard not applied to apple juice and other products?

Russell Greenfield, MD author of Healthy Child, Whole Child says that the EPA has done a great job to limit the amount of arsenic in water but the FDA needs to step up and look at the issue of the very same arsenic entering the food supply through other channels and put limits on those sources as well.

Patty Lovera with Food and Water Watch informed Dr. Oz that the FDA looks at less than 2% of the food products imported to U.S. every year. The focus of the agency is not on this issue. In fact, the FDA states that the level of arsenic in apple juice is not a health or safety concern.

In filing a Freedom of Information Act request, Dr. Oz found that apple juice is not the only drink that has concerning levels of arsenic. In 2008, the FDA became concerned about the total level of arsenic in pear juice from pears grown in China, packaged into juice and sold in the U.S. Subsequently, the FDA set a “level of concern” for pear juice at 26ppb.

Dr. Oz is not saying that arsenic is causing cancer in our children but, he said that arsenic levels in apple juice in American is unacceptable.

The Dr. Oz Show tested 36 samples of 5 different apple juice brands that were purchased throughout the U.S. The results where eye-opening:

Minute Maid: lowest test result: 2; highest test result 3
Apple and Eve (conventional): lowest test result 3; highest test result 11
Mott's: lowest test result 4; highest test result 16
Juicey Juice: lowest test result 2; highest test result 22
Gerber: lowest test result 6; highest test result 36

The findings are worrisome. Gerber brand apple juice tested for total arsenic at a level 3 times above the allowable limits set for drinking water.

A mother in the audience shared that she didn't have soda in her house over concerns of sugar levels yet she does have apple juice in the cupboard.

A father, also in the audience, stated he couldn't fully express the emotional intensity he was feeling over the idea that this was happening in his own home that he was potentially poisoning his children by giving them apple juice containing levels of arsenic higher than those allowed in drinking water.

To be clear, Dr. Oz stated that a single box of apple juice is not going to cause harm. The concern is chronic, repeated exposure.

What about the arsenic levels of the juice boxes from the park that Dr. Oz swapped out for water?
Juicey Juice actual juice box from the park: tested at 12ppb
The mother who gave Dr. Oz the box said she was outraged.
Motts actual juice box from the park: tested at16ppb
Apple and Eve organic juice box from the park: tested at 4ppb

The FDA declined to appear on the Dr. Oz show to respond to concerns. They did send a statement saying sampling thus far does not indicate a safety concern so far. The FDA says the average person drinks 4oz of juice per day however the juice boxes sold in store average around 6.7oz. It's not uncommon for a child, or even an adult to drink more than one juice box per day. Further, the FDA says that the American public drinks far more water than apple juice on a daily basis.

Dr. Oz asked the FDA why there was no level set for apple juice and he was directed to file a Freedom of Information Act petition to access the information.

The 5 juice companies whose products were tested also declined to appear on the show. Gerber sent a statement saying they adhere to manufacturing standards. Motts stated they stand by the quality of their product. The Juice Product Association, an organization representing the interests of juice industry manufacturers, also declined to be on be on the show.

Dr. Oz believes there should be a limit set on the amount of arsenic in apple juice and that logically that level should be the same for drinking water.

What should you do if you're concerned about the levels of arsenic in apple juice?
  • Look at the label of your juice box and see where it comes from. Apple juice from apples grown in the U.S. do not contain as much arsenic as apples grown in other countries. Look for juice that states “US concentrate”.
  • Organic apple juice tested for arsenic at levels lower than the amount allowed for drinking water.
  • Make your choice known at the cash registers.
  • Contact the FDA and manufactures to let them know how you feel about levels or arsenic in apple juice.

Contact information for all of the juice companies that were tested are available on Dr. Oz's website.

Dr. Oz has also provided a tip sheet to help consumers read box labels and determine where apples were grown.
Dr. Oz: Are you aging too fast?

You may look young outside but are you aging too fast on the inside?
Looking at the healthy of three organs can help you get a better picture of your over-all health.

Dr. Oz: Aging and The Heart
The female heart is about the size of a fist and should be small and flexible. When the heart is not doing so well, it's enlarged and heavy.
Does your heart race after walking up 2 flights of stairs?

Dr. Oz: Aging and The Kidneys
This vital organ is responsible not only for getting rid of urine, it's also important for the health of the bones and it metabolizes vitamin d.
If you don't get enough nutrition the body is going to age prematurely. The vital organs need vitamins and minerals from food to in order to complete all their important jobs.
High blood pressure number one concern Dr. Oz thinks about when it comes to the health of the liver. Swelling of the legs or belly can be indicators that the liver may not be functioning as well as it could.

Dr. Oz: Aging and The Brain
High blood pressure can turn areas of the brain black instead of its' normal, healthy white color indicating areas where there may have been a stroke which can cause memory loss. Dr. Oz recommends to be on top of any changes in memory which could be an indication that there are small injuries to brain.
Do you forget everyday things?
Have there been changes to your handwriting?

Dr. Oz recommends taking 2 baby aspirin every day as a preventive measure to concerns over the health of the heart, kidneys and brain. He says it's a simple solution that can cost as little as $0.03 per day.

I've got to say that I disagree with Dr. Oz's recommendation. Sure, he's a licensed medical practitioner and I've simply worked in a health foods store. The research I've read indicates that taking daily, low-dose aspirin ranging from 75mg to 81mg comes with potentially serious side effects. According to The Mayo Clinic:

Daily aspirin therapy may lower your risk of heart attack and stroke, but daily aspirin therapy isn't for everyone. Is it right for you?
You should consider daily aspirin therapy only if you've had a heart attack or stroke, or you have a high risk of either. And then, only take aspirin with your doctor's approval. Although taking an occasional aspirin or two is safe for most adults to use for headaches, body aches or fever, daily use of aspirin can have serious side effects, including internal bleeding.

The website goes on to discuss the possible complications and side effects of daily aspirin:

  • Hemorrhagic stroke. While daily aspirin can help prevent a clot-related stroke, it may increase your risk of a bleeding stroke (hemorrhagic stroke).
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding. Daily aspirin use increases your risk of developing a stomach ulcer. And, if you have a bleeding ulcer, taking aspirin will cause it to bleed more, perhaps to a life-threatening extent.
  • Allergic reaction. If you're allergic to aspirin, taking any amount of aspirin can trigger a serious allergic reaction.
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and hearing loss. Too much aspirin (overdosing) can cause tinnitus and eventual hearing loss in some people.

If you're taking aspirin and need a surgical procedure or dental work, be sure to tell the surgeon or dentist that you take daily aspirin and how much. Otherwise you risk excessive bleeding during surgery.

Dr. Oz Super Foods!

Best way to stop aging, prevent disease, fight weight is to make healthy food choices.

Viewers were asked what their super foods were and they answered: pasta, birthday cake, pizza, and pickles. Pickles?
Pickles are low in calories, low in fat, low in sugar and high in vitamin K which supports the clotting factor in the body playing a role in healing after bruising. Pickles are a fermented food which also supports healthy digestion by providing probiotics.

Dr. Oz Super Food #1: Salmon
Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids which promotes heart health. If you don't like fish then try supplements of fish oil or omega-3. Taking vegetarian omega-3 tablets or enteric-coated omega-3 supplements can help you avoid the fishy taste or fishy burp-up effect.
Dr. Oz recommends eating salmon 2-3 times a week.

Dr. Oz Super Food #2: Sweet Potatoes
The orange color of sweet potatoes comes from it's high carotinoid content, or vitamin A, which supports skin health and is necessary for the optimal functioning of the eyes.
Dr. Oz recommends eating sweet potatoes 2-3 times a week.

Dr. Oz Super Food #3: White Kidney Beans
White kidney beans are an Italian bean also known as canellini beans. Beans in general are high in protein, fiber and also contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Fiber and protein both play roles in balancing blood sugar levels and provide a feeling of fullness.
Dr. Oz recommends eating 3-4 servings per week.

Dr. Oz likes to recommend specific types of beans and says that it's really high in protein. While he is correct, the way he presents a specific bean gives people the impression that one type of bean is far superior to another which is not necessarily the case. Many times customers at my store would ask for a specific bean, an uncommon bean, discussed on The Dr. Oz show for it's high protein content. We carried a huge selection of the most common beans both dried and canned but on occasion wouldn't carry “the” bean.

I looked online for a comparison of protein content in beans and found that based on a one cup serving most beans weigh in with 13-18g of protein: white kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, red kidney beans and so on. The real protein powerhouse in the bean world is soy bean. When roasted, soy beans contain 68g of protein per cup. WOW!

Dr. Oz Super Food #4: Kale
Dr. Oz believes that kale is the number one most important food to help reduce your risk of cancer. This leaf green comes in a variety of shapes and colors from crinkled green to a more flat leaf to red leaves. Eat kale raw in a salad, add to soups at the end of cooking, gently saute with olive oil and garlic for a satisfying side dish. Cooking kale for more than 5 minutes brings out bitter flavors which most people find unappetizing.
Dr. Oz recommends eating 2 servings of kale per week.

Chef Marjorie Johnson, one of the oldest chef in America showed the audience how to make a meal incorporating all the ingredients discussed: White Bean Salad, Sweet Potato French Fries, Salmon andPomegrante cranberry kale.
Find the recipes on

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