Reprinted from the book SEXY FOREVER by SUZANNE SOMERS. Copyright © 2010 by SUZANNE SOMERS. Published by Crown Archetype, a division of Random House, Inc.
PART I: What's Making—and Keeping—Us Fat?
THE TOXIC CONNECTION: THE HEART OF THE PROBLEM
For the first time in the history of the world, every human
being is now subjected to contact with dangerous chemicals,
from the moment of conception until death.
—RACHEL CARSON, SILENT SPRING
EXPERTS WEIGH IN: WHAT ARE YOU UNKNOWINGLY TAKING IN?
Most of us are aware of toxins to which we are exposed in our food,
water, and air; however, we are also surrounded by hidden ones. I
asked Brenda Watson, author of The Detox Strategy, where else we
are unknowingly taking them in. Her answer will shock you:
Let's begin with your bed. There are several ingredients that your body
absorbs while you sleep, including toluene, a chemical linked to birth
defects and emitted from the polyurethane foam that makes your bed
so comfy, and perfluorooctanoic acid, a chemical that makes fabrics
stain resistant but which is a hormone disruptor linked to ADHD in children.
Then there are fire-retardant chemicals, some linked to learning disabilities and thyroid dysfunction, and some, like antimony, linked to
heart and lung problems. As of July 1, 2007, all mattresses manufactured
or imported into the United States must be treated with these
fire-retardant chemicals. How about your carpet? Most likely it is synthetic
and full of these same stain- and fire-resistant chemicals. When
you brush your teeth, you know that warning label that says to keep
your toothpaste out of reach of children under the age of six? Well,
this label exists because your toothpaste exposes you to sodium fluoride,
which is linked to enzyme disruption and thyroid problems. Also in
your toothpaste may be sodium lauryl sulfate, which is linked to organ
and reproductive toxicity, and triclosan, an antibacterial agent that's
registered as a pesticide with the EPA and is linked to organ toxicity
and possibly cancer. Most mouthwash contains formaldehyde and
ammonia, several flavoring and coloring chemicals, as well as some
chemicals that have leached from the plastic in the bottle. It's a huge
problem, and difficult to minimize.
Depending on the type of shampoo and soaps you are using, you
expose yourself to coloring agents, dyes, artificial preservatives, and
propylene glycol, a suspected carcinogen. Most antiperspirants contain
aluminum zirconium, which is toxic to the nervous and reproductive
systems; a chemical called BHT, believed to be a hormone disruptor
and neurotoxin; other chemicals that give the products their distinctive
smell; and then there is more of that propylene glycol, linked to irritation
and immune system toxicity.
If you dry-clean your clothes, you're exposed to a plethora of chemicals,
including perchloroethylene (PCE), a chemical believed to be capable
of causing cancer, especially in the liver and kidneys. It is also
shown to affect developing fetuses. Even if you don't get your clothes
dry-cleaned, what about synthetic fibers in your clothing (think polyester),
which may be giving off small molecules of plasticizer fumes?
It goes on and on. It's in your makeup, cosmetics, hair spray (its ingredients
can affect your nervous, reproductive, and immune systems),
hair gel, mousse, and cream conditioner, which are equally toxic.
How did it get like this? How did our beautiful planet become so contaminated?
Our waters no longer run clean, our precious air is polluted,
and oil has gushed into the Gulf of Mexico, contaminating our shores
and our seafood. Chemicals are everywhere—in our homes, in our
offices, in our gardens, and most unfortunately, in our bodies. And this
toxicity is making us very unhealthy and very fat.
Remember this: you must be healthy to lose weight!
First, let's examine what the word toxin means. A toxin is a poisonous
substance; it's taken from the Greek word toxikon, which means "arrow
For our purposes, there are two types of toxins: environmental and
internal. Environmental toxins include household chemicals, industrial
pollutants, food additives, and pesticides. Internal toxins consist of waste
products created by normal metabolic processes within the body. These
toxins are produced as a result of our digestive system breaking down
proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
We are bombarded with external toxins: car exhaust, paint fumes, industrial
solvents, plasticizers, household cleaning products. Every breath
we take is laden with tiny amounts of pollutants and poisons. I was hugging
my little granddaughter the other day and I said, "You always smell
so clean and fresh," but then I realized her clean clothes smelled like the
laundry detergent and fabric softener her mom used, the same ones I had
been using for so many years.
I used to spray my house with aerosol room fresheners and clean with
foaming chemical cleansers; I used hair spray and tanning lotions and cosmetics
laden with chemicals. We have all grown accustomed to the daily
conveniences of modern life, but we don't make the connection between
these and our unexplained weight gain and ailments. How about that
new-car smell? You got it—it's a chemical. And it's making you fat.
Kids are now born with this crazy toxic burden, which is a tragedy. The
researchers at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) examined the
cord blood, which circulates between a baby and its mother's placenta,
of infants born in U.S. hospitals to study how many toxins are passed on.
The results were startling: the EWG found that newborns begin their lives with exposure to as many as 287 of the 413 toxic chemicals being
studied. A range of between 154 and 231 toxins were found per baby, and
101 toxins were found in all of the babies. The 287 toxins included 180
chemical compounds that have been shown to cause cancer in either animals
Once we're born, we go on to accumulate tiny traces of poison every
day. We have pollutants in the air we breathe both indoors and out, our
food, our water, our soil, our backyards and gardens. Ever wonder how
come you never see a bug in a grocery store? Ever wonder why you don't
see insects or rodents in hotels, even with all the room service trays left
around? Hmmmm . . . must be the chemical spray. Yes, supermarkets, hotels,
and most places of business are routinely sprayed with pesticides, so
that we never have to endure the sight of those little critters. But at what
cost to our health?
We spray weed killers like Round-Up as if they were some miracle. According
to Dr. Russell Blaylock, renowned neuroscientist and one of my
dear friends, "The ‘miracle' is that there is an 800 percent increased risk
of multiple myeloma [a cancer of the white blood cells] connected with
users of Round-Up." In Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks
trucks proudly state on the sides, "We use Round-Up!" They are spraying
it everywhere, and we are breathing it, walking through it, sitting on
green lawns covered in it, playing in it, and worst of all, contaminating
our food with it.
According to Brenda Watson in her book The Detox Strategy, "Our diets
and health are unfortunately largely controlled by three giant sectors and
driving forces of the economy: food and agricultural corporations, including
processed food giants; pharmaceutical companies; and the chemical
and manufacturing industry, which aims to create unnaturally occurring
products that may be superior in some ways to naturally occurring ones,
yet incredibly harmful to humans in other ways. Because these three sectors
are huge economic generators we are led to believe their activities
are okay, that processed and chemically altered or modified foods and
agriculture, as well as chemically engineered goods and drugs, are actually better than what nature would provide. But this is far from the truth.
They may be better in the sense that they make our lives easier, but the
cost is exposure to potentially harmful substances."
There are many of us saying the same thing. We are
noticing what has happened. We are noticing that
business is in control of our environment, our food,
and our health. But the majority of the population is
in a fog. In this case, ignorance is not bliss. And
wearing blinders to the dangers of toxicity is
to invite disease, obesity, and a shortened life.
Let's talk about some of the areas where ignorance is leading us to dangerous
grounds. Take fluoride. How did its widespread use come about?
Fluoride is a huge problem for humans despite what the American Dental
Association (ADA) has to say about it. It's crucial to install reverse osmosis
filters on all your faucets, including in showers and bathtubs, for
protection, but fluoride eats away at the filters, so they must be changed
every three months. If fluoride does that to a filter in three months, imagine
what it is doing inside your body! "You have to understand it's all a
payoff system," says Dr. Russell Blaylock. "Fluoride is a waste product.
Communities keep trying to refuse it, and they come back every year and
try again. They offer cities contracts, government contracts, and dangle
the possibility that they are going to do a big project if this community
agrees to fluoridate the water supply.
"Fluoride is one of the most poisonous substances on earth. It tends
to accumulate in the body, particularly in the bones, thyroid gland, and
brain. It lowers IQ. It's associated with Down syndrome, and it triggers
toxicity in the human body. But the people who are promoting it (primarily
the government and the ADA) have so much influence through the
media that you really can't get the truth out. People are just not aware
how enormously toxic fluoride is, particularly when combined with aluminum. When you mix them together, which is what happens in drinking
water, they combine chemically and form a substance that acts as a
false transmitter for what are called G protein receptors in brain cells, as
well as other cells, and wreak all kinds of havoc. We also find that some
tumor cells have these G-type receptors, some of which are glutamate
(chemical) receptors, and that fluoride activates them." So this connects
to the findings that fluoride increases cancer growth and cancer mortality.
Plus, its toxicity to your body makes you fat. Imagine—you can get fat
from your drinking water.
PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are another major source of our toxic
burden and need to be eliminated from our bodies. PCBs are highly toxic
chemicals found in adults and also in the cord blood of newborns! PCBs
were originally manufactured for use as coolants in electrical transformers,
and then they went on to serve many other industrial uses. Because
they were found to be so toxic and dangerous to our health, PCBs have
been banned worldwide since the 1970s. Yet they are so persistent in the
environment that they are still found in fish, animals, and people. For example,
they are found in cattle feed, which then makes its way into the
cow, then into the milk and meat, and ultimately into human stomachs.
Stay with me. Solutions are on the way, but having knowledge is vital!
In global samplings of butter, the highest levels of PCBs have been found in butter made in Europe and North America.
WHAT ABOUT PLASTICS?
For the sake of convenience we have enjoyed the ease and convenience
of nonstick pots and pans, and we have untold ways of using plastic in the
kitchen, from soft sandwich bags to hard storage containers and bottles.
These conveniences make modern life much easier than it once was, but
again, at what cost to our health?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is an ingredient used to make a wide variety of plastic
goods and to line metal food and drink cans (that's why those canned
products slip so easily out of the can). The convenience is hardly worth
this toxin, which is associated with birth defects of the male and female reproductive
systems. What is troubling is that BPA is unregulated, allowed
in unlimited amounts in consumer products, drinking water, and food.
Our Teflon-coated pots and pans have been touted as the nonstick miracle,
but unfortunately the toxins from Teflon stay forever in the environment
and in your body. When Teflon is heated, the chemicals emitted
into the air will kill some birds if they are in the same room. What do you
suppose this off-gassing is doing to us?
Aluminum also has been linked to Alzheimer's, as it is a powerful
neurotoxin that damages brain cells. Yet it is found in a number of our
everyday products, including the vaccines given regularly to children. Almost
all water and food contain some form of aluminum, as it is used by
municipal water supplies as a flocculating agent to remove dirt. It is also
widely used in food processing, foil and utensils, antiperspirants, paints,
cosmetics, and baking powders as well as over-the-counter painkillers,
anti-inflammatory drugs, antacids, and douche preparations (ouch!).
Look in your kitchen right now and see how many of these products
you use on a daily basis. You will start to see the enormous size of the
toxic burden we are all carrying in our bodies, residing in our fat. Think of
your most-stuffed storage closet. What do you do when you can't fit any
more in it? You enlarge the closet to hold all the contents. That's what is
happening to you. The more toxins you take in, the more fat is required
to store them.
A little knowledge (which is what we call ignorance) is, in
fact, a dangerous thing. Almost everyone, at least in the
industrialized world, knows that drinking water from a fi lthy
pond or polluted lake can cause life-threatening diarrhea, but
still only a few realize that holding on to resentment, anger,
and fear, or eating fast foods, chemical additives, and artifi cial
sweeteners, is no less dangerous than drinking polluted water;
it may just take a little longer to kill a person than a tiny
Major ailments are now so commonplace that we pay little attention to
how widespread they have become: asthma, diabetes, fibromyalgia, infertility,
Parkinson's disease, bone cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma, as well
as autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Hashimoto's
Toxin-induced sicknesses are growing like weeds. Yet we haven't connected
the dots. Toxins make us fat and make us sick, and are the missing
piece to the puzzle of why we can't lose weight and why we feel so lousy.
Where is the tipping point? What chemical, what fume, what pesticide,
what toxin is the one that puts you over the top?
Obesity rates have more than doubled in the past thirty years. Doesn't
it raise the question of why? Toxins make you fat. It's that simple, and that
complex. Here's why. Mitochondria are the little powerhouses inside every living cell in
your body. They provide power for your cells by creating energy from
fats and sugars, thereby driving your metabolism and fueling your whole
When toxins enter your body the buildup damages the mitochondria,
your cellular power plants, so they no longer work effectively. As a result, fats and sugars that aren't being burned for fuel pile up all over the body
in the form of extra pounds. Also, without the mitochondria working optimally,
you lose your physical energy. You see it every day—middle-aged
people who are out of gas, have no energy, always feel sluggish. Is that
you? If so, you probably don't have the energy to exercise, and this fatigue
causes food cravings, usually for sugar and carbohydrates. So now there's
a domino effect—but you are the one getting knocked down, while you
get fatter and fatter.
Every one of us is living in a toxic world.
We are under the greatest environmental assault in the history of mankind.
Toxins are everywhere; they're in our homes, our offices, the air
we breathe, the water we drink, the food we consume, the cosmetics and
creams we put on our bodies. Just by living in this day and age we build
up a toxic load. These toxins move throughout the bloodstream alongside
the nutrients, the oxygen and other essentials, our bodies need. These
man-made chemicals, originally designed to help us live better lives, were
never intended to be inside of us. At some point these toxins reach critical
mass in our bodies, and then we're in trouble. What microwaved food
covered in plastic, or diet soda, or trans-fat-laden fast-food burger, or pesticide
will be the tipping point to toxic overload and an entrée to disease
BEAST OF BURDEN
Americans' average toxic burden is higher than it's ever been. And the
obesity rate in this country is off the charts. So connect the dots. It's not a
coincidence. Scientific studies show a strong correlation between levels of
toxic burden, higher body weight, and the risk of diabetes.
Yet not all people who carry a toxic burden are fat. Some people are better at fighting back, but this toxic load will surface in ways other than
obesity: fatigue, autoimmune diseases such as lupus or fibromyalgia, cancer,
allergies, and food intolerances to wheat, gluten, dairy, and sugar.
Toxic overload comes on slowly, one day at a time, one year at a time,
with the symptoms creeping up and getting worse and worse. It starts
with relatively benign things like exhaustion, and then more serious conditions
erupt such as asthma, gut disturbances, food intolerances, depression,
arthritis, heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's, and diabetes. These are
all terrible conditions and diseases that are debilitating to the human body.
NOWHERE TO RUN
No matter how the toxins get into our bodies, whether through the lungs,
stomach, or skin, they all meet the liver at some point and from there get
sent to the kidneys and colon for elimination, become trapped in bones,
muscles, tissues, or other organs, or they get locked in the liver itself, or
they get stored away in fat cells!
The fact that many toxins get trapped in fat cells deserves special attention.
Fat cells don't get broken down easily, so the toxins literally weigh
the body down. If you carry excess fat, burning up that fat releases toxins
into the bloodstream for proper removal. As toxins accumulate, they act
in unsuspected ways. You begin to experience health problems like allergies,
colds, migraines, and infertility, or major diseases like breast cancer
Avoiding fat-soluble toxins sounds like a solution, but it is very difficult
to do. We are constantly exposed to fat-soluble toxic chemicals used as
solvents, glues, paints, or cleaning products. Toluene and benzene are solvents
(meaning they are capable of dissolving other substances) that we
typically encounter in daily life when we pump gas, shop for clothes, buy
a new car, or pick up the dry cleaning.
These fat-soluble chemicals collect in the fatty tissues of the body
rather than being excreted quickly. They are particularly damaging to
people who are deficient in nutrients called essential fatty acids, because a body deprived of essential fats is a body that will grab on to most any
oily substances, even toxic substances like diesel fuel! These compounds
can cause liver and kidney damage as well as skin irritation. This information
is depressing, right? I know I sound like doom and gloom in contrast
to my usual optimistic self. Stay with me. Solutions are coming, but first,
know thy enemy.
It is clear that daily exposure to toxins makes us ill. Some people will
develop conditions sooner than others, but if you do not change your
diet and lifestyle, toxicity will most likely affect you at some point. But
there is another dimension to the definition of what is a toxin that is frequently
overlooked. And substances you wouldn't normally view as toxic
or poisonous absolutely can be: pharmaceutical drugs, excessive caffeine,
even alcohol. I point this out so you don't deceive yourself that things
like over-the-counter painkillers and tequila are good for you. They are
instead toxic to our system; they are foreign substances to the body, especially
your liver, which has to process all of them. A cup of coffee a day
and the occasional glass of red wine or tequila shooter can be handled by
the body if the toxic burden you are carrying is under control. We are
going to learn how to reduce this burden on your body so that these pleasures
can be enjoyed.
DETOX FOR HEALTH
Detoxification is a constant bodily process. We are continually eliminating
toxins through our digestive, urinary, skin, circulatory, respiratory,
and lymphatic systems. Nature is wondrous and has thought it all out for
us. These systems are brilliant, but sad to say, these marvelous systems
are being taxed to the point of near uselessness by the chemical onslaught
of today's world. We regularly consume poor-quality food contaminated
by pesticides and animal proteins that have been injected with chemicals
such as antibiotics and growth hormones. As a result, people today are
sick and fat, with detoxification systems that just are not able to cope.
The word detoxification also relates to the treatments employed to help support the function of these natural detoxification channels. In this sense
detoxification is about taking an active role in stimulating your body's innate
ability to cleanse itself.
Most people think of colon cleansing as the only way to detoxify, but
this is a very narrow view. Detoxing is not about taking a laxative and
going on with your poor diet and lifestyle habits. It's about doing internal
cleanses on a regular basis, changing your diet to healthy, nonpoisonous
(organic) food, using fresh herbs and spices as natural antioxidants, and
switching out household cleaners to green nontoxic ones. The more you
reduce your toxic burden, the faster you will experience improved health
and a thinner body. Toxins are very difficult to eliminate, and you have to
make a concerted effort to reduce your personal toxic burden if you are to
have true hope for success.
WHY A HEALTHY LIVER IS KEY TO LOSING WEIGHT
Body fat accumulation, especially around the midsection, suggests that
your liver is not functioning as efficiently as it could. Detoxification is the
way to a healthy liver—and a slim waistline.
When your liver works efficiently, it's much easier to lose weight. If
your liver gets overloaded, increased levels of toxins will be circulating
in your blood, and those toxins can damage your organs and glands and
interfere with their ability to function properly. Toxicity confuses your
body and creates poor health. As a result, you cannot metabolize well,
you will have no energy, you will not absorb nutrients essential to life,
and you won't be able to fight disease. If your liver is sluggish and bile
production is insufficient, instead of breaking down fat and processing it
your liver stores it away, usually in a big spare tire around your middle.
Constant stress on the liver interferes with both bile production and detoxification, leading to stress, fatigue, weight gain, and toxic buildup inside
So what puts extra stress on your liver and interferes with your liver's
ability to efficiently detoxify? Here is a list of just a few of the most common
• Sugar and artificial sweeteners.
• Trans-fatty acids (found in partially hydrogenated oils). Partial
hydrogenation of vegetable oil is a process that turns healthy oils
into essentially "plastic" oil and creates killer trans-fatty acids.
• Most over-the-counter pain relievers and practically all prescription
drugs, including blood pressure medications and cholesterol lowering
• Regular alcohol consumption. Two servings (preferably of red
wine) a couple of times a week is fine; more than that becomes
toxic to your system. Look for organic wine as a best choice, sold
at stores like Whole Foods.
• Constipation. If the colon is backed up, the liver dumps the toxins
into the cells and the toxins build up in the body. Regular
colonics, enemas, or coffee enemas are good ways of irrigating
the colon and cleaning out constipation.
Therefore, if during any given day you put artificial sweetener in your
coffee, eat at a fast-food restaurant, take an Advil, pop down your daily
Lipitor prescription, and are constipated from toxins and lack of exercise,
then accept that you have totally messed with the natural function of your
liver, your vital detoxification organ. Most Americans are doing this on a
daily basis. And we wonder why we are sick and fat!
When you couple your toxic burden with hormonal imbalance, the
combination is a setup for weight gain and disease.
If you are overweight, you are not healthy. If you are
not hormonally balanced, you are not healthy.
If you consume, live with, breathe, or bathe in chemicals, you are not
healthy, and that pretty much includes everyone on the planet. Not to
worry. I have a plan for detoxing and losing weight.
WHAT ARE WE EATING?
Food is now nothing more than plastic for people's mouth
—DR. STEVEN NELSON
Family meals are a ritual of the past. Now instead, children
graze or forage; but unlike previous hunter gatherers, they
do not come up against a scarcity of food, but rather a surfeit
of it. Nothing is easier for them than to overindulge, and the
appetite grows with the feeding. Their tastes never develop
beyond the most instantly gratifying types of food; sugary and
fatty, and they eat like children for the rest of their lives.
—WALL STREET JOURNAL
We now know that chemicals are everywhere and that they are insidious.
The toxic load they put on the body is awful, but there is another reason
they impede weight loss. Here it is: our bodies crave nutrients, yet we
eat foods and so-called diet foods that have no real nutritional value. This leaves us craving more and more of this bad food, and as a result we eat
more and more chemicals and more and more preservatives. We ignorantly
consume genetically modified foods, not realizing that these foods
are void of nutrition and can lead to weight gain and disease.
No one knows the long-term dangers
of these new engineered foods.
Why do we keep trying to outthink Mother Nature?
Look at corn and soy. They are some of the top genetically modified
crops. You think you're choosing a healthy alternative, but you're not.
All genetically modified (GM) soy contains fat, which is a great carrier of
toxins. A high soy intake has been linked with lower thyroid function, so
if you are switching to soy products for health and weight loss, it could
actually be working against you.
Before we go further, it might help to know what I mean by genetically
modified foods. These are foods that have been genetically altered
to withstand spraying with pesticides or to introduce other new characteristics.
In modifying the seed, we don't know what other effects might
result. Might the modification produce new toxins? Trigger allergies? Increase
antibiotic resistance? In a recent study of rats fed a diet exclusively
of genetically modified foods, all the rats developed organ damage, and
In the movie Food Inc., writer Michael Pollan says, "The way we eat has
changed more in the last fifty years than in the previous ten thousand. You
go into the supermarket and you see pictures of farmers, the picket fence,
the silo, the thirties farmhouse, and the green grass. It's the spinning of
this pastoral fantasy. The American supermarket has on average forty seven
thousand products. There are no seasons in the American supermarket.
Now there are tomatoes all year round, grown halfway around
the world, sprayed with pesticides, picked when they were green, and ripened with ethylene gas." It's the same with strawberries, bananas . . . and
the list goes on and on.
This is just the beginning. Until recently we just didn't think about
things like pesticides and ethylene gas. How are these new chemicals affecting
our health? We are now engineering our foods so that they don't
go bad in the refrigerator or become rancid as quickly. But at what price
Corn is the main ingredient in feed for chicken, hogs, and cattle. It's
cheap. In the United States today, 30 percent of our agricultural land base
is being planted with corn, largely driven by government policy. High fructose
corn syrup (HFCS) can be found in virtually everything, and
since its introduction in the 1950s, it has been one of the main contributors
to the incredible rise in diabetes here.
More smoke and mirrors:
The food industry is trying to change high-fructose corn syrup's name to "corn sugar."
Be on the lookout; it's the same bad stuff. According to Pollan, "Corn is the great raw material. You get that big fat kernel of starch and break it down and reassemble it." This is how
they make high-fructose corn syrup; it is also where we get maltodextrin,
diglycerides, and many of the other unpronounceable ingredients in processed
food that we've become so used to seeing. They are now part of
everyday life. We have to understand how widespread this is to grasp the
profound effect chemicals are having on our health and the rise in obesity.
When you go to a supermarket, what looks like a cornucopia of choice
is not. There is an illusion of diversity, but actually there are only a few
large companies involved, and so much of our industrial food turns out to
be clever rearrangements of corn.
Corn has conquered the world in a lot of ways. It is a remarkable plant,
and land that used to produce 20 bushels of corn an acre can now produce
200 bushels an acre, which is an astonishing achievement for breeders (I
wouldn't call them farmers any longer). Chemical fertilizers also deserve
credit, as do pesticides.
But again I ask: at what cost to us is this remarkable achievement? Disease
and obesity are at all-time highs. A diet of high-fructose corn syrup
and refined carbohydrates leads to spikes of insulin and gradually a wearing
down of the system by which our body metabolizes sugar.
We're now even feeding corn to fish. Whether we are eating farmed
tilapia or salmon, we're eating corn. Think about it—we are teaching
fish to eat corn, and cattle have been retrained to go against their natural
evolutionary inclinations to eat grass. Now we are feeding them corn to
fatten them up cheaply. Yes, corn is high in starch and is fattening—very
fattening—and our protein is being fed a diet of it. Then we are eating that
animal, which fattens us up. Add to that the numerous products we all
have on our pantry shelves loaded with corn derivatives, and you get the
The industrial food system is always looking for greater efficiency, but
many new steps in efficiency lead to problems. One result: feed corn to
cattle and the dangerous E. coli O157:h7 bacterium hits the world stage.
How does this happen? It's their new diet of corn, which is not natural
for cattle, giving them infections and making them less healthy (and since
they are not getting the proper nutrients, we don't either). Combine
that with the overuse of antibiotics and the filth in feedlots where cattle
stand ankle deep in their manure all day long, and it's a recipe for disaster.
When these feces-covered cattle are sent to the slaughterhouse, they
are thrown on top of each other, and contaminated meat gets mixed up
with non-contaminated meat. That's how E. coli gets into our meat supply.
Remember the poor little boy who died from E. coli–tainted meat from a
Jack in the Box? This is the meat that ends up in fast-food restaurants, the
food of choice for the majority of Americans.
Gone are the pastures with cows lazily grazing on natural green grass.
Recently I drove up Highway 101 from southern California to Big Sur
for one of my favorite vacations, a stay at the Post Ranch Inn. Along the
way I was pleased and delighted to see gently rolling hills covered with
beautiful green grass, where brown and white cows were happily grazing.
In describing this pastoral scene to a supplier I work with, I proudly
pointed out that I had been touched by this beautiful scene. What she said
shocked me: "I know it looks perfect, but regrettably, this is not the end
stage; this is just a temporary stop on their way to the feedlots. Most all
American cows are sent to the feedlots, and once they get there, they are
all shoved together with no room to move. Then they are force-fed corn
to fatten them up. There's more money in fat cows. It's pretty difficult to
find grass-fed cows in the United States anymore."
Did you know that many countries ban American
beef? According to CNN, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan,
Japan, and South Korea have all banned U.S. beef
imports at some time in the last decade.
Yet according to Michael Pollan, if you take cattle off their corn diet,
within five days they will shed 80 percent of the dangerous strain of E. coli
in their gut. But does the cattle industry do this? No. Instead they use ammonium
hydroxide to try to kill it. Ammonia kills bacteria, but it doesn't
get to the root of the problem. The end result is more chemicals for us—
plus the added bonus of more disease and more obesity.
We need nutrients for survival. To be healthy and thin, we need real
food that has not been sprayed with poison or had its genes tinkered with.
Unfortunately, genetically modified foods are not labeled as such in the
United States. That is why organic food is the healthy choice—truly, the
only real food choice.
Harmful foods have invaded our pantries without most of us ever realizing
that by consuming them we are playing a huge part in contributing
to the epidemic of obesity and poor health. Think about the craziness of
this. The world is on a low-fat craze, yet obesity, heart disease, diabetes,
and cancer are at an all-time high! Obviously what we have been doing
isn't working. Low-fat foods, diet foods, and foods laden with chemicals
are not the answer.
The body operates on nutrients. They are essential to life and health.
You can't be healthy if you are not getting the proper nutrients, which
includes healthy oils. But things have gone so wrong in today's world, and
these changes are tragic for us.
Food is nowhere near as nutritious and nutrient-dense as it used to
be. For instance, take apples. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
apples today have fewer minerals than apples grown in 1990.
That means you have to eat more apples to get the same nutritional
value your grandparents received from eating just one! This is only one
example. Our fruits and vegetables are now largely grown in mineral depleted
soil, so the nutrient content is dramatically reduced compared to
before. Because of this, our bodies now require proper supplementation
to get the needed minerals and vitamins.
Essential nutrients play a big role in everything about your health,
including your ability to burn stored body fat and maintain a healthy
weight. If you don't get enough of the essential vitamins and minerals to
enable your organs and glands to function properly, your health will suffer.
Weight gain and degenerative disease are connected; a lack of nutrients
combined with the slowdown of our metabolisms creates hormonal
imbalance and sets our bodies up for disease. Unfortunately, not much
attention is paid to mineral deficiency in orthodox medicine. Yet replacement
helps to speed up the weight loss process, with the bonus of better
DRINKING IN OUR FAT
News flash: Artificial sweeteners make you fat! There is no such thing as "junk food," only "junk diets"!
—DR. HELEN A. GUTHRIE
Ever wonder why people who walk around all day drinking diet sodas are
not thin? The average diet soda addict drinks anywhere from a six-pack
to a case of diet soda daily. Because diet sodas are made from chemicals,
there are no nutrients for the body to extract, and this confuses the brain,
whose job it is to look at all food as building blocks. When you drink diet
soda, the brain finds nothing recognizable as nutrition to make healthy
cells; as a result, the brain tries again and again to get fed, triggering cravings
for more. When you are depleted because of toxicity, you tend to go
for sugars and carbohydrates . . . or more diet sodas. This results in more
and more chemicals and further activates cravings for foods that make
Diet sodas make you crave fattening foods.
I was appalled when the makers of soft drinks decided to oblige the
First Lady's campaign to end childhood obesity by banning sugared soft
drinks from vending machines in schools. Why? Surely it's great to get
rid of the soda . . . except the sugared versions are being replaced by diet
sodas! The chemicals in diet sodas have been directly linked to the worst
kinds of brain tumors and are major contributors to obesity.
According to Dr. Russell Blaylock, "There is powerful evidence that
MSG and other excitotoxic chemical food additives [such as the artifi cial
sweetener aspartame] induce extreme obesity that lasts a lifetime (it's related
to a loss of leptin receptors in the hypothalamus). Recent studies
have also shown that aspartame induces obesity in a number of people,
probably for the same reason. The rise in childhood obesity is accompanied
by a rise in metabolic syndrome, which is also produced by early
life exposure to MSG and probably aspartame. Often forgotten is that
soy contains high levels of glutamate and can trigger similar reactions
as MSG. Because so many children have been exposed to high levels of
MSG, as they age we see a large number of people from fi fty on with
uncontrollable obesity. The characteristic of this form of obesity is that it
is very difficult to remove with dieting and is quite resistant to exercise.
The astronomical rise in type 2 diabetes is in large part secondary to early
MSG exposure, and when combined with the massive intake of HFCS
[high-fructose corn syrup] and simple sugars, the rates go up even higher.
Stopping the excitotoxin exposure is vital for ending obesity and for the
sake of health for all people."
According to J. J. Virgin in Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy, "In a recent
study, rats were given sugar water and then rat food. They ate what they
needed to maintain their weight. Then the same rats were given artificially sweetened water, and again they ate what they needed to maintain
their weight. The problem arose when the rats went back to drinking the
sugar water, as they could no longer correlate the degree of sweetness
with the amount of calories, so they overate." When you eat sweet, you
crave sweet. As this author points out, "If you are trying to retrain your
taste buds to perceive a blueberry or an apple as delicious and sweet, it
will be impossible to do so if you keep confusing your taste buds to think
that artificially super-sweetened jam is the level of sweetness that sets the
bar." Again, not to worry. I will provide several natural sweetening solutions
in the coming chapters.
In order for a product to be labeled "artificial sweetener," it must contain chemicals—
stay away from them!
MYTH: TOXINS ARE HARMLESS IN SMALL AMOUNTS
At this point in your life, your body is weighed down by a toxic burden
and cannot handle any more chemicals. Fresh organic food is the best
place to start healing, and in eating it you feed the little powerhouses
(mitochondria) that fuel your weight loss and every vital system in your
body. Say goodbye to the chemicals and poisons you have unconsciously
taken in until now.
Unfortunately, we will never again be able to live an existence that is
devoid of chemicals and toxins unless we move to the most remote part of
the globe and eliminate all modern conveniences and technologies from
our lives, and even then acid rain and chemical-laden clouds would likely
be passing overhead. But don't be overwhelmed. Simple changes add up,
creating an internal environment predominantly made up of healthy cells
rather than unhealthy cells. This new ratio will change your health, and as
a result the pounds will drop away. Having a high ratio of healthy cells to
malfunctioning cells is a key to beating the present unavoidable environmental
assault. And it's key to staying Sexy Forever.
We can get fat because of overeating and lack of exercise, but in middle
age we now know there's more to it. When we're overweight we feel
fatigued, but this fatigue and the accompanying fat are, as we have established,
a result of environmental toxins. It's the toxins that make it impossible
for your body to absorb nutrients. When you don't absorb nutrients,
your body is essentially starving, which makes you hungry for more and
more food. But the body can't get what it needs because of this devastating
toxic burden. This cycle will not stop without intervention, and as a
result, you will gain more and more weight.
Without nutrients the body begins to decline in many ways. If you reduce
your load of toxins, you will have more energy and fewer pounds
of fat. When you start absorbing nutrients again, you won't crave poor quality
foods, and you will start gravitating to foods that have high
nutritional content. The body is smart, but it can't help you out when
chemicals are blocking all entryways for nutrition. Imagine trying to run
your car without gas.
But just getting rid of the fat doesn't get rid of the toxins. They are reabsorbed
into your body and new fat immediately starts to collect. This is
what creates the vicious cycle.
HELLO TV DINNERS, GOODBYE HEALTH
We need to retrain ourselves to eat as we were meant to eat. I believe one
of the ways we got started on this path was with TV dinners. When I was
a kid, I used to beg my mother to buy TV dinners. I thought they were a
treat, but when you actually think about it, TV dinners are a form of poison.
Let's just start with the aluminum trays, which we heated on high. (If
you recall, you used to be able to taste the aluminum.) So right there you
have a big dose of heavy metals, which have been linked to brain tumors,
among many other things. The food itself was of poor quality and non-nutritious.
The oils used were bad. And the most exciting part of the meal
was the gooey, sugary, apple-y, chemical-y thing they called dessert.
TV dinners began our transition from real nutrition to toxic, chemical filled food, and the obesity rate rose commensurately, as did rates of diabetes,
heart disease, and cancer.
Don't be afraid of real food. If you want to stay Sexy Forever, first and
most important, you must eat real food—in other words, foods that come
from nature, not man-made foods, not fake foods, not any foods with
BECOME AWARE OF FOOD ADDITIVES
You must also become informed about food additives. Harmful glutamates
such as MSG may be hidden in food ingredients such as caseinate,
autolyzed yeast enzymes, beef or chicken broth, natural flavorings, soy
protein, hydrolyzed protein, soy isolates, and soy protein concentrates.
This is how large manufacturers get around listing MSG. (That being
said, these ingredients do not always contain MSG.) If you are truly serious
about losing weight and getting healthy, you must be vigilant about
avoiding these substances.
WHAT WE SHOULD BE EATING: BUTTER AND OTHER GOOD FATS
It is important to become knowledgeable about good and bad fats. The
wrong choice of fats will have a serious effect on your health and your
ability to lose weight.
Omega-3 fats are heart-healthy fats.
The right choices of fats are crucial to the membranes of every one of
the trillions of cells in your body. Omega-3 fats create a soft, pliable membrane
around each cell, allowing for water and air (hydration and oxygenation)
to flow through. Life is water and air, and the good omega-3 oils
that promote life are perilla oil, flaxseed oil, and fish oil. Animal fats from
healthy animals like grass-fed cattle are also acceptable in moderation; it is
a shame these healthy, naturally occurring fats have been demonized by
the food processing industry.
When your cells have the proper amounts of water and oxygen, the
mitochondria (the energy source of your cells) work optimally, and a side
benefit is rapid weight loss. Well-functioning hydrated cells also reverse
the aging process and create a smoothly functioning, healthy body. When
water and air are not penetrating the cells, your energy slows or stops,
resulting in potentially serious effects on your health, all while setting you
up to get fatter and fatter.
Trans fats and too many omega-6 fats are harmful.
Trans fats found in partially hydrogenated oils, margarine, and shortening
are the worst type of fats because they are completely unnatural. Less
known are the dangers of omega-6 fats, which are found in safflower oil,
sunflower oil, corn oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, among others.
Too many omega-6 fats and not enough omega-3 fats creates a hard
membrane around each cell, like an eggshell. Free radicals entering your
body can cause the membrane to crack, and now you have a malfunctioning
cell. When you reach a point where you have more malfunctioning
cells than healthy cells, you will most likely become very ill, possibly with
diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Along the way your weight will
soar. A simple step such as changing the oils you consume can positively
impact the health of your cells; there is no drug that can do that.
I think Sally Fallon in her book Nourishing Traditions says it best:
"During the sixty-year period from 1910 to 1970, the proportion of traditional
animal fat in the American diet declined from 83 percent to
62 percent, and butter consumption plummeted from 18 pounds per
person per year to four. During the past eighty years, dietary cholesterol
intake has increased only 1 percent. During the same period the percentage
of dietary vegetable oils in the form of margarine, shortening and refined oils increased about 400 percent while the consumption of sugar
and processed foods increased about 60 percent." Americans are dying of
heart disease from sugar, processed foods, bad oils, margarine, shortening,
and refined foods. We are getting fatter and fatter eating all this poor quality
WHAT WE SHOULD BE EATING: MORE PROTEIN
Overall, we need high-quality protein at most every meal. By high-quality,
I mean protein that has not been contaminated by chemicals, pesticides,
growth hormones, or antibiotics. Protein is extremely important and
is involved in every life function from your bone marrow to your skin.
Proteins are found in both animal and vegetable sources. Animal-source
protein is complete protein because almost all animal proteins contain all
eight essential amino acids in optimal proportions. This ratio of amino
acids is very valuable to your body.
Studies prove that too little protein in your body results in health problems
that range in severity from a suppressed immune system and physical
weakness to stunted growth and mental retardation. It takes a diet of
at least 30 percent protein to maximize the biochemicals (eicosanoids) in
your system that enhance your immune system, decrease inflammation
and pain, increase oxygen flow, improve endurance, and more.
Fish is a great source of protein. Chicken and beef are a great source of
protein but chicken should be organic and beef grass-fed whenever possible;
conventionally raised poultry may suffer from the same problems of
poor-quality feed and overcrowding that conventionally raised cattle and
pigs do. Russia doesn't want our chicken, and they have a food shortage.
That should tell you something!
Russia, along with several other countries, has
banned poultry from the United States because of the
chlorine (a known carcinogen) used in the processing.
Besides, organic chickens taste so much better. If you cannot afford
organic, look for natural poultry and meats raised without antibiotics or
hormones. These are always better choices and will contribute to your
daily health and nutritional requirements.
DETOX FIRST, LOSE WEIGHT AFTER
Losing weight without getting rid of the toxins ensures that you will gain
back all the fat and more. Think about it—just getting rid of the fat doesn't
get rid of the toxins, which are reabsorbed into your body. This creates a
vicious cycle. Losing weight without learning to eliminate chemicals is
like a merry-go-round. And it's why dieting doesn't work. Plus the toxic
load makes it more and more difficult for people from age forty on to lose
Now do you understand why losing weight has been a frustrating battle
for you? Are you ready to get off that not-so-merry-go-round?
Here we go!
Reprinted from the book SEXY FOREVER by SUZANNE SOMERS. Copyright © 2010 by SUZANNE SOMERS. Published by Crown Archetype, a division of Random House, Inc.