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Thursday, August 12, 2004

# 16 Bitter Reality

Monday, July 26, 2004Bitter Reality
From: "Nutrition and Healing -
Amanda Ross" <>
Subject: Bitter reality Date: Monday, July 26, 2004 8:35 AM Health e-Tips Monday July 26, 2004 Dear Reader,
The statistics on diabetes are getting completely out of hand. We're talking about a major epidemic here -- and an avoidable one -- which makes it even more frustrating to watch. First, take a look at the numbers. Four years ago, there were 171 million people worldwide with the disease. That number is expected to rise to 366 million by 2030 -- more than doubling in just 30 years. But that's not even the part that sent a shiver down my spine. What I found even more disturbing is that that will be the increase only if obesity rates remain stable. We all know what is happening to obesity rates, not only in this country, but worldwide, as more and more people are lured to adopt a Western diet. It's a frightening equation. Sadly, one that's going to kill or disable a lot of people -- early and unnecessarily. You would think that the FDA and other so-called "health" agencies would be feeling the same sense of panic and dismay about these numbers as you and I do -- and that they would want to do something about it. Like support reasonable efforts for curbing weight gain as a preventative measure for the skyrocketing diabetes epidemic. Ephedra was one of the top natural -- and many would argue safe when taken appropriately -- weight loss aids available. But thanks to the FDA, now it isn't around anymore. Score one for obesity. Now, consumers are turning to bitter orange as a natural replacement for ephedra to keep their weight under control. Bitter orange contains synephrine as its active ingredient -- which is in the same family as ephedrine and other stimulants. Right now, it's still on the FDA list of herbs considered generally safe -- but it is on the agency's radar, and that means it could very well be the next one banned. There's no doubt that bitter orange should be used under the supervision of a physician, because it does have the potential for side effects, and also because it is the type of herb that some people will over-do in their quest to lose weight. But banned? When drug companies run television ads for their wares, has anyone from the FDA ever noticed the extremely long and horrific list of potential side effects the announcer reels off? It can take up half the airtime of the ad. But these pharmaceuticals stay on the market -- and herbs that carry a fraction of the potential for side effects are increasingly in danger of being yanked. Perhaps this is one of my more cynical days, but it does make you wonder if the powers that be would prefer us all to be fat, depressed, diabetic, drug-dependent individuals. Let's face it, the people who look at that list of attributes and see dollar signs seem to be the ones calling the shots. But while we still can, we should take advantage of the natural herbal options available to us for all sorts of purposes, not just weight control. Working closely with a skilled natural physician or herbalist will ensure that you use the best herbs for your particular health concerns and that the dosages and combinations of those herbs are safe. For help locating a physician skilled in herbal medicine near you, contact the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) at (316)684-5500 or

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