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masculinity

6 Things You Should AVOID to Boost Masculinity, 2021

Articles dispensing advice on what you need to do to improve your masculinity are a dime a dozen.

But we will broach a few (ubiquitous) things you need to AVOID to optimize masculinity.

Although this article may cause some controversy, we believe that the following things may hold you back from living life to its fullest potential.

Beer Can Kill Your Masculinity

Beer Can Significantly Reduce Testosterone Levels

The health hazards associated with drinking, especially frequent drinking to excess, are well known, and hardly need to be rehearsed in detail here. One of the health hazards that receives much less attention than alcoholism, liver disease or cancer is hormonal imbalance in men. 

Testosterone is the master male hormone, and increased testosterone in men is associated with the entire host of traits that make men men, rather than women. Body hair, muscle mass, bone density, strength, aggression, dominance and competitiveness – increases in all of these things are associated with increased T in men. 

It’s worth noting that falling T levels are a fact of life for all men as they age; unless you take exogenous T, it’s as unavoidable as taxes and death, I’m afraid. After the age of 30, a man can expect to lose 1% of his T every year for the rest of his life. 

But the natural reduction all men can expect to suffer pales in comparison with the society-wide collapse in T levels that has occurred over the second half of the twentieth and the first quarter of the twenty-first century.

Men today have considerably less T than men of the same age even a single generation ago. A 2007 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism showed a significant reduction in the T levels of men since the 1980s. A 60-year-old American man in 2004, for example, had 17% less testosterone than a 60-year-old American man in 1987.

These findings were corroborated in a study of Danish men, who displayed a two-digit decline between the 1920s and the 1960s.

Apart from taking a blood test to establish whether you have low T, there are various symptoms you’ll experience if you have low T. The main symptoms include reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, fertility problems (inability to conceive) and fatigue.

Boys with low T may develop slower, with little or no body hair, under-developed muscles and smaller penises; and men with low T will have difficulty building muscle, no matter how hard they try.

In extreme cases of low T, usually referred to as hypogonadism, men may also develop breast tissue (gynecomastia) and osteoporosis (reduced bone density).

The death of man – by beer?

This civilisational decline in testosterone is also associated with a terrifying collapse in male fertility, the potentially dire consequences of which – i.e. the end of the human race – are now being considered with increasing alarm by scientists, journalists and indeed anybody with an interest in the continuation of the species.

Count Down by Shanna H. Swan and Stacey Colino

Professor Shanna Swan’s new book on the coming fertility apocalypse, often referred to as ‘spermageddon’

Professor Shanna Swan, author of a new book on the subject, has linked this process to our unprecedented exposure to powerful estrogenic chemicals, especially industrial chemicals such as BPA and pthalates, which are used in the manufacture of plastics and are found just about anywhere you care to look in the modern world. Microplastics, microscopic pieces of plastic as the name suggests, can carry these chemicals into the deepest parts of the ocean, into Arctic ice cores and even float around in the air, waiting to be inhaled.

The bad news for beer drinkers is that, while your granddad might have been able to get away with drinking pints and pints of bitter, he didn’t inhabit a toxic, estrogenic chemical environment from birth. (Studies of pre-natal exposure to pthalates show that they are causing baby boys’ penises to shrink, for instance.)

Image

Average male beer drinker before the invention of PVC in 1950

The Estrogenic Effects

Although more detailed scientific research needs to be done on the estrogenic effects of consuming hopped beer in the long term, especially in male subjects, there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence testifying to the powerful effects of hops on female hormonal balance, which are backed up by scientific studies on animals and human subjects. 

One of the most powerful pieces of anecdotal evidence is the observation that female hop pickers – women who simply touched hops when they were working – would regularly suffer menstrual disturbances because of their contact with the plant. Likewise, it is regularly observed that men who suffer alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver – i.e. men who have consumed huge amounts of alcohol, usually including large quantities of beer – often ‘show testicular failure and symptoms of feminization’. [R]

Studies on subjects that produce no natural estrogen – rats with their ovaries removed and post-menopausal women – have shown that phytoestrogens in beer and other alcoholic drinks do exert estrogen-like effects in the body. [R]

(Beer Phytoestrogens | NutritionFacts.org)

Indeed, one phytoestrogen in hops, 8-prenylnaringenin, was isolated and shown to have an estrogenic activity ‘greater than other established plant estrogens,’ which was demonstrated in tests on cells from rat uteruses. [R] The study of 8-prenylnaringenin states that although this phytoestrogen can be detected in beer, ‘the levels are low and should not be any cause for concern.’ 

However, more recent research has shown that levels of this chemical can be massively amplified within the body by the body’s own gut flora. Another phytoestrogen in hops, isoxanthohumol, can be converted into 8-prenylnaringenin at up to a 90% rate, as one study showed. [R] This may be one reason why 8-prenylnaringenin can be detected in the urine of beer drinkers for days afterwards: because the body’s gut flora is still continuing to produce it. [R]

Soy & Phytoestrogens

Phytoestrogens: what they are and what they do

See the source image

The dreaded beer belly: blame it on the calories and the estrogenic effects of hops, which have been used to preserve beer for half a millennium 

Quite simply, phytoestrogens are chemicals that are produced by plants and mimic the effects of the hormone estrogen in the body, in exactly the same manner as xenoestrogens, which are artificial chemicals produced through industrial processes.

Because of their estrogenic properties, plants and herbs containing phytoestrogens have been used to treat women’s problems, especially the menopause, which results from a drastic decline in estrogen production in an older woman’s body. 

Take hops, for instance. Hops are a traditional remedy for many of the symptoms of the menopause such as hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and vaginal dryness. In fact, the phytoestrogens in hops are so powerful that there are many anecdotal reports of female hop-pickers experiencing menstrual disturbances simply on account of touching the plant.

Like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, this gentleman soon changed gender after touching these hopsSee the source image



If that’s the case, you can well imagine the effects phytoestrogens might have on the hormonal balance of men. At least studies two – here and here – have shown that consumption of hopped beers lowers men’s testosterone.

One phytoestrogen in hops, 8-prenylnaringenin, has been shown to have an estrogenic activity ‘greater than other established plant estrogens,’ through tests on cells from rat uteruses. [R] The study of 8-prenylnaringenin states that although this phytoestrogen can be detected in beer, ‘the levels are low and should not be any cause for concern.’ 

However, more recent research has shown that levels of this chemical can be massively amplified within the body by the body’s own gut flora. Another phytoestrogen in hops, isoxanthohumol, can be converted into 8-prenylnaringenin at up to a 90% rate, as one study showed. [R] This may be one reason why 8-prenylnaringenin can be detected in the urine of beer drinkers for days afterwards: because the body’s gut flora is still continuing to produce it. [R]

More detailed research needs to be done on the hormonal effects of long-term consumption of hopped alcoholic drinks, but the already-existing evidence, including what we know about the estrogenic effects of hops per se, is clear enough that you should give hopped beer a wide berth if you can. It’s worth noting, though, that excessive alcohol consumption in any form has been linked to lower testosterone levels too. At least two studies have shown testosterone decreases in men as a result of alcohol consumption per se [R][R].

Soy: What’s The Big Deal?

Soy: What's The Big Deal?
Soy: What’s The Big Deal?

Although soy is a potent phytoestrogen — something we have written about in the past — it has other deleterious effects besides lowering your testosterone. Drinking a diet of liquid soy will damage your facial physiognomy, and large-scale soy cultivation, despite what the activists for vegetarianism and veganism say, is also massively damaging to the environment.

As noted in our article on 5 Foods That Lower Testosterone:

Scientific research has shown that regular consumption of soy products like edamame, tofu, soy milk and miso may also lower testosterone levels.

For example, one study in 35 men found that drinking soy protein isolate for 54 days resulted in lower testosterone levels [R].

As well as lowering testosterone levels, soy consumption has also been found to reduce male fertility [R].

Be in no doubt: soy is bad for your testosterone levels and fertility if you’re a man.

But hang on: what’s so important about testosterone?

Testosterone is the hormone most associated with masculinity, and although it’s also important to women’s bodies and their health, the increased levels of testosterone in the male body are responsible for the host of traits that make men men, rather than women. 

Body hair, muscle mass, bone density, strength, aggression, dominance and competitiveness – increases in all of these things are associated with increased testosterone in men. 

Falling testosterone levels are a fact of life for all men as they age. After the age of 30, a man can expect to lose 1% of his testosterone every year for the rest of his life. 

But the natural reduction all men can expect to suffer pales in comparison with the society-wide collapse in testosterone levels that has occurred over the second half of the twentieth and the first quarter of the twenty-first century.

Men today have considerably less testosterone than men of the same age even a single generation ago. 

A 2007 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism showed a significant reduction in the testosterone levels of men since the 1980s. A 60-year-old American man in 2004, for example, had 17% less testosterone than a 60-year-old American man in 1987.

These findings were corroborated in a study of Danish men, who displayed a two-digit decline between the 1920s and the 1960s.

Apart from taking a blood test to establish whether you have low T, there are various symptoms you’ll experience if you have low T.

The main symptoms include:

  • Reduced libido
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Fertility problems (inability to conceive)
  • Fatigue

Boys with low testosterone may develop slower, with little or no body hair, under-developed muscles and smaller penises; and men with low T will have difficulty building muscle, no matter how hard they try.

In extreme cases of low testosterone, usually referred to as hypogonadism, men may also develop breast tissue (gynecomastia) and osteoporosis (reduced bone density).

Hypogonadism has a variety of causes, which include:

  • Certain genetic disorders
  • HIV
  • Pituitary disorders, including pituitary tumours and injuries
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Obesity and also rapid weight loss
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Steroid use

Obesity, in particular, is an increasingly common cause of hypogonadism.

For more information on how you can determine whether you have low testosterone, you can check out our article on the subject.

The low testosterone epidemic doesn’t just end with dire physiological effects, but low testosterone in men can have far-reaching consequences and wreck their mental health.

But it doesn’t have to be this way; for most men, boosting their flailing T levels can be remedied by losing a little fat and being a little more active.

If you need a little helping hand, you can check out our article on 20+ strategies to raise your T levels.

Failing this, we recommend that you consult your physician as to what can be done as raising your natural testosterone production will improve your quality of life.

Click Here to Visit a Trusted SARMs Provider

Soy is what is known as a phytoestrogen, a plant product that mimics the effects of the female hormone estrogen in the human body. No wonder, then, that scientific research has shown that regular consumption of soy products like edamame, tofu, soy milk and miso may cause a drop in testosterone levels. For example, one study in 35 men found that drinking soy protein isolate for 54 days resulted in decreased testosterone levels. [R]

As well as lowering testosterone levels, soy consumption has also been found to reduce male fertility.

‘There was an inverse association between soy food intake and sperm concentration that remained significant after accounting for age, abstinence time, body mass index, caffeine and alcohol intake and smoking. In the multivariate-adjusted analyses, men in the highest category of soy food intake had 41 million sperm/ml less than men who did not consume soy foods (95% confidence interval = -74, -8; P, trend = 0.02)…

The inverse relation between soy food intake and sperm concentration was more pronounced in the high end of the distribution (90th and 75th percentile) and among overweight or obese men. Soy food and soy isoflavone intake were unrelated to sperm motility, sperm morphology or ejaculate volume.’ [R]

So not only does consumption of soy reduce your sperm count, but this problem becomes even worse if you’re overweight or obese. It’s worth remembering, as we’ve said elsewhere, that fat tissue itself is estrogenic, and this is probably why being fat compounds the effects of soy on male fertility.

Chet Yorton, one of the few to defeat Arnold in competition : bodybuilding

Chet Yorton used to take soy protein powder in the early days, but then he wasn’t as bombarded with estrogenic chemicals as we are today, nor was he otherwise a vegetarian or vegan

Interestingly enough, soy protein used to be a popular protein powder in the Golden Age of bodybuilding. However, it has since been recognised as an inferior quality protein, with low bioavailability compared to whey and milk and egg proteins.[R

Sorry, vegan gainers: you’d be better off sticking to meat.

OMG! SOYLENT TRUCK! OM NOM NOM

What Has It Got To Do With Your Facial Structure?

When you see or hear the words ‘soy face’, you inevitably think of the hideous, cloying facial expression pulled by Soyjak every time he learns that a new corporate product has dropped for him to consoom. OMG NEW KOREAN KIMCHI SOYLENT MOUTHWASH! GOTTA TAKE A PICTURE OF MYSELF WITH MY MOUTH OPEN! EMOJI EMOJI EMOJI!

The social-psychological aspects of this facial display deserve some comment. It’s long been known that in the chimpanzee world opening one’s mouth and displaying the teeth is essentially a sign of subservience: I am a friend, not a threat. [R] A ‘submissive grin’, as it’s called:

‘The bared-teeth display, also referred to as the fear grin, or grimace, is one of the most conspicuous and well-studied facial expressions in ethology and has been reported in a variety of mammalian species from canids to primates. Research has shown, however, that the communicative function of this expression can differ quite broadly depending on the species, their type of social organization and social context. In wolves, for example, retraction of the lips horizontally over the teeth results in a ‘submissive grin’ which is used by cubs and subordinates when actively greeting adult conspecifics, or humans’ [R]

Why would humans be so different? We are, after all, naked apes, as Desmond Morris put it in his famous 1967 book.

The Naked Ape at 50: 'Its central claim has surely stood the test of time '  | Evolution | The Guardian

Desmond Morris with a baby chimp

Essentially, what Soyjak is saying with his soyface is: I am a good man, not like those other bad men. Because Soyjak has no way of ascending the traditional dominance hierarchy of males, based as it is upon physical dominance, aggression and prowess (but also, let it not be forgotten, cooperation, self-sacrifice and very often serious privation too), he must find another way to get ahead in life. He does so by rendering himself totally harmless, at least ostensibly, and conspiring in the downfall of traditional masculinity.

By doing so he hopes to emerge from the ruins of tradition attractive to the opposite sex – an otherwise impossible task. Funnily enough, though, all this soyfacing and constant declarations of being free from the stain of ‘toxic masculinity’ – ‘I’m with HER!’ / ‘This is what a feminist looks like’ / ‘I voted Hillary’ – don’t make these men immune from the sexual assault accusations that are supposed to be the exclusive province of unreconstructed men – in fact quite the opposite. [R] But that’s a matter for another day…

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration

When I write ‘soy face’ in this context, though, I’m talking about the deleterious effects of liquid soy consumption on the human face. This should hardly be a surprise. Dr Weston A Price, the famous physiologist, wrote about the phenomenon of physical degeneration, especially facial degeneration, in his landmark 1939 study, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

Price showed the devastating effects for native populations of the transition from their ancestral diets to the modern, Western diet, especially the introduction of grain consumption for the first time. Where the natives eating their ancestral diets had strong and properly formed jaws, with evenly spaced teeth without decay, the younger generation, now eating a largely imported Western diet, had narrowed faces, malformed dental arches and crowded jaws full of teeth that were crooked as a politician and riddled with decay. 

Why I Base My Health Philosophy on Weston A. Price | Embracing Motherhood

The effects of physical degeneration were shown by Price in a series of photos posing different generations and also siblings against one another. One side illustrates the effects of the native diet, the other those of the modern. 

Mandibular Madness

Part of the problem with these modern diets, as Price recognised, is that they are too soft. Our ancestors would spend hours a day chewing their food – bone, cartilage and connective tissue, tough cuts of meat – as well as using their teeth and jaws for practical tasks like working leather and other handicrafts, whereas we moderns essentially slurp our food.

As well as forgetting how to chew in the first place, many of our foods, especially soft grains, barely require any chewing at all; even our modern meat preferences, for fillet over flank steak say, predispose us to the least amount of chewing possible. And so, as a result, the musculature of the jaw and face do not develop as they should, leading to the effects Price documented.

TMJ DYSFUNCTION OR 100% FUNCTIONAL? - Daniel Baines

The muscles of the jaw involved in chewing

Use it or lose it, or so the saying goes: this is precisely the risk of a liquid diet. If you don’t use the muscles of the jaw for mastication AT ALL, then the muscles aren’t going to stick around. In our ebooks we’re often at pains to emphasise how metabolically expensive the maintenance of muscle tissue is, and it’s for this reason that your body will move to get rid of muscle it feels it doesn’t need.

An essential of the struggle to be muscular, then, is to ‘convince’ your body it needs the extra muscle through the constant targeted application of stress and proper nutrition and recovery.

Doesn’t Just Lower Your Test Levels — You Will Look Less Manly

The effects of an all-liquid diet can be aptly illustrated by the founder of Soylent, Rob Rhinehart. On the left, at an early stage of his journey to the status of a fully automated luxury liquid Redditor, we see that he is still recognisably possessed of a jaw; on the right, further down the line, we see his transition to chinless wonder proceeding at a pace.

https://assets.vice.com/content-images/contentimage/no-slug/a4aa4b5775641f7b09ae91056e54aeea.jpg
Q & A With Soylent Creator Rob Rhinehart

Rob Rhinehart, founder of soylent, before and after a life of only liquid food

Basically, if you subsist on a liquid diet, you’re doing the opposite of what all those looksmaxxers with their mewing and mastic chewing are doing. If you want to have a jaw, you’re going to have to eat solid food: it’s that simple.

The Legendary Drink is a Concoction of Nutritional No-No’s

It’s worth adding, too, that the nutritional content of Soylent is basically garbage. Although Soylent may have improved on the meal-replacement products of the 1990s, the basic ingredients are as follows:

  • Soy protein isolate
  • High oleic canola oil
  • Maltodextrin
  • Isomaltulose
  • Soluble corn fiber
  • Modified food starch

In my last article, I talked about the evil that is vegetable oil. Well, the entire fat content of Soylent comes courtesy of the truly satanic canola oil, seen here in a ‘high oleic’ version supposed further to con you into believing that it is in fact healthy. Besides the soy content, this is reason enough not to consume Soylent.

Polyester

Did you know that polyester has been tied to miscarriages, sterility and impotence? No? Well, one group of researchers called polyester a “100% effective contraceptive” in men.

Let’s take a look at the studies behind these claims.

Polyester: bad news for your balls

Polyester

Over recent months we’ve been examining the negative effects of a wide variety of common substances on human fertility and health.

Xenoestrogens, industrial chemicals that mimic the effects of the human hormone estrogen, have been a particular focus for us, because of their ubiquity. They are quite literally everywhere: in the food, in the plastic containers you put the food in, in the water and even in the air. Yes, that’s right: in the air.

A few weeks ago we talked about the potentially toxic effects of touching thermal paper, most commonly used in receipts, and of cooking with non-stick pans.

While some people naturally shrink away from man-made fibers, few are likely to do so because of the potential damage they could be doing to your chances of having children.

Some forms of polyester are natural and biodegradable, but here we’re talking about synthetic polyesters, which are not biodegradable. It’s already well known that polyester can be bad for your skin, for instance.

Skin exposure to polyester has been linked to rashes, itching, eczema, dermatitis and blistering, as well as making pre-existing skin conditions worse for those who already have sensitive skin.

You may also know that polyester has been fingered as a cause of widespread insomnia. Polyester sheets don’t let your body regulate its temperature properly, leading to a bad night’s sleep and all the other negative effects that entails.

But what about these more spectacular claims about fertility?

In one study, the effects of different textiles were studied on 35 pregnant bitches, divided into one control group and four experimental groups.

“The bitches wearing cotton, wool and polyester-cotton mix as well as five of the seven wearing pure polyester garments had normal serum estradiol and progesterone during pregnancy and produced normal offspring. The remaining two animals of the group wearing pure polyester showed low serum progesterone levels in the first month of pregnancy and had spontaneous abortions.” 

The bitches who had previously worn the polyester then had the garment removed and were able to mate and give birth successfully. Their hormone levels returned to normal.

In another study, men were made to wear a polyester sling over their scrotums for a period of 12 months. All 14 of the men in the study became functionally sterile – i.e. producing no sperm – within a mean of 139.6 +/- 20.8 sd days.

Although reproductive hormones showed no changes, the scientists noted degradation of the seminiferous tubules, decreased testicular volume and changes to the rectal-testicular temperature difference.

After removing the sling, sperm concentration returned to normal levels after a mean period of 156.6 +/- 14.8 sd days and the other measures also returned to normal. Subjects who wanted to conceive with their partners were then able to.

The researchers are quite clear that they believe polyester underwear to be a safe and 100% effective form of contraception for men.

To conclude, fertile men can be rendered azoospermic by wearing the polyester sling. It is a safe, reversible, acceptable and inexpensive method of contraception in men.

Contraceptive efficacy of polyester-induced azoospermia in normal men – PubMed (nih.gov)

So what is it about polyester than makes it an effective contraceptive?

The effects seem to be due to two things: the creation of an electrostatic field (i.e. static electricity) in the area, and disordered thermoregulation, which we talked about earlier with regard to sleep disruption.

Why you should avoid touching receipts: trust the broscience (in this case)

Receipts


So you care deeply about your health. You work out. You filter your tap water. You buy local organic produce. Looks like you’re gonna make it, right?

But then, at the checkout, the cashier hands you the receipt.
WWYD?

Dive in slow-motion bullet time to get out of the path of the incoming receipt?

Drop your shopping and run screaming from the store?

Don a special glove to receive the receipt and then carefully deposit it in a lead-lined box you carry specifically for the purpose?

Accept the receipt meekly and slowly dissolve into a puddle on the floor like something out of an ’80s body-horror movie?

So far, so silly. But the truth is, measurable levels of the powerful endocrine disruptor BPA are found in the thermal paper used in receipts (including from ATMs and card machines), airline boarding passes, movie tickets, prescriptions labels and food labels.

BPA is added to many kinds of thermal paper to allow them to produce visible text or colour when heat is applied.

Click here to read more

It’s worth noting that these studies are not the only ones that have substantiated these effects (see for instance this study and this one).

A number of other studies have claimed that polyester is toxic and some have recommended that babies should be kept away from it.

One of the biggest problems, it is claimed, occurs when polyester is heated, which releases antimony oxide (Sb2O3), a known carcinogen. And we aren’t just talking about heat from, say, a washing machine – we mean body heat. Sweat can then dissolve the antimony oxide, which is absorbed into the body.

The gases released when polyester is heated included perfluorochemicals, which can cause lung problems and headaches. Worse still, a big study from New Zealand linked fire retardants in cribs – some of which are the same as the chemical gases released by polyester – to sudden infant death syndrome.

So our advice is: ditch the polyester and plump for cotton instead. It’s that simple.

Xenoestrogens

Xenoestrogens Under The Microscope

Now it’s the turn of xenestrogens, a diverse class of industrial compounds that also mimic the effects of estrogen. What’s more, these chemicals are so ubiquitous that it’s much harder to avoid them than the naturally occurring compounds in your diet. 

But why does this matter? Why is having low T such a bad thing?

T is the hormone most associated with masculinity, and although it’s also important to women’s bodies and their health, the increased levels of T in the male body are responsible for the host of traits that make men men, rather than women. 

Xenoestrogens interfere with the endocrine systems of both sexes.

Enter Xenoestrogens

xenoestrogens structure
xenoestrogens structure

So where do xenestrogens come in?
Alex Jones Just “Came Out” as a Gay Frog, and It's Amazing | David Gee

If the general public, at least in the US, know anything about xenestrogens, it’s likely to be as a result of the Alex Jones ‘gay frog’ meme. In 2015, during one of his many lengthy rants, after discussing the US military’s supposed development of a ‘gay bomb’ to make enemy combatants make love (with each other) and not war, Jones uttered the now immortal line, ‘I don’t like ‘em putting chemicals in the water that turn the frickin’ frogs gay!’

Lost among the mockery and viral memes, including a parody indie folk song, was the fact that there really are chemicals in the water that make amphibians and fish change their gender. These chemicals are xenestrogens and among the worst of them is atrazine, a pesticide which is banned in the EU but continues to be used in US.

The endocrine-disrupting (i.e. hormone-disrupting) effects of atrazine in living creatures have been well-established for some time [R].

A study showed that atrazine exposure could not only chemically castrate male frogs, but also cause adult frogs to change their gender completely [R].

In 2006, a statement was made before the House Committee on Government Reform about the increasing number of male fish observed to be bearing eggs in the Potomac River [R].

The study [R] noted:

‘Current research on intersexual characteristics has related numerous chemicals to reproductive effects in fish. These chemicals, often termed “endocrine disruptors’ include previously banned chemicals, such as DDT and chlordane, natural and anthropogenic hormones, herbicides, fungicides, industrial chemicals, and an emerging group of chemicals including personal care products and pharmaceuticals that may act as endocrine disruptors in fish as well as other organisms.’ 

And added that:

‘Potential sources of these endocrine disruptors include agricultural, as well as individual use of herbicides and pesticides, human waste (discharges from wastewater treatment facilities and individual home septic systems), animal wastes that may reach the aquatic environment through runoff, leachates from landfills, and even atmospheric deposition.’

In 1999, a US Geological Survey investigation showed that such chemicals could be found in 80% of all streams that were sampled nationwide.

Of course, the damage to aquatic ecosystems is bad enough, but it’s not just amphibian and fish species that are affected. Humans are affected directly by these chemicals too (as well as indirectly, since they may cause ecosystem-level collapses in human food sources if fish and amphibians cannot reproduce properly).

Some of the most commonly encountered xenestrogenic chemicals, and their sources (in brackets), are:

  • 4MBC (in sun lotion)
  • Hydroxy-anisole butyrate (a food preservative)
  • Bisphenol-A (a food preservative and plasticiser)
  • Dieldrin (a pesticide)
  • DDT (a pesticide. Although it is banned in the US, it is used in countries that export food to the US)
  • Erythrosine (a red dye)
  • PCB (in lubricants, adhesives and paints)
  • P-nonylphenol (in PVC and by-products from detergents and spermicide)
  • Parabens (in lotions)
  • Pthalates (in plastics)
Xenoestrogens
Xenoestrogens list

Yes, that’s right: not only is the spermicide in the condom you’ve used killing the sperm you’ve just released, it may also be making it harder for your body to produce fertile sperm in the first place! 

Aren’t Xenoestrogens wonderful?

Ultra-Processed Food

A doctor has reveal the shockingly awful results of eating ultra-processed food for a month that included changes to his brain. Worst of all is the prevalence of processed food and the lackluster intervention of health authorities to regulate certain harmful foods.

See the source image

As part of an upcoming documentary for the BBC, Dr Chris Van Tulleken explores the effects of regular consumption of ultra-processed food (UPF). Eighty percent of the doctor’s calories for over the course of his month-long self-experiment came from UPFs, and the results will shock you – even if you’ve already read our article on four foods that will make you ugly, which includes processed food.

 

The Risk of Processed Foods

Writing in the Daily Mail, Dr Van Tulleken says:

“A mere four weeks — that’s all it took for me to pile on enough fat to move from being a healthy weight to being overweight, putting my health at real risk. 

At the same time, my thinking became sluggish and I slept badly, lying in bed racked with anxiety, sweating with fears about everyday life. I developed heartburn as well as constipation. I got piles.

But worst of all, my brain rewired itself just as if I had developed an addiction to a drug of abuse. How did I wreak such terrible damage?”

The layman’s definition of an ultra-processed food is basically the following: the food must be prepared in a factory, wrapped in plastic and contain an ingredient you wouldn’t normally find in a home kitchen, such as emulsifiers, stabilisers, humectants (moisteners) or preservatives.

Although many UPFs make absolutely no claim to be healthy – chicken nuggets, microwaveable burgers, ready meals – others, such as sandwiches, bread products, cereals and low-calorie foods, do. Dr van Tulleken’s research shows just how much of a deception this really is.

Dr Chris Van Tulleken, before and after his month of eating UPFs image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

UPFs have a long shelf life and are cheap to make; hence they are massively popular. In fact, UPFs make up almost two-thirds of the calories consumed in the UK, and one in five British adults eats a diet consisting of 80% UPFs.

There is particular concern about the consumption of UPFs by children and adolescents – hence the title of the documentary, ‘What Are We Feeding Our Kids?’ – since they are now estimated to consume two-thirds of their calories in the form of UPFs. One fifth of children now leave primary school (aged 11) with an obese body mass index.https://www.youtube.com/embed/mHldSGHuw38?feature=oembedEating little but processed food

Consumption of processed food increased massively in the second half of the twentieth century, at the same time as obesity rates skyrocketed. The link between the two trends is well established, but still appears to be poorly understood by ordinary people.

A recent study (2019) by Hall et al., for instance, showed a clear association between weight gain and consumption of UPFs, and that the participants who consumed UPFs consumed more calories to satisfy their hunger.

Some of the results from the 2019 study by Hall et al.

Processed foods in a very real sense are as addictive as drugs. This is true in part because they bypass our body’s natural mechanisms for controlling hunger and satiety (fullness). Hall et al. showed, among other things, that we eat UPFs 30% faster than unprocessed foods. This is largely because they are very easy to chew and swallow; as a result, we eat them faster, before our bodies can reckon just how much we’ve eaten.

Manufacturers also aim for ‘hyper-palatability’, which might as well be code for ‘addictiveness’. They do this by looking to hit the so-called ‘bliss point’, where salt, fat, sweetness and crunchiness or chewiness combine to make a food that is extremely easy and, just as importantly, satisfying to eat. 

A shocking recent study has shown that diet and exercise are good for you!

The ease with which he could eat UPFs was one of the first things that struck Dr Tulleken when he began his experiment, which involved upping his intake fourfold. Although initially he found the experience pleasurable, noting how hard it was to resist eating UPFs once he’d started, the health problems quickly began to pile up.

As he recounts:



“I was starting to feel really unwell. I was constipated as UPF is typically low in fibre, and I developed piles. Then, in the third week, I was hit by sleep problems. The piles itched and kept me awake. The high salt intake was also waking me up, with me either needing to pee or feeling thirsty. Then I couldn’t get back to sleep.

Once awake, I’d wander towards the kitchen and rummage through the fridge for something to make me feel better. I got into a vicious spiral of sleeplessness and overeating and feeling awful.

I also started suffering horribly with heartburn and my libido felt non-existent. I felt old.

I felt heavier and, at the end of my diet, I wasn’t at all surprised by the changes in my body size and shape. The ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos (above) show I had fattened significantly, developing moobs and a bulging stomach. 

My weight had gone up by more than a stone (6.5 kg) and my body fat alone by 3 kg (6.6 lb).”

In addition, the change in diet affected his hormonal levels, as the hormones responsible for feelings of hunger and satiety increased and decreased, respectively. https://www.youtube.com/embed/XKSoiDtdi9s?feature=oembedProcessed food: chicken nuggets

Perhaps more worryingly of all, the diet altered the doctor’s brain, as revealed by MRI scans.

“And then came the really scary moment — an MRI scan of my brain after just a month on a high-UPF diet showed a significant increase in the connections between the reward centre and areas that drive repetitive automatic behaviour (see panel above right). Essentially, I’d become wired for cravings and mindless consumption of food; my brain was telling me to eat ultra-processed food without my even wanting it.

This is precisely the kind of thing you might see in a person with an addiction to alcohol, cigarettes or drugs. And it explained why I wanted more of these foods even in the middle of the night

Another scan showed I had a slight reduction in the grey matter of my brain — could this explain my muddled thinking?”

Image courtesy of Dailymail.co.uk

Dr Tulleken was so shocked by the results that he has now given up eating processed foods altogether. The weight has already begun to shift. 

“Mercifully, my piles got better within weeks, and my heartburn and anxiety stopped almost overnight. I knew I had to go cold turkey on UPFs because, as I learnt during the experiment, they are like an addictive substance: if your brain gets wired to addictiveness for it, you can’t moderate your intake, you’ll just crave more.” Six weeks after the experiment, an MRI scan confirmed that the changes to his brain were still in effect.

Although his claims about the addictiveness and intrinsic dangers of UPFs are rejected by an industry spokesperson during the documentary, Dr Tulleken is in no doubt that the government should take measures to ensure that people are aware of the risks and have the ability to choose their food appropriately.

“In Brazil, where obesity has risen by around 150 per cent in two decades, the government is warning people to avoid these foods completely, while France has pledged to reduce UPF consumption by 20 per cent in the next year — that’s how urgently it sees the issue…

“I would like to see healthy, whole foods marketed and promoted and subsidised, but I’d also like to see more direct action on UPFs…

“I don’t want to ban UPFs but I would like proper information on food labels based on the best independent science (i.e. not industry-funded) about the health risks.

“If we don’t acknowledge the role of UPFs in creating the obesity epidemic, we condemn our children to lifetimes of ill health.

“By the time they’re adults, it will be too late, their fragile growing brains wired to crave and eat ultra-processed foods — without them necessarily even wanting to do so.”

What Are We Feeding Our Kids? will air on BBC One at 9pm on Thursday, May 27
Our amazing dieting Bible, Dieting Done Right, is available now from Gumroad, and will give you all the tools you need to eat the right foods and achieve all your health and fitness goals

Seed Oils

The Vegetable Oil Matrix

Replace the word ‘Matrix’ with ‘vegetable oil’ in this genuine quote from the film and you’ve basically got a description of the role of vegetable oil in the modern world. Vegetable oil is ubiquitous in modern food, whether we’re talking about pet food or human food, and its effects have long been clothed in what amounts to the disguise of a collective Big Lie. Of course, where such a state of cognitive dissonance exists in the modern world, the profit motive is usually present too, and this is certainly the case here as well. 

Most westerners are basically eating pet food all the time

The Matrix - Whoa - YouTube

Whoa!

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In fact, as Dr Catherine Shanahan, in her fantastic book Deep Nutrition, points out, there isn’t really much difference between cat food and the processed food that makes up the majority of the diet of so many people in the developed world.

‘Take a look at the back of a bag of dog or cat food, and here are the ingredients you’ll see: corn meal, soy meal, (occasionally) wheat, partially hydrogenated soy or corn or other vegetable oil, meat and protein meal, and a few synthetic vitamins. But guess what? The animal pushing the shopping cart is buying foods with the same list of ingredients for himself. The main differences between donuts, breads, and Cheerios are the quantities of hydrogenated oil and sugar.’ (p.111)

We can dispense with the question of ‘why’ straight away: because it’s incredibly cheap and convenient. Imagine: here is a simple modular way of producing thousands, if not millions, of ostensibly different foodstuffs that can be stored for great lengths of time and sold in vast quantities. Turn the dials one way, you have cat food; turn them another, you’ve got Joe Public’s favourite brand of salty, crispy snack or bread. 

But what’s wrong with this? If that kibble’s good enough for fido, why shouldn’t I be eating it too? We’re both mammals, after all; we can’t be that different, can we? This line of reasoning has made a small minority of people very wealthy indeed.

Eat the kibble, pleb!

Fat cat (term) - Wikipedia

But it’s also made the vast majority of people – and pets, for that matter – extremely unwell. In fact, you couldn’t really invent a worse diet for either of you. (A few months ago I started feeding my cat a raw meat diet of chicken, beef, organ meat and bonemeal and the difference in her health and behaviour has been astounding. But that’s another story.)

Let’s see just why vegetable oil is so awful.

Why vegetable oil is so awful

Although for many decades saturated fat and cholesterol were fingered as the principal cause of the West’s obesity and general health crisis, and although some still maintain that saturated fat and cholesterol are the devil incarnate, there is an ever-growing body of evidence that suggests that the real bad fats are what are known as trans-fats and oxidised polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs).

How Vegetable Oil Rose to Popularity

The story of how saturated fat – the natural animal products man has sustained himself upon since time immemorial – and cholesterol came to be seen in a negative light is an interesting one; we won’t, however, relate it in detail here, but will instead point you to chapter seven of Catherine Shanahan’s Deep Nutrition for a detailed account. To put it briefly, the process had little to do with good science and everything to do with the personal arrogance and vengefulness of an uncredentialed imposter called Ancel Keys, who had designed the famous K-ration during World War II.

Pulling Ancel Keys Out from Under the Bus | Oldways

‘Physiologist’ Ancel Keys

In recent years, the ‘evidence’ behind Keys’ hypothesis that saturated fat consumption is directly correlated with heart disease has been demolished, and his jerrymandering and bad faith have been revealed. What is clear now is that, rather than saturated fats being the cause of the health conditions Keys claimed they were, it is the products he advocated instead, including margarine, that are almost certainly the real culprits. Interestingly enough, even Keys came to renounce his earlier ‘research’; although this has never been part of the public story.

In the table below we have listed, according to the new conception of fats outlined in Deep Nutrition, good and bad fats. What unites the bad fats is that they are all high in PUFAs and and/or trans-fats. All of these bad fats are derived, in some way, from a vegetable base; although spreadable butter includes animal fat, it also includes partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. You’ll notice that most of the good fats are solid at room temperature, while most of the bad fats aren’t. 

Good fatsBad fats
Olive oilCanola oil
Peanut oilSoy oil
ButterCottonseed oil
Macadamia nut oilCorn oil
Coconut oilGrapeseed oil
LardSafflower oil
TallowMargarine 
Palm oilSpreadable butters

Know Your Fats: Where do vegetable oils line up?

In our recent article on foods to boost your testosterone, we’ve already discussed how saturated fat and cholesterol intake, in particular the consumption of eggs, is actually pro-anabolic, causing increases in testosterone and protein synthesis in the body. Low saturated fat intake is clearly associated with reduced testosterone, and consuming only egg whites is less anabolic than consuming whole eggs, including the cholesterol-rich yolk. [R] [R] Maintaining a proper hormonal balance is clearly associated with eating the right fats, and one very important way to begin reclaiming your masculinity is to do just that.

Without getting into serious details about lipid science, what makes trans-fats and PUFAS so bad is their inherent chemical instability, which causes them to wreak havok on the body’s tissues when they are consumed, through the production of free radicals. Free radicals are high-energy electrons that play a role in every known form of disease. They do this by altering the structure of more or less every molecule they come into contact with, a process known as oxidative damage. And while free radicals are actually used by the body as part of its own defence system, a diet containing the bad fats listed above can cause uncontrollable cascades of oxidative damage.

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Although polyunsaturated fats, which tend to be liquid at room temperature, have important uses in natural biology, for instance in fish and plants and seeds, the process of extracting, refining and then using them, especially in cooking, distorts the molecules and makes them even more reactive and dangerous to the body’s tissues. The process of creating a vegetable-based oil is massively complex – and also revolting – and usually involves the application of high-pressure, heat and chemicals to produce a usable, long-life liquid fat. You can squeeze an olive to get oil, but you can’t just squeeze a piece of corn to get corn oil.  The process of making ‘healthy’ canola oil is shown in the video below.https://www.youtube.com/embed/Cfk2IXlZdbI?feature=oembedHow Canola Oil – a popular vegetable oil – is made

CAPTION – ‘FORTUNATELY FOR YOU, SMELL-O-VISION STILL ISN’T A THING’]

In recent years, consumption of trans-fats and PUFAs have been linked to:

  • Inflammatory damage to the gut and microbiome, including leaky gut
  • The transportation of toxins into the brain
  • Damage to the arteries and blood vessels
  • Immune system dysfunctions and nerve degeneration
  • Damage to cell structure
  • Damage to genetic material and increased rates of genetic mutation

Let’s take just the first and third of these bullets – damage to the gut and microbiome, and damage to the arteries and blood vessels – and consider a couple of studies. With regard to the first, a group of researchers compared the effects of different fats on the guts of mice under stress. Half the mice were given oleic acid, the principal component of olive oil, and the rest were given linoleic acid, found in vegetable oil.

The mice fed the olive-oil derivative did not develop lesions in the lining of the stomach, whereas the mice fed linoleic acid did. [R] In a study involve fecal transplants from normal mice and overweight mice, severe negative effects were seen in mice given transplants from overweight mice that had been fed vegetable oil. [R] This is a clear sign that vegetable oil damages the microbiome, which we now know plays an extremely significant role in overall health, including emotional and cognitive health (the gut is sometimes now referred to as a ‘second brain’).

With regard to the third bullet, one study has shown that more people died due to heart disease when saturated fat was replaced with polyunsaturated fat. [R] Another study showed that replacing saturated fat with safflower oil and margarine was associated with an increase in all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality and morality from coronary heart disease. [R]

In a short article like this, we are barely scratching the surface. If you’re serious about understanding just how bad vegetable oils are, we suggest Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan, which we’ve referred to throughout this article. The book is replete with the latest evidence from lipid science and has the advantage of being elegantly and accessibly written.

In the meantime, now that you’ve taken the red pill, our advice is simple: clear your cupboards of all processed food and vegetable oils. It’s that simple. Given the ubiquity of vegetable oils, you’re going to have a hard time avoiding them totally, assuming you plan on going out and eating in restaurants and at friends’ houses, but reducing your intake to as close to zero as possible will be of enormous benefit to your long-term health and wellbeing.https://www.youtube.com/embed/7kGnfXXIKZM?feature=oembedA talk on the dangers of vegetable oils

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