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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Latest Scientific Evidence Should Be Death Blow to Artificial Sweeteners



Messing with the microbes in your digestive process is not the way to go.

September 29, 2014

Evidence continues to accumulate that sugar is a sweet road to obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and other maladies. As the dangers of sugar have unfolded there has been an increase in the production and consumption of sugar substitutes, five of which are currently FDA-approved. A recent study published in Nature adds to a growing set of concerns about these artificial sweeteners by presenting evidence that they, like sugar, can cause diabetes as well. The Israel-based research team presented evidence that artificial sweeteners cause this outcome by disrupting the balance of microbes that live in the body’s gut.
This isn’t the first study implicating sugar substitutes with metabolic issues. Research at Purdue University found that saccharin consumption can lead to weight gain in mice by interfering with their ability to control their appetites. Multiple studies have shown that some artificial sweeteners can mess with the body’s endocrine system, and lead to insulin resistance. Many links between the consumption of artificial sweeteners and type 2 diabetes have been uncovered as well, and studies have also shown that consumption of artificial sweeteners can change the way the body deals with food that contains actual calories.
The link between artificial sweeteners, gut bacteria and obesity has been charted as well, in a Duke University study that found that Splenda (sucralose) reduces the amount of ”good bacteria” in the intestines, increases the intestinal pH level, and leads to increased body weight.
The new Nature study moves this ball of research forward by demonstrating that several artificial sweeteners, not just sucralose, can mess with our gut bacteria, and that this disruption is directly responsible for glucose intolerance—at least in mice. The researchers added three different artificial sweeteners (AS)—saccharin, sucralose and aspartame—to the drinking water of mice. After 10 weeks, all three groups of artificial sweetener-consuming mice showed glucose intolerance. Saccharin showed the most pronounced effect.
As the Duke study had shown that sucralose causes changes in the gut microbiota in mice, the Israeli researchers used antibiotics to wipe out the microbes in the mice that had been made glucose intolerant from consuming artificial sweeteners. Eliminating the microbial community in the mice with antibiotics eliminated their glucose intolerance as well.
The researchers then preformed fecal transplants to make doubly sure that the changing character of the mice gut microbes was behind their changing tolerance of glucose. Poop from mice with AS-caused glucose intolerance was inserted into the colons of mice whose AS-induced glucose intolerance had been removed by treatment with antibiotics. After receiving fecal transplants, the mice’s glucose intolerance returned.
The team then turned its attention to humans, examining dietary data and health metrics from non-diabetic people that had been gathered in in an unrelated, ongoing nutritional study. They found correlations between AS consumption and increased ratio of waist to hip, higher blood glucose, and other metabolic markers associated with pre-diabetics.
What’s tricky about looking at this kind of human data in these cases is that those who are drinking diet sodas might very well be doing so because they are already at risk for obesity or diabetes. In other words, instead of demonstrating that artificial sweeteners make you fat, you might instead be observing that fat people are more likely to use sugar substitutes. So while interesting, this correlation in and of itself could be misleading.
To address this issue the researchers assembled a group of seven healthy volunteers who don’t normally consume artificial sweeteners. For one week, the subjects consumed the maximum FDA allotment of Saccharin. After only one week, four out of the seven volunteers began showing glucose intolerance. Those that did also showed a marked shift in their gut microbial profiles, while the microbial profiles of the subjects that did not show glucose intolerance did not show this change.
The fact that only seven subjects were studied, and for only one week, won’t impress many statisticians. And the authors of the study are quick to point out that their results should not be taken as a call for anyone to change their diet, but rather as a signal that more studies along these lines are warranted. To this end, the National Institute of Health is conducting a large, long-term study on what happens when healthy, non-AS using subjects begin consuming sucralose. 
The emerging understanding of the connection between diseases like diabetes and the gut’s microbiota opens up the intriguing possibility of treating disease by manipulating gut microbes. Using antibiotics to wipe out the microbial ecosystem in glucose-intolerant mice is one example of how this might work, but there are other ways as well—and don’t worry, fecal transplants aren’t the only other means.  Taking probiotic supplements is another way, but the most important avenue, and easiest, might simply be dietary changes.
Altering one’s diet can be difficult, in part it turns out, because the bacteria in your gut are controlling what you want to eat, according to an article published by the University of California. The paper reviews some recent studies that suggest gut bacteria influence the brain and endocrine system via the vagus nerve, which connects the brain and gut.
“Microbes have the capacity to manipulate behavior and mood through altering the neural signals in the vagus nerve, changing taste receptors, producing toxins to make us feel bad, and releasing chemical rewards to make us feel good,” explained Athena Aktipis, co-founder of the Center for Evolution and Cancer with the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCSF, as quoted in the article.
One example of how gut microbe populations tailor themselves to a particular diet, a bacterium that’s particularly proficient at digesting seaweed is common in the bellies of Japanese people. This begs the question, do Japanese people eat so much seaweed because their microbiome is telling them to, or are seaweed-friendly Japanese microbiomes the result of so much seaweed eating? Probably a bit of both. We can exert control over our microbiomes, but they can control us as well.
As Carlo Maley, director of the UCSF Center for Evolution and Cancer, explained, “There is a diversity of interests represented in the microbiome, some aligned with our own dietary goals, and others not.”
In the coming years, the relationship between diet, gut microbes and health will be further teased apart by scientists, and the role that artificial sweeteners play in this dynamic will surely be more clear. But science moves at a slow, cautious pace. Even if we don’t know exactly how artificial sweeteners can cause us harm, it’s becoming increasingly clear that they do. Consume accordingly.
Ari LeVaux writes a syndicated weekly food column, Flash in the Pan.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Are You Eating Comfort Food? Stop! Here's What Really Works

The myth of comfort food is just that—a myth, new study says.

Photo Credit: Olga Rossi
People often turn to comfort foods as mood enhancers or stress reducers. But new research shows that these foods have no special psychological benefits whatsoever. And even pushing away from the table might have the same positive mood effects as indulging in a favorite snack. 

Participants in the University of Minnesota study completed an online survey to help identify their favorite comfort foods and a variety of comparison foods. Later, participants were shown videos designed to induced a negative psychological affect on them. 

Afterward, participants were either served their comfort food, served another food, or given no food. Researchers then measured short-term mood changes to identify if comfort foods provided biochemical impact on mood based on their particular components, such as sugar and nutrients. 

The researchers found that while the mood of the test subjects significantly improved after eating comfort foods, their moods improved similarly after they ate the other foods. Moreover, the people that were served no food also had comparable mood improvement. 

“Negative moods naturally dissipate over time,” wrote Traci Mann, the research team’s lead psychologist. “Individuals may be giving comfort food credit for mood effects that would have occurred even in the absence of the comfort food.”
The researchers believe that a better understanding of what we eat ― and its psychological benefits — may lead to people developing healthier relationships with food. 

The study involved 100 students who watched videos that evoked feelings of fear, anxiety, anger, or sadness. In the first session, they were given a generous portion of their self-described comfort food (chocolate, ice cream, and cookies were particular favorites). In another session, they were given other foods that they enjoyed that were not described as comfort foods, such as nuts or granola. In a third session, the participants simply sat for a few minutes, without eating, after watching the videos. After each session was completed, the subjects filled out the mood survey. 

The moods of the participants improved over time regardless of the food that they ate, or whether they ate any food at all. This finding held true no matter how much food was consumed. 

Among the test subjects, there was a widespread belief that their favorite comfort foods would help improve their mood. Eighty-one percent of them either agreed or strongly agreed to the concept that a comfort food would help improve their mood. 

“We found no justification for people to choose comfort foods when they are distressed,” said the study. “Removing an excuse for eating a high-calorie or high-fat food may help people develop and maintain healthier eating habits, and may lead them to focus on other, food-free methods of improving their mood.”

Cliff Weathers is a senior editor at AlterNet, covering environmental and consumer issues. He is a former deputy editor at Consumer Reports. His work has also appeared in Salon, Car and Driver, Playboy, and Detroit Monthly among other publications. Follow him on Twitter @cliffweathers and on Facebook.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

5 Garden Herbs to Fight Cancer

5 Garden Herbs to Fight Cancer

Sep 4, 2014

There are as many reasons for planting gardens as there are people who plant them. Perhaps one of the most popular reasons is wanting fresh fruits, nuts, vegetables, and herb to use for your own dinner table. Most people never think past planting a garden for their own personal taste bud experience.But many of the commonly grown herbs that are added to your favorite food dishes not only improve the taste, but they can be used to fight cancer as well. As cancer rates in this country continue to rise, many people are looking for ways to improve their health as well as increase their ability to prevent cancer from starting in the first place.

Plants are being focused on more and more by researchers looking for new compounds to fight chronic disease and cancer. In fact, about ¾ of the pharmaceutical compounds that are being used today originally came from plants that were used in traditional medicine.

Most pharmaceutical drugs that are derived from plants are usually using just one active component of the plant that is then isolated and replicated synthetically. Most traditional remedies use the entire plant in their natural state.

A far cry from the lab produced cancer treatments that can cause more harm than good.

Herb Garten
Photo credit: bigstock
In fact, herbal remedies can be very powerful and they are typically safer than most synthetic medications.
Take a look at the top 5 cancer fighting herbs you are probably growing in your garden right now. Or, if you’re not, you should be!

  1. Thyme

Used for centuries medicinally, there are now more than 350 different species of thyme grown all over the world. Thyme contains terpenes in the form of thymol, which gives it its strong anti-cancer properties. Thyme is also an excellent antioxidant, antiseptic, and antibacterial. Thyme is great for reducing swelling in the mouth and throat because it’s a natural anti-inflammatory.

SEE ALSO: 10 Herbs That Can Heal

2. Parsley

It’s so much more than just a pretty little herb to garnish your plate! Parsley contains an oil called apigenin. The oil from parsley has been discovered to stop cancers from making new blood vessels that will eventually carry nutrients to the tumors.

3. Mint

Here’s a great reason to enjoy more mint tea! Mint deprives cancerous tumors of the blood supply they need in order to grow. Like parsley, mint leaves contain a phytochemical that cuts off the blood supply to cancerous tumors so they die without nutrients. Find out also powerful benefits of peppermint.

4. Dill

Here is a great cancer fighter. Dill has compounds called monoterpenes. This compound stimulates enzymes called glutathione S transferase, which is a powerful antioxidant that is very effective at targeting all types of carcinogens, especially those free radicals. Dill also has essential oils which are well known for stimulating the juices in the digestive tract and activating the bile production in the body, which will keep your intestines in a healthy state.

5. Rosemary

The very aromatic, woodsy scented herb that contains a naturally occurring substance that stops cancerous cells inside tumors from duplicating themselves. Like thyme, rosemary has terpenes that have fatty acids that kill off cancer cells over time. Research done on cancer shows that rosemary is often used along with some drugs to make cancer cells more receptive to chemotherapy. Read more about the effect of rosemary on cancer.

To make the best of your health, you only need to add a few of the above herbs. It doesn’t get much easier than enjoying a tasty meal while giving your body the tools it need to fight off cancer cells. Perhaps one of the best things about herbs is that you can use at least one in every meal and reap the maximum benefits they have to offer.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Astaxanthin: Still red hot or cooling off? The Dr Oz effect… two years on


Special edition: Antioxidants and carotenoids

Astaxanthin: Still red hot or cooling off? The Dr Oz effect… two years on

By Elaine WATSON , 15-Mar-2013

Last updated on 20-Mar-2013 at 16:09 GMT

Cyanotech: 'Astaxanthin has so many other validated benefits that its antioxidant activity has become secondary'
Cyanotech: 'Astaxanthin has so many other validated benefits that its antioxidant activity has become secondary'

Rewind two years, and astaxanthin was the hottest nutraceutical in town, with sales “skyrocketing” following a slot on Dr Oz in which Dr Joseph Mercola described the potent red antioxidant as the “number one supplement you’ve never heard of that you should be taking”.

But has the novelty worn off, or is astaxanthin still red hot? And what’s driving sales of the ‘king of carotenoids’? Continued interest in its free-radical-busting credentials, or more condition-specific claims driven by the latest science?

Consumers in the US aren’t buying astaxanthin for its antioxidant power

Given how overcrowded the antioxidant market is, the trend is going in the condition-specific direction, agrees Bob Capelli, VP sales and marketing at Cyanotech, which grows astaxanthin from  Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae in closed culture systems and then puts them through a 'reddening' cycle in large open culture ponds in Hawaii.

Indeed, while pure astaxanthin is still the biggest seller for Cyanotech’s Nutrex supplements arm, an increasing percentage of revenues now comes from condition-specific finished products under the MD Formulas brand, says the firm, which posted a 46% hike in revenues in fiscal year 2012 to $24.63m and a 110% surge in net income to $3.6m.

“Astaxanthin has so many other validated benefits that its antioxidant activity has become secondary”, adds Capelli, who says there is growing cynicism about marketing products on the basis of competing in-vitro ORAC scores instead of human clinical studies examining specific health benefits.

“The antioxidant marketing position for astaxanthin is validated, as natural astaxanthin is the strongest natural antioxidant found to date. 

“But consumers in the US aren’t buying it for its antioxidant power; for the most part, they’re buying it for one of its other clinically validated benefits, such as eye and brain health, skin health, joint health or for the benefits it has for athletes and active people.

“There is a huge following for pure astaxanthin capsules in the long-distance runner and triathlete communities.  They really value astaxanthin’s incredible antioxidant activity, its joint, tendon and heart benefits, as well its activity as an internal sunscreen, which is important for athletes or anyone spending a long time in the sun.”

There is a huge following for astaxanthin in the long-distance runner and triathlete communities

Cyanotech: 'The best sellers in our MD Formula’s line are JointAstin and EyeAstin, with OmegaAstin coming in third'
He adds: “It’s interesting that, while the science on astaxanthin for cardiovascular health is very strong with lots of new research, sales of CardioAstin are among the lowest of our condition-specific formulas. 

“But we expect this to change as word gets out about all the new-found research on astaxanthin’s positive effect on the cardiovascular system.  The best sellers in our MD Formula’s line are JointAstin and EyeAstin, with OmegaAstin coming in third.

There is also potential to market products containing astaxanthin (which is shown to depress inflammatory markets such as C-Reactive Protein) in a new breed of products that tackle systemic or low-grade inflammation believed to be at the root of many chronic diseases, he says.

 “While the FDA has an issue with mentioning ‘inflammation’ or ‘anti-inflammatory’ when marketing supplements, many people are finding out about astaxanthin’s activity in this area through research being publicized as compared to astaxanthin marketers talking about it.

“There is tremendous growth potential in this area in the future due to the severity of the diseases inflammation causes.”

Cardiovascular health and sports recovery  

Israeli rival Algatech - which grows its Haematococcus pluvialis in a ‘closed’ network of glass tubes in the desert in southern Israel - is also looking at more condition-specific research into astaxanthin, and believes there is particular potential in sports nutrition/recovery and formulations for an aging population.

Algatech grows its algae in a ‘closed’ system - a vast network of glass tubes in the desert in southern Israel
Says director of sales and marketing Efrat Kat: “Most of the clinical studies on astaxanthin were conducted on areas such as cardiovascular system, sports recovery and skin health.  Consumers, doctors and opinion leaders are more and more interested in the detailed protocols and results of scientific trials, which is to our advantage.”

The Dr Oz effect has not worn off

But what do the formulation experts say?

One leading player is Florida-based Valensa International, which extracts astaxanthin from biomass it buys in from various producers to produces a branded astaxanthin product called Zanthin, plus several formulations combining this with other ingredients.

President Dr Rudi Moerck says: "The Dr Oz effect has not worn off. We’re still seeing strong sales and demand exceeds supply. We’re also seeing more condition-specific applications and products targeting cardiovascular health or joint health combining astaxanthin with other ingredients.

“We see joint health as a big winner as it’s a huge market that’s dominated by glucosamine and chondroitin which have questionable efficacy.”

While taking a standalone astaxanthin supplement will do you good, it makes more sense to combine ingredients, not least because consumers don’t want to pop 10 different pills a day, he points out.

“Our biggest success recently has been a formulation called FlexPro MD [combining astaxanthin, hyalauronic acid, and krill oil], which is marketed by Schiff Nutrition in its Move Free One product and the MegaRed joint care product.”

Tackling low-grade inflammation is a huge opportunity for astaxanthin

As it is poorly soluble in water, astaxanthin is optimally delivered solublized in a lipid or oil-based form to enhance bioavailability and delivered in a hard capsule with technology for protection from oxygen given how unstable it is, says Capsugel
Dr Moerck also believes there is strong potential to market products containing astaxanthin on an anti-inflammatory platform.

“I think that low grade inflammation is now recognized as a huge long-term health issue in the US, and we think there is clear potential for products such as our Zanthin-XP-3 formulation [which combines astaxanthin and perilla seed oil] in this market.

“It’s a huge opportunity [for the nutraceuticals industry], but the average US consumer is totally uninformed about the long-term effects of chronic inflammation, so a massive amount of education is going to be needed from thought leaders to educate the public about it.”

Why hasn’t astaxanthin become a blockbuster in foods and beverages?

But what about astaxanthin in foods and beverages?

Both Cyanotech and Valensa don’t see a great deal of potential here in the short term, in part because of the technical difficulties in making a stable product since astaxanthin oxidizes so easily.

However, AlgaTech is much more optimistic, says Kat, who points out that it’s still only just over a couple of years since astaxanthin secured GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status in the US.

“In Japan, a number of major food companies have successfully launched products containing AstaPure on beauty-from-within, sports activity, cardiovascular health, and other platforms, and while it hasn’t taken off in other regions yet, we have been contacted by some major food companies in the US.
“For them, concerns about supply being able to match demand are more of an issue than technical challenges, which can be overcome.”

Is there room for new entrants to the market?

Valensa makes a 7% astaxanthin oleoresin called Zanthin, which contains up to 90% astaxanthin, 2% lutein, 2% carotene and 6% of other carotenoids. It is extracted using the firm’s proprietary DeepExtract supercritical CO2 process and its O²B Peroxidation Blocker stabilization technology
While the barriers to entry are high, new players will enter the natural astaxanthin production market, predicts Valensa’s Dr Moerck.

Indeed Valensa, which buys its astaxanthin biomass from several suppliers including parent company EID Parry in India (it used to buy a fair amount from Cyanotech until relations between the two soured over a legal dispute), has identified several new producers it thinks could succeed, and has struck deals with two new US-based suppliers (whose names Moerck will not disclose - yet).
Meanwhile, several companies investing in algae for biofuel production have come to realize that they can’t make money this way and now see astaxanthin as a more lucrative opportunity, given that it can fetch up to $12,000/kg, he says.
However, Algatech's Kat notes that “many companies have tried and failed [to produce astaxanthin on a commercial scale]”.

She adds: “The current shortage in supply attracts other companies but the fact is that there are a very few companies in the world who actually succeeded in commercial cultivation of microalgae.”

Meanwhile, Algatech is able to increase capacity to meet growing demand more rapidly than rivals, claims Kat.

"We have a lot of land we can build on here in the desert. We’re expanding astaxanthin production capacity significantly this year."

Algatech’s new owner British private equity firm Grovepoint Capital is also investing “substantial” sums to explore the potential of producing other nutraceutical ingredients from microalgae, with several projects now in the pilot phase, she adds.

Gerry is considered by most in the field to be the father of microalgae production

The biggest draw of the Kailua-Kona coast in Hawaii is the low rainfall and year-round sunlight, which means you can produce for 12 months a year, says Cyanotech’s founder and chief science officer Dr Gerry Cysewski (pictured left, next to sales and marketing VP Bob Capelli). The temperature is also fairly consistent throughout the year while tenants at the coastal facility also have access to cold, mineral-rich seawater from a depth of 2,000 feet for use in the growing and drying process, he says.
Cyanotech, which claims its open ponds are easier to clean than Algatech's glass tubes and don’t have nooks and crannies where unwanted organisms can lurk and proliferate, says it has seen “many companies come into the category and try to produce it, only to go bankrupt and close their facilities”.

And if others try, says Capelli, Cyanotech is confident it will retain its market-leading position: “Cyanotech still has our founder, Dr. Gerry Cysewski, at the helm as chief scientific officer. Gerry is considered by most in the field to be the father of microalgae production after more than 35 years growing Spirulina and Haematococcus among several other species. 

"We not only produce a stable product that always contains the full content of astaxanthin on its label, which is a very serious problem in the industry, but we also produce much higher volume than all our competitors.”   

Cyanotech has also invested in supercritical carbon dioxide extraction equipment that will enable it to bring the astaxanthin extraction process in-house by April 2014, reducing costs and lead times, says Dr Cysewski.

Meanwhile, Cyanotech continues to explore the commercial potential of producing “new high value products from microalgae”, he says... but won’t reveal what they are (yet).

So watch this space...

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Eat less meat, save the planet — and yourself


Eat less meat, save the planet — and yourself

One of the biggest climate solutions also happens to be the healthiest, a new study finds

Eat less meat, save the planet -- and yourself(Credit: Nitr/Shutterstock)
Man-made climate change isn’t just about the way we power our homes and transport our bodies — it’s also about the way we feed ourselves. The deforestation and fertilizer use associated with agriculture are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, and it’s a problem that’s going to become increasingly more so as the population grows. It’s also becoming increasingly obvious that we can’t keep this up.
A new take on the theory of we really can’t keep eating this way, guys comes from researchers at the University of Cambridge. By the middle of this century, they write in the journal Nature Climate Change, the world’s going to have 9.6 billion mouths to feed. And doing so — if we continue in the way we grow and consume food now — will increase emissions up to 80 percent above 2009 levels by 2050, accounting for nearly all of the greenhouse gas emissions we’ve allotted for the entire global economy (that includes the way we power our homes and transport our bodies) under our current climate plan. Efforts to increase yields in areas like Sub-Saharan Africa, where land use is notably inefficient, would be useful, but even in a best-case scenario wouldn’t be enough to stop agriculture, and its negative climate impacts, from expanding.
We can’t slow climate change, in other words, unless we change our diets.
Change how? Reducing food waste is an obvious one: At least a third, and as much as half, of the food produced globally currently goes to waste. So, too, is eating less meat. Global meat production hit an all-time high of 308.5 million tons in 2013, a trend that, as demand from developing nations grows, can be expected to rise accordingly. And while cows themselves are bad for the planet (their belches and farts are an important source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas), meat, by virtue of being extremely inefficient to produce, puts a massive additional strain on our agricultural system.
“The average efficiency of livestock converting plant feed to meat is less than 3 percent, and as we eat more meat, more arable cultivation is turned over to producing feedstock for animals that provide meat for humans,” explains lead author Bojana Bajzelj. ”The losses at each stage are large, and as humans globally eat more and more meat, conversion from plants to food becomes less and less efficient, driving agricultural expansion and land cover conversion, and releasing more greenhouse gases. Agricultural practices are not necessarily at fault here – but our choice of food is.”
The good news is that saturated fats from meat and dairy products — along with sugar, which is also energy-intensive — have something major going for them: We’re supposed to be eating less of them, anyway. The researchers found that eating meat in amounts that are generally recognized by the health community to be bad for you also happens to be bad for the environment. They reference, for example, the recommendations put forward by the American Heart Association, which stress a general reduction in the consumption of red meat and a focus on lean meat — similarly, a diet benefiting the planet, per the study, would include two servings of red meat and five eggs per week, along with a portion of poultry each day.
Speaking with Salon, Bajzelj explained that the recommendations for meat consumption that could arise from their findings are similar to what you might hear from a health professional: While excessive meat consumption will make it impossible for us to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, eating some meat is perfectly fine; eating less than that, if you so desire, is also OK.
“This is not a radical vegetarian argument; it is an argument about eating meat in sensible amounts as part of healthy, balanced diets,” elaborated study co-author Keith Richards in a statement. “Managing the demand better, for example by focusing on health education, would bring double benefits — maintaining healthy populations, and greatly reducing critical pressures on the environment.”
Paul West, co-directer and lead scientist at the University of Minnesota’s Global Landscapes Initiative, says the main point of this newest research is not surprising: His own study, recently published in the journal Science, detailed the ways in which improving agriculture while reducing food waste and meat consumption will be necessary for feeding a growing population without destroying the environment in the process. Nonetheless, he told Salon, it “helps advance our understanding of the connections between diet and greenhouse gas emissions.” And he points to yet another study, published this summer in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that arrived at the same, forceful conclusion. The lead author of that one, Gidon Eshel, summed it up thusly: “Reduce beef whenever possible.”
Lindsay Abrams
Lindsay Abrams is a staff writer at Salon, reporting on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email labrams@salon.com.