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Thanks, David. Very useful. I read Mattson's recent article about neurohormesis and realized that it's not crazy to suppose that some of us are overdoing it with with these "toxins". We get into a supplement and functional foods industrypromulgated "cover your bases" mentality. The studies showing benefit to particular phytochemicals (which may or may not count as "toxins" in the sense we're intending here) general look at the addition of a smallish amount of just one substance in an otherwise pretty normal -- often quiet bland, i.e., low-toxin/stressor -- diet.

 

- Brian

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I recall I posted a paper at the email list one time which found that around 5% of the weight of the average plant is natural, plant-produced **pesticides** which they have developed over eons of evolution to counter threats.  And that these natural pesticides have a chemical composition very similar to those of the sub-microscopic quantities of the man-made pesticides present in the foods we eat, about which so many people seem so keen to fret.  

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Rodney, I liked your post. Only, I don't know.if.it's true -- that the pesticides used on produce resemble phytpnutrients.

(Homesite -- a little bit of pesticides gears up the immune system?

 

Maybe -- or maybe not.

 

??

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Hi Saul:

 

Well it would take a lot of work to dig it out again.  But I do remember that it was Bruce Ames who noticed the similarity between the chemical structures of man-made pesticides and plant-made pesticides.  And also that both were about equally carcinogenic - that was one of Ames's specialities.  But I did not say that all plant-made pesticides - or man-made pesticides - are "phytonutrients".  I really do not know what qualifies a compound to be a 'phytonutrient'.  But I did say, and am happy to repeat it since this is another point I recall, that the quantity of plant-made pesticides present in harvested food crops is approximately 10,000 times greater than the tiny residues of the man-made variety. 

 

This causes me to regard organic foods as no healthier than those from regular crops.  ......  until, as with everything else, someone comes up with persuasive evidence to the contrary.  Such as feeding two groups of monkeys for a lifetime on organic foods and regular foods and comparing their health later in life  .....  and that the study not be financed or manipulated by either party with an interest in the matter.

 

But I am certainly not offended if people insist on buying very expensive organic foods. 

 

Rodney.

 

Rodney.

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I think the balance of evidence on the health of effects to the consumer of organically produced food is fairly strongly on the side of choosing organic in the case of certain food items: potatoes (though probably not sweet potatoes), farm-grown (not greenhouse grown) bell peppers, many fruits (esp. apples and berries), and virtually all leafy green vegetables.

 

But there's a whole other category of reasons for choosing organic, including concern about the health of people working with pesticides. There, the evidence is clearer: occupation exposure to pesticides causes great harm. To be smart/non-hippy-oid about this, though, one would have to look at the overall consequences on occupational hazards of shifting to organic. Not sure that's been done, but it's hard to imagine it would be worse or even the same as the occ. risks caused by conventional farming.

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How Long Will It Be Before You Can Get an Anti-Aging Pill?
 
 
"Despite widespread acceptance, scientists do not yet know if long-term calorie restriction is nutritionally safe or effective in humans.
Although encouraging in lab animal models, calorie restriction doesn’t seem to have the same life extending benefit in non-lab, or wild, mice.
Studies in nonhuman primates and humans are under way, but it will be years until we know the results."
 
 
It seems to me that we already have very good evidence that CR with a good attempt to get "optimal nutrition" will
extend healthspan and lifespan. Even if most or all of the benefit comes from reducing the probability of diseases, who cares.
 
The average person will have to practice CR just to get to a healthy mid range bmi of say 22.
 
David

 

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Hi Saul:

 

Well it would take a lot of work to dig it out again.  But I do remember that it was Bruce Ames who noticed the similarity between the chemical structures of man-made pesticides and plant-made pesticides.  And also that both were about equally carcinogenic - that was one of Ames's specialities.  But I did not say that all plant-made pesticides - or man-made pesticides - are "phytonutrients".  I really do not know what qualifies a compound to be a 'phytonutrient'.  But I did say, and am happy to repeat it since this is another point I recall, that the quantity of plant-made pesticides present in harvested food crops is approximately 10,000 times greater than the tiny residues of the man-made variety. 

 

This causes me to regard organic foods as no healthier than those from regular crops.  ......  until, as with everything else, someone comes up with persuasive evidence to the contrary.  Such as feeding two groups of monkeys for a lifetime on organic foods and regular foods and comparing their health later in life  .....  and that the study not be financed or manipulated by either party with an interest in the matter.

 

But I am certainly not offended if people insist on buying very expensive organic foods. 

 

Rodney.

 

Rodney.

Hi Rodney:

This is very interesting.  I'm wondering if anyone besides Ames has given evidence of this. If plant made pesticides are 10,000 times more prevalent than man-made pesticides in crops my decision may be to quit buying organic.

 

I  think that the way to improve working conditions for farm workers who are exposed to these toxins will have to come from OSHA.  I don't know why this has not already happened.  I might ask my Congressman.  We're in California where many of these crops are grown.

 

Pegd

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