Buyer Beware: GMO Stevia Is Everywhere

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana), a perennial shrub native to South America, has a long history of use as a natural sweetener. Steviol glycosides, including rebaudiosides A, D and M are what provide the sweet taste, with Reb A being the sweetest
  • Despite hundreds of years of safe use of stevia, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has labeled stevia leaf and crude stevia extracts “unsafe food additives,” granting GRAS status to certain high-purity steviol glycosides only
  • Genetically engineered (GE) versions of stevia have also received the green light for widespread and unregulated use in food
  • Cargill’s EverSweet contains Reb D and Reb M made from GE yeast fermentation, yet is marketed as “nonartificial”
  • If you want a stevia-based sweetener that is actually made from the plant, opposed to GE yeast, you have to make sure it’s certified organic

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Musical tinnitus: A case of the song that never ends

A few years ago, Susan Root may have been like everyone else who plays hit songs over and over, getting one stuck in her head every so often. But one day, Root started hearing a childhood favorite that wouldn’t stop looping in her head. Continue reading

Google Whistleblower Zach Vorhies Speaks Out

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • According to Google whistleblower Zach Vorhies, changes at Google first became noticeable in 2016, after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States
  • Google started filtering “fake news,” yet Vorhies got concerned when he discovered examples of news stories tagged as fake news that were in fact factual historical events
  • Machine Learning Fairness is a Google project that replaces “unfair” search results — even when the unfairness is accurately reflecting worldly reality — with a more fair and balanced search results, thereby artificially altering what people perceive as “reality”
  • Vorhies has collected and released 950 pages of Google documents that paint a comprehensive picture of how Google is manipulating public opinion and the political landscape
  • The documents clearly reveal Google is far from a neutral platform for information. It has a very clear political agenda, and is using its platform to shape the public view by selectively promoting some content and demoting others

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Radical Innovators Are Trying to Transform Health Care

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • The U.S. health care system is riddled with inefficiencies. With an annual budget of $3 trillion, it’s the largest industry in the United States, so there’s financial motivation to capitalize on expensive treatments, even if they don’t work well
  • Price gouging, overtreatment and fraud are yet other problems plaguing the U.S. health care system, contributing to its inefficiency
  • Many prevention strategies and simple, inexpensive treatments are ignored and not used for the fact they do not generate income for the doctors
  • Switching the incentive model is part of the answer. Hospitals that pay their doctors a salary and bonuses for patient health outcomes see significant improvements and have lower health care outlays
  • Geisinger Health in Pennsylvania prescribed prediabetic and diabetic patients fresh, whole food, along with treatment and educational support. As a result, they reduced the annual cost for Type 2 diabetics by 80%

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Mexico leads world in per-capita consumption of bottled water

Eight out of every 10 Mexicans — and nine out of every 10 Mexico City residents — regularly consume bottled water, making the country the world’s top per-capita consumer of the product, according to the author of a new book on the subject. Continue reading

Key Dietary Strategies to Protect Yourself from Alzheimer’s

Story at-a-glance 

Your diet has major implications for your Alzheimer’s risk. Diets high in carbohydrates, and diets low in healthful fats, lead to Alzheimer’s disease Continue reading