Biggest Milk Producer In The US Files For Bankruptcy – Vegan News, Plant Based Living, Food, Health & more

Dean Foods has seen its profits tumble in recent years as consumers have started drinking less milk

The largest milk producer in the US is filing for bankruptcy. Dean Foods has seen its profits nosedive in recent years – with its CEO saying Americans are drinking less milk. The Dallas-based producer, which is 94-years-old, saw sales fall by seven percent in the first half of 2019, with profits plummeting by 14 percent. Its stock has lost 80 percent in that time.

Competition

Reports have cited the skyrocketing popularity of milk alternatives as part of the reason behind Dean Foods’ decline. According to Euromonitor, the global market for milk alternatives is predicted to hit $18 billion this year, up 3.5 percent from 2018 – creating a challenge for dairy producers. “The large and complex U.S. dairy market faces several forces that are influencing future growth and challenging the status quo,” said Euromonitor. “One trend impacting the industry across cheese, milk and yogurt, among other categories, is the competition from plant-based alternatives.

— Read on www.plantbasednews.org/

J&J Recalls Baby Powder After Trace Asbestos Found in Bottle

Johnson & Johnson on Friday recalled a single batch of its baby powder as a precaution after government testing found trace amounts of asbestos in one bottle bought online.

The regulator found trace levels of chrysotile asbestos in samples taken from a bottle of baby powder purchased from an online retailer, Johnson & Johnson said. The company has, for years, denied that the carcinogen is, or ever was, present in its talc-based products.

This is the first time Johnson & Johnson has ever pulled baby powder from the market over asbestos concerns, a spokesman for the company said, and comes as Johnson & Johnson is battling thousands of lawsuits brought by people who say that baby powder and other talc-based products caused them to develop cancer. Some have mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that is considered the signature disease of asbestos exposure, while others have ovarian cancer, which has also been linked to asbestos.

The recall will undermine defense claims against those suits, and could lead to the company having to pay more or to settle cases, said Erik Gordon, a University of Michigan business professor who studies corporate governance. Shares of the company fell 5 percent in early afternoon trading on Friday.

But in announcing the recall, the company also repeated part of its long-running defense against cancer claims, saying that “thousands of tests over the past 40 years repeatedly confirm that our consumer talc products do not contain asbestos.” The company said it was recalling the shipment out of an “abundance of caution.”

Though Johnson & Johnson said it has started “a rigorous, thorough investigation into the matter” it also appeared to question the testing process, saying in a statement that it is working with the F.D.A. to “determine the integrity of the tested sample and the validity of the test results.”

The recalled baby powder was produced and shipped last year. The recalled lot, #22318RB, involves 33,000 bottles sold by a retailer, which sold products online but may have shipped powder to stores, the spokesman, Ernie Knewitz, said. The F.D.A. has not responded to questions about the identity of the retailer.

A New York Times investigation last year found that Johnson & Johnson executives were aware for decades of the risks of asbestos contamination in talc but did not warn consumers. Internal memos and reports made public during litigation against the company document executives’ concerns about potential contamination that date back 50 years.

Earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson disclosed that it is being investigated by the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission over concerns about possible asbestos contamination of its talc-based products.

The company is now entangled in litigation on multiple fronts. On Thursday, it agreed to pay $117 million to settle claims that it deceptively marketed transvaginal pelvic mesh implants. Earlier this month, a jury in Philadelphia ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $8 billion to a Maryland man who accused the company of downplaying the risks associated with the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal. The company has also agreed to settle claims involving its role in the nationwide opioid crisis.

Lee Hambright, an analyst with Bernstein, wrote in a note to clients last week that Johnson & Johnson could face $5 billion in legal liability over the talc litigation. Of the 15,500 talc lawsuits the company has disclosed, Mr. Hambright estimated that 1,000 involved mesothelioma cases.

[Read our investigation into claims about asbestos in baby powder.]

Talc is a natural mineral that is mined from underground deposits, but asbestos can form under the same geological conditions that form talc, and geologists say veins of asbestos can intermingle with talc in underground mines.Johnson & Johnson officials emphasized that the level of asbestos detected was very low, the amount being “two ten-thousands of a percent” of the sample. U.S. health agencies, however, say there is no known safe level of exposure when it comes to asbestos.

While health risks increase with heavier and longer exposure times to asbestos, the overall evidence suggests no level of asbestos exposure is safe, and disease has been found in people with only brief exposures, according to the National Cancer Institute.

[Thousands of people who trusted Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder for decades are suing the company after developing cancer. “The Weekly,” our new TV show, investigates their allegations.]

This is a developing story that will be updated.

Correction: Oct. 18, 2019

An earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of a spokesman for Johnson & Johnson. His name is Ernie Knewitz, not Knewizt.

By Tiffany Hsu and 

You’re Cleaning Mushrooms Wrong

This is a public service announcement, and it won’t take long. If you’ve been reading Heated this month, you may have noticed that we’ve been talking a lot about meat alternatives — such as high-tech burgers that “bleed” like beef but are made mostly of plants (that sort of thing), and this mushroom-nut burger. Well, before any of this stuff existed, people who wanted something “meaty” without eating meat ate mushrooms. For better or worse, the default “oh, so you don’t eat any meat?” dish served to vegetarians at restaurants and parties was a portobello “burger” or some analogous concoction where the mushrooms masquerade as meat.

Whether you cook mushrooms constantly, infrequently, or somewhere in between, there’s a decent chance you’re cleaning them wrong.

There’s this myth that you should never ever wash mushrooms because they’ll absorb too much water. Instead, what we’ve been taught to do is daintily wipe the dirt off with a damp cloth or paper towel.

This is maddeningly slow and a huge waste of time. To clean mushrooms, you should rinse them under running water. Yes, mushrooms are porous, and if you leave them sitting in a bowl of water they will soak it up like a sponge. But a quick blast of running water to wipe the dirt off will not make them any worse for wear, and will save you a lot of time and frustration in the kitchen.

If cleaning mushrooms is less frustrating, maybe we’ll cook more mushrooms. If we cook more mushrooms, maybe we’ll eat less meat. If we eat less meat, maybe (definitely) we’ll be healthier and so will the earth. PSA over.

By: Mark Bittman

Are Plant-Based Milks the Future of Dairy?

Photo by a_namenko for Getty Images

Long before 2016, when fifth-generation dairyman Henry Schwartz decided to shut down Elmhurst Dairy in Jamaica, Queens, he saw the writing on the wall. Dairy consumption was declining and profit margins were increasingly squeezed, making it nearly impossible to turn a profit. Schwartz had kept the company, which his family had run since 1925, chugging along well past its life as a viable business. But the time had come, and in August 2016, he closed the doors of the last functioning dairy plant in New York City limits.

Then, a proverbial door opened. Through business connections, Schwartz was introduced to Cheryl Mitchell — a food scientist who has spent decades of her professional life focused on nondairy milks — those made from nuts, seeds, and grains. Her patents were instrumental in founding the modern-day alternative milk industry, and now she had a new method that she thought could revolutionize the field. Schwartz owned another business, Steuben Foods, that produces aseptic paperboard packaging — the kind used to package things like soups, juices, and the wide array of alternative milks found in the grocery store aisle. All of a sudden, a new path forward appeared.

Schwartz, now 86, no longer gives media interviews. But Elmhurst’s vice president of marketing, Peter Truby, recalled a conference call where Schwartz said, “milk runs through my veins.” The thought of pivoting his family’s long-standing dairy legacy toward a plant-based product was almost unimaginable. But as he got to know the alternative milk industry (and taste Mitchell’s products), he made up his mind. “I remember he came to the plant in November of 2016 and saw the milk coming out for the first time,” Mitchell recalled. “And he said to me, ‘I want to sell it.’”

Today, Elmhurst Dairy is simply Elmhurst — a new company producing milk and creamers made from almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, oats, and hemp. Its products, which are remarkably milk-like in creaminess and flavor, are in 6,000 stores across America and shipped all over the country via its website.

“Elmhurst was around as a dairy plant for close to 95 years,” Truby told me. “Now, it has a chance to be around for another 100.”

Schwartz’s path of personal and professional evolution is remarkable. And it is just one of many stories in the modern alternative milk industry, which, according to Truby, currently makes up 13 percent of total sales in the dairy market (and growing). These milks have long been consumed by vegans and lactose-intolerant consumers. And they are increasingly favored by people not looking to fully give up dairy products, but seeking out ways to cut back for ethical, environmental, or health reasons.

Every six months or so, there seems to be a new darling of the industry. For decades, the story was mostly about soy (think Edensoy, Pacific, and Silk) and rice milks. Then came the almond milk craze at the turn of the 21st century, followed closely by coconut milk. More recently, Oatly captured the hearts of the nation’s nondairy lovers, and suddenly grocery stores couldn’t keep the Swedish oat milk company’s products in stock. (Sales of oat milk rose a staggering 425 percent between 2017 and 2018.) There are even milks made from flaxseeds, macadamias, and, advisably or not, bananas and yellow peas. Some scientists have turned their attention instead to lab-produced milks which aim to mimic the microbial structure (and therefore taste and texture) of dairy — but without the cow.

Plant-based milk companies — like Elmhurst in New York, Califia Farms in California, and Good Karma Foods in Colorado — understand that coffee shops are important gateways for introducing new customers to their products. So in addition to analogues for regular cow milk, many companies are also developing special “barista blends” designed to make froth thick and billowy enough to produce latte art and yet, the modern alternative milk industry has more to do with packaging than plants. People have been making beverages from grains, legumes, and seeds for thousands of years. According to the “History of Soymilk” by nondairy disciples William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi, soy milk (doujiang) — always homemade and often served warm for breakfast — was in wide use in China by the mid-17th century, though likely originated earlier. And the creamy fermented rice beverage amazake (the barely alcoholic cousin to sake) has been brewed in Japan since at least the 6th century.

Photo by Elmhurst Dairy

A handful of manufacturers in China, Japan, and the United States began bottling and selling plant-based (primarily soy) milks in the early 20th century. But it wasn’t until the late 1960s that aseptic paperboard packaging was created, allowing companies to offer shelf-stable products that could last without refrigeration for six months or longer. This development was a boon for the fledgling alternative milk industry because it took the pressure off of immediately selling these products — which most American consumers were either unfamiliar with or skeptical about — before they spoiled.

Mitchell has been there since nearly the beginning. In the 1970s, a health food advocate and restaurateur named Robert Nissenbaum approached Mitchell for advice. He had been serving housemade amazake to customers at his Sunshine Inn restaurant in St. Louis, Missouri, and was receiving enthusiastic feedback. As Mitchell recalls, “He came to us and said, ‘I’d like to get it in a package. Can we manufacture it so it can be on the regular shelf instead of the refrigerator case?’” The short answer turned out to be yes, and with Mitchell’s expertise, Nissenbaum went on to found industry giants Rice Dream and Imagine Foods.

The success of these early companies helped to bring alternative milks to the mainstream, or at least closer to it. But Mitchell was not satisfied. The dominant process for “milking” the rice, which typically began with grinding the grain to make a flour or paste, removed a lot of its inherent nutritive aspects — things like fiber, protein, and antioxidant oils. The result was a milk that was thin (“It did not have the richness or milk-like opacity that customers expected,” Mitchell said) and not particularly nutrient-dense.

To compensate, they added many of these qualities back in, using safflower oil, carrageenan, and calcium carbonate. “I still feel guilty about it,” Mitchell said. The technique worked so well for Rice Dream that other companies began to mimic their methods. Consumers went crazy for these “healthy” alternatives to dairy, but there was ultimately no nutritional value. As Mitchell put it, “You are basically paying for water, gums, and a couple of nuts or grains.”

Over the last two decades, Mitchell paid a form of professional penance by devoting her work to maximizing the nutrient value of nondairy milks.

“I spent a lot of my own money on research because no one else was doing it,” she said. Her efforts paid off in a new patent called HydroRelease, which uses very high water pressure to slough off layers of whatever ingredient is being milked. Some plant based milks, particularly almond milk, have gotten a bad reputation for their environmentally unfriendly water usage. Mitchell’s technology, however, mitigates this impact by recycling the water used during HydroRelease. “Once we start spraying, it is the same water over and over again, so the milk gets more and more concentrated.”

The process also “releases each of the macro- and micro-ingredients — the natural lecithins, the oils, the binders,” Mitchell said. These components can then be recombined and emulsified into a creamy, nutritious, functional, and frothable milk. There is no need to add gums or anything extra (many of Elmhurst’s products contain only two ingredients, one of which is water) — it is all there in the plants.

Of course, with so much competition crowding the field, the bottom line for Elmhurst — or any nondairy milk — is, how do they taste? Flavor has been a concern of the industry for years. In the 1960s, write Shurtleff and Aoyagi, Cornell University scientists isolated the enzyme lipoxygenase as “responsible for the ‘beany’ flavor in soy milk,” and developed processes to help remove it.

Still, during the two years I spent as a vegan in college during the early 2000s, I tried and failed to convince myself that I — a born-and-bred, dairy-guzzling Midwesterner — really enjoyed Silk and Edensoy with cereal, or leaving curdled flecks on the surface of my coffee. I never worked my way up to drinking straight glasses of the stuff. It definitely wasn’t milk and, more importantly, it wasn’t very good.

But while nothing quite compares in flavor or texture to cow dairy, the field of options has improved tremendously. Today, my family’s fridge, like many other fridges, is multi-milked. Despite my lifelong love affair with dairy, my kids’ digestive systems seem to tolerate it less well. So there’s dairy half-and-half for coffee, and a rotation of cashew and oat milks (often from Elmhurst) for cereal, smoothies, and cooking. And I have come to enjoy the nutty, chai-like quality of So Delicious’ cashew milk ice cream nearly as much as regular dairy vanilla.

Mitchell has never been fully vegan herself. (One of her daughters is, however, and her other daughter eats meat but cannot handle dairy.) But despite being a flexitarian, she, like Schwartz, believes the future lies in plant-based milks — particularly ones that hold on to their natural nutritive qualities. And she is excited by their growing epicurean potential.

As it turns out, when the milks retain their proteins and fiber, they just work better in culinary applications. “You can make an amazingly convincing nondairy bechamel because the building blocks are there,” Mitchell said. “There is so much more we can develop using these ingredients. I’m happy to provide the tools to take us to the next generation.”

Written by: Leah Koenig.

Originally posted on: Heated

Fresh Cucumber Juice

Move over celery juice there’s a new stallion in town, and he’s also packing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Ladies and gentlemen, make room in your shopping carts and refrigerators for Mr. Cucumber. These bad boys are literally underrated. What’s so big about celery juice, and who started this trend? According to the New York Times, author Anthony William wrote “Medical Medium Celery Juice: The Most Powerful Medicine of Our Time Healing Millions Worldwide.” In it, he advises readers to drink 16 ounces of organic celery juice each morning on an empty stomach. He claims the celery juice can lead to clearer skin and weight loss, and help eliminate migraines and gout. Of course, these claims are not backed up by science. Plus, celebrities like Pharrell and Beyoncé are swearing by it. If you do your research, cucumbers and celery offer up very similar claims.

Top Cucumber Claims

  • Skin – reduce swelling/inflammation
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Regulates sugar for diabetes
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Aids in cancer reduction
  • Detoxes the body
  • Relieves constipation
  • Hydrates body

Top Celery Claims

  • Fights inflammation
  • Suppress arthritis pain
  • Aids in cancer reduction
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Great for skin
  • Hydrating
  • Detoxes body
  • Aids in digestion

It all really boils down to preference. Both are healthy and have similar health claims. I choose to juice cucumbers because I prefer the taste. To tell you the truth, I’m not a huge fan of celery juice. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy eating celery but only in soups and salads. I’m currently growing cucumbers so I have a great supply to play with. They’re great for juicing because of their high water content and let’s not leave out the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Cucumbers are also an excellent source of vitamin K and molybdenum. I also enjoy eating them, but juicing will instantly allow my body to absorb all the great nutrients quicker.

Here’s my all time favorite cucumber juice. It’s quick and refreshing. Always choose organic produce.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Large cucumber
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple
  • 1/2 Lime (squeezed)

Here’s another one of my favorite cucumber juice:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Large cucumber
  • 8 Kale leaves
  • 1 Medium finger length ginger (peeled)
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple

However, if you’re making for two or more people, then double up, triple up, or quadruple up on the ingredients.

Enjoy!

  • Resource:
  • Benefit of Cucumbers
  • 10 Cucumber Health Benefits You Shouldn’t Ignore
  • How to get the health benefits of cucumber
  • Does celery juice have health benefits

    Fresh Beet Juice Blend

    Here’s a delicious beet juice recipe I created this morning. Sometimes you’ll drink a fresh juice and one ingredient may over power the entire juice. Well, this isn’t one of those juices. The beets and carrots adds the sweetness, then the bitter from the kale and parsley combined with the water from the cucumber, helped to balance out the taste. It came out really smooth. This recipe made two portions. Before juicing, make sure you wash and scrub your vegetables. Always use organic produce, if possible. If not, peeling the outer skin helps to reduce your exposure to pesticides.

    INGREDIENTS

    1. 1 Large beet
    2. 1 lb Carrots
    3. 1/2 Bundle of parsley
    4. 1 Large cucumber
    5. 3 Kale leaves

    enjoy!

    Colorectal Cancer Rises Among Younger Adults

    A colored scanning electron micrograph of a dividing colorectal cancer cell. Credit Steve Gschmeissner/Science Source

    Colorectal cancer is typically considered a disease of aging — most new cases are diagnosed in people over age 50. But even as the rates decrease in older adults, scientists have documented a worrisome trend in the opposite direction among patients in their 20s and 30s. Now, data from national cancer registries in Canada add to the evidence that colorectal cancer rates are rising in younger adults. The increases may even be accelerating.

    “We thought that this trend would slow down or level off after people first noticed it a few years ago,” said Darren Brenner, a molecular cancer epidemiologist at the University of Calgary and lead author of the new study, published on Wednesday in the journal JAMA Network Open. “But every year we keep seeing the increase in colorectal cancer among young people, and it is very alarming.” Between 2006 and 2015, the last year for which figures are available, colorectal cancer rates increased by 3.47 percent among Canadian men under age 50, Dr. Brenner and his colleagues found. And from 2010 to 2015, rates increased by 4.45 percent among women under age 50. Yet colon and rectal cancers have been steadily decreasing among older adults in Canada because of increased awareness of the disease and widespread use of screening tests like colonoscopies, which can identify and remove colon polyps before cancer develops.

    The pattern is quite similar to that observed by researchers in the United States. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin reported last week that the proportion of newly diagnosed colorectal patients under age 50 rose from 10 percent in 2004 to 12.2 percent in 2015. Younger patients were also likely to have advanced cases more often than older patients. Over all, the risk of colorectal cancer is still much lower in younger adults than in older ones. But the continuing uptick means that millennials will most likely carry an elevated risk as they get older.

    “They’ll carry that risk with them, so that they have a much higher risk than their parents when they reach their 50s and 60s,” said Rebecca Siegel, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society. Recent lifestyle changes may be partly to blame. Obesity and sedentary lifestyles, for example, are linked to colorectal cancer, as are poor diets low in fiber. Patients with chronic inflammation or Type 2 diabetes have also been found to be at increased risk for the disease. But experts are not entirely convinced these are the only factors at work. Trends in obesity among people of different ethnic and racial backgrounds don’t always correspond to an increase in colorectal cancer, according to Ms. Siegel.

    Some studies have found that obesity brings increased risk of colon cancer, while others, including the new JAMA research, have found a greater increase in cancers of the rectum. Until there is more research into what is causing the increase in colorectal cancers, Ms. Siegel encourages younger people to be more proactive about identifying signs early on. Persistent constipation, cramps, bloating, blood in stool, unexplained weight loss and fatigue can all be symptoms. Younger people and their doctors often overlook the warning signs because “cancer is not on their radar,” Ms. Siegel said.

    The American Cancer Society now recommends screening average-risk individuals for colorectal cancer starting at age 45. Researchers in Canada also are considering changes to screening recommendations. But these revisions are unlikely to help prevent cancers among patients who are even younger. “We need to understand why this trend is occurring in young people in order to prevent it,” Dr. Brenner said.

    By: Knvul Sheikh

    10 Sitting Exercises for the Workplace

    desk-sitting

     

     

    10 Sitting Exercises for Anti-Aging Fitness

    1. Sit tall with a neutral spine (small curve in your middle back, hips level).
    2. Legs spaced comfortably at a 90-degree angle and in alignment with hips.
    3. Feet pointed straight ahead, aligned with knees.
    4. Button navel to spine, reducing pressure on your back.
    5. Place a 4-inch foam ball between your knees to help you maintain position without having to think about it. Squeeze the ball with your inner thigh muscles from time to time to strengthen them and improve circulation.
    6. Keep your shoulders low and relaxed with a wide collarbone. Slide your shoulder blades down from time to time, exhaling as you do so. Be sure you don’t pinch your shoulder blades together. This exercise is extremely important for avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome and neck strain.
    7. Keep your computer keyboard at elbow level; comfortable for arms and wrists — also important for reducing stress to elbows and wrists.
    8. Alternate stretching your neck by looking and then tuck your chin into your chest.
    9. Concentrate on making your neck as long as possible.
    10. Keep a workout band in your desk to use for stretching, strengthening and improving circulation.
    11. Get up from your chair frequently and take a walk around the office. Take the stairs for going between floors whenever possible.

     

    – Adapted from “The Anti-Aging Solution” by Vincent Giampapa, M.D., Ronald Pero, Ph.D., Marcia Zimmerman, C.N. Foreword by Nicholas Perricone, M.D. Wiley, March 2004.

    Did You Know, Poultry is a Cause? Urinary Tract Infections Affect Millions. The Cures Are Faltering.

    Dr. Lee Riley of the University of California, Berkeley, has been studying antibiotic-resistant strains of E. coli, which can cause urinary tract infections. “We’ve suspected maybe some of these U.T.I. cases may be food-borne,” he said. Credit Brian L. Frank for The New York Times

    For generations, urinary tract infections, one of the world’s most common ailments, have been easily and quickly cured with a simple course of antibiotics. But there is growing evidence that the infections, which afflict millions of Americans a year, mostly women, are increasingly resistant to these medicines, turning a once-routine diagnosis into one that is leading to more hospitalizations, graver illnesses and prolonged discomfort from the excruciating burning sensation that the infection brings.

    The New York City Department of Health has become so concerned about drug-resistant U.T.I.s, as they are widely known, that it introduced a new mobile phone app this month that gives doctors and nurses access to a list of strains of urinary tract infections and which drugs they are resistant to. The department’s research found that a third of uncomplicated urinary tract infections caused by E. coli — the most common type now — were resistant to Bactrim, one of the most widely used drugs, and at least one fifth of them were resistant to five other common treatments. “This is crazy. This is shocking,” said Lance Price, director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University, who was not involved in the research. 

    The drug ampicillin, once a mainstay for treating the infections, has been abandoned as a gold standard because multiple strains of U.T.I.s are resistant to it. Some urinary tract infections now require treatment with heavy-duty intravenous antibiotics. Researchers last year reported in a study that a third of all U.T.I.s in Britain are resistant to “key antibiotics.” Certainly, the day-to-day experience of having a U.T.I. is growing less routine for many women. Carolina Barcelos, 38, a postdoctoral researcher in Berkeley, Calif., said she had several U.T.I.s as a teenager, all successfully treated with Bactrim. When she got one in February, her doctor also prescribed Bactrim, but this time it didn’t work.

    Four days later, she returned and got a new prescription, for a drug called nitrofurantoin. It didn’t work either. Her pain worsened, and several days later, there was blood in her urine. Her doctor prescribed a third drug, ciproflaxacin, the last of the three major front-line medicines, and cultured her urine. The culture showed her infection was susceptible to the new drug, but not the other two. “Next time,” Dr. Barcelos said, “I’m going to ask them to do a culture right away. For eight days I was taking antibiotics that weren’t working for me.” Usually, it is people with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions who are most vulnerable to drug-resistant infections, but U.T.I.s have a dubious distinction: They are the single biggest risk to healthy people from drug-resistant germs.

    Resistance to antibiotics has become one of the world’s most pressing health issues. Overuse of the drugs in humans and livestock has caused germs to develop defenses to survive, rendering a growing number of medicines ineffective in treating a wide range of illnesses — a phenomenon that is playing out worldwide with U.T.I.s.

    The World Health Organization, while noting that data on urinary tract infections and drug resistance is “scarce,” said the fact the infections were so common strongly suggested that increasing resistance would lead to more severe illnesses and fatalities. The solution, researchers and clinicians say, includes a continued push for more judicious use of antibiotics worldwide. But more immediately, a partial solution would be the development of quick, cheap diagnostic tools that would allow an instant urine culture so that a doctor could prescribe the right drug for U.T.I.s.

    Carolina Barcelos had a urinary tract infection earlier this year. Neither of the first two drugs she took helped. “For eight days I was taking antibiotics that weren’t working for me,” she said. Credit Brian L. Frank for The New York Times

    But whether to wait the several days it usually takes to get lab results before prescribing presents a tough dilemma for doctors and patients, who frequently are desperate for relief. Plus, depending on a person’s insurance, getting a culture can be expensive. Generally doctors still do not order a urine culture before prescribing an antibiotic.

    “In the old days, the list of antibiotic options was short but by and large they would all work,” said Dr. James Johnson, an infectious disease professor and leading researcher on urinary tract infections at the University of Minnesota. Some women have U.T.I.s that the body fights off on its own without using antibiotics, while other women may have a different low-level ailment that feels like a U.T.I., but isn’t. The safest course is to see a doctor and make an informed decision that includes a judicious determination of whether antibiotics are warranted. The science does not support the efficacy of some popular remedies like cranberry juice or cranberry pills.

    Officials from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that U.T.I.s acquired by otherwise healthy people were a growing concern and one poorly studied. They are not tracked nationally. In older people, urinary tract infections can be deadly, but tracking in the United States is so weak that there are no reliable estimates on the numbers of deaths related to the infections. The C.D.C. published an estimate of 13,000 per year, but that figure comes from a paper looking at 2002 data and refers only to U.T.I.s acquired in hospitals. Dr. Clifford McDonald, associate director for science in the division of health care quality promotion at the C.D.C., said the government planned to expand its research.

    “If we don’t do something soon,” Dr. McDonald said, “it’s going to push all our treatments to more advanced antibiotics that finally put a lot of pressure on the last-line treatments.”

    What makes these infections so dangerous, and commonplace, is human anatomy. In women, the urethra — the gateway to the urinary tract — is in proximity to the rectum. This can lead to easy transfer of bacteria in fecal residue that otherwise resides harmlessly in the gut. 

    In reproductive years, women are 50 times for likely than men to have a urinary tract infection; later in life, the ratio drops to 2 to 1, as men wind up having surgical procedures on their prostate, or catheters, that more easily expose their urinary tracts to infection.

    There are multiple germs that cause U.T.I.s, and their resistance levels to drugs vary both by strain and by where a patient lives. By far the most common cause of U.T.I.s today is E. coli, and, in general, those infections have seen sharp rises in resistance to gold standard treatments over the past decade and a half.

    Dr. Eva Raphael, a primary care physician at San Francisco General Hospital, said one of her patients returned to the emergency room after a drug-resistant U.T.I. spread to her kidney. “It makes me wonder what the world looked like for women before antibiotics, and wonder if we’re going to see that now,” she said. Credit Brian L. Frank for The New York Times

    New research shows that one crucial path of transfer of germs that cause U.T.I.s is food, most often poultry. The consumed poultry winds up in a person’s gut and can get transferred through fecal residue to the urethra.

    A study published last year by the American Society of Microbiology, funded partly by the C.D.C., found 12 strains of E. coli in poultry that matched widely circulating urinary tract infection strains. One of the study’s authors, Dr. Lee Riley, a professor of epidemiology and infectious diseases at the University of California, Berkeley, said he was working on a C.D.C.-funded project to determine whether the urinary tract infection needs to be classified and reported as a food-borne illness.

    Dr. Brad Frazee, an emergency room doctor at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif., has been a co-author of research that adds another troubling wrinkle: Increasingly, E. coli is proving resistant not just to individual antibiotics, but also to a broad group of drugs known as beta-lactam antibiotics. These drugs share a way of attacking infection, and when a germ develops resistance to this method of attack, it eliminates several key treatment options all at once.

    Recently, a woman carrying such resistance showed up at Dr. Frazee’s hospital, he said. She wound up with pyelonephritis, an infection in the kidney, and had to be treated in the hospital intravenously with a drug called ertapenem that can cost $1,000 a dose. A study found that around 5 percent of U.T.I.s at the hospital carried this resistance. 

    Doctors are now confronting cases of resistant urinary tract infections in their practices. Dr. Eva Raphael, a primary care physician in San Francisco, recently received notice that one of her patients, a healthy woman in her mid-30s, was back in the emergency room with another U.T.I. that was resistant to multiple antibiotics.

    One of her prior U.T.I.s had failed to respond to two commonly used treatments and had spread to her kidney, requiring hospitalization to receive intravenous antibiotics. This time Dr. Raphael consulted with infectious disease specialists. “It can be quite dangerous in this age where there is more and more resistance,” she said, noting that without effective treatment the infection can get into the blood. “It can be fatal.”

    Urinary Tract Infections Affect Millions. The Cures Are Faltering.
    — Read on www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2019/07/13/health/urinary-infections-drug-resistant.amp.html

    Why Some Dairy Products are More Closely Linked to Parkinson’s Disease

    Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

    Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s. Each year in the United States, approximately 60,000 new cases are diagnosed, bringing the total number of current cases up to about a million, with tens of thousands of people dying from the disease every year. The dietary component most often implicated is milk, as I discuss in my video Could Lactose Explain the Milk and Parkinson’s Disease Link?, and contamination of milk by neurotoxins has been considered the “only possible explanation.” High levels of organochlorine pesticide residues have been found in milk, as well as in the most affected areas in the brains of Parkinson’s victims on autopsy. Pesticides in milk have been found around the world, so perhaps the dairy industry should require toxin screenings of milk. In fact, inexpensive, sensitive, portable tests are now available with no false positives and no false negatives, providing rapid detection of highly toxic pesticides in milk. Now, we just have to convince the dairy industry to actually do it.

    Others are not as convinced of the pesticide link. “Despite clear-cut associations between milk intake and PD [Parkinson’s disease] incidence, there is no rational explanation for milk being a risk factor for PD.” If it were the pesticides present in milk that could accumulate in the brain, we would assume that the pesticides would build up in the fat. However, the link between skimmed milk and Parkinson’s is just as strong. So, researchers have suggested reverse causation: The milk didn’t cause Parkinson’s; the Parkinson’s caused the milk. Parkinson’s makes some people depressed, they reasoned, and depressed people may drink more milk. As such, they suggested we shouldn’t limit dairy intake for people with Parkinson’s, especially because they are so susceptible to hip fractures. But we now know that milk doesn’t appear to protect against hip fractures after all and may actually increase the risk of both bone fractures and death. (For more on this, see my video Is Milk Good for Our Bones?.) Ironically, this may offer a clue as to what’s going on in Parkinson’s, but first, let’s look at this reverse causation argument: Did milk lead to Parkinson’s, or did Parkinson’s lead to milk?

    What are needed are prospective cohort studies in which milk consumption is measured first and people are followed over time, and such studies still found a significant increase in risk associated with dairy intake. The risk increased by 17 percent for every small glass of milk a day and 13 percent for every daily half slice of cheese. Again, the standard explanation is that the risk is from all the pesticides and other neurotoxins in dairy, but that doesn’t explain why there’s more risk attached to some dairy products than others. Pesticide residues are found in all dairy products, so why should milk be associated with Parkinson’s more than cheese is? Besides the pesticides themselves, there are other neurotoxic contaminants in milk, like tetrahydroisoquinolines, found in the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease, but there are higher levels of these in cheese than in milk, though people may drink more milk than eat cheese.

    The relationship between dairy and Huntington’s disease appears similar. Huntington’s is a horrible degenerative brain disease that runs in families and whose early onset may be doubled by dairy consumption, but again, this may be more milk consumption than cheese consumption, which brings us back to the clue in the more-milk-more-mortality study.

    Anytime we hear disease risks associated with more milk than cheese—more oxidative stress and inflammation—we should think galactose, the milk sugar rather than the milk fat, protein, or pesticides. That’s why we think milk drinkers specifically appeared to have a higher risk of bone fractures and death, which may explain the neurodegeneration findings, too. Not only do rare individuals with an inability to detoxify the galactose found in milk suffer damage to their bones, but they also exhibit damage to their brains.


    Other than avoiding dairy products, what can we do to reduce our risk of Parkinson’s? See Is Something in Tobacco Protective Against Parkinson’s Disease?and Peppers and Parkinson’s: The Benefits of Smoking Without the Risks?.

    You may also be interested in my videos Treating Parkinson’s Disease with Dietand Parkinson’s Disease and the Uric Acid Sweet Spot.

    For the effect of foods on another neurodegenerative disease that affects our ability to move normally, see ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease): Fishing for Answersand Diet and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

    Written By 

    In health,
    Michael Greger, M.D.

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