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It’s Not Just Peanuts October 31, 2008

Filed under: Carcinogens,MUST READS — Yvette @ 4:29 pm

When I’m home I often grocery shop for my mother.  One day, when I grabbed the grocery list I noticed an interesting comment written by my sister, “buy organic peanut butter, my yoga teacher said that if you were going to buy anything organic, it should be peanut butter, I don’t remember why, but it was a good reason.”  O Michelle, we love you.  But, she is right.

Non-organic peanuts are the most pesticide ridden food on the market.  A particular mold called aflatoxin grows on these peanuts, and this toxin is a known carcinogen.  I’ll be using the word carcinogen a lot, so I’ll take a moment to explain why they are dangerous to the human body.

Carcinogens do not directly cause cancer, but they wear down the cell by mutating the DNA.  Usually your body has time to repair the damage done to the DNA, but if not then you are left with mutated DNA.  When this mutated cell begins to multiply, then you have cancer.

Aflatoxin is highly carcinogenic and is threatening to liver cells.  This isn’t speculation!  I have read studies that observe this carcinogen’s effect on liver cells and the cancer it causes.  Despite this information, the USDA states that even though almost ALL commercial peanut butters have some amount of aflatoxin, it is a small enough amount that won’t harm consumers.  Really?  A little bit of exposure to toxic substances never hurt anyone right?  I’m not too inclined to trust them.  Be aware that pesticides and food additives are relatively new to the food market and our bodies.  Researches have only tested the effects of one to three pesticides or food additives at a time.  The average American is exposed to over 3,000 different food additives and hundreds of different pesticides every year.  I don’t feel the USDA has enough evidence to support their statement.  Somebody show me the proof!

We should be allowed to choose the amount of a “safe level of toxins” for our bodies.  Now that you know, you can decide.  So, I’m not telling you guys to give up the PB&J sandwiches, that would just be wrong.  But, I still agree with Michelle on this one, organic peanut butter might be a better choice than the convential.  Buying organic can be expensive, but knowing which foods are most important to buy organic can really save you money in the long run.


5 Responses to “It’s Not Just Peanuts”

  1. Mark Says:

    This is also a case where the organic variety tastes a hell of a lot better than its pesticide-ridden counterpart. It’s a good option for those who can’t give up PB&J or for those whose only excuse to eat celery is peanut butter. (Although celery soda is surprisingly refreshing if you decide to drink sodas.)

  2. rethinkfood Says:

    I agree, I just bought some local organic peanut butter, it’s so delicious 🙂

  3. Andrew Says:

    Proof? How about proof by lack of counter example? Does that work here?

    What are some of the organic peanut butters out there? Are the ones that need to be mixed when you buy them because the peanut oil separated to the top the organic ones?

  4. rethinkfood Says:

    Proof by lack of counterexample never works ;p Here that would mean no one has died of cancer from peanut butter ridden with aflatoxins. The problem is that once you have cancer doctors can’t always pinpoint how the disease transpired. Since aflatoxins are one of the most carcinogenic substances known, I would play safe and just stay away. But, as always, you’re welcome to do whatever you wish with the information I give you.

    There are non-organic peanut butters that have oil separation. These products are usually labeled “all natural” but are still grown with pesticides that cause the growth of the aflatoxin mold. The label “all natural” just means the product contains no artificial ingredients. Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter is a good example of this type. Two brands I would recommend would be Arrowhead Mills and Once Again. You can find at least one of those brands at Mrs. Green’s in Yorktown (or at your local health food store) if you’re interested. Once Again is actually made at local farms surrounding the Syracuse area, if you’re interested in buying semi-local.

  5. Mommy Says:

    My daughter is so smart

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