Farmed Fish: Cheap on Wallet, Harmful to Health

Tuna fish are bred in sea farms in Izmir, Turkey, and prepared to be sold to Japan and European countries.
Mahmut Serdar Alakus/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Farmed Fish: Cheap on Wallet, Harmful to Health

Is the price to our health too high?

If you’re looking for a flavorful, easy-to-prepare dish with impeccable health benefits, wild fish seems to be the way to go. It supplies large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which are shown to limit risk of heart attack and stroke, elevate mood, and help prevent certain cancers, cognitive decline and eye disease.

But receiving the health benefits of wild-caught fish may be complicated. Experts now warn these fish may contain toxic industrial byproducts in their flesh. Certain fish, including canned light tuna, can be high in mercury, as well as chemicals that have been linked to some cancers and reproductive problems.

Some are touting a solution to this dilemma: aquaculture (fish farming). It is considered a way to produce more nutritious fish in a more sustainable way.

Farmed fish are increasingly common. Americans consume almost 6 billion pounds of seafood annually, perhaps not realizing there is a good chance their fish never spent a day in the wild.

In many cases, however, the quality of these fish isn’t near what it should be.

The United States imports about 90 percent of its seafood. Some countries where these fish originate have lax regulations. The Government Accountability Office, an independent U.S. government agency, revealed that the Food and Drug Administration inspects 4 percent of fish imports and tests only 0.1 percent for chemical residues.

In Norway, some salmon farms hold more than 2 million fish in crowded conditions. The crowding destroys the ecology of the seafloor. Parasites run rampant. Disease can spread rapidly, even contaminating and killing nearby wild fish. Some experts call these operations little more than floating pig farms. The dense overcrowding, which produces a layer of underwater waste that can be nearly 50 feet high, is equivalent to the sewage of a city of 10,000 people, according to the George Mateljan Foundation.

Fish farm owners counter these problems by giving the fish vaccinations, antibiotics or pesticides. The Food and Drug Administration says this can cause antibiotic-resistant diseases in humans who eat these fish. And these treatments can spread to waterways up to half a mile away.

In 2015, the fda approved for human consumption the first genetically modified animal: a fish modified for quicker growth. The fda does not require food companies to label the fish as genetically modified.

Some parts of the industry are better than others. In British Columbia, farmers of Atlantic salmon were the first to collectively qualify for the “Global Aquaculture Alliance Best Aquaculture Practices” certification.

Some fish farms are on land. They use closed-containment aquaculture—giant fish tanks resembling large above-ground swimming pools. Temperature and water quality are artificially controlled, so these fish farms can be located close to their markets. This method eliminates the controversial environmental and biological contamination found in coastal aquaculture farms because water is almost completely recycled and residual leftover food and fish waste are broken down into nitrogen and phosphorous-rich fertilizer.

But critics, such as the International Salmon Farmers Association, say that land-based Atlantic salmon profitability depends on higher densities than marine systems. Raising too many fish in a crowded fish farm can lead to abnormal maturation and decreased growth rates. In addition, once pathogens contaminate land-based fish farms, they are virtually impossible to remove until the system is depopulated and all its biological filters are disinfected.

Fish feed poses another health risk to humans. Wild fish contain healthy fats because they feed on algae, smaller fish, plankton and other sources. The farmed variety subsist on cheap feed containing processed vegetable oils, objectionable animal byproducts, soy, grains and synthetic antioxidants. This exposes consumers to pesticides, antibiotic residues, genetically modified ingredients and significant levels of chemicals and toxins.

Research from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future reveals that some fish farms, to increase fish growth and profits, add pig and chicken feces to their fish food.

Looking specifically at farmed salmon, the difference in diet and environment gives a stark contrast in nutritional output. Farmed salmon, for example, are higher in fat, containing slightly more omega-3s, more inflammatory omega-6, and 46 percent more calories—mostly from fat. Wild salmon is higher in minerals, including potassium, zinc and iron.

The next time you’re faced with a piece of farmed fish, remember, no matter how innovative in automation and surveillance, this industry will never be truly healthy. These fish end up nutritionally inferior. Some have called it the equivalent of a floating hot dog.

By law, all fish must be marked as wild or farm-raised. When buying fish, look for packages with labels stating the country of origin. Avoid fish from China and Thailand, most of which are farmed. If the label shows Marine Stewardship Certified (msc), the fishery is in accord with sustainability standards.

Fish farming driven by profit at the cost of nutrition, health and environment is a symptom of a food production industry in need of drastic overhaul. Thankfully, that overhaul is coming. God wants everyone to thrive in abundant health. In the wonderful World Tomorrow, He will heal the mortal wound of greedy gain and institute the knowledge of His right way of life that will cover the Earth.

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Cakeshop Hit by Third Legal Challenge

A rally is held on Sept. 28, 2018, in support of baker Jack Phillips at the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
Aaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Cakeshop Hit by Third Legal Challenge

Does cake come before religious freedom?

Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, was hit on June 5 with a lawsuit against his traditional, Christian views of marriage and family.

Phillips has already slogged through two similar cases. The first lawsuit began in 2012 when he refused to bake a cake for a homosexual wedding. After six years of legal struggle, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Phillips in June 2018.

The second instance occurred in 2017, when Autumn Scardina ordered a cake for the anniversary of his gender transition. The cake was to be blue on the outside and pink on the inside, representing Scardina’s transition and possibly resembling the transgender flag. Although Phillips offered to sell Scardina other products, he declined to bake the cake he requested, citing his religious convictions.

Scardina, represented by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, sued Masterpiece Cakeshop. The case ended in March 2019 when Phillips and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser both dropped their cases against each other, after it was found the commission had not remained religiously neutral.

Now, Phillips faces a third challenge.

On June 5, Scardina returned. This time, filing a civil suit accusing Masterpiece Cakeshop of false advertising, claiming that Phillips lied by stating he would serve any customer, including the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transsexual community. However, Phillips did not refuse the customer; he reportedly offered to make him another type of cake, without a transgender theme.

Phillips’ lawyer called the charges “yet another desperate attempt to harass cake artist Jack Phillips” that “stumbles over the one detail that matters most: Jack serves everyone; he just cannot express all messages through his custom cakes.”

The core legal issue in all three lawsuits brought against Masterpiece Cakeshop is yet to be fully decided. In previous cases, the Supreme Court focused on the manner in which the Colorado Civil Rights Commission handled its case against Phillips, rather than the central issue: whether or not laws that guarantee lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual customers access to services can also force people to promote messages they disagree with. A decision here would set precedent for pending and future cases in all states.

What will ultimately happen to religious freedom in the United States?

This is a topic of intense debate today. Although Americans currently enjoy religious freedom, that freedom is quickly deteriorating.

The reality is that, in the history of the world, the religious freedom America enjoys is actually a rarity, and a fragile one.

Trumpet contributor Andrew Miiller wrote in 2017 about the trend of decreasing religious freedom. Since then, many more Christian businesses that refuse to cater to the transgender and homosexual movement have been hit with lawsuits. Masterpiece Cakeshop is just one of those businesses. Now being attacked for the third time, it is an example of the difficulties faced by many others in the U.S.

In his article, Miiller wrote:

For most of human history, people have been forced to conform to the national religion of their country or live in fear of persecution. The fact that most people living in the United States and Britain have enjoyed religious freedom for the last three centuries has been a historical aberration. Yet Jesus Christ prophesied that in the time just before His return to Earth, His followers would be persecuted for their beliefs.

When His disciples asked Him for a sign of His Second Coming and the end of the world, Jesus answered: “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. … Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake” (Matthew 24:4-5, 9).

Religious freedom is declining. The Bible prophesied this would be the case in the time right before Christ’s return. The assault on religious freedom in the U.S. is going to lead to what the Prophet Amos called the “famine of the word,” a time when national rejection of God’s message and persecution will force God’s true Church to take its message elsewhere (Amos 8:11-12). This prophecy surely indicates that religious freedom will continue going downhill.

To learn more about why religious freedom is under assault and where this trend is leading, request your free copies of America Under Attack and The Lion Has Roared, by Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry.

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The Noble Ideal in America’s Declaration

The Noble Ideal in America’s Declaration

All men are created equal.

It is one of the most powerful sentences penned in human history:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

It articulates a revolutionary idea. That all men are created equal. That no man is born to rule over another man. That a man’s rights do not come from other men, but from God. That any government trampling on those God-given rights is illegitimate. That no man can deprive another man of those rights, because he is accountable to that man’s Creator.

It seems all we hear about America’s founding these days was that it was wrought by slaveowners. The truth is, the Declaration of Independence—signed by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia 243 years ago tomorrow—enabled this country to eliminate slavery, and to become the freest, most inclusive, greatest land of prosperity and opportunity for all its people, ever.

Just days before his death on July 4, 1826, Thomas Jefferson said that the United States had been founded on “the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.”

No nation had ever been founded on this idea. Masses of populations throughout history had never experienced it. Until this nation.

Every American should be inspired by this noble history.

Where did this radical idea come from? That all men are created equal? That all men are endowed by their Creator with rights to life, freedom and opportunity—rights that no man can take away?

The Source

Here is how President Calvin Coolidge answered that question during a speech on July 4, 1926, the 150th anniversary of the declaration: “In its main features the Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but of spiritual conceptions. Equality, liberty … the rights of man—these are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and their roots in the religious convictions. … Our forefathers came to certain conclusions and decided upon certain courses of action which have been a great blessing to the world. … They were intent upon religious worship. … While scantily provided with other literature, there was a wide acquaintance with the Scriptures. … They were a people who came under the influence of a great spiritual development and acquired a great moral power. No other theory is adequate to explain or comprehend the Declaration of Independence. It is the product of the spiritual insight of the people.”

What led President Coolidge to this conclusion? Look at one example. Jesus Christ made a statement summarizing much of the Bible: “[A]ll things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12). A man who is not treating another man as his equal—a fellow man made in God’s image, with God-given rights—is not treating that man as he himself would be treated. Oppressing another man is breaking God’s law.

God commands human beings to treat every man, woman and child with respect and justice. This is taught throughout the Bible, Old Testament and New. “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good to all men. … [T]he servant of the Lord must … be gentle unto all men. … Follow peace with all men. … Honour all men” (Galatians 6:10; 2 Timothy 2:24; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 2:17). Repeatedly God commands us to show special kindness to the needy, the sick, the afflicted, the downtrodden, the poor, the stranger, the fatherless, the widow, the blind, the deaf, the lame—as He does.

The Sin

Even at the time of the founding—as much as people want to dismiss all founders as racists and slaveholders—many of those men never had slaves, and worked ardently to end what had been, throughout history, common practice. Though the Constitution originally accommodated slavery, it intentionally did not mention it by name. The founders wanted the nation’s founding document to be timeless, and for its wording to endure well after abolition.

George Washington said, “There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it.” John Adams said, “I have, through my whole life, held the practice of slavery in such abhorrence.” James Madison said, “We have seen the mere distinction of color made in the most enlightened period of time, a ground of the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man.” John Jay said, “The United States are far from being irreproachable in this respect. It undoubtedly is very inconsistent with their declarations on the subject of human rights to permit a single slave to be found within their jurisdiction ….”

Many of the founders knew this type of slavery was a sin, because they knew their Bibles. They knew verses like Jeremiah 22:13: “Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour’s service without wages, and giveth him not for his work.” This is a profound warning. Certainly slavery is a curse to the slave, the one being oppressed. But Jeremiah warns of woe to the oppressor—because God will avenge!

What a prophetic statement. How this nation has suffered because of this sin.

It seems Jefferson knew of this when he wrote in 1784, “[C]an the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever; that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation is among possible events; that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.” That is how Thomas Jefferson felt about slavery. He owned slaves—but he knew and taught that it was wrong, and feared it would bring God’s judgment!

Many people who do not know their Bibles say that “God condoned slavery.” It is true that God regulated slavery—and allowed temporary slavery as a means of recovering from poverty. But He never condoned the kind of slavery that happened in this country. He commanded the death penalty for stealing a man. He never condones abuse and tyranny—man ruling over man unjustly.

Consider more scriptures: “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven. … Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth” (Colossians 4:1; James 5:4). These and many other Bible passages show that God hears the cries of the slave, the captive working without pay. Lord of Sabaoth refers to the Lord of the armies of Israel! God has armies, saddled up, ready for warfare, who will bring justice!

For 6,000 years God has allowed man to prove that no race should rule the world. The human race is unfit. Only God can rule the world with real justice—and He will do so!

The Emancipation

After the founding generation, some came along later and defended slavery as good, even proper in God’s sight. (No founder believed that.) So sadly, the problem intensified. Abraham Lincoln tried to contain it, to put it on the course of eventual extinction, as the founders did. He treated it like the evil it was.

And what did he keep going back to? “All men are created equal.”

Some argued that this statement did not apply to blacks. Lincoln vehemently disagreed. All men means all men, he said. That is what this nation was founded on! Southern states whose economies and way of life depended on agriculture and slavery felt threatened. They rebelled.

As a military measure during the Civil War, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation—a radical move, but temporary and incomplete. Nevertheless, it explicitly made ending slavery a goal of the war. This enraged many, but it led to the freeing of more than 3 million people. Then, Lincoln convinced Congress to pass the 13th Amendment, which applied to all states throughout the country.

After four nightmare years of Civil War that killed 700,000 to 900,000 people, he famously quoted Matthew 18:7 in his Second Inaugural address in March 1865: “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” What if slavery was an offense, Lincoln said—and God has given us “this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offense came.”

“Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away,” he said. “Yet if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondman’s 250 years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said 3,000 years ago, so still it must be said, ‘The judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.’”

Slavery was a great sin—and this nation went through hell to get rid of it. How perverse that more and more Americans are coming to view it as practically the dominant theme of America’s founding, and prominent Democratic presidential candidates are advocating reparations to the descendants of slaves.

Thankfully, that sin does not define this nation. In America’s case, it is much fairer to say the nation’s story is one of overcoming this sin, and working to live up to the ideal articulated in its Declaration of Independence.

There is racism in America, just as there has been and is in all nations throughout history. But in no other nation do so many different peoples peacefully coexist. No other country is so accepting of people of all stripes as fellow citizens. In Germany, a third-generation German of Turkish descent is still considered a Turk. In America, if you immigrate from Turkey—or Nigeria or China or anywhere else—you are an American.

Every American should be inspired by what the founders did, and by what the nation has done to realize the ideal they championed. This Fourth of July, remember the beautiful, revolutionary ideal that shot like a lightning bolt into the annals of the nations:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

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Russians in the Caribbean

The Russian Navy’s Admiral Gorshkov frigate docks in Havana’s port on June 24.

Russians in the Caribbean

Russian forces are about 8,000 miles from home—and within 90 miles of Florida.

A fleet of Russian warships traveled through the Caribbean Sea and docked in Cuba on June 24 in the latest example of Russia’s increasing military influence in the periphery of the United States.

The four-vessel fleet is led by Admiral Gorshkov, Russia’s most advanced and modern warship. The ships left Russia in February and made stops in Africa, Sri Lanka and China before crossing the Pacific to Ecuador. The fleet sailed through the Panama Canal on June 17, then crossed through the Caribbean to Havana’s harbor—just 90 miles from the southernmost part of Florida.

The Russian government has not announced the purpose of the visit to Cuba, but Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on June 24 that current tension between the United States and Russia could create a scenario similar to the Cold War Cuban missile crisis. That crisis took place in 1962 when the Soviet Union retaliated for a U.S. deployment of nuclear weapons in Turkey by sneaking missiles into Cuba, causing a standoff that brought mankind a blink away from nuclear war.

Russia has vehemently criticized the U.S.’s withdrawal this year from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, as well as U.S. plans to deploy new missile systems to Eastern Europe. “If things get as far as an actual deployment on the ground of these sorts of systems,” Ryabkov said to the ria Novosti news agency, “then the situation won’t just get more complicated, it will escalate right to the limit. We could find ourselves in a situation where we have a rocket crisis … close to the Caribbean crisis.”

Russia’s evoking of the Cuban missile crisis is particularly sobering, given that Admiral Gorshkov is equipped with nuclear-capable Brahmos cruise missiles. Fired from Cuba, a Brahmos could strike targets in the U.S. in just six seconds.

Russia’s port of call in Havana is only the latest instance of the nation boosting its military power near America’s shores.

In November, the Kremlin gave Cuba $50 million to buy Russian military gear and pledged to strengthen ties with Havana. Russian Col. Gen. Vladimir Shamanov said at the time that Russia would take practical steps to increase its military presence in Cuba.

In December, the Russian Air Force flew two nuclear-capable Tu-160 strategic bombers to Venezuela. Three months later, Russian Air Force planes brought 100 soldiers and more than 38 tons of military equipment to its capital city, Caracas.

Meanwhile, Russia has recently sold Nicaragua tanks, patrol boats, missile corvettes and light fighters. An estimated 90 percent of Nicaragua’s weapons imports are from Russia. Historian Armando Chaguaceda wrote in March that Russia’s collaboration with Nicaragua today is “at its highest point since the collapse of the Soviet Union, extending itself as much into the civil sector as that of security and mutual diplomatic support.”

The pattern is clear. Russia has reemerged in Latin America and is quickly forging military relationships with unstable, anti-U.S. nations run by Communist or socialist governments. The proximity of these nations to the U.S. mainland should sound alarm bells in Washington.

The Trumpet addressed the danger of this trend in a March article titled “Preparing to Storm America’s Castle.” We wrote:

The United States is being threatened by hostile nations taking over the Caribbean Sea. Major news sources pay little attention to this region, but the Caribbean is vital to U.S. security. This sea not only connects the East Coast with the Pacific Ocean via the Panama Canal, it guards the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico. Half of America’s seaborne trade passes through the Gulf. So a foreign power that controls the Caribbean could cripple the U.S. economy by restricting its access to oceanic shipping.

This geographic reality is why Russia and China want to challenge U.S. dominance in the Caribbean. These aspiring superpowers are forging alliances with socialist governments in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. If these Latin dictatorships become staging grounds for Russia and China, a coalition of nations could potentially cut off U.S. access to the Panama Canal and seal off the Straits of Florida and the Yucatán Channel.

As disturbing as this sounds, Bible prophecy shows that such a besiegement will soon come to pass.

Some 2,700 years ago, God inspired the Prophet Isaiah to write about a vast trade bloc that would form in our lifetime: “a mart of nations” (Isaiah 23:3).

Verse 1 shows that a lead nation in this trade bloc would be “Chittim.” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry explains in his booklet Isaiah’s End-Time Vision that Chittim, or Kittim, is an ancient name for the peoples that make up modern China. Another leading member in the trade bloc is “Tyre,” which Mr. Flurry explains represents “the commercial center” of modern Europe. A companion passage in Ezekiel 27 mentions ancient names for Russia (Tubal and Meshech), showing that Vladimir Putin’s Russia will also play a key role in this future “mart.”

“The Bible contains many prophecies of that European power attacking America—and many other prophecies of America being besieged,” Mr. Flurry writes. Europe will carry out this history-altering besiegement in conjunction with the other nations associated with the “mart of nations” of Isaiah 23 and Ezekiel 27, including Russia. Mr. Flurry states, “All of them are going to besiege America, Britain and the Jewish nation.”

“[T]he giants of Asia” will form a “brief alliance” with the European bloc, he writes. “Should Europe, the resurrected Holy Roman Empire, find a way to take advantage—even for a moment—of key resources and strategic holdings of China, Russia and Japan, it would have more than enough power to besiege the Anglo-Saxon nations ….

“This is why Isaiah’s prophecy of an end-time ‘mart of nations’ that includes both European and Asian powers is so intriguing.”

Mr. Flurry draws particular attention to the Latin American region, due mainly to its proximity to the United States. “Herbert Armstrong long prophesied, and we expect, the alliance between Europe and South America to grow extremely strong,” he writes. Europe already wields considerable influence in parts of Latin America. And after Russia and China form a “brief alliance” with Europe, the power that Russia and China are now building in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and elsewhere in Latin America will translate into even greater European control over the region.

Additional details about this future besiegement of America are contained in Deuteronomy 28:49, 52: “The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand …. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee.”

“Preparing to Storm America’s Castle” explains the meaning of “gate” in this context:

A gate is a narrow passage of entrance or exit. When speaking nationally, a sea gate is a narrow choke point like the Panama Canal, the Straits of Florida, the Windward Passage or the Yucatán Channel. God gave Britain and America these strategic gates and many others, ensuring that they would become economic and military superpowers. But God also warned that if America and Britain did not obey Him, then not only would these sea gates be taken away, but they would be used against them. This is about to happen.

These are sobering prophecies, revealing that America and some of its allies will soon suffer major calamity. But Bible prophecy shows that the “mart of nations” and the conflict associated with it are designed as loving correction from God, and that it will be immediately followed by an epoch of unprecedented worldwide peace. “[T]hat trading partnership won’t last long,” Mr. Flurry writes. “Soon they will clash, just before Jesus Christ returns and destroys both of them” (op cit).

Christ will return to Earth and bring in an age of stability and prosperity for the peoples of Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, the U.S. and all other countries. To understand more about these trends and the hope beyond, order your free copy of Mr. Flurry’s booklet Isaiah’s End-Time Vision.

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Do You Need a Low-Cholesterol Diet?

Do You Need a Low-Cholesterol Diet?

Many people have been misled, and it’s hurting their health.

For about 50 years, American scientific minds assured us that dietary cholesterol is a major reason for heart disease. Backed by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Agriculture and the American Heart Association, this view has divided us on what foods are good to eat and has put millions of people on statin therapy.

Doctors said that keeping total cholesterol low was one of the most important principles of diet, so we cut down on red meat, butter and cream. We ate more refined foods, prominently labeled as low fat and low calorie.

But these changes were not based on fact. The cholesterol theory is a myth—a myth that is downright dangerous.

Where Did the Cholesterol Theory Originate?

“[I]t was in 1961 that the American Heart Association launched the world’s first official recommendations to avoid saturated fats, along with dietary cholesterol, in order to prevent a heart attack,” Nina Teicholz wrote in the Los Angeles Times (July 2017). “This ‘diet-heart hypothesis’ was adopted by most leading experts, though it had never been tested in clinical trials—the only kind of science that can establish cause and effect. Thus, from the beginning, the rap on saturated fats lacked a firm scientific foundation.”

Teicholz remarked that the acceptance of this premise was a stunning example of ignoring science for decades. For example, a large National Institutes of Health-funded study showed no correlation between fat intake and cholesterol levels. But it was not published for 16 years. The National Institutes of Health also left part of the famous “Framingham Study” in a basement, unpublished.

Meanwhile, the average American switched from butter to vegetable oil and from natural fats to refined foods, increasing carbohydrate consumption by 25 percent, becoming fat and suffering increased sickness and disease.

Cholesterol Crucial to Body

Healthy cholesterol is important to your body. It is found in your bloodstream and in every cell. It helps to produce membranes, balance hormones, regulate bile salts, Vitamin D, bones, muscles, nerves, minerals and immunity, and it facilitates many other functions.

Yet cholesterol received an underserved bad reputation when scientists classified it into two broad categories: high-density lipoprotein (hdl), the “good” type that helps our arteries, and low-density lipoprotein (ldl), the “bad” type that blocks our arteries.

A recent study in Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology counters the notion that cholesterol is bad, or that high levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream are the main cause of cardiovascular disease. The study concludes that people with low cholesterol levels build up just as much fats, cholesterol and plaque on artery walls as people with high levels, and their risk of suffering from heart disease is the same or higher.

How then has this cholesterol hypothesis stayed alive for decades? The study’s authors found reviewers using misleading statistics, excluding results from unsuccessful trials, minimizing side effects of cholesterol lowering, and ignoring numerous contradictory observations. It so happened that this “tunnel vision” approach made billions of dollars for the pharmaceutical industry.

The truth is that cardiovascular disease is multifaceted and can be caused by many factors. A main cause is improper diet, including the consumption of trans fats and hydrogenated fats, sugar, refined carbohydrates and industrialized omega-6 vegetable oils. These unhealthy additives drive good cholesterol down, cause triglycerides to go up, and create small, damaging cholesterol particles that contribute to arterial inflammation and artery wall buildup.

Are Statins Effective?

Doctors tout statins as the best way to lower cholesterol and prevent heart attacks. By some estimates, more than 35 million people take these drugs for high cholesterol levels and heart disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, millions more who seem healthy now are future candidates for “preventative” statin drug therapy.

But long-term use of statins is associated with serious side effects. Arguably the most common of these is muscle weakness, a condition that can devastate seniors’ ability to perform day-to-day activities. At least one study shows that doctors do not take these complaints of muscle pain and weakness seriously, attributing them to old age or the patient’s misperception.

Other possible statin health problems include diabetes, autoimmune diseases, kidney failure, increased cancer risk and heart failure. A 2016 Express article quoted Dr. Harumi Okuyama of Japan’s Nagoya City University saying, “We have collected a wealth of information on cholesterol and statins from many published papers and find overwhelming evidence that these drugs accelerate hardening of the arteries and can cause, or worsen, heart failure. I cannot find any evidence to support people taking statins, and patients who are on them should stop.”

You should question whether these side effects are worth the debatable benefit of reduced cholesterol levels. As Marcia Angell, editor of the New England Journal of Medicine for 20 years, said: “It is simply no longer possible to … rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.”

Final Thoughts

If you are concerned about your health, you can take a blood test. One of the more advanced blood tests is the Vertical Auto Profile. It provides many details and identifies people at risk for cardiovascular disease, with a detection rate more than twice that of routine cholesterol tests. This information can allow you to better address the underlying cause of ill health and make lifestyle modifications.

Reducing fatty, cholesterol-rich foods that are natural (like red meat or butter) is unwise. These foods have been nourishing people for thousands of years. God designed the body to work well when we eat a proper amount of saturated fats, including butter and milk (e.g. Genesis 18:8; 2 Samuel 17:29).

Also, eat healthy fats such as avocados, olives, coconuts, organic eggs and cold-water fish. Consume fruits and vegetables. Avoid unhealthy cholesterol from processed foods. Reduce starches, vegetable oils and sugar. Live a balanced life that includes adequate rest, exercise, fresh air and sunlight.

Remember, the diet-heart hypothesis has been tested rigorously, and the results have been found wanting. Examine the evidence thoroughly; make a decision based on facts. Rather than rushing to convict natural foods, look to acquit. Your health will be your evidence.

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Why You Need to Know About This Historic New Trade Deal

European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan, EU trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem and the Argentinian Minister of Foreigns Affairs and Worship Jorge Marcelo Faurie talk to media about the finalisation of the EU Mercosur negotiation in the Berlaymont the EU Commission headquarter on June 28, 2019.
Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Why You Need to Know About This Historic New Trade Deal

“[T]he United States is going to be left out in the cold as two gigantic trade blocs, Europe and Latin America, mesh together and begin calling the shots in world commerce.” So warned the Plain Truth in May 1962.

On Friday, these two trade blocs meshed together.

The European Union and Latin American trade bloc mercosur announced they have agreed on a draft of the world’s largest free-trade area. When the trade deal was under negotiation earlier this year, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote, “This trade agreement will impact the whole world! It is going to affect your life dramatically.”

How did Herbert W. Armstrong’s magazine forecast such a specific development so long ago? Why is this deal that important?

Because this is about so much more than trade. It’s about the arrival of an empire prophesied in your Bible thousands of years ago, an empire that will use Latin America as a launching point to target the United States.

The new agreement is a major, official step toward a European-Latin American alliance. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called it “a truly historic moment.” Argentine President Mauricio Macri, who led the negotiations for mercosur, said that it is “the most important agreement we’ve signed in our history.”

The agreement creates a free-trade area that covers 780 million people, with an annual economic output of $21 trillion. It will cover the four core nations of mercosur—Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay—and will abolish $4.5 billion worth of duties. Over the next 10 to 15 years, it will phase out more than 90 percent of the tariffs that the EU and mercosur currently have on each other.

mercosur typically places very high tariffs on goods produced by outside countries. This tariff wall will now keep out goods from other advanced economies, like the United States, while letting in goods produced in Europe. Meanwhile, it allows mercosur to sell cheap raw material and agricultural goods to Europe. These are big wins for German industry.

But this is about much more than economics. The small print of the deal isn’t out yet, but the outlines that have been published show mercosur is signing up to several of the EU’s rules and regulations. More importantly, it locks the biggest economies in the region, Brazil and Argentina, into an economic and political relationship with Europe. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said that the deal brought “closer … friends and allies with whom we have long historical ties and with whom we work very well in many other areas.”

The prospect of a deal between mercosur and the EU was so important that Mr. Flurry made it the subject of his cover article for the March 2019 Trumpet issue. This deal “will have repercussions we need to think about carefully. It is destined to lead to some very dark days for America, if we don’t heed prophecy and realize what God has to say about it,” he wrote. Why is that?

European powers have a history of forging links with Latin America in order to get at the United States.

Even with modern technology, successfully attacking the U.S. across the Atlantic Ocean would be incredibly hard. So European powers have looked for bases in the New World.

Napoleon launched a major military operation to conquer Haiti, so he could create a French colonial empire in the New World. During the American Civil War, France tried to move into Mexico while the U.S. was distracted. In the early 1900s, Germany tried to establish a naval base in Venezuela, at the same time as the German high command was working on plans for a land invasion of the U.S. During World War i, Germany infamously tried to persuade Mexico to go to war with the U.S. and win back Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. After World War ii, many Latin American nations welcomed ex-Nazi war criminals. During the Cold War, Soviet Russia established close links with Cuba, deployed nuclear missiles there, and brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

This is why the U.S. has typically upheld the Monroe Doctrine and sought to keep foreign powers out of the Western Hemisphere. But the Obama administration openly announced that it was abandoning the Monroe Doctrine and would no longer attempt to enforce it.

Now Europe is moving in again, and no one really cares.

Western Europe especially is in a prime position to use Latin America as a stepping-stone to the U.S. It has strong links to the region.

Latin America was colonized by Spain and Portugal, which used religion to cement their hold on the region. The populations of Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela are all at least 70 percent Catholic today. In 1493, just one year after Christopher Columbus’s voyage, Pope Alexander vi published a papal bull dividing the newly discovered territory between Spain and Portugal, under the condition that these powers converted the natives to Catholicism. When Hernán Cortés tore through the Aztec Empire, he was following a letter of instruction that said, “The first aim of your expedition is to serve God and spread the Christian faith.”

Missionaries poured into the region. Priests built new towns and villages for their converts. They constructed huge churches, larger than many of the cathedrals in Europe. The Jesuits took this to an even higher level in South America, where hundreds of thousands lived in Jesuit-run autonomous colonies, complete with their own Jesuit armies.

Yet despite decrees banning the entry of non-Catholics, other Christians arrived in the New World too. To quash them, Catholics imported from Europe the Spanish Inquisition. On the recommendation of the Inquisition, thousands of “heretics” throughout the continent were tortured until they died or confessed to charges they faced. In Lima, Peru, alone, 1,000 were executed.

This left the region largely Catholic. Spain held great power over Latin Americans, so long as it worked with the Catholic Church. The clergy taught everyone to obey the Spanish government—and enabled the Spanish empire to rule a huge area with relatively few troops. This broke down in the 19th century when Spain fell out with the Catholic Church. With the church no longer preaching loyalty to Spain, countries across the region broke away and became independent. But the links to the Catholic Church survive. Today, 40 percent of the world’s Catholics live in Latin America, and a man born in Argentina heads the Catholic Church in Rome.

Europe and Latin America also have close economic links. The EU is already mercosur’s top source for investment and second-biggest trading partner in goods.

The two also have a strong military relationship. Between 2002 and 2011, more than 49 percent of weapons imported by South American nations came from the EU. Between 2014 and 2018, France and Germany sold significantly more to the region than did the U.S. The continent is full of secondhand European warships and German tanks.

“South America has clearly avoided being dependent on America for critical weapons systems. But it is dependent on Europe,” we write in our free booklet He Was Right. “South America is welded to Europe’s military system.”

Nicholas J. Spykman was one of America’s great geopolitical thinkers. One of the biggest things he warned about was the power a united Europe would have in Latin America. He warned that Brazil and Argentina were so far from the U.S., it was difficult for the U.S. to project power there. For all practical purposes, it’s as easy to travel from Buenos Aires to Spain or Portugal, as it is to travel to Washington, D.C. You could sum up a good chunk of his geopolitical thinking by saying that one of America’s top priorities should be to stop the unification of Europe, because with such close links to South America, a united Europe would be very hard for the U.S. to keep out of Latin America. And once a united European power is in Latin America, it can threaten the U.S. This is why Spykman was an early supporter for war with Hitler and the Nazis. He warned against isolationism, arguing that “even if the U.S. could have avoided war with Germany over Europe, it could not have avoided a struggle with Germany for hegemony over South America.”

Robert Kaplan, another top geopolitical thinker, discusses Spykman’s ideas in his book Revenge of Geography. He warns that “already one can see that the more united Europe becomes, the greater its tensions with the United States. A true European superstate with armed forces and a single foreign policy at its command would be both a staunch competitor of the U.S. and possibly the dominant outside power in the equidistant zone of southern South America.”

Armed with just this knowledge of history and geography, you would think more people in the U.S. would be alarmed by the growing links between Europe and mercosur. The Bible gives us an even stronger warning.

The Bible reports history in advance. It’s worth taking the time to prove what it says. It is these prophecies that enabled Mr. Armstrong to forecast this trade deal 60 years ago. Any book capable of making that kind of forecast obviously has real power behind it, and is worth understanding.

Revelation 17 gives an overview of history and prophecy, written 2,000 years ago. It describes a beast power that is ruled at times by “kings”—it’s some form of political entity, an empire, state or kingdom. Verse 3 tells us that it is ridden by a woman. Other passages, such as Revelation 12 and Ephesians 5, show that a woman in biblical symbolism is a church.

So we have a political power with a close relationship with a church. Revelation 17 gives us more details. Verse 10 tells us that this political power continually rises and falls. At the time that this passage was revealed, this power had risen and fallen five times. Its sixth incarnation was about to fall, and it would be followed by a seventh.

Where do we see an empire, led by a church, that rises and falls repeatedly? This is a perfect description of Europe’s repeated attempts to re-create the so-called “Holy Roman Empire” and its close ties to the Catholic Church—the same Holy Roman Empire, and the same church, that has long been linked to Latin America. There are more scriptures you can put together with Revelation 17 to confirm this explanation. Read our free book The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy to gain an understanding of this and prove it for yourself.

The sixth resurrection was on the scene when Herbert W. Armstrong was teaching the world what these verses meant. It fell, and once he died the seventh began to rise.

This is what the EU-mercosur agreement is really about. “The reality though is that by linking itself with Europe in this way, Latin America is contributing to the rise of a modern resurrection of the medieval Holy Roman Empire!” Mr. Flurry wrote in that March article.

This link could prove to be a critical development in the rise of this empire. Not everyone in the EU is happy about this agreement. Farmers especially don’t like it—they don’t want to compete with cheap food produced in Latin America.

Before it goes into force, it must be ratified by all 27 EU member states. This is often a painful process at the best of times—just one disgruntled parliament can hold the whole thing up. But perhaps this deal will play a role in fixing that problem.

“If this massive trade deal is finalized this year, then I believe we will see the current 28-nation European Union pared down to the prophesied 10-nation superpower this year as well,” wrote Mr. Flurry. “Before Europe can be closely tied to Latin America, something will have to change. The current politically and religiously disunified EU will have to become a politically, militarily and religiously unified Holy Roman Empire. Latin America is already quite united in its religion; the Holy Roman Empire will have to become united in its religion as well. And the only way to remove the division is by reducing that union to 10 nations. It is prophesied to happen (Revelation 17).”

Countries with a strong Catholic heritage are generally willing to go with the deal, even if it may cause some pain for their farmers. Others without that heritage may not be. Will the EU allow these dissenters to stand in the way of their “historic” deal? Or could they instead move to a new, smaller system so they can move on without them?

There is one final, crucial prophecy we need to understand to see why this deal is so significant.

The Bible gives the overview of God’s plan for the world, including all the major nations in it. As part of that plan, He intended the descendants of ancient Israel to set an example of how to obey God. He poured out tremendous blessings upon the United States and United Kingdom, the modern descendants of ancient Israel (for proof read our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy). But our nations have instead set an example of lawlessness.

And so God promises to punish our nations. Deuteronomy 28 lists some of the blessings He gave and the curses that are coming because of our disobedience. Verse 52 states that America’s enemies “shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst.”

God prophesies that America’s enemies will launch a siege against it, cutting it off from global trade.

The majority of America’s ocean-borne trade travels through its ports on the Gulf of Mexico. It is simply not possible to besiege America without a presence in Latin America.

And now Europe is moving in, forging close trade links. This is why Mr. Flurry warned, “Few Americans are paying attention to the situation that is developing to our south. But I guarantee they won’t be able to ignore it indefinitely. This trade agreement will impact the whole world! It is going to affect your life dramatically. The seeds are being sown for a trade war and an economic besiegement that will help destroy America. This trade deal is that important!”

Ezekiel 5 and 6 describe this siege and its results. It is a grim forecast. As curses from God hit America, the social order will break down, and many will die. Foreign powers will quickly take advantage of the weakness, and America will be overthrown.

But this same passage also contains crucial hope. Ezekiel 6:9 tells us that once this has finally happened “you shall remember me among the nations.” Verse 10 tells us, “And they shall know that I am the Lord, and that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them.”

This will lead to our nations getting to know God. And this is the only way all the massive problems we see building around us can be solved.

This coming siege will lead to dark times, but it’s part of God’s plan for America and all mankind. That plan will see the whole world given a chance to know God and receive the great blessings He has to offer. Understanding this plan is the only true hope to be had behind the events we see on the news. To learn more, and to prove it from the Bible, request your free copy of The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong.