What is Libertarianism in America?


This is an adapted version of an article that first appeared on NSFWCORP. Published daily online and monthly in print, NSFWCORP is The Future of Journalism .***

The True History of Libertarianism in America: A Phony Ideology to Promote a Corporate Agenda

Before Milton Friedman was earning plaudits as an economic genius, he was a shill for the real estate industry.

Every couple of years, mainstream media hacks pretend to have just discovered libertarianism as some sort of radical, new and dynamic force in American politics. It’s a rehash that goes back decades, and hacks love it because it’s easy to write, and because it’s such a non-threatening “radical” politics (unlike radical left politics, which threatens the rich). The latest version involves a summer-long pundit debate in the pages of the New York Times, Reason magazine and elsewhere over so-called “libertarian populism.” It doesn’t really matter whose arguments prevail, so long as no one questions where libertarianism came from or why we’re defining libertarianism as anything but a big business public relations campaign, the winner in this debate is Libertarianism.

Pull up libertarianism’s floorboards, look beneath the surface into the big business PR campaign’s early years, and there you’ll start to get a sense of its purpose, its funders, and the PR hucksters who brought the peculiar political strain of American libertarianism into being — beginning with the libertarian movement’s founding father, Milton Friedman. Back in 1950, the House of Representatives held hearings on illegal lobbying activities and exposed both Friedman and the earliest libertarian think-tank outfit as a front for business lobbyists. Those hearings have been largely forgotten, in part because we’re too busy arguing over the finer points of “libertarian populism.”

In his early days, before millions were spent on burnishing his reputation, Friedman worked as a business lobby shill, a propagandist who would say whatever he was paid to say.  That’s the story we need to revisit to get to the bottom of the modern American libertarian “movement,” to see what it’s really all about. We need to take a trip back to the post-war years, and to the largely forgotten Buchanan Committee hearings on illegal lobbying activities, led by a pro-labor Democrat from Pennsylvania, Frank Buchanan.

What the Buchanan Committee discovered was that in 1946, Milton Friedman and his University of Chicago cohort George Stigler arranged an under-the-table deal with a Washington lobbying executive to pump out covert propaganda for the national real estate lobby in exchange for a hefty payout, the terms of which were never meant to be released to the public. They also discovered that a lobbying outfit which is today credited by libertarians as the movement’s first think-tank — the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)— was itself a big business PR project backed by the largest corporations and lobbying fronts in the country.

The FEE focused on promoting a new pro-business ideology—which it called “libertarianism”— to supplement other business lobbying groups which focused on specific policies and legislation. It is generally regarded as “the first libertarian think-tank” as Reason’s Brian Doherty calls it in his book “Radicals For Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern Libertarian Movement” (2007). As the Buchanan Committee discovered, the Foundation was the best-funded conservative lobbying outfit ever known up to that time, sponsored by a Who’s Who of US industry in 1946.

A partial list of FEE’s original donors in its first four years— a list discovered by the Buchanan Committee — includes: The Big Three auto makers (GM, Chrysler and Ford); top oil majors including Gulf Oil, Standard Oil, and Sun Oil; major steel producers US Steel, National Steel, Republic Steel; major retailers including Montgomery Ward, Marshall Field and Sears; chemicals majors Monsanto and DuPont; and other Fortune 500 corporations including General Electric, Merrill Lynch, Eli Lilly, BF Goodrich, ConEd, and more.

The FEE was set up by a longtime US Chamber of Commerce executive named Leonard Read, together with Donaldson Brown, a director in the National Association of Manufacturers lobby group and board member at DuPont and General Motors.

That is how libertarianism in America started: As an arm of big business lobbying.

Before bringing back Milton Friedman into the picture, this needs to be repeated again: “Libertarianism” was a project of the corporate lobby world, launched as a big business “ideology” in 1946 by The US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. The FEE’s board included the future founder of the John Birch Society, Robert Welch; the most powerful figure in the Mormon church at that time, J Reuben Clark, a frothing racist and anti-Semite after whom BYU named its law school; and United Fruit president Herb Cornuelle.

The purpose of the FEE — and libertarianism, as it was originally created — was to supplement big business lobbying with a pseudo-intellectual, pseudo-economics rationale to back up its policy and legislative attacks on labor and government regulations.

This background is important in the Milton Friedman story because Friedman is a founding father of libertarianism, and because the corrupt lobbying deal he was busted playing a part in was arranged through the Foundation for Economic Education.

According to Congressional hearings on illegal lobbying activities 1946 was the year that Milton Friedman and his U Chicago cohort George Stigler arranged an under-the-table deal with a Washington lobbying executive to pump out covert propaganda for the national real estate lobby in exchange for a hefty payout, the terms of which were never meant to be released to the public.

The arrangement between Friedman and Stigler with the Washington real estate lobbyist was finally revealed during a congressional review of illegal lobbying activities in 1950, called the Buchanan Committee. Yes, there was something called accountability back then. I only came across the revelations about Friedman’s sordid beginnings in the footnotes of an old book on the history of lobbying by former Newsweek book editor Karl Schriftgiesser, published in 1951, shortly after the Buchanan Committee hearings ended. The actual details of Milton Friedman’s PR deal are sordid and familiar, with tentacles reaching into our ideologically rotted-out era.

False, whitewashed history is as much a part of the Milton Friedman mythology as it is the libertarian movement’s own airbrushed history about its origins; the 1950 Buchanan Committee hearings expose both as creations of big business lobby groups whose purpose is to deceive and defraud the public and legislators in order to advance the cause of corporate America.

The story starts like this: In 1946, Herbert Nelson was the chief lobbyist and executive vice president for the National Association of Real Estate Boards, and one of the highest paid lobbyists in the nation. Mr. Nelson’s real estate constituency was unhappy with rent control laws that Truman kept in effect after the war ended. Nelson and his real estate lobby led what House investigators discovered was the most formidable and best-funded opposition to President Truman in the post-war years, amassing some $5,000,000 for their lobby efforts—that’s $5 million in 1946 dollars, or roughly $60 million in 2012 dollars.

So Herbert Nelson contracted out the PR services of the Foundation for Economic Education to concoct “third party” propaganda designed to shore up the National Real Estate lobby’s legislative drive — and the propagandists who took on the job were Milton Friedman and his U Chicago cohort, George Stigler.

To understand the sort of person Herbert Nelson was, here is a letter he wrote in 1949 that Congressional investigators discovered and recorded:

I do not believe in democracy. I think it stinks. I don’t think anybody except direct taxpayers should be allowed to vote. I don’t believe women should be allowed to vote at all. Ever since they started, our public affairs have been in a worse mess than ever.

It’s an old libertarian mantra, libertarianism versus democracy, libertarianism versus women’s suffrage; a position recently repeated by billionaire libertarian Peter Thiel — who was Ron Paul’s main campaign funder in his 2012 presidential campaign.

So in 1946, this same Herbert Nelson turned to the Foundation for Economic Education to manufacture some propaganda to help the National Association of Real Estate Boards fight rent control laws. Nelson chose to work with the FEE because he knew that its founder, Leonard Read, agreed with him on a lot of important issues. Such as their mutual contempt for democracy, and their disdain for the American public.

Read argued that the public should not be allowed to know which corporations donated to his libertarian front-group because, he argued, the public could not be trusted to make “sound judgments” with disclosed information:

The public reporting would present a single fact—the amount of a contributor’s donation—to casual readers, persons having only a cursory interest in the matter at issue, persons who would not and perhaps could not possess all the facts. These folks of the so-called public thus receive only oversimplifications or half-truths from which only erroneous conclusions are almost certain to be drawn. If there is a public interest in the rightness or wrongness of corporate or personal donations to charitable, religious or education institutions, and I am not at all ready to concede that there is, then that interest should be guarded by some such agency as the Bureau of Internal Revenue, an agency that is in a position to obtain all the facts, not by Mr. John Public who lacks relevant information for the forming of sound judgments…Public reporting of a half-truth is indeed a significant provocation

So in May 1946, Herbert Nelson of the real estate lobby, looking for backup in his drive to abolish federal rent control laws on behalf of landlords, contacted Read with an order for a PR pamphlet “with some such title as ‘The Case against Federal Real Estate Control’,” according to Karl Schriftgiesser’s book The Lobbyists.

What happened next, I’ll quote from Schriftgiesser:

They were now busily co-operating on the new project which the foundation had engaged Milton Friedman and George J. Stigler to write. It was to be called Roofs and Ceilings and it was to be an outright attack on rent controls. When Nelson received a copy of the manuscript he wrote Read to say, “The pamphlet…is a dandy. It is just what I wanted.

The National Association of Real Estate Boards was so pleased with Milton Friedman’s made-to-order propaganda that they ordered up 500,000 pamphlets from the FEE, and distributed them throughout the real estate lobby’s vast local network of real estate brokers and agents.

In libertarianism’s own airbrushed history about itself, the Foundation was a brave, quixotic bastion of libertarian “true believers” doomed to defeat at the all-powerful hands of the liberal Keynsian Leviathan and the collectivist mob. Here is how libertarian historian Brian Doherty describes the FEE and its chief lobbyist:

[Read] would never explicitly scrape for funds… He never directly asked anyone to give anything, he proudly insisted, and while FEE would sell literature to all comers, it was also free to anyone who asked. His attitude toward money was Zen, sometimes hilariously so. When asked how FEE was doing financially, his favorite reply was, “Just perfectly.”… Read wanted no endowments and frowned on any donation meant to be held in reserve for some future need.

And here is what the committee’s own findings reported—findings lost in history:

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Foundation for Economic Education exerts, or at least expects to exert, a considerable influence on national legislative policy….It is equally difficult to imagine that the nation’s largest corporations would subsidize the entire venture if they did not anticipate that it would pay solid, long-range legislative dividends.

Or in the words of Rep. Carl Albert (D-OK): “Every bit of this literature is along propaganda lines.”

The manufactured history about libertarian’s origins, or its purpose, parallels the manufactured myths about one of big business’s key propaganda tools, Milton Friedman. As the author of The Lobbyists, not knowing who Milton Friedman was at the time, wrote of Friedman’s collaborative effort with Stigler:

“Certainly [the FEE’s] booklet, Roofs or Ceilings, was definitely propaganda and sought to influence legislation….This booklet was printed in bulk by the foundation and half a million copies were sold at cost to the National Association of Real Estate Boards, which had them widely distributed throughout the country by its far-flung network of local member boards.”

There’s no idealism here. The notion that libertarian ideas have captured the political imagination of millions in this country is a root problem: if we’re going to escape the corporate oligarchy that is running this country–their ideas can’t possibility be the alternative solution. This movement has to be recognized for what it is.

A Million and One

A million and one words of love were spoken yesterday.

I have a million and one reasons to be happy today…..and I am.

I have a million and one things to be thankful for…..and I am.

I have a million and one things to shout to the rooftops….but I can’t

I’ll just smile instead.

new profile

On the Breeze….


This is Ingrid.  With each passing day, my heart is yet more captivated by her charm .  She spent the night with me last night, and we took a beautiful, long walk together this morning.  It was one of those magical Portland mornings…and the sun was out… rare for December…and we had much to talk about.

She said she would miss me when I die, and I told her:

Ingrid, after I am gone, when you feel the breeze brush against your cheek, that will be me, kissing your cheek and telling you how much I love you.

When you are outside and the wind picks up one of your beautiful locks of red hair, that will be me, smiling and laughing because I am happy to see you.

When you are sad, all you have to do is think of me, and I will wrap my spirit arms around you until you feel ok again. 

When you are happy, I will be right there with you, happy because you’re happy…and sometimes, I might tickle your toes just so I can hear you laugh.

When you miss me, Ingrid, know that I am there.  You can close your eyes and see me.  I will find ways to talk to you.

Ingrid responded:  That‘s good, Gams….because I love you to the moon and back.


Harrison LOVES Music

harrison music

This is a picture of Harrison listening to his grandpa singing.  Harrison loves music.  But why?  What’s the deal with babies and music?  Does listening to it make them smarter?  A lot of  research has been conducted using Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major.  Researchers are trying to find out if one can become smarter by simply listening to Mozart’s music.  Some researchers say you can. The effect has been shown to appear not only with the music of Mozart, but also that of Beethoven, Sibelius and other classical musicians.  However, the jury is still out, with many split decisions and many factors to consider.

Currently, the most likely interpretation  is that music listening can have a positive effect on our cognitive abilities when the music is enjoyed by the listener….and Harrison here truly does love his music!  Apparently (and in a way unfortunately), it is not so much the structure of the music that causes the effect, but a change in the mood of the listener.

While this indirectness might be disappointing for admirers of Mozart’s music, it is important to note that, at the same time, it leaves uncovered an important aspect of music appreciation. What makes certain music so effective in changing or intensifying our mood? It seems that while we are all experienced and active users of music as a kind of mood regulator music research has only just begun to explore the how and why of the relation between music and emotion.  Can’t wait to find out more.

In any case, this baby sure is cute!  :-)


Another Reason to be Proud of my Daughter!

There are countless reasons why I am proud of my daughter, Sarah, (Ingrid’s mom).  One of them is because she has worked so hard as part of its Board of Directors, to organize and affect the upcoming  opening of the Portland Toy Library.  What follows is the article that recently appeared in the Oregonian Newspaper:

PDX Toy Library to open in Southeast Portland with a mission of promoting play

Cat Davila, founder, president and director of PDX Toy Library, says her daughter, Lilah Hurst, was the inspiration for her new nonprofit. (Courtesy of Cat Davila)

Portland’s newest library, opening next month, will be all about play.

The PDX Toy Library, an all-volunteer nonprofit, has a mission of lending out high quality toys and play equipment to help infants and children up to age 8 with their physical and educational development.

Its founder, Cat Davila of Southeast Portland, a former nanny who is now a full-time mom to a 5-year-old daughter, said she came up with the idea several years ago, when her daughter was about 2 and a half.

“She became really interested in board games and just wanted to play one after another all day,” Davila said. Davila began wishing she could trade in the games she had for new ones. When she learned that toy libraries existed, she decided to start one in Portland.

The idea also fit with her interests in child and family welfare, the sharing economy and environmental sustainability, she said. And, she said, “I always wanted to be a librarian.”

The PDX Toy Library, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, now has five board members, all volunteer moms from Southeast Portland, Davila said. They will start out in an approximately 300-square-foot room they’re renting from Sunnyside Centenary United Methodist Church, with hopes of moving to a larger space once they can afford to do so, Davila said. She also plans to use an adjacent room for storytimes, craft times and other events.

PDX Toy Library
Address: 3520 S.E. Yamhill St.
Phone: 503-610-6061

The library will be open only to paid members, with 12-month memberships for $100 and three-month memberships for $30. Those who sign up before the library’s planned Jan. 17 opening will receive discounted memberships of 15 months for $100 and six months for $40. Oregon Trail Card holders will receive a 50 percent discount on memberships.

There is no limit to how many people can use a membership, Davila said, but members will be limited to checking out three items at a time for two weeks.

The PDX Toy Library will have its first event from 10 a.m. to noon Monday, Dec. 22, with a storytime, balloon animals, snacks and ornament decorating; those interested in memberships can sign up during the event. Donations of $5 per child are requested to cover entertainment costs; additional donations are requested for the snacks and crafts.

The first day of checkouts is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17. Davila said she and the rest of the library board are still working out library hours, but hope to open three days a week, including Saturdays. In the meantime, the organizers are seeking donations of gently used toys and games for the library’s collection and to sell to help cover operating expenses.

The concept of toy sharing isn’t new to Portland. In the Woodlawn neighborhood in Northeast Portland, for instance, the approximately 115 member families of the nearly 3-year-old Woodlawn Swap N Play can swap not only toys but also clothing, books and baby gear while taking advantage of an indoor play space, said director Beth Ivester. In the Woodstock neighborhood in Southeast Portland, the Southside Swap & Play cooperative (formerly Sunnyside Swap Shop) provides its approximately 105 member families with the opportunity to share and swap toys, books, clothing, games, art supplies and baby gear.

And at the West Slope Community Library in Washington County, patrons can check out board games such as Qwirkle, Ticket to Ride and Word on the Street.

Nationally, toy libraries have been around since the 1930s, said Judith Iacuzzi, the executive director of the USA Toy Library Association, based in Evanston, Illinois. The 30-year-old association has about 350 members in more than 30 states. (Three Oregon toy libraries are listed on the association website, two in Hood River and one in Medford. The one in Medford is no longer operating, nor is the one listed at a Marina Way address in Hood River. The third couldn’t be reached Monday.)

Iacuzzi said the first official toy library was established in Los Angeles during the Great Depression after a store owner saw children stealing toys and got the idea of starting a lending program.

Most of the association’s member libraries are affiliated with larger institutions, such as community libraries, hospitals, social services agencies or child care programs, Iacuzzi said. The freestanding toy libraries are often affiliated with the disabled community, she said.

Either way, they share a mission “to provide quality play experiences in a localized environment with specialists who can help select toys and advise parents or the caregivers on the quality of the toy or the play experience,” Iacuzzi said.

The association uses the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio as a resource for choosing toys.

baby hand

The Dangers of Spirulina Usage

You see, it isn’t the Spirulina itself that is necessarily dangerous.  It is the accompanying contaminants found WITH the spirulina.  This supplement should NEVER be given to children! 

By Michael Greger, M.D.

Original article found HERE. <—-click

On his first day of life, an infant was hospitalized with seizures. Researchers concluded that his mother’s daily spirulina use starting in the fourth month of pregnancy was likely to blame. I’ve talked previously about the liver and nerve toxins present in many spirulina supplements, but the supplement companies swear up and down that spirulina doesn’t produce those toxins, and they may be right….

(See video Infant Seizures Linked to Mother’s Spirulina Use).

But if spirulina doesn’t produce toxins, how is it that toxins are found in spirulina supplements on store shelves? It appears to be contamination of spirulina with toxin-producing blue-green algae.

For example, if we look at the new U.S. Pharmacopeia safety evaluation of spirulina, researchers conclude that “the available evidence does not indicate a serious risk to health or other public health concern when spirulina is properly identified, formulated, and used.” Ah, but that’s the catch. Spirulina is often grown and collected in open lakes and we have no idea what other algae are going to crop up.

The researchers reported a range of adverse reactions of people taking spirulina products, ­­but they attribute these issues to non-spirulina algae toxin contaminants within spirulina supplements. So unless there’s third-party testing of each batch (which no company could presumably afford to do), I continue to encourage people to avoid spirulina (and blue-green algae) products.

If one still wants something green to sprinkle on their popcorn, I’d recommend chlorella instead (Is Chlorella Good for You?).


UPDATE:  Spirulina could cause muscle breakdown and liver cancer. In March of this year, another video was posted, this one on it’s potential to cause neurotoxicity: http://nutritionfacts.org/vide…, but fortunately, “…kale is cheaper”, and many other fruits and vegetables can prevent numerous cancers, see for example:http://nutritionfacts.org/vide….

Sources Cited:

G. Moulis, A. Batz, G. Durrieu, C. Viard, S. Decramer, J.-L. Montastruc. Severe neonatal hypercalcemia related to maternal exposure to nutritional supplement containing Spirulina. Eur. J. Clin. Pharmacol. 2012 68(2):221 – 222

R. J. Marles, M. L. Barrett, J. Barnes, M. L. Chavez, P. Gardiner, R. Ko, G. B. Mahady, T. L. Dog, N. D. Sarma, G. I. Giancaspro, M. Sharaf, J. Griffiths. United States pharmacopeia safety evaluation of spirulina. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2011 51(7):593 – 604

Cox PA, Banack SA, Murch SJ, Rasmussen U, Tien G, Bidigare RR, Metcalf JS, Morrison LF, Codd GA, Bergman B. Diverse taxa of cyanobacteria produce beta-N-methylamino-L-alanine, a neurotoxic amino acid. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Apr 5;102(14):5074-8. Epub 2005 Apr 4.

Torres-Duran PV, Ferreira-Hermosillo A, Juarez-Oropeza MA. Antihyperlipemic and antihypertensive effects of Spirulina maxima in an open sample of Mexican population: a preliminary report. Lipids Health Dis. 2007 Nov 26;6:33.

Cingi C, Conk-Dalay M, Cakli H, Bal C. The effects of spirulina on allergic rhinitis. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2008 Oct;265(10):1219-23. Epub 2008 Mar 15.

Mazokopakis EE, Karefilakis CM, Tsartsalis AN, Milkas AN, Ganotakis ES. Acute rhabdomyolysis caused by Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis). Phytomedicine. 2008 Jun;15(6-7):525-7. Epub 2008 Apr 22.

Keeping Portland Weirder….and Weirder…

One never knows what to expect here in my Portland neighborhood.  Early this evening, I was walking my puppy, and I kept thinking I heard the Star Wars theme being played on a bagpipe somewhere in the distance.  As I proceeded down Division Street, it got louder and louder.  When I got to the corner of about 30th and Division, I happened across this dude at the very end of his tune:


Portland.  Ya gotta love it.

unruly toddler

My Unruly Toddler

For the most part, my chihuahua is a good girl.  She is completely house trained.  She is obedient.  She is smart….She does tricks……but when I try to talk on the phone.  Watch out!  She is just like a mischievous toddler!

She is not allowed to go into our bedroom unsupervised…but today, when I was on the phone, she did anyway.  One, by one, she dragged shoes out of my closet…socks from the hamper….and her toys, and set them at my feet until she had accumulated this nice pile right in front of me!


I probably would have been irritated with her if she wasn’t so cute.

Ah….but she is cute.  She most certainly is.

beebe headshot

I’m so happy that I have her.

Congratulations Nan Gill-Wilson!


I am very pleased to promote my beautiful friend, Nan Gill-Wilson, of Willy-Gilly Productions,  (wife of my decades-long friend, actor David Wilson,  (Eddie and the Cruisers, Collar, Dallas, the Early Years, Superman, the Musical, et al…) in her role as the Professor of Mystical & Shamanistic Studies in My Crazy Love that aired on the Oxygen channel last night!

Congratulations, Nan!  :-)

Note:  You have to click the link below to see the video, as it has not yet been uploaded to Vimeo or YouTube.  Nan got the link from the casting director.  It goes to the Oxygen channel.



It’s Not Too Late to Bid on Art to Help Doctors Without Borders!

You still have a few days to place your bid on my mosaic art to benefit Doctors Without Borders Auction.  Bidding is still under $100 for a piece that would normally retail for more than $300.   However, if  my piece, “Four René”  is not your cup of tea, there are 140 other international mosaic artists with offerings of wall pieces, affordable jewelry, sculpture, ornaments and more. Choose the best piece to suit your art needs.   Please help us help others by placing your bid today!

CLICK HERE to view all of the offerings and to place your much appreciated bid!

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featured fruit

If Fructose is Bad, What About Fruit?

My nutrition guru, Dr. Michael Greger, does an update of the empirical literature each year to offer the latest in dietary research.  He has just released a new video on his website, NutritionFacts.org about fructose.  What follows is the transcript of the video which can be seen HERE.



Transcript: If Fructose is Bad, What About Fruit?

If the fructose in sugar and high fructose corn syrup has been considered alcohol without the buzz in terms of the potential to inflict liver damage, what about the source of natural fructose, fruit?

Only industrial, not fruit fructose intake was associated with declining liver function. Same thing with high blood pressure. Fructose from added sugars was associated with hypertension; fructose from natural fruits is not. If you compare the effects of a diet restricting fructose from both added sugars and fruit to one just restricting fructose from added sugars, the diet that kept the fruit did better. People lost more weight with the extra fruit present than if all fructose was restricted.


These deleterious effects of fructose were limited to industrial fructose, meaning table sugar and high fructose corn syrup, with no evidence for a negative effect of the fructose in whole fruit. This apparent inconsistency might be explained by the positive effects of other nutrients (e.g., fiber) and antioxidants in fresh fruit.

If you have people drink a glass of water with three tablespoons of table sugar in it, which is like a can of soda, this is the big spike in blood sugar you get within the first hour. Our body freaks out and releases so much insulin we actually overshoot, and by the second hour we’re relatively hypoglycemic, dropping our blood sugar below where they were when we started out fasting. In response, our body dumps fat into our blood stream as if we’re starving, because our blood sugars just dropped so suddenly.

What if you eat blended berries in addition to the sugar? They have sugars of their own in them, in fact an additional tablespoon of sugar worth, so the blood sugar spike should be worse, right? No, not only no additional blood sugar spike, here’s the critical part, no hypoglycemic dip afterwards. Blood sugar just went up and down without that overshoot, and without the surge of fat into the blood.


This difference may be attributed to the semisolid consistency of the berry meals, which may have decreased the rate of stomach emptying compared with just guzzling sugar water. In addition, the soluble fiber in the berries has a gelling effect in our intestines that slows the release of sugars. To test to see if it was the fiber, they repeated the experiment with berry juice that had all the sugar but none of the fiber. As you can see, a clear difference was observed early on in the blood sugar insulin responses. At the 15 minute mark, the blood sugar spike was significantly reduced by the berry meals but not by the juices, but the rest of the beneficial responses were almost the same between the juice and the whole fruit, suggesting that fiber may just be part of it. It turns out there are fruit phytonutrients that inhibit the transportation of sugars through the intestinal wall into our blood stream. Phytonutrients in foods like apples and strawberries can block some of the uptake of sugars by the cells lining our intestines.


Adding berries can actually blunt the insulin spike from high glycemic foods. Here’s what white bread does to our insulin levels within 2 hours after eating it. Eat that same white bread with some berries, though and you’re able to blunt the spike. So even though you’ve effectively added more sugars, in the form of berries, there’s less of an insulin spike, which has a variety of potential short and long-term benefits. So if you’re going to make pancakes, make sure they’re blueberry pancakes.

Video Sources

R Torronen, M Kolehmainen, E Sarkkinen, K Poutanen, H Mykkanen, L Niskanen. Berries reduce postprandial insulin responses to wheat and rye breads in healthy women. J Nutr. 2013 Apr;143(4):430-6.

R Torronen, M Kolehmainen, E Sarkkinen, H Mykkanen, L Niskanen. Postprandial glucose, insulin, and free fatty acid responses to sucrose consumed with blackcurrants and lingonberries in healthy women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Sep;96(3):527-33.

S Petta, G Marchesini, L Caracausi, F S Macaluso, C Camma, S Ciminnisi, D Cabibi, R Porcasi, A Craxi, V Di Marco. Industrial, not fruit fructose intake is associated with the severity of liver fibrosis in genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C patients. J Hepatol. 2013 Dec;59(6):1169-76.

R H Lustig, Fructose: It’s “Alcohol Without the Buzz. Adv Nutr. 2013 Mar 1;4(2):226-35.

K Johnston, P Sharp, M Cliffor, L Morgan. Dietary polyphenols decrease glucose uptake by human intestinal Caco-2 cells. FEBS Lett. 2005 Mar 14;579(7):1653-7.

S Manzano, G Williamson. Polyphenols and phenolic acids from strawberry and apple decrease glucose uptake and transport by human intestinal Caco-2 cells. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2010 Dec;54(12):1773-80.

M Madero, J C Arriaga, D Jalal, C Rivard, K McFann, O Perez-Mendez, A Vasquez, A Ruiz, M A Lanaspa, C R Jimenez, R J Johnson, L G Lozada. The effect of two energy-restricted diets, a low-fructose diet versus a moderate natural fructose diet, on weight loss and metabolic syndrome parameters: a randomized controlled trial. Metabolism. 2011 Nov;60(11):1551-9.

R J Johnson, T Nakagawa, L G Sanchez-Lozada, M Shafiu, S Sundaram, M Le, T Ishimoto, Y Y Sautin, M A Lanaspa. Sugar, uric acid, and the etiology of diabetes and obesity. Diabetes. 2013 Oct;62(10):3307-15.

Good Bye Studio!

stacy and annie

Just returned from the studio where I officially turned in my keys and said goodbye to Annie (above) who has fallen in love and moved to Seattle.  She was kind enough to give me two pieces of art which I shall soon have framed and hang in the house….and now, I have art supplies all over the place.  Soon, I have to find a place to put them all!  However, I’ve been so busy with school, yoga, Ingrid and spending as much time as possible outside before the rains come, that I have not had time to deal.  Soon…soon….

Felt a little sad as I left….but then, not.  It was too far to drive and I didn’t go there often enough to justify paying the rent.  I will find a new studio toward the end of next summer.  Everything worked out for the best.