Category Archives: Vitiligo

3 Changes to your diet that will help cure your Vitiligo Read Now

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Eating right has always been, and will always be the cornerstone of a healthy body. If you are putting the wrong foods in your body, it can have disastrous effects on your health.

Eating right has always been, and will always be the cornerstone of a healthy body. If you are putting the wrong foods in your body, it can have disastrous effects on your health.

Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and this means it is even more dependent on a healthy diet.

The good news is that by making some changes to your diet, you can go a long way in getting back your beautiful skin.

Make sure you are eating the right foods

Plenty has been written on which specific types of foods are good for you. Same for foods that are bad. But not alot has been written on which combinations of food work well together, and which does not.

If you are eating the wrong combination of foods, your liver, kidney and bowel can become overloaded. Your organs can’t flush out the bad stuff, and this means that it has to be flushed out in other ways – like through your skin.

This can lead to all sorts of different skin conditions, one of which is Vitiligo.

vitiligo diet

Some of the food groups that are vitally important in your quest to beating Vitiligo:

  • Meat is the main source of protein, but it is important to balance your intake with other proteins such as soy beans, bananas, watermelon, leafy lettuce and sunflower sprouts.
  • Don’t listen to all those nay-sayers when it comes to oils and fats. Consuming the right oils and fats can boost your cardiovascular system, as well as your immune system.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids are an essential part of the anti Vitiligo diet. These essential fatty acids offer a number of health benefits, including better circulation levels, prevention of inflammation and boosting your immune system. Some sources of Omega 3 include salmon, walnuts and avocado.
  • When selecting fruits and vegetables to include in your diet, make sure to go as colourful as possible. Opt for beetroots, spinach, dark green leafy vegetables and carrots.
  • Drink plenty of water, at least 2 litres a day.

Avoid the bad stuff

The foods mentioned above will help greatly in your fight against Vitiligo, but they can only do so much. While including as many of the above in your diet, you also need to avoid certain foods that will make your symptoms worse.

Some of the foods that have been linked to Vitiligo are:

  • Some people are allergic to Gluten without ever knowing it. You might be suffering from infammation because of this, while not experiencing any outer signs of this allergy. This can cause havock on your immune system.
  • Acidic foods, such as lemons, can increase the acid levels in your stomach. This imbalance can worsen your symptoms.
  • There are certain vegetables, called Nightshades, that cause inflammation, and have been known to cause Vitiligo. Some of these nightshades that you should avoid is: tomatoes, white eggplant, paprika, potatoes and tobacco.
  • Processed foods should be avoided as much as possible. These are high in unhealthy preservatives, which has a negative impact on your immune system.
  • Fast foods and soft drinks can be found around every corner, but they are some the biggest culprits in your diet. These are very bad for your skin, and those sugary soft drinks will slow down your metabolism.

Speaking of a slow metabolism, brings me to the third change you should be making to your diet.

Boosting your metabolism

When your metabolism is on the slow side, your body won’t be digesting proteins and carbohydrates properly. Your cells will also not be absorbing enough nutrients. This can lead to a number of health issues, one of which could be Vitiligo.

It is quite simple to give your metabolism a healthy boost. Try the following methods:

  • Eating a healthy breakfast gives your metabolism a nice kickstart, and ensures that it starts working early in the day.
  • Have a cup of tea, and increase your metabolism with as much as 12%. Make sure to not overdo it though, as too much caffeine is known to increase Vitiligo symptoms.
  • Follow a detox plan to rid your body of all those nasty toxins that have built up over the last couple of months.
  • Eat foods rich in iron. This will give you plenty of energy, which in turn will lead to a healthy metabolism.
  • Getting some exercise will also give your metabolism a nice lift.

Increasing your metabolism will ensure that your body functions properly, and this will ensure that your body can do everything in its power to fight off the Vitiligo symptoms.

Black….Then White: Michael Jackson And Bleaching – The Truth About The Singer’s Skin Disorder, Vitiligo

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MICHAEL JACKSON’S VITILIGO, the skin lightening condition, offered up a startling insight into how, with the aid of modern cosmetic procedures, a man can change from black to white.


Black….Then White: Michael Jackson And Bleaching –
The Truth About The Singer’s Skin Disorder, Vitiligo
THE MICHAEL MONTAGE; The late Michael Jackson’s visual transformation from African-faced child to European-featured adult was both startling and disturbing to many fans. Was he bleaching his skin, or did he suffer from the skin disease, vitiligo? The fact is, his autopsy confirmed that he did suffer from the skin condition, and that he used pale make-up to even out his skin tone after large areas of his body had lost their pigment.

THE SUDDEN AND TRAGIC DEATH of recording artist Michael Jackson on June 25, 2009, finally answered the question that many had been asking for over two decades of his career. Was the singer bleaching his face and body, or did he suffer from the skin condition, vitiligo?

The answer is, in fact, both. The autopsy conducted after the singer’s death confirmed what Jackson and his family had maintained from the very beginning — that he indeed suffered from vitiligo, and had not, as many claimed, deliberately bleached his skin because he was unhappy being black.

Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder that causes a loss of pigment on sections of the skin. This de-pigmentation is not uniform, but manifests itself in blotches and patches on the body, particularly around the face and hands. It occurs when melanocytes — the cells responsible for skin pigment — die or cease functioning. The condition is not specific to those of African descent, but is simply more visible as a result of their darker pigment. Michael Jackson inherited the skin condition from his father’s side of the family. “We saw it coming on him at an early age,” said Joe Jackson. “You know, just a little spot. My aunt had the same thing.”

Jackson, whose album “Thriller” has sold over 70 million copies, first learned he had the vitiligo skin disease back in 1986, barely four years after the release of the album. At this point, with the disorder in its infancy, Jackson’s make-up artist Karen Faye used brown make-up to conceal what were then only small bleached patches. At the same time he began to cover up his skin for public appearances, wearing long sleeves and adopting his trademark gloves to hide patches on his hands and wrists. But over time the vitiligo became more aggressive, increasingly covering larger areas of his body, particularly his chest, abdomen, face and arms. “Michael is now almost completely devoid of colour,” confirmed Faye at the time. He was forced to take a drastic decision that would have deep racial overtones — to even out his skin tone to white — an easier task than wearing brown make-up all over his body, which would have been harder to apply in an even tone. “Instead of having it spotted like a cow or something like that he just decided to just do the whole thing,” said his mother Katherine.

In a bizarre Kafka-esque twist, Jackson was forced, aesthetically, to become a “white man”. Jackson used skin bleaching creams to achieve this. Detectives who searched his home after his death found 19 tubes of hydroquinone and 18 tubes of Benoquin, both commonly used for whitening skin.

In the years leading up to his death, despite testimony from the singer’s friends and family, dermatologist Arnold Klein, Karen Faye, and from Jackson himself during the famous televised interview with Oprah on February 10 1993, many refused to believe that he suffered from the skin disease, and questioned why it had taken him a decade to reveal it, when he could have put paid to the rumours much earlier. Accusations of him not wanting to be black emerged, not simply from his pale skin tone, but also from the fact that he had traded in his Afro curls for long straight hair, and had undergone cosmetic surgery to create a European-style nose. He seemed determined to de-Africanise himself.

Looking back, Jackson’s mistake was not to show his skin condition to the world when it began to manifest in the late 1980s. Exposing his vitiligo for all to see would have sent out a powerful message of positivity to the two per cent of the world’s population that suffer from the condition — that they should not feel outcast or be hidden away. Jackson’s decision not to do this may have had much to do with his mis-trust of the press, aftertheir endless volume of fabricated stories about him.

What lessons can we learn from a celebrity whose skin so dramatically and publicly metamorphosed from black to white? Perhaps that race should not be mistaken for identity. Jackson’s startling tonal shift through vitiligo, and our reactions to it, reveal the contradictions of a world in which race still matters, but also does not matter at all — in other words, race endures as long as it is used as a vehicle for discrimination, prejudice and control, but simultaneously it is irrelevant as a signifier of an individual’s true identity within the same society. Identity cannot be revealed by aesthetics, but by personality, humanity, heart, talent, and so on. As Jackson himself once said, “What does my face have to do with my music or my dancing?” These sentiments are the same as those expressed by Dr. Martin Luther King, when he famously said, “I look to the day when people will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Through his vitiligo, Jackson became the carrier of this truth; and it had to be him — who else could carry the message? By changing the world’s most famous black man into the world’s most famous “white man”, the irrelevance of race is revealed in the most dramatic fashion. Michael Jackson died with pale skin, but with his achievements intact — and that is what matters.

One of the legacies he leaves behind is the truth about human life on Earth — that we are all black, we are all white, we are all connected, we are all one.

6 Things Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Vitiligo

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1. You probably have a leaky gut and low stomach acid

Leaky gut, A.K.A. intestinal permeability, is the microscopic loss of the integrity of your intestinal lining. In other words, it’s teeny tiny holes in the lining of your intestine.

Poor diet (excessive sugar intake or alcohol consumption), lack of good bacteria, antibiotics and medications (including OTC meds such as aspirin or ibuprofen), chronic inflammation, and food sensitivities.

2. You likely have thyroid and adrenal dysfunction of some sort

Hashimotos is often seen along with vitiligo, as this study shows. It mentions that there is “a significant association between vitiligo and thyroid autoimmunity, and that tests to detect thyroid autoantibodies are relevant in patients with vitiligo.

If you have vitiligo, especially vitiligo that is active, you may want to consider getting your thyroid and adrenal function checked. Vitiligo is often a sign that other things are wrong inside of your body.

An endocrinologist can run a FULL thyroid panel for you…NOT JUST TSH. This is very important. A full thyroid panel will include TSH, T3 and T4 levels, TPO antibodies (crucial for detecting Hashimotos Thyroiditis).

A 24-hour urine cortisol test or a hair mineral analysis test are the best ways to get your adrenal function checked – I did both and they both revealed severe adrenal fatigue. I think you can also get a blood test as well.

3. You could have a copper/zinc imbalance

Many people are under the impression that because low copper levels are implicated in vitiligo then this must mean they need to take more copper. However, most people (women especially) are copper toxic and some also have copper bio-unavailability, which means the body is unable to use the copper for some reason. Taking more copper will aggravate this problem.

On the flip side, most people are zinc deficient. This article mentions vitiligo as one of the symptoms of zinc deficiency:

These include stretch marks on the skin, varicose veins, and, in fact, most cases of acne, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, boils, vitiligo, skin infections and many others.  They also often include white spots on the fingernails, although there are a few other causes of this symptom.

Zinc is a strong copper antagonist – which means that it prevents the body from accumulating too much copper. Many vegetarians are copper toxic because meat is naturally high in zinc and helps prevent the accumulation of copper in the body. If you have vitiligo, it may be helpful to evaluate your diet and see if you may benefit from taking a zinc supplement.

In addition to controlling copper levels, zinc appears to be important in preventing and treating vitiligo by inhibiting free radicals, encouraging repigmentation, and preventing immunity related cells that result in toxin accumulation, altered cellular environment and infection.

4. You are gluten intolerant, and possibly have celiac

Gluten is a dangerous food for those with vitiligo, celiac, and hashimotos thyroiditis. Gluten is very damaging to the gut and its molecular structure actually resembles the thyroid gland – which causes your body to become confused and attack the thyroid gland.

So, if you have vitiligo you may want to avoid gluten altogether as it can be very risky, to say the least.

5. Changing your diet can help you stop your vitiligo from spreading and can help repigment stable vitiligo.

There’s no specific “diet” for vitiligo – and many people will tell you that diet is worthless for treating vitiligo. However, based on the research that I have done, I have come to realize that diet plays a very important role in treating ANY autoimmune disorder, including vitiligo.

The reason for this is simple:

Proper immune system function is heavily dependent on a healthy diet, full of vitamins and minerals. Also, autoimmune disorders are largely due to inflammation in the body, which is diet related.

The most important vitamins for vitiligo are the B complex vitamins, especially B-12, B-6, and folate (not folic acid).

It’s best to take the methylated forms of B-12 and folate. The B-12 should be in the form of methylcobalamin (not cyanocobalamin), and folate should say 5-MTHF on the label. This means they are already in a form that your body can use immediately. Your body has to convert folic acid and cyanocobalamin into usable forms.

The problem is that it has been discovered that many people have an MTHFR mutationthat prevents folic acid from being converted into MTHFR-the usable form of folate. I found out that I have an MTRR A66G mutation, which means that I have poor ability to methylate B-12, so it’s important for me to take methylcobalamin.

6. It’s not hopeless.

Doctors will always tell you there is no cure, because this is what they believe…and many of them have little to no experience treating vitiligo, so they really don’t know what else to tell you.

Remember, docs don’t know everything, so when they say negative or discouraging things, just respect their opinion and move on to a more open minded doctor that is willing to work with you. Don’t be disheartened, there are lots of things you can do to help yourself.

Sure, you won’t reverse your vitiligo overnight, but it can be done. It just takes a lot of determination and belief that it will happen

Has Yale University finally found a cure for vitiligo?

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A common arthritis drug which is already prescribed on the NHS appears to stop the loss or pigmentation caused by vitiligo

The skin condition vitiligo could be cured with a common arthritis drug already being prescribed on the NHS, scientists at Yale believe.

The condition, which leads to the loss of pigmentation on the skin, affects around 650,000 people in Britain including presenter Richard Hammond, comedian Graham Norton and Kara Tointon, the actress.

But Yale University has shown that the drug tofacitinib, which is currently prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, can clear up the problem.

A 53-year-old patient with prominent white spots covering her face, hands, and body was given the drug for five months and found the condition virtually disappeared. Only a few spots remained on her body, and all had gone from her face and hands.

“While it’s one case, we anticipated the successful treatment of this patient based on our current understanding of the disease and how the drug works,” said Dr Brett King, assistant professor of dermatology and principal investigator of the research at Yale University, US.

“It’s a first, and it could revolutionize treatment of an awful disease.

“This may be a huge step forward in the treatment of patients with this condition.”

A 53-year-old woman before and after five months of treatment Credit: Dr Brett King

Dr King is now hoping to begin a wider clinical trial into the effectiveness of using tofacitinib or a similar medicine, ruxolitinib, for the treatment of vitiligo.

Vitiligo is a common, psychologically devastating condition that causes skin to lose its pigmentation and current treatments, such as steroid creams and light therapy, are only partially effective in reverse the problem.

Last year Dr King showed that tofacitinib could be used to treat alopecia which is caused when the body’s own immune system becomes confused and starts to attack hair follicles. However tofacitinib stops the chemical pathway that triggers that immune response allowing hair to grow back.

Because vitiligo is caused by a similar immune response, which destroys pigment-forming cells known as melanocytes, researchers speculated that the same treatment should work to restore colour.

“This case exemplifies the ways by which advances in basic science can guide treatment decisions and ultimately benefit patients,” added Dr King.

“As we better understand the mechanisms of different diseases, targeted therapy becomes possible, and existing medications can be repurposed and/or new medications created for diseases with limited, if any, treatment options.”

The most well-known sufferer of the condition was Michael Jackson, but actor Jon Hamm has also spoken about developing the skin condition due to the stress of filming Mad Men.

Professor David Gawkrodger, a spokesman for the British Skin Foundation Spokesperson, said the research was ‘promising’ but warned it was too soon for patients to be demanding Tofacitinib from their doctors.

“In vitiligo immune and cell growth factors are involved hence it is not surprising that the vitiligo in the patient described has improved.

“The janus kinase inhibitor group of drugs are still being evaluated and may have significant side-effects so, although this is a promising observation therapeutically, that may also tell us something about the causation of vitiligo, it is too soon for patient to demand these drugs from their dermatologists.

“The drugs may well be a pointer to how vitiligo will be managed in the future, but further evaluation by dermatologists, the pharmaceutical industry and regulators is needed.”

‘Now I’m happy in my second skin’ What’s Reason?

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Vitiligo causes white patches to appear on the skin and affects one in 100 people, but the condition can be helped. Barbara Lantin reports

From her twenties onwards, Maxine Whitton became so used to being stared at wherever she went that she developed various strategies to deal with strangers. To small children who pointed, horrified, at the white patches on her chocolate brown skin, she would smile encouragingly and suggest that they touch her to reassure themselves.

When an American man crossed a room shouting: “Hey, lady, what is this?” as he grabbed her arm in front of 50 others, she lapsed into scientific language, explaining that in the skin condition vitiligo, epidermal melanocytes (pigment-producing skin cells) stop functioning, causing white shapes to appear.

“People are frightened by vitiligo,” says Whitton, 64, a retired academic librarian and French teacher from east London and former chairman of the Vitiligo Society. “They are not being nasty, but they feel they have the right to intrude. If they don’t have the courage to ask you what is wrong, they just stare. They look at you as if you are a leper. Sometimes, you sense them recoil when they accidentally touch you.”

Not surprisingly, Whitton, who lost about 60 per cent of her body colour to vitiligo and “looked like a panda”, began to cover up. “I had nothing in my wardrobe with short sleeves – even my summer clothes. We stopped going on beach holidays, even though I love the sea. I never went anywhere without my make-up, which took about 20 minutes to apply. If somebody came to the front door before I had put it on, I wouldn’t open it.”

For many years, people with vitiligo were told that no help was available other than camouflage make-up, and although many sufferers and some GPs still believe this, it is no longer the case. Repigmentation is possible, as Whitton has proved.

Although most noticeable in people with dark skin, vitiligo affects one person in 100, across all racial, ethnic and national groups. The world’s best-known sufferer is said to be Michael Jackson, who claims he lost so much of his skin colour that he had the rest depigmented to match. About 40 per cent of those affected have a relative with the condition, but factors other than genetics, such as stress, hormonal fluctuations, injury and chemicals, also play a part.

The average age of onset is around 20, though it can start at any time and often appears in childhood. Thought by most experts to be an auto-immune disorder, vitiligo does not affect general health, though sufferers must protect themselves from the sun, as the depigmented patches have no protection against solar rays and burn easily. The main effects are, however, psychological.

Progress of the condition is unpredictable. Some people develop one white patch that never spreads. More commonly, other patches develop and increase in size. The usual sites are the hands, the armpits and groin and around the eyes, mouth and genitals. Sometimes, patches will repigment and disappear for no apparent reason. Understandably, patients can become preoccupied with the condition, obsessively looking for new marks or measuring existing ones to see if they have grown.

The unwelcome curiosity Whitton experienced adds to patients’ misery. Among people from parts of Asia, vitiligo is associated (quite wrongly) with leprosy, and the resultant prejudice can affect every aspect of a sufferer’s life, including job and marriage prospects. Some avoid having children for fear of passing the condition on. The psychological effects of vitiligo are not related to the severity of the condition.

“Somebody with a small patch can find it much more difficult to live with than another person whose body is completely covered,” says Carl Walker, a research fellow in psychology at London Metropolitan University, who has just completed a study on the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) on vitiligo patients.

“For some people, the condition presents no problems at all. In other cases, the patient’s body image is so poor that it causes sexual and relationship problems and prevents them from communicating openly with their partners.”

Walker found that CBT, in which patients were given various strategies to counter bad feelings they had about themselves, significantly improved their general mental health, body image, self-esteem and quality of life. Counselling alone did not have the same effect.

Whitton, who underwent nine months of therapy, believes it should be an integral part of any treatment protocol for people with skin disease. “I was told to look in the mirror without wearing make-up and tell myself that although I had vitiligo, it was only a part of me and that I wasn’t hideous. It gave me a sense of perspective and taught me to accept my appearance.

“The first time I went out without make-up, I was shaking like a leaf. I got to my destination and burst into tears. I couldn’t stop sobbing. Then I had this feeling of euphoria. I had left the house for the first time in 25 years without my make-up and nobody had said anything. The sky had not fallen in.”

Although managing the condition is important, what most sufferers want is repigmentation. A decade ago, there was little treatment on offer and patients were told to get on with their lives.

“Since then, there has been a lot of research and some people have repigmented,” says Nerys Roberts, consultant paediatric dermatologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital. “There is certainly hope now, but most patients don’t bother going to their GP because they have a family history of the condition and their relatives were told that nothing could be done. Those that do get to their GP may be told the same, even though it is no longer true.”

Delay can reduce the chances of successful treatment. One of the most significant findings has been that vitiligo needs to be treated when the disease is active and, ideally, in its early stages. Children respond better than adults.

“It is an inflammatory disease and going in with anti-inflammatories when nothing is happening is like entering a battlefield after all the soldiers have been killed,” says Dr Roberts. “Treatment needs to take place during the battle itself.”

The first treatment usually involves strong corticosteroid creams. Light therapy has been used for many years: narrow-band UVB radiation is replacing the traditional UVA lamps. Success rates for UVB are high, with 75 per cent of patients repigmenting and holding on to the restored colour.

Some patients have repigmented by using regular low doses of UVB light, together with a cream known as PC-KUS that is applied all over the body. Great claims have been made for this treatment, developed in Germany by Prof Karin Schallreuter of Bradford University but not available on the NHS. A controlled trial was a failure, but advocates of this approach claim that the formula of the cream used in the trial was incorrect.

Maxine Whitton is among Dr Schallreuter’s successes. Using the cream and light therapy three times a week for four years, she has regained about 90 per cent of her skin colour. But although amazed and delighted by this success, Whitton says that her attitude to her vitiligo has changed, mainly as a result of psychotherapy. “If I lost my colour again, I cannot say I would not care, but whatever happens, I am happy in my skin now. I know who I am and vitiligo doesn’t change that.”

We need fake tans on NHS’

Brigit Cunningham, a public relations executive from West Sussex, has found a new way to disguise her vitiligo – self-tan. Ninety per cent of her skin is covered in vitiligo patches, which have turned her once-bronzed complexion an anaemic white. She feels particularly self-conscious about her appearance in the summer when her depigmented skin burns easily and will not tan.

Two years ago, Cunningham, 43, discovered St Tropez self-tan, and she now has a full body application – it takes an hour and costs £40 – each month of the summer at a local beauty salon.

“It has revolutionised my feelings about myself and gives me a sense of psychological wellbeing,” she says. “I would use it all the time if I could afford it.”

Cunningham, whose 13-year-old daughter Freya also has vitiligo, believes self-tans should be available to sufferers on the National Health Service, as camouflage make-up and sunscreen are at present.

“The psycho-social effects of vitiligo can be awful,” she says. “When Freya was small, we used to tell her that her patches were kisses from the sun and she felt special, but she has been teased in the past and she has become more self-conscious as she gets older.

“She is quite badly affected on her stomach, so if she wants to wear cropped tops this summer, I expect we will have to let her have a St Tropez treatment, too. She already uses a high factor sun cream, which we get on prescription, and it seems very unfair that we should have to pay to cover up the effects of a medical condition.”

The psychological impact of vitiligo in adult Sudanese patients.

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Vitiligo is a chronic skin disease that causes loss of pigment, resulting in irregular pale patches of skin. The disease has profound psychological consequences. These effects range from mild embarrassment to a severe loss of self-confidence and social anxiety, especially for those who have lesions on exposed skin. The study sought to determine the psychological impact of vitiligo in Sudanese patients.


This study is a cross-sectional, clinical-epidemiological and hospital-based study, undertaken in Khartoum Dermatologic Hospital (KDH). The data was collected between June 2007 and November 2007. 111 adult patients were enrolled sequentially during the study period and they were tested using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12).


Psychological disturbances as a consequence of vitiligo were found in 36 (31 %) adult patients. Patients with mild psychological disturbances were found in 20 of these patients and severe disturbances in 16.


Psychological consequences are common in patients with vitiligo.

14 Things You Really Don’t Want To Know About Your Groceries

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1. Greek yogurt manufacturing produces millions of pounds of (toxic) acid whey waste every year, and no one knows what to do with it.

Greek yogurt manufacturing produces millions of pounds of (toxic) acid whey waste every year, and no one knows what to do with it.

From Modern Farmer’s fascinating story about how to deal with the whey problem:

“For every three or four ounces of milk, Chobani and other companies can produce only one ounce of creamy Greek yogurt. The rest becomes acid whey. It’s a thin, runny waste product that can’t simply be dumped. Not only would that be illegal, but whey decomposition is toxic to the natural environment, robbing oxygen from streams and rivers. That could turn a waterway into what one expert calls a ‘dead sea,’ destroying aquatic life over potentially large areas. Spills of cheese whey, a cousin of Greek yogurt whey, have killed tens of thousands of fish around the country in recent years.”

2. Not-from-concentrate orange juice is processed with “flavor packs” to artificially ensure that each bottle tastes exactly the same.

Not-from-concentrate orange juice is processed with "flavor packs" to artificially ensure that each bottle tastes exactly the same.

No matter what time of year it is and which oranges the juice came from, big beverage companies make their products perfectly consistent by mixing the juice with carefully calibrated, brand-specific orange flavorings. These mixtures are added to replace the natural flavors lost when juice is chemically stripped of oxygen (“deaerated”) so that it can be kept in storage tanks for more than a year (!) without oxidizing.

Because the added flavor is technically derived from orange oil and extract, it doesn’t need to be specifically listed in the ingredients. Read more here.

3. This is how the ingredients for packaged veggie burgers get mixed together:

14 Things You Really Don't Want To Know About Your Groceries

In a huge wheelbarrow. With a shovel. OMG, I love this so much. Watch the whole Science Channel video here.

4. Most commercial milk is made by combining, heating, homogenizing, and repackaging the milk of hundreds of cows.

Most commercial milk is made by combining, heating, homogenizing, and repackaging the milk of hundreds of cows.

Milk gets separated by huge industrial centrifuges into components (fat, protein, and other solids and liquids). Those milk parts are then recombined in various proportions to make perfectly uniform whole, low-fat, and skim milks.

Read more about the process — and how raw milk (aka the kind that comes straight from cows) became a thing of the past — in this L.A. Times article.

5. Maraschino cherry producers bleach the fruit with chemicals and then marinate it in huge vats of corn syrup and dye to turn the cherries red again.

6. Many canned soups are flavored with MSG, even when they claim they aren’t.

Many canned soups are flavored with MSG, even when they claim they aren't.

The additive gives soups a meat-like flavor that helps make up for canning-induced blandness and less salt (many brands have reduced their use of salt thanks to nutrition concerns about high sodium levels).

MSG isn’t necessarily bad for you, but soup makers sneakily get around admitting that they use it by referring to it as “naturally occurring” (because it’s refined from vegetable and yeast proteins) and listing it in the ingredients as “yeast extract” or “hydrolyzed protein.” An actual ad war broke out in 2008 because Campbell’s and Progresso were so worried that customers wouldn’t buy soup they knew contained MSG.

7. The canning process for soup is so violent that companies grow huge, super-tough carrots for the soup so they won’t disintegrate.

The canning process for soup is so violent that companies grow huge, super-tough carrots for the soup so they won't disintegrate.

That’s just some dude with a random huge carrot, but a former Campbell’s food scientist described the industrial-strength carrots as “like tree limbs — they’re like baseball bats.”

8. Many ice creams are thickened and stabilized with carrageenan, which is actually a seaweed extract.

Not bad, just…odd? More info here.

9. Hot dogs are filled with a gloopy blend of meat trimmings, fat, and starch or “cereal filler.”

14 Things You Really Don't Want To Know About Your Groceries

Cereal filler = bread crumbs, oatmeal, or flour, because who wouldn’t want oatmeal in their frankfurter? And that’s not to mention all the lovely flavors, dyes, and preservatives that might be floating around in there too. If you feel like barfing even more, check out this video of the production process.

10. Lots of imported (and expensive) “extra-virgin” olive oils are actually cut with cheaper seed and nut oils.

Lots of imported (and expensive) "extra-virgin" olive oils are actually cut with cheaper seed and nut oils.

Read Tom Mueller’s fascinating (and hilarious) 2007 exposé of Italian oil fraud, which eventually became the book Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil.

11. Red- and pink-colored products are often dyed with cochineal extract, aka the bodies of crushed-up teeny insects.

Including all of these familiar friends. Cochineal extract is also sometimes listed as carminic acid or carmine. You can learn more about the delicious process of making the dye here.

12. Coffee creamer is made of corn syrup and (hydrogenated, trans-fatty) vegetable oils.

Coffee creamer is made of corn syrup and (hydrogenated, trans-fatty) vegetable oils.

Ain’t no cream in there. Here are the ingredients listed on the label of Coffee-MateOriginal Liquid creamer:


And if you need another reason to stop putting creamer in your coffee, check out the super-fun texture you get when all those ingredients team up!

14 Things You Really Don't Want To Know About Your Groceries

13. To make bacon, pork bellies get hung up in this weird carwash closet machine and showered with “liquid smoke.”

14 Things You Really Don't Want To Know About Your Groceries

The creepy red rain also includes dyes to turn the pork a more appropriately bacony color.

14. Shredded cheese is packed with cellulose — aka refined wood pulp — to keep it from clumping.

Cellulose, made from broken-down plant fibers (including wood), is a common food additive that can also make ice cream creamier or salad dressing thicker without adding calories. Since it’s naturally derived, even packaged foods labeled as organic often include cellulose. Sawdust! Who knew?

After Years of Bullying, Woman with Rare Skin Condition Gets GENIUS Tattoo to Stop the Stares for Good

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“Why should I hide who I am? It’s exhausting.”

Tiffany Posteraro, 24, struggled with a rare skin condition for her entire life—but she’s done hiding her true self from the world.

It all began when she was only 7 years old, when she noticed small white spots starting to sprout on her knees. Soon it spread—she found the spots on her wrists, and then her kneecaps were covered in the mysterious patches.

Posteraro explained how frustrating the process was. “I showed my parents but we just thought they must be scars or something. […] We had no idea what it was. A dermatologist gave me some ointment but it did nothing.”

The real breakthrough occurred not after a doctor’s official diagnosis, but when she was 11 years old, running errands with her mother. A man pulled her aside at a grocery store and explained to her that she had vitiligo, a skin condition in which causes the loss of skin pigment.

Posteraro was glad to learn what the real problem was, but soon things took a turn for the worst. As the condition accelerated and the patches on her body started to grow larger, she had to endure bullying and mean comments.

She said, “People stared and made nasty comments.” Strangers went so far as to call her “cow,” “Dalmatian,” and “burn victim.”

Soon, Posteraro had to learn how to put on heavy-duty makeup just to cover up her skin in order to avoid attention. “I tried everything possible to cover it up. I got really dark spray tans and used industrial-strength foundation, the kind used to cover deep scars.”

It was only after meeting a fellow vitiligo sufferer that Posteraro finally decided to stop hiding. She thought, “Why should I hide who I am? It’s exhausting.” Empowered with a new bout of confidence, Tiffany decided to get her condition “emblazoned” on her forever—she got a tattoo with the words “It’s called Vitiligo” on her forearm.

Posteraro admitted the tattoo was totally “liberating”—people love her new tattoo, and they find they know want to learn more about the condition.

Posteraro is working hard to remove the stigma associated with the skin condition, and we hope she succeeds. You go, girl!

Polly Gotschi’s life-changing product for people with vitiligo warmed everyone’s heart on Dragons’ Den

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For people suffering from vitiligo, Polly Gotschi’s new product could just change their lives.

The entrepreneur managed to bag some investment after appearing in tonight’s episode of Dragons’ Den.

This Dragons’ Den product could actually change vitiligo sufferers' lives

Gotschi won the approval of the Dragons for her product Vitiliglow, a camouflage spray to help people with vitiligo, a skin condition which causes pale, white patches to develop on the skin due to the lack of melanin.

She revealed in a blog post on her Vitiliglow site: ‘I’ve turned having Vitiligo into something positive and I feel so strongly that people with the condition should have a good quality product to cover their patches evenly, if that’s what they choose to do.

‘Luckily, the Dragons saw this and I liked my honesty and passion for the product, which was what I wanted to achieve. Saying that, I wasn’t given an easy ride and I was asked lots of tricky questions. Luckily the prep I did paid off and I held my own.

New hope for vitiligo sufferers as DRDO drug goes on sale

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A traditional drug developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for treating vitiligo or leucoderma is now available for commercial sale in India. 

The herbal drug, called Lukoskin, was developed by scientists of the Defence Bio-Energy Research (DIBER) centre at Haldwani in Uttarakhand.

DIBER transferred the technology for the drug, which is being showcased at the ongoing Arogya Expo 2014, to AIMIL Pharmaceuticals India for commercial production and sale.

The herbal treatment will soon be available in Indian markets (Photo for representation)

The drug, developed in 2011, is also on sale at the expo that is being held alongside the World Ayurveda Congress.

Dr Mohammad Junail of AIMIL said his company had signed an agreement with DRDO for the commercial launch of three herbal products.

“Lukosin has been launched. The two other products will soon be commercially launched in Indian markets,” he said.

Leucoderma is generally considered an incurable skin condition, but Lukosin has been extremely effective against it, DRDO scientists said.

“The quest to cure leucoderma has finally ended with the development of the new herbal product with extensive studies by scientists of DIBER,” said Dr W. Selvamurthy of DRDO.

Worldwide incidence of leucoderma is reported to be 1 to 2 per cent. In India, it’s around 4 to 5 per cent, while in some parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat it is as high as 5 to 8 per cent.

“This skin disorder is considered a social stigma in our country and people confuse it with leprosy. Affected individuals always remain in constant depression with the feeling of being socially outcast. There are many remedies for this disorder, such as allopathic, surgical and adjunctive. None of the therapies satisfactorily cure this condition.

“Secondly, these are either costly or single component based, with very low level of efficacy. People develop blisters, edema or irritation of the skin, and as a result, most patients discontinue the treatment,” said a senior official of DRDO.

Vitiligo affected hands. The condition  is defined by a loss of pigmentation in the skin

DIBER scientists focussed on the causes of leucoderma and came up with a comprehensive formulation for the management of the condition by using Himalayan herbs. Clinically, Lukoskin is quite effective and helps in restoring the normal complexion in the affected area.

Indian medicinal plants are said to be rich in disease-curing properties. An ethno-botanical survey on medicinal plants used for leucoderma by Sugali tribes of Yerramalais forest in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh was carried out in 2011-2012.

Twenty-one plant species were found to be used specifically to treat leucoderma. Similarly, the Allahabad University established the efficacy of traditional treatment of leucoderma by Kol tribes of Vindhya region of Uttar Pradesh during a study.

The traditional treatment used the latex of a plant called Telosma pallid (Roxb) Craib and the study found that the application of the paste of the bark treated the condition to 90 per cent in six months.