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Dairy Food

Dairy products, including milk, cream, butter, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt, have traditionally been eaten in cold, northern countries or mountainous regions. In the rest of the world, most people are allergic to milk and dairy products. In Asia, 80 percent of the population is lactose-intolerant, in the Mediterranean 60 percent, and among African-Americans 70 percent.

      In extreme cold or hot environments where other foods are unavailable, dairy food is an important source of nutrients. Its high-fat content is warming and insulating, and energetically dairy contributes to a gentle, obedient character.

     Modern dairy food is generally very poor in quality because of factory farming methods; use of antibiotics, BGH, and other growth hormones; and Pasteurization and other sterilization methods that may kill beneficial microorganisms as well as harmful ones. In modern society, dairy consumption tends to produce excessive mucus and is a frequent cause of colds, allergies, sinus troubles, asthma, intestinal problems such as candida, infertility, atherosclerosis and heart disease, and cysts and tumors, especially those of the prostate, ovaries, and testes.

     Dairy food consumption, including milk, cheese, butter, cream, ice cream and yogurt, has fallen sharply in recent years following the association of dairy foods, high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein, with cardiovascular disease and various cancers. Medical groups are starting to warn about the dangers of dairy for infants and children. See Autism, Beans, Breast Cancer, Breast-feeding, Infertility, Kale, Lung Cancer, Lymphoma, Multiple Sclerosis, Osteoporosis, Premenstrual Syndrome, Prostate Cancer, Skin Disorders.

 

• Dairy Increases Risk of Prostate Cancer

In a prospective study of 3612 men, researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia reported men who ate the most dairy food had more than double the risk of contracting prostate cancer than men who ate the least amount of dairy food. Dietary calcium was also associated with increased risk. “Dairy consumption may increase prostate cancer risk through a calcium-related pathway,” the researchers concluded.

Source: M. Tseng et al., “Dairy, Calcium, and Vitamin D Intakes and Prostate Cancer  Risk in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Epidemiologic Follow-Up Study Cohort,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 81(5):1147-54, 2005.

 

• Ovarian Cancer Associated with Dairy

In a meta-analysis of studies on ovarian cancer, researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Medicine in Stockholm, Sweden, reported that dairy food consumption and the intake of lactose, or dairy sugar, significantly increased the risk of the disease. An increase in each glass of milk consumed elevated the risk from 5 to 22 percent.

Source: S. C. Larsson et al., “Milk, Milk Products, and Lactose Intake and Ovarian Cancer Risk: A Meta-Analysis of Epidemiological Studies,” International Journal of Cancer 118(2):431-41, 2006.

 

• Testicular Cancer Linked to Milk

In a population-based case control study of 269 subjects and 797 controls, German scientists at the University of Halle-Wittenberg reported that each additional 20 servings of milk per month consumed in adolescence the risk for testicular cancer was enhanced by 37 percent. “Our results suggest that milk fat and/or galactose may explain the association between milk and dairy product consumption and seminomatous testicular cancer,” the scientists concluded.

Source: A. Stang et al., “Adolescent Milk Fat and Galactose Consumption and Testicular Germ Cell Cancer,” Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 15(11):2189-2195, 2006.

 

• Dairy and Calcium Supplements Offer No Benefit to Bone Health 

In a review of studies on calcium consumption and bone health in children and young adults, researchers for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reported that of 58 studies examined, 11 did not control for weight, pubertal status, and exercise; 9 showed positive associations; and 27 found no relationship; and the others were confounded by other factors. “In clinical, longitudinal, retrospective, and cross-sectional studies, neither increased consumption of diary products, specifically, nor total dietary calcium consumption has shown even a modestly consistent benefit for child or young adult bone health,” the researchers concluded.

Source: A. J. Lanou et al., “Calcium, Dairy Products, and Bone Health in Children and Young Adults: A Reevaluation of the Evidence,” Pediatrics 115(3):792-4, 2005.

 

• Dairy Associated with Allergies and Asthma

In food trials, a teenage boy in the hospital with muscular and skeletal pains, bronchial asthma, abdominal pains, headache, and dark circles under the eyes experienced substantial improvement within two days when milk and chocolate were taken out of the diet.“ Within forty-eight hours the facial pallor and the dark circles under his eyes almost completely disappeared,” researchers reported. “Most remarkable was the improvement in his mood and behavior. He became alert and interested in his surroundings, was surprisingly cheerful and began to take a keen interest in sporting activities and art classes at which he excelled. He no longer complained of vague aches and pains. His asthma was easily controlled.” Following three weeks of the therapeutic diet, milk was given to him again and the pallor, dark circles, and other symptoms returned.

Source: E. G. Weinberg and M. Tuchinda, “Allergic Tension-Fatigue Syndrome,” Annals of Allergy 31:209-11, 1973.

 

• Milk, Cheese, and Butter Raise Breast Cancer Risk

Dairy food may be the most potent factor in the development of breast cancer. A study of 250 women with breast cancer in the northwestern province of Vercelli, Italy, found that they tended to consume considerably more milk, high-fat cheese, and butter than 499 healthy women of the same age in Italy and France.

     Breast cancer risk tripled among women who consumed about half their calories as fat, 13 to 23 percent of their calories as saturated fat, and 8 to 20 percent of their calories as animal protein.

“These data suggest that during adult life, a reduction in dietary intake of fat and proteins of animal origin may contribute to a substantial reduction in the incidence of breast cancer in population subgroups with high intake of animal products,” researchers concluded. “[A] diet rich in fat, saturated fat, or animal proteins may be associated with a twofold to threefold increase in a woman’s risk of breast cancer.”

 Source: Paolo Toniolo et al., “Calorie-Providing Nutrients and Risk of Breast Cancer,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 81:278-86, 1989.

 

• Cheese Elevates Breast Cancer Risk

In a Swiss case-control study, researchers found that breast cancer incidence was associated with higher consumption of cheese, meat, and alcohol, with cheese elevating risk the highest (2.7 times normal). Conversely, vegetable consumption offered significant protection (40 to 60 percent on average), especially green leafy vegetables.

Source: F. Levi et al., “Dietary Factors and Breast Cancer Risk in Vaud, Switzerland,” Nutrition and Cancer 19:327-335, 1993.

 

• Dairy Causes Colic

Antibodies in cow milk are the likely cause of colic in babies, and mothers who consume dairy products can pass them on in their breast milk. In a study at Washington University, mothers with colicky babies had significantly higher levels of cow antibodies in their milk as mothers of babies without colic.  Colic, characterized by crying spells that can last 3 hours or more, affects about 20 percent of all babies in modern society. Dr. Frank Harris, a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics, said the study told frustrated mothers: “It may not be what you’re doing. It may be what you’re eating.”

Source: P. S. Clyne and A. Kulczycki, Jr., “Human Breast Milk Contains Bovine IgG. Relationship to Infant Colic?” Pediatrics 87(4):439-44, 1991.

 

• Dairy Increases Diabetes Risk in Children

Giving cow’s milk to babies may increase their risk of developing diabetes. Researchers reported that children with diabetes produced large amounts of antibodies against cow’s milk which may attack the pancreas cells which make insulin.

Source: J. Karjalainen et al., “A Bovine Albumin Peptide as a Possible Trigger of Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus,” New England Journal of Medicine 327:302–7, 1992.

 

• Dairy and Iron Deficiency in Infants 

In response to reports of iron deficiency in infants, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that children under 1 year of age not be given whole cow’s milk or low-iron infant formula.

Source: “Cow’s Milk Not Advised for Infants,” Boston Globe, May 15, 1992

 

• Dairy Increases Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Dairy food consumption has been linked with ovarian cancer by researchers at Harvard. The scientists noted that women with ovarian cancer had low blood levels of transferase, an enzyme involved in the metabolism of dairy foods. The researchers theorized that women with low levels of transferase who eat dairy foods, especially yogurt and cottage cheese, could increase their risk of ovarian cancer by as much as three times. The researchers estimated that women who consume large amounts of yogurt and cottage cheese increased their risk of ovarian cancer up to three times." Yogurt was consumed at least monthly by 49 percent of cases and 36 percent of controls,” researchers reported. “World wide, ovarian cancer risk is strongly correlated with lactase persistence and per capita milk consumption, further epidemiological evidence that lactose rather than fat is the key dietary variable for ovarian cancer . . . [A]voidance of lactose-rich food by adults may be a way of primary prevention of ovarian cancer . . . “

Source: Daniel W. Cramer et al., “Galactose Consumption and Metabolism in Relation to the Risk of Ovarian Cancer,” Lancet  2:66-71, 1989.

 

• Dr. Spock Warns Against Dairy

In the final edition of his best-selling book on Baby and Child Care, Dr. Spock warned against feeding cow’s milk to infants and children: "First, most green leafy vegetables and beans have a form of calcium that is absorbed as well or even a bit better than that in milk. They also have iron, vitamins, complex carbohydrate, and fiber which are generally lacking in milk.

     "Second, dairy products contribute to a surprising number of health problems. They can impair a child's ability to absorb iron and in very small children can even cause subtle blood loss from the digestive tract. Combined with the fact that milk has virtually no iron of its own, the result is an increased risk of iron deficiency.

     "Cow's milk proteins are a common cause of colic, and now the American Academy of Pediatrics has concluded that there is evidence that cow's milk may well contribute to childhood-onset diabetes. Some children have sensitivities to milk proteins that show up as respiratory problems, chronic ear problems, or skin conditions."

Source: Benjamin Spock, M.D. and Stephen J. Parker, M.D., Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care (New York: E. P. Dutton,  1998).

 

• Physicians Warn Against Dairy

Parents should be alerted to the potential risks to their children from cow's-milk products," the Physicians Committee on Responsible Medicine declared. "Milk should not be required or recommended in Government guidelines." Milk is unhealthy, the committee asserted, because it contains too much fat, causes diabetes in susceptible children, leads to iron deficiency in infants, and causes colic, allergies, and digestive problems.

     Neal D. Barnard, M.D., the committee's director said, "Milk is a perfect food for calves and is well tolerated by some Caucasians, but for others it's a problem. I don't recommend milk for anyone.”

     Suzanne Havala, R.D., co-author of the American Dietetic Association's position paper on vegetarian diets, supported the recommendations. "After weaning, there is no need for milk of any sort in the diet in any species."

     Dr. Frank Oski, director of the department of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine concurred, “There is no redeeming feature to cow’s milk that should make people drink it.”

Source: Marian Burros, "Cows Milk and Children: A New No-No?," New York Times, Sept. 30, 1992.

 

Daniel, Book of

During the Babylonian Captivity, King Nebuchadnezzar commanded several of the most gifted young men of Israel to be brought to court to enter government service. The king instructed Malasar, the master of his household, to feed Daniel and his three companions the best meat and wine from the royal table. The Israelites, however, refused the rich food and instead asked for the simple grain-and-veg-etable quality food they were accustomed to. The steward replied that he could lose his head if the king saw Daniel and his friends undernourished in comparison to the young Babylonians their age also in training for administrative service.

     Daniel replied: “Submit us to this test for ten days. Give us only pulses [grains, seeds, and small beans] to eat and water to drink; then compare our looks with those of the young men who have lived on the food assigned by the king, and be guided in your treatment of us by what you see.” At the end of ten days, Daniel and his friends were healthier and better nourished than the Babylonians and “the guard took away the assignment of food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them only the vegetables. And to these children God gave knowledge and understanding also of all visions and dreams.”

Source: Book of Daniel 1:8-17.

 

Dental Care

Sugar has long been associated with dental cavities. Tooth, gum, and other dental problems are often associated with diet. Proper tooth care is important for a long, healthy life. A growing network of holistic, preventive, or biological dentists takes nutrition into account, questions the use of fluoride, and avoids the use of mercury amalgams in fillings. See Chemicals, Fluoridation, Osteoporosis, Weston Price, Sugar.

 

• Sugary and Fruit Beverages Linked to Cavities

In a study of beverage consumption in young children and the development of cavities, researchers at the College of Dentistry, University of Iowa, reported that soda pop, regular powdered beverages, and to a lesser extent 100 percent fruit juice was associated with increased caries risk. Milk had a neutral association. “Results of our study suggest that contemporary changes in beverfage patterns, particularly the increase in soda pop consumption, have the potential to increase dental caries rates in children,” the dentists concluded.

Source: T. A. Marshall et al., “Dental Caries and Beverage Consumption in Young Children,” Pediatrics 112(3 Pt. 1):3184-91, 2003.

           

Depleted Uranium

The process of manufacturing enriched uranium from natural uranium used in nuclear reactors or weapons leaves "depleted" uranium. DU has 40 percent less radioactivity, but the same chemical toxicity as natural uranium. The U.S. military uses tank armor and some bullets made with depleted uranium (DU) to penetrate enemy armored vehicles, and began using DU on a large scale during the Gulf War and War in Iraq.

• Toll from DU in Gulf War Rises

An estimated 11,000 American soldiers have died from exposure to DU, according to Arthur Bernklau, executive director of Veterans for Constitution Law in New York. Of the 580,400 soldiers who served in the Gulf War I, 11,000 are now dead, he said. By 2000, there were 325,000 on permanent medical disability, a 56 percent disability rate. In contrast, the disability rate for veterans of World War I and II was about 5 percent and for the Vietnam War 10 percent. Another 200,000 U.S. GI’s have become disabled in the War in Iraq. “The long-term effect of DU is a virtual death sentence,” Bernklau said.

Source: Allen L. Roland, “Public Unaware of DU Threat of Camp Falcon Explosions,” October 30, 2006, salon.com.

 

Depression         

Depression, or feeling intense sadness, is the second most common psychiatric disorder after anxiety. It typically affects people beginning in their twenties, thirties, or forties and may last 6 to 9 months or in some cases two years or longer. Physical disorders that can cause depression include the side effects of drugs, infections, hormonal disorders, connective tissue diseases, neurologic disorders, cancers, and nutritional deficiency diseases.

 

• Folate Prevents Depression

In a prospective follow up study of 2313 men aged 42 to 60 from eastern Finland, researchers at the University of Kuopio reported that those whose intake of folate, a nutrient found in leafy green vegetables, whole grains, and other plant foods, fell below the medium for the group had a risk of getting a clinical diagnosis of depression three times more than those whose folate intake was higher than average. “A low dietary intake of folate may be a risk factor for severe depression. This also indicates that nutrition may have a role in the prevention of depression,” the researchers concluded.

Source: T. Tolmenen et al., “Dietary Folate and the Risk of Depression in Finnish Middle-Aged Men,” Psychother Psychosom 73(6):334-9, 2004.

 

• Low-Fat Diet Lifts Depression

A low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet may lift depression and decrease aggressive hostility. A report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that in a test of 300 men and women, depression and hostility dropped markedly in all who adopted a cholesterol-lowering diet and led to greater feelings of “self-efficacy” and enhanced psychological well-being.

Source: One Peaceful World Journal 14:  Spring, 1993.

 

• St. John’s Wort Alleviates Depression

St. John's Wort, a traditional herb used for centuries in Europe, is effective in helping sooth nerves, relieve melancholy, and treat infection and may offer a natural, safe alternative to Prozac and other antidepressants. "I started prescribing it about nine months ago, and I have had one success story after another, Norman E. Rosenthal, a psychiatrist and clinical researcher in Rockville, Md., stated. An overview of 28 clinical trials of the herb conducted by German scientists found that the herb had outperformed placebos in relieving depression and showed few side effects. Several studies suggest it performs as well as antidepressants, but further studies are need, the researchers concluded.

     In another study, researchers found that the plant reduced the rate at which brain cells reabsorb serotonin, an important neurotransmitter which is associated in low levels with depression. Prozac enables serotonin to flow more smoothly between cells. Experiments also indicate the herb can reabsorb dopamine and norepinephrine, two other chemicals in the body associated with regulating mood.

Source: Edmund L. Andrews, "In Germany, Humble Herb Is a Rival to Prozac," New York Times, September 9, 1997.

 

Diabetes

Eight million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes and another 8 million have it without knowing it. The cost of treating it soared from $5 billion in 1975 to $100 billion in 1997. Type I, or juvenile-onset diabetes, affects less than 10 percent of diabetics, while Type II is primarily adults and older people. An estimated 90 percent of Type IIs are obese. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, fatal kidney disease, amputations, and disability, as well as a major cause of birth defects and infant mortality. It is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and nerve damage. Rates among minorities in America are two to three times higher than among whites. Native Americans have the highest rates, followed by Hispanics, blacks, and Asians. See Dairy, Native American Diet, Nightshades, Obesity, Rice, Vegan, Whole Grains.

 

• Macrobiotic Diet Benefits Diabetic Patients

In a study of 44 type 2 diabetes patients, including four on insulin, researchers at the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand sponsored a dietary intervention study at the Wanakaset Research Facility of Kasetsart University in Trad Province for a period of between 2 and 14 weeks. Volunteers were required to refrain from using all kinds of drugs or chemicals and to observe a diet recommended by the International Un Punto Macrobiotico Foundation in Italy. At the end of the program, the researchers reported a statistically significant reduction in blood sugar levels, weight, blood pressure, and heart beat ratios. “Subjects were in significantly better health, more vibrant, more peaceful, and more energetic.” The four patients on insulin were able to maintain their blood sugar levels within the range of 110-171 mg without any insulin injections and all subjects were free of any adverse effects. “The results of the present study can be a guideline in the modification of health care policies that can lead to the development of effective, and alternative care of diabetes mellitus patients.”

Source: J. Bhjumisawasdi et al., “The Self-Reliant System for Alternative Care of Diabetes Mellitus Patients—Experience Macrobiotic Management in Trad Province,” Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand 89(12):2104-15, 2006.

 

• Brown Rice Protects Against Diabetes

In a study of 10 healthy and nine type 2 diabetic volunteers, scientists at the University of the Philippines reported that those who ingested brown rice released 23.7 percent less blood glucose than controls given white rice. “In conclusion, brown rice is a more health beneficial food for diabetics and hyperglycemic individuals than milled rice.”

Source: L. N. Panlasignui and L. U. Thompson, “Blood Glucose Lowering Effects of Brown Rice in Normal and Diabetic Subjects,” Int J Food Sci Nutri 57(3):151-8, 2006.

 

• Vegetarian Diets Benefit Diabetics

In a review of 652 diabetic patients eating vegetarian diets, scientists reported that 39 percent of those treated with insulin could stop insulin and 71 percent of those on oral hypoglycemic agents could discontinue their use. At the same time, fasting blood glucose fell by 24 percent in those on diet alone. Cholesterol fell by over 20 percent and triacylglycerol by over 30 percent.

Source: R. J. Barnard et al., “Diet and Exercise in the Treatment of NIDDM: The Need for Early Emphasis,” Diabetes Care 17:1469-72, 1994.

 

• Vegan Diet Helps Diabetics Control Blood Sugar

In a study involving 99 individuals with type 2 diabetes, researchers for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reported that those assigned to a low-fat vegan diet for 22 weeks were able to control their blood sugar three times more effectively than the control group which adhered to the American Diabetes Association Diet. Both groups experienced weight loss, lower plasma lipid levels, reduced urinary albumin excretion, and lower hemoglobin A1c (measuring blood sugar levels over time), those in the vegan group experienced greater reductions in A1c, weight, body mass index, waist circumference, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol.

Source: Dr. Neal Barnard, Diabetes Care, July 2006.

 

• Magnesium-Rich Grains Protect Against Diabetes

Consumption of millet, barley, and other whole grains high in magnesium may help African-American women to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes, according to researchers with the Black Women’s Health Study. The scientists found that participants who consumed the most foods high in magnesium had a 31 percent lower risk for this disorder compared to those who consumed the least amount.

Source: Diabetes Care, October 2006

 

• Whole Grains and Legumes Reduce Diabetes Risk

In a review of the role of whole grains and legumes in the cause and treatment of diabetes, New Zealand researchers reported that people who consume about 3 servings per day of whole grain foods are 20 to 30 percent less likely to develop Type-2 Diabetes than low consumers. “There is strong evidence to suggest that eating a variety of whole grain foods and legumes is beneficial in the prevention and management of diabetes,” the researchers concluded.

Source: B. J. Venn and J. I. Mann, “Cereal Grains, Legumes, and Diabetes,” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 58(11):1443-61, 2004.

 

• Whole Grains Protect Against Diabetes

In a cross-sectional study of 2941 overweight subjects in the Framingham Offspring Study cohort, USDA researchers at Tufts University in Boston reported whole-grain intake was inversely associated with body mass index, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and fasting insulin, while consumption of refined grains did not benefit the overweight participants. “Increased intakes of whole grains may reduce disease risk by means of favorable effects on metabolic risk factors,” the scientists concluded.

Source: N. M. McKeown et al., “Whole-Grain Intake Is Favorably Associated with Metabolic Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease in the Framingham Offspring Study,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 76(2):390-8, 2002.

 

• Controlling Diabetes with Macrobiotics

In an Oregon study, six borderline diabetics were put on a macrobiotic diet for thirty days. Excluding the one obese subject, the researchers reported a significant drop in cholesterol levels from a mean of 140 to 110. The subjects were primarily lacto-ovo-vegetarians, accounting for their low cholesterol levels to begin with. A control group of ten macrobiotic subjects showed average cholesterol levels consistent with the Harvard Medical School findings in the mid-1970s.

Source: Mark Mead, “In Search of the Sweet Life: A Dietary Approach to Diabetes Mellitus,” Reed College Biology Thesis, in cooperation with the Oregon Health Sciences University, 1984.

 

• Diabetes Among the Pimas

Desert plants appear to have protected Native Americans from diabetes before their exposure to modern foods. A study of ancestral diets among the Pima Indians of Arizona showed that a return to mesquite pods, acorns, white and yellow tepary beans, lima beans, and a traditional strain of corn long cultivated by the tribe significantly lowered insulin production and blood sugar levels after meals compared with diets high in potatoes and white bread.

     About half of all present-day Pimas over age 35 have diabetes. This is the highest incidence of the disease in the world and has been associated with their shift to a modern diet of sugary and fatty foods. The researchers concluded that the benefits of the Pimas’ traditional grains, beans, and other foods extended beyond tribal boundaries and would be beneficial for the health of modern people as a whole.

     In another study, researchers found that Pimas in Arizona who eat a diet high in fat and processed foods have a diabetes rate of 38.2 percent, while Pimas in Mexico who eat a traditional low-fat diet of tortillas and beans suffer only 6.4 percent. 

Sources: R. Cowen, “Seeds of Protection,” Science News 137:350-51, 1990 and Jane Brody, “Arizona Indians Reclaim Ancient Foods,” New York Times, May 21, 1991 and Marie C. Sanchez, "Despite New Medical Tools, Diabetes Rates Are Soaring," Boston Globe, August 24, 1998.

 

• Potatoes and Refined Carbohydrates Elevate Diabetes Risk

Potatoes, white bread, and white rice contribute to diabetes, according to Harvard researchers. In a study of 65,173 women, those who ate a high starch diet that was low in fiber and drank plenty of soda had 2.5 times as much diabetes as women who ate less of these foods or whole grains high in dietary fiber.

     Dr. Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, said that the carbohydrates in potatoes and refined grains are digested and absorbed quickly, causing a large surge in blood sugar and contributing to a large increase in insulin. He said these foods elevated glucose levels more than sugar. "Bread, rice and pasta should be in the whole-grain form; brown rice and whole-grain pastas and breads," he added. "And go easy on the potatoes. Potatoes have been a staple when people faced starvation and needed calories, but they're not a staple food for a relatively sedentary population like the United States'. I'd eat potatoes in small amounts, and not every day."

Source: Denise Grady, "Diet-Diabetes Link Reported," New York Times, February 12, 1997.

 

• Diet Controls Diabetes

A whole grain-based diet can control diabetes, according to a California study of 4587 patients with non-insulin-depen-dent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). "The results of this study show that a very low-fat, high-complex-carbohydrate diet combined with aerobic exercise, primarily walking, can be effective for controlling diabetes and reducing serum lipid levels and other CHD risk factors. The ability of this lifestyle modification program to control diabetes was far more effective in patients either taking no medication or oral hypoglycemic agents compared with those taking insulin."

Source: R. James Barnard et al., "Diet and Exercise in the Treatment of NIDDM," Diabetes Care 17(12): 1-4, 1994.

 

• Diabetes Linked to Modern Diet in the Middle East

In Yemen, diabetes was virtually unknown among the Jewish minority. However, when they moved to Israel and adopted the modern diet and lifestyle, incidence of the disease rose to that prevailing in Israel. Kurdish immigrants also experienced the same pattern.

     “The change which both communities underwent, as a result of their immigration to Israel,” the researcher concluded, “is the transition from an ‘oriental’ to a ‘Western’ environment” in which diet may play a central role.

Source: A. M. Cohen, “Effect of Change in Environment on the Prevalence of Diabetes among Yemenite and Kurdish Communities,” Israel Medical Journal 19:137-42, 1960.

 

Dietary Goals for the United States

Summarizing its conclusions on the nation’s way of eating, health, and future direction, Dietary Goals for the United States, the historic Senate report that launched the modern diet and health revolution in 1977, stated: “During this century, the composition of the average diet in the United States has changed radically. Complex carbohydrates—fruit, vegetables, and grain products—which were the mainstay of the diet, now play a minority role. At the same time, fat and sugar consumption have risen to the point where these two dietary elements alone now comprise at least 60 percent of total calorie intake, up from 50 percent in the early 1900s. In the view of doctors and nutritionists consulted by the Select Committee, these and other changes in the diet amount to a wave of malnutrition—of both over- and under-consumption—that may be as profoundly damaging to the Nation’s health as the widespread contagious diseases of the early part of this century. The over-consumption of fat, generally, and saturated fat in particular, as well as cholesterol, sugar, salt, and alcohol have been related to six of the leading causes of death: Heart disease, cancer, cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, and cirrhosis of the liver.”

     The report listed six dietary goals:

     1. Increase carbohydrate consumption to account for 55 to 60 percent of the energy (caloric) intake.

     2. Reduce overall fat consumption from approximately 40 to 30 percent of energy intake.

     3. Reduce saturated fat consumption to account for about 10 percent of total energy intake; and balance with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which should account for about 10 percent of energy intake each.

     4. Reduce cholesterol consumption to about 300 mg. a day.

     5. Reduce sugar consumption by almost 40 percent to account for about 15 percent of total energy intake.

     6. Reduce salt consumption by about 50 to 85 percent to approximately 3 grams a day.

     The goals suggest the following changes in food selection and preparation

     1. Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables and whole grains.

     2. Decrease consumption of meat and increase consumption of poultry and fish.

     3. Decrease consumption of foods high in fat and partially substitute

polyunsaturated fat for saturated fat.

     4. Substitute non-fat milk for whole milk.

     5. Decrease consumption of butterfat, eggs, and other high cholesterol sources.

     6. Decrease consumption of sugar and foods that are high in sugar content.

     7. Decrease consumption of salt and foods high in salt content.

Source: Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, U.S. Senate, Dietary Goals for the United States (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977).             

 

Drug Resistance

Drug-resistant strains of bacteria and viruses that cause middle ear infection, pneumonia, sinusitis, malaria, tuberculosis, and other diseases emerged in the 1980s and 1990s as “miracle” drugs lost their effectiveness. Overuse and misuse of antibiotics and vaccines are considered a main cause, along with increased use of pesticides and other chemicals in the environment that upset the ecological balance and create new, virulent microorganisms. See Antibiotics, Infectious Diseases.

           

• Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads

Malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that affects an estimated half billion people around the world each year and kills 2.7 million, mostly in Africa, is spreading rapidly as new strains are coming out in Southeast Asia, the Amazon region, and sub-Saharan Africa which are resistant to mefloquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, chloroquine, and other standard drug therapies.

Source: J. C. Wetsteyn, “Malaria and Drug Resistance,” Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 140(3):151-5, 1996.

 

• Last Antibiotic Against Staph Infections Fails

The last antibiotic resistant to staph bacteria developed drug resistance in 1997. Vancomycin, the last drug effective against staphylococcus aureus, was powerless to contain a new strain of the bacteria that appeared first in Japan and later in the United States. Staph bacteria are the leading cause of infections contracted in hospitals. Overall, 2 million people are infected in hospitals each year with various microbial diseases of whom 60,000 to 80,000 die. Staph infection is fatal in about 40 percent of cases.

Source: "New Strain of Staph Is Resistant," New York Times, June 9, 1997.

 

• Tuberculosis Spreads

Drug-resistant tuberculosis has spread from 13 states to 42 states in six years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 21,000 people got TB in 1994 and 1,400 died.

Source: “Resistant TB Reported in 42 States," Boston Globe, September 10, 1997.

 

• TB Epidemic Threatens World

In a global warning on the spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease found drug-resistant bacteria, which is virtually incurable, in 12 of 35 countries surveyed. "The world again faces the specter of incurable tuberculosis," Michael Iseman of the University of Colorado said. "We have found TB hot zones on all five continents." Highest concentrations of MD-TB were found in India, Russia, Latvia, Estonia, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, and the Ivory Coast.

Source: “Global Warning Issued on Drug-Resistant TB," Boston Globe, 1997.

           

• New Strains of Plague

A form of bubonic plague resistant to all antibiotics usually used to treat the lethal disease appeared in Madagascar in 1997. "If resistant strains spread in rodents, the public health implications could be substantial," U.S. officials warned. In the early 1990s, the incidence of plague—the Black Death that killed one quarter of the European population in the 1300s—more than doubled. Meanwhile, in India strains of bubonic and pneumonic plague broke out in 1997 that were resistant to DDT and dieldrin.

Source: A. Guiyoule et al., “Recent Emergence of New Variants of Yersinia Pestis in Madagascar,” Journal of Clinical Microbiology 35(11):2826-33, 1997 and K. Kumar et al., “Entomological; Rodent Surveillance in Plague-Suspected Areas during September 1994 and Thereafter,” Japanese Journal of Medical Science and Biology 50(3):97-111, 1997.

 

Drugs

In the United States, 2.8 billion prescriptions—11 per capita—are written every year. The rate is rising at 15 percent a year, accounting for $102 billion in pharmacy sales in 1998. Meanwhile, the modern drug epidemic, including marijuana, cocaine, and other recreational drugs, has biological roots in society’s overconsumption of meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, and other animal food. To offset the build up of this strong, contractive energy, cravings for extreme expansive substances commonly result. For some people, chocolate and sugary sweets help make them relax; for others it is alcohol. In extreme cases, drugs, pills, and other medications are craved, ultimately leading to addiction. Rather than prohibiting drugs, society should address underlying dietary and nutritional imbalance.

 

• Fighting Drug Lords with Diet

In Peru, site of the world’s third largest cocaine harvest, a region of farmers is taking back its freedom from drug lords and a cocaine-dominated economy by growing organic crops. In the remote Apurimac valley, DECAS, a peasant civil defense group, has successfully repelled the Shining Path terrorist network and announced plans to produce organic soybeans, corn, peanuts, and fruits, as well as medicinal herbs. Already organic sesame seeds and coffee are exported. Quinoa, amaranth, barley, wheat, and other grains and beans may also be cultivated.

Source: Alex Jack, “Peruvian Valley Goes Organic,” One Peaceful World Journal 27:1 Summer 1996.

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