Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Elephant in the Room

This exchange occurred recently on BentriderOnline:


Originally Posted by nmoses

As far as I know (and I haven't read the Chinese Study, yet) there seems to be a corellation between peoples with better health - whether old Greek men, Sicilians, Eskimos or Chinese folks - and their lifestyle which includes homecooking, hard physical labor into old age, family centered culture and other things. As these groups live more Western lifestyles - their health markers - heart-attack rates, obesity and the like - move up. Diet is one part of it. NM

The China Study by T.C. Campbell, Ph.D makes a convincing case that diet is not just one of many factors, but rather "the elephant in the room" with regards to health. No doubt that exercise, clean air, culture, genetics, etc play a role. My reading has convinced me that the two most important issues are diet and sleep. The scientists will argue whether sleep or diet is most important, but I am convinced that both impact our immune systems in a powerful way and are central factors in our health status. Most of the experts that I respect recommend major changes in diet, good sleep habits, plus moderate exercise.

A large part of the world's population subsists on grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables with little or no meat or other animal products in their diet. It is we Westerners who have the "extreme" diet. These populations, unaffected by the SAD (Standard American Diet) have much lower incidents of breast and prostate cancer plus other cancers, heart disease, diabetes plus other Western diseases. The data is hard to refute.

In addition, Drs. Ornish, Esselstyn among a handful of other physicians have shown through peer-reviewed research published in major medical journals that a low fat vegan diet (like much of the world's population subsists on) can prevent and reverse Western illnesses. John McDougall, MD
www.drmcdougall.com has demonstrated many cases of his patients who have come back successfully from severe heart disease on a low fat vegan diet (<10% fat) with little or no aid from medications. Many of these patients have been able to avoid angiograms, stents, bypass surgery, etc.

I am shocked that more physicians do not strongly advise their patients to adopt a change in diet to prevent and reverse chronic disease. The science is there, but sadly, the medical practice is not. Mostly, we health consumers must do this on our own. When it comes to chronic disease, the medical business has relatively little to offer.

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