By John Cheyne
Throughout history many lives have been lost due to disease that we now know were the result of nutritional deficiencies. Scurvy is the most well-known illness of a nutritional deficiency, and it cost the lives of tens of thousands of sailors. Long ocean voyages resulted in poor nutrition and specifically in the case of scurvy, a severe deficiency in Vitamin C. Some folks believed (at the time) that it was simply a curse or a plague, but we know now it was a simple case of nutrition and a lack there of.
In the year 2000, Mark Anderson, MD wrote an interesting article called “A Short History of Scurvy”. In this article he points out that there were some individuals (nutritionists of their time), who knew that scurvy was due to a nutritional deficiency. Unfortunately the recommendations that were set out to stop the disease went unheeded and it was estimated that over 1 million sailors died a needless death.
There are so many other diseases that we know are a direct result of a nutritional deficiency:
Richet’s- Vitamin D
Pellagra – Niacin
Anemia – Iron
Neural Tube defects – Folate
Goiter & Cretinism – Iodine
Low birth weight – Iron, Zinc
Megaloblastic Anemia – B12, Folate
In our society today we are seeing huge increases in many chronic illnesses. Type 2 diabetes, heart failure, stroke and cancer are all on the rise and can only be described as being at epidemic proportions. So why is it that in our society (where we believe we are the most knowledgeable in human history) that we are struggling with such a simple truth that nutrition heals?
“There are in the whole of human history few more notable examples of official indifference and stupidity producing such disastrous consequence to human life.”Louis H. Roddis, A Short History of Nautical Medicine
The above quote is an exceptionally powerful statement. In this quote Louis H. Roddis is speaking about scurvy and how the people in power at the time did nothing to stop this disease despite being presented with the evidence of a cure long before 1 million sailors lost their lives. This same quote can be applied today. Cancer takes the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every year. If cancer was a flu pandemic it would be front page news every day. Every government, every medical establishment and virtually the entire planet would be working night and day to find the cure; but that is not what is happening.
What is going on? Western cultures are the most well fed humans to have ever existed, but we are also the most diseased that have ever existed. How is this possible? It’s the food! It is an UNDENIABLE FACT that nutritional deficiencies cause disease. A study from the Canadian Heart and Stroke foundation reported in a Global news article in December of 2017, revealed that Canadians get 50% of their daily calories from ultra-processed foods and in children it is even worse at 57%. The article went on to say:
“Ultra-processed foods are defined as products comprised largely of substances like sugar, fat, salt and additives with little to no intact food. They’re highly refined and have almost no nutritional benefit.”
Processed foods have no nutritional benefit. When 50% of our diet is comprised of processed foods, then we should not be surprised when we need to visit the doctor’s office continuously for problems. Unfortunately, many doctors do not council people on nutrition; you will almost always leave your doctor’s office with a prescription for a drug.
What is really ironic is that the government KNOWS that these nutritional deficiencies cause disease and that is why they have legislated “fortification” of some processed foods. But fortifying foods does not give you the nutrition that you get from real food. Sure, you can add Vitamin C or Calcium or Vitamin D or a bunch of other synthetic nutrients to these non-foods, but what you are NOT getting are the natural healing phytochemicals that have shown in numerous studies to prevent chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancers.
A major study out of the University of Bonn dated Jan 11, 2018 showed long term consequences of a fast food diet. Mice were fed a typical western diet loaded with fat, sugar and low in fiber. The animals developed a strong immune response to the food that mimicked the same response that you would see in an infection. The study also said that this response often lasted as long as 6 months. It was the conclusion of these scientists that this study showed the consequence of a fast food and processed food diet would likely result in the same immune reaction in humans, resulting in the acceleration of vascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Bottom line, fast food and processed food is not food at all.