As a medical doctor, practicing what is called “complementary” or “integrative” medicine, I have been helping thousands of people over the past 25 years with something called nutritional stress, the most underestimated cause of suboptimal health.
What is nutritional stress? It’s the average North American diet, high in refined carbohydrate and unhealthy fat (burgers, fries, fast foods, sugared cereals, soft drinks, chips, candy bars, chocolates). This diet is also too low in complex carbohydrates, fiber and essential fatty acids found in whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables.
Frequent consumption of fast/convenience foods leads to many problems including food allergies. These allergies lead to cravings for more and the allergy-addiction cycle is established. Over time, the standard American diet (SAD) wears down the endocrine system and our organ reserves. Micronutrient deficiencies develop unless the individual supplements with vitamins, minerals and other important food factors. Psychological, emotional and financial stressors will amplify the nutritional stress and the next thing you know, the victim is taking antidepressants like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and others (to the tune of over $10 billion per year in sales).
If you add to this a heavy consumption of other essential nutrient robbers such as coffee, tea, alcohol, cigarettes and drugs, the endocrine system becomes chronically stressed. This leads to high cortisol levels, high blood pressure, blood sugar control problems, high blood fats, especially cholesterol and triglycerides as well as obesity. The immune system is also severely affected leading to recurrent infections and serious conditions such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromylagia and Candidiasis.
The good news is that the effects of nutritional stress can be reversed through a combination of a more alkaline forming, plant based diet as well as some effective whole food nutritional supplements. Every major epidemiological study concludes that those who consume animal products, including fish (mostly contaminated with mercury and other cancer causing chemicals), milk, dairy products and chicken eggs, have significantly higher incidences of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis and osteoporosis.
Organic or not, studies show that meat eating is associated with greater morbidity and premature death. People who follow mostly a plant based diet can run into problems if they rely too heavily on dairy products and wheat and do not eat a large variety of different vegetables, fruits, legumes and other low gluten whole grains. This approach is effective for anyone interested in improving their health status.
It is also an established biochemical fact that all disease, especially cancer, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis exists in an acid medium. All animal products, refined foods and most high gluten grains create an acid condition in the body. Plant based diets create more of an alkaline body pH.
The meat based low carbohydrate or “cave man diet” advocated by many high protein diet gurus often does more harm than good because it creates an acid body pH and often a diseased state termed ketosis. It is therefore not uncommon to see patients with celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or candidiasis who have been on long term meat based diets suffering from the side effects of excess acid: greater fatigue, muscle wasting and dehydration. A common symptom of candidiasis is constipation, a nuisance worsened by meat consumption, organic or otherwise.
The high protein, low carbohydrate diet may well be in vogue today but it will soon be a passing fad just like many other diet crazes of the distant, forgettable past. Do your research and you will discover as I have that a diet rich in plant-based whole foods are the true future of optimal health.