House Pets, Anxiety Addiction, and The Crazy Sad Loss of Native Nutritional Wisdom - Fascinating Articles This Week
It turns out that house pets need good nutrition, too.
Our friends recently got a puppy, who subsequently (on the day it received simultaneous de-worming medication and a vaccination) developed diarrhea that continued 24 hours per day for (too) many days in a row.
Luckily, this new puppy's adoptive family did some quick research, concluding that pet food, even the organic kind, is not the perfect food for dogs and cats any more than bread and jam is the perfect food for humans. It turns out that for a long time, breeders have thought that certain traits were “genetic” within specific breeds of dogs. Now, after years of attempting to breed out these failings, people are finally realizing: dogs are suffering from degeneration just like humans are, and when they are fed more appropriate Food for Dogs, then they can “miraculously” heal from heal from their health problems.
Dogs evolved eating raw meat, and bone pieces, and all the fats and intestines from an animal. They did not evolve eating grains, even organic ones, or even necessarily cooked meat at all, let alone the binders and fillers present in most dry and canned petfood. Just like humans, other animals can last a little while on these modern processed foods. Some can even appear to thrive for a short time, or for a generation or two. But it's hard for humans OR dogs to heal on processed-foods diets, or continue to produce healthy offspring. (Our friends' puppy's diarrhea promptly disappeared when it began eating its new raw-meat chow.)
The crazy thing is, this information isn't anything new. Cate Shanahan writes in _Deep Nutrition_, “In the 1930s and '40s, Dr. Frances Marion Pottenger conduced a ten-year experiment.... Pottenger fed one group of cats raw meat and milk, and another group cooked meat and pasteurized milk. The all-raw cats produced ten generations of healthy and well-adjusted kittens. Not so, the cats on the cooked diet. By the end of the first generation, they started to develop degenerative diseases and became 'quite lazy.' The second generation developed degenerative diseases earlier in life and stared losing their coordination. By the third generation, the cats had developed degenerative disease very early in life, and some were born blind and weak and died prematurely. There was an abundance of parasites and vermin in this group, and skin disease and allergies increased from incidence of five percent in normal cats to over 90 percent in the third generation. Males became docile and females aggressive. By the fourth generation, litters were stillborn or so sickly they didn't live to reach adulthood. This research prompted pet food manufacturers to add back some of the vitamins lost during heating...”
Sage sent this article, about the psychological “fix” that anxiety can become for those “addicted” to it. At first I could only notice how silly psychology sometimes seems, when researchers don't even bother to note anything beyond the thoughts in a person's head (forget about the complications of gut flora). And then I read the article below, on “minimizing drama in your life,” and I thought: oh well. Since I'm not quite there, to the point being a Perfect Person Who Experiences Absolutely No Anxiety at all, maybe I shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater. :)
Longevity in the Ancient World--is it really true that we live longer than our ancestors did? Fascinating stuff.
Another good one from Sage – on my list of what to make next summer.
Green American (formerly “Co-op America) has just published an article about cell phone safety which I intend to read shortly. It's not available online yet. These folks tend to do their research, and don't publish incendiary pieces for no reason. Will let you know if it's interesting.
Thanks to Lya for passing along this link...I now that I'm not the only person mourning my less-than-perfect dental arch development. I'm intending to follow these posts pertaining to Ryan's current adventures with maxilla-widening as an adult:
“I am deformed. I look nothing like my ancestors. As a child, I had braces. I was a frequent mouth breather. At age 16, I said bye to my wisdom teeth. I have only 24 teeth left. My dental palate is not broad and sweeping; my jaw isn't square; my nasal passage isn't wide. I'm a human being raised on a processed food diet, and this is the result. When I first read Weston A. Price's book, _Nutrtion and Physical Degeneration_, it was hard to find out that I'm not developmentally optimal. I thought, 'Well, crud, there's yet another thing that's wrong with me that can't be fixed.' I began comparing photos of myself as a child with some of the photos from Price's book...”
[I am endlessly fascinated by Weston Price, and am reading about his visits to the Inuit and Native American Indian tribes in North America. A few excerpts follow--although it's worthwhile to read the whole book and I am having a hard time not pasting the entire thing right here. Additionally, I'm fascinated to note some of his observations having to do with bone structure and development, arthritis, tuberculosis/recovery, and childbirth.]
...The excellence of dentitions among the Eskimos has been a characteristic also of the skulls that have been excavated in various parts of Alaska.
It might be expected that such wonderfully formed teeth would maintain so high an immunity to dental caries that their proud possessors would never be troubled with tooth decay. This, unfortunately, is not the case, a fact of great significance in evaluating our modern theories of the causes of dental caries. When these adult Eskimos exchange their foods for our modern foods...they often have very extensive tooth decay and suffer severely. This is clearly illustrated in Fig. 11, for these Eskimos' teeth had been seriously wrecked by tooth decay. They had been living on modern foods and were typical of a large number who are in contact with the Bering Sea ports. Their plight often becomes tragic since there are no dentists in these districts.
A typical effect of modernization on a growing girl was shown in a case in which the central incisors and 16 other teeth were attacked by dental caries. Sixty-four per cent of her teeth had tooth decay.
There are no dentists in western Alaska, north or west of Anchorage, which is near the southern coast, except at Fairbanks which, like Anchorage, is many hundreds of miles from these Eskimos. It would take months for them to make the journey in winter by dog team, and it would be practically impossible to make it in the summer season by any means of travel except by aeroplane, which clearly these people could not afford. Their dilemma is, accordingly, most tragic when they suddenly become victims of diseases which require hospitalization or skilled medical or dental service. One mining engineer in the interior told me that he had spent two thousand dollars to have a dentist brought in by aeroplane to render dental service. On my examination of his mouth I found twenty-nine of his thirty-two teeth had been attacked by dental caries.
One important phase of modern degeneration, namely, change in facial and dental arch form and other physical expressions, is of interest. It is a matter of great significance that the Eskimos who are living in isolated districts and on native foods have produced uniformly broad dental arches and typical Eskimo facial patterns. Even the first generation forsaking that diet and using the modern diet, presents large numbers of individuals with marked changes in facial and dental arch form. In Fig. 12 will be seen four Eskimo girls who are of the first generation following the adoption of modernized foods by their parents. All have deformed dental arches. It is important to note the pattern of the settling inward of the lateral incisors and the crowding outward of the cuspids. This facial design is currently assigned to a mixing of racial bloods. These girls are pure-blooded Eskimos whose parents have normally formed dental arches.
(FIG. 12. While dental arch deformities or crowded teeth are practically unknown among many of the primitive groups of Eskimos, they occur frequently in the first generation of children born after the parents have adopted the white man's foods. Note the narrow nostrils and changed facial form of these children. This is not due to thumb sucking.)
We are particularly concerned with the foods used by these primitive Eskimos. They almost always have their homes on or near deep water. Their skill in handling their kayaks is most remarkable. During the salmon running season they store large quantities of dried salmon. They spear many of these fish from their kayaks; even young boys are very skillful. They land salmon so large that they can hardly lift them. They are expert in spearing seals from these light crafts. Seal oil provides a very important part of their nutrition. As each piece of fish is broken off, it is dipped in seal oil. I obtained some seal oil from them and brought it to my laboratory for analyzing for its vitamin content. It proved to be one of the richest foods in vitamin A that I have found.
The fish are hung on racks in the wind for drying. Fish eggs are also spread out to dry, as shown in Fig. 13. These foods constitute a very important part of the nutrition of the small children after they are weaned. Naturally, the drifting sands of the bleak Bering Straits lodge upon and cling to the moist surfaces of the fish that are hung up to dry. This constitutes the principal cause for the excessive wear of the Eskimos' teeth in both men and women.
(FIG. 13. The eggs of the salmon are dried and stored as an important item of nutrition for both children and adults. They are also used to increase the fertility of the women. From a chemical standpoint they are one of the most nutritious foods I have found anywhere.)
The food of these Eskimos in their native state includes caribou, ground nuts which are gathered by mice and stored in caches, kelp which is gathered in season and stored for winter use, berries including cranberries which are preserved by freezing, blossoms of flowers preserved in seal oil, sorrel grass preserved in seal oil, and quantities of frozen fish. Another important food factor consists of the organs of the large animals of the sea, including certain layers of the skin of one of the species of whale, which has been found to be very high in vitamin C.
[Price (and his wife) next visited a tribe of Native American Indians in northern Canada:]
...The rigorous winters reach seventy degrees below zero. This precludes the possibility of maintaining dairy animals or growing seed cereals or fruits. The diet of these Indians is almost entirely limited to the wild animals of the chase. This made a study of them exceedingly important. The wisdom of these people regarding Nature's laws, and their skill in adapting themselves to the rigorous climate and very limited variety of foods, and these often very hard to obtain, have developed a skill in the art of living comfortably with rugged Nature that has been approached by few other tribes in the world. The sense of honor among these tribes is so strong that practically all cabins, temporarily unoccupied due to the absence of the Indians on their hunting trip, were entirely unprotected by locks; and the valuables belonging to the Indians were left in plain sight. The people were remarkably hospitable, and where they had not been taken advantage of were very kind. Many of the women had never seen a white woman until they saw Mrs. Price. Their knowledge of woodcraft as expressed in skill in building their cabins so that they would be kept comfortably warm and protected from the sub-zero weather was remarkable. Their planning ahead for storing provisions and firewood strongly emphasized their community spirit. When an Indian and his family moved to a camp site on a lake or river, they always girdled a few more trees than they would use for firewood so that there would be a plentiful supply of dry standing timber for future visitors to the camp.
They lived in a country in which grizzly bears were common. Their pelts were highly prized and they captured many of them with baited pitfalls. Their knowledge of the use of different organs and tissues of the animals for providing a defense against certain of the affections of the body which we speak of as degenerative diseases was surprising. When I asked an old Indian, through an interpreter, why the Indians did not get scurvy he replied promptly that that was a white man's disease. I asked whether it was possible for the Indians to get scurvy. He replied that it was, but said that the Indians know how to prevent it and the white man does not. When asked why he did not tell the white man how, his reply was that the white man knew too much to ask the Indian anything. I then asked him if he would tell me. He said he would if the chief said he might. He went to see the chief and returned in about an hour, saying that the chief said he could tell me because I was a friend of the Indians and had come to tell the Indians not to eat the food in the white man's store. He took me by the hand and led me to a log where we both sat down. He then described how when the Indian kills a moose he opens it up and at the back of the moose just above the kidney there are what he described as two small balls in the fat. These he said the Indian would take and cut up into as many pieces as there were little and big Indians in the family and each one would eat his piece. They would eat also the walls of the second stomach. By eating these parts of the animal the Indians would keep free from scurvy, which is due to the lack of vitamin C. The Indians were getting vitamin C from the adrenal glands and organs. Modern science has very recently discovered that the adrenal glands are the richest sources of vitamin C in all animal or plant tissues.
...The condition of the teeth, and the shape of the dental arches and the facial form, were superb. Indeed, in several groups examined not a single tooth was found that had ever been attacked by tooth decay. In an examination of eighty-seven individuals having 2,464 teeth only four teeth were found that had ever been attacked by dental caries. This is equivalent to 0.16 per cent. As we came back to civilization and studied, successively, different groups with increasing amounts of contact with modern civilization, we found dental caries increased progressively, reaching 25.5 per cent of all of the teeth examined at Telegraph Creek, the point of contact with the white man's foods. As we came down the Stikine River to the Alaskan frontier towns, the dental caries problem increased to 40 per cent of all of the teeth.
Careful inquiry regarding the presence of arthritis was made in the more isolated groups. We neither saw nor heard of a case in the isolated groups. However, at the point of contact with the foods of modern civilization many cases were found including ten bed-ridden cripples in a series of about twenty Indian homes. Some other affections made their appearance here, particularly tuberculosis which was taking a very severe toll of the children who had been born at this center. In Fig. 16 are seen two typical cases of tubercular involvement of glands of the neck. The suffering from tooth decay was tragic. There were no dentists, no doctors available within hundreds of miles to relieve suffering.
...For further comparison of the more isolated and more highly modernized groups a study was made of the Indians in the largest single Indian Reservation in Canada, which is located at Brantford, Ontario. In this group there are about 4,700 Indians living under highly modernized conditions provided by the Canadian Government. They live on very fertile land and in close proximity to a modern Canadian city. Each head of a family is provided with a tract of land from which he usually has an income sufficient to permit him to have an automobile. They were able to buy not only necessities and comforts according to the modern standards of the white man, but many of the luxuries as well. The government provides a well administered hospital and staff. When I asked the Director of this hospital, Dr. Davis, what the principal use of the hospital was at that time (1933), he said that the demand for beds had completely changed in the twenty-eight years he had been there. The principal services requested at the hospital in 1933 related to the problems of maternity. He stated that in his period of contact he had seen three generations of mothers. The grandmothers of the present generation would take a shawl and either alone or accompanied by one member of their family retire to the bush and give birth to the baby and return with it to the cabin. A problem of little difficulty or concern, it seemed. He stated that today the young mothers of this last generation are brought to his hospital sometimes after they have been in labor for days. They are entirely different from their grandmothers or even mothers in their capacity and efficiency in the matter of reproduction. He stated that that morning he had had two cases in which surgical interference was necessary in order to make birth possible.
[On another reservation:]
A typical mother was studied at her home. She had four children. Her teeth were ravaged by dental caries. She was strictly modern, for she had gold inlays in some of her teeth. The roots of the missing teeth had not been extracted. Twenty of her teeth had active dental caries. Her little girl, aged four, already had twelve very badly carious teeth. Another daughter aged eight had sixteen carious teeth, and her son aged ten had six. The husband was in bed from an acute lung involvement, doubtless tuberculosis. The children were eating their noon day meal when we arrived, which consisted of a white bread and some stewed vegetables. Milk was available for only the small baby in arms. In this Tuscarora group 83 per cent of those examined had dental caries and 38 per cent of all teeth had already been attacked by dental caries. Every one studied in this reservation was using white-flour products, none were using milk liberally, and only a few in even limited amounts. I was told that in both reservations a few years ago the Indians grew wheat and kept cows to provide a liberal supply of natural cereal and milk for their families, but of late this practice had been discontinued. They were now buying their wheat in the form of white flour and their vegetables largely put up in cans. In both reservations they were using commercial vegetable fats, jams and marmalades, sweetened goods, syrups and confections very liberally. It is remarkable how early the child life adopts modern civilization's confections.
...The local physician at Sitka kindly gave very valuable information relative to the attitude of the native Indians in the matter of obtaining fresh sea foods when foods that were very satisfying could be so easily obtained in concentrated form at the various stores. They could go to one of the piers at almost any time of the year and catch fish or secure them as they had been accustomed to do before the arrival of modern foods, but there is a constant striving to be like and live like the white people. They seem to think it is a mark of distinction to purchase their foods and that it is degrading to have to forage for one's foods. They very readily come to depend on white flour and sugar, jams and canned vegetables; and much prefer to have the government or charitable organization supply these when they cannot purchase them, rather than go out and secure their own nutrition. This physician stated that there were about 800 whites living in the town and about 400 Indians, and that notwithstanding this difference in numbers there were twice as many Indian children born as white children, but that by the time these children reached six years of age there were more white children living than Indian and half-breed children. This he stated was largely due to the very high child mortality rate, of which the most frequent cause is tuberculosis. While it does not take many decades to record a distinct physical deterioration, a deteriorating parenthood greatly speeds up this process. While physical defects acquired by the parent will not be transmitted as such, prenatal deficiencies may be established because of the physical defects of the mother resulting from her faulty nutrition, and these deficiencies, together with disturbed nutrition of infancy and early childhood will go far in determining whether there will be for the child a physical breakdown or whether the normal defense of the body will be adequate to protect it from various infections to which it may later be exposed.
... Among the many items of information of great interest furnished by Dr. Romig [a surgeon who has worked with both “modernized and primitives” for 36 years] were facts that fitted well into the modern picture of association of modern degenerative processes with modernization. He stated that in his thirty-six years of contact with these people he had never seen a case of malignant disease among the truly primitive Eskimos and Indians, although it frequently occurs when they become modernized. He found similarly that the acute surgical problems requiring operation on internal organs such as the gall bladder, kidney, stomach, and appendix do not tend to occur among the primitive, but are very common problems among the modernized Eskimos and Indians. Growing out of his experience, in which he had seen large numbers of the modernized Eskimos and Indians attacked with tuberculosis, which tended to be progressive and ultimately fatal as long as the patients stayed under modernized living conditions, he now sends them back when possible to primitive conditions and to a primitive diet, under which the death rate is very much lower than under modernized conditions. Indeed, he reported that a great majority of the afflicted recover under the primitive type of living and nutrition.
Back to Cate Shanahan's _Deep Nutrition_ again...
Shanahan is a sketchy science writer, but she seems to present a lot of useful science in her book anyway. And her self-described “second sibling syndrome” is an apt way to discuss the ways that “nutrient deficits change a child's growth in ways that are both predictable and easy to measure. I call it second sibling syndrome not because it only affects second born children, but simply because the effects of maternal malnutrition on a child's growth are most readily visible in the faces of children born in a short time period after an older sibling who, presumably, shares similar genes and thus serves as a kind of control. But as I [have] described, no child, not even the firstborn, is immune from second sibling syndrome because the underlying problem is not birth order but malnutrition. In the younger children, maternal nutrient deficiencies result in relatively less material to build bone, nerve, and so on, impairing hormonal receptivity and thinning and flattening their features to create a worn-down look. In the older children, static interference from sugar and vegetable oils often blunts placental hormone production, reducing sexual dimorphism.
“If you read [the first part of the book], then you already know that the vast majority of Americans--and I mean just about everyone--isn't merely malnourished, but severely malnourished. Which should make you wonder: _Doesn't that mean we're ALL suffering from second sibling syndrome?_ Most of us are, which is why there seems to be so few [super-healthy- and supermodel-type] lottery winners walking around. And what explains them? How did they, raised by parents who, presumably, followed the same advice my parents did, and ate the same steady diet of frozen, canned and vitamin-poor fruits and vegetables, mystery meat from poisoned animals, grains grown on mineral depleted soils, margarine, and everything else that makes our modern diet unhealthy, curry Mother Nature's favor? _They_ didn't. Their great-great grandparents did, by eating such nutrient-rich diets that they imparted the family epigenome with _genetic momentum_, the ability of genes to perform well with suboptimal nutrient inputs for a finite amount of time. And their placentas did, by sending an especially urgent message to mother's bones, brain, skin, muscles, glands and organs, to release every available raw material for the benefit of the baby. In these one-in-a-million cases, the fetal genome operating in mom's belly can do what it's been doing for a hundred thousand years: create the miracle of a perfectly symmetrical Homo sapiens body.”
“...Here in Hawaii, four generations sometimes come in to my clinic for an office visit all at once, giving me a front-row view of the impact of modern food. Quite often, this is what I see: Great-grandma, born on her family's farm and well into her 80s, still has clear vision and her own set of teeth. Her weathered skin sits atop features that look as though they were chiseled from granite. More often than not, she is the healthiest of the bunch and has a thin medical chart to prove it. The youngest child, on the other hand, often presents symptoms of the whole set of modern diseases: attention deficit, asthma, skin disorders, and recurrent ear infections. Like many of today's generation, one or more of his organs wasn't put together quite right. Maybe there's a hole in his heart, or maybe he needed surgery to reposition the muscles around an eye. While the exact effects may be hard to predict, what is predictable, given the swindling dietary nutrients and proliferation of toxic materials, is some kind of physiologic decline.
“Within a given family, the earlier the abandonment of traditional foods for a diet of convenience, the more easily perceptible the decline. I'm thinking of one little boy in particular, the great-grandchild of one of Hawaii's many wealthy missionary families who developed an ear infection during his visit to Kauai from another island. This little boy bears none of his great-grandmother's striking facial geometry. His jaw is narrow, his nose is blunted and thin, his eyes set too close, and his cheekbones are withdrawn behind plateaus of body fat. The lack of supporting bone under his eyes makes his skin sag into bags, giving him a weary look. His ears are twisted, tilted, and protruding out, and his ear canals are abnormally curved, predisposing him to recurring external ear infections.
“Narrow face, thin bones, flattened features--sound familiar? This is second sibling syndrome. But the young child sitting on my exam table wasn't a second sibling, though he exhibits the familiar characteristics. He's the fourth-generation product of a century of nutritional neglect and the consequential epigenetic damage. According to a landmark 2003 CDC report, this child, like all others born in 2000, has a one-in-three chance of developing diabetes, a condition which reduces life expectancy by between ten and twenty years. What is going unreported is the fact that it isn't just diabetes on the warpath. Every year, growing battalions of familiar diseases are cutting a wider and wider swath of destruction through the normal experiences of childhood.”
“...Over the past century or two...the typical human diet has diverged so far from anything before that our growth patterns can no longer adhere to the template [for optimal, normal growth]. The switch from hunting and gathering to farming was accompanied by nutritional sacrifice, yes. But it did not block the ability of our [genetic template] to continue generating perfect proportionality. Why not? As I've suggested, modern historians have vastly under-appreciated the value of traditional nutritional knowledge. I believe it was this wisdom that enabled people who'd made the shift from hunter-gatherer life to settled life to continue to make (mostly) sound decisions about what kinds of foods they needed to feed their children and expectant parents in order to ensure optimal health. Though history's most celebrated inventions--like trigonometry, plumbing, and the plow--helped give rise to the visible artifacts of civilization, none of this could have been possible had we been severely undernourished. The extraction of adequate nutrition from grains, for instance, required advanced _biologic_ technology. These vastly undervalued strategies enabled growing populations to maintain nutrition adequate for healthy growth even after leaving the relative bounty of the hunter-gatherer pasts behind.”
So why did we abandon all this knowledge?
“The answer to that riddle can be found in the pages of a cookbook written over 100 years ago. You see, in order for a burgeoning food industry to convince people to make this journey--this exodus from nature--and to give up traditions with thousands of years of success without a battle, it needed to change the way people talk about food.
“Have you ever heard someone say, 'I've been trying to cut out carbs'? Or a TV chef say, 'Now, all this dish needs is a protein'? Carbs? A protein? When did we start talking about our foods like chemists? The answer is, not coincidentally, right around the time of the industrial revolution.
“The _Fanny Farmer 1896 Cook Book_ introduced this new food terminology to a large audience: 'Food is classified as follows: Organic or Inorganic,' with organic being composed of the following, '1. Proteid (nitrogenous or albuminous). 2. Carbohydrates (sugar and starch). 3. Fats and oils.” This new, simplified breakdown of food immediately began influencing our approach to food and diet, and not in a good way. What was once understood holistically--rabbit, potatoes, or hand-pressed oil of _known_ origin--would now be seen as so much protein, starch, and 'one or more of the following' vegetable oils. Don't get me wrong. Francis Farmer's cookbook is considered a classic, and deservedly so. But the classification of complex organic systems based only on their more readily isolatable chemical components makes about as much sense as describing the Taj Mahal as so many tons of marble and stone. In terms of isolatable components, a bottle of Romanee-Conti isn't all that different from box wine, but the winemakers of Burgundy would likely argue that there's more to wine than its basic components.
“Though you can boil, extract, and refine living tissue to isolate the protein, carb, or fat, you do so only at the cost of everything else that held the cells and organs together. Yanking certain components from living systems--as we do to make four, sugar, protein slurries, and 90 percent of what's now for sale in the store--and expecting to them to approximate their original nutritional value is like removing someones brain from their body and expecting it to respond to questions. That is not science; it is science fiction. So is the idea that heavily processed food can be healthy.
“So where does this terminology, this way of talking about food, get us? It gets us away from talking about the most important aspect of any food, its source. And that, by the way, is exactly how the mass producers of cheaply manufactured processed food products would have it. Now, we can say things like 'Sweet potatoes are really nutritious!' without stopping to consider that some sweet potatoes--those grown in sterile, toxic soil--are nutritionally bereft. We can toss another package of farmed salmon into our shopping cart thinking that it's essentially the same, nutritionally, as wild. And we can buy beef from cows raised on petrochemical-soaked corn, in deplorably crowded conditions, and tell ourselves that, as long as it's tender, it's every bit as good for us as the flesh from happy, roaming, grass-fed animals. Once they've got us believing such absurdities or, worse yet, buying our food reflecively as a thoughtless habit, they can get us to buy just about anything. Why, with a little marketing and the right package, they might even get us to eat dog food...”
[Speaking of: see above, concerning pet food.]
Constantly I wonder: _why is it so hard to get good information??_ Shanahan offers part of the answer:
“Doctors get their information from researchers. Researchers can only do research when they can get grant funding. These days, grants come from industry or special interest groups, and tend to support either the use of expensive medications and technology, or a demand for more medical coverage for one of many special interest groups. I didn't know research had to fall into one of these two categories to be funded until [I] took a plane trip to California to meet with researchers at UCLA and UCSF. There, I met with over a dozen doctors and PhDs to bring up the possibility that there might be an obvious, though currently overlooked, relationship between modern food and disease.
“The trip was a real eye-opener. These researchers held fast to the idea that their primary directive was improving human health. But it soon became clear that their more immediate goal, by virtue of the realities of economics, was the acquisition of grant funds, necessitating never-ending compromises between the exigencies of financing and the integrity of the science. I learned from an epidemiologist that various agricultural interests funded most of his research in nutrition, and out of financial necessity, he was directed toward the promotion of the largest crops: fruits. As an epidemiologist, he was unaware that excess fruit consumption leads to health problems due to the high sugar-to-nutrient ratio in fruit. And he was surprised when a colleague pointed out that she'd found, after advising her patients to eat the recommended three to six servings of fruit a day, that doing so raised their triglycerides to unhealthy levels.
“Hoping to drive home the point that our bodies demand more nutrition than we can get from fruits, vegetables, grains, and low-fat meat, and hoping to stir up interest in doing more research on nutrition and optimal fetal and facial development, I described the results of a pertinent study. It showed that one in three pregnant women consuming what mainstream research suggests would be a healthy diet nevertheless give birth to babies with dangerously low levels of vitamin A in their blood. Vitamin A deficiency is associated with eye, skeleton, and organ defects. The epidemiologist was fascinated but admitted that his reliance on funding from fruit growers bound him to continue producing more and more research just like he'd already produced--showing that fruits are 'good for us.' I learned that neither he nor anyone else at UCLA would likely be able to pursue this new nutritional issue or anything similar because there was no giant industry to support it.”