Optimal health and well being require that carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients be supplied to the body in adequate and balanced amounts. These macro and micronutrients are vital for normal organ development and functioning, for cell reproduction, growth, and maintenance; for high energy and working efficiency; for resistance to infection and disease; and for the ability to repair bodily damage or injury. No nutrient works alone; each is dependent on the presents of others for its best effects.
Although everyone needs the same nutrients, each individual is different in his or her genetic and physiological make up and therefore individual quantitative nutritional needs differ. Prevention is the wisest strategy in keeping healthy by getting periodic health checks, eating a nutrient-dense diet, exercising regularly, and reducing or managing stress.
The foods eaten by humans are chemically complex. They must be broken down by the body into simpler chemical forms so that they can be absorbed through the intestine walls and transported by the blood to the cells. There they provide energy and the correct building materials to maintain human life. Digestion is a series of physical and chemical changes by which food, taken into the body, is broken down in preparation for absorption from the intestinal tract into the bloodstream. These changes take place in the digestive tract, which includes the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.
Beginning in the mouth, chewing breaks down large pieces of food into smaller pieces. Food that is masticated well allows for more complete enzymatic action. If left in chunks, food that passes into the stomach and intestine will likely remain undigested, as enzymes are only able to work on the surface of these larger particles.
The enzyme that is secreted in the mouth from the salivary glands is Ptyalin, which is necessary for the breakdown of carbohydrates. Ptyalin breaks the starch chain into smaller sub chains. Certain links of a fibrous nature cannot be broken and their components are left inaccessible to the body. The masticated food mass passes back to the pharynx under voluntary control, but from there on, through the esophagus and into the stomach the process of movement is carried on by peristalsis, a slow wavelike motion occurring along the entire digestive tract.
As there are no enzymes released in the stomach for further starch digestion, ptyalin continues to work if an alkaline condition remains. Division into simple sugars occurs later in the small intestine where the pancreas secretes the enzyme Amylase.
The stomach has six different glands, and the most important substances they secrete are Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) and a number of enzymes, including Pepsin, which digest protein. These enzymes need an acid environment in order to break the amino acid bonds. The stomach actually begins secreting HCl and other enzymes while protein food is still being chewed, as the body reacts to the sight and taste of the food.
The first stages in the digestion of protein can take several hours after which the partially digested food passes into the small intestine where further breakdown of the amino acids takes place as the pancreas secretes the enzyme Protease. Experiments with animals have shown that the stomach has a built in timetable for gastric secretion. When bread, which contains both carbohydrate and protein, is swallowed, little HCl is released at first while a large amount of pepsin keep the climate in an alkaline condition and allows ptyalin to continue digesting the starch. Meanwhile the pepsin begins to work on the protein. It was also discovered that food arranged in the stomach remain in the order they are eaten even while the contents are being churned; and liquids consumed while food is in the stomach pass around the food mass and pass into the small intestine.
Liquid alone leaves the stomach rather quickly unless it is a thick mixture or puree. Fruits are next, then vegetables, unless eaten with fat or sauces, followed by starches, and then starches mixed with legumes or meats because of the added protein content. Fats take the longest and slow emptying of the stomach if combined with any other food. Stimulants such as coffee, tea, and strong spices can hasten emptying time of the stomach and may also affect digestion by irritating the stomach walls. Certain food additives and excess salt may have the same effect.
Cells in the stomach also secrete mucus. Mucus inhibits the gastric acids from digesting the stomach itself. The mucus constantly flows across the surface of the stomach to maintain the acid and enzyme balance. Too much acid can result in an irritated or ulcerated stomach. Over abundance of mucus, however, can encourage bacterial growth because gastric acid is necessary to keep the intestinal tract free of bacteria. It is estimated that nearly half of the population may be deficient in HCl, especially the elderly.
After 1 to 4 hours, depending on the combination of food ingested, peristalsis pushes the food, now in the liquid form of chyme, out of the stomach and into the first part of the small intestine through a valve called the Duodenum. The pancreas secretes proteolytic enzymes in varying proportions depending on what kind of food is present. If there is any fat, bile, which is produced by the liver from cholesterol, is released from the gallbladder where it has been stored. Bile disperses the fat globules into small droplets so that the pancreatic enzyme Lipase can break them down into fatty acids.
If bile contains large amounts of cholesterol, crystals or stones can form in the gallbladder. The crystals obstruct the flow of bile into the small intestine and inhibit fat digestion. Cholesterol levels rise, and if the stones become so large they completely block the bile ducts, pain results. After the bile salts are finished they are transported out of the body through the elimination tract. Quick exit time through bowel action decreases the amount of cholesterol that remains in the body as bile salts. If contents of the bowel move more slowly, the cholesterol can be reabsorbed and recirculated in the system.
Food molecules continue to be broken down as they move along the remaining 20 ft. or so of the small intestine, which is lined with millions of finger like projections called Villi that give a fur like appearance. These villi contain microvilli, which greatly increase the surface area available for absorption. Nutrients are absorbed by the villi and carried through there tiny blood vessels into the bloodstream. Normally, the villi act as a filter and barrier for undesirable and harmful elements by preventing their absorption.
However this defense mechanism can be compromised and weakened by a number of conditions including chronic irritation from harsh stimulants, undesirable microbes, pharmaceutical and recreational drugs, pesticides used on foods, and other environmental pollutants.
Once the nutrients have been transported into the blood stream they are ushered into a large vain called Portalvein, which flows into the liver and braches out into numerous capillaries. From this blood, cells in the liver begin to filter out the nutrients, processing them either to be sent to cells in the rest of the body or to be stored in the liver for future use. Amino acids are reformed into new protein configurations and re-released into the blood. Sugars that are not needed by the body at the moment are hooked together to create huge storage molecules called Glycogen. When the liver is in a healthy condition, sugars are readily processed then released or stored while sugar content of the blood remains at a constant level. If the liver is not functioning properly, however, sugars may not be modified appropriately and can flood into the blood stream unprocessed.
The liver not only processes nutrients but also must detoxify all the harmful substances the villi where unable to prevent from being absorbed into the blood stream. Other situations that can tax the liver considerably include over eating and eating foods that are refined. Refined foods are missing the nutrients they need to be properly metabolized. If the liver can no longer filter and cleanse the blood, or properly metabolize nutrients, or take care of its own health, it is because liver cells are damaged or begin to die. Liver damage is not easily detected by conventional testing and its condition may not be known until its condition becomes apparent through illness. Symptoms may range from headache, diarrhea, constipation, food sensitivities, flatulence, sleeplessness, and aching joints, to Cirrhosis and Hepatitis.
On the lower right hand side of the abdomen, the small intestine ends and the large intestine, or colon, begins via the Ileocelal valve. The colon is mainly for elimination and contains a thriving population of bacteria. Most nutrients have been removed what remains is fiber and water, which is soon absorbed. Bacteria, while simultaneously feeding on the food mass, begin to break down the tough fiber molecules, creating an appropriate texture for elimination.
The kinds of bacteria found in the colon determine what effects the last stage of digestion will have on health. A predominance of beneficial bacteria will protect the lining of the intestinal tract from damage and irritation or infection that can be caused by undesirable bacteria, and will detoxify or neutralize any harmful substances. A diet that includes plenty of whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and fermented products like miso, soy sauce, and yogurt or acidophilus encourage growth of these beneficial bacteria. They in turn exert their considerable influence in keeping the colon in a healthy and vibrant condition.
This information was obtained from the 2001 Nutrition Almanachttp://doi.contentdirections.com/mr/mgh.jsp?doi=10.1036/0071389326
The first portion of this group is to increase the amount of awareness you dedicate to your overall health, which, by the way, is directly proportionate to how much you want to be healthy.
By approaching life in a healthy fashion, or with a positive state of mind, or as I prefer, the proper posture, by this I mean prepared to face anything that comes my way with a positive response or no response, until my growth affords me a positive one. Now I want you to understand, between just wanting to live, and having this kind of posture, there was a huge amount of recovery involved. As this level of growth is attained the amount of awareness you dedicate to drug and alcohol addiction/recovery will become less and less, this is were a lot of us fall off were already conditioned to dedicate this much awareness to recovery in general, instead of relaxing, becoming complacent, and ultimately returning to old behavior, we need to expand into safe, beneficial, and therefore healthy areas of life, (and by this I mean to seek it out). The trick to this is to hold onto the amount of awareness you already dedicate to recovery, but shift your focus to the next area of your life that needs attention. Lets use this as an example; Lets say that you are doing great in recovery, but you would like to quit smoking, or stop abusing caffeine, or eating too much, or just eating the wrong foods. At this point (and this might seem sacrilegious to some of you), put the big book down! And pick up a book on smoking, or nutrition or whatever ails you. You have a list prepared already, its called your forth step. The library has books to give you the power to increase your awareness to the point that you wont be able to continue any unacceptable behavior even if you wanted to. Now if you still struggle with any problems all you need to do is learn more about that problem. No one ever restricted your knowledge of recovery to drug and alcohol recovery. And on this you can trust me as long as you are honestly working on recovering you wont slip back because your dedicating more time to a recovery that is not drug and alcohol oriented. Remember knowledge is power over the lack of it. I like to express this particular idea this way, GOD spoke to me and he said,” David you have reached a point in your life that I can trust you, so here is your will back. Just remember you only have to not do what you know is wrong, and do what you know is right, but I expect you to always seek out what’s right.” Since that time any free time I have is spent seeking out what is right.
Which brings us to my latest discovery of what is right and it is NUTRITION AND HEALTH AWARENESS.
Were going to go through the entire digestion process. From seeing and smelling food, to the inner workings of the large intestine, I am pretty sure we are all aware of what happens from that point on!
THE IMPORTANCE OF FIBER
Food fiber consists of the parts of the plant cells that cannot be digested by our enzymes or other digestive secretions. Basically, fiber comes from the structural and stabilizing parts of plants. Because of its importance to human health, it is still another benefit from a diet high in complex carbohydrates.
Perhaps its most important service is moving feces through the system at a faster speed. Fiber soaks up liquids like a sponge and gives bulk to human waste. People on a balanced diet, 80% complex carbohydrates, which is high in fiber almost never complain of constipation, owing to the laxative effect of fiber.
Fiber seems to prevent colon-rectal cancers, diverticulosis, hemorrhoids, appendicitis, hiatus hernia, and other conditions. It is also known to reduce appetite by giving the dieter a feeling of fullness in the stomach. The addition to the diet of a highly concentrated source of fiber, such as wheat bran, is helpful in normalizing many body functions in people who have not eaten a diet sufficiently rich in fiber in many years.
WHY WE DON’T GET ENOUGH FIBER
Anyone on a so-called “normal American diet” does not get enough fiber. Over a century ago, some genius made it possible to mill a new low-fiber flour, and bake pretty new white breads and pastries. While these new products may have looked elegant, they had less fiber. With less fiber came an assortment of pathologies, such as a virtual epidemic of diverticular disease, appendicitis, and hiatus hernia. Since people eat about one-tenth as much bread today as they did a hundred years ago, they have lost even most of the fiber that is found in white bread. We do eat more fruits and vegetables but not enough to compensate for the loss of grain fiber.
THE REDISCOVERY OF FIBER
Before the turn of the century, men with names like Kellogg and Post popularized cereal products rich in “roughage.” People had vague ideas about roughage (or fiber) for laxative, prophylactic, and therapeutic purposes. Today, thanks to fascinating epidemiological research, we know that many African peoples on high fiber diets have an almost negligible incidence of coronary artery disease, colon-rectal cancer (which ranks second only to lung cancer in frequency among Americans), diverticulosis, varicose veins, gallbladder disease, and constipation. We are largely indebted to two British physicians, Denis Burkitt and Hugh Trowell, for this research, which has made us aware of the importance of fiber to human health.
Research of this type has profoundly affected the treatment of diverticulosis, which is extremely common in this country. Two out of every five Americans over forty suffer from some form of disease. Until very recently most sufferers from diverticulosis disease were treated with bland diets almost devoid of fiber. Today, most experts prescribe just the contrary; high-fiber diets.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Why is it important to get rid of feces rapidly?
It means less strain while moving the bowels, therefore, less risk of hemorrhoids and diverticular disease. In diverticular disease, the intestinal wall becomes pouched, and often infected. Greater speed of elimination also reduces the time that carcinogens and poisons have to attack the gut wall.
Would fiber help me to lose weight?
Yes, in the sense that fiber-rich complex carbohydrates are more filling than candy or sugar, yet contain fewer calories. For instance, you would have to eat about three pounds of apples to equal the calories you get in one five ounce chocolate bar.
Are there risks in eating a high fiber diet?
Flatulence is one, and it can last for weeks or months while your intestinal flora adapt themselves to their new nutritional environment. You may also feel bloated. Some people claim that yogurt seems to help speed the floral transition and terminate the flatulence.
INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM NATHAN PRITIKAN AND PATRIC M. McGRADY, JR. AUTHORS OF “THE PRITIKAN DIET”
WHAT ALCOHOL DOES
Basically, I consider alcohol a drug, not a food. It has practically no nutritional value outside of its calories. In that respect, its calories resemble the practically empty calories of sugar or honey. As a drug alcohol only causes havoc within the human body.
THE EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL
Alcohol’s bad affect on the liver is too well known to require explanation.
Less well known is the fact that alcohol causes platelets to stick together and sludges the red blood cells, reducing their oxygen-carrying capacity and the blood supply to the heart. This has a devastating effect on brain cells and brain function as well.
Alcohol also inhibits mobilization of lymphocytes from the lymph into the blood when they are needed to fight infection. This is why alcoholics, for instance, have a much higher rate of pneumonia-and spend so much more time incapacitated by it-than nonalcoholics. Alcohol depresses your immunization system.
Alcohol seems to make arthritis worse, too. To simplify considerably, let me explain that arthritis pains can be induced by blood-cell sludging-which alcohol stimulates. When the red blood cells sludge, capillaries get blocked and the watery part of the blood gets forced through the capillary walls. This creates an edema which reduces the amount of oxygen available to the cells in the tissue spaces. Without oxygen, the affected tissues become inflamed and can be painful.
I could go on and on saying unkind things about alcohol, but let me just make a few more points.
· Even a little bit of alcohol destroys judgment, as is amply demonstrated by the fact that nearly half of all automobile fatalities involve drinking drivers. In one study of professional bus drivers, even several who had drank less than would normally be considered an intoxicating amount stubbornly tried to perform the impossible-such as drive their bus through a space more than a foot narrower than their vehicle!
· Alcohol loads the liver with triglycerides and other fats, forcing a rise in those levels in the blood as well. (As we mentioned in the group on fats).
· Irritation of the entire urinary tract, from the urethra to bladder, is a common consequence of alcohol overindulgences. It also irritates the prostate.
· Alcohol is a disaster for pregnant women. Nearly one out of every six babies born to alcoholic women dies and some 44% have at least borderline mental retardation.
The emotional distress to a close family member or other person intimately concerned with an alcoholic’s problem is considerable.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Alcohol not only relaxes me it puts me to sleep.
I do not doubt it. So will ether but neither ether nor alcohol represents an ideal sleeping potion. Exercise works much better, gives you a better sleep, and gives you more energy the next day.
I enjoy a glass of wine with my dinner, is that ok?
If you are in otherwise in excellent health and get a lot of exercise and are not alcoholic, a glass of wine with dinner may not harm you. The rise in blood triglycreides may be resolved in your morning jogging.
But there is a great difference between the half-ounce of alcohol you drink in a four-ounce wine glass and the full ounce you drink with two glasses. There is also a world of difference between a glass of wine and hard liquor, which has seven or eight times as much alcohol per volume!
Every part of proper nutrition you observe will help you that much more. (Although lapsing by smoking cigarettes, or ignoring fat restrictions, or cholesterol levels, may obliterate almost all of the benefits this lifestyle gives you).
At this point it should be clear why alcohol has no place in a healthy lifestyle. Now for some other undesirable beverages.
INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM NATHAN PRITIKIN ANS PATRIC M. McGRADY JR, AUTHORS OF “THE PRITIKIN DIET”
WHAT CAFFEINE BEVERAGES DO
Coffee and tea are not recommended on a balance diet. The research available raises grave suspicions about the wisdom of drinking either coffee or tea regularly. The entire area of caffeine toxicity, however, is quite controversial.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH COFFEE AND TEA
People drink coffee and tea because both these beverages have perk-up qualities that people on “normal” high-fat diets seem to require. Along with caffeine’s cousins theophylline (found with caffeine in tea) and theobromine (in coca), the group is known as the xanthines. The xanthines stimulate the central nervous system, act as diuretics, stimulate the heart muscle, relaxes smooth muscles (particularly the bronchial), and stimulate the cerebral cortex (alleviating drowsiness and fatigue, and sharpening thoughts). None of this would be necessary on a healthy, low-fat diet. And eliminating coffee and tea means eliminating the main culprit-caffeine.
Caffeine is a drug period, known to produce peculiar and rapid heartbeats, insomnia, high free-fatty-acids levels in the blood, high blood glucose levels in diabetics, increased gastric acid secretion, and high blood pressure. The rising of blood lipids is suspected to be a factor in atherosclerosis.
The actual quantity of caffeine depends on the amount of water used, the brand of coffee or tea, the method of brewing, and so forth. In general, the longer you brew, the more caffeine you extract from leaf or bean. Coffee, brewed or instant, contains between ninety and one hundred twenty milligrams per five-ounce serving; Decaffeinated coffee between one and six milligrams; Leaf tea, thirty to sixty milligrams; Bagged tea, forty two to one hundred milligrams; Instant tea, thirty to sixty milligrams; Coca, up to fifty milligrams; And cola drinks, fifteen to forty milligrams.
Few doctors even recognize caffeinism when they see it. DR. John F. Greden, former psychiatric research director at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, reported that none of one hundred psychiatric outpatients spot-checked had even been asked about their coffee or tea drinking habits. This despite diagnoses of anxiety neurosis in forty-two of them!
Nutritional causes of illness and nutritional therapies are frequently ignored altogether even when they are obviously indicated. Consider the case of a Reno, Nevada, state prison inmate suffering from severe anxiety. He was unsuccessfully treated with tranquilizers and other drugs-until somebody thought to suggest that he stop drinking the whopping fifty cups of coffee he was imbibing daily. (When he switched to decaffeinated, his condition improved).
Caffeinism is a problem for people of all ages-particularly children. Kids get huge quantities of caffeine from chocolate, cocoa, and cola drinks. Consider that a small chocolate bar has about twenty-five milligrams of caffeine, a coke about forty milligrams. A seven year old boy who drinks three cokes a day-since he weighs only sixty pounds-is actually drinking the equivalent of eight cups of coffee that a one hundred seventy five pound man would drink. Physicians, particularly pediatricians, are extremely concerned about wide spread caffeine-caused symptoms of irritability, nervousness, and insomnia among children. The Food and Drug Administration is conducting an investigation into the possibility that caffeination of nearly sixty percent of the six billion gallons of soda produced annually in the United States may be contributing to growth and development disorders among children.
OTHER POSSIBLE HARMFUL EFFECTS
There is evidence that death from acute myocardial infarction may be triggered by caffeine in susceptible people. Free fatty acids can give rise to sudden ventricular tachycardia and fibrillation.
It has been said that coffee can cause ulcers. In a study by DR. Ralph Paffenbarger, Jr., at the University of California School of Public Health showed that former male college students who reported drinking coffee daily had one point four times the risk of developing peptic ulcers that non-coffee drinkers did. If gastric acid secretion is the culprit, then decaffeinated coffee is no improvement over regular coffee, since it is every bit as potent a stimulator.
Caffeine is also been suspected of causing birth defects. Many physicians are advising mothers-to-be to avoid caffeine-containing beverages while pregnant. Caffeine is so configurated, molecularly, that it can cross the placenta and enter the fetal gonad. At the very least, according to DR. John J. Mulvihill, head of clinical genetics at the National Cancer Institute epidemiology branch, caffeine is highly mutagenic and possibly even teratogenic. This would imply that caffeine might cause chromosomal changes and abnormal babies.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
` Is decaffeinated coffee safe?
I neither recommend nor ban decaffeinated coffee. Not enough is known about its physiological and psychological effects. What raises my suspicions are the slightly toxic substances that have not been removed.
Is tea an improvement over coffee?
Only to the extent that it generally contains about one half the caffeine equivalent.
Some scientists suspect that tea may be more dangerous that coffee in some respects. The high rate of gastric and esophageal cancers among tea-drinking populations (particularly those which do not bind the tannin in the tea by adding milk) is a source for concern.
Now we come to what is probably the worst anti-health habit there is. Do I have to name it?
INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM NATHAN PRITIKIN AND PATRIC M. McGRADY JR., AUTHORS OF “THE PRITIKIN DIET”
WHAT CARBOHYDRATES DO
Carbohydrates are the best food you can eat. This does not apply to all carbohydrates. Starch-rich natural foods as they are grown are good for you. Simple, refined carbohydrates like sugar are not.
WHY SUGAR IS BAD FOR YOU
Simply put, sugar has many deleterious effects and no good effects-except perhaps that of satisfying your sweet tooth. Being highly refined, it lacks vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It tends to make you fat, raise the level of your blood triglycerides (fat), and stress your pancreas with pernicious consequences for the stability of your blood-sugar levels. It is very effective in making you hypoglycemic.
Sugar also seems to contribute to atherosclerosis. Sugar raises the level of blood fats and cholesterol, both of which crowed their way into diseased arteries and help make plaque.
Please understand, I am not against sugar because of its calories. I am against sugar because it is an unnaturally, highly concentrated food striped of its fiber and nutritional components. If you were to eat the five ounces of sugar you normally eat in one day in the form of a three-pound sugar beet, you would be getting some excellent nutrition and fiber-and you would be satisfying your appetite as well. Herbivorous animals in the field never eat too much grass-simply because natural, unprocessed carbohydrates unfailingly signal the appetite when satiety has been reached. There are no fat wild animals. Alas, there are all too many fat housewives and businessmen whose appetites are never satisfied by their candy bars, dry martinis, and white bread!
Almost any amount of sugar is too much. Most Americans eat about two pounds of sugar a week-which comes to about one-forth of their total calories. Three-fourths of the sugar we eat comes in the form of processed foods. Only one-forth is eaten as sugar.
WHY OTHER CARBOHYDRATES ARE BENEFICIAL
While simple carbohydrates like sugar and honey (monosaccharides and disaccharides) require no digestion and therefore quickly flood the system and then disappear, the more complex carbohydrates, including starches, take much longer to metabolize. In general, the more unrefined the carbohydrate, the longer time required. These carbohydrates release a slow, constant stream of glucose into the blood stream (about two calories per minute). This is an optimal rate for the body.
Glucose is the brains only food; the brain uses about one-forth of all glucose the body. Unlike the muscles, the brain cannot burn either fat or protein, except after an extended fast-though neither fat nor protein is burned by any body cells as efficiently as carbohydrates. Only carbohydrates burn 100% clean converting into energy, carbon dioxide (which is breathed out) and water (which is excreted in urine, feces and sweat).
With a constant, slow supply of glucose provided by a diet of complex carbohydrates, mainly unrefined, there is rarely a blood sugar problem. You have always got something cooking on your alimentary burner, and you always have some glucose in the blood. Generally, people find that their hypoglycemia disappears in about two weeks, (on a balance diet of approximately 80% complex carbohydrates), and does not return as long as they do not go back to poor eating habits, since there is never a deficiency of blood sugar. On the other hand. Hypoglycemia is perpetuated by a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. The symptoms of fatigue and lightheadedness are a result of large amounts of toxins in the blood from the digestion of excessive amounts of protein, and the insufficient glucose for fuel for the brain.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Is honey better for me than sugar?
No. All sugars are bad for you, and that includes all colors and brands of table sugar (cane or beet or corn), molasses, syrups, and honey. Brown sugar and turbinado sugar are the same as white sugar, but with insignificant levels of some nutrients. Brown sugar is table sugar with caramel coloring; Turbinado is table sugar with some molasses; “raw” sugar is table sugar with beet pulp or cane fiber added to mime the taste of true raw sugar (authentic raw sugar is so impure it cannot be sold commercially).
Do you regard sugar as an addiction?
Yes. As do others that have investigated the problem. Sugar acts slowly to raise insulin levels and triglycerides and to create hypoglycemia and the feelings of lightheadedness, fatigue, weakness, and so forth, associated with it. What relieves those feelings is-more sugar. So it causes the problem, and resolves some of the symptoms of the problem causing an addiction like cigarettes. It effectively makes you feel not quite well. You never really feel optimal.
Are raw carbohydrate foods important in the diet?
No question about it. We need to include plenty of raw carbohydrate foods in our diet. Two salads of raw vegetables a day, together with several pieces of raw fresh fruit, are not too much. In general, the less the food is processed the better. However, it is difficult to eat enough calories on a diet of raw foods (which is why raw foods make an excellent weight reducing diet), so the major source of calories in our diet comes from cooked foods.
If high-carbohydrate diets are so healthy, why are most popular diets low in carbohydrates?
Low-carbohydrate diets have been around for at least 150 years. Like any low-calorie diets, such diets can promote weight loss, but in the case of low-carbohydrate diets, the weight loss is mainly temporary, mostly do to loss of water, and they can be deadly in the long run. During World War Two, the Canadian Army made dehydrated beef its emergency ration, with nothing to drink but tea. Within three days the men’s performances deteriorated so badly they chucked it. When a diet is not only high in fat, but high in protein as well, you have a very bad situation-because now you have to find a way of getting rid of the toxic breakdown products of protein. As you will learn as we go through this information. Both slow and rapid weight loss are best achieved by a balanced diet that is nutrient-dense, and careful manipulation of the caloric values. A diet you can live with happily and healthily for the rest of your life.
INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM NATHAN PRITIKAN AND PATRIC M. McGRADY, JR. AUTHORS OF “THE PRITIKAN DIET”
WHAT CHOLESTEROL DOES
Cholesterol is not a fat, but is often associated with fats. It is a sterol-more like a wax than fat or oil. But like fat it does not dissolve easily in water or blood plasma.
Every cell in your body manufactures and contains some cholesterol, although the liver produces the greatest amount. It is also found in your nerve fiber sheaths and cell membranes. Cholesterol helps make bile acids for digestion and stored hormones such as progesterone and the adrenal glucocorticoids.
We are mainly concerned with cholesterol because of its role in causing atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. When too much cholesterol gets into the blood, it settles into artery walls, hardening and narrowing them. But it can do other nasty things, such as cause enlargement of the prostate by lodging there in crystal form.
Atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries is called coronary artery disease. The coronary arteries, as you can see in an anatomy textbook, are the small blood vessels that feed the heart muscle. Atherosclerosis begins with a yellow streak on the inner lining of these arteries, and ends with growing deposits of fibrous material rich in fatty cholesterol, or “arterial plaque.” With plaque buildup the flow of blood slows down. When the arterial bore becomes very narrow, only a tiny trickle of blood is able to nourish the heart.
Arterial plaque is made of fat, cholesterol, collagen, * possible calcium deposits, and cellular debris. Plaque has been seen in arteries of 3 year olds!
When plaque builds up and closes the vessel, the tissue dependant on the blood fed by the arteries dies. When part of the heart begins to die from want of food and oxygen, a myocardial infarction occurs. When a section of brain is similarly starved, a stroke occurs.
CHOLESTEROL AND CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE
Cholesterol rich foods are the very least a prime factor in coronary artery disease insofar as they contribute to high blood cholesterol levels. Many researchers beginning with DR. Ancel Keys at the University Of Minnesota in 1947 and the Framingham study, a continuing survey of cholesterol as a contributor to atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. Scientists since have found that they can cause a reverse arterial plaque disease simply by manipulating dietary fat and cholesterol levels.
To avoid cardiovascular disease altogether, a formula-and a valid one-is to keep your blood cholesterol level to 100 + your age. A cholesterol level of 160 is maximum. The cholesterol levels given to you by laboratories after blood testing are in terms of so many milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood serum.
Any level over 165 can be atherogenic-meaning that it will encourage the growth of atheromas, or plaque, in the arteries.
· Collagen is a supportive albuminlike protein found in muscle, bone, cartilage, and other connective tissues in the body.
CHOLESTEROL AND CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE CONTINUED
Unfortunately, certain medical authorities have used cholesterol “norms” of from 150 to 330. While these may be the average of mean levels of various American communities, they are far too high for good health. They are the average levels of a sick population, abnormally high.
Since cholesterol-like fat-is not soluble in the blood, it must be carried by substances called lipoproteins. Of the lipoproteins that have been identified, three seem to have an important relevance to cardiovascular disease.
Very low-density lipoproteins (VLDLs) transport triglycerides (caused mainly by excessive intake of sweets, alcohol, and fats) from the liver to tissues where they form pockets of fat.
Once the VLDLs have dumped their load of triglycerides, they become low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) and begin carrying cholesterol from the liver to cells around the body.
Another kind of lipoprotein, called high-density lipoprotein (HDL), is the apparent hero in this drama. The HDLs are thought to act as cholesterol scavengers, clearing out the redundant cholesterol from the body’s tissues and returning it to the liver for excretion.
You will notice that we use the “apparent hero.” Indeed, the controversy about high- and low-density lipoproteins is an old, not a new. Scientists have been debating the matter of lipoprotein density and coronary death risk since 1951. However, the popular press has publicized the “good” high-density lipoproteins only recently-and in the process has thoroughly muddied the waters and confused health professionals as well as laymen.
All that has been discovered only confirms the fact that your blood cholesterol level remains the best single parameter for estimating early coronary heart disease. Some doctors dispute this, but their arguments are unpersuasive.
HDL VERSUS LDL
In 1977 W.P. Castelli, M.D., director of laboratories for the Framingham study, reported that his data suggested that high HDL levels indicated a lower risk of heart disease.
People are born with equal amounts of HDL and LDL in a 1:1 ratio. As we get older, however, our LDLs increase and thus create a greater risk of heart disease.
HDLs, however, are not necessarily good, nor are they surefire protectors against heart disease. The HDLs of the Framingham men and Honolulu Japanese are roughly the same, according to Castelli, but the latter group have only half the coronary heart disease rate of the former.
HDL VRESUS LDL CONTINUED
Moreover, in the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT)* study of 12,000 men, HDLs increased among men with higher diastolic blood pressure and were highest in men who had 35 drinks per week. Few responsible physicians would recommend increased alcohol intake or higher blood pressure as protection against heart disease.
I consider LDL more meaningful than HDL. LDLs invade the artery wall and initiate plaque formation. When C.J. Glueck M.D., studied people with very low levels of LDLs, he found they had one-fifth the death rate from heart disease of those with higher levels.
Most significant of all is the ratio of HDL to LDL. Average patients have HDL to LDL ratios of 1:4. After one month of a low to no cholesterol diet that is low to no fat and nutrient-dense the ratio is 1:3.3 after one or two years some patients have ratios of 1:1.7-approching the 1:1 ratio of a healthy newborn.
Interesting, with the proper diet both HDLs and LDLs are lowered-the LDLs much more than the HDLs. With continued lowering of total cholesterol levels, the HDL fraction slowly rises.
I have been on my diet for eighteen years. My HDL to LDL ratio is 1:.5 with an HDL of 77. DR. Castelli called it a most impressive HDL to LDL ratio.
As J. Stamler, M.D., noted in the archives of surgery in 1978.
The lesson to be taken from these facts is crystal clear: keep cholesterol intake to the lowest possible level in order to keep serum cholesterol low. The HDL and LDL levels need not concern you. They are misleading and confusing. Total cholesterol level is what you ought to worry about.
· The MRFIT is an ongoing study of 12,000 subjects, in which 6,000 are modifying there cardiovascular risk factors, cholesterol level, blood pressure, and smoking, and the other 6,000 are not. The study ran 6 years.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Which foods are rich in cholesterol?
Only foods from animal sources. You cannot find a speck of cholesterol in grains, fruits, vegetables-the foundation of a healthy diet. Most Americans eat about 800 milligrams of cholesterol a day. But a healthy diet consists of less than 100 milligrams a day.
Do all eggs have huge amounts of cholesterol?
Yes. And, by the way, egg substitutes usually have 50% more fat that eggs. Moreover, a glance at their contents tells you that you’re involved with a “chemical fest.” We do not recommend these products.
Does a high cholesterol diet cause cancer?
High cholesterol diets do nothing to prevent cancer. My basic criticism of a high cholesterol diet is that they are practically guaranteed to close arteries and create diabetes and precancerous states. As means of avoiding breast cancer women should shun a high cholesterol diet.
It is also good that the countries attention is on the problem of chemical pollution of food and water. These are certainly important, but they only account for less than 5% of the problem. Lets deal with the 95% first our high fat and cholesterol diet. And then we can get to the 5%.
The millions of dollars our nation spends annually in heart-disease research are badly spent. Stress! Prescribing polyunsaturates! Additives! Pesticides! The focus is on the non-causes when we should be working on the elimination if the dietary fats and cholesterol, the known causes of heart disease!
INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM NATHAN PRITIKAN AND PATRIC M. McGRADY, JR. AUTHORS OF “THE PRITIKAN DIET”
WHAT FATS DO
A nutrient-dense low-fat diet is optimal for the very simple reason that high fat levels damage the body. Of the calories that Americans consume, about 40 or 45% come in the form of fats. Many health authorities recommend cutting this down to about 30%. We feel that fats are so bad for you that you should eat no more than 5 to 10% fat.
THE DAMAGE FATS CAUSE
Essentially, fats do three kinds of damage. First of all, they suffocate your tissues by depriving them of oxygen. Second, they raise the level of cholesterol and uric acid in your tissues, contributing to atherosclerosis and gout. Third, they impede carbohydrate metabolism and foster diabetes.
If the suffocation factor sounds a bit far out, it is not. In fact it is easily demonstrated. In one clinical experiment, 14 heart patients suffering from angina pectoris drank a glass of heavy cream after an overnight fast. Within 5 hours, their blood became 6 times cloudier than normal and though they had been at rest during this entire procedure, most of them suffered a severe angina attack within minutes of each other. Normally angina strikes only under the stress of strenuous physical activity. But the fats had deprived the heart of enough oxygen-just as exertion might have.
When this test was repeated with a fat-free drink containing the same calories and volume, no angina attacks or abnormalities occurred!
WHY ALL EXCESS FATS ARE BAD FOR YOU
All fats-animal and vegetable saturated and unsaturated-have a common effect. They form a fatty film around the formed elements in the blood-particularly red blood cells and platelets-and cause them to stick together, they cannot function properly. With this clumping, small blood vessels and capillaries become plugged and shut down. That means that from 5 to 20% of your blood circulation is also shut down.
By the way, if you smoke in addition to eating a meal heavy in fats, your oxygen tie-up is colossal! (You can actually knock yourself out with a combination of heavy fats and carbon monoxide from smoke in the blood). The brain cannot sustain that kind of poisoning. This is why many people fall asleep after a heavy dinner.
WHAT WE MEAN BY FATS
Generically, fat comprises both fats (solid at room temperature) and oils (liquid at room temperature). Fat constitutes almost half of the total caloric intake of most Americans. It comes in obvious forms as butter, margarine, shortening, and cooking and salad oils. It also comes in less obvious forms as an important constituent of certain foods, such as peanuts, dairy products, eggs, meats, nuts, and seeds. There are about 9 calories in each gram of fat and about half that number in carbohydrates.
Both animal fats and vegetable fats are made of fatty acids. Animal fats, however, are made largely of saturated fatty acids. This means that each carbon atom in the chain has two or more hydrogen atoms stuck onto it. Cholesterol blood levels are raised by animal saturated fatty acids.
Vegetable fats are made mostly of unsaturated fatty acids. There are two notable exceptions to the rule: cocoa oil and coconut oil, which are nearly saturated. (Nondairy creamers are made of coconut oil and are a big no-no).
In unsaturated fatty acids, at least two of the carbon atoms have no hydrogen atoms attached. You find unsaturated fatty acids in corn, safflower, cottonseed, and soybean oils. Fish tend to have more unsaturated than saturated fatty acids.
While it is true that unsaturated fats lower cholesterol levels in the blood, they create havoc by raising triglyceride levels and creating metabolic suffocation by the resultant sludge in the blood.
A dietary trick that has become popular in recent years employs a high-fat, low-carbohydrate regimen to achieve rapid weight loss. It can be a very risky trick, as many dieters have found to their dismay.
Since the diet is largely fat, the free glucose (sugar) in the blood is rapidly burned off, forcing the body to depend on its fat reserves for energy.
The fatty acids derived from the fat reserve burn rather inefficiently, producing acid metabolites called ketones. This abnormal increase of ketones is called ketosis.
But ketosis is not a good way to lose weight for a number of reasons. The brain is at least partially starved by the absence of glucose, which is its only source of food. Ketones are acid metabolites that may actually change your bloods PH. If the blood becomes acid enough, you can go into ketosis shock-which is sometimes fatal.
Moreover, a highly acid blood makes it hard for the body and the brain to function properly. Fatty acids liberated from fat reserves are extremely mischievous. They circulate in the bloodstream, sometimes cause irregular heartbeats, and can invade the liver and cause problems. This can be quite serious; by the way, since you need a healthy liver to ward of disease, neutralize toxins, and maintain high-energy reserves and optimal health.
Finally, the high amounts of cholesterol accompanying fats on diets such as Atkins or Stillman diets create an environment conducive to growth of plaque (deposits of fatlike matter) in the arteries. As plaque deposits proliferate, there is less and less space for the blood to flow.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
How much is bad? Suppose I have a teaspoon of olive oil on my salad. Will it hurt me?
Any added oil or fat is unnecessary and potentially damaging. Even a teaspoon of olive oil will boost your serum triglyceride level within an hour and a half. How harmful it will be depends on the fat backlog in your system. If your relatively fat free, it wont harm you much. The blood fat levels will rise and them fall quickly. If there is a lot of fat, the blood levels will stay higher longer, and do much more damage.
The American Heart Association recommends substituting unsaturated fats for saturated fats. Do you?
We do not. In several respects, unsaturated fats may be worse for you than saturated fats. Human experiments show that when certain people drink heavy cream (saturated fat) of safflower oil (unsaturated fat), there blood tends to sludge and undergo capillary blockage. Both kinds of fat raise triglyceride levels in the blood, but with safflower oil they stay higher much longer. Polyunsaturates also deplete the body’s vitamin E, are implicated in gallstone formation, and may well stimulate tumor growth.
You said that fat is a factor in diabetes. Isn’t it sugar instead?
Just because there is a lot of sugar in a diabetic’s urine does not mean that there is a sugar intolerance. That’s false. The reason for the sugar in the urine is that fats in the blood keep the body from making use of the sugar-from metabolizing it. Since the sugar goes unmetabolized, the body must call upon fat reserves for energy. When free fatty acids flow into the blood, you are working on fat alone. The by-product of fat metabolism is ketones, which may produce ketosis shock, as we have just mentioned.
Nor is it true that the diabetic’s body does not produce enough insulin, the hormone it must have to metabolize sugar. In fact, an early-diagnosed diabetic has as much as two times as much insulin as a normal person. At least that is the case in about 85% of all diabetics.
Still, not just diabetics, but all of us should restrict our sugar intake because the body is not used to sugar. It does not occur in a pure form in nature. The body was built to make its sugar from the digestion of complex carbohydrates, producing a couple of calories every minute or so. When you flood the blood with sugar; it rises in the blood and spills out through the kidneys. This sends a message to the pancreas to produce lots of insulin-as though this high sugar flow was going to last indefinitely. And so there is overproduction of insulin.
Unfortunately, when the insulin scavenges for sugar, it does not stop on time. This produces a low blood sugar condition. The scavenged sugar has been diverted into the fat reserves, or is stored as glycogen. With the absence of your normal sugar fuel, the body calls on free fatty acids once more, thereby raising your blood fat level. When blood fats rise high enough, they “desensitize” the insulin. What eventually occurs is a buildup of sugar in the blood, known as hyperglycemia. (Hyperglycemia) is the opposite of (hypoglycemia), which is an abnormal decrease of sugar in the blood.
No one can remain hypoglycemic on a nutrient-dense low-fat diet for more than 3 weeks. With complex carbohydrates producing approximately 2-calories a minute, you have a normal blood sugar levels-neither high nor low. There is an initial period of about 5 days when your blood sugar begins to stabilized, and then another week or two until the problem disappears altogether. Practically all the hypoglycemics studied have experienced this reversal of there condition.
Is there any other reason for avoiding fat?
There is powerful argument for controlling both your intake and production of fat. Pesticides and other chemical pollutants find a home in fat cells and lodge there.
The actual concentration of pollutants increases upward in the food chain. As you can see in the numbers, it is least concentrated in root vegetables .007, grains .008, legumes .026, fruits .027 and leafy vegetables .036. It is more concentrated in oils and fats .041 and dairy products.112. It is most concentrated in the flesh and fowl .281 that eat these things. Reaching its ultimate concentration in man, who feeds on fat animals and fish that already have concentrated chemical pollutants in there tissues.
POLLUTION NUMBERS SOURCE RUNNERS WORLD, 1978
INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM NATHAN PRITIKAN AND PATRIC M. McGRADY, JR. AUTHORS OF “THE PRITIKAN DIET”
WHAT PROTEIN DOES
A well balanced diet does not emphasize protein, as most of the popular diets do, for two reasons. The first is that the body’s need for protein is grossly exaggerated. The second is that excessive protein is quite harmful. You will find that a balance diet challenges many of the most sacred assumptions about the role of protein.
Human beings do, of course, need protein-but much less than were getting. What we need are proteins components, the amino acids. They are needed for life. As protein is digested it breaks down into these organic acids, which play an important role in growth, metabolism, and repair and maintenance of our body tissues. And 8 of the 22 amino acids can only be obtained from food. That is, the body cannot manufacture them as it can the other 14.
THE BEST PROTEIN FOODS
You may be surprised to learn that the best food sources for protein are grains, roots, vegetables, and fruits in a unrefined, minimally processed form-in other words the foundation of a balance diet. These are much better sources of protein than animal protein such as meat, fish, eggs, and milk, which usually have very high-and often unacceptable levels of fat and cholesterol.
You have doubtless heard the claim that animal protein is “superior” to vegetable protein. But this as absolutely untrue. All natural food grown contains all of the amino acids, “essential” and “nonessential,” in sufficient quantities to satisfy human requirements. To speck of “superior” and “inferior” protein is nonsense.
You have probably also heard animal protein called the “complete” protein. This belief dates from 1916, when two investigators named Osborne and Mendel were experimenting on rats with different protein foods. These scientists described certain foods as “complete”-which really meant that they were adequate by themselves to maintain life and promote growth in rats. If rats did not grow well on a diet of any single food, the food was designated “incomplete.” Eggs were considered complete, plant foods incomplete.
But our nutritional needs are different from rats’. If they were the same, then mother’s milk should not be given to babies. After all, rats do not fare very well on human milk-since it is only 1.2% protein. Compared with rat’s milk’s 9. 5 % protein. But babies do very well indeed on a milk one-eighth as protein rich as rats’ milk.
So it is just as incorrect to talk of “complete” and “incomplete” protein as it is of “superior” and “inferior” protein.
We have all heard stories about protein deficiencies among children in underdeveloped countries. But today we know that the problem with those children-and adults-is not one of too little protein but of too few calories.
When malnourished children were studied by the National Institute of Nutrition in Hyderadad, India, their protein consumption was shown to be 10% higher than the U.S. recommended level on a body weight basis!
The children’s problems were resolved when an extra 300 calories of low protein (4%) content were added to their daily 700-calorie diet.
The conclusion of the investigators (all members of India’s Council of Medical Research) was that malnutrition among poor, rural Asian children should be attacked simply by giving them more food-rather than by giving them more protein.
We do, of course, need a basic minimum of protein. We need enough to keep ourselves in what scientist call “positive nitrogen balance.” This is a measure of the amount of protein the body retains from the diet in excess of its needs. Since protein is mostly nitrogen, scientists measure the nitrogen income versus the nitrogen outgo. If more nitrogen comes into the body than leaves it, you are in a positive nitrogen balance. If you have a negative nitrogen balance, then you are losing protein from your muscles. And that is bad.
MINIMUM PROTEIN REQUIREMENT
Test have been made on adults eating white rice as their principal protein source, 6% of total calories in protein from this white rice kept them in positive nitrogen balance. A proper diet gives between 10 and 15% of total calories in protein, with far better nutrition than is obtained from white rice.
If you think you will lack strength and endurance on a diet with 10% protein, consider the diet of the Mexican Tarahumara Indians. This diet is roughly the equivalent of what a proper diet should be (10% protein, 10% fat 80% complex carbohydrates). On this diet, the Tarahumaras can and do:
· Perform a 500-mile round-trip run in 5 days.
· Carry a 100lb pack for 110 miles in 70 hours.
In their national kickball game, run continuously for 48 hours and cover 175 miles. Playing this game, the Tarahumaras Indian women are known to run continuously for 50 miles at a time!
These Indians eat animal protein about a dozen times a year. Their diet comprises mainly of corn, peas, beans, squash, and other native plants and fruits. Physicians who have examined these people find them free of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity!
CALCULATING YOUR PROTEIN CALORIE REQUIREMENT
On this type of diet, it generally is not necessary to estimate the number of calories one should have. Since carbohydrates are low-calorie foods (half the calories of fats and the same as proteins), you can eat more of them and not gain weight. Indeed, many people on this diet find gaining weight very difficult.
Nor do you have to estimate the number of calories, in protein that you need. Even if you have little variety in your vegetables and grains and fruits, you will automatically keep to within your minimum and maximum.
Counting calories, moreover, is a individual question, since every persons thyroid function and activity level are different. A rocky mountain lumberjack can eat a 5,000 calories a day and not gain an ounce; a housewife watching T.V. all day long can put on weight with only 1,400 calories.
However, once you know what caloric level you should be, all you have to do is multiply that number by 10% to calculate your minimum protein requirement, and by 15% to calculate your maximum protein requirement. Thus, if you require 2,000 calories a day, no less than 200 of them and no more than 300 of them should be in protein.
There’s no need to have a variety of foods to fulfill this requirement. On a balance diet you run no risk of any protein or amino acid deficiency whatsoever!
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Would I run a risk of doing without meat altogether?
Theoretically, you might run into a vitamin B-12 deficiency after 5 or 10 years on a strict vegetarian diet.
Why do people on high protein diets drink so much water?
They really have to-or else. In protein metabolism, complex by-products are formed. Some of them, such as ammonia which becomes urea nitrogen, can be very toxic. So, in burning protein, to dilute these poisons, the body uses 7 times as much water per calorie as it uses in burning carbohydrates, of fat.
The instant weight loss achieved on a high protein diet is due to the large quantity of water pulled from the body tissues to dilute the poisonous by-product of protein metabolism in the urine.
What other risks are there in a protein rich regimen?
Too much protein with simple carbohydrates like sugar or honey can raise insulin blood levels to dangerous levels, producing a low-blood sugar condition. It can raise uric acid levels, too, creating a risk of gout.
INFORMATIOM OBTAINED FROM NATHAN PRITIKAN AND PATRIC M. McGRADY, JR. AUTHORS OF “THE PRITIKAN DIET”
WHAT SALT DOES
A person with healthy eating habits has very little daily intake of salt. Although Americans on the average take in from six to eighteen grams of salt pre day, we advocate no more than two to four grams. (Four grams of salt measure approximately one-half teaspoon). Your body needs some salt, but the natural salt present in varying amounts in almost all foods more than suffices for most of us.
SALT AND HYPERTENSION
For four decades now, we have known that dietary salt contributes mightily to hypertension. Buy the same token; removing salt from the diet reduces hypertension.
Just how salt creates hypertension we are not exactly sure. But excess salt upsets your natural water/salt balance forcing the body to hold on to extra amounts of water to make up for the salt you have eaten. Just a little salt can add extra pounds of retained water in your body. With all that additional water weight, your heart has to work harder because your tissues are flooded in the spaces between the blood capillaries salt-caused edema (swelling) can cut your capillary blood oxygen transfer to the cells between the capillaries-and create extra pressure against the vessel walls.
In general, salt eaters have much more hypertension than people that do not eat salt. The Northern Japanese, for instance, eat three times as much salt as we do-and 40% of them have hypertension. Low-salt eaters have low rates of hypertension; witness the Greenland Eskimos, aboriginal Chinese, Panamanian Cuna Indians, and Australian aborigines.
SALT AND A BALANCE DIET
Some added salt is permitted on a balance diet. For instance, some recipes use canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, prepared mustard, or mild soy sauce. All of these products contain some salt. We do not recommend adding salt from the shaker to the cooking pot or the serving plate. And even the amount of salt that is introduced into the diet through the use of various permitted ingredients can become excessive for some people if very many canned or frozen foods are used. Incidentally, there are varying amounts of salt naturally present in almost all foods.
People need to monitor the amount of salt they can tolerate themselves. Less is better for everyone, and some people are almost exquisitely sensitive to even a little salt, and really need to be on a salt-free diet. (There is no such thing as a totally salt-free diet, of course).
In general, lowering the fat content of the diet is enough to bring people with hypertension into a normal blood-pressure range very quickly, so long as salt intake is restricted even more by eliminating commercially packaged, canned, and frozen foods which have added salt.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Is salt the main cause of hypertension?
No. Excessive fats and insufficient complex carbohydrates are equally as important causes of hypertension. You can reduce hypertension by lowering fats and raising carbohydrates in the diet-and keep on eating nine or ten grams of salt per day.
What is the main reason to restrict salt?
The main reason is the edema it causes in the human body. The edema tends to deprive tissues of oxygen-thus creating a host of circulatory problems, including arthritis, reduced visual, auditory, and tactile sensations, and so forth. If you have joint and muscular stiffness on awakening in the morning, you may be suffering from salt-caused edema.
Just as some people err by adding table salt to foods that naturally contain this mineral, others are in the habit of adding a substance with practically no nutritional value, alcohol.
INFORMATION OBTAINED FORM NATHAN PRITIKIN AND PATRIC M. McGRADY JR, AUTHORS OF “THE PRITIKIN DIET”
WHAT SMOKING DOES
Smoking can nullify practically all of the benefits that you receive from a healthy lifestyle!
Lung cancer has been touted as a principal smoking risk. It is one of them, certainly. (High cholesterol levels seem closely linked with lung cancer). Smoking seems to be a powerful factor in bladder cancer, too. Since the many carcinogens in cigarette smoke have up to ten hours to loll around in the body’s tissues before being excreted in the urine, the cancer risk is clear-cut.
However, in terms of numbers affected by smoking-and in terms of deaths-I am more concerned with another of its evils: carbon monoxide.
While health officials seem obsessed with cigarettes’ nicotine and tars, the carbon monoxide (CO) is probably the most devastating element in smoker’s grisly collection of chemical assassins.
One reason is that no filter traps CO. Filters, in fact tend to increase the co intake by as much as twenty eight percent, according to one study. The filter paper, it seems, blocks the pores in the cigarette paper from its air intake.
Blood cells seem suicidally drawn to carbon monoxide. They are two hundred times more attracted to this toxin than to oxygen. When CO and the red blood cells’ hemoglobin bind together, they form a stable compound, carboxyhemoglobin, which can tie up the red blood cells’ oxygen carrying capacity for up to twelve hours.
Of course, if you really want to put a contract on your red blood cells, just combine a high-fat diet with smoking. The net result is oxygen starvation. The oxygen starved layers react and cause the cells lining the inside surface of the arteries to open their tight boundaries to allow more oxygen in. This permits betalipoproteins (made up of fat, cholesterol, and protein) to invade the layer, cause artery inflammation and initiation of the deadly plaque growth.
All this means that smokers have a much higher risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, angina, and all other atherosclerosis-related diseases.
Statistics bear this out. They show that the actual risk of dying of a heart attack increases the earlier you start smoking, the more you smoke, and the more you inhale.
In a war veteran study, heavy smokers between the ages of thirty-five and fifty-four had a fivefold to tenfold greater risk of death from coronary heart disease than nonsmokers. An investigation of smoking doctors in Britain showed similar results: A five times greater chance of dying of a heart attack.
OTHER SMOKING HAZARDS
Meanwhile, nicotine makes a heart patient more liable to ventricular fibrillation. By increasing the stickiness of platelets, nicotine raises the danger of blood clots. Enough has been written by everyone else on the cancer-causing properties of cigarette tars. Its true its ghastly and its well known. If what you have heard already has not given you a healthy fear, nothing will.
Smoking accelerates aging by speeding up those pathologies that seem to begin to get worse with old age. Osteoporosis is an example. Normally symptoms of this bone eroding disease do not appear until the later years. When they do show up early, chances are overwhelming that the victim is a heavy smoker.
In one study of seventeen women with premature osteoporosis at three hospitals near Redding, California, fifteen of them turned out to be heavy smokers and one a moderate smoker.
Smoking changes bone tissue, making it easier for minerals to leave the bone in solution.
We have mentioned heart disease, stroke, cancer, but we have not mentioned emphysema and the gamut of bronchial diseases worsened by smoking.
Many dermatologists also warn that smoking makes both men and women look older by increasing deep skin wrinkling* and reducing skin elasticity.
There are other dangers you might not know about. If you have got heartburn, it might well be your cigarettes-and not your food. Also, if you are a driver, your field of vision is much less than it otherwise would be. A new smoker loses twenty-six percent of his field of vision: A smoker that gives up the habit finds that his field of vision expands thirty-six percent.
Once the damage has been done, there is one thing you can do-stop smoking. The earlier the better. A university of southern California team of physicians, headed by Dr. David H Blankerhorn, showed that cessation of smoking can produce actual diminishing of arterial plaque in heart attack patients. One of the forty male executives studied had smoked two packs of cigarettes a day for thirty years. After his heart attack, he stopped. Digital image processing of his angiograms showed that plaque regression had happened within eighteen months after he had stopped smoking. The thinking is that young plaque is more easily eroded than older harder plaque.
Stopping smoking can actually reduce the risk of getting heart disease, according to expert interpretation of the second report of the Combined Experience of the Albany and Framingham Longitudinal Studies. Others studies too numerous to mention suggest that your risk decreases as your nonsmoking time lengthens. Some experts believe that after a decade of nonsmoking a former smoker’s risk equals that of a lifelong nonsmoker in many areas of risk.
But if you give up smoking you will get a feeling of increased well being within days!
* Dr. Harry W. Daniell of Redding, California, reported that a study of 1,100 patients between the ages of thirty and seventy showed far more pronounced “crows feet” around the eyes as well as other facial wrinkling. Why? Daniell believes that smokers’ non-blushing, yellow-gray complexions may stem from contraction of small blood vessels in the skin caused by nicotine. “Over a period of time,” he noted, “this mechanism might cause a progressive deterioration in skin tissue that could result in wrinkling.”
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
How can I tell if smoking is giving me arterial plaque?
Sometimes you cannot tell. Angiograms are not always reliable. In one-forth of older victims of coronary artery disease, the first clinical symptom they have is-death! Its called the “sudden death syndrome.” Heavy smoking increases the chance of sudden death in both sexes.
Is smoking the major factor in lung cancer?
It is not the only one, certainly. Serum cholesterol is another. Dr. Jeremiah Stamler did a long-term study on eight hundred seventy six male employees of the Peoples Gas Company in Chicago, dividing them into three groups of low, medium, and high serum cholesterol levels. There was a dramatic positive correlation between serum cholesterol levels and nine-year cancer death rates.
Are there people who smoke that do not get heart disease?
Some smokers have very low heart-disease rates. They include inhabitants of Crete, Crofu, parts of Japan, and Yugoslavia. These people exercise heavily, do not get fat, and do not eat fat or cholesterol in significant quantities.
What this shows is that smoking works with other risk factors to create a much greater danger than the mere sum of these factors.
Just eliminating one or two of the major risk factors is not enough. To make the most of your years-and stretch them out as long as possible-you ought to reduce all of them.
INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM NATHAN PRITIKIN AND PATRIC M. McGRADY JR., AUTHORS OF “THE PRITIKIN DIET”
Prepared By David Johns