The World is Moving Toward Less Infectious Disease

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August 22, 2006 | 5,273 views

This fascinating piece published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looks at the reasons for the world-wide shift toward degenerative diseases, rather than infectious diseases, being the dominant form of illness.

In the Paleolithic era, the diet was healthy, but infectious disease and natural causes tended to shorten lifespans. As agriculture developed, the lifespan initially increased as famine receded, and advances in technology and hygiene eventually greatly reduced infectious disease. But the modern diet has led to new diseases and increased disability.

For a variety of reasons, the global diet has become increasingly energy-dense and sweeter. In addition, higher-fiber foods are increasingly being replaced by low-fiber processed versions, while at the same time, technology has driven down the amount of exercise the average person gets. The result has been an increase in obesity and diet-related illnesses.

Soft drinks and fruit drinks are among the culprits; these sweetened drinks account for more than 50 percent of the increase in added caloric sweeteners in the United States over the past several decades.

This is one of the most fascinating aspects of modern culture, how the cause of death and disability has shifted from infections to those of chronic degenerative diseases.

While advances in science have allowed us to reduce our risk of dying prematurely from an infection, the self-interest of the food and drug industry combined with the desire of most to choose convenience over long-term health has set up a scenario that limits most from achieving high-level health.

These changes in diet and activity have so permeated the fabric of society that people living in poorer countries, even places where being insufficient in calories is still a challenge, still deal with high obesity levels. The inevitable result has been a global rise in degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

The problem is at its worst in the United States. Currently, Americans are sicker than most of the rest of the first world. At the same time, U.S. obesity rates are skyrocketing. It doesn't take any advanced medical training to connect the dots.

However, there is good news about this report: Our world may be transitioning once again, although slowly, to a stage where behavioral changes begin to reverse past negatives and foster a longer, healthier life.

Most (90 percent) of the food that people eat is processed. The number one source of calories in America is high fructose corn syrup in soda pop. The typical American eats four orders of fries a week.

Your body simply will not tolerate this type of abuse for very long. This is one of the reasons why one in every three American adults has diabetes or pre-diabetes, and why cancer is now the number one cause of death in the United States.

Fortunately, the solutions are not complex and do not require you to be, or even visit, a doctor. If you want to make your transition to a better and healthier life an easier one:

1.  Retool your diet based on your body's unique nutritional type. The foods that may be healthy for others are not necessarily healthy for you, and vice-versa. Generally speaking, when you eat a meal that is right for your nutritional type you will feel a marked and lasting improvement in your energy, mental capacities, emotional well being, and you will have feeling of being well-satisfied for several hours.

In addition to eating the right balance of foods, you should also consider rebalancing your intake of omega-3 fats by taking a high-quality omega-3 oil, and reducing, with the plan of eliminating, grains and sugars from your daily diet. Both of these will also help you in your fight against obesity.

2.  Use the many resources on my Web site to start an exercise program that works best for you. The key to exercising is to keep in mind three important variables: length of time, frequency and intensity. By doing so, you will ensure all your hard efforts are not wasted.

I encourage my patients to gradually increase the amount of time they are exercising to 60 to 90 minutes daily. This is merely a treatment dose, however, until you normalize your weight and insulin levels. Once normalized, you will only need to exercise three to four times a week.

In general, you should exercise hard enough so that it is difficult to talk to someone next to you; however, if you cannot carry on a conversation at all, then you have gone too far and need to decrease the intensity.

3.  Address emotional issues that contribute to your physical health by learning an effective energy psychology tool like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Emotional health is incredibly essential to your physical well being. Even the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that 85 percent of disease is caused by emotions.

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