by Ron Brown, Ph.D., author of The Body Fat Guide
"Ron Brown is a certified fitness trainer who doesn't have an inch of flab on his body. He'll tell you what you can do to become fit and trim too."
TALK TO AMERICA, Washington DC
THREE OUT OF FOUR Americans
die each year from diet-related chronic diseases which include heart disease,
stroke, and cancer. Many are disabled by diet-related chronic diseases such as crippling
osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Research suggests that
arthritis and many autoimmune diseases
that affect the digestive, endocrine, and neurological systems may also be diet-related.
Rather than more physicians, hospitals, and pharmaceuticals that are used to
treat only symptoms of these diseases, the world needs more research and
interventions in dietetics to prevent and reverse diet-related disease by
removing its root cause. The root cause of heart disease is NOT a statin or
aspirin deficiency, and the root cause of cancer is NOT a chemotherapy or
Health organizations like the National Cancer Institute point to a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables in most people's diets as a common cause of diet-related disease. The official recommendation is to consume up to nine servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Nevertheless, many people still follow the old belief that an apple a day is sufficient to keep the doctor away, barely eating one serving of fruit a day while continuing to overload the rest of their diet with refined, processed, and animal-based foods. This is far from adequate to keep people free from diet-related disease. Instead of one apple a day, the equivalent of up to nine apples a day is needed!
Of course, few people would choose to eat nine apples a day. Securing nutrients from a wide variety of servings of fruit and vegetables is more healthful and provides a biological advantage to our species. For example, if humans were dependent on eating only bananas for survival, what would happen to our species if the banana crop failed? A similar real-life situation occurred during the great Irish potato famine, when the principal crop of potatoes that Irish people depended upon failed. Having an abundant variety of food ensures greater chances for our survival and our ability to thrive as a species. So, rather than relying on nine apples a day, people might eat an apple, banana, orange, pear, blueberries, tomato, celery, lettuce, and broccoli...everyday!
Unfortunately, the public is lulled into relying on vitamin and mineral supplements to replace the nutrients found in natural foods like fruits and vegetables. Although these substances have chemical formulas that are similar to the nutrients in real food, they are not identical. Two substances may have identical chemical formulas but have entirely different physical properties. Such substances are known as isomers. Although isomers may have the same number of organic elements, the elements are arranged in different geometric configurations, thereby giving them different interactive properties with other substances.
Scientists may burn a food in a laboratory and analyze the
chemical weight and proportions of the ashes to determine the chemical formula,
but this provides scientists with no ability to reconstruct the exact same
nutrients. Thomas Edison pointed out that scientists are unable to make a blade
of grass, so therefore why should people rely on chemically produced compounds
to replace food? Attempting to remove and isolate natural nutrients from whole
foods also oxidizes these nutrients, rendering them useless as supplements. Such
substances may be absorbed and circulated throughout the body when ingested, but
they are not metabolized by the body cells, and they are therefore a useless
burden to the body that must be eliminated. Any so-called therapeutic effect
from ingesting these substances is likely to be similar to drugs that reduce
symptoms by interfering with the body's homeostasis mechanisms and healing
Many food products contain added vitamins and minerals in an attempt to supplement the nutrients removed during processing. But studies show that animals die quicker when fed these deficient foods than if the animals are simply allowed to go without food and starve to death! In other words, not only do the supplements fail to replace natural nutrients in real food, but they are toxic to animals and humans. For example, people will starve to death quicker on bread and water than on water alone! This is because the body conserves a proper balance of nutrients on a water-fast, while an exclusive diet of bread is highly deficient in important nutrients like vitamin C, which quickly leads to nutrient imbalances and a painful death by scurvy, one of the first diet-related diseases discovered by man. It was discovered that eating a sufficient quantity of citrus fruits like limes prevents and reverses scurvy.
The need for vitamin C is much higher in humans and non-human primates than in other mammals. However, the RDA for vitamin C in the Western diet is set below optimal levels for health to accommodate a high intake of foods that lack vitamin C, like flesh, dairy, and grains. As our knowledge of nutrition continues to accumulate, it is becoming increasingly evident that including an ever larger variety and amount of natural, unprocessed plant-based foods like fruit and vegetables provides the best prescription for health and freedom from all the diet-related diseases that plague the modern world.