Sunday, January 21, 2007

Processed Foods & Cancer

"Six of the ten leading causes of death are directly related to diet." (Dr. Julian Witaker)

Preservative: a natural or synthetic chemical that is added to products such as foods, pharmaceuticals, paints, biological samples, etc. to retard spoilage, whether from microbial growth, or undesirable chemical changes. - Wikipedia

It seems like cancer is everywhere these days, on the rise, and striking indiscriminately at will. You have to wonder, has it always been like this? While the ancients and even our great-grandparents lived in a time when most people died of some unknown sickness (or one that was known but not treatable), it has been theorized that cancer is almost exclusively a post-Industrial Revolution sickness.

The main suspect: processed foods.

Since the end of WWII, processed "food" has dominated our grocery store shelves. What is downright scary to me is the fact that we, as Americans, have come to call these canned, boxed substances "food!"

Here is a scary bit of information:
"Preservatives can be considered in the classification of poisonous
drugs because they have the same ill effects on the tissues
in which they settle. Many of our canned foods are being preserved
with drugs. In the past, arsenic was used in the canning of peas. We find
that some companies are using certain poisonous fluids and
drugs to preserve canned meats. Soda is frequently used as a
preservative. Coal tar [a known cancer-producing agent] products often are used for coloring and flavoring." - B. Jensen D.C., N.D., The Science and Practice of Iridology p168.

Preservatives are also suspected of destroying the bacteria balance in our systems:

"The problem being that [preservatives] indiscriminately destroy bacteria -
good bacteria and bad bacteria. Which means that they could interfere with the
growth of the friendly bacteria in the colon - leading to serious digestion
problems, and to various imbalances in the natural bacterial population that
should thrive in the digestive tract. This, we believe, could be a major
cause of what is known as thrush or Candida."

Poisonous substances? Arsenic? Am I the only one with goosebumps here? The part that scares me the most is the fact that processed foods exist because of their enhanced taste and appearance, long shelf life, and most of all, convenience. Thus, in a busy country like the U.S., people turn to these preservative-ridden concoctions as the main, if not entire, part of their daily diet! What most people don't realize is that processed food is almost, if not completely, devoid of all nutrients. When someone eats a lot of processed food but gets no nutrients out of their diet, it's called "full-belly starvation." It is something that is, unfortunately, more often than not the case in wealthy, on-the-go nations like our own.
Combine preservatives with the high amount of fat and processed, refined carbohydrates the average American eats on a daily basis, and you have the problem our nation faces right now: severe obesity, climbing rates of heart disease, diabetes, birth defects, and a generally unhealthy nation.

Here is another theory, and while it may sound "out there," I think it deserves at least a thought. Some people think that there is a link between our higher rates of skin cancer and processed foods. It is theorized by many doctors that skin cancer is actually due to a reaction between the sunlight and the preservatives left in our bodies reacting together. I know, I know, you're probably thinking "well yeah, of course skin cancer is on the rise! The ozone layer is thinner than it used to be." I am by no means a scientist, and this blog isn't about global warming or ozone thinning so I'm not to go into it. Just check out this map of skin cancer rates around the world: Scroll about halfway down the page to see the map of the world.
I think it is interesting to note that the lowest rates of skin cancer happen to be in African and Middle Eastern countries. I am well aware of the fact that the regions with the lowest skin cancer rates happen to be made up of people with generally darker skin pigments. However, my only point here is this: is the climbing rate of skin cancer exclusively to blame on thinning ozone, or could it have something to do with our diet? It would logically follow that if the ozone were the only thing to blame skin cancer on, it would be on the rise all around the world. But looking at the map shows that skin cancer is very low in the regions with the most intense sunlight, and it is very high in the industrialized nations like North America, Russia, European nations, and Australia. How is it that Alaska has a higher skin cancer rate than African and Middle Eastern countries, when even an Alaskan summer is pretty chilly? Most of the countries with the highest rates of skin cancers get little, if any, really intense sunlight.
Take Mexico for example. For centuries, Mexicans cooked in lard (I am by no means advocating the use of lard btw). Then, recently, many Mexicans started cooking with margarine and other hydrogenated oils that have been, of course, processed, and known to block the elimination of toxins from our bodies. Now, Mexico's skin cancer rates are catching up with the U.S., and what is most interesting is that in the far-out areas that have no access to supermarkets, the cancer rate has not risen a bit. (World Health Organization) It has only risen in areas where hydrogenated margarine is readily available. Now, either the ozone just happened to thin in those more industrialized areas, or something else is to blame. It's worth a thought...
Even the International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research (INCTR) concedes that cancer rates in developing nations are pretty low. Could it have something to do with the fact that people in developing nations generally eat mostly fresh-grown or all-natural food and practically no processed food?
The more industrialized and wealthy a nation is, the busier the people are. And the busier the people are, the less likely they are to eat healthy and the more likely they are to eat conveniently. Who wants to bother cooking a healthy, homemade meal after a 9-hour workday plus commute?
So at the end of the day, we may be one of the wealthiest nations on earth, but are we really healthier than we used to be? In my opinion, we live longer in spite of our poor diets because we have technology to keep us going longer. How else can we explain our out-of-control health?

No comments: