A Daily Mail article recently proclaimed that scientists think diabetes, eye disease, depression, Alzheimers, atherosclerosis, and other related metabolic diseases all share a common link. Guess what that link might be?
This begs the question of what may be causing chronic low-grade inflammation in people who consume a Western diet. The article doesn’t mention this, but it’s clear that these sorts of metabolic diseases are not prevalent in people who do not consume the typical western diet. The article says, “The cause of chronic inflammation is up for debate.” – but really, there is no debate. Thousands of medical studies have conclusively proven that animal products cause inflammation via two primary pathways, namely saturated fats and bacterial endotoxins.
To quote one study, “Lipopolysaccharides (LPS)… also known as bacterial endotoxins, may trigger acute and chronic inflammation… HDL cholesterol is one of the most important factors involved in the elimination of LPS molecules from circulation. In healthy subjects, LPS is mainly bound to HDL… High LPS activity combined with low HDL levels increases the risk for cardiovascular disease.
…Human and animal studies have both highlighted the importance of the composition of the diet for its influence on the endotoxin absorption process. Consumption of an energy-rich high-fat diet may result in increased levels of gut-derived bacterial endotoxins in circulation. Moreover, obesity-related changes in the gut microflora have been reported both in mice and humans.”
In places like rural Africa, where people subsist almost entirely on plants, they have virtually non-existent levels of metabolic disease. To quote one study, “East Africa—Very low CAD prevalence rates were reported from Kenya and Uganda. In an autopsy study at the Coast Province General Hospital in Kenya in 1960, only one case out of 2000 admitted cases was confirmed as myocardial infarction.” Followed by, “An 8-year retrospective review of 6817 autopsies at the University College Hospital in Ibadan, Nigeria found only eight cases of CAD and a 1/20,000 admission rate for myocardial infarction (MI) in the same institution between 1961 and 1970.”
The same is true for places like rural China, where the diet primarily consists of rice and vegetables, with very low meat and dairy consumption. Even in America prior to WWII, meat and dairy consumption were MUCH lower and so too were our rates of metabolic disease, such as heart disease. Today, places like China and Africa are seeing an increase in cardiovascular related disease due to increased saturated fat (animal product) consumption that typically follows from agricultural industrialization.
The Director of Yale University’s Prevention and Research Center, Dr. David Katz, noted that, “…we have very compelling evidence regarding the kinds of foods and diets that are associated with reduced risk of premature death and chronic disease — and they are not diets high in saturated fat! The Lyon Diet Heart Study compared a Mediterranean-style diet rich in monounsaturated fats to a “typical French” diet much richer in saturated fat among people who had had a first heart attack. The rate of second heart attack was 70 percent lower among those on the Mediterranean diet! So much for the French paradox. The same results have been achieved on a plant-based diet, very low in total fat. No such results have ever been seen with any diet high in saturated fat.”
After editing for clarity, Dr. Katz concludes the article by saying, “Choose wisely — foods close to nature,
mostly [entirely] plants — and you will avoid a host of ills, from the wrong kinds of fat, to excesses of sugar, salt, starch and calories. By choosing wholesome foods, you construct a wholesome diet — with a good chance of adding both years to your life and life to your years. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, walnuts, almonds, lentils, beans, seeds, olives, avocados and fish are all among the foods most decisively recommended for health promotion and all are low in saturated fat. That is by no means their only virtue, but it is among them.”
It bothers me that the Daily Mail article seems completely oblivious to these facts. For more articles on diet’s role in controlling inflammation, look here.