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Dietetics has a long history that stretches back at least to Hippocrates, who regarded it as virtually inseparable from medicine. Four of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States are diet-related conditions - diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. The effort to drive health care costs down has encouraged many physicians to shift their focus from the treatment of diseases to their prevention, which, of course, involves nutrition. There is no question that better nutrition can result in delaying the onset of many chronic diseases and significantly improve the quality of life.
Nearly everyone is familiar with the old nutritional saying that states: "You are what you eat." This saying urges you to think about the origins of your food. If your food was raised in an environment riddled with pesticides, herbicides and growth hormones, it will absorb those poisons - and so will you. This is particularly true of animal foods because animals accumulate and concentrate many pounds of vegetation into each pound of meat or milk that they produce.
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Acute: An illness or symptom of sudden onset, which generally has a short duration.
Allergy: Hypersensitivity caused by exposure to a particular antigen (allergen), resulting in an increased reactivity to that antigen on subsequent exposure, sometimes with harmful immunologic consequences.
Anxiety: Apprehension of danger, or dread, accompanied by nervous restlessness, tension, increased heart rate, and shortness of breath unrelated to a clearly identifiable stimulus.
Cancer: Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.
Carcinogen: Any agent that is cancer-causing.
Chronic: Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.
Diabetes Mellitus: A disease with increased blood glucose levels due to lack or ineffectiveness of insulin. Diabetes is found in two forms; insulin-dependent diabetes (juvenile-onset) and non-insulin-dependent (adult-onset). Symptoms include increased thirst; increased urination; weight loss in spite of increased appetite; fatigue; nausea; vomiting; frequent infections including bladder, vaginal, and skin; blurred vision; impotence in men; bad breath; cessation of menses; diminished skin fullness. Other symptoms include bleeding gums; ear noise/buzzing; diarrhea; depression; confusion.
EPA: Environmental Protection Agency. Also: Eicosapentanoic Acid. A metabolite of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid.
Epidemic: Describes a disease occurring in extensive outbreaks, or with an unusually high incidence at certain times and places.
Estrogen: One of the female sex hormones produced by the ovaries.
FDA: The (American) Food and Drug Administration. It is the official government agency that is responsible for ensuring that what we put into our bodies - particularly food and drugs - is safe and effective.
GMO: Genetically Modified Organism.
Gram: (gm): A metric unit of weight, there being approximately 28 grams in one ounce.
Hormones: Chemical substances secreted by a variety of body organs that are carried by the bloodstream and usually influence cells some distance from the source of production. Hormones signal certain enzymes to perform their functions and, in this way, regulate such body functions as blood sugar levels, insulin levels, the menstrual cycle, and growth. These can be prescription, over-the-counter, synthetic or natural agents. Examples include adrenal hormones such as corticosteroids and aldosterone; glucagon, growth hormone, insulin, testosterone, estrogens, progestins, progesterone, DHEA, melatonin, and thyroid hormones such as thyroxine and calcitonin.
Metabolism: The chemical processes of living cells in which energy is produced in order to replace and repair tissues and maintain a healthy body. Responsible for the production of energy, biosynthesis of important substances, and degradation of various compounds.
Pound: 454 grams, or about half a kilogram.
Premenstrual Syndrome: PMS consists of various physical and/or emotional symptoms that occur in the second half of the menstrual cycle, after ovulation. The symptoms begin about midcycle, are generally the most intense during the last seven days before menstruation and include: acne; backache; bloating; fatigue; headache; sore breasts; changes in sexual desire; depression; difficulty concentrating; difficulty handling stress; irritability; tearfulness.
rBGH: Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone. A genetically-engineered hormone sold to dairy farmers, who inject it into their cows every two weeks to increase milk production. Evidence has accumulated in recent years indicating that rBGH may promote cancer in humans who drink milk from rBGH-treated cows.
Stroke: A sudden loss of brain function caused by a blockage or rupture of a blood vessel that supplies the brain, characterized by loss of muscular control, complete or partial loss of sensation or consciousness, dizziness, slurred speech, or other symptoms that vary with the extent and severity of the damage to the brain. The most common manifestation is some degree of paralysis, but small strokes may occur without symptoms. Usually caused by arteriosclerosis, it often results in brain damage.