Need for Dietary Improvement

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.

Many pesticides, such as DDT, DDE and PCP, have been shown to mimic the effects of estrogen in the body and have been linked to the growing epidemic of estrogen-related health conditions such as PMS, breast cancer, and low sperm counts.

The EPA, in a continuing examination of pesticides, has so far found sixty-four that are potentially carcinogenic. Many others have yet to be tested. Growth hormones such as rBGH that are found in conventionally-raised dairy and meat products have been shown to have detrimental effects on the human body. And the EPA and FDA can not guarantee there will be no negative effects from GMOs. In today’s world, no one of us can escape pollution completely, but there is a big difference between the amount and type of toxins present in organic foods and in those raised by conventional means. By choosing organic foods, you can significantly reduce the amount of environmental toxins in your body and the environment as a whole.

Here are some simple rules:

  • Do not over eat.
  • Eat a variety of foods.
  • Consider organically grown food.
  • Eat as much of your food raw or lightly cooked as possible.
  • Eat as much fresh fruit and vegetables as possible.
  • Avoid drinks containing sugar or caffeine.
  • Avoid sugars.
  • Avoid processed and refined foods.
  • Avoid hydrogenated trans-fatty acids. Use only certain oils for frying. Keep essential fats in balance.

Beyond this, many other factors contribute to the diet that best suited for any specific individual. Metabolic typing, food allergies, blood typing and digestive problems can all play a role in food selection.

 


Conditions that suggest Need for Dietary Improvement

Diet  


Metabolic  


 


Nutrients  


 


Organ Health  

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Out of 50 consecutive COPD patients presented with acute respiratory failure upon admittance to a hospital, malnutrition was observed in 60% of all patients but only 39% of those whose body weight was equal to or above 90% of ideal body weight. These results suggest that assessment of nutritional status should be systemically performed for COPD patients with acute respiratory failure, especially those who are in need of mechanical ventilation. Aggressive, early nutritional support in acute illness might have beneficial effects on the weaning of patients off mechanical intervention. [Nutritional Status of Patients With COPD and Acute Respiratory Failure, Chest, May 1993;103(5): pp.1362-1368]



Skin-Hair-Nails  


 


 


Tumors, Benign  



Risk factors for Need for Dietary Improvement

Symptoms - Food - Beverages  

High/moderate alcohol consumption



 

Caffeinated soft drink consumption



 

Sugared soft drink consumption



 

(High) coffee consumption



 

(High) tea consumption



 

Low-calorie soft drink consumption



 

Non-caffeine soft drink consumption



Symptoms - Food - Intake  

Low fruit/vegetable consumption



 

(High) fast food consumption



 

Rarely/seldom having salad



 

(High) deep-fried food consumption



 

(High) refined sugar consumption



 

(High) processed meat consumption



 

(High) hydrogenated fat consumption



 

(High) refined white flour consumption



 

Frequent/weekly/daily use of ice cream



 

Eating sizable chocolate portions

Chocoholics suffer greater anxiety, guilt, restlessness, frustration, and depression when exposed to chocolate than non-chocoholics — which means that chocolate addiction is a lot like drug addiction or alcoholism. The self-styled “chocolate addicts” also ate more than twice as much chocolate as the non-addicts – 112gm compared to 45gm. The chocolate addicts showed more aberrant eating behaviors and attitudes than non-addicts, and were more likely to engage in bulimic types of behaviors, the researchers reported. And the study findings indicated that they were also significantly more depressed. [International Journal of Eating Disorders 1999;25: pp.169-175]



 

(High) dairy product consumption



 

(Lack of) vegetable oil consumption



 

Low Omega-3 oil/no Omega-3 intake



 

Not eating cold water fish



 

High added salt consumption



 

Infrequent garlic consumption

Garlic may be the most medicinal of foods and should be consumed regularly unless there is a valid reason not to.



Counter Indicators
Symptoms - Food - Intake  

Moderate/high fruit/vegetable consumption



 

Having lots of salads or frequently having salad



Symptoms - Food - Preferences  

Raw food/vegan diet




Need for Dietary Improvement suggests the following may be present

Nutrients  


 


Organ Health  

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Out of 50 consecutive COPD patients presented with acute respiratory failure upon admittance to a hospital, malnutrition was observed in 60% of all patients but only 39% of those whose body weight was equal to or above 90% of ideal body weight. These results suggest that assessment of nutritional status should be systemically performed for COPD patients with acute respiratory failure, especially those who are in need of mechanical ventilation. Aggressive, early nutritional support in acute illness might have beneficial effects on the weaning of patients off mechanical intervention. [Nutritional Status of Patients With COPD and Acute Respiratory Failure, Chest, May 1993;103(5): pp.1362-1368]




Need for Dietary Improvement can lead to

Nutrients  


 


Tumors, Benign  



Recommendations for Need for Dietary Improvement

Diet  


 


 


 


 


Key

Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
Proven definite or direct link
Strongly counter-indicative
May do some good
Highly recommended

Glossary

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.

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.

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.

Chronic

Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.

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.

Pound

454 grams, or about half a kilogram.

Estrogen

One of the female sex hormones produced by the ovaries.

Epidemic

Describes a disease occurring in extensive outbreaks, or with an unusually high incidence at certain times and places.

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.

EPA

Environmental Protection Agency. Also: Eicosapentanoic Acid. A metabolite of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid.

Carcinogen

Any agent that is cancer-causing.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Acute

An illness or symptom of sudden onset, which generally has a short duration.

Anxiety

Apprehension of danger, or dread, accompanied by nervous restlessness, tension, increased heart rate, and shortness of breath unrelated to a clearly identifiable stimulus.

Gram

(gm): A metric unit of weight, there being approximately 28 grams in one ounce.

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