It Is Not Nice to Fool with Mother Nature
In the dark days of World War II, America was running short of foods. With the farmers drafted into the service and much food being shipped to the troops overseas, the government decided to support food rationing. Hydrogenated vegetable “oleo margarine” was offered as the acceptable substitute for butter. Take corn or safflower oil and expose it to a catalyst to “saturate” the carbon bonds with hydrogens. You end up with a fat that has similar taste and appearance to saturated fats in nature.
Although on paper this substitution looked good, we have since found numerous reasons to ban or seriously discourage these unnatural fats. Trans fats can increase the risk for heart disease and many other health problems. “It is not nice to fool with mother nature.” was a witty ad slogan of the 1970s.
Lower the Risk for Cancer and Heart Disease
There have been many experiments in trying to improve on nature. Most have been dramatic failures. Over 200 studies have shown that a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables lowers the risk for most cancers and heart disease. In nature, the native cis beta carotene is mixed with hundreds of other carotenoids and bioflavonoids in plant food. From this data, researchers decided to use all trans synthetic beta carotenoid which was then coated with coal tar derived food coloring for a scientific study in heavy smokers. Turns out the mono nutrient study using an unnatural vitamin increased the risk of lung cancer in heavy smokers. No surprise there.
Lowering Heart Disease
Vitamin E was called the “vitamin in search of a disease” in the 1960s after a study deprived students (“volunteers”) of vitamin E for a year and found no blatant deficiency symptoms. Turns out it takes longer for the symptoms of premature hemolysis (bursting of red blood cells) to surface in vitamin E deficiency. One study found that nurses taking 200 mg per day of vitamin E supplements lowered their risk for heart disease by 40%. Then came the chemical “tinkerers”. Let’s take nature’s design for vitamin E, which is a rich mixture of tocopherols (alpha, beta, delta, gamma) plus tocotrienols (alpha, beta, delta, gamma) and instead create a synthetic vitamin E (synthetic d, l alpha tocopheryl acetate). No wonder the scientific studies using vitamin E have had mixed results.
Modern Day Farming
Cows live on a diet of grass. They are ruminants, just like sheep, buffalo, and deer, with a multi-chambered stomach that allows them to convert the indigestible fiber from grass into usable sugar in the body. Agribusiness decided that cows do not grow fast enough (read: more profit) on a natural diet of grass. So the cows were put in massive feed lots, heads locked in feeders to prevent any movement (which would be a waste of calories), fed huge amounts of higher caloric density grains, given antibiotics to subdue the inevitable diseases that arise from crowded conditions while also stimulating growth by 20%, given multiple veterinarian drugs to combat the illnesses of living in unhygienic and cramped quarters, then fed the ground up parts of other cattle (a cow is a vegetarian and cannot digest animal products)…then we wonder why some studies have shown that beef can increase the risk for heart disease and cancer.
Native American Farming
Yet, the Native Americans who ruled the central plains for centuries and followed the buffalo herds were very strong, athletic, and healthy people. They lived almost entirely on buffalo. Turns out that ruminants fed green grass generate a unique fatty acid, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), that can lower the risk for cancer, heart disease, obesity, and many other conditions. Grass fed ruminants have 5 times more CLA than grain fed ruminants. Again, it is not nice to fool with mother nature. A lesson that we humans will eventually learn.
PATIENT PROFILE: R.T. was only 5 years old when he started developing attention deficit disorder. His teachers recommended prescription drugs. I suggested omega 3 oils to nourish his brain instead. While fish oil is best, flax oil is an acceptable omega 3 oil source. R.T.’s parents made a whole fruit smoothie with flax oil daily for R.T. Within 2 weeks, the parents called me at their astonishment in R.T.’s improved behavior. He was a bright kid who did not need medication. He needed essential fats for his brain to work properly.