Side effects of the side effects
So over the last week I have been asking the following question on social media.
‘In the year 2000, what was the third highest cause of death in the USA’
The answer……death from the side effects of prescription drugs (Dr. Barbara Starfield, writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2000)
Now, if you go straight to google to check this out you will not find it. At least not very easily. You will instead be met with lists upon lists of ‘the top ten causes of death’ and so on but very very few will list the side effects of prescription drugs anywhere on their lists. Now you might think that a little strange to begin with but there is actually very good reasons why this is rarely published or even noticed.
Lets start at the beginning.
We have in the UK, a very good health care service. Massively over run and the staff are massively overworked and underpaid but we have a good health care service. Except, its not really a health care service in most cases is it. Rather a disease cure service (Drugs and surgical advances are keeping the death rates more or less constant despite the increased risk factors (except for diabetes, whose mortality rate has increased an astounding 29 percent in North America from 2007 to 2010).3 But the data make it clear that none of our advances in medicine deal with primary prevention, and none are making us fundamentally healthier. They aren’t decreasing the death rate. And the price we’re paying for these advances is steep – T.Colin Campbell, PHD).
So why am I referring to it as a disease cure service. Well, to me, a health care service implies that the service is looking into your overall health. Looking at improving your day to day life, looking to prevent illnesses before they occur. A disease cure system does the exact opposite. It pays minimal attention (get your 5 a day, exercise 3 times a week is about as far reaching as it goes) to your health pre-illness and works purely on rectifying the problem.
What I would like to see is more widespread information on prevention. How eating a healthy diet made up largely of whole foods and plant based nutrition with no processed food will actually prevent these illnesses from ever developing in the first place. Most doctors and nurses will admit diet is important but have many really done their research? Do they really know how effective the above diet plan is on preventing illnesses such as cancer, hypertension and cardiac disease? If they do know, are they passing it on to their patients?
We only ever go to our GP or the hospital/care centre when we are ill (obviously) and we get treated (usually) with medication. Now, I am not saying that we do not not need this service. We absolutely do need it and I myself have been treated with penicillin this last week for a spider bite. There is not much I can do to prevent that from happening and reluctantly, I had to go on a weeks course of medication. And it worked really well. This post is not a dig at any health care professionals. Simply I want to make people aware of the benefits of eating an un-processed, whole food and largely plant based diet.
I would like to give you some examples to make things a little clearer now. And all the below statements and facts are from just one person. Yes, all the illnesses you read about now will be from the same one man.
A little background on the man in question.
He has lived what is seen as quite a normal life. Worked all his life (now retired), smoked all his life and drunk quite a bit over the years. He is in a weight category that just classes him as obese (he refuses to believe this but numbers are numbers). He has suffered with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) for about 15 years and has been on cholesterol lowering tablets for about 3 years. He has been classified as a type 2 diabetic 12 months ago. Now all this sounds quite a lot and might seem shocking to many of you but unfortunately it is all too common nowadays.
This man has had two heart attacks this year, had to be revived twice and is still recovering to this day.
So it started many years ago with the COPD. He was put on a course of steroids. Steroids he is unable to stop taking to this day as his body can now not survive without them. He bruises if you breathe on him as his skins tissue is so soft. A small cut to you and me, tears great chunks of flesh from him. Underneath, his bones are becoming brittle as a result of the years of steroids. But do not worry, he has other medication to compensate for these side effects.
Next we look at his high cholesterol. After having it checked in a routine GP check up, he was instantly put on tablets to reduce his cholesterol. It worked. No visible side effects either. The rub here though is that the tablets moderate his cholesterol very well. Virtually whatever he eats his cholesterol looks good during tests. Unfortunately by not educating the man on good diet diet choices he thinks he is doing well but actually all the bad fats, cream cakes, red meat etc are now causing other illnesses which would not occur had he been educated rather than being put on medication.
Now we move on to diabetes. Very similar to cholesterol, he has been placed on tablets to moderate his blood sugar levels. Again, they work really well but they also disguise the problem very well. He still drinks a lot of milk, still has a sweet dessert most days after dinner, still eats lots of white potatoes, white rice, white pasta and bottled and jar sauces. He thinks he is doing well though because when he checks his blood sugar, its in a good range. This is purely because of the tablets. He is still causing the same problems to his body, he just cannot see it.
Now, we move onto the big one. The two back to back heart attacks earlier this year.
Still the reason is largely unknown for these heart attacks. Many tests have been taken and nobody can come up with a definitive answer yet. So we are again looking at a cure when prevention would have been the better way to go. One of the main areas of concern is that a recent change in his medication caused the first heart attack. The man almost lost his life and a family nearly lost their husband and father because he was doing what he thought was the right thing.
This is a huge topic to cover and I could almost right a book on the whole subject (T. Colin Campbell has written 2 on the subject. The China Study and Whole) so I will keep things simple here…
How many side effects do you think he would have from years of eating a whole food, largely plant based and un-processed diet?
Would he have a suitcase of pills to take every morning if he chose to eat this kind of diet instead of the modern Western diet that is killing so many fathers, husbands, wives, mums, sisters, brothers and children?
By eating this type of diet there is a great chance he wouldn’t have high cholesterol, type two diabetes or any cardiac diseases. Instead he is relying on medication because that is what we are all led to believe is the cure to everything. Just this week there has been news headlines about a new wonder drug that can cure many cancers. But did you know there have been studies showing the effects of nutrition and its effectiveness in reducing and even eliminating cancer? One test put two groups of rats (it may only be rats but the results are believed to be very similar in humans) against each other. One group making up 20% of their diet with animal protein, the second group making up only 5% of their diet with animal protein.
What was found was that in the group with only 5% animal protein in their diet, certain cancer causing carcinogens where never present. NEVER . Yet most of the rats who ate 20% animal protein showed early signs of cancer causing carcinogens within their bodies.
Clearly findings suggesting that eating a healthier diet will prevent these diseases will not be talked about too much. Nobody is going to make a tonne of money by suggesting such a thing. And this is the cold hard truth I am afraid and that is that too many companies make too much money from us being sick. If you start preventing illnesses by consuming products they can not control or make any money from then they go out of business and they will not let that happen.
So put simply, not only will eating a largely plant based, whole food, un-processed diet help you to live a healthier life, there is no bad side effects from such a diet.
Think about how you want to be in your 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Do you want to be the healthy older person who can carry on their life mostly like you do now without daily pill popping or weekly GP visits? Or do you want to be like the man above who is only 63 years old and is now on a path of pill after pill after pill?
I strongly advise you read the books listed above by T. Colin Campbell or watch a film largely about these books called Forks over knives (I believe it can be found on Netflix at the time of writing this). That’s just a couple of hours out of your life to totally change your outlook on life.