No Acne, No Body Odor

A while back, I told a new friend of mine that I was writ­ing about how peo­ple could make them­selves heart-attack-proof, just by eat­ing plants instead of ani­mals and cut­ting way back on their fat intake. I men­tioned, in an off­hand sort of way, that this same diet also cures obe­si­ty. I didn’t know it at the time, but she was in the “down” phase of a pat­tern of yo-yo diet­ing. She was very inter­est­ed and wrote down the Web sites I rec­om­mend­ed.

About a month lat­er, when we were talk­ing on the tele­phone, she said, “I switched to a plant-based diet, and I’ve lost some weight with­out feel­ing hun­gry. I’ve also noticed that my acne cleared up. Is that because of the diet?” I said that it prob­a­bly was. The fat in ani­mal-based foods and the huge dose of estro­gen that occurs nat­u­ral­ly in dairy prod­ucts, even “organ­ic” dairy prod­ucts, both con­tribute to acne. She said, “Well, why didn’t you tell me that? It’s a major sell­ing point!”

Anoth­er month or two went by, and we were talk­ing on the tele­phone again. My friend said, “Lau­rie, I’ve just noticed that I don’t have body odor any­more. I used to have to use heavy-duty deodor­ant. Now I don’t stink, even if I sweat heav­i­ly. Is it because of the diet?” I told her that it prob­a­bly was. Not only do ani­mal-based foods con­tain far more pro­tein than you need, but the pro­teins in ani­mal-based foods are par­tic­u­lar­ly high in sul­fur. Burn­ing those pro­teins for ener­gy releas­es stinky sul­fur com­pounds. She said, “Well, why don’t you tell peo­ple about that! Young peo­ple care far more about that than about their risk of heart attack!”

So there you have it. Switch­ing to a plant-based diet can make you look bet­ter and smell bet­ter.

Pho­to by Salu­da UdeA

Polycystic ovary syndrome: the diabetes of bearded women

Poly­cys­tic ovary syn­drome is a major cause of infer­til­i­ty among young women in the Unit­ed States. It’s also nature’s way of telling women that they’re eat­ing the wrong kinds of food. Cut­ting her fat intake to 10% or less of her total calo­ries can restore the woman’s fer­til­i­ty and is impor­tant for pro­tect­ing her health, espe­cial­ly if she becomes preg­nant.

A woman with poly­cys­tic ovary syn­drome has irreg­u­lar peri­ods or may have stopped hav­ing men­stru­al peri­ods alto­geth­er. Because she sel­dom ovu­lates, it might take a long time for her to become preg­nant. Besides hav­ing irreg­u­lar peri­ods, the woman may also be over­weight and have acne and facial hair. The infer­til­i­ty, acne, and facial hair result from an excess of male hor­mones, which in turn result from abnor­mal­ly high lev­els of the hor­mone insulin. In oth­er words, poly­cys­tic ovary syn­drome should be viewed as a mild form of type 2 dia­betes. As far back as 1921, some French researchers referred to this prob­lem as “the dia­betes of beard­ed women” (la dia­bète des femmes a barbe).

Dia­betes mel­li­tus, or sug­ar dia­betes, means that the per­son tends to pass large amounts of a sug­ar called glu­cose in the urine. This hap­pens when the amount of glu­cose in the blood­stream has reached tox­ic lev­els. There are sev­er­al types of sug­ar dia­betes. Since the terms that Amer­i­cans use for the dif­fer­ent kinds of dia­betes are con­fus­ing, I’ll use the French terms, whose mean­ing is obvi­ous.

Back in the 1870s, French researchers divid­ed cas­es of sug­ar dia­betes into two gen­er­al cat­e­gories: thin dia­betes (dia­bète mai­gre) and fat dia­betes (dia­bète gras). Thin dia­betes was a cat­a­stroph­ic, incur­able prob­lem that often occurred in chil­dren and young adults. These patients wast­ed away and died with­in a few weeks, regard­less of treat­ment. At autop­sy, you could usu­al­ly see that some­thing had gone wrong with their pan­creas. Even­tu­al­ly, some Cana­di­an researchers fig­ured out that the pan­creas of peo­ple with thin dia­betes had lost the abil­i­ty to make a hor­mone called insulin. The Cana­di­an researchers devel­oped a way to iso­late the insulin from ani­mal pan­creas­es to use as a drug for human dia­bet­ics.

The devel­op­ment of insulin ther­a­py was a life-sav­ing mir­a­cle for peo­ple with thin dia­betes, often enabling them to live a near-nor­mal lifes­pan. How­ev­er, insulin has much less of an effect on blood sug­ar in peo­ple with fat dia­betes. Fat dia­betes is a com­par­a­tive­ly mild con­di­tion that tends to occur in over­weight, usu­al­ly mid­dle-aged to elder­ly peo­ple. It could be cured by weight loss and exer­cise. Peo­ple with fat dia­betes can make their own insulin. In fact, they typ­i­cal­ly have abnor­mal­ly high lev­els of insulin in the blood. Their bod­ies just don’t respond nor­mal­ly to insulin. They have insulin resis­tance.

Insulin acts as a key that unlocks an impor­tant door on the sur­face of cells. Unless that door opens, a cell can­not take in glu­cose. Peo­ple with thin dia­betes can­not make their own insulin. Unless they take insulin by injec­tion, their cells will starve even as those cells’ favorite fuel builds up to tox­ic lev­els all around them. Although peo­ple with fat dia­betes may make exces­sive amounts of insulin, their cells don’t respond nor­mal­ly to it. It takes a huge amount of insulin to pry open the doors to let glu­cose into their cells.

In women, the abnor­mal­ly high insulin lev­els cause the body to pro­duce abnor­mal­ly large amounts of male hor­mones. Besides caus­ing acne and facial hair, these male hor­mones dis­rupt the devel­op­ment of eggs in the ovary. Nor­mal­ly, each egg cell devel­ops in a tiny flu­id-filled fol­li­cle, which bursts to release the egg. The release of the egg is called ovu­la­tion. If the woman doesn’t ovu­late, she can’t become preg­nant. If the egg fol­li­cles stop devel­op­ing before ovu­la­tion, these lit­tle flu­id-filled cysts build up in the ovary. You can actu­al­ly see them if you look at the ovary with an ultra­sound machine. That’s why the con­di­tion is called poly­cys­tic ovary syn­drome.

Since women with poly­cys­tic ovary syn­drome sel­dom ovu­late, it can take a long time for them to become preg­nant. Doc­tors typ­i­cal­ly tell women with poly­cys­tic ovary syn­drome to lose weight. Doc­tors may also pre­scribe a drug called met­formin, which reduces the body’s resis­tance to insulin. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the met­formin doesn’t solve the prob­lem. In the long run, it may make the prob­lem worse, because it tends to pro­mote weight gain!

Fat dia­betes results from fat: fat in the body and fat in the diet. Sci­en­tists have known since the 1930s that eat­ing a high-fat diet caus­es insulin resis­tance. Eat­ing a low-fat, high-car­bo­hy­drate diet restores the body’s sen­si­tiv­i­ty to insulin. If the woman switch­es to a low-fat (<10% of calo­ries), high-car­bo­hy­drate (>75% of calo­ries), high-fiber diet, she will cor­rect her insulin resis­tance and will prob­a­bly lose weight while eat­ing as much as she wants. In con­trast, met­formin tends to pro­mote fur­ther weight gain, which could make the insulin resis­tance worse in the long run.

If a woman is infer­tile because of poly­cys­tic ovary syn­drome, met­formin could help her become preg­nant. How­ev­er, it will not remove the cause of the insulin resis­tance. If the woman becomes preg­nant, her insulin resis­tance may get worse. She may even devel­op a full-blown case of ges­ta­tion­al dia­betes! In con­trast, a change to a healthy diet will not only help her become preg­nant, it will improve her health through­out the preg­nan­cy and increase her chances of hav­ing a healthy baby.

Pho­to by Warm­Sleepy

What People Can Achieve by Eating a Low-Fat, Plant-Based Diet

If you have any chron­ic health prob­lem, I don’t care what it is, con­sid­er mak­ing a change in your diet. Often, a sim­ple exclu­sion diet pro­to­col can help you cure dev­as­tat­ing dis­eases like type 2 dia­betes or rheuma­toid arthri­tis. It can also make you heart-attack-proof and reduce your risk of can­cer. A change to a low-fat, plant-based diet is sim­ple and cheap and has no side effects. If you have any seri­ous health prob­lem, talk to a reg­is­tered dietit­ian (look for the “RD” after their name) as well as your doc­tor before mak­ing a change in diet.

Lose Weight

The secret to effort­less weight loss is to go ape and eat plants. Switch to a high-fiber, low-fat diet based on unre­fined starch­es and lots of veg­eta­bles. Eat as much of these foods as you can hold, and you’ll be less tempt­ed to snack on high-calo­rie junk food.

Stop Multiple Sclerosis

Dr. Roy Swank showed that you can stop the pro­gres­sion of mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis just by tak­ing the ani­mal prod­ucts and fat out of the diet. Dr. John McDougall is car­ry­ing on this research.

Become Heart-Attack-Proof

Dr. Cald­well Essel­styn took a bunch of patients with advanced coro­nary artery dis­ease and made them “heart-attack-proof” just by teach­ing them to eat the right kinds of food.

Cure Type 2 Diabetes

Dr. Neal Barnard proved that a low-fat, plant-based diet is bet­ter than the Amer­i­can Dia­betes Association’s stan­dard dietary rec­om­men­da­tions for con­trol­ling type 2 dia­betes. Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s patients with type 2 dia­betes become “undi­a­bet­ic” with­in a mat­ter of weeks if they eat that way.

Dramatically Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

T. Col­in Camp­bell, PhD, a world-famous nutri­tion­al bio­chemist and nutri­tion­al epi­demi­ol­o­gist, has shown that the more ani­mal-based foods peo­ple eat, the high­er their risk of can­cer. In ani­mal mod­els, sci­en­tists could turn the devel­op­ment of tumors on and off just by increas­ing or decreas­ing the amount of ani­mal pro­tein in the diet.

Fight Arthritis

Arthri­tis is not an inevitable con­se­quence of age. It is com­par­a­tive­ly rare in soci­eties where peo­ple eat a low-fat, plant-based diet. About 70% of peo­ple with the most com­mon form of inflam­ma­to­ry arthri­tis, rheuma­toid arthri­tis, can expect dra­mat­ic ben­e­fits, and often a cure, in less than 4 weeks of diet change. The diet must be fol­lowed strictly—medications are reduced and stopped as improve­ments occur.

Prevent Osteoporosis

Osteo­poro­sis is reversible, if you eat a plant-based diet, get rea­son­able expo­sure to sun­shine, and get some exer­cise. Believe it or not, dairy prod­ucts actu­al­ly make osteo­poro­sis worse.

Relieve Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Inflam­ma­to­ry bow­el dis­eases occur almost exclu­sive­ly in parts of the world where the diet is high in meat and dairy foods, and are rare in coun­tries where peo­ple still con­sume starch-based, almost entire­ly veg­e­tar­i­an meals.

Avoid Surgery for Gallstones

Gall­stones are usu­al­ly made of cho­les­terol, and they result when peo­ple over­load their sys­tem with fat­ty, high-cho­les­terol foods.

Prevent Varicose Veins, Hemorrhoids, Hiatal Hernia, Uterine Prolapse

All of those dis­or­ders result from con­sti­pa­tion. When peo­ple strain to move their bow­els, the abnor­mal­ly high pres­sure in the bel­ly can dam­age the valves in the veins and push var­i­ous organs out of their nor­mal posi­tions.

Appendicitis and Diverticulosis

The high-pro­tein, low-fiber West­ern diet is the cause of appen­dici­tis and diver­tic­u­lo­sis.

The List Goes On and On

Many oth­er dis­eases have been shown to be the result of the rich, fat­ty, low-fiber stan­dard Amer­i­can diet. I should also have list­ed acne, bad breath, body odor, and erec­tile dys­func­tion, along with kid­ney and liv­er dis­ease. The sad thing is that many peo­ple unwit­ting­ly sub­ject them­selves to these dis­eases in their attempt to avoid “pro­tein defi­cien­cy,” even though pro­tein defi­cien­cy isn’t a real prob­lem in human beings. After all, where do goril­las get their pro­tein?