“EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY DONUT”
Figure 1 The donut eater and inflammation.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to a novel concept that I have been developing in my (hopefully soon to be published) book: InflaNATION: The Industrial Diner and a Doc in the Box. Since this article is also appearing on another website, I’ll give those new readers some quick definitions. The title of the book deals with the most important risk factors for diseases of western civilization like Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and cancer. Their root cause is inflammation hence the title “a nation of inflamed.” The Industrial Diner is you and I if we eat, consume or use processed “stuff.” The Doc in the Box is what I like to term the useful idiot, the MD who follows his superiors (CDC for example) without questioning them, and knows little of preventive medicine. He or she is simply towing the line for Big Pharma with their Pills and Procedures Paradigm. He is simply a cog in the wheel of the Commercial Sick Care System where nobody gets well. OK, that’s way too many definitions but somebody’s got to give em. I am a physician with a Master’s degree in traditional Chinese medicine, professor, author and lecturer. I cured myself of a major disease by avoiding medical doctors. My book is on prevention and how to get well again. You can read up on my story by going to www.inflaNATION.com, and those who practice Chinese medicine go to www.adaptiveTCM.com for CEU’s and practical advice for treating all sorts of fun stuff like when your patient passes out on you. Both sites provide weekly(?) blogs.
With that out of the way let us proceed with my little story. I want you to be able to conceptualize what just a few undesirable foods (and later many other lifestyle choices) can do to you after they “add up” and raise hell in your system. The science clearly tells us that numerous things in our environment, like food additives or industrial chemicals can combine to produce super toxicities. It’s called synergy but I call it dysergy when the effect destroys our health. Even simple food ingredients that appear harmless to the average Betty Crocker are not so benign. We can conceptualize this dysergy with a simple graph. Let’s take the specific example of a donut-pounding, beat-cop on a chilly, electric blue, October day. Seeing the officer with traces of powdered sugar all over his man moss, mouth and shirt, like a cat with feathers asunder, Rod Stewart would proclaim “every picture tells a story don’t it?” I remember it well, that mantra from the title track of Every Picture Tells a Story, one of the most enduring albums of all time.
Our story, while not as fun as a best-selling album, is actually more popular but not by choice. Just like when you first saw your future wife, it begins with a curve. For just a moment I’ll have to bore you with some “gee-I’m-a-tree.” The equation is a simple exponential one given by y=2 raised to the x power. For the x axis (the horizontal part) I’m simply going to add up some, but not all, of the pro-inflammatory food elements in a donut. Picture a sixer of those diminutive powdered types that, after a fortnight in your dorm room, tasted the same as brand new. To save time, I won’t list every single thing in a modern industrial donut that might be harmful or I’d be at it all day. To keep it simple I am listing only four “wrongs:” sugar, refined flour, omega 6 oils, and TFA (trans fats). That means that x= 4. All of these ingredients can cause inflammation. So in the above graph in figure 1, 4 wrongs do not make a right. They are plugged into the equation to give us a value of 16 for his body’s inflammatory response. That’s 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 16 for the y value. Theoretically this is 16 times more inflammation than if you had eaten only the sugar contained in the donut, or only consumed the oil it was fried in for example.
Ignore the mathemaniacal formula. Rather pay attention to the curve and how it takes off in a steep climb. The more inflammatory elements the steeper the ascent and the greater the inflammatory damage to your health. It’s really just a figurative way to describe the real-life injury that occurs when pro-inflammatory elements from every day foods, combine in vivo (in a living person). These crummy food elements are added together in a weird, yet common, industrial food snack called a “donut” which little resembles the more wholesome pastries of yesteryear. The story the science tells is the exponential inflammatory response which is elicited in our hapless oaf after ingestion. This is particularly true in real life when many other dangerous chemicals and medicines are in the mix.
Obviously the quantity eaten is a huge factor: one donut verses 15 makes a big difference in the degree of glycation, AGE formation and other inflammatory consequences. If you do not know these terms don’t worry I’ll be defining them in another blog but for now know that these are terms for the accelerated aging and other types of damage that sugars, TFA, and cheap seed oils can do to our body. I looked at four of the simplest ingredients but consider that there might be bleach in the flour which can harm your thyroid, flavor enhancers that behave as excitotoxins and destroy brain cells, preservatives, dyes, dough conditioners, GMO’s, pesticides, nano-titanium for color which poisons your testicles and many others. The real number of “wrongs” is probably closer to 10 or even 20! For example, if it’s 20 that would be the value for x: giving you 2 to the 20th power (2×2 repeated twenty times) which produces a much steeper slope to the hockey stick curve. This means that more and more inflammation (y) mounts much quicker in a feed forward way with each tiny, little, addition of wrongs (x). If I wanted to be really accurate I would have to plot time (in years) on the z axis, making it three dimensional since we also know that it’s a daily or yearly attrition of health that eventually causes us to succumb to disease but let’s not go there today.
The take home message is the steeper the curve, the greater the inflammation, the greater the potential for life-threatening diseases to form.
Remember that on any given Sunday we might be participating in scores of inflammatory “poundings.” For example, smoking, drinking to excess, taking a pill for every ill while hopping over to Walgreen’s for a vaccine during half-time. Everyone’s hungry, why not chuck down a 2 gallon bucket of industrial hot wings? In fact, anything in a bucket sounds fabulous right about now. Try Hooters for all of your deep fried needs. Common, everyday things we never think about may be silently robbing us of our lives. These and many others mentioned throughout this book generate chronic inflammation. Most people you talk to don’t believe there’s much consequence to sitting on the couch, avoiding that walk you promised yourself, having a cigarette and eating that extra piece of “pounding” cake. Although food is a great and powerful inflammatory Oz, it’s about bad habits-the American lifestyle-that can get you into the greatest trouble.
BAD HABITS-EASIER THAN YOU THINK, WORSE THAN YOU BELIEVE
That’s the way it is with those seemingly innocuous habits-they generate a ton of inflammation. For many, habits like pie and ice cream after dinner every night, are automatic responses requiring no more thinking than a soccer mom’s mentation as she’s running over a squirrel while talking on her cell. You may not be aware but the ton o’ inflammation I refer to is growing exponentially inside you like that baby alien thing in that one guy from the first Alien movie. Research has proven this to be the case because each “wrong” often amplifies other wrongs to make matters far worse than if their damage was added up separately resulting in an exponential inflammation curve like the one in figure 1. There is overwhelming evidence that this is exactly what happens when consumers are stressed out, smoke cigarettes, eat combinations of bad foods with chemical additives on top of already having an inflammatory disease such as obesity, diabetes or heart disease. These food ingredients and additives accelerate and fuel chronic inflammation and disease which in turn progenerates more cellular damage in a never ending feed-forward cycle. This is clearly demonstrated by testing patients for several serum markers for inflammation like hsCRP, TNF-alpha, LP-PLA2, AA and IL-6. You see exponential-type increases in these serum markers as you add inflammatory insults to the mix. For example, a routine inflammation marker is the high sensitivity C reactive protein (hsCRP) which I’ll discuss later. Studies have clearly shown for that when you add obesity together with diabetes the hsCRP rises much higher than the two alone if added together separately. Throw in a third element like smoking and the CRP rises yet again to new, vastly greater heights. Now wig the person out by having her think and dwell on a stressful event and you’ll see, once again, the CRP rising to astonishing levels.
Even two rights make a wrong when Phil and Magnolia eat turkey loaf and canned gravy. They, like most folks, think that it’s good, wholesome, food: the turkey and gravy are all-“right.” But they aren’t even close, for them generating inflammation is as easy as burning your house down after an indoor BBQ party. They just don’t know any better. The effects of this behavior are exponential-through dysergy (bad synergy)-which vastly increases the inflammatory response. This makes the American lifestyle with its normal (assumed to be good) activities and its bad habits far more dangerous than most people believe. It also illustrates how, for example, sudden death can seemingly strike out of nowhere and rob a family of their patriarch at age 43 when they thought they weren’t doing anything particularly offensive or wrong as far as health goes. By illustrating how “harmless” bad habits generate huge amounts of chronic inflammation through graphs I hope to slam home the point more effectively. If you continued to add more values (x) you would see the inflammatory (y) response skyrocket. With four the curve is just starting to take off.
This same graph can be used to illustrate someone eating a box of Sweet & Salty, caramel flavored, Bugles for example. You know, the one’s most likely donning the AHA seal of approval on the front of the box? This type of fare is often obtained from the abysmal interior of a Big Box store like Wal-Morturary or Walgangrene’s Pharmacy. Or we could well imagine some pimple-faced teenager consuming industrial pastries, pies and puddings snatched from the infarcting innards of a huge Sick Food Store in Mayhem, America. Because of all the junk in these modern imitation food products, ingestion of our pastry pariahs produces much greater inflammatory damage to your body than when a person eats just plain sugar or flour or omega 6 oils, without anything else added. Ummm yummy, plain wheat flour in a bowl.
REALFOOD®, MORE FUN THAN AN AUTOPSY.
Let’s look at a new case and try to have some fun doing it-so bear with me please. This takes place in the near future. At the dizzying rate we moving it will be a reality in 20 years-unless we fight back. Remember the typical 40 yo American with metabolic syndrome, the one in all the Midwestern commercials? That’s the deconditioned, hypertensive donning his backwards baseball cap, wearing basketball coolats with omnipresent “grain” belly, low HDL, high triglycerides, bad LDL profile and a squall of free radicals grazing on his innards.
By 2034 they are America. Metabolic syndrome by then will have infected nearly every adult because we lost the war and allowed corporations to feed us and provide “health care.” Like a far worse version of Idiocracy our future inhabitants have been feasting on highly addicting-recall the Bliss-Point-convenience meals like the newly marketed Caligula TV Dinners. Like their famous Frozen (Chicken) Shoulders with Realmeat® (30% real avian sourced meat and 70% virus protein). Due to the mega-merger between Monsanto, Shell oil and Tyson Foods these new Caligula creations use Shell Oil’s all natural, ChicknLike® chicken flavored petroleum by-products. For seafood lovers there’s 2-Na+, fresh from the labs of Syngenta (now are subsidiary of Monsanto). It’s a tuna-flavored sandwich that’s a nightlight. According to the package insert that reads like a PDR document these meals are carefully scripted with the new flagship seasoning salt ALUMI-YUM®: foundry blowdown aluminum chloride salts-the sixth taste sensation! Don’t forget to try Caligula’s SteerClear® (minimum of 16% GMO ungulate genes and stealth prions) beef flavored roasts. Other side dishes purchased separately are geared toward “a complete and balanced meal,” satisfying all of the new USDA required nutritive food groups. The spokesperson thus brayed, brandishing a pouch of Menard’s spun HFCS-fiberglass cotton candy attic insulation (GMO fructose group); Jersey County’s NufSaid™ Cheesy Tubes® (GMO cheese and GMO starch group). For the veggies (GMO-pesticide group) we have KornNow® self-heating, depleted uranium, GMO grits from Monsanto’s blockbuster edible nuclear pesticides line:
“Mom, it’s already hot!”
With daily consumption of a “complete” future meal like those above the new graph would have an even steeper climb than the donut eater indicating much greater free radical and inflammation triggering stimuli. Maybe this same person already has diabesity or hypometabolic-hypogonadal-obesity; a previous heart attack or a recent stroke on top of metabolic syndrome. Just add these new factors to x and watch the graph take off. In fact, it might climb almost vertically with inflammation. Like firing up one of those old-school two stage Estes Rockets that completely burned both eyebrows off my friend’s face making him look like a tomato worm with his “butch” haircut for half the summer.
The point I’m making is that all of these synthetics like pesticides and dough conditioners combined with processed “new foods” like cereal grains and HFCS on top of an already sick, stressed out person produce synergistic damage which can best be described by an exponential graph like the above examples. In essence you are causing severe, synergistic, damage through constant stimulation of chronic inflammatory pathways where each of these additives feeds and promotes the others as if they had a life of their own.
We still have the freedom of choice to eat a fresh salad for lunch or dinner over an Industrial Dinner (how bad can they be right?). When you are already sick with overt disease or you are suffering from silent inflammation, which the vast majority of Americans will have, you are dangerously playing with your health like a toddler with a box of strike anywhere matches in a fireworks factory. Remember it’s your choice. Use it or lose it and end like our buddy above eating Caligula Dinners. Modern convenience foods are more fun than filming your own autopsy.
 University, O. (2013, March 16). “Study Finds Dwelling On Stressful Events Can Increase Inflammation In The Body.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/257665.php. 04/29/13