High-Fat Diets, Their Dangers, and Other Medical Myths

High-Fat Diets, Their Dangers, and Other Medical Myths - Recently I wrote about half a dozen medical myths that float around society. This was in the wake of a huge, definitive government study proving, once and for all, that a high-fat diet doesn't cause breast cancer or heart disease in women.

It seems worthwhile as a follow-up to talk about half a dozen beliefs that are true. Most of them aren't espoused by the medical establishment, however, with its fanatical adherence to drugs and surgery as the only respectable way to treat illness.


1. Vegetarianism is good for you.

There are two reasons for this. First, avoiding meat is a way to keep your weight down. Second, you have to eat a lot of vegetables to get enough calories per day, and this increases your intake of vitamins and minerals.

2. Stress reduction works.

The best studies of heart disease and cancer indicate that high stress is harmful. Stress reduction brings the body back into balance generally, which is itself a good thing. It reduces high blood pressure, although it isn't a cure. Meditation is a proven stress reducer.

3. Small amounts of exercise are absolutely necessary.

A completely sedentary life is a major cause of overweight ad higher risk of many diseases. An adequate amount of exercise would include regular housecleaning, walking on a daily basis, taking care of a small child, climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator, etc. As far a weight loss goes, it's been shown that walking a mile loses more weight than jogging a mile, and jogging loses more than running. This is because heavier exercise is anaerobic (doesn't use oxygen) and causes the body to preserve calories rather than shed them.

4. Despite a recent slight drop in cancer death, mostly due to fewer cigarette smokers, cancer isn't going up or down significantly. This isn't exactly good news, but the adjusted death rate from cancer is about the same as it was in the 1930s, and rates seem to be about the same form culture to culture. Exposure to chemical toxins, an inescapable part of modern life, hasn't increased cancer rates, although as we all know, smoking puts you at extreme risk for lung cancer.

As the population ages, more people will contract cancer for two reasons: first, it is a disease of old age to begin with and second, by not dying of stroke and heart attacks, older people will have to die of something. Since there is no proven prevention for cancer, early detection and treatment hold the best promise so far.

5. Staying away from the doctor is good for you.

The medical establishment gave up on the old recommendation that everyone get a six-month checkup because it wasn't working. About 90 percent of serious illness is first detected by the patient. Secondly, people who live to great old age tend to not see doctors and to avoid taking drugs. It's not healthy to rely on drugs, to haunt the doctor's office, or to worry over minor illness and discomforts.

6. Moderation is the best preventive.

It sounds banal, but doing a bit of what's good for you is the best medicine, while too much of a good thing is bad. Omega 3 fish oil is good for thinning the blood, but too much runs the risk of stroke. Red wine is good for you, too much is bad for the liver. Eating your vegetables is good for you, taking megavitamins probably isn't.

Milk remains a healthy food for both children and adults (men who drink a quart of milk a day seem to reduce their risk of heart attack, for example). Making sure you exercise into old age is good, but over-exercise at younger ages can lead to joint problems later on. Finally, natural exercise like jogging outside does more good to more muscle groups than running on a treadmill. Using gym equipment is fine, but being outside in the sunshine is better.

None of this sounds revolutionary, but there is an underlying wisdom at work. Your body knows what it is doing, and if you listen to it and cooperate sensibly, good health is the norm, not the exception. We are an incredibly fortunate society in terms of health, and the sooner we stop obsessing about it, the better. ( .lifestyle.yahoo.com )

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