Our increasingly poor health is an example of how going against nature catches up with us.

In an effort to avoid becoming a full-fledged hoarder, I am going through a lot of long collected stuff.  Some of it is so interesting that is hard to move on and one of the things I simply cannot let go is the years of Dr. David’s William’s newsletters, Alternatives.  Williams travels all over the world and spends his life studying health in all its aspects.  In the July 2010 issue he explains how Mother Nature cannot be fooled for long.

            Our increasingly poor health is an example of how going against nature catches up with us.  He says that much of the way we have treated disease in the past several decades is nothing more than an attempt to fool Mother Nature.  Even our processed food supply uses chemicals that make us develop addictions to health destroying junk food.

            Williams explains that much of the way drugs work seems to be based on the premise of fooling the body. In the majority of cases, drugs trick the body into acting as it normally would if it were healthy.  One example is corticosteroids which mimic the effects of cortisone and other hormones produced by healthy adrenal glands.  The result of such drugs is a dampened immune system by limiting the body’s natural inflammatory response.  He says diuretics force the kidneys to increase urination, resulting in water loss from the body, a drop in blood volume, and lower blood pressure.  Beta –blockers “block” the effect of adrenaline and slow the nerve impulses that travel through the heart, resulting in a slower heart beat and lower blood pressure.

            The side effects we see from drug use are the other, unintended events that occur when we try to pull a fast one on Mother Nature.  For example, corticosteroid use weakens your immune system, making you more susceptible to infections and increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, according to Williams.   Diuretics can deplete various minerals, leading to deficiencies and a host of related problems.   Beta-blockers keep your heart from beating faster during exercise, making it beat less forcefully and causing you to fatigue much more quickly than normal. 

            Williams writes, “Tricking the body with artificial sweeteners, chemically altered fats, and other ‘fake foods’ also causes side effects—a fact that is largely being ignored.  We’ve become accustomed to the idea that the easy and quickest way to better health is to rely on these types of ‘shortcuts.’  However, if you follow this path, you may eventually find that you’re paying dearly with your long-term health for these short-term benefits.”

Recent health news has been that artificial sweeteners are more detrimental than sugar, especially for people who have type 2 diabetes (insulin resistance).   Dr. Williams tells exactly why that is true and why artificial sweeteners actually cause obesity.  It turns out our taste buds, when stimulated, immediately send out signals to the rest of the body to be ready for what is coming.  In the case of carbohydrates, which are the body’s primary energy source, the pancreas increases its production of insulin, allowing the body to take full advantage of what nutrients and other components are ingested. 

Dr. Williams explains, “Problems can arise when we consume man-made and/or foods made with higher sugar content than foods commonly found in nature (vegetables and fruits).  Our body wasn’t designed to repeatedly handle something like a soft drink that contains 30, 40, or 50 grams of sugar—far more than the whole fruits the body was made to handle.  Real foods contain fiber and nutrients that help the body to use the sugar they contain in a healthful way.  The problem is just as bad, if not worse, when we trick the taste buds with artificial sweeteners.  These sweeteners can cause insulin levels to the rise to help deal with incoming sugar, only to find none is coming.  Our body then has to deal with the damaging effects of excess insulin, one of which is a craving for more sweets to help utilize the hormone (insulin).”

Not only can sugar and artificial sweeteners play havoc with the body’s balance; genetically modified foods, artificial proteins, and rancid altered fats take their toll as well.  The last few decades has brought a growing trend toward food produced for profit by processing it to extend shelf life.  Williams says this trend has dramatically altered our taste cell’s natural ability to help detect harmful substances and toxins.  The time was that tasting something “off” served as an early warning system to protect us from ingesting the wrong foods.  But now—through technologically “advanced” processes like hydrogenation, homogenization, deodorization, and microfiltering –we’ve altered our foods to the point that one of our body’s most protective mechanisms gets bypassed. 

It is pretty amazing that human beings have developed taste for stuff that bears no resemblance to food as nature produced it.  There are people, especially children, who don’t recognize vegetables and fruits.  To them food is hamburgers, fries, sodas, pizzas, and other substitutes for food. 

What better thing can we do than develop a taste for real food?  When health is gone other things don’t mean much.  We must be willing to learn and change.  It is not only not nice to fool Mother Nature; we can’t do it without harming ourselves. 

(Janice Norris lives in Heber Springs, has a B.S. in home economics from Murray State University, owned and operated health food stores in Illinois and Heber Springs, and wrote a weekly column in Illinois for 15 years. She can be reached at janicenorris34@yahoo.com)