New book in Dutch

Eet vet word slank

Eet vet word slank gepubliceerd januari 2013

In dit boek lees je o.a.: * heel veel informatie ter bevordering van je gezondheid; * hoe je door de juiste vetten te eten en te drinken kan afvallen; * hoe de overheid en de voedingsindustrie ons, uit financieel belang, verkeerd voorlichten; * dat je van bewerkte vetten ziek kan worden.

Trick and Treat:
How 'healthy eating' is making us ill
Trick and Treat cover

"A great book that shatters so many of the nutritional fantasies and fads of the last twenty years. Read it and prolong your life."
Clarissa Dickson Wright

Natural Health & Weight Loss cover

"NH&WL may be the best non-technical book on diet ever written"
Joel Kauffman, PhD, Professor Emeritus, University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, PA

Diet and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Information

Part 2: Foods and Multiple Sclerosis

We saw in Part 1 that the obvious potential factor for the spread of Multiple Sclerosis is diet. And, as MS follows a similar trend to many other diseases which have a similar cause, this does not seem an unreasonable assumption. There is also strong evidence which, although not perfect, is hard to ignore:

  1. Diets change throughout the world. Thus such changes could account for the differences between cultures and also account for the differences between areas with different climatic conditions and growing conditions – the north/south divide.
  2. Diet also provides a reasonable explanation of the immigrant/twin paradoxes. Adults who emigrate are more likely to maintain their customary diet whereas their children are more likely to consume more of the food of the new country. This could explain the differences in MS rates between immigrant parents and their offspring.
  3. It could also explain the differences in identical twins. They will almost certainly have similar dietary habits while young, but their diet could change significantly when the leave home, marry and have their diet controlled by someone else.
  4. And areas with high rates of MS do tend to have similarities in terms of diet. They are all western 'civilised' countries which eat dairy, cereal grains, processed vegetable fats and other highly processed foods.

The idea that diet could be the cause of MS is strengthened if we look at specific populations where there are marked differences.

  1. Diet explains the apparent paradox whereby Hawaiians of Japanese ancestry differs so much from that of Hawaiians or Caucasians. Japanese who emigrate to Hawaii eat more of the sorts of foods eaten in the USA, and fewer of their traditional foods. This could account for their increased burden of MS. On the other hand, the diet of American Caucasians in Hawaii will change in the opposite direction with fewer of mainland's fast foods, thus lowering their risk. Thus, diet provides a good answer for the Hawaii paradox.
  2. Diet can also explain the differences in the prevalence of MS in the Faroe Islands during the last half of the Twentieth Century. The occupying forces brought their own rations and dietary customs with them. Food was imported for the troops and this would inevitably find its way into – and change – the local diet, particularly that of the youth.
  3. Newfoundlanders eat much more fish and less dairy and cereal grains than do prairie Canadians. The island people have much less MS than their plains dwelling compatriots.
  4. Lastly, the diet of the high risk areas — Britain, North America, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand — has changed significantly over the last century or so. This trend of this change gathered momentum during the latter half of the Twentieth Century, as did trends in the prevalence of MS. The two trends seem inextricably linked.

Thus diet does, indeed, provide a solid and reasonable explanation for MS and its environmental roots. It also explains, and is entirely compatible with, the non-transmissible characteristic of MS. Dr G C Ebers of the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, University of Western Ontario, noted: 'In sum these data strongly indicate that the environmental factor is affecting the population risk. Accordingly, factors which influence large populations such as diet . . . deserve careful reconsideration.

So what in our diet could be the cause of MS?

The question now is: What element or elements in our diet could be responsible for MS? For the answer, it seems reasonable to look for what has changed over the last century or so.

The major changes during the period have been:

  1. an increase in some forms of dairy products,
  2. a substantial decrease in animal fat intake;
  3. a huge increase in processed polyunsaturated vegetable oils and margarines
  4. an increase in cereal grains.

In other words, a change towards what is now euphemistically called 'healthy' eating.

Several statistical studies have found good relationships between wheat[1] and dairy products[2] and the prevalence of MS. These are both likely candidates as they are 'new foods' as far as evolution is concerned, and both are known to cause allergic reactions. But there are some other foods mentioned in these references as being possible contenders which do not fit into these categories. Dr Malosse and colleagues at the Laboratoire de Virologie, Faculte de Medecine, CHRU, Grenoble, France, and Drs Agranoff and Goldberg also indict animal fats. But I think we can safely rule this out as we have been eating such fats since the dawn of our species.

Is it milk? . . .

The dairy connection, however, is not so clear-cut: Malosse and colleagues found a highly significant correlation between liquid cow's milk and MS prevalence, and a low, but still significant, correlation with cream or butter consumption. But they found no correlation for cheese. They say 'These results suggest that liquid cow milk could contain factor(s) – no longer present in the processed milk – influencing the clinical appearance of MS.'

Although allergic reactions are triggered by proteins, from the Malosse group's data, it's likely that the milk sugar, lactose, could be a culprit: lactose is at its highest level in liquid milk, there is a much smaller amount in cream and there is none in cheese as it has been converted to lactic acid by the fermentation process. Thus lactose fits the findings perfectly – except for one small anomaly: there is practically no lactose in butter.

The peoples with low levels of MS in their native lands are peoples without an evolutionary history of dairy use: the peoples of Southeast Asia and Africa. These people do experience an increase in the disease when they migrate to counties like England where milk is drunk. But milk cannot be the only causal factor as the prevalence of MS has increased in populations who do have an evolutionary history of milk drinking – unless, that is, the problem lies in the way that milk is treated today: pasteurisation or homogenisation perhaps? Milk has been one of Man's foods since pre-history, particularly in more northern regions. Since refrigeration and preservation by pasteurisation of sweet milk is a product of nineteenth and twentieth century technologies, its consumption until then was limited to sour milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese, or aged cheeses. The infant at its mother's breast was probably the only human to receive sweet milk in significant quantities prior to Graeco-Roman times. So it is certainly possible that changes wrought by heat treatment could be a contributory factor.

. . . Or wheat?

Wheat, however, is in a different class altogether. In the higher latitudes, the main cereal crop was oats. Wheat is a relative newcomer which was grown mainly in warmer regions of northern Africa and Southeast Asia. But, again, wheat has been eaten for a very long time. If something in wheat is the cause, then it must be something introduced recently. And there is such a thing: Not the nutrients in the natural wheat itself, but changes in the way wheat is processed.

Amy McGrath's findings[3]

Dr Amy McGrath, an Australian doctor of history, had no end of trouble with her daughters. To say they were hyperactive would be an understatement; and they had all sorts of physical illnesses. When they married and had daughters of their own, these children had similar symptoms. Dr McGrath determined to find the cause. She experimented, wrote to experts, and travelled the world for more than thirty years in her quest. What she found was that bread is no longer manufactured today in the way it used to be, and that this could have had hidden effects on its allergic potential. Apparently the change in conditions of work, specifically the hours of shift-working introduced after the Second World War, meant that bread was no longer fermented overnight. Instead it was rushed through the rising process using so-called 'improvers' to fluff up the loaf. The result was a very different bread, chemically, from the pre-war traditional loaf.

Dr McGrath hypothesised that the reason her family couldn't tolerate modern bread was the large quantities of unchanged maltose it contains. She found that when she had bread made using the old-fashioned long dough method, which removed the maltose, her children's symptoms disappeared as if by a miracle, even though exactly the same ingredients had been used.

Dr McGrath discovered that many 'primitive' peoples don't eat raw plant foods:

  1. Australian aborigines, Melanesians and Polynesians traditionally cook vegetables at high temperatures, steaming them or baking them in earth ovens.
  2. South-east Asians seldom eat raw vegetables or brown rice. Vegetables are usually well cooked. Rice is soaked for hours, then drained, the water being thrown away. The rice is then boiled in fresh water, baked or fried. The husks or bran are fed to the pigs. Brown rice, they say, is indigestible.
  3. Indians often cook foods for a lengthy time.
  4. Greeks soak and boil beans for several hours.
  5. West Africans process corn for days.
  6. Taiwanese farmers boil sweet potatoes before giving them to the pigs as food.
  7. The Native American Hopi pick corn green and dry it to make bound niacin available.

But we don't do any of these things. In the British and American 'fast-food' cultures, bread goes from raw materials to finished product in about one-and-a-half hours. And that doesn't give time for its toxic properties to be neutralised by the fermentation process.

As Dr McGrath puts it, it seems that there is a lot of traditional wisdom that has been passed on from generation to generation simply by trial and error: people have found that certain procedures render food less toxic and harmful and therefore more nutritious. But in our haste for 'fast' convenience foods, we have thrown centuries of hard-earned wisdom out of the window.

I suspect strongly that Dr McGrath is correct. I, too, have had trouble with bread in my home country, England, for many years. However, when I holiday in Portugal, I have found that I can eat the locally made pćo caseiro (home-made bread) with no problems whatsoever. This bread, which is a solid, spongy bread with an off-white colour, is still made in the same traditional way it has been for centuries: proved and allowed to ferment for several hours overnight, before being baked.

In Part 3 we'll look at dietary changes that have been shown to benefit MS sufferers


1. a. Shatin R. Multiple Sclerosis and geography. Neurology 1964; 14: 338-344.
    b. Alter M, Yamoor M, Harashe M. Multiple Sclerosis and nutrition. Arch Neur 1974; 31: 267-272.
    c. Agranoff BW, Goldberg D. Diet and the geographical distribution of multiple sclerosis. Lancet 1974; 2: 1061-1066.
    d. Lauer K. The risk of multiple sclerosis in the USA in relation to sociogeographic features: a factor analytic study. J Clin Epidemiology 1994; 47: 43-48.

2. Malosse D, Perron H, Seigneurin JM. Correlation between milk and dairy product consumption and multiple sclerosis prevalence, a worldwide study. Neuroepidemiology 1992; 11: 304-312.

3. McGrath A. One Man's Poison. Tower House Publications, County Cork, Eire, 1990.

Part 1: Multiple Sclerosis | Part 2: Foods and MS | Part 3: Diet for MS

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