Previously Rare Diseases

During The Past Century There Have Been Dramatic Rises In A Number Of Previously Rare Diseases.

These include heart disease, cancers, diabetes, peptic ulcers, tooth decay, constipation and obesity. Although dietary fat is blamed for many of them, a half century of research has failed consistently to provide any convincing evidence in support of this hypothesis (12) .

The fat-and-heart disease hypothesis relies on comparisons between disease patterns in ‘civilized’ countries and more primitive societies, and the amounts of fat in their respective diets.

They purport to show that where a lot of fat is eaten there is a high incidence of heart disease, while others who eat less fat have lower incidences of the disease. However, if one makes similar comparisons, replacing fat with sugar, one finds similar patterns. And with sugar the argument is much more compelling.

The food that we eat is made up of many different nutrients. We need energy that we measure in calories. Fats, carbohydrates and proteins all contain energy and so lack of energy is generally not a problem. But we also need a variety of minerals, trace elements and vitamins.

Although we need them only in small amounts, they are vital to our health. The diet of the adult lacto-ovo-vegetarian may be more bulky and lower in energy than a mixed diet, but because he is consuming eggs, milk and cheese, his diet generally is nutritionally similar to the mixed diet and there is little problem.

However, while it is possible to meet the body’s nutritional requirements with the vegan diet if great care is taken, without that care there is a real risk of deficiencies leading to serious ill-health. This risk increases as diets become more restricted. Historical evidence shows that Man can live healthily on diets which vary enormously in their content.

However, it also tells us that, generally, the further one gets from a diet which includes animal products, the greater is the risk of ill health.