30BaD FADs: Frequently Added Discussions
Why do we eat fruit and lettuce?
Why don't we eat grains and rice
What about the Japanese who eat rice?
The Japanese live long, why don't we eat like them?
What about the Okinawans?
Here @30BaD, we try to assist people in finding optimum health and or healing their bodies through a diet based 100% on raw fruit and lettuce greens. When people ask why we only promote grains as a backup food, and why they are not optimal, we share the science behind that.
Some people have been programmed pretty well by the propaganda of the grain industry, and in spite of other dietary changes like giving up meat and dairy, struggle to give up their grains, or if they are not eating grains, get pretty hot headed when others are being advised not to eat heart (un)healthy whole grains.
But the Japanese do it so shouldn't we?
One argument that comes up frequently is that the Japanese and the Okinawan people eat a diet high in rice and or starchy sweet potatoes respectively, live longer than most people on earth, and are supposedly healthier.
There is both some truth to this, but like any media hype, there is fiction and or flaws that are conveniently overlooked.
But humans have done it thousands of years, so it must be good, right?
Another argument is that in the Middle East, people have been eating grains, wheat, and bread for thousands of years, and in Asia, rice for hundreds if not thousands of years. But this is a health fallacy.
Just because human beings have been doing something for thousands of years does not mean it is healthy. We are only just now beginning to understand that high consumption of animal products, fats, and proteins makes us sick, so many people are reducing and or cutting those things out of their diet. (1)
But don't grains lower cholesterol?
There has been a lot of hype in recent decades regarding the dangers of cholesterol. Many medical articles and much medical advice may be as follows: "while it is not understood why, eating a diet of whole grains can lower cholesterol levels. Or, to reduce cholesterol, eat whole grains." What is not mentioned conveniently, is that it is the removal of the cholesterol and or animal products that reduces cholesterol, not the addition of whole grains in and of themselves. Although yes, replacing animal products with whole grain calories has a side effect of lowering cholesterol. (2)
Recent research is also showing evidence that starchy foods like grains including rice, legumes and beans, tubers and potatoes, starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds, and cruciferous vegetables like kale and spinach are irritating and high in oxalate, cause weight gain, and or cause preventable degenerative illness in some individuals. (3)
Japanese live longer right?
They may have a slightly longer life expectancy than many of their fellow earth citizens, but are they healthy? Also, everything is relative as some countries are only behind Japan by a very small percentage point or a matter of weeks or months. Why don't we study all of these countries?
What this blog post will do is separate fact from exaggerated media hype and or grain and fish industry propaganda. Some comparisons will be made between mainstream Japan and the Okinawan people of Japan. Some comparisons will be made between Japan and the United States (USA).
Reasons include sorting out the media hyped ironies of Japan being the healthiest nation on earth, and the media hyped ironies of the United States being one of the sickest and obese nations on earth. When in reality, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
Also, in many disease studies such as those done by The World Health Organization (WHO), Japan and the USA share approximately the same stats regarding types of degenerative and chronic diseases their respective citizens suffer from, and similar rates of death from these disease. In fact, Japan may have higher rates of vascular disease and death from strokes and cerebrovascular accidents and cancers especially of the lung and stomach.
This blogpost's intention is to answer some of those questions, and is no way intended to be hurtful towards or undermine the peoples of Japan, of the Okinawa, or of the USA, neither to reflect negatively on their cultures or cuisines. Rather, this is to encourage everyone to find the path to healing and better health, and a longer life expectancy for all.
This discussion does not include genetic diseases and or communicable diseases such as flu. For ease of writing, the word disease will be used in place of degenerative, chronic, and or noncommunicable diseases.
This blog, long though it might be long, does not include all facts and figures that may relate to diet, disease, and death in Japan and the USA, and is not all inclusive.
According to the CIA World Fact Book, 2012 life expectancy as follows: (4)
Japan total population: 83.91 years
USA total population: 78.49 years
This translates into a difference of about 5.42 years in favor of Japan. For ease of discussion here, we will say 5 years difference.
The Okinawan years
Okinawan women have an average lifespan of 86, and for men it is 78. Big surprise here, but the Okinawan life expectancy may be slightly lower than their Japanese counterparts with an average lifespan of about 82 years. (5)
The media hype makes us believe they are living longer which is based on their rate of centenarians. They do have the worlds highest rates of centenarians in the world, and this may be attributed to genetics, diet, an active lifestyle, and or access to better medical care.
As a whole, Okinawans still suffer from some of the same diseases as their Japanese counterparts, only at lower rates. (6) (7)
The Japanese may no longer be the longest lived and or healthiest people in the world. Countries that surpass them are: (8)
The truth from the hype. While Japanese and Okinawans live longer by about 5 years than their USA counterparts, that does not necessarily translate into good health. The Okinawans have overall better health, but they still get degenerative diseases and or die from those disease. So that leaves the door open for yet more improvements in diet and heath.
The Japanese as a whole have slighly less rates of some diseases, but some rates are almost on target with the USA, and or in some cases such as cancers and strokes, and shall be demonstrated, they have higher rates than the USA.
Another way to look at this is that almost the whole modern world is sick and diseased.
So in the modern world, just because one country has a few months or a few years life expectancy advantage over another country does not necessarily mean they are a healthy country. One has too dig a little bit deeper than surface statistics.
Therefore, if one is seeking better health, following the Japanese in their diet may be beneficial in improving ones health or slightly extending one's life expectancy. But for someone seeking complete recovery, natural health and healing, and overall good health and a longer life, then it is necessary to look beyond the Japanese people's diet as a whole.
It may be of benefit to study centenarians, those who live to be 100 or more, no matter what the culture to assess what habits might be beneficial for us to adopt.
And better yet, seek out science as to what dietary plan and care of the body is optimum based on actual chemical reactions that take place within the body.
Overweight, Obesity, BMI
Japan: Overweight=24% obese=5% (9)
USA: Overweight=70% obese=30% (10)
Okinawans may have higher BMI's than their Japanese counterparts, and yet have a higher rate of cententarians! (11)
While certain dietary habits that promote being overweight and or obesity may also cause health problems and or death, the pattern that is starting to emerge here is that BMI levels and or obesity may not play such a big role in health and longevity as previosly assumed. When comparing overall overweight individuals, The USA has a much higher obesity rate, and yet they only trail behind Japan in life expectancy by 5 years. The Okinawans may have a higher BMI and body fat than their Japanese counterparts, and live almost as long, and have a higher rate of centenarians.
Historical data confirms that having body fat, having a high bmi, or even obese does not translate into degnerative disease, poor health or early death given the dietary conditions are good.
The Weston Price studies of tribal and primitive people before during and after the introduction of grains and increasing their cooked and process foods into their diets. Theses changes in diet increased their degenerative diseases and or dental and oral problems. While following their natural diets, many tribal people were disease free inspite of being very round and or having the appearance of high body fat and or bmi. (12)
In truth, some body fat is necessary and healthy for emergency energy storage, to cushion organs and blows from falls, and for regulation of fat soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body's fatty tissue. The four fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K. (13) (14)
What may be more important here is what kind of food is consumed, what toxins it contains, and or how it affects sensitive individuals.
Because the United States has historically been a melting pot of cultures, it can be difficult to defined what exactly is the cuisine of the USA. Walk down any city street, and there will be Italian, Spanish, Morrocan, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Pakistani, Korean, Vietnamese, Jewish, Arabic, Mexican, Iraqi, Afghani, and that is just a sampling. The grocery stores may offer similar choices and options.
In the USA, there is consumption of meat and dairy products in various recipes and forms.
Grains and Rice
If any cuisine defines the USA it is grains, and the USA is known as the bread basket of the world with grains of every shape and form are grown to not only feed the local people, but exported to many countries.
The grain industry at every turn whether in magazines, newspapers, blogs, supporting what is taught in schools, tv advertising, use of enticing packaging that is attractive to children and converts them to lifelong customers, has brainwashed the people of the USA to eat heart (un)healthy whole grains.
There are skewed studies and lies in disguise with the most famous one being that whole grains lower cholesterol, when in fact grains do nothing at all. It is removal of cholesterol from the diet that lowers cholesterol. (2)
Grains may actually be more behind the cause of belly fat, obesity, metabolic disorders, and many degenerative disease and conditions suffered by people living in the USA.
A sampling of problems involved with whole grain consumption include grains are deficient in important nutrients, contain substances poisonous to the human body, need to be cooked which further depletes nutrients, may cause hypertrophy of pancreas, cause unnecessary depletion of enzyme levels, result in flatulence and gas, damage intestinal villi, acid forming and cause cancer and arthritis, skin problems such as dry skin, subcutaneous cysts, exasperate MS, cause brain disorders such as schizophrenia, deplete the immune system and increase susceptibility of head colds and allergies and other infections, promote tooth decay and enamel erosion, may permanently damage infant digestive systems, promote arteriosclerosis meaning hardening via calcification of arteries long term increasing risks of stroke and or heart disease. (3)
Rice the Gluten Free Grain
Rice is touted as a gluten free gain and promoted to be a staple of diet. What nutritionist do not tell people is that while rice is calorie dense, there is little or no vitamin content and 0 vitamin C, a vitamin much needed by humans as we cannot produce our own. Without vitamin C, humans may develop scurvy. Scurvy is a disease that occurs when you have a severe lack of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in your diet. It causes general weakness, anemia, gum disease, and skin hemorrhages. (15)
The people of the USA are also assured that because the Japanese live slightly longer than them, by about 5 years, they should continue to eat grains and rice because the Japanses eat rice, and to increase consumption of fish because the Japanese eat fish, and to increase consumption of soy. What the people of the USA are not told is that the rates of disease and death in Japan are very similar to their own, and that rice and soy and other cruciferous vegetables may play a role in higher stomach cancer rates. (16)
In recent years, rice production in the USA has been steadily increasing. (17)
Concerns that may not be being addressed properly though are that rice is one of the number one contributor to soil erosion and deforestation in the world. There are some rice crops that can only be grown every two to three years because they deplete soil of nutrients. Because there are no tree roots to hold soil down, and much top soil can be washed away in the irrigation of rice, rice is a leading contributor of soil erosion and or permanent top soil loss in the world. (18)
There may be anecdotal evidence that overgrazing and overproduction of farm crops like rice may be a contributing factor in China's current Dust Bowl. (19)
High Oxalate Foods like Kale and Spinach
Some people of the USA may also eat a lot of foods high in oxalate that in the cruciferous veggies like kale and spinach, grains, tubers, beans, and most nuts and seeds. This can lead to short term digestive issues, and long term kidney and cardiovascular issues related to calcification or hardening of arteries and tissues. High oxalate foods also inhibit calcium aborption and assimilation and promote osteopenia (bone softening), osteoporosis, and oral and dental problems with possible loss of teeth. (20) (21)
The positive side of the the nutritional advice given is that people in the USA is to eat a balanced diet and choose foods from every food group. So the negative impact of a steak may be somewhat counter balanced by the side salad and the evening snack of fruit. Also, every grocery store sells fruit and lettuce greens, almost every restaurant sells salads and or has a salad bar.
The diet is similar to that of the USA on a nutritional level and how the diet affects health and life expectancy.
Meat is consumed mostly in the form of fish, and grains are consumed mostly in the form of rice. Lots of fruits are and greens are eaten. (23)
They eat foods that are high in oxalate such as rice, corn,aojiro or kale juice which is promoted as a natural remedy, and cabbage, spinach, turnips, potatoes, leeks, turnips, and carrots. Oxalates can be irritating, poisonous, and or cause long term health problems in some people. They also consume veggies that may be high in irritating sulphur compounds and alkaloids such as cruciferous veggies, onions, leeks, ginger, radish, and turnips.(24)
So even though it may appear that they eat a lot of vegetables, the vegetables that they eat are high in irritating and disease promoting substances like oxalate. In the USA, while many irritating vegetables are eaten, the focus may be more on tender lettuce greens.
The benefit of the Japanese diet that may promote them living slightly longer than their USA counterparts is that they eat less. Eating less toxic food such as meats and grains will be conducive to less toxic conditions in the body. Other reasons may hereditary, more active lifestyles, and or better access to medical care.
The USA eats many types of meat and Japan focuses on Fish
The USA eats many types of grains, and Japan eats mostly rice.
The USA and Japan both eat high quantities of vegetables that are high in irritating substances such as sulphur compounds found in onions and oxalate found in kale and spinach. (25)
Both countries eat a lot of salt in the diet with Japan being one of the biggest consumer of salt in the world. There is a correlation between Japanese salt consumption and their high rate of stomach cancers. (26)
In both countries, their is a high consumption of fruit, and in the USA a high consumption of lettuce greens. The alkalizing affects of the fruits and greens along with their vitamin and mineral content may contribute to extended life expectancy in both nations, even inspite of higher obesity rates in the USA and the Okinawans having higher BMIs than their Japanese counterparts.
Degeneration and Disease
Both Japan and the USA have borderline to high rates of the following diseases and conditions although this list is not all inclusive.
Contrary to media hype, on average, according to the WHO, the Japanese and the Americans have similar rates of serum cholesterol and both averages are within borderline limits, with Japan have a 5.35 mmol/l and the USA a 5.26. (27)
According to MayoClinic, This is considered to be a borderline high falling between 5.2-6.2 mmol/L. (28)
Borderline cholesterol may still increase risks for heart disease, heart attacks, vascular problems, and strokes. (29)
Vascular, Heart, and Stroke In Japan and USA (30)
Ischemic Heart Disease
Cerebrovascular Disease Or Stroke (aka cerebrovascular accident)
Osteoporosis is the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density over time and is the most common type of bone disease. (31)
Researchers estimate that about 1 out of 5 American women over the age of 50 have osteoporosis. About half of all women over the age of 50 will have a fracture of the hip, wrist, or vertebra (bones of the spine). Osteoporosis can lead to a thinning of the jaw bone and or loose teeth and or loss of teeth, as well as fractures of bones. (31)
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, risk factors in osteoporosis include eating diets high in beans which contain phytates which inhibit calcium absorption, high protein diets that cause the body to lose calcium, salty foods, spinach and other foods high in oxalates, and wheat bran which is also high in phytate. (32)
In Japan, about 8% of the population have osteoporosis. (33)
High protein foods, salty foods, and foods high in oxalate are consumed both in Japan and the USA.
Cancer (32) (9) (10)
Cancers in both countries have been linked to smoking and tobacco use, consumption of animal products, and high protein food like soy, grains, and tubers. Japan has a slightly higher cancer rate than the USA. Higher lung cancer rates may be attributed to more smoking and higher stomach cancer rates higher salt and soy consumption. (34)
Trachea Cancer (tracheal disorders)
Stomach Cancer (gastric cancer)
Endometrial cancer aka Uterine Cancer
Although some asthma patients in both countries may smoke, not all astma patients do smoke. Consuming a diet high in high oxalate foods has been linked to asthma, lung, and other breathing problems. High oxalate foods include grains, animal products, dairy, legumes and beans, tubers and potatoes, and cruciferous vegetables like kale and spinach. All of these foods are a part of the diets of both Japan and the USA.
Chronic Liver Disease Involves multiple causes.
Cirrhosis Multiple causes.
Also linked to high oxlate consumption.
Causes of Death
Disease and or cause of death in the USA and Japan are very similar and close in percentage points, and in some issues such as cancer and stroke, Japan may have higher rates.
This is something the media hype tends to overlook. Media hype looks at the five year life expectancy advantage the Japanese have, but does not discuss overall health and disease conditions of the Japanese people, and or what they actually die from.
The following data is collected from the World Health Organization - NCD Country Profiles , 2011. (9)(10)
Percentage of all deaths break down:
Communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions
Non Communicalbe Disease (NCD)
Japan 80% of all Deaths
USA 87% of all deaths
Cardiovacsular Disease (Hardened and calcified arteries, heart problems, and cerebrovascular accidents including stroke)
Japan 32% over all, but may lead the USA in strokes at a 75 per 100,000 vs USA at 47.3. (19)
Cancers (Japan may have higher rates of stomach cancers because of high salt and soy consumption.)
Respiratory Disease (Degenerative conditions such as asthma, not communicable diseases such as flu)
Other NCD ( which might include liver problems and cirrhosis, and other organ problems and failure such as kidney disease):
All of these diseases and conditions have been linked to high consumption of animal, dairy, high protein diets, high fat, and high oxalate foods like grains, tubers, legumes, and the cruciferous veggies like kale and spinach. All of these foods, in various forms and recipes, are consumed in both Japan and the USA
Centenarian Factoids (35) (36)
The media has hyped up Japan's increasing number of centenarians, and there may be some truth to the matter, and perhaps more research should be done into their lifelong habits. However, here is the break down and the controversy.
Centenarians are people who live to be 100 years old or more.
The United States currently has the greatest number of known centenarians of any nation, estimated at 70,490 on September 1, 2010. This corresponds to a national incidence of approximately one centenarian per 4,400 people
Japan has the second largest number of centenarians at 47,756 people.
However, the rate is better than the United States centenarians with an approximate rate of 1 in 2,900 people.
In Okinawa, there are 740 centenarian in a population of 1.3 million with a rate that is the worlds highest at approximately 1 in 2000.
Japan's figures may also be skewed as local authorities have not yet been able to contact all the people listed as being 100 or older but who might no longer be alive.
The discovery of a mummified body in July 2010 forced authorities to re-examine their numbers. More than 200 people listed as centenarians were eventually determined to have died, often as relatives wanted to continue to claim their pensions.
One woman would have been 125 years old, but her registered address had been turned into a park 30 years earlier. The body of another woman was located in her son's backpack, where they had been for more than a decade.
Is Japan's Advantage Enough?
There is no denying the facts that Japan has a better life expectancy than the USA, but not by much, only 5 years. Japan also has recorded a better rate of centenarians, but this is clouded by doubt and controversy over accurate and or exaggerated record keeping.
Japan has slightly lower rates of some denerative conditions as the United States, but higher rates of some conditions such as strokes, poor vascular health, and cerebrovascular accidents, cancers especially those of the lung and stomach.
Based on how nutrition and what we eat affects the body, both countries eat similar diets, just different recipes. In the USA, all kinds of meats are eaten, in Japan, fish is the main staple. In the USA, different types of grains are eaten, in Japan, rice is the main staple, but a grain with health risks never the less. In both countries starchy foods such as tubers and potatoes are eaten which come with their own metabolic syndrome, kidney problems, weight gain, and cardiovascular risks. In both countries there is a high consumption of foods high in oxalate, irritatants, and sulphur compounds promoting disease such as grains, tubers and potatoes, some beans, and cruciferous vegetables like kale and cabbage.
As a result of eating these foods, both Japan and the USA suffer from similar degenerative conditions, and die from similar diseases and complications.
But is the Japanese advantage enough, or should we continue on with our research as to what the ideal diet and conditions should be for a human being from any country to enjoy natural health, and live a long life free of disease and suffering?
If an individual was not born with a noncommunicable disease, then there are high chances that the causes of those disease were both related to lifestyle and diet. It may be in our best interest to not stop our research with the Japaneses success, rather, continue to find ways to assist people in preventing, controlling, reversing, and even healing those diseases.
Our life goal should not be to assist people in following the Japanese to a death at the age of 83 followed by suffering some kind of degenerative disease such as vascular degeration followed by heart problems and strokes.
We actually live in a sick world, so eating more or less of foods that make us sick is going to make us sick more or less. It may be in our best interest to learn to eat a different way for optimum health.
We are not interested in eating grains just because people have done it for thousands of years, or eating a diet high in starchy foods because some celebrity bloggers or celebrity doctors are promoting it because they are trying to appeal to the masses and make money from people buying their books and health adventure retreats. We are not interested in following celebrity bloggers and or book authors who promote eating toxic foods like kale and spinach if there is no legit science behind it, or following some doctors orders to eat heart (un)healthy grains if they make people sick. .
Our goal is to assist people in learning from the mistakes of our ancestors, including those in Japan and the USA, and to assist all people in achieving better health, and to lead people to the age of 150 in that same good health.
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects
BY Weston A. Price, MS., D.D.S., F.A.G.D.
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