Thursday, April 14, 2011

Egyptian Mummies & Heart Disease Confuse Researchers

It is funny how the wheel keeps spinning and we keep coming back to the same place when it comes to understanding theories of nutrition. Why? Because the wheel is broken; you can't stop the spin, it seems. That's how I felt this morning when reading the newspaper's article "The princess and the heart disease" written by Alan Bavley imported from Kansas City - yes, the Vancouver Sun grabbed hold of this article, thinking that, perhaps, it would offer insights into our current health problems.

The article's opening words were as follows: "She didn't smoke. Never ate a double-bacon cheeseburger. Never sacked out on the couch watching cable. Yet by the time she reached her early 40s, she was a candidate for a heart attack." Bavley was referring to Princess Ahmose-Meryet-Amon of Egypt's 17th Dynasty, some 3,600 years ago, whose mummified body turned out to be the oldest known case of coronary heart disease. This was part of a research that was presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology. The researchers discovered that 45% of the 52 Egyptian mummies they passed through a CT scan had signs of atherosclerosis. But the researchers wondered why such events occurred. Were not such diseases part of modern diseases of civilization? Why did it take place some 3,600 years ago? Randall Thompson, a cardiologist at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City said, "It looks like atherosclerosis you see on a CT scan of modern patients" yet "they didn't smoke" and they "didn't eat trans fat." Doctors like Thompson are puzzled because they see this as a modern disease yet their habits were not modern. So what gives?  There is a genetic factor. This is their way of explaining it. That was their spin on the issue. Perhaps, there were more infections the article said.

The difficulty of coming up with a reasonable  hypothesis about a disease that takes place thousands of years ago, is rooted in their ignorance of what low-carb researchers and thinkers have been saying for years. They are operating out of a paradigm whose foundations are no longer deemed to be solid - at least by the low car researchers & thinkers.

In November 2009, there was a study (BBC NEWS | Health | Ancients 'had heart disease too') that showed that 15 Egyptian mummies had developed atherosclerosis and challenged the view that such diseases were diseases of modern humans. Again, the conclusion was similar - "So humans in ancient times had the genetic predisposition and the environment to promote the development of heart disease," said Dr. Gregory Thomas of the University of California. The researchers based this on the fact that the Egyptians did not smoke, did not eat processed food, nor were they sedentary. The wheel of hypothesis keeps spinning.

Did it occur to researchers that the Egyptians ate the same diet we are being asked to eat - fruit, vegetables and plenty of grains? And avoid processed food? And lower the consumption of fat? It probably did occur to them. That is why they keep proposing the wrong explanation. They had to come up with something that cannot contradict the current dietary guidelines as set by government policy.

When it comes to nutrition & diet, the Egyptians were indeed modern because they were of the Neolithic period. After the transition to that agricultural moment in history, the diseases of civilization began to emerge. Hunter-gatherers of the Paleolithic period were free of these diseases - this has been pointed out many times by low-carb researchers, only to be ignored by the  mainstream researchers & media. Dr. Michael Eades once referred to the Egyptian diet as a modern "Nutritionist's nirvana." Low fat, high carb.

The diseases of civilization are a result of the high consumption of carbohydrates and these include grain and vegetables and fruits, not just sugar. Dietary fat - saturated & monounsaturated - are not even associated with cardiac events. The critique of the diet-heart hypothesis continues to be ignored by mainstream power brokers.

Year-long availability of carbhydrates coupled with a reduction of animal fat/protein emerged in the Neolithic period which transitioned the growth of civilizations. Ancestral/primal societies, who remained hunter-gatherers, were spared these "diseases of civilization." The hunter-gatherers remained on the Atkins diet.