The Four Causes of Chronic Degenerative Diseases

Dr. Chris Knobbe, an ophthalmologist specializing in macular degeneration, presented at an Ancestral Health symposium and shared his reasons why we have chronic degenerative diseases. It all comes down to these diseases (obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, macular degeneration, etc.) being driven by man-made, nutrient deficient, toxic, processed foods. Most of these diseases did not exist 150 years ago. The four causes are:

  • Refined wheat flour
  • Refined added sugar
  • Polyunsaturated vegetable oils
  • Trans fats

To put it simply, the cause of chronic degenerative diseases is processed foods. Dr. Knobbe stated that the most important of the four to remove are the polyunsaturated vegetable oils, such as soy, corn and cottonseed oil.  These vegetable oils are high in omega-6 and contain no nutrients except for a negligible quantity of vitamin E. They were introduced post-Civil war and have had a dramatic negative affect on our health.  In 1865, the average person consumed 2.2 grams of vegetable oil daily. In 1909 it was 4.86 grams. In 1999 it was 18 grams and in 2010 it dramatically increased to 80 grams per day. 80 grams equals 720 calories.

The first heart attack was reported in 1912. By the 1930’s it was the leading cause of death. In the 1880’s the obesity rate was 1.2%. In 1960 it was 13% and in 1988 it was 23%. Today it is 39%. In 1811 the rate of cancer was 1 in 188. In 1900 it was 1 in 17.  Today 1 in 3 will get cancer. For macular degeneration there were only 50 known cases between 1851 and 1930, according to Dr. Knobbe. In 1975, 4.5 million Americans had macular degeneration. In 1994 it was 15 million. Today it is 26 million and worldwide it is estimated that 196 million have macular degeneration. What we are eating is clearly detrimental to our health and wellbeing.

The good news is you can make a dramatic improvement in your health by eliminating or greatly reducing the above 4 causes of degenerative diseases. If you remove all polyunsaturated vegetable oils from your diet it will take at least 2 years to metabolize your body’s store of omega-6 oils. Examples of trans fats are vegetable shortenings, fried foods, margarines, non-dairy coffee creamers, certain bakery products, some varieties of microwavable popcorn, and other sources such as chips, pies, pizza, and crackers. Refined sugar is not the same as natural sugars.

Cut out these 4 categories of processed foods and you may stop the progression and possibly reverse chronic degenerative diseases. Send your questions for Rick to

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