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Study indicates that what an individual eats, not the amount, acutely predicts disease mortality

Wednesday, May 02, 2012 by: Raw Michelle
Tags: food, mortality, disease

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(NaturalNews) "The one that takes medicine and neglects diet, wastes the time of their doctor" - Ancient Chinese Proverb. In 1974, Zhou Enlai (DZO En-Lay) was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, under Chairman Mao. When he was diagnosed with bladder cancer that year, Zhou's personal experience played a pivotal role in recognizing cancers as a powerful but little understood enemy. The terminal diagnosis spurred him to start one of the largest and most complete studies of cancer that has been conducted to date, as one final service in the defense of the Chinese people. The world's compiled understanding of cancer at the time was very sparse. The study surveyed the prognosis patterns of different types of cancers across the Chinese population, and employed nearly 700,000 surveyors to cover the country's overwhelming landholdings. They investigated the mortality and recovery rates, and used the gathered statistics to generate a geographical map of the cancers of over 880 million people.

Drawing up the groundwork

Two years later, and several years before the research was completed, Zhou Enlai passed away. While he couldn't have imagined the magnitude impact his research would have, its excited reverberations of that study are still felt.

The findings of the study were finally published in 1981 under the title "The Atlas of Cancer Mortality". The diagnostic rates marked out an anomalistic geographic distribution for each type of cancer, which delineated specific counties in which the citizens experienced vastly increased cancer rates.

Back when cancer was consideredgenetic destiny

The greatest disparity in the United States at the time was only a several-fold difference, at a time when then immigration booms increased the genetic diversity. According to most cancer theory at the time, which said that cancer was largely a matter of genetic predisposition, the more similar two people are genetically, the more similar their cancer rates should be. But this was not the case, as the Chinese populations were largely genetically undiverse, and the mortality rate between different areas was separated by as much 400% in some cases.

Dramatic results demand a closer look

A second study was called for. The researchers began to look into environmental causes. They studied 367 different environmental variables that can impact health, such as diet and nutrition. They went to counties where cancer rates were low, which were usually rural, to compare the environmental differences.

They found that biomarkers that are associated with virtually every degenerative disease, including cancers, diabetes, stroke, and infectious communicable diseases, are less frequent with diets that are high in plant-based foods. The introduction of even small amounts of animal products, such as dairy products, were associated with an increase in disease and mortality. Curiously, the study indicated that disease rates in rural China draw more parallels with those of the pre-industrial west. When the study was finally published in 1990, it noted more than 94000 significant correlations between diet and disease. They found that obesity is more significantly impacted by the foods eaten, rather than their quantities. Suspected causes of cancers, such as molds, were dismissed outright by the numbers.

Sources for this article include:

http://web.archive.org

http://www.nytimes.com

http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/148/6/594.full.pdf+html

About the author:
Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general. >>> Click here to see more by Michelle

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