As more and more of the foods that we eat are modified, processed, reconstituted and changed beyond recognition, the public health consequences become frightening. The prospects for us if this continues, threatens to turn back the millennia of hitherto nutritional improvements to the human diet and overwhelm the benefits provided by modern medicine. Thus for the first time in known history, the longevity of mankind is likely to decrease.
Fewer people are eating a diet that is comprised primarily of natural sources, and this decline is happening on a global scale at an astonishing pace. One such concern is the toxic effects of these highly adapted edible products that many people now consume as the mainstay of their diet. Considering food therefore not simply as a source of energy, but rather as a fundamental contributor to either health or illness, is the concept at the heart of clinical nutrition.
Our health and what we eat are intrinsically linked; and this is incontrovertible. When a nutrient imbalance occurs, there is a biochemical consequence normally resulting in what we term disease. Too much or too little of the 13 vitamins, 14 minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, macro nutrients: protein, carbohydrate, fat and water, for too long, will lead to such an imbalance and this will have inevitable health consequence. If prolonged, this will ultimately lead to death.
The approach of clinical nutrition is to ensure this imbalance does not occur for any lengthy period of time. It is primarily using nutrition effectively as a prophylactic against many of the modern nutritional ailments (CVD, Cancer, Stroke, Liver disease, bone disease etc) and to improve the condition of those people already affected; although this is far less effective.
Consider the approach to clinical nutrition rather like you would other assaults on the body. Were you to bang your head hard on a wall each day, then over time you would damage the brain. Stopping banging your head on the wall would cease the damage but would do little to repair the damage done. Similarly, a long term biochemical imbalance in the body will cause damage to tissues. Fortunately many other parts of the body are better at healing than the brain and when balance is restored, often healing can begin, albeit slowly.
In the case of vascular disease and in particular atherosclerosis (which is still the major killer in the UK) it may well take 30 years of poor diet to lead to a furring up of the arteries and a stiffening of the normally elastic arterial wall. As the endothelium weakens under this assault, ruptures are more likely and thus MI’s or stroke frequently accompany chronic CVD. Whilst atherosclerosis is reversible with the introduction of a healthy diet (in particular high antioxidant, high fibre, low fat low energy) the repair process will take years.
So how are we going to convince our clients that this lifelong approach to protecting our most precious infrastructure is worth the trouble? Well a good start is to educate them on the chronic toxic effect of many of the culprits. Whilst junk food is not acutely toxic it is chronically toxic, and I would like to wager that 20 Curlywurlys a day would kill you quicker than 20 Benson and Hedges a day (although I doubt that I would get my application through ethics to conduct this study!). We can nonetheless set out the deleterious effects of these products and at the same time clearly show how the body is unable to effectively self heal in the absence of a balance of the right nutrients.
Want to become full time personal trainer? Visit Discovery UK for more information on personal training courses in london.