04/30/2012 01:00 pm ET Updated Jun 30, 2012

What We Love Is Killing Us and Other Things, Too

The other night I was watching 60 Minutes and saw a segment on sugar. It fit neatly into this piece that I had started on a few days earlier. It seems medical researchers are now finding that sugar, far from the sweet angel that serenades us, is Satan in disguise.

Studies are increasingly finding a strong link between our sugar use and cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. For serious students of nutrition, this is not new and, in fact, has been around for almost a century. Back in 1931, a German doctor, Otto Warburg, won the Nobel Prize for medicine. His work and lab experiments demonstrated clearly the effects of sugar in slowing down arterial blood flow and promoting arterial plaque. (1) In these same studies he also showed that cancer cells could live only in an anaerobic environment where their sole means of growth was by the process of glycolysis (fermentation), in which sugar is the main fuel for the cancer cell. (2)

In a contingent area, another of our great loves is for processed food (much of which has in it large quantities of sugar). For most Americans it would be hard to imagine life without these foods, as they are beautifully packaged, have long shelf lives and offer a quick snack or dinner. No fuss -- just open, dump in a pan and two minutes later voila! A tasty meal! Our love for and dependence on these foods started after WWII and has grown exponentially, as, incidentally, so also has cancer.

Back to Dr. Warburg: A key finding in his work leading to the Nobel Prize was that if you limit the flow of oxygen into the cell by 35 percent you effectively create an anaerobic environment necessary for the birth of cancer cells. (3) This is brought about primarily by controlling the flow of EFAs, or essential fatty acids. These EFAs (oils) are found in plants, nuts and seeds and are vital for our health. In their pure form they act as magnets, enabling the cell and cell membrane to draw in oxygen for healthy cell functions. When we adulterate these oils, as is done in all processed foods (bleaching 230 degrees, hydrocarbon solvents, steam treat 450 degrees, preservatives, anti-foam agents), we effectively remove any ability of the EFAs to oxygenate the cells, and shockingly, these very adulterated oils act in opposite fashion to their original function and block any flow of oxygen into our cells! (4) We are killing ourselves by their consumption!

"Long term EFA deficiency in the modern diet has created the exact cellular malfunction in the population that was discovered by Dr. Warburg to be the prime cause of cancer." -- Brian Scott Peskin, The Hidden Story of Cancer

So folks, let's face it: Because of our need for convenience, expediency and pleasure (what we love), we are killing ourselves while the FDA, Big Pharma and the food industry remain virtually silent.

As we are doing in the above areas of nutrition -- namely adulterating the original pure state of something to satisfy our wants -- so are we doing in other areas of our lives.

In politics the truth is often changed and distorted to serve the needs of the politician. The politician also bends statistics, villifies opponents (primaries) and cherry picks facts -- all in order to win and gain power. This may be effective, but what is the cost to our lives and our children and civility to others we may disagree with? Power without values is dangerous.

In the media, instead of telling the truth and focussing on the good, much reporting centers on the bad, the violent, the sleaze and the sexually explicit -- all in order to get and maintain viewership, and to increase revenue and ratings. I often wonder what the effect of this constant barrage of lurid news does to our own psyche and that of our children.

In the arts, which historically have striven to teach and elevate viewers, listeners and readers to a better understanding of their lives, we see increasingly violent and sexually graphic movies, literature and video. I was brought up in an age when art's main purpose was to bring the experiencer to a higher state. Where are we going?

In education, a word that derives from its latin roots -- e (out from) and duco (lead), to lead one out or open up one to his own potential -- we have, instead, forced fact feeding. True and false multiple choice exams are a fierce drive to get high test scores, and what is so often the case the result is a child who has not been nurtured to think for himself or to question what is good or bad.

In parenting, when I was growing up my parents set boundaries. I knew where the line was and what would happen if I crossed it. Manners, restraint and self-discipline were expected. My father told me I could have anything I wanted but I had to earn it -- no handouts. It seems today the parent wants more to be liked by his child than to be respected. Instant gratification seems to have replaced patience and restraint. With young girls the old virtues of shyness, reserve and modesty are today often ridiculed.

The environment today is a good example of the original state of purity being polluted -- often for the main purpose of profit and expediency. We need only look around to see the results to our health.

What is happening? Where have we come from and where are we going? What has happened to our values in all the above areas? Do we want to change what is happening and if so, how? I once asked a wise man what was the purpose of our lives. He gave these answers:

See the truth as goodness and put goodness into action.

Have a melting heart and serve others with that heart.

If we can't speak well of another, remain silent. -- M. R.Bawa Muhaiyaddeen

(1) "The Prime Cause and Prevention of Cancer" with two prefaces on prevention. Revised lecture at the meeting of the Nobel-Laureates on June 30, 1966 at Lindau, Lake Constance, Germany by Otto Warburg, Director, Max Planck Institute for Cell Physiology, Berlin-Dahlem.

(2) Otto Warburg, "The Metabolism of Tumours: Investigations from the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology," translated by Frank Dickens, Constable & Co Ltd., 1930, page 152 (out of print).

(3) "The Prime Cause and Prevention of Cancer" with two prefaces on prevention. Revised lecture at the meeting of the Nobel-Laureates on June 30, 1966 at Lindau, Lake Constance, Germany by Otto Warburg, Director, Max Planck Institute for Cell Physiology, Berlin-Dahlem.

(4) Peskin, BS. "The Hidden Story of Cancer" (6th edition), Pinnacle Press, Houston, Texas, 2011, pages, 170, 259. Brian Peskin is a member of the faculty at Texas Southern University.

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