In the medical establishment, controversy continues over the possible cause of diabetes. The third leading cause of death among Africans in America, diabetes affects one in ten Africans in America, twice the rate of white Americans at all adult age levels. Its incidence is on the rise in the African American community, with the estimated number of diabetics doubling every fifteen years.
Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by an over-abundance of blood sugar due to insufficient insulin production in the pancreas or inability of the body to use insulin. This accumulation of sugar in the blood leads to excessive thirst, excessive urination, fatigue, and other symptoms. Ninety percent of those affected are non-insulin dependent, termed "Type II", adult onset. People with this type of diabetes can make normal amounts of insulin. However, because of the insulin resistance in their bodies, they often require an oral medication to lower blood sugar levels. Another ten percent of the black population are insulin-dependent, called "Type I", juvenile onset. People with this type of diabetes do not make sufficient amounts of insulin and require insulin injections.
Our susceptibility to this disease begins early and increases with age, usually between the ages of forty-five and sixty-five. Diabetes is especially common among older African American women over the age of fifty-five: one out of four has diabetes.
Most of the public knowledge about the cause of this devastating disease has focused on diet and heredity as the main triggers. Physicians tell us that the contributing factor in the high rate of diabetes in blacks, is due to a "genetic mutation" which occurred sometime after their captivity from Africa. Conditions such as blindness, amputation and kidney failure, nerve damage, foot ulcers, and gangrene are among the symptoms common to this disease. At its worst, diabetes can lead to a condition called "lactic acidosis" which can cause death. But the cause of diabetes is far more complex than the medical doctors imply. There is a dirty secret about diabetes which the medical establishment will not share with you.
Not completely satisfied with the established explanation for why Blacks contract diabetes at a higher rate than other racial groups, I decided to research medical literature which would reveal the first cases that diabetes appeared among slaves in the 1800's. There were few cases. In fact, before 1940, diabetes was relatively rare among African Americans. What changed in the health conditions of African Americans after 1940? Well, the answer to this question was unsuspecting and shocking.
More than fifty years ago, Joe Nichols, a physician and surgeon who founded the Natural Food Associates in Atlanta, Texas, reported that a survey on farms throughout the United States were using a new government-recommended chemical pesticide called "DDT". After 1940, thousands of farmers across the country inaugurated a new era of chemical poisons to rid their crops of an insect called the "Boll Weevil". The book, "Nutrition and the Sol" by Sir Lionel J. Picton, convinced him that the metabolic diseases such as cancer, heart trouble, and diabetes, was indeed the result of chemical poisons dumped on fertile soil.
When Nichols realized what was happening to the country as a result of both chemical fertilization and chemical pesticides, he sought other doctors and scientists who had made the same discoveries. Together they formed the Natural Food Associates, of which Nichols became the first president. Their goal was to start correcting the problem with a nationwide campaign to get the facts before the public, with the logic that only an aroused public opinion could save America from poor food grown on poor soil. As Nichols puts it"
"The truth is that America is the most fed and the worst nourished nation on earth. America today is suffering from a biological blight. We are facing metabolic disaster. We are a nation of sick people. Heart disease is rampaging through America, it is our Public Enemy number one. It is the leading cause of death among Americans. Fifty years ago coronary thrombosis was rarely seen by a physician. Today it strikes even the young...Cancer, diabetes, arthritis, dental caries, and other metabolic diseases are rapidly increasing. Even children are falling victim to them."
Almost immediately the agricultural chemical industry and the food processors attempted to discredit the NFA, calling them food "faddists", "quacks", and "charlatans". They were accused of being "unscientific". The initial detractors were soon joined by the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, operating through the Food and Drug Administration, and even the American Medical Association! University professors, in search of fat grants, supported the claims of the FDA. In other words, a campaign was launched to make Americans believe that what the Natural Food Associates were saying was pure myth. Soon after, newspaper and magazine articles, even entire books, were published in a huge effort to destroy the effect of NFA and its credibility with the public.
To discredit the Natural Food Associates and their public campaign, the American Medical Association and the Food and Drug Administration organized a "Congress on Quackery", which toured the United States, holding seminars on food faddism and quackery. According to Nichols, "They were really after men and women whose espousal of 'natural foods' or 'organic foods', or 'health foods' threatened to lower the profits of the food industry.
To help strengthen the food industries position, the American Medical Association used Dr. Fred Spare and Dr. Jean Mayer, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University's Medical School, to stress to the public that to get a proper balanced diet all an American had to do was go into the nearest grocery store and get a variety of the four food groups: fruit and vegetables; milk and diary products; cereals; meat and eggs. This was an all-out propaganda tool, supported by the U.S. Public Health Department, food processors and chemical trusts that make the poisonous food additives. It this wasn't enough, the government hired science editors, food editors, and medical editors in the daily newspapers to lend credibility to poisonous food additives and pesticides.
The fact is, DDT is a cancer-producing chemical which also produces other metabolic diseases including diabetes, and heart disease. DDT (Dichlor Diphenyl Trichlor) is a colorless, odorless, water-insoluble crystalline insecticide that tends to accumulate in the ecosystems and has toxic effects on humans, animals, and plants. DDT and other pesticides also go straight to the seed oil of corn, grains, and cotton. Once these chemicals are put into the soil, there is no way to remove them, and they are completely cancer and disease-causing. Research points out that DDT and its derivatives last a long time in the soil, decaying slowly and appearing in plants, and animals that eat it. This is one of the reasons why diabetes can take a long time to develop in some adults.
After a decade of poisoning, the FDA finally banned DDT in the 1970's. but soon after, pressure from agricultural interests caused the FDA to revoke its ban on DDT in milk , and established a legal tolerance for the amount of DDT allowable in milk.
Though DDT was largely banned by the FDA, it was replaced by its successors Dialdrin, Aldrin, and Heptaclore which are equally poisonous, and considered by many experts to be disease-causing. Whatever dangers can be attributed to DDT, can now be attributed to its successors. Cows, steers, hogs, sheep, and chickens are still being fed grains which are infected with poisonous pesticides, singularly and in combination with other drugs which the FDA suspects are carcinogenic when ingested by humans.
The end result of over fifty years of chemical farming is disease. First to the land, then to the plant, then to the animal, then to humans. "Everywhere in the world where chemical farming is practiced the people are sick. The only ones to benefit are the companies that produce the chemicals", says Nichols. Thus, a series of deadly chemicals have been unleashed into the human immune system like a ticking time bomb waiting to mutate and develop into leukemia, diabetes, hepatitis, Hodgkin's disease and other degenerative diseases. Research shows that there is a clear correlation between DDT and diabetes. Let's look at two very interesting studies.
Diabetes and the Milk Connection
In the course of its functioning, our body manufactures approximately 100,000 different chemicals everyday, and performs literally billions of chemical and electrical operations. To do that, it needs 50 or so raw materials each day. Equally important, the body needs to avoid receiving substances that are toxic to its delicate, complex and balanced operations.
Pesticides such as DDT, Dialdrin, Aldrin, and Heptaclore and among the most toxic chemicals known to science, designed to kill living creatures. Along with other industrial fertilizers and chemicals, they run off into our lakes, rivers and oceans, contaminating both water supplies and marine animals. These chemicals become more concentrated as they move up the food chain.
Not only farm animals, but fish in fresh water and even in the ocean are gradually being poisoned by a combination of pesticides and herbicides. Yet the DDT which wiped out fish and small game, left its prime target, the boll weevil, alive and kicking.
Farm animals also concentrate in their fat and livers, toxic chemicals in their food. Since these chemicals are in all food now, it is impossible for this concentration not to occur, even in animals that are raised organically. The livers of prime animals are confiscated much of the time because they contain abscesses and toxic substances. Commercially grown chickens have arsenic and stilbestrol in their bodies and much of it winds up in the liver. The liver is the detoxifying organ of the body, and that's where these poisons go. Today, virtually all livestock now receive heavy doses of antibiotics to counter the diseased conditions associated with chemical pesticides.
These higher chemical concentrations, as we move up the food chain, are confirmed in tests. In a study from 1964 to 1968, for instance, it was found that, compared to the average pesticide residues found in plant foods:
dairy foods had about three times as much;
meat, fish and poultry had about six times as much.
In the food chain of life, plants play an essential role, as man cannot ingest essential elements directly from the soil. They must be brought to him through the nourishing elements of living plants, which likewise feed all animals, directly , or indirectly. Through plant and animal our bodies grow out of the soil. However, when toxic chemicals are added to the soil, vegetables, grains, and seeds absorb these toxins, converting them into "mutated pathogens".
Every time the body must devote resources to the attempt to detoxify and expel these toxins, energy is taken away from other and better uses. Sometimes the body simply doesn't have the time or ability to deal with them, and so it stores them away in the tissues, organs, or muscles. This build-up of toxins and poisonous chemicals in the organs is what leads to disease.
In this connection with pesticides, there is a startling relationship between the consumption of milk and dairy proteins and insulin-dependent diabetes. Because of the "legal amount of DDT allowable in milk" established by the Food and Drug Administration, most cow's milk continues to be contaminated by DDT and other pesticides. According to a study by the New England Journal of Medicine in 1992, cow's milk and other dairy proteins somehow leads to an autoimmune reaction aimed at the pancreas and ultimately to impairment of the pancreas' ability to produce insulin.
Pesticides concentrate in milk of both farm animals and humans. A study by the Environmental Defense Fund found widespread pesticide contamination of the human breast milk among 1,400 women in forty-six states. The levels of contamination were twice as high among the meat and dairy-eating women as among vegetarians. There seems to be a growing consensus among scientists and nutritionists that dairy proteins play a major role in the genesis of metabolic disease. This suggest that the milk and animal proteins that people have been ingesting since 1940, is the real reason for diabetes and other metabolic diseases.
To better understand how diabetes develops in the body, we must look at how "pesticide contaminated milk proteins" mutate in the human immune system. Amino acids, the basic units that make up proteins, are the building blocks for all living cells. When normal protein in our food is properly broken down by the digestive system into amino acids, it does no harm to the immune system. However, proteins contaminated with DDT molecules, are absorbed into the blood cells, provoking an immune response. Repeated exposure to these proteins disrupts normal immune function and may eventually lead to diabetes. When we develop disease, it is most often due to immune system damage and dysfunction.
On top of this, cow's milk contains many proteins that are poorly digested and harmful to the immune system. It appears that milk protein such as casein, lactalbumin, and lactoglobulin is the most usual culprit. In addition, many people do not produce enough of the enzyme "lactase" to digest "lactose" (milk sugar). This condition gives rise to a condition known as "lactose intolerance". Black people do not produce enough lactase to sufficiently digest milk products, and therefore, have a high rate of lactose intolerance.
So why is it that black people seem to have one of the highest rate of diabetes than most Americans. Well, people in different parts of the world eat varying amounts of dairy food. What determines whether it becomes a health risk food seems to depend on two things: your innate resistance (how well your body can cope with the proteins, fats, sugars, and chemicals) and how much of it you consume. The milk proteins along with the pesticide chemicals somehow leads to an auto-immune reaction aimed at the pancreas and ultimately to impairment of the pancreas' ability to produce insulin.
In the past, I have put some of my diabetic patients on a diet with very low amounts of fat, sugar, and dairy. Usually, in about eight weeks, over 60% of the patients no longer needed insulin! Eventually the figure rose to 70%, and those that still needed insulin, needed much smaller amounts. Eventually , those patients were given a complete herbal and diet program, and were able to stop using insulin all together.
A diet without dairy products is closer to the African diet. In fact, no animal in the wild consumes milk or dairy products past the period of nursing. Neither did Africans until their enslavement in the Americas. We apparently had no problem with diabetes during the time we consumed mostly a herbivore diet in Africa.
Mounting evidence shows that the onslaught of decades of pesticides and other poisonous chemicals in our food and milk is the real cause of diabetes. If you, or anyone in your family have diabetes and is experiencing health problems and dairy is a part of your diet, it makes sense to completely eliminate the dairy and observe the results.
This is part one of a two-part series. In part-two, we will discuss ways to treat diabetes with African holistic principles. Stay tuned.
Please consider all information contained in this report to be in the context of securing general information about a condition, substance, or remedy.
"Cow's Milk and Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus: Is There a Relationship?", F.W. Scott, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 51 (1990): 489-491.
"Insomnia and Cow's Milk Allergy in Infants", A. Kahn et al., Pediatrics 76 (1985): 880.
Don't Drink Your Milk, F.A. Oski, (Syracuse: Mollica Press, 1983), 59.
Udder Non-sense: Why Milk is no Longer Required or Recommended, Nathaniel Mead, (Avery Publishing Group, 1995).
Silent Spring, Rachel Carson, (Houghton Mifflin, 1962).
Soil, Grass and Cancer, Andre Voisin, (New York: Philosophical Library, Inc., 1959).
The Soil and Health, Sir Albert Howard, (New York: Schocken Books, 1972).
Food, Farming and the Future, Friend Sykes, (Emmaus PA: Rodale Press, 1951).
Nutrition and the Soil, Sir Lionel J. Picton, (New York: Devin-Adair, 1949).
African Holistic Health, Dr. Llaila Afrika, (New York: A & B Publishers Group, 1996).
Good Health for African Americans, Barbara M. Dixon, (New York: Crown Publishers).