Cancer Prevention - Diet and Lifestyle

Originally published in August 2002 icon

Size Does Matter

Size Matters

Why Your Excess Weight Could Be Making You Ill

We have all read reports that being overweight is bad for your health. And, let’s be honest, most of us ignore them.

You may also have seen an article in the Sunday papers a year or so ago about rats fed 10% less calories than they need over a prolonged period, living to the equivalent of humans achieving 140 years of age.

It’s all mumbo jumbo really, isn’t it? Your doctor may have told you to lose a bit of weight but what the heck, pass the cheese! Well, try this for size: people who are overweight get more cancer.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has just published a report stating that the UK has the second highest level of obesity in the world after the USA.

With 21 % obesity we follow the USA at 26%. By contrast the Swiss are Europe’s best at 6.8% and the Japanese have a lowly 2.9%. UK Health Minister, Hazel Blears, said, "There are clear links between obesity and our biggest killers, heart disease and cancer".

Every day you burn energy inside your cells. The more energy you burn, the more waste products you produce and the more these waste products make your cells toxic. Eat more and you have more toxic cells.

Open quotesPeople who are overweight get more cancerClose quotes

People who are overweight tend to be less active. One of your body’s natural defences is its lymph system. With twice the volume of your blood, the problem is your lymph does not have a heart to pump it round the body. A clean lymph system is essential, so you should drink at least one and a half litres of clean water per day. But the lymph needs to be flowing past your cells to take the toxins away. Overweight people and older people tend to be more sedentary reducing lymph flow. So their cells are more toxic.

Overweight people are often thus, because of poor eating habits and a poor diet. Poor quality eating habits form at an early age.

One third of boys under six are overweight or obese, rising to almost 50% by the age of 15.

47% of children eat no vegetables other than potato in a month and a recent survey showed that half of ten year olds could not even recognise certain vegetables like broccoli correctly.

However vegetarians have half the cancer rate of the rest of us. Vegetables contain numerous substances to defend us against cancer. People who eat badly (more fatty foods, sugary foods, salt processed and preserved foods, fried foods etc) are putting more free radicals into their bodies. So their cells are more toxic.

Open quotesThere are clear links between obesity and our biggest killers, heart disease and cancerClose quotes

Overweight people have more stores of fat in their bodies. And fat is a wonderful solvent. So more toxins are dissolved by the fat and held in the body. Fat people have more, toxic cells.

Overweight people often have hormone imbalances. Drinking several cans of fizzy soft drink, or high starch/carbohydrate meal causes the body to produce lots of insulin to remove the excess sugar from the blood or it would poison the brain. But if you produce lots of one hormone like insulin, all the hormones in the body react and are thrown out of balance. Some are reduced, some are in excess and this damages your system making it more toxic. Worse, fat dissolves the excess hormones too, rather than allowing them to be expelled from the body. Excess hormones are dangerous and make the body more toxic.

Rats that consume 10% less calories than they need, lose their excess fat stores over time, storing and holding less hormones and toxins. Less ingested calories mean less burnt calories and less waste, and a better control of hormone production. Their metabolism and biochemistry is more regular, more controlled and they are less toxic.

Now to get really technical! Two lots of Nobel Prizes have been won for work on eicosanoids. These are short lived hormones produced by every cell in your body. There are over one hundred different eicosanoids, some good, some bad. All oils and fats produce a pool of a substance called DGLA, in the body. This pool can go on to make either good or bad eicosanoids. One enzyme is responsible for taking DGLA and turning it ’bad’. That enzyme is only switched off by omega 3 oils.

Overweight mother

So grandma was right! Cod liver oil is very good for you.

Bad fats in junk food, fried food, animal fats and dairy will build up the pool of DGLA but not switch this enzyme off. Worse insulin actually stimulates the enzyme to make more bad eicosanoids.

So bad eating habits produce more DGLA and more insulin, which cause more bad eicosanoids to exist in the environment surrounding your cells. So, again overweight people have more toxic cells.

Dr. Paula Baillie-Hamilton has just written a book; "The Detox Diet: Eliminate Chemical Calories and Restore Your Body’s Natural Slimming System". The message is in the title. Her view is that every one of us has a slimming system, just as we have an endocrine system or a blood temperature system, and that this system is interrelated to all the other body systems.

However this natural slimming system is damaged by exposure to chemicals and toxins. For example, these can affect hormone production in the body and that has a knock on effect to whether you can slim easily or not. Her recommendation is that you buy organic whenever possible, and that animal fats need to be kept low as they store toxins from the fields, food and farming techniques used to raise the animals.

Junk Food

She advocates cutting out all the usual toxins; from packaging, to polluted city air, from household pesticides to cosmetics, toiletries and even dry cleaning. Damaging toxins are thus ’fattening’ and by contrast avoiding toxins from all sources is slimming. Dr BaillieHamilton also recommends high fibre diets and plenty of water to help eliminate toxins.

Finally, her view is that severe diets and fasting can increase the free toxins in the bloodstream- the chemical calories, as she refers to them - and should be avoided. A mild food restriction diet that places the emphasis on low animal fat and organic foods, coupled with a detox, light exercise and saunas or steam baths is the way to slim and remove those chemical calories.

If overweight people can break the cycle and lose some excess weight they will naturally feel better and become more active. Many psychologists will tell you that excessive smoking, drinking or eating stems from emotional problems.

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome for the would-be slimmer is to actually respect themselves. "I am important, my family loves me, I have good friends, I like living, I am fun, and I have worth and value." If you respect yourself, you value yourself. And if you value someone or something, you want to spend time on them and appreciate them. So appreciate yourself. Start to respect your body, lose a little weight and eat better.

Open quotesDamaging toxins are fatteningClose quotes

The first hurdle is the first couple of kilos. If you can kick start a slimming programme, you will feel happier and more self motivated, and this allows you to go on to bigger things. Isn’t it time you valued yourself a little more and lost those first few kilos? One report I read recently said that overweight people had 40% more risk of getting cancer. By contrast, smoking "only" increased the risk by 25%.

How about those figures for sizes?

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