Saturday, May 8, 2010

New Alarm Bells About Chemicals and Cancer

The New York Times ran an op-ed called:
New Alarm Bells About Chemicals and Cancer
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF on May 6, 2010

"The President’s Cancer Panel is the Mount Everest of the medical mainstream, so it is astonishing to learn that it is poised to join ranks with the organic food movement and declare: chemicals threaten our bodies. The cancer panel is releasing a landmark 200-page report on Thursday, warning that our lackadaisical approach to regulation may have far-reaching consequences for our health. "  Read more here:

Abby posted the following comment:

I am a psychologist specializing in weight management, and my work encourages “health at every size, naturally.”  We are bombarded with messages about getting healthy by losing weight, but if the focus was truly on health, then we would be encouraging nutrient-dense foods, free of chemicals, instead of “diet food.”   For instance, artificial sweeteners and artificial fats seem to disrupt the body’s natural mechanisms of hunger and satiation – which are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

Thinking more broadly about health - and what enters our bodies -  would lead to creative thinking, such as tax rebates to homeowners who refrain from using chemical fertilizers, pesticides and other toxins.  What about giving rebates to homeowners and townships that stop mowing lawns, stop cutting down trees, and allow natural local diversity to reclaim the land?  We have interfered with the earth’s natural filters, and cancer is probably the result.  Losing weight does not help with any of this, but getting back to nature seems to help.

In fact, cancer and weight have an interesting connection, but not what we have been led to believe.  Weight gain in our country is correlated with relative food abundance, which has allowed us to reach maximum heights, weights and IQs.  Higher weights were correlated with more cancer, but so were higher heights!

Higher weights and heights suggest that more “robust” people live long enough for deadly cancers to develop, whereas lowest incidents of cancer were found in countries with lower heights and weights – and much earlier death rates.  Cancer simply did not have time to develop, ostensibly because of worse nutrition, health, and early death!  The idea that being overweight leads to most types of cancers is simply not true.

Furthermore, having some weight on your body seems to protect the body from many illnesses, and assure better recoveries.  Not only does fat offer some reserves during times of stress, but it may also contribute towards certain immunities and protect against bone fractures.   Population studies around the world consistently find highest death rates for extremely thin and extremely fat people, with lowest death rates for the overweight.

Environmental impact on health is an essential consideration.  I was thrilled to read about the President’s Cancer Panel supporting organics.  Organic food tends to be much more nutritious than inorganic foods, and focusing on health instead of weight loss is the way to go!

Thank you.

Dr. Abby Aronowitz

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