Health Bulletin to the Churches of God

Dear Friends,

It has been announced here in Australia that vegetable oils are the direct cause of macular degeneration in the eyes causing blindness in a significant proportion of the populace.

Television coverage has directly pinpointed vegetable oils as causing macular degeneration and blindness.

It is important that people limit the amounts of vegetable oils in their diet. This means we have to limit processed foods and cook with olive oil and palm oil.

The effect of fats on the diet increases was studied in the US but the vegetable oils were not identified particularly in that study.

Australian experts have now come out and declared that all vegetable oils must be avoided.

Their recommendations are as follows:

1. Eat brightly-coloured fruit & vegetables
2. Eat nuts - one serving of nuts per week halves the rate of progression of the disease
3. Eat fish - one serving of fish per week reduces your chances of developing the disease by half
4. Supplement your diet with zinc and antioxidants. The MD Foundation and Australian healthcare
5. company, Blackmores, developed Macu-vision™ and Lutein-vision™ specifically for MD patients. Macu-vision™ will significantly reduce the risk of late stage MD and delay visual loss
6. Avoid vegetable oils and margarines (they increase the risk)
7. Don’t smoke (it’s never too late to give up - smoking increases the risk by 6 times, and brings the disease on ten years sooner!)
8. Exercise regularly and control weight & blood pressure levels.
9. If you are over 50 or have a family history of MD, you should see an eye care professional at least every 2 years.

An informative article on the matter has been written by Brian Jensen, June 10 2004.

You will note from that article that we cannot eat margarine and even butter softened with olive oil is out as it has been modified and is no longer olive oil. The works are published here in the public interest. The article states:

“Professor Paul Beaumont, ophthalmic surgeon and founder of the Macular Degeneration Foundation, believes the increased incidence of MD is due to the increase of vegetable oils and margarine in our diet.

Because the pathogenesis of the disease involves lipid membrane not being able to be digested you'd have to think there's some change in the lipid content of our diet," Beaumont says.

‘One of the big changes is to put a lot of vegetable oil in the foods and to make them less biodegradable. In 1957, [in the US] margarine outsold butter - what a major change that is in the food chain.’
‘Vegetable oils are basically the reason why this disease has become more common. All the data is consistent with it,’ Beaumont says.
‘Dr Kerryn Phelps, former president of the AMA, concurs: ‘The epidemiological case against vegetable oils appears to be very strong.’
The most recent study, reported in the Archives of Ophthalmology, December 2003, was conducted by Dr Johanna Seddon of Massachusetts. The prospective study, with a mean five-year follow-up, showed MD progressed 3.8 times faster in people who had a higher intake of vegetable fat.
Due to the results of this and earlier studies, Beaumont recommends cutting out all vegetable oils, all processed oils and margarine from our diet to both reduce the risk of developing MD and to slow its progression. He suggests replacing them with the ‘biologically ancient’ olive oil. Cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil is optimum, but olive oils in general appear safe.
In place of margarine, Beaumont recommends using butter sparingly. Even olive oil margarine is out. ‘It's no longer olive oil, it has been chemically modified and [is] no longer natural,’ he says.
Other oils, such as avocado, flaxseed and macadamia nut, have not yet been studied in relation to MD.
Because sight lost to MD cannot be regained, and with incidence of the disease increasing at an alarming rate, Beaumont believes the problem of vegetable oils must be addressed urgently.
‘We are probably sitting at a time in history where we can make a greater difference to the number of people going blind than at any other time. We have to get the message out there that vegetable oils are sending us blind.’
Beaumont is planning a meeting later this year, bringing together leading MD experts from around the world, doctors from the relevant medical disciplines, government representatives and manufacturers.
‘It's a matter of arguing out the case and saying, 'Is there enough evidence for us to demand there is a change?' ‘
The good news is that eating fish and nuts is protective and slows progression of the disease. "Oils that have not been denatured, such as in whole nuts, seem to be protective,’ Beaumont says.
It is suspected that the omega-3 content in fish provides protective properties but it's still unclear why nuts are so beneficial. Antioxidants are also protective. As well as vitamins C and E, zinc, selenium, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin are of particular importance in relation to MD.
Beaumont recommends a diet high in brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, dark- green leafy vegetables, and at least one serving of fish and nuts a week.
However, people with the disease, or at high risk of developing it, should supplement their diet with zinc, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, particularly lutein and selenium.
The MD Foundation recommends everyone over the age of 50 have an eye check for MD at least every two years.”

This is a very important health breakthrough and we should take advantage of this research and modify our diets. Each of us should avoid processed foods. Whilst sou can reduce the rate of cancer in middle aged women we should be very wary of eating that product either as it has serious problems as we know.

Eat lean meats and plenty of fruit and nuts and whole grain breads. Exercise and minimise fat intake. You must however take lean meats and fish. Cook with olive oil. It is through the fatty tissue of these meats that the vitamin B12 types are taken in to the system and thus, with Haem iron obtained only from meat, produces myelin and protects the nervous system and the synapses. Aluminium and other heavy metals in soy cause impairment to this process. Vegetarianism is a serious heath risk. Its philosophies are the root cause of much of the production of these dangerous substances.
Refer to the paper Vegetarianism and the Bible (No. 183) for more detail.

An article on the subject was published by Blackmores on 26 May 2004 under the title High Fat Diet linked to Vision Loss. A copy is reproduced from:

A new study finds that a higher intake of fat increases the risk of progression to advanced forms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD),1 the leading cause of blindness among the elderly in Australia.2
Among people aged 75 years and older, more than 25% have some signs of age-related maculopathy and 6% to 8% have the advanced stages of AMD that are associated with vision loss.

Dr Johanna Seddon and colleagues from the Harvard Medical School of Public Health, Boston, conducted a study to evaluate the relationship between dietary fat intake and the progression of early or intermediate AMD to the advanced stages of the disease. The research team recruited 261 participants aged 60 years and older with AMD. The participants underwent eye tests and completed food frequency questionnaires for an average follow-up of 4.6 years.

The researchers found that, “higher levels of dietary fat intake were associated with the progression of AMD to the advanced stages associated with visual loss. Specifically, higher intake of vegetable fat, and to a lesser extent animal fat, increased the rates of progression. Saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and transunsaturated fats were also related to progression. Food groups with higher levels of these fats, particularly processed baked goods, were also associated with a higher rate of progression of AMD, except for nuts, which were protective”. Higher fish intake was associated with a lower risk of AMD progression.

This study supports and expands upon the growing body of evidence that relates cardiovascular risk factors and AMD. One mechanism could involve atherosclerosis, resulting in narrowing of the arteries supplying blood to the eye. Dietary fat might also increase oxidative damage in the macula an area of the eye that is susceptible to oxidation, owing to high oxygen tension and light exposure. Obesity is another risk factor for cardiovascular disease which was found to be significantly related to the progression of AMD (independent of fat intake).

The potential beneficial effect of nuts on the risk of AMD progression also complements previous evidence of the protective role for nuts in cardiovascular disease. Higher intake of fish and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), found primarily in fish have also been associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease. There is also a possible inverse relationship between fish intake and the progression of AMD due to the high levels of DHA present in the retina of the eye.1

1. Seddon JM et al. Progression of age-related macular degeneration: association with dietary fat, transunsaturated fat, nuts and fish intake. Arch Ophthalmol. 2003;121:1728-37
2. Kuzniarz M et al. Use of vitamin and zinc supplements and age-related maculopathy: the Blue Mountains Eye Study. 2002;9(4):283-95


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