Americans are Digging Their Graves with Their Teeth
If your digestive system is not working efficiently, you will not be able to maintain or restore health no matter how much nutrient-rich, healthy food you are eating. Chronic digestive problems, including incomplete digestion of food, poor absorption of nutrients, or a sluggish bowel resulting in the poor elimination of waste matter, will lead to the deterioration of health. Excess gas and bloating can be caused by foods trapped inside the gut and can cause irritable bowel syndrome or other inflammatory bowel conditions. Low levels of hydrochloric acid or other digestive enzymes result in partially digested food particles ending up in the bloodstream consequently triggering food allergies. These and other conditions precipitated by improper digestion will lead to a toxic colon and chronic illness.
One of the most neglected aspects of digestion is the elimination of waste matter. Proper intestinal elimination is critical to our health. A sluggish bowel (constipation) causes retention of toxic byproducts of normal digestion and harmful bacteria present in the bowel, as well as toxic chemicals from the air, water, and food. Toxins lingering in the intestines eventually end up back in the bloodstream and can trigger illness. Research scientists have linked several conditions to a toxic bowel such as acne, chronic fatigue, inflammatory bowel disorders, psoriasis and behavioral disorders.
A sluggish, toxic bowel is a common problem overlooked by most physicians. However, recently research scientists have begun to uncover the mechanisms by which death begins in the colon. Mounting evidence supported by the efforts of these leading-edge scientists point to a toxic bowel as one of the causes of a wide variety of illnesses. Their conclusion is that a toxic bowel and the illness that follows is a result of the standard American diet (S.A.D.).
What Goes In Must Come Out, Sooner or Later
As you can see, good health depends as much upon good elimination as it does upon the quality of food we consume. One of the scientists that spearheaded much of the research in this field of health care was a world-renowned scientist Dr. Dennis Burkitt. While practicing medicine for the British Royal Navy in Africa, Dr. Burkitt, an epidemiologist (a scientist who studies world health patterns) was one of the first scientists to study the relationship between colon health and disease. Although he was commissioned as a physician for British naval officers and their wives, his training in research led him to some very interesting observations while practicing medicine. Dr. Burkitt noticed that the British naval officers and their wives suffered from a plethora of chronic illnesses while the native Africans who worked for them were virtually free of these chronic illnesses. Eventually, Dr. Burkitt realized that the one variable that was different in the two populations was their diet. The natives ate a primarily plant-based diet that contained approximately 100 to 150 grams of fiber per day. On the other hand, the British naval officers and their families ate an animal-based diet with less than 10 grams of fiber per day. As a result of these observations, Dr. Burkitt formulated the fiber theory of disease.
Dr. Burkett’s conclusions were based upon the stool transit time of the two populations. Stool transit time is the amount of time it takes for food to enter the mouth and then exit the body; He observed that native Africans had an 18-24 hour stool transit time. On the other hand, the British naval officers wives stool transit time was 48 hours to one week. Dr. Burkitt also observed that the average weight of the natives stool was approximately 16 ounces. At the same time the British naval officers wives stools averaged only 5 ounces. Burkitt eventually concluded that the naval officers wives suffered from a long list of degenerative diseases because of a toxic bowel that resulted from a lack of fiber in their diet. The native Africans managed to avoid these diseases because they had healthy digestive systems as a result of their high fiber diet.
Diseases Dr. Burkitt observed were caused by slow stool transit time
- Skin Disorders
- Heart Attacks
- Dental Problems
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Varicose Veins
- Gall Stones
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Crohn's Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- High Blood Pressure
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Kidney Stones
Dr. Burkitt discovered that the single most important difference between the health of the two population groups was the amount of fiber (carbohydrate) in the diet. He also observed that, as the natives adopted the diet of the wives of the naval officers, they developed the same diseases the wives suffered from. It’s interesting to note that other researchers with no association to Burkitt have observed the same phenomenon in many different cultures.
Bringing this all down to a practical level, the average American eats a scanty 8 to 10 grams of fiber per day, while the natives of Africa and other primitive cultures eat approximately 100 to 150 grams of fiber per day. Considering the apparent correlation between low fiber and disease, wouldn’t it make good sense to increase our daily fiber intake? I must tell you that I am quite disturbed that this kind of information is not readily provided to the American public. Currently, common sense medicine has been replaced by drugs and surgery. Perhaps the words of Henry Wheeler Shaw, “a good set of bowels is worth more to a man than any quantity of brains,” should be taken more seriously by our health care policy makers.
I believe that physicians should be warning their patients that the average American adult stool transit time is approximately the same as their British counterparts in Dr. Burkett’s study between 48 and 96 hours. It is ludicrous that mainstream doctors claim that this is a normal stool transit time despite all the evidence from Burkett’s and other studies. I have personally consulted with patients who were advised by doctors at prestigious Cleveland hospitals that bowel movements once every two weeks was normal for them. I can only imagine what condition the health and colon of those doctors was in.
Dr. Burkett’s epidemiological studies prove that regular elimination is vital to overall health. If bowel movements are not regular, waste products and toxins accumulate and health is jeopardized. Health depends as much upon good elimination as it does upon the quality of the food we consume. Although we certainly cannot overestimate the value of putting good things into our bodies, it is more realistic that we will underestimate the value of getting bad things out of our bodies.
Test Your Stool Transit Time
The following is a simple home test that you can use to measure your colon transit time. Record the time and date of your next bowel movement. Next, the meal that follows your recorded bowel movement should be tagged with any one of the following: one half cup of beets or corn or six activated black charcoal capsules (available at your local drugstore) that contain only charcoal and no added colorings. The meal is tagged with one of these substances so that you will be able to keep track of how long it takes for the food to travel through your digestive tract.
Once you have tagged your meal, over the next week, check your stool for the obvious signs of beets, corn or charcoal in the stool. You can expect to see a red stool from the beets, undigested kernels of corn, or a black stool from the charcoal. Be sure to record the date and time you first notice the tagged stool, and the last time you see one of the three substances in the stool.
Stool Transit Time Test
1. Following your next bowel movement, tag the very next meal with 1/2 cup of corn, beets or 6 charcoal capsules. Record the date and time you completed this task.
2. Next, examine each bowel movement until you first notice the marked stool. Record the time and date you first see the corn, beets or charcoal in the stool.
3. Record when the corn, beets, or charcoal are last seen in the stool.
If you notice the marked stool within 18 to 24 hours, you have a normal stool transit time. But if your colon transit time is more than 24 hours you have a sluggish bowel and are constipated. On the other hand, if your colon transit time is less than 18 hours, you have malabsorption syndrome. The good news is, regardless of your current stool transit time, our 7-Day Jump Start Health Plan will dramatically improve it. In just a short 7 days you will be able to say goodbye to bloating, gas, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, heartburn and more. At the same time, you will improve the absorption of nutrients and your overall wellbeing. Too quick of a colon transit time (malabsorption), may take further evaluation to correct because malabsorption is usually triggered by hidden food allergies, lactose or gluten intolerance, or some other underlying cause.
Any deviation from a normal stool transit time should not be ignored. If you continue to have abnormal stool transit time even after the 7 Day Quick Start Health be sure to consult with a qualified health care professional.
Burkitt, D. P. and Trowell, H.D. Refined Carbohydrate Foods and Disease: Some Implications of Dietary Fiber. London: Academic Press, 1975.
Jarnerot, et. al. "Consumption of Refined Sugar by Patients with Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome," Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology. 18 (1983): 999-1002
Pizzorno, J. E. Total Wellness: improve your health by understanding the body's healing systems. Rocklin, California: Prima Publishing, 1996.
Rea, W. J. and Hsueh-Chia, L. Effects of Pesticides on the immune system, Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine. 2 (1991): 399-410
Triger, D. R., Alp, M. H. and Wright, R. Bacterial and dietary
antibodies in liver disease, Lancet I (1972):60-63
Trowell, H.D., and Burkitt, D. P. Western Diseases: Their Emergence and Prevention. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 1981.
-- Dr. James D. Krystosik
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