Philip J. Goscienski, M.D.

April 2013

Dysnutrition describes the substitution of the food that nature intended for us with processed foods that leave us dumpy, diabetic and demented. In other words, the wrong kind of food. The term malnutrition, which indicates insufficient food intake, doesn't quite describe what is going on in the Western world. Americans get plenty of food but it consists mostly of starch, sugar, fat and alcohol. It has too little of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that our bodies need to produce healthy offspring, to survive infections and accidents and to function normally for eight or nine decades.

Most of the world's calories come from cereal grains but the milling process so prevalent in industrialized nations removes nutrients such as magnesium and fiber. Whole grain rice has an abundance of vitamins but a diet that consists mostly of bran-depleted white rice lacks vitamin B1 and can lead to severe fatigue, sometimes death. The potato is the almost-perfect food but stripped of its skin, deep-fried and salted it turns into nutritional pornography.

Dysnutrition begins in the first few days of life when infants receive cow's milk formula in place of breastmilk. Although formula-fed infants survive and thrive, those that receive only breastmilk in the first few months of life have stronger immune systems, suffer from fewer infections and are less likely to be obese and diabetic when they grow older.

Animal meat can be a healthy element of the diet but that from grain-fed animals is high in saturated fat. Processed meat, especially cold cuts, is high in salt and nitrites, which some authorities claim leads to colon cancer.

Another example of dysnutrition is the imbalance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. We get too much of the omega-6 variety that comes from vegetable oils such as safflower, sunflower and corn and too little omega-3, which is found primarily in seafood. Some omega-3 fat is present in flaxseed and leafy green vegetables. Instead of a healthy 1:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats the average U.S. diet contains a ratio of about 15:1 or more, partly explaining the high prevalence of inflammation-related diseases that include coronary artery disease, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis — only a partial list.

Dysnutrition results in exactly the picture we see today, a population that obviously takes in plenty of calories but too little of the nutrients that protect us from the so-called diseases of aging.

Philip J. Goscienski, M.D. is the author of Health Secrets of the Stone Age, Better Life Publishers 2005. Contact him at drphil@stoneagedoc.com.