Answer by Raqib Zaman:

This should be fun to explain 🙂
Let me start by listing the 3 subjects that is directly related to our illnesses in our modern society:

  1. Food
  2. Environment
  3. Exercise


Processed foods lack nutrition, bacteria, and anti-oxidants.  Nutrient density of food start to decline with the advent of over-farming the land. Over-farming land using bulk artificial fertilizer decrease certain micro-nutrients that are vital to  health (ie. iodine, selenium). Also, refining certain foods (think: white bread) might make it more digestible, but robs the vitamins, minerals, and fiber in it.

Where the vitamins and minerals are necessary for a functioning glucose metabolism (think: B vitamins), and fiber ensure a slow-release of Glucose while digesting something like grain. So if you remove the fiber, you will have a sky-rocket of blood sugar followed by a tall spike of insulin, which then result in a “crash”. This crash of blood glucose level will signal the body that it doesn’t have enough energy, and therefore you will feel hungry again after eating the white bread or any other processed carbohydrates.

Another problem with easily digestible carbohydrates (FODMAP‘s) is that it makes an environment for bad bacteria. They rapidly ferment, causing gut flora dysbiosis (imbalance in good/bad micro-flora). Where bad microflora will constantly make endotoxins -or- signal the body to gain weight. The former is because our body uses fat as a way to store and sequester fat-soluble toxins. And the later is because our gut is totally dependent on microbes for digestion, such that both the gut and microbes communicate to form a symbiotic relationship. For example, in periods of starvation the gut-lining would secrete fructose to feed it’s bacterial residents. [I credit Amanda Harig for bringing up the subject of FODMAP’s].

You can also look at the ingredients of processed foods to get an idea of how they may harm you. Processed foods tend to be made with the primary agenda to make money, not primarily to benefit the consumer. So you will find the cheapest ingredients in processed food that has the sole purpose to pleasure the tongue, but not to benefit the body. We have a natural inclination to eat more when food tastes good. So when you eat “Junk” food, you will have the tendency to overeat a nutritionally un-balanced food. That’s why people become unhealthy on junk food. Note that obesity is only one manifestation of the unhealthy affects of junk food. Other people may be genetically wired to stay thin while eating junk food. But their illness may manifest in other ways. For example, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, and low energy are other manifestations.

When you read the ingredients in processed foods you will find things like High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), artificial flavor & colors, and unstable, easily rancidifying polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) from vegetables.

An abundance of HFCS as well as other sugars from processed foods will cause disease no matter what. This is because glucose needs certain enzymes, vitamins and nutrients in order to be processed by the body. If any of those aforementioned are missing, then the body will not be able to metabolize glucose efficiently. This leads to low energy levels after eating a high carbohydrate meal, and those low energy levels (glucose levels) will signal the body that it isn’t getting enough food to function. Therefore you will be left with hunger shortly after eating, in this circumstance. Note that heavy metal exposure, namely mercury, blocks many enzymes from functioning. Heavy metals are another factor that makes glucose metabolism inefficient.

Examples of PUFA’s include like cotton seed oil, soy bean, rapeseed, canola, etc. The problem with these PUFAs is that they rob your body of anti-oxidants so that the PUFAs can remain stable in your body. So how does the food industry fix this? By “hydrogenating” it to a more stable form. This is called a “trans” fat…

Now there are two types of Trans fats that you should be aware of. Fully-hydrogenated vegetable oil & Partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil. Fully-hydrogenated vegetable oil is chemically identical to saturated fat (Although I will still avoid it), and Partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil is the heart-killer. The reason why Partially-hydrogenated oil is so deadly is because the body does not recognize and and therefore does not know what to do with it. Such that when it becomes part of our body/cell membrane, it will not allow the cell membrane to function properly. That’s one reason why the arteries/vessels will become rigid in a person who consumes plenty of Partially-hydrogenated oil. This rigidity increases a person’s risk of cardiovascular problems, and not to mention a permanence in our adipose tissue, refusing to leave the body. That’s why transfat also causes obesity.

[Coming back to the subject of Bacteria]: There’s a reason why pro-biotics is hyped as a digestive aid. That’s because the natural pro-biotics in our food help us digest our food. Without a diverse ecosystem of bacteria in our gut, we not only suffer poor digestion, but also a poor immune system. However, the immune system becomes tolerant of neutral/beneficial bacteria when there is a vast diversity. However, for the person who chronically abstains from contact with bacteria, his immune system will become super sensitized.  To the extent that a person’s immune system will react to allergens that are normally benign. This is seen as allergies,  food intolerances, and even autoimmune diseases. This condition is seen prevalently 1st world countries, but scarcely in 3rd world coutries. Sadly, 3rd world counties suffer from the converse; proliferant outbreaks of cholera, malaria, etc.

Note that anti-biotics will not only destroy pathogenic bacteria, but also the benign bacteria in your gut. Not a good bargain. I do not deny that anti-biotics saves multitudes of people’s lived. But when people take anti-biotics for the common cold, that’s pushing it. Repeatedly using anti-biotics gives pathogens a chance to out compete benign bacteria for residence in the gut. So it is of utmost importance that a person takes probiotics after anti-biotic treatment.

Notes on GMOs: All GMOs aren’t necessarily bad. A good example are most commercial banana’s, which are genetically  modified organisms through selective growing. Whereas the original  banana were too choked-filled with seeds to be edible by normal human  beings:

(wild banana on the right, GMO banana via selective cultivation on the left)


People may not always consider it, but stress is a major factor for illness in our society. Not eustress that is experienced via exercise, but the stress from being overworked, sleep-deprived, and living in an depressing, noisy environment. So in a stressful situation, your body interprets that you are in danger. Stress causes a physiological change in the body, where it pulls blood away from the gut and concentrates the circulation in the brain and in the muscles. This is a natural response to a threat, where you need to be able to think and act at a moments notice to evade harm.

However, chronic stress prevents you from digesting properly, negatively changing the gut flora balance in the stomach, and allowing for gut permeability. Yes, that means “Leaky Gut Syndrome”. I credit Steven Fowkes for this enlightening information, where he describes negative stress causing gut permeability within just 3 hours from the time the negative stress was felt. Where Leaky Gut Syndrome allows foods to enter the blood stream, and be detected as foreign elements by the immune system. This is a recipe for auto-immune diseases and allergies.

As an aside, many autistic children tend to have Leaky Gut Syndrome as well as many other digestive illnesses. My conjecture is that their high sensitivity to stimuli, therefor high stress levels cause autistic people to have trouble digesting food. Where peaceful serenity is necessary for proper assimilation of food. And to calm themselves, many autistic children attract to sugary foods, where sugar consumption causes tryptophan to be secreted in the brain, allowing for a calming tryptophan high. This is also a reason why people under stress calm themselves by eating.

Other environmental factors that affect health include pestecides, heavy metals, vitamin D, and micro-organism exposure. It can be argued that pesticides have a similar affect on the body as natural toxins produced by plants (phycotoxin). Two Examples of plants that produce toxins are potatoes when they become green (solanine) and coffee (caffeine = insecticide)…

Heavy metals accumulate in the brain & inhibit vital enzyme functions

Vitamin D is vital for all cells in the body, such that many gene expressions are turned on with adequate vitamin D levels. Lowers risk of many diseases. Vitamin D improves immune system function. Elderly cannot produce vitamin D from sunlight efficiently, therefore need dietary sources.

We need a diverse exposure to micro-organims for the health of our immune system and gut. When immune system is flooded with a diverse number of neutral microorganims, the immune system (T helper cell???) releases the cytokine interleukin-10 to control inflammation/reduce inflammation.

Excercise & Sleep:
Exercise is one of the best tonics for youth. Exercise stimulates the body to survive, to grow, to excel in living. One consequence of exercise is the secretion of Growth Hormone, the one responsible for delaying the aging of our body. There is ongoing research into the possibility that Growth Hormone can delay or even reverse the aging of our body. One of the main beneficial effects of Growth Hormone is that it stimulates the repair of the body. That’s why exercise is an excellent tonic for youthfulness; it puts a demand upon the body to repair itself, thus stimulating the production of Growth Hormone.

Proper sleep is also an invaluable asset to one’s health. Not only is Growth Hormone secreted in our slumber, but also a whole host of preparative hormones that stimulate the mechanism of recovery in the body. To name a few:

  • Growth Hormone as said
  • Melatonin in bursts

Factors that effect the quality of Sleep:

  • Blue light exposure during waking; and the amount of light exposure during the night. The circadian rythem which decided when you fall asleep is regulated by blue light (sun exposure) and darkness.
  • Caffeine and other stimulants in the body
  • The relaxation of the body ie. when the person is deficient in glucagon, cortisol is released in the body as a back-up energy source. But cortisol wakes the person up in the process; you will observe that cortisol levels are highest in the morning when a person wakes up.
  • Another aspect for the relaxation of the body are deficiencies i.e if a person is magnesium deficient, their muscles cannot relax properly and stay contracted. This prevents from proper sleep during the night.

*During sleep, water in brain cells decrease, brain cells shrink, and allows for waste materials (amyloid plagues) and other by-products to be removed.


Pesticides, heavy metals, stress, Immune System-Bacteria Diversity Interleukin 10, Growth Hormone & Exercise => eyesight.

P.S.> Any feedback is appreciated!

Why are so many people chronically ill? What are we doing wrong?