While I agree that our health is in our hands first and that the diet is far more important than we are led to believe, I disagree with the vegan approach discussed by Susan Levin in the article, "Real health care reform starts in the lunchroom" (Empire, July 30). So would Dr. Robert Atkins and the multitude of other educated physicians and health professionals who take exception to the "one diet fits all" path Ms. Levin pushes our way.
In my 22 years of being a student of orthomolecular physiology, I have learned and found that you gain weight because you put things in your body that you are allergic to or, in the words of doctors Melvin Page and Leon Abrams, "your body is not compatible with." These same "foods" also cause diabetes and suppress our immune systems and allow genetic propensities like cancer and heart disease to come into play.
What are these "foods?" Breads, candies, cakes, cookies, breakfast cereals, soda pop, juices, cows dairy products, and almost every refined carbohydrate out there.
As primitive creatures, we were designed to eat things as they appear in nature - that's actually a form of truth if you consider it - and we come from more than 345,000 generations of hunters and gatherers, intermingled to the point where you have to determine the ratio of amino acids (meat, fish, eggs) and carbohydrates (fresh vegetables and fruits). The fats that appear naturally in these things are desired by our bodies, but we have come to crave refined carbohydrates instead. They rip our arteries and cause an elevation of serum cholesterol, challenge our insulin mechanism to the point that it gives out. When we detox the aldehydes that are formed by these things, usually on the fourth day following consumption, we have cravings, mood swings and depression.
The really sad thing is, unless you study these things for yourself you will be "educated" by the corporations that manufacture these foods. It appears there is no profit in the truth.
You cannot gain weight by eating protein. It simply requires too much energy to process and needs your liver to process your fat stores for that energy, which it cannot do because you keep it "off-line" by eating all the simple sugars (refined carbohydrates).
I suggest Page and Abrams' 1958 classic book, "Your Body Is Your Best Doctor" as the most elementary beginning to the advancement of food knowledge.