FIGURE 10.1 Major health problems in the United States. (Adapted from Sloan.9)
slightly more than 50% thinks foods can replace some drugs. This tendency has also been observed around the world; nutrition is now perceived as a tool for disease prevention and for self-treatment of specific health conditions.7
The notion of diet and health is not new and dates to Hippocrates (400 b.c.);8 this idea was enforced by the publicity surrounding the claims made by Nobel-laureate Linus Pauling in the 1970s, that megadoses of at least ten times the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of ascorbic acid could prevent or cure the common cold, flu, and cancer, and may have stimulated public interest in the use of vitamin supplements to enhance health. This proposal was later supported when it was discovered that vitamins C, E, and P-carotene play a role in protecting cells from oxidative free radical damage. Furthermore, epidemiological studies suggested that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and abundant in antioxidant nutrients, and other substances, reduced the risk of coronary heart disease and certain cancers (Figure 10.1).9 The holistic approach of food as medicine, and vice versa, that was begun in the 1970s is now receiving renewed attention. Nutritional issues highlight the relationship between diet and chronic disease, and cancer. In other words, we are moving beyond preventing deficiency diseases into promoting optimal health, longevity, and quality of life.1,10,11
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Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...