Depending on its severity, constipation can cause irritability, acne, haemorrhoids (piles), varicose veins, diverticular disease and cancer of the colon, not to mention problems with pregnancy and childbirth. It can even interfere with an individual's love life.
The late Surgeon Commander Brian Cliff was particularly forceful in attempting to draw attention to constipation as being a forerunner of many other more serious diseases caused by what Surgeon Captain Cleave described as the Saccharine Disease. In his book of that name Cleave explains;
"The term 'saccharine disease' refers to all those conditions (mentioned above) as being due to the taking of sugar, either ordinary table sugar or sugar which is formed from the digestion of the starch contained in white flour, white bread, polished rice or other refined carbohydrates. An alternative, if clumsy, term for the disease would be 'refined carbohydrate disease.
HOW PEOPLE BECOME CONSTIPATED
In the refining of sugar beet, sugar cane or whole cereal grains, a vast amount of vegetable pulp or fibre is removed. In the saccharine conception the direct result of eating foods containing refined carbohydrate is constipation, due to the intestinal contents taking a longer time than is normal to complete their passage. Consequently, millions of people now take aperients regularly.
Such constipation produces conditions like diverticulitis which is now so prevalent in older people. The loaded colon is also responsible for pressure effects on the veins coming up from the legs and on the veins of the wall of the bowel itself. The former results in some five million people in this country having varicose veins and the latter in about as many people having haemorrhoids."
RISK OF THROMBOSIS
It is strongly contended that the pressure from the loaded colon is mainly responsible for the dreaded thrombosis in the leg veins after surgical operations, childbirth and in patients confined to bed; to this list of people at risk can be added those who are sedentary for hours at a time, particularly on long car journeys or lengthy flights on board an aircraft. In fact we now know that deep vein thrombosis can be caused by constipation.
VALUE OF WHEAT BRAN
Cleave discovered that the vein conditions referred to earlier could be controlled by the use of unprocessed wheat bran. When, as Senior Medical Officer on board ship during World War II, he famously prescribed this bran to combat the constipation which plagued the ship’s company, it was found to be so effective that he gained the gratitude of everyone on board. Cleave was on the bridge during the sinking of the German battleship Bismark when a fellow officer exclaimed to him, “Well done, Doc, you deserve a medal, our bowels were working like clockwork!”
As observed by a Consultant Surgeon specializing in gastro-intestinal problems, appendicitis is not caused by fruit pips and stones, it is caused by constipation. Very often it is found that the outlet of the appendix is obstructed by a faecolith or stony piece of motion and this is associated with constipation. The obstruction means that the cavity cannot drain and any cavity in the body that cannot drain soon becomes infected.
INDICATION OF CORRECT DIET
It is not generally realised that excessive consumption of sugar is responsible for offensive faeces and flatus and the disappearance of this mal-odour is the best indication of a correct diet.
In a lecture given by Brian Cliff, he said “The motions of horses and cattle have a characteristic but not an offensive odour as the smell is only of decaying vegetation. The same arises from a compost heap of grass cuttings. Man's motions and likewise dog's or a pig's tend to be revolting because decaying protein comes into it, strongly aided by the presence of sugar since some strains of E.Coli love sugar from all unnaturally sugared foods and drinks and refined cereals such as refined flour. Honey is largely sugar (fructose).
It is also essential to grasp that the liquid (diarrhoea) motions are offensive, not the constipated ones. This is because bacterial action largely depends on the fluidity of the medium they are in, as they cannot proliferate in the dry. An aperient therefore increases the intestinal toxaemia because any sudden exit from the body is more, much more, than compensated by the fluidity in the stools. Unprocessed wheat bran does not, in reasonable amounts, have this effect, since it is a natural laxative.”
The Saccharine Disease, -The Natural Diet for Health
Surgeon Captain T.L.Cleave, MRCP,
ISBN 0 7236 0368 5
ADVICE FOR DIABETICS
J.E.R. McDonagh, FRCS, Hunterian Professor of Surgery considered that the chief factor causing the acquired manifestation of disease was faulty food causing intestinal toxaemia. He went on to say that if one could rid humanity of an intestinal toxaemia one would have the answer to diabetes prevention. Cliff acknowledged the extreme importance of this dogma and observed that with this knowledge “anyone can avoid diabetes, even if it is in the family. It has also important implications for people with a lowered glucose threshold and for those who already have diabetes.” (N.B. Late-onset type 2 diabetes.)
McDonagh claimed that at least one third of all cancers are linked to what you eat. A paper published in the Lancet (November 1981) stated “During the first two decades of this century several distinguished surgeons observed that lumpy breasts, chronic cystic disease, and possibly cancer of the breast, were frequently found in ‘chronic intestinal stasis’ (i.e. severe constipation) and that the cystic condition resolved after dietary or surgical correction of the constipation and autointoxication. After the 1920’s these clinical observations appeared to have been forgotten, our findings support earlier clinical observations which suggest an association between severe constipation and breast disease.” The paper concluded, “It is therefore likely that many chemical substances originating in the colon might enter the blood stream and reach the breast. …… it is not unreasonable to suggest that potentially toxic substances derived from the colon have damaging or even carcinogenic effects upon the breast epithelium.”
WHAT TO DO
The way to avoid constipation and intestinal toxaemia is to adhere to a natural diet. Cleave explained in his “Natural Diet for Health” that it is important not to eat anything unless one really wants it. Sometimes we eat food for the sake of politeness or to save it from being wasted, but this is a most unnatural act. So the first golden rule is to eat only when you are hungry and Cleave warned that this decision is best made before going to the table. The second golden rule is to avoid any food that has been greatly altered from its natural state; as such foods mostly contain refined carbohydrates, particularly white flour and sugar. Examples would include white bread, pastry, cakes and biscuits, all of which should be avoided or reduced to a minimum, as well as sugar (white or brown) jams, confectionery and sweet drinks such as fruit drinks and sodas. He recommended that white bread and flour should be replaced with 100% wholemeal and that raw or dried fruit should be eaten instead of sugar.
Cliff added three important points.
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