Gary, this is a nice post. I have to individually address each paragraph of what you said.
Stealth: I actually agree with much of what you said in that post, surprisingly. However I would like to comment on some of your thoughts (some not necessarily related to this particular post). Most medical professionals agree that UC is an autoimmune disease where, for some unknown reason, your body starts to attack itself. Now I understand that not all agree with this but most medical professionals do. This is why immunosuppressive drugs often work, because they weaken or stop our body's attack on itself. The root cause of this is totally unknown and you would have a very hard time indeed finding any medical professionals who would say that this immune system malfunction was brought on by improper diet, nutrition, or unhealthy living. That's not to say that it didn't have a role in some, but not necessarily many.
The current medical paradigm on treating autoimmune disease is better than a non-treatment approach, but it's ultimately misguided and fails as a long term solution. We've spent many resources on finding the ultimate "cure" for things like cancer and UC, but little progress has been made. Cancer rates haven't budged and UC rates are increasing worldwide. These are wasted resources that should be going elsewhere, but aren't. Inflammation is there for a reason and we'd be dead without it. It's also a healthy response to an unhealthy process going on in the body. Treating it as the enemy is not the answer. Peter Attia, a disgruntled doctor and founder of NuSi (a non-profit research organization exploring the diet-disease link), said it the best in his TED talk: if someone bumps his foot against the table and it swells up, why treat the swelling as the cause. Why not just tell someone to stop bumping their foot against the table leg? His research is mainly on diabetes and insulin resistance, but the same thing applies to any disease.
Since medical science has no idea what the real root cause is then all they are left to do is attempt treating symptoms only. I don't thing anyone anywhere would disagree that we need to find the root cause as the way we treat now leads to the problems and troubles you identify in your post. The fact that so many diametrically opposed diet plans and lifestyle changes work in some individuals is further proof that the real root cause remains elusive. It would be nice if it were discovered that eliminating all red meats would cure everyone with UC, or going Paleo would cure everyone with UC, or eliminating all gluten would cure everyone with UC, or that all everyone had to do to cure their UC is to eat spinach and sunflower seeds.
I don't think we can question disease uncertainty anymore. The hygienic hypothesis is slowly gaining steam because we know that bacteria are essential to immune function. I would have agreed with you 10 years ago, but it's a different world now. With the advent of data modeling and better scientific techniques, we have newer and more efficient methods of analyzing data. We can make far stronger correlations. We have epidemiological data, we have cohorts, and a whole slew of information to go on. The research on food as a perpetrator in disease is there. We know that certain ingredients are harmful and should be avoided, but aren't. We now know that saturated fats and cholesterol from pastured animals are protective
of autoimmune disease, but doctors still prescribe low-fat, high carb diets based on flawed and antiquated science. The research and data are out there - it's how people interpret them. There's going to be a change in medicine, but it's going to take a while to catch on. Until then, we'll all be suckers for pharmaceutical companies.
I'm not sure I know what you meant in saying that "it's very important to work with doctors that know what they are doing" because in reality, nobody knows the root cause of UC, not the medical professionals, not Naturopaths, not Chiropractors, not Holistic doctors, nobody. So, in essence, none of them knows what they are doing so all they are left to do is treat symptoms by prescribing various different meds or med combinations with no hope of actually curing us.
A single root cause is always difficult to pinpoint. Most causes are multifaceted, but there are efficient techniques out there. That's why a doctor who takes a multifaceted approach to solving problems is essential for treatment. Stool analysis will reveal a bacterial imbalance and tell you if there's an overgrowth of something. There are blood markers like ammonia, CRP and lipids that determine the level of inflammation in the body. A good specialist who looks at all these aspects is crucial. Knowing what I know now, I would have never opted for some of the useless treatments that were suggested by conventional GIs. There are answers, but it takes a lot of hard work, time and money. Many people don't have the resources so they consider it a lost cause. I do think diets like GAPS, Paleo and SCD are starting points for treating any disease.
Post Edited (StealthGuardian) : 10/30/2013 9:16:57 AM (GMT-6)