Dr. Chris Knobbe – Processed Food: Culprit Behind Macular Degeneration


In this interview, Dr. Chris Knobbe, an ophthalmologist, discusses a few of the eye-opening info present in his guide, “Ancestral Dietary Strategy to Prevent and Treat Macular Degeneration.”1

Knobbe is the founder and president of the Cure AMD Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to the prevention of age-associated macular degeneration (AMD), which is the No. 1 reason for blindness among the many aged. His guide is a complete treatise on the historic development of AMD and supplies compelling proof that it is a illness attributable to processed meals.

“It is manmade, processed, nutrient-deficient and toxic foods that are driving all the chronic diseases,” he says. “They’re driving coronary heart illness, stroke, hypertension, most cancers, metabolic syndrome, weight problems [and] macular degeneration …

When I say processed, artifical, nutrient-poor, poisonous, or processed meals, that’s actually simply 4 issues. It’s actually pretty easy. It’s the nutrient-poor meals that are refined: Wheat flour, refined added sugars, polyunsaturated vegetable oils and trans fat.”

Although we didn’t focus on these dietary points and its connection to COVID-19 danger as a result of the interview was accomplished earlier than March, it’s nonetheless very related. We now know that consuming processed meals, particularly vegetable oils, will enhance insulin resistance and metabolic inflexibility, which is among the two largest danger components for COVID-19, the opposite being vitamin D insufficiency.

Vegetable Oils Responsible for Emergence of Heart Disease

Refined flour, sugar, trans fat and vegetable oils are comparatively current additions to our meals provide. Refined sugar has been round for a number of hundred years, however it was consumed in actually low quantities till the late 19th century. Vegetable oils emerged after the American Civil War. Refined white wheat flour happened in 1880 and trans fat in 1911.

“Those foods are what is driving almost all of our chronic metabolic and degenerative diseases,” Knobbe says. “Over the previous 12 months or two, I actually dug into the historical past of most of those power illnesses. For instance, coronary heart illness was an excessive medical rarity within the 19th century.

We have information from a paper by Jones and colleagues [published] in 2011. What they confirmed was that within the city of Boston in 1811, there have been no identified coronary heart assaults.

Only 2.6% of that inhabitants in Boston died of sudden demise. So even when we thought each single a type of was coronary heart illness, which they weren’t, however even if you happen to wished to say that they have been, it is solely 2.6% …

Sir William Osler, a famed doctor, was one of many founding members of Johns Hopkins Medical Center. In 1897, he printed a paper by which he reviewed his earlier 21 years of hospital expertise, and he famous perhaps round a half a dozen circumstances of angina — chest ache that is likely to be associated to coronary heart illness — however not a single myocardial infarction, not a single coronary heart assault.

Some 13 years later, in 1910, he recounted 208 extra circumstances of angina, which he attributed to the stress of contemporary day life. In 1900, from the Jones paper, coronary heart illness accounted for 12.5% of deaths, however that was identified to not be coronary artery illness … That was cardiac valvular illness, which is pushed by infectious illnesses like rheumatic fever, syphilis and endocarditis. It wasn’t coronary heart assaults.

In reality, 1912, James Herrick printed a paper on the primary identified coronary heart assault within the United States with documented post-mortem proof. What’s staggering is that 30 years later, within the 1930s, coronary heart illness grew to become the main reason for demise. It was nearly unknown in 1900. Nobody knew what a coronary heart assault was in 1900. Nobody had seen one …

By 2010, 32.3% of individuals within the United States are dying of coronary heart illness. But if you happen to return, what we’ll discover is that vegetable oils and trans fat, margarines, these issues have been changing animal fat. That is the foremost driver of this, I consider.”

Diet Has Increased Cancer and Diabetes

Knobbe additionally opinions the historic information on most cancers. Of the 942 individuals who died throughout 1811 in Boston, solely 5 died of most cancers. That’s 1 in 188 deaths. By 1900, most cancers killed 1 in 17 individuals. Today, most cancers accounts for 31.2% of deaths within the U.S., or almost 1 in 3.

The identical exponential progress may be seen in Type 2 diabetes. In the 19th century, any type of diabetes was extraordinarily uncommon. One of the primary research on diabetes was printed in 1935. In 1935-1936, 0.37% of Americans had diabetes. By 2015, that fee had risen to 9.4%. That’s a 25-fold enhance in 80 years.

Between 1851 and 1930, there have been not more than 50 circumstances of AMD reported in all of the world’s medical literature. It was nearly unknown. As of 2020, estimates put prevalence at 196 million. In 20 extra years, it’s anticipated to hit 288 million.

The state of affairs may very well be even worse than that, although, because the 9.4% fee refers to documented full-blown scientific diabetes. If you add in prediabetes and insulin resistance, then almost 9 in 10 Americans are affected. According to current NHANES information,2 87.8% of Americans are unhealthy primarily based on 5 parameters of metabolic well being, so nearly your entire inhabitants is in danger for and headed towards Type 2 diabetes.

Shocking Rise in AMD Prevalence

Macular degeneration grew to become discoverable following the invention of the ophthalmoscope in 1851. The ophthalmoscope was in broad use by 1880. By 1900, there was 140 variations out there. By 1914, there was over 200 variations of ophthalmoscope in use all over the world.

Yet, between 1851 and 1930, there have been not more than 50 circumstances of AMD reported in all of the world’s medical literature. It was nearly unknown. Prevalence started to extend within the 1930s, and by 1975, an estimated 4.5 million Americans instantly had macular degeneration. By 1994, 15 million had it, and as of 2020, estimates put worldwide prevalence at 196 million. In 20 extra years, it’s anticipated to hit 288 million.

“I’ve done the same thing with metabolic syndrome and with myopia, nearsightedness. They all track essentially the same. We see all of these go from rarity in the 19th century and early 20th century to staggering numbers today, and the prevalence continues to increase,” Knobbe says.

Metabolic Dysfunction Is Common Denominator

The widespread denominator that every one of those illnesses share is mitochondrial dysfunction attributable to processed meals. Hopefully, figuring out it will encourage and encourage you to alter your consuming habits. Once you notice what these meals are doing to you on the molecular stage, you’ll be extra enthusiastic about wholesome selections.

“As I discussed, what’s occurred is we’ve changed nutrient-dense, wholesome, protected, natural meals with nutrient-poor, poisonous, harmful extremely-processed meals. As of 2009, 63% of the American food plan was made up of these 4 meals — added sugars, refined white wheat flour, vegetable oils and trans fat …

In the 12 months 1900, when everyone was wholesome, 99% of added fat within the food plan have been animal fats — lard, butter and beef tallow. But by 2005, 105 years later, 86% of the added fat within the food plan of Americans are vegetable oil-derived. They embrace vegetable oils, margarine [and] butter substitutes. Ultimately, all of these come from these harmful vegetable oils that do not present wholesome fats-soluble nutritional vitamins, and are terribly poisonous.

What we now perceive is that it’s mitochondrial dysfunction that ties collectively all of those power illnesses — coronary heart illness, most cancers, stroke, hypertension, weight problems, metabolic syndrome, macular degeneration …

When you devour an entire lot of those edible seed oils, vegetable oils or omega-6 — that is all the identical factor — then these oils, these omega-6s, oxidize and break down into poisonous aldehydes. So, after we attempt to metabolize these, after we attempt to burn these for gas, or we retailer them, what occurs is that they create a catastrophic peroxidation cascade.

They trigger oxidation in fat, proteins [and] carbohydrates in your cells and mobile membranes all over the place. Ultimately, what this does is it damages a molecule referred to as cardiolipin … a phospholipid in your mitochondria. It’s a scaffold upon which the electron transport chain of your mitochondria relies upon. When cardiolipin is altered … it damages it.

What occurs is that the mitochondria are not in a position to maintain a proton gradient. They lose that proton gradient, and this causes lack of vitality. The mitochondria then develop into sick; they’re not producing vitality correctly. Well, with out vitality, all the things begins to fail. One of the primary issues that occur is you could’t correctly burn fat for gas, and also you develop into extra carbohydrate-dependent.”

The cardiolipin is just discovered within the inside mitochondrial membrane. In the lecture above, Knobbe illustrates the chain of occasions that end in mitochondrial dysfunction.

High-PUFA Diet Triggers Catastrophic Peroxidation Cascade

Paradoxically, the cardiolipin molecule will depend on linoleic acid, and linoleic acid is the first omega-6 in our diets. However, in a excessive-linoleic acid food plan, the linoleic acid within the cardiolipin molecule finally ends up being destroyed. So, what offers? Knobbe explains:

“When you are consuming a excessive-PUFA food plan, it is like having a home stuffed with little tiny papers, and if you’re welding or one thing, sparks are flying. You’re going to catch the home on hearth if you devour all these vegetable oils as a result of you are going to be filling up your fats cells, tissues and membranes with linoleic acid, these omega-6s, they usually’re very fragile.

You’re going to begin this catastrophic peroxidation cascade, and also you’re additionally going to destroy the linoleic acid within the cardiolipin molecules the place it’s important. Subsequently, you lose vitality in your mitochondria, make your mitochondria sick, and then you definitely develop into sick. This is how we develop into drained, fatigued, and we’re gaining weight all on the identical time.

I believe most individuals are eager about how you can drop a few pounds. But by far, one million occasions extra vital is to be wholesome, and that is how we get wholesome. The identical issues that make you wholesome additionally make you leaner.”

Another vital variable right here is the affect of carnosine, a dipeptide — two amino acids put collectively — made up of beta-alanine and histidine. Carnosine is just discovered animal merchandise. It serves as a scavenger or sink for reactive carbonyl teams, intermediaries that go on to kind superior lipoxidation finish-merchandise and emulsification finish-merchandise.

If you possibly can seize these carbonyls earlier than they assault proteins and fat, you possibly can basically cease the vicious cycle leading to catastrophic peroxidation. This is but another excuse why I don’t suggest diets that exclude animal merchandise and meat, as they are going to decrease your carnosine stage, and carnosine is a very vital nutrient to restrict the injury from oxidation merchandise. It’s additionally vital for mitochondrial operate.

Toxic Aldehydes

Knobbe has been learning the poisonous aldehydes that outcome from these omega-6 fat. When you devour an omega-6 fats, it first reacts with a hydroxyl radical or peroxide radical, producing a lipid hydroperoxide. This lipid hydroperoxide then quickly degenerates into poisonous aldehydes, of which there are a lot of.

Examples embrace 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) and malondialdehyde (MDA), in addition to oxidized linoleic acid metabolites corresponding to 9-HODE, 13-HODE, carboxyethylpyrrole and acrolein.

“Most of my research in terms of what these do is focused on what’s going on in the eye,” Knobbe says, “however these are terribly harmful molecules. For instance, HNE has been tied to nearly each single power illness there’s, together with coronary heart illness, atherosclerotic illness, Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration, weight problems, Type 2 diabetes.

All of these have been related to HNE, and it’s been referred to as a causal issue. It is that highly effective. These are terribly harmful molecules at very low concentrations. MDA is an excessive toxin. It’s cytotoxic. It is mutagenic. It’s carcinogenic.

The oxidized linoleic acid metabolites, just like the 9- and 13-HODE, they’re driving oxidized LDL, for instance, which is a large participant in atherosclerosis. Carboxyethylpyrrole, within the eye, induces autoantibodies … They assault the retina instantly. We see these greater than double the numbers in individuals with macular degeneration. So, we’ve a significant driver there.

Acrolein is the poisonous aldehyde that’s in cigarette smoke and vegetable oils. To offer you an concept, a mean cigarette produces 18 to 98 micrograms of acrolein if you smoke it. A big french fries, roughly, 154 grams of french fries from a quick meals restaurant … produce 1 to 1.5 milligrams of acrolein.

So, let me put this in perspective. Eating a big french fries can provide the identical quantity of acrolein as smoking 17 to 26 common cigarettes or as much as 83 cigarettes lowest in acrolein. Now, they each may cause lung most cancers, for instance.

Here we will see that you simply’re getting a a lot bigger dose of acrolein from consuming french fries than you are ever going to get from even being close to smoke.”

Knobbe additionally factors out what you lose out on when consuming vegetable oils, particularly fats-soluble nutritional vitamins. Animal fat corresponding to lard, butter and beef tallow present not solely wholesome fat but additionally important nutritional vitamins corresponding to nutritional vitamins A, D and K2. “Let’s face it, meat is the most densely nutritious food that most anybody in the United States ever gets,” Knobbe says.

One of the advantages of consuming meat is that it’s loaded with carnosine, which is a dipeptide consisting of beta-alanine and histidine. This is a terrific scavenging agent for superior lipoxidation endproducts (ALEs) just like the fat mentioned above.

If you’re excluding meat out of your food plan and devour giant quantities of business processed oils, you’re setting your self up for metabolic catastrophe. Without a doubt, low carnosine and excessive aldehydes is a prescription for untimely demise from power illness. At the very least it might be smart to take a carnosine or beta-alanine complement.

Your Body Can Recover

While the excellent news is you could get well your well being by eliminating these unhealthy omega-6-wealthy oils out of your food plan — basically ditching processed meals — the unhealthy information is that they have a reasonably lengthy half-life.

According to Knobbe, polyunsaturated fat from vegetable oils, seed oils and trans fat are largely saved (against getting used for gas), and have a half-lifetime of 600 to 680 days. That means it’ll take fairly a number of years to empty your physique shops of those damaging omega-6 fat.

“I quit consuming these fats in 2011,” Knobbe says, “and I believe it was 2015 or 2016 earlier than I began hitting quite a bit higher well being. But now, at age 59, I can weightlift, dash, run stairs.

I achieve this lots of the issues I might do after I was in my 20s. I wasn’t headed that manner again in 2011. I used to be headed for absolute catastrophe. I imply, I could haven’t even been alive at present if it weren’t for starting to know all this and altering my food plan.”

In the interview, Knobbe additionally discusses how his arthritis was traced again to oxalates, that are discovered solely in vegetation. Ironically, lots of the plant meals which can be praised for his or her healthiness have the very best quantities of oxalates and may wreak havoc on these with arthritis or different autoimmune circumstances.

“Oxalates can precipitate out in your joints, tendons, muscles, perhaps arteries and drive all sorts of chronic inflammation, so arthritis, myalgias, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, all of these disorders may be driven by oxalates,” he says.

“In 2011, after I was 50 years outdated, my arthritis was so extreme. I used to be in a devastated situation … [Dr. Mercola] referred me to Sally Ok. Norton, who is maybe the world’s professional on this space. I’m now … altering my food plan to get decrease in oxalates, and I’m doing higher and higher on a regular basis. I actually consider that it is probably not lengthy earlier than I’m arthritis-free …

I believe I might eat 1 or 2 cups of spinach in salads three or 4 occasions every week. That’s large doses [of oxalates]. Most individuals should not get greater than 150 milligrams of oxalates in a day. Many days, I might be getting 1 to 1.5 grams, so perhaps about 10 occasions as a lot as what’s really useful.

Over a long time, you accumulate these [oxalates]. They’re saved in your tissues. The excellent news is that they are water soluble, they usually can leach again out, however it can also take years. So, I’m apparently on a gradual restoration, sort of like eliminating polyunsaturated oils in your physique. It’ll occur, however it’s not going to occur in a single day.”

Macular Degeneration Strongly Linked to Processed Food Diet

Aside from enhancing your general well being and avoiding power illnesses like Type 2 diabetes and coronary heart illness, avoiding sugars, refined wheat flour, vegetable oils and trans fat can also be essential for the prevention of AMD. Knobbe opinions analysis displaying the connections between a processed meals food plan and AMD.

In Southwestern rural Nigeria, 0.1% of the grownup inhabitants over the age of 50 have macular degeneration. A mere 240 miles away in Onitsha, Nigeria, the prevalence is 3.2%. The distinction between these two populations is their meals provide.

The individuals in Southwestern rural Nigeria don’t have entry to processed meals. They stay off native conventional meals. The individuals in Onitsha, Nigeria, do have entry to processed meals, however at far decrease quantities than what we get within the U.S.

Barbados, in the meantime, has a macular degeneration fee of 24.3% — 243 occasions greater than the Africans of Southwestern rural Nigeria. What stands out about Barbados is the truth that it’s identified by diet researchers all all over the world as a Mecca for processed meals. They import virtually all of their meals.

“You and I know what that means. It means it’s all sugar, refined flour and vegetable oils. That’s what you can package up and send across continents, people can eat it months later, and it’s still called food,” Knobbe says.

“That’s what these persons are consuming, they usually have a ‘world profile’ of metabolic illness in Barbados, metabolic syndrome, weight problems, coronary heart illness, most cancers, Type 2 diabetes and 24.3% macular degeneration prevalence — 243 occasions better than the Africans of Southwestern rural Nigeria who cannot get processed meals.

All three [populations have] the identical West African heritage. How might we in any attainable manner conclude that that is about getting older and genetics, which is the first perception system about macular degeneration at present?

… Similarly, in 1969, New Zealand’s macular degeneration prevalence for individuals over 50 was 1.3%. In 2014, macular degeneration prevalence in individuals over the age of 45 was 10.3%. That’s an eight-fold enhance …

Their vegetable oil [intake] in 1960 was lower than 1 gram a day. By 1991 onward, it was round 20 grams a day. So once more, we see an enormous enhance in vegetable oils, and we see a large enhance in macular degeneration prevalence.”