Monday, February 28, 2011


A choked engine in a car is achieved by an excess of gasoline with insufficient oxygen and/or an inefficient spark plug to ignite the gasoline. The result is loss of engine efficiency and decreased performance. Although the details are different and more complex in our bodies, the result of eating empty calories (“junk food”) is confusion in the brain/body dialogue, resulting in diverse symptoms. Hence the “The Choked Engine Syndrome” is caused by an excess of calories without the vitamins and minerals that enable the calories to be used as cellular fuel to produce energy. I want to describe a typical case and any reader might easily recognize his/her own symptoms.

A 14-year old boy had the major complaint of abdominal pain. It is natural to think that abdominal pain is caused by changes in abdominal organs and we shall see that this can sometimes be misleading. Generally speaking, a physician might focus his attention on the major symptom, thus dictating the investigations that are initiated. This is insufficient and other symptoms are only revealed by direct questioning. He had constipation alternating with diarrhea and the pain occurred after ingesting anything that tasted sweet. He had had suicidal thoughts, suffered frequent headaches and “panic attacks”. He complained of frequent nausea, sometimes accompanied by vomiting. He had been admitted to a hospital for three weeks for depression and seven different drugs had been prescribed. He had noted occasional dizziness, was regarded as emotionally unstable, suffered unusual fatigue and insomnia. He ground his teeth, talked in his sleep and suffered periodic attacks of “pins and needles” in his hands and feet, as well as leg pain while walking. He had noticed an occasional brief pain in the chest and, on questioning he reported that nasal congestion affected his right nostril only. Studies elsewhere reported that he suffered from fructose intolerance and all forms of fresh fruit had been withdrawn from his diet.

His facial appearance was typical of the many children and adolescents that I have seen over the years with this syndrome. There was a zone of pallor around his mouth, together with unusual flushing of the cheeks, producing a “clown-like” imitation. His tongue was badly coated a dirty brown with little red spots on its surface. He had the signs of mitral valve (a heart valve) prolapse by listening to his heart with a stethoscope. His blood pressures in the two arms, when measured at the same time, were widely different. Knee jerks were excessively reactive and a white stripe could be elicited by gently stroking the leg with a finger tip, a phenomenon known as dermographia or “skin writing”. There was a family history of one relative with diabetes.

One of the posts in this blog describes a “two-brain model” that emphasizes that the lower brain, known as the limbic system and brainstem, make up a very obvious computer, organizing our daily adaptation to environmental factors, sensed and data processed by the computer. If this part of the brain is poorly nourished by the ingestion of empty calories, its energy is affected and its loss of efficiency causes it to behave in exactly the same way as it would with a mild to moderate deficiency of oxygen.

The brain computer has a heavy oxygen requirement and a curious thing happens when energy production is mildly to moderately limited. It becomes hyper-reactive in its adaptive response to environmental stimuli, conveyed to it by sensory input. It is not the stomach that causes nausea, it is the brainstem. Vomiting occurs as a result of a signal sent to the stomach from the computer. This boy’s headaches, abdominal cramping and all his abnormal emotional reactions were produced by faulty and unnecessary executive action within the computer and its subsequent messages to body organs. It is the limbic system of the brain where our emotions are initiated. Emotions are reflex and although we are conscious of their action they are not developed from a thought process. Modifying the response to anger, for example, requires dialogue between the upper and lower brains. Road rage is an example of lack of this modifying effect. It was not fructose intolerance that was the defining issue. It was sensitivity to sugar that is extracted from the plant where it is naturally produced. To deny him fresh fruit was unnecessary because that is the natural way that sugar should be ingested. When we extract the active principle from a plant we turn it into a drug. Our taste mechanisms in the brain are programmed to receive permutations and combinations of six stimuli that provide flavor. By tasting sugar as a solitary stimulus it stimulates pleasure perception and it is the root cause of its addictive nature. The fiber in the fruit modifies the way that its sugar content is absorbed and processed and should remain the source of our sugar ingestion.

. Another clue to his sugar sensitivity was a relative with diabetes, a condition that is well known to be related to sugar metabolism. As the “Three Circles of Health” describe in a former post, there is always a genetic influence in the outcome of health and disease. It is the lower, primitive brain that organizes our adaptive mechanisms and panic attacks are nothing more than fragmented fight-or-flight reflexes that were being fired much too easily and unnecessarily. The autonomic nervous system, that is the two channel “telephone line” to all body organs, controls the two halves of the body separately, so this asymmetry is normal. When the brain controls become excitable in the way that I have described here, its asymmetric reflex mechanisms, including the blood pressures, become exaggerated. The nasal congestion confined to the right nostril only was an abnormal representation of this asymmetry, for there is a phenomenon known as the nasal cycle (Yogis have known this for centuries) when the nostrils receive signals from the autonomic nervous system asymmetrically. The periodic chest pain is like “a warning bell ringing in a complex system” and is a common symptom in this syndrome Out of great complexity, it is possible, with our present knowledge of how the human body functions, to distil out a simple solution that does not require seven drugs. All it does require is knowledge of the diet that God intended us to consume. After all, we could not have survived as a species if our food had not been present. All that this boy had to do to get well was to remove all forms of sugar from his diet except in the form of fresh fruit. He also required a few vitamin/mineral supplements to catch up with his normal metabolism.


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  2. This is out of context. The "Choked engine syndrome" is an analogy to explain what happens in the body when empty calories are consumed.

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