Frequently asked questions
Dr. Seignalet answers the most frequently asked questions about his diet.
1) Doesn’t eliminating animal milks lead to calcium deficiency and consequently to osteoporosis?
Many people are obsessed with these two problems because television, newspapers and most doctors maintain that bone strength depends on their calcium content and that only daily consumption of dairy products can supply them with a sufficient quantity of this precious calcium. However, my answer to both propositions is a clear no. Osteoporosis is not about bones weakened by lack of calcium, it is a disorder of bone remodelling. Bone tissue renews itself for the whole of our lives. It is destroyed by osteoclasts and rebuilt by osteoblasts. In a normal condition, there is an exact balance between bone destruction and bone formation. In certain subjects, in particular a significant proportion of postmenopausal women, destruction becomes more pronounced than formation. It is possible that the activity of the clogged up osteoclasts is decreased or that the osteoclasts, stimulated by the presence of “waste” molecules in the bone tissue, increase their activity or that both factors combined are the cause. In osteoporosis, it is not calcium that disappears but the whole of the bones.
This is why administering high doses of calcium, contrary to widespread opinion, is unable to reverse osteoporosis. Calcium cannot attach to a protein matrix that no longer exists. The only medicines to have shown a beneficial effect are oestrogens and bisphosphonates which are osteoclast inhibitors.
In contrast, the hypotoxic diet, free from dairy products, combined with magnesium and silica, blocks the progression of osteoporosis in 70 cases out of 100 and has even been shown sometimes to restore part of the lost terrain.
This probably occurs because this way of eating cleans the osteoblasts, the playmakers in bone remodelling. As further reassurance of those in doubt, we need to remember that osteoporosis does not affect wild animals weaned from milk from their childhood. The change in diet decreases rather than increases the risk of osteoporosis.
The risk of calcium deficiency is also imaginary. Cow’s milk is certainly very rich in calcium. But the vast majority of this calcium is precipitated in the form of calcium phosphate in the human digestive tract and expelled in the stools. Only a small part is absorbed. Assimilable calcium is supplied in a largely sufficient quantity by plant foods: pulses, green vegetables, raw vegetables, dried and fresh fruit. There are high amounts of calcium in the soil where it is taken up by the roots of plants.
Finally, excluding animal milks does not cause calcium deficiency and Fradin (1991) has noted this as have I.
2) How quickly does the change in diet work?
The time the patient has to wait before observing the first clear benefits varies depending on the case. One subject will see an improvement as early as 15 days while another will have to wait for 2 years.
This is why it is important to try the original diet for at least 2 years. However, in 90 % of individuals, the favourable effects make themselves felt quickly from the first 3 months onwards.
3) Apart from these preventative and curative action, does the original diet have any short- or long-term side effects?
The great majority of volunteers happily tolerate the change in diet. In a small minority, one or more of the following manifestations may occur: tiredness, moderate diarrhoea, intermittent muscle pains, unusual headaches, running nose and dandruff of the scalp.
These minor disorders are an expression of the elimination process. By eating in the “modern” way patients have accumulated a lot of waste in their body. By eating “the old way” they rid themselves of this waste. These phenomena rarely last more than a few weeks. In the longer term, most subjects experience a sensation of well-being and feed that body and mind have been thoroughly cleansed.
4) What are the consequences of not keeping to the diet?
It is important to remember that my method does not cure patients it puts them into remission. This remission is analogous to a cure as long as the dietary rules are followed correctly. But the body will still have its weak point or points.
Abandoning the ancestral diet is followed by relapse in the short or long term. Breaking the diet is more or less well tolerated depending on the subject and disease.
Breaking the diet generally has harmful consequences. One disease symptom or another reappears.
These sanctions serve as a kind of safeguard to keep patients on the straight and narrow. When the diet is followed at 90%, the benefits drop to 50% on average.
5) What are the reasons for failure?
Although the ancestral diet often achieves remarkable successes, there are also complete failures. The proportion of non-responders varies depending on the diseases. It goes from 45 % in rheumatoid arthritis in man to only 2% in asthma or Crohn’s disease. It is impossible to predict at the start who will respond and who will not respond to the diet. No therapy cures 100 % of patients with a given disease.
Nutrition therapy is no exception to the rule.
This is no surprise because there are many parameters involved in the success or non-success of a treatment and each parameter has variations from one individual to another.
I use three main hypotheses to explain the failures:
* It is impossible to restore the small intestinal mucosa to normal impermeability, which is probably the most common reason.
* The diet is not followed for long enough, because it may take more than 2 years to eliminate harmful molecules.
* Certain brain structures are found in certain patients (rare), which promote frequent interferon-gamma secretion.
6) Isn’t there a risk of contracting mad cow disease by eating varieties of raw beef frequently?
Mad cow disease, whose scientific name is bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), raged in the United Kingdom in particular. It resulted in a total of 221 deaths, (Dormont 2003), only 4 of which occurred in France, unless I am mistaken. These 4 deaths are certainly 4 too many but they show that the risk of contracting BSE is very low. Prions, the probable causative agents of BSE, are very difficult to transmit between cattle and humans. The species barrier is difficult to cross. In addition, the measures implemented to eradicate BSE have borne fruit.
Even if it cannot yet be definitively confirmed, the disease seems to be becoming extinct. In my opinion, oven-cooked or grilled meat, by promoting cancer or atherosclerosis, is highly implicated in the disappearance of 300,000 French citizens every year. It is better to eat raw meat therefore. In addition, cooking beef does not always provide protection against prions which are destroyed only when cooked at temperatures above 136°C for 18 minutes.
Overall, the risk represented by BSE in France is not absolutely zero but it is tiny.
7) Doesn’t repeated consumption of raw meats and fish greatly increase the risks of parasitosis?
Parasites are sometime found in meat (taenia, trichinella) and in fish (anisakis), which are destroyed by being cooked sufficiently well for sufficiently long. Problems in this area therefore could be expected a priori in subjects on the hypotoxic diet. But none have occurred. The rare cases of parasitosis that I have encountered were found in patients who had not yet started my method and who were eating a “modern” diet.
In the 2,500 people who have followed my dietary principles for 1 to 5 years, not one case has been reported to me. It is as if the improvement in the wall and content of the digestive tract achieved by a logical diet make this habitat intolerable for parasites.
However, I do take certain systematic precautions against liver fluke and trichenella which are rare in France but dangerous. With regard to liver fluke, discard all watercress, dandelion or lamb’s lettuce grown in the wild and not controlled. With regard to trichenella, buy only good-quality horse meat and pork from a tradesman you trust.
8) If animal milks and mutated cereals are dangerous, how should we feed children?
Babies should be fed by their mother until the age of 6 months or preferably one year. From 6 months onwards, gradually introduce a diet similar to the adult diet with the necessary adjustments (mixing, vegetable milks like almond and soya).
Children fed in this way are not as chubby as the others but are toned. Their resistance to the ENT infections so widespread in crèches and schools is much higher.
They are often of good intelligence (Anderson et coll. 1999), because the gynolactose and gamma-linolenic acid, present in human milk but absent from cow’s milk, promote healthy cerebral development.
9) Is the hypotoxic diet as therapeutically effective in children as it is in adults?
Since clogging diseases with rare exceptions are the prerogative of adults any comparison is restricted to two large disease settings: for elimination diseases the proportion of success remains identical regardless of age. For autoimmune diseases, the chances of a cure are markedly reduced in children, going from an average of 85 % in adults to about 50 % in children. An autoimmune disease starting in childhood will have a guarded prognosis.
10) Is the original diet compatible with a social life?
This question is asked at many levels:
a) Within the family, it is clear that the situation is easier for patients when the other members of the family adopt their way of eating or at least encourage them in this undertaking. Matters are more complicated when those close to the patient, sometimes the family doctor, are hostile to the nutritional method. It is important to stay the course though.
b) For eating out, the problems vary depending on the restaurant.
In general, the many choices offered for starters, main dish and dessert make it possible to keep to the diet. In canteens, there are not so many options. It is advisable to eat only the products authorised. Patients can bring raw meats, fresh and dried fruit and dark chocolate from home to supplement the menu.
c) For invitations to friends, it is important that patients warn their hosts so that they can exclude dairy products and mutated cereals. Eating cooked food on one evening a month can be overlooked. There is nothing to be ashamed about in explaining to friends the rules of this logical way of eating practised by increasing numbers of people that they may adopt themselves one day.
d) In terms of taste, the hypotoxic diet is perfectly compatible with gourmet cuisine. The only product the gourmet may miss is cheese.
11) Do you systematically lose weight on the ancestral diet and if so, how much?
The impact of the change of diet on weight varies depending on the person. In my experience 2 % gain weight, 20 % remain slim and 78 % lose weight.
In the great majority of cases, the weight loss is not disturbing. It often helps patients to shed excess pounds. It occurs fairly slowly with the loss of 1 to 2 kilos per month. When 6 or 7 kilos have been lost, the weight stabilises and will often even increase again slowly in the longer term.
In one case out of 100, the weight loss is extreme and affects individuals who were not very fat to begin with. It is too quick and too extreme. It is advisable to stop the diet for several weeks and then to resume it in steps: first exclude animal milks, then mutated cereals and finally overcooked substances.