Chapter 4-1 of Healing Foods by Walter Last



Most problem foods are widely used basic foods that lead to health problems in large parts of the population. So-called junk food and heavily processed and chemicalized food belong in this category; many foods treasured by 'natural health' enthusiasts - for instance, honey, dried fruits, yogurt and wholemeal bread - also belong to this list.

What chiefly makes a particular food a problem is the presence of one or several components that may cause metabolic or digestive problems if used indiscriminately. Because we use and have used problem foods in excess, our metabolism has been weakened to such an extent that it cannot safely process even small amounts of certain foods without becoming distressed. This can be demonstrated with food muscle-testing.

However, for individuals with a suitable metabolism, most problem foods may be acceptable and sometimes even beneficial in moderation; this does not apply to heavily chemicalized food. It is advisable, nevertheless, for nearly everyone to minimize the intake of problem foods in general. It is also best to avoid more strictly the problem foods that you can identify from those described in this chapter and from personal experience as being a cause of your health problems.

Some problem foods frequently cause food allergies and may be the primary allergens or causative agents that sensitize us to a range of other allergens. This applies especially to the gluten in wheat and to proteins in cows' milk. When the body is still young or overacid and sensitive it tends to respond strongly to these foods. However, problem foods cause even more serious problems when the body is older, alkaline and insensitive, but then there are no 'alarm reactions' to warn us. This leads to the development of chronic degenerative diseases such as autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

In addition to specific health problems being caused by specific foods, the overall impact on the adrenal glands of habitually consuming problem foods may raise the basic stress level to such a high degree that a relatively small additional stress from emotional or social problems may trigger severe reactions. These may include asthma, epilepsy, migraine, depression, irritability, hyperactivity, phobias, nervous breakdown and mental disease.

The main problem foods in our society are:

·        Lactose and cow's milk products

·        Gluten and wheat products

·        Sugar and sweet foods

·        Red meat and fats

·        Chemicalized food, stimulants and yeast or molds


In addition, the fact that we cook too many of our foods and hence have insufficient enzymes in our diet, greatly contributes to the development of chronic degenerative diseases and premature aging.


 Have a closer look at cow's milk products and lactose. In some form they can be beneficial but as commonly used they tend to create a lot of problems for our health


The three problematic ingredients in dairy products are lactose (milk sugar), butterfat, casein and other proteins. While lactose is a problem in all animal milk, including goat's milk, difficulties with casein and butterfat are specific to cow's milk.

Bottle-feeding with cow's milk has far-reaching effects. The earlier it is substituted for breast milk, the more damage is caused. The baby's digestive system is still immature and relies on enzymes provided in mother's milk. It cannot properly digest cow's milk, especially if it has been pasteurized and is without enzymes.

In addition, in the first few weeks or months the wall of the small intestine is not yet fully developed and allows only partly digested proteins to pass through and this causes allergies. In a recent investigation all infants and most older children had antibodies against cow's milk in their blood. This means they were allergic to it, even in the absence of obvious symptoms. However, usually unspecific symptoms are present, such as restlessness and crying at night, dermatitis, tender abdomen, tantrums, weak eyes, low energy, hyper-activity, indigestion and a high incidence of colds, ear and respiratory infections. A contributing factor that makes these babies prone to infections is the absence of immuno-protective agents in bottle milk that are present in breast milk, especially in the colostrum.

In one Scandinavian study it was shown that no purely breastfed baby developed early middle ear infection, and also was protected against it in later life. In contrast, early introduction of cow’s milk predisposed children to this and was exclusively found in children who received cow’s milk before the age of 6 months.  

Furthermore, bottle-fed babies suffer from zinc deficiency. Zinc is essential for activating the immune system. The zinc content in cow's milk is actually higher than that in mother's milk. However, in cow's milk zinc is bound to a protein from which the baby's immature digestive system cannot release it.

Other trace minerals are also difficult for the baby to absorb from cow's milk; iron is especially problematic. A resulting iron deficiency in babies contributes to the development of anemia, a weakening of the immune system and retarded mental and cognitive development.

An allergy to cow's milk and subsequent mucus congestion of the lungs, combined with zinc and iron deficiencies of the immune system, cause frequent colds and respiratory infections in babies. This, in turn, depletes the baby more and more of vitamin C. The effect of all this is a high incidence of crib deaths in bottle-fed babies. Crib deaths sometimes occur shortly after immunizations, which further drain the already dangerously low levels of vitamin C. Toxic gases from synthetic mattresses cause further distress.

Archie Kalokerinos, in his book Every Second Child (Keats), relates that in some Aboriginal communities every second child given a vaccination died of crib death, but when fed high doses of vitamin C before and after vaccinations, not a single child died.

Is it a coincidence that New Zealand has the highest rates of asthma and crib deaths in the world but also the highest consumption of cow's milk? Until some years ago all New Zealand school children received free milk at school. This would leave many mothers with a milk allergy that can easily be passed on to the fetus and later, with breast milk, to the baby.

Crib deaths are uncommon in breast-fed babies. However, even breast-fed babies can develop allergies if the mother has a high intake of cow's milk products or is allergic to it herself. Full-term babies in the first two weeks and premature babies in the first one or two months may become allergic to almost any substitute for mother's milk. If breast-feeding by the mother is not possible during this time and a wet nurse is not available, then fresh raw goats' or sheep's milk is the least harmful alternative.


Approximately 90 per cent of the world's adult population - that is, all but the majority of the Caucasian race - cannot split lactose into its two components - glucose and galactose. After the age of 3 a deficiency of the lactose-splitting enzyme lactase develops, and this can cause more or less severe indigestion and diarrhea if the diet contains appreciable amounts of lactose. This condition is known as lactose intolerance.

Lactose intolerant people can tolerate lactose better if fermented milk is used, as in the form of yogurt or kefir, where the lactose is partially split by lactic-acid bacteria. Alternatively, lactose-splitting enzymes are now commercially available and may be added to milk. However, lactose intolerance is only a minor problem compared to the much more serious health problems caused by galactose. Lactose intolerance actually appears to be a wise precaution of nature rather than a regrettable accident, because it protects us from the great danger of galactose overload.

Most European adults and older children who can digest lactose are unable to use galactose efficiently. Babies need galactose as an important building component of the brain, the central nervous system and of many proteins. Thus mother's milk is even higher in lactose than animal milk to ensure the baby does obtain sufficient galactose.

In later life, very little galactose is needed and this can easily be synthesized from other sugars. Therefore, most of the ingested galactose is converted in the liver to glucose and used as body fuel, but the amount that can be converted is rather limited, even in a healthy liver.

This conversion is a slow and complex process requiring four different enzymes. One of these is sometimes missing from birth, giving rise to a condition known as galactosaemia. Continued milk-feeding leads to a build-up of galactose in the baby and causes cataracts, cirrhosis of the liver and spleen and mental retardation.

If the liver is not healthy, it becomes less able to convert galactose. This fact is sometimes used as a criterion for a clinical liver-function test. If galactose is injected into someone with a defective liver, most of the galactose will later appear in the urine.


Unfortunately, under normal conditions only part of the galactose is expelled with the urine. If there is a deficiency of protective antioxidants, then the rest is mainly oxidized to galactaric acid, commonly known as mucic acid. The great health danger of mucic acid is that it is insoluble. The body cannot let it pile up in vital areas and block organ functions or blood circulation. Therefore, it forms the mucic acid into a sticky suspension in water, called mucus. Thus mucic acid is a main component of pathogenic (disease-producing) mucus.

It is the function of the lymphatic system to remove dangerous substances, such as mucus, from areas of vital importance and transport it to the organs of elimination. Mucus is too dangerous to dispose of through the kidneys or with bile through the liver, but it has a special affinity to the mucous membranes that line the insides of our body openings. Such areas, and of prime importance, are the lungs, the respiratory tract and the hollow head spaces, the sinuses and the Eustachian tube (a passage between the mouth and the inner ear).

The mucus accumulates in these hollow spaces until external factors help to sensitize the mucous membranes sufficiently to allow the mucus to pass through. This is relatively easy in young individuals and those with a poor sugar metabolism as they have high levels of histamine and inflammatory adrenal hormones. Even minor irritations of the mucous membranes, be it from cold air, dust, air pollution, pollen or germs, will sensitize these to let some of the mucus flow out.

Such mucus cleansing may be experienced periodically as a cold, hay fever, wet cough or running nose. In others, the accumulation of mucus, which provides a favorable breeding ground for germs, causes chronic infections in specific areas such as the sinuses, the middle ear, the respiratory tract and the lungs. This may allow a permanent trickle of mucus through the affected mucous membrane. In addition, a dead front tooth may be responsible for chronic sinus problems.

With a high lactose intake, the lymph channels and lymph glands are usually congested with mucus as well. This allows influenza and other infections to spread from the sensitized mucous membranes through the mucus-filled hollow spaces into the lymphatic system, causing lymph gland swellings and inflammations. I have found that in many people the number of colds, influenza and other respiratory infections can be varied at will from none to several per year just by varying the lactose intake. Mucus congestion is also the main cause of ear infections and hearing problems, especially in children.

In most cases it is not a lactose allergy but a galactose overload that is responsible for this excessive mucus. While in the case of those suffering from cow's milk allergy somewhat more lactose may be tolerated when it comes from goat's milk, in most individuals the lactose in goat's milk or in tablets will be equally as mucus-forming as that from cow's milk.


When more mucus accumulates in the lungs than can be expelled, asthma is likely to develop. Often lung congestion is combined with a strong subconscious fear element that may, for instance, result from insecurity or lack of love in early childhood. Another contributing factor is hypoglycemia coupled with weak adrenal glands.

Many cases seem to be predominantly mucus-induced. I remember a patient who was fond of yogurt and, for health reasons, prepared it from skim-milk powder. This produces yogurt with a much higher lactose content than yogurt from full-fat milk (see Table 4-1). When I persuaded her to use somewhat less yogurt and prepare it only from whole milk without additional skim-milk powder, her asthma disappeared for good. The asthma-causing skim-milk yogurt provided approximately 50 g of lactose per day, while she was asthma-free on whole-milk yogurt with about 5 g of lactose daily.

The lung irritation caused by accumulated mucus also means that the lungs are more prone to be affected by food allergies and chemicals. This could result in inflammatory swellings of the bronchial tubes. Mucus accumulating in the lungs allows bacteria to infiltrate. Some strains of these bacteria convert sugars into alginic acid, another sticky mucus. Often there is Candida or fungus infestation as well, which sensitizes the mucous membranes to airborne molds. Mucus-releasing colds in this setting can be a blessing in disguise, provided they are not treated with antibiotics. Also dead teeth may induce copious mucus.

The mucous membranes of asthmatics, which are highly sensitized by mucic acid, react strongly to air pollutants such as smoke, pollen and sulfur dioxide. The adrenal glands are weak and histamine levels are high because of a sweet diet and allergies. To overcome asthma, we need to reverse these negative conditions by using a low-allergy diet with a minimum of sweet or mucus-forming food, while the respiratory tract should periodically be cleared of mucus. Also breathing exercises help.


A serious consequence of a lymphatic system badly congested with mucus is the development of leukemia. This happens when the immune system has been sufficiently damaged by frequent mucus-related infections combined with other factors such as toxic chemicals, a sweet diet, allergies and vitamin-mineral deficiencies.

It may not be a coincidence that Nathan Pritikin, famous for his much-publicized diet to cure cardiovascular diseases, developed leukemia. The original Pritikin diet is high in skim-milk products and, therefore, imposes a severe galactose overload on the body. Either leukemia or another galactose-related degenerative disease is more likely to develop as a long-term effect of a high intake of skim-milk products. Cardiovascular diseases can be prevented or cured nutritionally without causing other health problems.

Leukemia stands in between the acute mucus-related infections of childhood and the usual chronic degenerative diseases that develop with advancing age. When our metabolism slows down as we become older or are on an unsuitably heavy meat diet, the body gradually becomes too alkaline and the mucous membranes become more insensitive. In this condition mucus released through colds and other respiratory infections becomes rare and most of the mucic acid is stored in the body.

Lactose intolerance, and thus enforced avoidance of foods containing lactose, can also reduce the incidence of another disease - cataracts of the eyes. Even infants may develop cataracts when they cannot convert galactose to glucose. Therefore, galactose overload is also an important cause of cataracts in adults. In addition, high blood glucose and fructose levels may contribute. These simple sugars are reduced to sugar alcohols that cause cloudiness in the lens. Another form of cataract is mainly caused by a chronic deficiency of the vitamins A, B2, C and E, and the minerals chromium and selenium. Radiation exposure or drugs can also cause cataracts.

Besides cataracts, there are other diseases that are usually considered to be typical for the aging body but that occur already in infants with galactosaemia. These include liver degeneration, edema and reduced memory or senility (the latter being equivalent to mental retardation in infants with galactosaemia).

Cancer (carcinoma) reportedly can result from galactosaemia. A recent report shows that women who consumed yogurt had a higher rate of ovarian cancer than controls that consumed the same amount of lactose from other milk products. Because of the activity of the lactic-acid bacteria, yogurt contains more readily available galactose than other milk products. Another cancer-related problem is the high estrogen content of milk. This is likely to stimulate the growth of breast and ovarian tumors. However, as estrogen is fat-soluble it can be expected to remain with milk fat and skim milk products should be alright in this regard.

A frequent complaint is increasing deafness because of mucus congestion of the Eustachian tube and the middle ear with subsequent infection and inflammation. In children this condition has been called 'glue ear'. This is especially a problem with children of non-European background because they can still absorb lactose but cannot very well convert galactose into energy, especially from cow's milk.

With lactose-induced mucus congestion, degenerative lung diseases may also develop, such as emphysema. While smoking is generally considered to be the greatest hazard for lung cancer, it may actually rank equal with galactose overload, and most at risk are heavy smokers with mucus-congested lungs. Sometimes the lungs simply fill up with mucus. Actually, a patient died in my presence because his lungs and breathing passage were filled with sticky mucus. He literally drowned in it. With each breath I could hear the air bubbling up through the mucus.

A combination of mucus accumulation in the lungs and the digestive system is seen in cystic fibrosis, which is mainly due to an overproduction of an abnormal mucopolysaccharide - a long-chain carbohydrate that normally supplies the physiological mucus required by the body. Cystic fibrosis sufferers also may be unable to convert galactose and, as they are usually deficient in protective antioxidants, they may also produce large amounts of mucic acid. Like galactose overload, cystic fibrosis is a disease of the Caucasian race.

In part, excessive mucus formation stems from an infestation of the lungs with bacteria that produce an abnormal amount of sticky alginic acid. The important point is that alginic acid is synthesized from a simple sugar - mannose - which these bacteria can convert from an excess of any other sugar, such as galactose, fructose or glucose. Therefore, mucus-forming as well as sweet foods must be avoided.


Preventing excessive mucus accumulation in the body is much easier than trying to remove it afterwards. If you are concerned about your future wellbeing, it is a wise precaution to reduce your intake of lactose to a minimum. See the following table for the lactose content of some common dairy products.




cheese, cottage cheese


goat's milk


cow's milk


yogurt and ice-cream (with skim-milk powder)


skim-milk powder


whey powder



With a lactose content of 52 per cent in skim-milk powder, you may now realize how dangerous the current fad is for using low-fat ice-cream, yogurt, cottage cheese and so forth, instead of full-fat products. Such low-fat foods are made from skim-milk powder and contain three to five times as much lactose as the equivalent full-fat foods. Sometimes skim-milk powder is even added to butter. Therefore read the label and avoid butter that lists 'non-fat milk solids' as one of the ingredients.

Skim-milk powder is also a favorite additive to many other commercial foods, such as bread and other baking products, sausages and margarine. The health-food industry is equally fond of adding lactose to many products such as soy milk and dandelion coffee. Lactose is often used as filler in white tablets. Cell salts are almost pure lactose. Try to avoid white tablets if the label does not state that they are free of lactose or are low-allergy tablets.

I suspect that the average daily amount of lactose that healthy adults can handle without the danger of long-term galactose overload appears is less than 10 g or the equivalent of a glass of milk. However, those who do have occasional mucus problems or are afflicted with a galactose-related disease do well to have a much lower lactose intake. With lactose allergy it is often necessary to avoid lactose completely for several months or years.


Casein is the main protein in cow's milk and constitutes about 3 per cent of it. Human milk, on the other hand, has only 0.5 per cent casein content. The high casein content of cow's milk causes it to form a very tough, rubbery curd in the stomach; the casein binds the calcium as an insoluble salt. Thus it is extremely difficult to digest and is a frequent source of indigestion. Mother's milk and goat's milk, on the other hand, form finely dispersed soft curds that are easy to digest.

Thus the protein in cow's milk frequently is only partly digested and becomes a major source of intestinal putrefaction and toxemia. Incompletely digested protein may pass the wall of the small intestine and cause allergy. Worms in children are often due to intestinal putrefaction from undigested cow's milk. Breast milk also contains high levels of fat-digesting lipase and other enzymes. Therefore breast milk is nearly self-digesting in the baby's gut while pasteurized cow's milk is very difficult to digest.

In a recent double-blind study 24 out of 27 babies with colic became free of symptoms when put on a diet free of cow's milk protein. The babies, when given cow's milk protein, cried on average 3.2 hours daily and when taken off cow's milk cried for only 1 hour. However, I believe that breast-fed babies that have all their needs met hardly cry at all.

Allergy-prone mothers are able to pass allergens to their babies with their breast milk. This is often caused by beta-lactoglobulin, which is in the cow's milk. When such mothers avoided cow's milk (and thus its proteins), the babies' colic disappeared.

Colic is due to an inflammation of the intestinal wall, which in turn is triggered by an allergic reaction against the protein in cow's milk. This chronic inflammation erodes the micro-villi through which the food is absorbed, thus resulting in malabsorption. Incompletely digested proteins may also pass through the damaged intestinal wall into the bloodstream and produce various allergic reactions, such as dermatitis or brain irritation.

A general consequence of such cow's milk allergy is a weakening of the immune system, which in babies is further aggravated by a lack of protective immune factors that are normally transmitted with breast milk. This is why infants on cow's milk have frequent colds and respiratory infections; and it may also lead to sudden infant death or immune deficiency diseases in later life.

Cow's milk appears to disturb the calcium metabolism. Calcium becomes trapped in undigested casein, while the long-chain saturated fatty acids form insoluble soaps with calcium. In addition, cow's milk has a more unfavorable ratio of phosphorus to calcium as compared to breast milk.

Several studies have also shown that cancer patients consume more cows' milk than do matched controls. Taurine is a sulfur amino acid that is high in breast milk and low in cow's milk. It is required for brain, heart and liver functions; it regulates the sensitivity of cell membranes and protects against epilepsy.

Professor (of Geochemistry) Jane Plant (Your Life in Your Hands) may have discovered the connection between cow’s milk and cancer. Her breast cancer had re-grown a fifth time and she had been given up to die. At this stage she found out that the rate of death from breast cancer in China is one in 10,000 compared to about one in ten in most Western countries, and also that Chinese do not use animal milk or related products. Putting the two together she avoided all milk products, her tumor disappeared and for 13 years she is now free of cancer.

As Chinese have normal rates of some other cancers, there must be a special factor that causes these low breast cancer rates. Also the largely milk-free Japanese have low breast cancer rates, but when Chinese or Japanese women adopt a western lifestyle, their breast cancer rates start approaching the level in western countries. Increasingly, there are now studies appearing that link milk consumption to breast and prostate cancer.

The problem appears to be a special protein, called insulin-related growth factor, IGF-1, which stimulates hormone-related division of cells and affects especially breast tissue to grow during puberty and pregnancy. It also affects the prostate gland. Clinical studies showed that higher levels of circulating IGF-1 in the blood were not only a strong risk factor for women to develop breast cancer, but also for men to develop prostate cancer. However, IGF-1 levels were not elevated with benign conditions. The crucial factor is that cow’s milk is very high in IGF-1, and it is also present in the meat of dairy cows. High-yield milk production as commonly induced with synthetic hormones increases the IGF-1 levels in the milk.

A study of several hundred newly diagnosed diabetic children revealed an immune response to a fragment of cows' milk protein in all of them. What is more, this protein fragment has the same composition as one called P69 on the beta-cells. Juvenile diabetes is much higher in those who have been bottle-fed rather than breast-fed and it is lower in communities, which consume less cows' milk products. It appears that this is only a problem with milk from Frisian cows (called A1 milk) but not with milk from other, lower-yielding, breeds that produce A2 milk. Most of presently consumed milk is A1 milk.

P69 is usually protected inside the beta-cells and comes only to the surface during microbial and especially viral infections. At that time the immune system can mistake it for cows' milk protein and attack it and destroy the beta-cell in the process. The problem is that bottle-fed infants are very susceptible to colds, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. It is regarded as normal for them to have six and more infections a year while these are rare with breast-fed infants.

But it does not end there. Bottle-fed infants also frequently receive antibiotics that then encourage overgrowth of the intestines with undesirable microbes and a tendency to chronic pancreatitis. One type of E. coli bacteria is harmless in the large intestines but it has the potential for causing great damage in the small intestine. That is because it produces a molecule that is very similar to insulin. When the immune system becomes activated against this molecule, it may then also direct its attack against related features at the beta-cells.

Therefore, several other mechanisms besides cows' milk allergy can trigger an attack on the beta-cells. Also gluten allergy may be implicated and in one instance even potato allergy was described as causing very high blood sugar levels, except if high-level vitamin-mineral supplements were given at the same time.

Tannin in tea or coffee has a harmful effect on the casein of added milk. It produces a denatured protein, similar to the manufacture of leather that cannot be digested and may cause digestive distress.

While milk and lactose may cause mucus congestion visible in the iris as whitish discoloration, cheese and butterfat cause the iris to turn yellow or brown in susceptible individuals. Yellow is the first stage of a white area becoming brown. When patients have avoided fats and cheese, I have noticed the brown color becoming lighter. From muscle testing I gained the impression that processed hard cheese is the main offender in those with irises that have turned brown. This may be due to liver damage caused by the high casein content of cheese combined with its saturated fat.

According to my observations, individuals with irises that have changed to brown generally have weak, under-active liver and gall bladder functions, especially as related to the fat metabolism. Those with irises changed to white, on the other hand, are more prone to acute and sometimes painful liver and gall bladder problems. In these individuals acne, psoriasis, blackheads and an unclean skin may also result from the over-consumption of fats and especially cheese.

Fermented cow's milk products in the form of natural yogurt, kefir and natural cheeses produce a fine curd and cause less health problems than unfermented milk. However, even these should be used with care and only if they do not cause allergies or mucus problems. Generally, the corresponding goats' or sheep milk products are much more preferable. The least harmful milk product is cottage cheese made from fermented goats' or sheep milk.

The most damaging aspect of commercial milk products, apart from oversupplying the body with lactose and casein, is the destruction of natural enzymes by pasteurizing the milk. Raw butter, for instance, has formerly been used to cure psoriasis but pasteurized butter causes or aggravates it. The healing effect of raw butter is due to its high content of the fat-digesting enzyme lipase. The same is true for heart and liver problems, which are caused or aggravated by processed cheese and butter fat.

Such health problems did not occur in the inhabitants of the Caucasus and Bulgaria with their high intake of raw milk products. Cholesterol did not harm anyone in former times when mainly unheated milk products were used; cardiovascular diseases were almost unknown. Raw butter and cream would be a far healthier food than refined polyunsaturated oils or margarine.

Raw milk was formerly used to cure tuberculosis but pasteurized milk is more likely to cause it. Carnivorous wild animals have diets high in fat and cholesterol but no signs of atherosclerosis and heart disease. In contrast, dogs on canned food and cooked meat develop the same diseases as we humans.

In the United States, more so than in other countries, growth promoters and other synthetics are used in dairy herds. These largely end up in the milk and ultimately in the consumer.


·        Cow’s Milk Products and Lactose

·        Wheat and Gluten

·        Sweet Food

·        Meat and Fat

·        Chemicals and other Food Problems