In his new book, Eat Right Electrolyte1, Dr. Rex W. Hawkins makes a strong case for why the modern American diet contains far too much salt and too little potassium, magnesium and calcium. This electrolyte imbalance alters the mineral balance in the body and promotes many diseases that reduce the quality life and hasten death. Dr. Hawkins explains how the wrong electrolyte mix in modern diets impairs the acid-base balance, enhances fluid retention and raises blood pressure, damages the cardiovascular system, leads to greater losses of calcium in the urine and contributes to the development of kidney stones and osteoporosis, and increasingly appears related to numerous other ills that plague modern man.
Dr. Hawkins is an ophthalmologist specializing in the treatment of retinal diseases. It may seem odd that an eye doctor would write a book on the impact of diet on disease. However, examining the retina at the back of the eye provides a glimpse of the damage to the smallest arteries in the body known as arterioles. Deposit of fatty material and protein can be seen in the macular that come from the blood. Diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration are the leading causes of blindness in American adults. The retina can be damaged by electrolyte imbalances and elevated blood sugar and lipid levels, which frequently result from a typical modern diet. Ophthalmologists can easily see the damage done by the typical modern diet to these tiny blood vessels. Dr. Hawkins has been reversing retinopathy and reducing damage from macular degeneration using a very low-salt diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and very low in fat, particularly from animal products. His book shows before and after photos illustrating the body’s remarkable ability to at least partially reverse these major eye diseases when fed a very low salt and fat diet consisting largely of minimally processed grains, fruits and vegetables.
By James J. Kenney, PhD, RD, FACN.
. Hawkins WR. Eat Right –Electrolyte. 2006. Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.