The foods we eat are personal choices and any time we make statements about foods people really enjoy, it becomes controversial. My goal is to provide you with the nutritional facts based on research so you can make choices about the foods you consume based on related health criteria, not taste. Our bodies can handle an occasional indulgence of most any food as long as we are not allergic to it and consumption of the food is limited in frequency and amount. If you eat animal foods, choose lean sources from wild, free range and organic sources.
The evidence is clear from research compiled for decades now that the consumption of animal protein promotes many diseases including cancers, osteoporosis, heart disease, cardiovascular disease and obesity. One such study, The China Study, which is the largest nutritional study every undertaken, proved that consumption of more than 10% of daily protein from animal sources turns on the cancer promoting ability of certain genes. Over and over, they were able to turn on and turn off the cancer expressing ability of the genes, simply by controlling the protein source and the amount. On the other hand, this did not happen with plant-based foods.
Other recent large studies from England and Germany show that a vegetarian diet can actually double the number of NK (natural killer) cells protecting against certain cancers and can reduce the risk of ischemic heart disease when compared to the diets of non-vegeterians.
The consumption of plant-based foods provides not only ample protein when consumed in adequate variety and amount, but also supplies a wide variety of nutrients and phytonutrients that promote a healthy body. Nutrients should come from whole food-based sources and not from isolated or synthetic nutrients. The body is designed to extract nutrients from food and does not absorb or assimilate very well vitamins and other phytonutrients that have been synthesized or isolated without the thousands of other compounds that exist in whole food sources. The body recognizes the leaf of spinach and the floret of broccoli; it struggles more to recognize the nutrients that have been added to a vitamin pill or vitamin drink. Therefore, to optimize your health, eat from the garden of life abundantly and often, get daily sunshine and fresh air, exercise, drink plenty of pure water and add relaxation to your daily routine.
Foods from animal sources typically contain higher percentages of saturated fats, hormones, antibiotics and pesticides, all of which are known to promote cancer and the saturated fats specifically promote obesity. Even consuming products from free range animals that should be free of the pesticides, hormones and antibiotics does not negate the fact that when 10% or more of your daily intake of protein is from animal sources, you increase your risk for several health issues. The consumption of saturated fats from animal products is implicated in the increase of high cholesterol, triglycerides and obesity. Obesity is also implicated as being a potential cause of cancer. The arrangement of compounds in the animal protein chain may also play a role in its illness promoting ability, more studies need to be performed to better understand the actual cause. This effect is not evident when proteins are consumed from plant sources.
Including a variety of plant based foods can provide your body with all of the 9 essential amino acids. The consumption of grains, beans, nuts, seeds and leafy greens every day can insure you are getting adequate amino acid intake to satisfy your protein needs, as long as adequate calories are consumed. In addition, plant source foods provide an abundance of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, enzymes, very little saturated fats and provide many health promoting compounds, such as fiber, phytonutrients and antioxidants that are not found in animal foods. Animal sources of protein are more likely to have higher saturated fat levels, growth hormones, antibiotics and pesticide residues in their tissues and have been exposed to cattle feed that may have animal proteins as part of the feed source.
The results of the China Study showed that nutrition has a very powerful influence on a wide variety of diseases. Animal based foods were linked to higher cancer rates and higher blood cholesterol levels, beside promoting other diseases, while plant-based diets were not. Fiber and phytonutrients such as antioxidants from plant foods were also linked to lower levels of digestive tract cancers. Between T. Colin Campbell’s research and many other studies, it appears that good science and additional research studies are providing a clear picture of diet and health. Because of this research, we're now able to largely reduce our risk of developing deadly diseases just by making the right food choices.
Quotes from leading health organizations about the consumption of animal products:
“They derive from the evidence on cancer and are supported by evidence on other diseases. They emphasize the importance of relatively unprocessed cereals (grains), non-starchy vegetables and fruits, and pulses (legumes), all of which contain substantial amounts of dietary fiber and a variety of micronutrients, and are low or relatively low in energy density. These, and not foods of animal origin, are the recommended centre for everyday meals.”
“Statistics show that about 40 % percent of the population in the US is expected to develop one type of cancer or another in their life time. This is because of their western diet which is characterized by high fat and high animal protein. Animal nutrients such as casein and other nutrients are found to be promoters of cancers while plant proteins such as soy protein and wheat protein gluten do not have a promoting effect on cancer. He says that vegetarian diet with no protein from any animal source reduces the risk of cancer.”
Source: Reference from The China Study
“A vegan diet has documented clinical efficacy in rheumatoid arthritis. Low-fat vegan diets may be especially protective in regard to cancers linked to insulin resistance--namely, breast and colon cancer--as well as prostate cancer; conversely, the high IGF-I activity associated with heavy ingestion of animal products may be largely responsible for the epidemic of 'Western' cancers in wealthy societies. Increased phytochemical intake is also likely to contribute to the reduction of cancer risk in vegans.”