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5 Ways Animal Protein Is Damaging Your Health

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According to Dr. Deepak Bhatt, a Harvard Medical School professor and Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Heart Letter:

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“When it comes to getting protein in your diet, meat isn’t the only option. Mounting evidence shows that reducing meat and increasing plant-based protein is a healthier way to go. A diet with any type of meat raises the risk of heart disease and cancer, when compared with a vegetarian diet.” (source)

There’s a big trend happening on our planet right now, and it has to do with our diet. On a mass scale, a lot of people are starting to change the way they eat for multiple reasons. Every single year, it seems that more and more people switch from a meat-eating to a vegetarian or vegan diet. Be it for ethical reasons (animal rights), environmental reasons, or health reasons, it’s a trend that continues to grow.

As a result, more awareness has been created, especially within the past few years, regarding multiple misconceptions when it comes to the vegetarian/vegan diet, and one of them is protein. It’s not uncommon for  someone who doesn’t eat meat to be asked, “where do you get your protein?”

There are a lot of misconceptions about not eating meat, and the main one was is probably that it’s necessary to be healthy and to survive. The science actually shows otherwise, “Studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses.” – Harvard Medical School (source)

It’s not only nutrition science, but anthropology. Many of our supposed ancestors who roamed the planet before us have long been thought to be heavy meat eaters, but this isn’t true. Although analysis has shown that many were indeed heavy meat eaters, it has also shown that many weren’t meat eaters, that some were completely vegetarian, and some were predominately vegetarian. This suggests, according to some, that the human gut is not designed to digest meat, or, that it’s not necessary to do so.

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This theory has also been emphasized due to the fact that modern day meat eating has been linked to a variety of diseases. For example, a recent study published by a team of archaeologists in Europe found that Neanderthals from Spain actually ate no meat at all. So, basing our current behaviour on the notion that “things have always been this way”  could actually be completely misguided, despite the fact that this is the general accepted consensus from the masses. But things are changing. You can read more about that in the article linked below, it goes into greater depth about that conversation:

Were Those Who Roamed The Earth Before Us Nearly All Vegetarian? 

“It’s difficult to comment on ‘the best diet’ for modern humans because there have been and are so many different yet successful diets in our species. Because some hunter-gatherer society obtained most of their dietary energy from wild animal fat and protein does not imply that this is the ideal diet for modern humans, nor does it imply that modern humans have genetic adaptations to such diets.”  – Katherine Milton, anthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley (source)

Below is information gathered by Sofia Pineda Ochoa, MD. She’s a practicing physician in Houston, Texas who is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She was a biochemistry professor at the University of Guadalajara’s School of Medicine in Mexico, and is also the co-founder of Meat Your Future, an educational non-profit that provides fact-based information about the health, environmental, and ethical implications of consuming animal products.

You can view her article “7 Ways Animal Protein is Damaging Your Health,” here.

Animal Protein 

Animal Protein & IGF-1 (Increased Cancer Risk)

The IGF-1 levels (the hormone insulin-like growth factor) increases when animal protein intake increases. These levels drop when we are fasting, and that’s one of the reason fasting has been shown to destroy cancer cells, reverse age related diseases, re-generate the immune system and more.

When we take in proteins from animal sources, they have a much higher proportion of the essential amino aids, which in turn produces higher levels of IGF-1.

“This hormone stimulates cell division and growth in both healthy and cancer cells and, for this reason, having higher circulating levels of IGF-1 has been consistently associated with increased cancer risk, proliferation, and malignancy.” 

 Animal Protein, Heme Iron, and Free Radicals

Iron, for a human, can be consumed in two forms. One is heme iron, found in animal foods like fish, meat and poultry, and the other is non-heme iron which is found predominantly in plant-based foods.

“One of the problems with heme iron is that it can convert less reactive oxidants into highly reactive free radicals. And free radicals can damage different cell structures like proteins, membranes, and DNA….Heme iron can also catalyze the formation of N-Nitroso compounds in our bodies, which are potent carcinogens. So, not surprisingly, high intake of heme iron has been associated with many kinds of gastrointestinal cancers as well as other pathologies.”

The absorption and bioavailability of iron from a well-rounded plant-based diet is adequate for our needs, “and we can avoid the problems associated with heme iron and other negative health attributes of animal foods.”

Higher Sulfur-Containing Amino Acids and Bone Health Problems

Higher concentrations of amino acids that contain sulfur are also found within animal proteins, and this can create a state of acidosis when metabolized.

Metabolic acidosis happens when the body produces too much acid and becomes very acidic. This isn’t good, especially when you think about the fact that many experts warn against an acidic body, and believe that an alkaline diet can actually successfully treat cancer.

Metabolic acidosis forces the body to compensate by leaching calcium from the bones to help neutralize the increased acidity. Over time, all of this can have severe and detrimental effects on bone health, and studies have shown this. Science tells us that nations with high instances of hip fracture and osteoporosis also have a very high calcium intake. Given this correlation, and the fact that animal protein causes metabolic acidosis, sucking the calcium out of the bones — in direct contrast to what the dairy industry would have us believe — it’s easy to see that we have been misled.

This is thought to be one of the reasons why some studies have found that populations with higher dairy consumption, as well as higher consumption of animal protein in general, also have a higher incidence of bone fractures.

Animal Protein & Phosphorus

“Animal protein contains high levels of phosphorus. And when we consume high amounts of phosphorus, one of the ways our bodies normalize the level of phosphorus is with a hormone called fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23).

FGF23 has been found to be harmful to our blood vessels. It can also lead to hypertrophy of the cardiac ventricle (abnormal enlargement of our cardiac muscle) and is associated with heart attacks, sudden death, and heart failure. So eating animal protein with its high concentration of phosphorus can result in increased levels of this hormone in our bodies, which in turn is highly problematic for our health.”

Animal Protein & TMAO

Animal protein has higher levels of  trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). TMAO wreaks havoc on our body by creating inflammation, injuring the lining of our vessels, and facilitating “the formation of cholesterol plaques in our blood vessels. And that, of course, is highly problematic for cadiovascuar health.”

“So, consuming animal foods result in higher TMAO levels, which is damaging to our vessels. Even without all of the other problematic aspects of animal foods, this one issue involving TMAO, according to the recent president of the American College of Cardiology Dr. Kim A. Williams, sufficient by itself for people to vigorously avoid animal foods.”

One of the most comprehensive studies ever performed on this subject is “The China Study” conducted by Drs. T. Colin Campbell and Thomas Campbell. Their findings showed direct correlations between nutrition and heart-disease, diabetes, and cancer, proving that cultures that eat primarily plant-based diets have lower to no instances of these diseases and that switching to a plant-based diet can successfully reverse diseases already established in the body. The China Studyis recognized as the most comprehensive nutritional study ever conducted on the relationship between diet and disease. I highly recommend watching the documentary Forks Over Knives (available on Netflix), which delves into this in more detail.

More On Animal Protein Compared To Plant-Based Protein

While underconsumption of protein is harmful to the body, overconsumption comes with risks as well. In the United States, the average omnivore gets more than 1.5 times the optimal amount of protein, and most of that protein is from animal sources. This is bad news, because excess protein is turned into waste or turned into fat. This stored animal protein contributes to weight gainheart diseasediabetesinflammation and cancer.

On the other hand, the protein contained in whole plant foods is connected to disease prevention. According to Michelle McMacken, MD, a board-certified internal medicine physician and an assistant professor of medicine at NYU School of Medicine:

“[T]he protein found in whole plant foods protects us from many chronic diseases. There is no need to track protein intake or use protein supplements with plant-based diets; if you are meeting your daily calorie needs, you will get plenty of protein. The longest-lived people on Earth, those living in the “Blue Zones,” get about 10% of their calories from protein, compared with the U.S. average of 15-20%.”

There are many comparisons between plant-based protein compared to protein from meat. You can read more about that in the article linked below which goes into more detail.

Plant-Based Protein VS Protein From Meat – Which One Is Better For Your Body? 

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30. LM Ausman, LM Oliver, BR Goldin, MN Woods, SL Gorbach and JT Dwyer. Estimated Net Acid Excretion Inversely Correlates with Urine pH in Vegans, Lacto-ovo Vegetarians, and Omnivores. J Ren Nutr. 2008 Sep; 18(5):456-65. Available here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18721741 (accessed Jul. 4, 2016).
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32. CB Esselstyn Jr. Updating a 12-year Experience with Arrest and Reversal Therapy for Coronary Heart Disease (An Overdue Requiem for Palliative Cardiology). Am J Cardiol. 1999 Aug 1;84(3): 339-41, A8. Available here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10496449 (accessed Jul. 4, 2016).
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35. CB Esselstyn Jr, SG Ellis, SV Medendorp and TD Crowe. A Strategy to Arrest and Reverse Coronary Artery Disease: A 5-year Longitudinal Study of a Single Physician’s Practice. J Fam Pract. 1995 Dec; 41(6):560-8. Available here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7500065 (accessed Jul. 4, 2016).
36. TC Campbell, B Parpia and J Chen. Diet, Lifestyle, and the Etiology of Coronary Artery Disease: the Cornell China Study. Am J Cardiol. 1998 Nov 26; 82(10B):18T-21T. Available here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9860369 (accessed Jul. 4, 2016).
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Johnson & Johnson Found To Have Knowingly Allowed Asbestos In Their Baby Powder

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Johnson and Johnson have recently lost lawsuits for negligence in knowingly allowing carcinogenic substances in their talc-based hygiene products.

  • Reflect On:

    Are we starting to turn the page on an era where human health and safety are not the prime considerations in the manufacturing of consumer products?

We are starting to awaken to the fact that it seems to be the rule, and not the exception, that large Western corporations put profits above human health considerations. The only time they seem to give any regard to human health concerns is when their forecasts of potential lawsuits down the road would likely exceed the cost measures needed to ensure the safety of their product.

Johnson & Johnson is just one of a long line of corporate perpetrators who believed that covering up and lying about known health concerns would make better business sense than taking the time and resources to actually address those health concerns within their products.

Contaminated Baby Powder: The Height Of Indignity

One would think, regardless of an understanding that the bottom line is a priority for most private companies, that the health and safety of a nursing mother and her newborn child would be sacrosanct for any industry. The reality is that this is simply not the case, even though J&J could have mitigated this problem from the start.

Companies that mine talc are required to take extra steps to ensure the absence of asbestos in their talc. Instead, J&J allegedly went to great lengths to fake it.

Not only did the company know about the asbestos contamination, evidence suggests, but J&J also failed to warn its customers about the link between Baby Powder and cancer or replace its talc with a safer alternative. As a result, J&J guaranteed its customers’ exposure to asbestos.

And regardless of their size or numbers, asbestos fibers are lethal at any capacity. As the World Health Organization (WHO) has stressed repeatedly, there is no safe level of exposure. (source)

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The Testimony of Scientist James Webber

Baby Powder’s contamination with asbestos (a mineral that naturally occurs near talc) has long been the subject of lawsuits. But only in recent years has evidence begun to unravel J&J’s defense – that the company had no idea – and threatened its success in lawsuits to come.

In March, a California jury awarded $29 million to Terry Leavitt, a woman who said that asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-powder-based products caused her terminal mesothelioma. Environmental scientist James Webber testified in her high-profile California trial and made these observations:

During several hours on the stand, Webber explained how he ran tests that showed “clear” evidence of asbestos contamination in the mines from which J&J sourced talc.

“The testing I have seen [shows] that it was present at least as early as 1971 and up through the late 1990s,” said Webber, who ran an asbestos laboratory in New York state.

Despite denying it publicly, J&J had observed this contamination in internal memos. Its notes dismissed the amount of asbestos in its talc as “but a trace,” Webber alleged. But that was just an optimistic interpretation of superficial testing, he said: the tests used methods too weak to detect microscopic asbestos fibers. Webber insisted the actual tests results revealed there could be millions of asbestos fibers per gram of talc.

And J&J’s inaccurate reports were allegedly only the tip of the iceberg. In some instances, Webber said, photos attached to J&J’s reports revealed that “they had been seeing it and not reporting it.”  (source)

And It’s Getting Worse

The $29 million verdict, in California Superior Court in Oakland, was the latest defeat for the healthcare conglomerate facing more than 13,000 talc-related lawsuits nationwide. And things may be getting even worse for J&J, according to ZeroHedge:

Johnson & Johnson shares are down over 5% after Bloomberg reports that, according to people with knowledge of the matter, the U.S. Justice Department is pursuing a criminal investigation into whether Johnson & Johnson lied to the public about the possible cancer risks of its talcum powder…

Now, a grand jury in Washington is examining documents related to what company officials knew about any carcinogens in their products, the people said.

The Takeaway

It seems as though corporations have long been willing to take the calculated risk of short-cuts and denials instead of ensuring that their products are safe for public use. My suspicion is that a part of our collective awakening process will be issuing in a new business paradigm in which human health and safety become paramount.

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Prescription Infant Formulas Found To Be Contaminated With Aluminum

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Multiple brands of prescription infant formula were found to contain high levels of aluminum.

  • Reflect On:

    Should we be questioning the quality of products that come from pharmaceutical production? Do we veer away from natural methods of raising children more than we should? At what cost?

You may not think aluminum is a big deal, but it is. For anybody who has looked into aluminum toxicology, it’s quite clear and apparent that it has no place inside of any living biological organism. Putting it simply, it wreaks havoc on our biology. High amounts of aluminum have been found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, with experts in the field believing that aluminum brain accumulation may be one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s also been discovered within the brains of MS patients, and some of the highest aluminum content ever recorded in brain tissue has also been discovered in people with autism. Aluminum is associated with several diseases. But an adult body can do a great job of flushing out aluminum.

Despite the fact that aluminum has no place within earth’s biota, it’s still present in many of our medications, our food, and even in the water that we drink due to contamination since the industrial revolution. Aluminum inside the body is a new phenomenon and still understudied. Again, there is a threshold, and aluminum that is injected via vaccines doesn’t exit the body–there is strong evidence that it remains inside the body and ends up in distant organs and eventually inside of the brain. If you want to access more studies on that topic, you can read this article I published that provides them and goes into more detail. You can also watch this interview with Christopher Exley, where he also points to that fact.

A new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health has shown that multiple popular infant prescriptions are contaminated with aluminum. You may be asking how much aluminum, but the authors make it a point to stress that there are no safe amounts of aluminum levels that can be inside of a human body, let alone a newborn baby. That being said, the amounts found are listed within the abstract of the study:

Historical and recent data demonstrate that off-the-shelf infant formulas are heavily contaminated with aluminium. The origin of this contamination remains to be elucidated though may be imported via ingredients, packaging and processing. Specialised infant formulas exist to address health issues, such as low birth weight, allergy or intolerance and medical conditions, such as renal insufficiency. The aluminium content of these prescription infant formulas is measured here for the first time. We obtained 24 prescription infant formulas through a paediatric clinic and measured their total aluminium content by transversely heated graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry following microwave assisted acid/peroxide digestion. The aluminium content of ready-to-drink formulas ranged from 49.9 (33.7) to 1956.3 (111.0) μg/L. The most heavily contaminated products were those designed as nutritional supplements for infants struggling to gain weight. The aluminium content of powdered formulas ranged from 0.27 (0.04) to 3.27 (0.19) μg/g. The most heavily contaminated products tended to be those addressing allergies and intolerance. Prescription infant formulas are contaminated with aluminium.

Another very important point made right off the bat by the authors:

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Human exposure to aluminium is a serious health concern. Aluminium exposure in infants is understandably a burgeoning issue. While infant exposure to aluminium continues to be documented, its consequences, immediate and in the future, have received only scant attention and research is required to understand the biological availability of aluminium through formula feeding. For example, how much aluminium is absorbed across the neonate gut and its subsequent fate, including excretion.

There is already too much aluminium in infant formulas and herein we have measured its content in a large number of prescription formulas, products which are fed to vulnerable infants in their first months of life. Many of these products are heavily contaminated with aluminium.

As for the specific infant formulas, you can refer to the study. The researchers obtained 24 prescription infant formulas via the Paediatric Clinic of Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, United Kingdom. The ready-to-drink and powdered products were new, ready-to-be used and unopened samples. These formulas are for babies with some sort of growth restriction, like for preterm infants or infants who have poor weight gain. There were also powdered formulas for allergies and intolerances and powdered formulas with additional amino acids.

The authors contacted each manufacturer and expressed that they denied knowing that there was any aluminum in their products, which means it’s still a mystery as to their source. The authors hypothesize on a number of ways that aluminum could be entering into the formulas.

In their conclusion, the authors emphasize that:

Where possible, breast milk feeding should be prioritised, as the aluminium content of breast milk is invariably an order of magnitude lower than in formula feeds. Where infant formulas are the only source of nutrition for many infants in their first weeks and months of life, aluminium ingested in formula feeds will be the major contributor to their body burden of aluminium. The last thing that vulnerable infants fed specialised formulas for their specific nutritional/medicinal need is additional aluminium in their diet.

Detoxing

There is a lot of information out there on how a person can detox from aluminum and other heavy metals. There are multiple studies, and based on what I’ve looked into, water with high amounts of Silica are effective in draining aluminum out of your body and brain. Herbs like cilantro and substances like chlorella and spirulina are also great for removing some metals. The information is out there, so be sure to do your research.

The Takeaway

It’s concerning to think about what these corporations are doing. Again, aluminum should hold no place in our society, it should’ve remained well below our surface as part of the Earth’s crust for a reason. It wasn’t until humans began digging it out and using it for a number of things, irresponsibly I might add, that we started to see the health implications which still go largely ignored by the medical community.

In fact, heavy metal accumulation and detoxification of aluminum haven’t been addressed at all, which is odd given the fact that heavy metal accumulation is linked to a variety of diseases.

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9 Studies You Should Be Aware of Before Trying The Ketogenic Diet

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The Ketogenic diet is a popular fad diet that promotes quick weight loss and symptom management for bodies that are dealing with poor lymph, kidney and digestion health.

  • Reflect On:

    Based on the studies that are emerging, is our desire for quick weight loss more important than living a long and healthy life? Are we learning about these diets primarily through those with strong ties to upholding these diets?

The ketogenic diet has popped up as a popular approach to weight loss in the last few years. Is it successful at that? Sure, it is. I’ve experimented with the diet myself years ago when I was looking to lose some belly fat. I was entering into ketosis in a different way than most, as I was not eating any animal products, but it does in fact work.

But like any animal product based diet, what are the consequences of eating so much food that does not truly jive with our human bodies? Not only that, is fast weight loss more important than keeping our morality rate down?

In the last few years, we’ve reported a lot on the Keto diet and the various ways it can be done. We have explored the studies, the results and in some ways, we supported it. But lately, I have been thinking about how supporting this could actually be encouraging people to jump into these diets, including the paleo diet, when in reality these diets increase mortality rates and are not healthy for the human body.

It became a thought in the back of my mind, I have always strived to put the best information out that I can through this platform to promote good health. And so we must look at that, even if that means upsetting some people who currently are on paleo or keto and are seeing some good weight loss or symptom management. The truth is, like the many people I’ve seen crash on these diets after a few years, I want people to know the truth of what’s going on out there. And how we can get beyond diets that symptom manage, and instead get onto diets that truly heal.

Anytime we have fad diets, which paleo and keto are, we see products and bias pop up all over the place to support the continuation of these trends. It becomes less about health and more about upholding an identity or a business.

So as I recently looked into what experts are saying about these diets, I came upon two important videos I think everyone should check out. Both have been embedded below. Remember, it’s not that I care what you choose in your own life, or that I feel there is a right or wrong, it’s that I believe we should be informed and I wish to use this platform to promote as best a message as I can.

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The Videos

Thanks to Plant-Based News for creating such a good channel and resource of information on YouTube.

In this video, several plant-based health experts talk through 9 nutrition studies that would be of interest to low carb keto diet proponents. To read the 9 studies, click here.

Next up, Dr. Kim Williams (past President of the American College of Cardiology) shares his insights about the ketogenic.

Related Articles

Diabetic Shares Why He Quit ‘The Ketogenic Diet’

Doctor Explains Why She Never Recommends The ‘Ketogenic Diet’

The Biggest Misconception About The ‘Ketogenic Diet’…You Don’t Actually Have To Follow It

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