Harvard Says Reducing Red Meat Consumption can Extend Life by 20%

Christina Sarich

by 
July 21st, 2013

meat heart 263x164 Harvard Says Reducing Red Meat Consumption can Extend Life by 20%According to Harvard Medical Schoolcutting out or reducing red meat consumption can help prolong your life by up to 20%. The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, looked at 84,000 women and 38,000 men’s diets in order to determine if it was really beneficial to consume a big juicy steak several times a week. The study found, unequivocally, that people who ate the most red meat (especially processed red meats) died younger, and most often from cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

“We estimated that substitutions of 1 serving per day of other foods (including fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, low-fat dairy, and whole grains) for 1 serving per day of red meat were associated with a 7% to 19% lower mortality risk. We also estimated that 9.3% of deaths in men and 7.6% in women in these cohorts could be prevented at the end of follow-up if all the individuals consumed fewer than 0.5 servings per day (approximately 42 g/d) of red meat.”

Even though people who consumed high levels of red meat also tended to smoke, drink, and have less-than-healthy body weights, those factors were calculated into the study, and people who ate more red meat still died sooner than their more vegetarian counterparts. The study concluded that each daily serving of red meat increased risk of death by 13%. The impact rose to 20% if the serving was processed, as in food items like hot dogs, bacon, and cold cuts.

“This study provides clear evidence that regular consumption of red meat, especially processed meat, contributes substantially to premature death,” according to Dr. Frank Hu, one of the senior scientists involved in the study and a professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. Walter Willet, a senior scientists on the study said:

“If someone is age 60 and has a 50% chance of dying in the next 25 years, adding one serving a day would increase his risk of dying in that time to about 57%, and if he had two servings a day, this would be about a 63% risk of dying in that time.”

The good news is that you don’t have to go completely meat free, though. You can substitute other proteins that the body can more easily assimilate and digest. Fish resulted in a 7% decrease in risk, beans and legumes resulted in a 10% decrease in risk, chicken and whole grains resulted in a 14% reduction, and nuts as a source of protein offered a whopping 19% reduction in cardiovascular and cancer risks compared to red meat consumption. The study did not measure sprouted beans or other sprouted seeds that often have up to 900% more nutritional value for the body as well.

Furthermore, many farm-raised animals which supply meat are fed on GMO diets, which can cause cancer, organ failure and other unsavory health concerns.

The study was funded by grants from the NIH and by a career development award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The study authors reported that they had no conflicts of interest.

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The Safety of Genetically Modified Foods

It’s Your Health
Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Labelling of GM Foods

When it comes to labelling, GM foods are treated like any other food because they are only allowed on the market after they have been through a thorough safety assessment. There are no specific laws regarding the labelling of GM food products. However, all food products (including organic products) must comply with the labelling rules of the Food and Drugs Act and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act. These Acts require that labels be truthful, not misleading or deceptive and not give an erroneous impression about the quality, merit, and safety of the food.

Breakdown of GMO Labeling Laws by Country

Breakdown of GMO Labeling Laws in Each Country (Global Map)

Are you aware of the GMO labeling laws implemented around the world? While the United States and Canada have virtually no GE food labeling laws, countries like Russia, Australia, Italy, and more have mandatory labeling of nearly all GE foods. Just below you can view a global map of all the countries and their current status with GE labeling laws.

Where do we Stand?

There is no question now that GMOs are (AT LEAST) potentially dangerous, and are part of an astronomically-large global experiment. This is why Hungary destroyed all Monsanto GMO corn fields just a few years ago, and why nations like France, the U.K., and India took a stand against Monsanto and GMOs alike. This is why Italy banned some of Monsanto’s corn with 80% public support, and the nation of Bhutan decided to go 100% organic.

So what will it take to win over the government agencies and institute proper GMO labeling? Will it take 800 scientists to demand an end to this global GMO experiment? Or will enough March Against Monsanto’s ignite the final spark we need to label these questionable foods?

We have made some tremendous progress through our extreme activism – progress that affects the future more than we know. With the continued fight for GMO labeling, and ultimately the discontinuance of GMOs altogether, we are protecting not only our own rights, bodies and our children, but also generations to come.

Breakdown of GMO Labeling Laws by Country:

  • Russia – Requires mandatory labeling of nearly all GE foods and a labeling threshold of 0.9-1% GMO content.
  • Australia – Requires mandatory labeling of nearly all GE foods and a labeling threshold of 0.9-1% GMO content.
  • New Zealand – Requires mandatory labeling of nearly all GE foods and a labeling threshold of 0.9-1% GMO content.
  • Hungary – Requires mandatory labeling of nearly all GE foods and a labeling threshold of 0.9-1% GMO content.
  • France – Requires mandatory labeling of nearly all GE foods and a labeling threshold of 0.9-1% GMO content.
  • Spain – Requires mandatory labeling of nearly all GE foods and a labeling threshold of 0.9-1% GMO content.
  • U.K. – Requires mandatory labeling of nearly all GE foods and a labeling threshold of 0.9-1% GMO content.
  • Sweden – Requires mandatory labeling of nearly all GE foods and a labeling threshold of 0.9-1% GMO content.
  • Italy – Requires mandatory labeling of nearly all GE foods and a labeling threshold of 0.9-1% GMO content.
  • Greenland (Denmark) – Requires mandatory labeling of nearly all GE foods and a labeling threshold of 0.9-1% GMO content.
  • China – Mandatory labeling of many GE foods and a labeling threshold of 1% or higher, or undefined GMO content.
  • India – Mandatory labeling of some GE foods, but with many exceptions and no labeling threshold defined – or a vague law.
  • Bhutan – No GE food labeling laws according to the map, however, Bhutan recently made headlines for being the first country to go 100% organic.
  • Brazil – Mandatory labeling of many GE foods and a labeling threshold of 1% or higher, or undefined GMO content.
  • United States – No GE food labeling laws.
  • Canada – No GE food labeling laws.
  • Mexico –  No GE food labeling laws.

Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Laws (Click to Enlarge)

gmo map inpost Breakdown of GMO Labeling Laws in Each Country (Global Map)

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Scientists Seek to Rein In Diagnoses of Cancer

By TARA PARKER-POPE
A group of experts advising the nation’s premier cancer research institution has recommended changing the definition of cancer and eliminating the word from some common diagnoses as part of sweeping changes in the nation’s approach to cancer detection and treatment.
The recommendations, from a working group of the National Cancer Institute, were published on Monday in The Journal of the American Medical Association. They say, for instance, that some premalignant conditions, like one that affects the breast called ductal carcinoma in situ, which many doctors agree is not cancer, should be renamed to exclude the word carcinoma so that patients are less frightened and less likely to seek what may be unneeded and potentially harmful treatments that can include the surgical removal of the breast.
The group, which includes some of the top scientists in cancer research, also suggested that many lesions detected during breast, prostate, thyroid, lung and other cancer screenings should not be called cancer at all but should instead be reclassified as IDLE conditions, which stands for “indolent lesions of epithelial origin.”
While it is clear that some or all of the changes may not happen for years, if it all, and that some cancer experts will profoundly disagree with the group’s views, the report from such a prominent group of scientists who have the backing of the National Cancer Institute brings the discussion to a higher level and will most likely change the national conversation about cancer, its definition, its treatment and future research.
“We need a 21st-century definition of cancer instead of a 19th-century definition of cancer, which is what we’ve been using,” said Dr. Otis W. Brawley, the chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, who was not directly involved in the report.
The impetus behind the call for change is a growing concern among doctors, scientists and patient advocates that hundreds of thousands of men and women are undergoing needless and sometimes disfiguring and harmful treatments for premalignant and cancerous lesions that are so slow growing they are unlikely to ever cause harm.
The advent of highly sensitive screening technology in recent years has increased the likelihood of finding these so-called incidentalomas — the name given to incidental findings detected during medical scans that most likely would never cause a problem. However, once doctors and patients are aware a lesion exists, they typically feel compelled to biopsy, treat and remove it, often at great physical and psychological pain and risk to the patient. The issue is often referred to as overdiagnosis, and the resulting unnecessary procedures to which patients are subjected are called overtreatment.
Cancer researchers warned about the risk of overdiagnosis and overtreatment as a result of new recommendations from a government panel that heavy smokers be given an annual CT scan. While the policy change, announced on Monday but not yet made final, has the potential to save 20,000 lives a year, some doctors warned about the cumulative radiation risk of repeat scans as well as worries that broader use of the scans will lead to more risky and invasive medical procedures.
Officials at the National Cancer Institute say overdiagnosis is a major public health concern and a priority of the agency. “We’re still having trouble convincing people that the things that get found as a consequence of mammography and P.S.A. testing and other screening devices are not always malignancies in the classical sense that will kill you,” said Dr. Harold E. Varmus, the Nobel Prize-winning director of the National Cancer Institute. “Just as the general public is catching up to this idea, there are scientists who are catching up, too.”
One way to address the issue is to change the language used to describe lesions found through screening, said Dr. Laura J. Esserman, the lead author of the report in The Journal of the American Medical Association and the director of the Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center at the University of California, San Francisco. In the report, Dr. Esserman and her colleagues said they would like to see a multidisciplinary panel convened to address the issue, led by pathologists, with input from surgeons, oncologists and radiologists, among others.
“Ductal carcinoma in situ is not cancer, so why are we calling it cancer?” said Dr. Esserman, who is a professor of surgery and radiology at the University of California, San Francisco.
Such proposals will not be universally embraced. Dr. Larry Norton, the medical director of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, said the larger problem is that doctors cannot tell patients with certainty which cancers will not progress and which cancers will kill them, and changing terminology does not solve that problem.
“Which cases of D.C.I.S. will turn into an aggressive cancer and which ones won’t?” he said, referring to ductal carcinoma in situ. “I wish we knew that. We don’t have very accurate ways of looking at tissue and looking at tumors under the microscope and knowing with great certainty that it is a slow-growing cancer.”
Dr. Norton, who was not part of the report, agreed that doctors do need to focus on better communication with patients about precancerous and cancerous conditions. He said he often tells patients that even though ductal carcinoma in situ may look like cancer, it will not necessarily act like cancer — just as someone who is “dressed like a criminal” is not actually a criminal until that person breaks the law.
“The terminology is just a descriptive term, and there’s no question that has to be explained,” Dr. Norton said. “But you can’t go back and change hundreds of years of literature by suddenly changing terminology.”
But proponents of downgrading cancerous conditions with a simple name change say there is precedent for doing so. The report’s authors note that in 1998, the World Health Organization changed the name of an early-stage urinary tract tumor, removing the word “carcinoma” and calling it “papillary urothelial neoplasia of low malignant potential.” When a common Pap smear finding called “cervical intraepithelial neoplasia” was reclassified as a low-grade lesion rather than a malignancy, women were more willing to submit to observation rather than demanding treatment, Dr. Esserman said.
“Changing the language we use to diagnose various lesions is essential to give patients confidence that they don’t have to aggressively treat every finding in a scan,” she said. “The problem for the public is you hear the word cancer, and you think you will die unless you get treated. We should reserve this term, ‘cancer,’ for those things that are highly likely to cause a problem.”
The concern, however, is that since doctors do not yet have a clear way to tell the difference between benign or slow-growing tumors and aggressive diseases with many of these conditions, they treat everything as if it might become aggressive. As a result, doctors are finding and treating scores of seemingly precancerous lesions and early-stage cancers — like ductal carcinoma in situ, a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, small thyroid tumors and early prostate cancer.
But even after years of aggressively treating those conditions, there has not been a commensurate reduction in invasive cancer, suggesting that overdiagnosis and overtreatment are occurring on a large scale.
The National Cancer Institute working group also called for a greater focus on research to identify both benign and slow-growing tumors and aggressive diseases, including the creation of patient registries to learn more about lesions that appear unlikely to become cancer.
Some of that research is already under way at the National Cancer Institute. Since becoming director of the institute three years ago, Dr. Varmus has set up a list of “provocative questions” aimed at encouraging scientists to focus on critical areas, including the issue of overdiagnosis and molecular tests to distinguish between slow-growing and aggressive tumors.
Another National Cancer Institute program, the Barrett’s Esophagus Translational Research Network, or Betrnet, is focused on changes in the esophageal lining that for years have been viewed as a precursor to esophageal cancer. Although patients with Barrett’s are regularly screened and sometimes treated by burning off the esophageal lining, data now increasingly suggest that most of the time, Barrett’s is benign and probably does not need to be treated at all. Researchers from various academic centers are now working together and pooling tissue samples to spur research that will determine when Barrett’s is most likely to become cancerous.
“Our investigators are not just looking for ways to detect cancer early, they are thinking about this question of when you find a cancer, what are the factors that might determine how aggressively it will behave,” Dr. Varmus said. “This is a long way from the thinking 20 years ago, when you found a cancer cell and felt you had a tremendous risk of dying.”

Supplements are not food!

Supplements are not food! There is no reason to eat them. Eat the right food to get your vitamins. The right food is  a whole food plant based diet.

Are supplements a quick health fix or can vitamins actually be bad for you?Are supplements a quick health fix or can vitamins actually be bad for you?

Vitamin pills are big business – from chewable ones for children and tablets especially tailored for women going through the menopause to essential oils for dodgy joints and high-dose vitamin C to pep up your immune system, there’s a supplement for everyone.

But can vitamins actually be bad for your health?

It seems that your daily pill can do more harm than good. Indeed, last week saw the revelation that fish oil capsules have been linked to high levels of prostate cancer – a shock for the millions who take fish oils or omega-3 fatty acids every day in the quest to ease joint pain, improve heart health and fight mental decline.

A study of more than 2,000 men found that those with the highest levels of omega-3 in their blood were 71 per cent more likely to develop the most lethal form of prostate cancer, and 44 per cent more likely to develop low-grade prostate cancer.

And it’s not just omega-3 that is under scrutiny. According to Dr Alan Kristal, who led the study at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle, there is surprisingly little evidence that any vitamin or mineral pills prevent disease – unless people are suffering from a nutrient deficiency.

‘As we do more and more of these studies, we find high doses of supplements have no effect or increase the risk of the disease you are trying to prevent,’ he says. Yet millions of busy Britons take vitamins to compensate for a poor diet.

One in three of us takes a supplement, and we spend about £209 million a year on vitamin pills. The message last week from experts was not to panic. Dr Michele Sadler, the HFMA’s scientific adviser, said: ‘This type of evidence can indicate an association, but does not demonstrate cause and effect’

For most people, taking multivitamin and mineral supplements at the recommended dose is safe.
So amid all this confusing and sometimes contradictory advice, which supplements work and, more importantly, which ones are safe?

MULTIVITAMINS

Big business: One in three of us takes a supplement - but is it worth it?Big business: One in three of us takes a supplement – but is it worth it?

While they might be the most wide-ranging supplement in the UK – providing 100 per cent of our daily allowance of everything from vitamin B to copper – there is little evidence that they do any good.

In 2010, French researchers followed 8,000 volunteers who had taken either a multivitamin or a dummy placebo pill for six years.

They found that those who popped the vitamin pill were just as likely to suffer heart disease or cancer as those taking the placebo.

That work followed a 2008 major review of 67 studies – involving 230,000 people – which found no evidence that multivitamins prolonged life.

Some studies have even suggested that high doses could do more harm than good.

In 2011, the Iowa Women’s Health Study looked at the health of more than 38,000 older women and found that women who regularly took multivitamins were 2.4  per cent more likely to die over the 19 years of the study.

Their research also showed that use of vitamin B6 increased the risk of death during the study by 4.1 per cent, folic acid by 5.9 per cent, iron by 3.9 per cent, magnesium by 3.6 per cent, zinc by 3 per cent and copper by 18 per cent.

However, the study didn’t take into account the fact that many people start taking heavy doses of vitamins only when they develop serious diseases such as cancer.

But Dr Kristal says: ‘Dozens of studies of multivitamins show that they do absolutely nothing at the recommended doses.’

So if your diet contains plenty of fresh food and your five-a-day, it’s unlikely a multivitamin pill is essential.

VITAMIN C

Doctors have known since the 1750s, when British sailors were first issued with limes, that vitamin C is essential for health. It helps to heal wounds, strengthens the body’s connective tissues and keeps cells healthy.

But despite the many health claims made about vitamin C, there is little evidence that it does much good as a supplement.

While it does appear to shorten the duration of colds, there is little real proof that it staves off illness, Dr Kristal says.

And the high doses recommended by some supporters of alternative medicine may do more harm than good.

Danger: Fish oil capsules have been linked to high levels of prostate cancerDanger: Fish oil capsules have been linked to high levels of prostate cancer

In February, an 11-year study of more than 23,000 men found that those who took high doses of the supplement – typically 1,000 mg – were twice as likely to develop kidney stones compared to men who took no pills.

A 2002 study showed that 1g doses of vitamin  C and vitamin E almost trebled the risk of premature death among postmenopausal women in any year.

The Department of Health says adults need 40 mg a day but doses up to 1,000 mg a day are unlikely to cause harm. Anyone worried about their intake should decide whether they are exceeding their safe daily dose.

‘For example, the effervescent vitamin drink Berocca contains 476 mg. Two doses would take you close the recommended limit.’

VITAMIN E

Found in nuts, germs, wheat and oils, vitamin E is vital for healthy cells. According to the Department of Health, most adults need between 3 mg and 4 mg a day.

Brain boostVitamin B supplements can help stave off Alzheimer’s disease because they reduce brain shrinkage, claims a study by Oxford University

Studies have shown that foods rich in vitamin E may protect against heart disease. But there is little evidence that vitamin E pills do the same – and some that say they may do harm.

In 2011, U.S. researchers at Cleveland Clinic found that men who took a ‘high strength’ 268 mg vitamin E pill each day during the seven year study were 17 per cent more likely to develop prostate cancer than men who did not take the supplement.

And, in 2005, a seven-year study of 4,000 people found it increased the risk of heart failure by 13 per cent.

While the Department of Health says taking 540 mg or less a day is unlikely to do harm, the prostate cancer study published by Dr Kristal also looked at the effect of daily 400 mg vitamin E doses.

Dr Kristal says: ‘It increased the risk of prostate cancer by 17 per cent. We don’t know why. But one thing to remember is that, unlike vitamin C, it is soluble in fat and so levels build up in the body over time.’

Experts say that one egg or 28 g of almonds a day should provide all the vitamin E you need – making it unlikely that any of us need a supplement.

Enough: A glass of milk and a yoghurt meets our daily calcium limitEnough: A glass of milk and a yoghurt meets our daily calcium limit

CALCIUM

Calcium is often taken by middle-aged and older people to protect their bones. There is also evidence that it can prevent the recurrence of bowel polyps – growths that may develop into cancer.
However, calcium supplements could increase the risk of heart disease in men, according to a study in February from the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

A study of 388,000 people found that men who took more than 1,000 mg, or 1 g, a day in supplements were at greater risk of heart problems – and had a 20 per cent higher risk of death.

Women were not at greater risk, the Journal of the American Medical Association found. Scientists believe that high calcium levels harden the arteries, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The Food Standards Agency recommends adults have 700 mg of calcium a day. One yoghurt and a 300 ml glass of milk would meet your daily calcium limit, so it’s unlikely you would need a supplement.

SELENIUM

Selenium is a trace mineral found in seafood, meat and grains. It is essential in small doses and selenium deficiency is linked to mental decline, impaired immune systems and premature death.

But although it is commonly recommended to help prevent heart disease, too much can be harmful. The Department of Health says men need 0.075 mg a day, and women 0.06mg, in their diet. But after looking at data from 20,000 adults, Warwick Medical School researchers found that it did little to lower the incidence of heart disease in people with a good diet.

High doses were linked to type 2 diabetes, the authors reported in the Cochrane Library journal.

BETA CAROTENE

Beta carotene is a pigment that gives yellow and orange plants colour. The body converts beta carotene to vitamin A, which we need for good vision, healthy skin and a strong immune system.
Beta carotene is a natural antioxidant and is usually taken to prevent cancer. But there is no evidence it works, and plenty to show that high doses can be harmful.

In 1994, researchers found that smokers who regularly took a large 20 mg dose of beta carotene a day were 8 per cent more likely to die from lung cancer than people who did not take the supplement.
As well as all this, beta carotene can also give white skin an orange tint, and can trigger upset stomachs, joint pain and dizziness.

Health Gains from Whole Grains

For millennia, the grains humans ate came straight from the stalk. That means they got a carbohydrate package rich in fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, plant enzymes, hormones, and hundreds of other phytochemicals.

 

Even after we learned how to grind grain, we still got all of the goodness that grains pack in their three layers. Whole grains have a tough, fibrous outer layer called bran that protects the inside of the kernel. The interior contains mostly the starchy endosperm. Its job is to provide stored energy for the germ, the seed’s reproductive kernel, which nestles inside the endosperm. The germ is rich in vitamins, minerals, and unsaturated oils.

The invention of industrialized roller mills in the late 19th century changed what we got from grains. Milling strips away the bran and germ, making the grain easier to chew, easier to digest, and easier to keep without refrigeration (the healthy oils in the germ can turn rancid, giving the grain an off taste). Processing also pulverizes the endosperm, turning it from a small, solid nugget into millions of minuscule particles.

Refining wheat creates fluffy flour that makes light, airy breads and pastries. But there’s a nutritional price to be paid for refined grains. The process strips away more than half of wheat’s B vitamins, 90 percent of the vitamin E, and virtually all of the fiber. It also makes the starch easily accessible to the body’s starch-digesting enzymes.

A growing body of research shows that returning to whole grains and other less-processed sources of carbohydrates and cutting back on refined grains improves health in myriad ways.

Preventing Diabetes

 

Keeping weight in check, being active, and eating a healthy diet can prevent most cases of type 2 diabetes.

 

There’s good news and bad news about type 2 diabetes, which used to be called adult onset diabetes. The bad news? It’s striking people at younger and younger ages, and rates are skyrocketing globally as the population grows heavier and gets less physical activity. The good news? It’s highly preventable.

Keeping weight in check and being physically active can help prevent most cases of the disease. Choosing a diet rich in whole grains and healthy fats adds even more protection—skip the refined grains and sugary soda. Limiting red meat—steak, hamburger, pork chops, and the like—and avoiding processed meat—bacon, hot dogs, and deli meats—can also help lower diabetes risk. Go for healthier protein sources instead, such as nuts, beans, poultry, and fish.

Here are five quick tips to help prevent diabetes:

1. Put exercise first—and put television last. Regular exercise by itself can cut diabetes risk. That it also helps keep weight in check adds even more benefit. Choose things you enjoy and do them every day. Too much television-watching ups diabetes risk—an increase of 20 percent for every 2 hours you watch. So trade some of your sit-time for fit-time.

2. Try to keep weight in check. Being a healthy weight is the best thing you can do to lower your risk of diabetes. Need to lose weight? Getting active and eating a healthy diet, with smaller portions, s-l-o-w-l-y are your best bets.

3. Choose healthy fats and proteins, and skip the red and processed meat. Sure, they’ve got long names, but a diet rich in mono and polyunsaturated fats can help lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Canola oil and olive oil are great choices, as are the fats in avocados, nuts, and seeds. For protein, replace the steaks, chops, hot dogs, and bacon with nuts, beans, poultry, or fish.

4. Focus on plant foods. A diet high in whole grains can help lower the risk of diabetes and keep appetite in check. Choose a good variety of whole grain foods prepared in interesting ways, such as Mollie Katzen’s recipe for couscous-quinoa tabouli.

5. Cut back on refined carbs and sugary drinks. White bread, white rice, white pasta and potatoes cause fast and furious increases in blood sugar, as do sugary soft drinks, fruit punch, and fruit juice. Over time, eating lots of these refined carbohydrates and sugar may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.  To lower your risk—switch to whole grains and skip the sugar, especially the sugary drinks. Drink water, coffee or tea instead.

Eggs Harmful to Health

BREAKING MEDICAL NEWS May 15, 2013

 

Eggs Harmful to Health

May 15, 2013 

Eggs increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes, according to a new meta-analysis published in Atherosclerosis. Researchers reviewed 14 studies and found that those who consumed the most eggs had a 19 and 68 percent increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes, respectively, compared with those who ate the fewest eggs. For those who already had diabetes, the risk for developing heart disease from eating the most eggs jumped by 83 percent.

Li Y, Zhou C, Zhou X, Li L. Egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes: A meta-analysis. Atherosclerosis. Published ahead of print April 17, 2013.
Subscribe to PCRM’s Breaking Medical News.

Breaking Medical News is a service of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, 5100 Wisconsin Ave., Ste. 400, Washington, DC 20016, 202-686-2210. Join PCRM and receive the quarterly magazine,Good Medicine.

Would We Be Healthier With a Vegan Diet?

 

A July 2012 Gallup poll puts the percentage of American adults who say they consider themselves vegetarian at 5%, and those who consider themselves vegans—who eat no meat or dairy products—at 2%.

Do they know something everyone else doesn’t?

Far more Americans in a 2006 Gallup poll said they eat red meat and dairy regularly: 60% and 71%, respectively.

But of course, that isn’t necessarily confirmation of the benefits of meat and dairy: Good health, like good sense, does not always reside with the majority.

No one is arguing that Americans should be required to eat meat or dairy products—or broccoli, for that matter. For many people, the decision comes down to convenience, habit and taste.

But whatever you currently like to eat, digging into some of the issues that define this debate could be good for your health. Indeed, there’s obviously more at stake here than pleasing our taste buds.

What does science say on the subject? Here, two scientists offer their thoughts.

T. Colin Campbell, who argues that a vegan diet is healthier than diets that include meat and dairy products, is professor emeritus of nutritional sciences at Cornell University and co-author of “The China Study.” Nancy Rodriguez, who says it’s healthy to eat meat and dairy products as part of a balanced diet that includes each of the major food groups, is a professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Connecticut, in Storrs.

Yes: Cut Animal-Based Protein

By T. Colin Campbell

I was raised on a dairy farm. I milked cows until starting my doctoral research over 50 years ago at Cornell University in the animal-science department. Meat and dairy foods were my daily fare, and I loved them.

G. Hodges/Jon Reis PhotographyT. COLIN CAMPBELL: This diet ‘can prevent and even reverse 70% to 80% of existing, symptomatic disease.’

When I began my experimental research program on the effects of nutrition on cancer and other diseases, I assumed it was healthy to eat plenty of meat, milk and eggs. But eventually, our evidence raised questions about some of my most-cherished beliefs and practices.

Our findings, published in top peer-reviewed journals, pointed away from meat and milk as the building blocks of a healthy diet, and toward whole, plant-based foods with little or no added oil, sugar or salt.

My dietary practices changed based on these findings, and so did those of my family. So, what is this evidence that has had such an impact on my life?

In human population studies, prevalence rates of heart disease and certain cancers strongly associate with animal-protein-based diets, usually reported as total fat consumption. Animal-based protein isn’t the only cause of these diseases, but it is a marker of the simultaneous effects of multiple nutrients found in diets that are high in meat and dairy products and low in plant-based foods.

Trojan Horse

Historically, the primary health value of meat and dairy has been attributed to their generous supply of protein. But therein lay a Trojan horse.

More than 70 years ago, for example, casein (the main protein of cow’s milk) was shown in experimental animal studies to substantially increase cholesterol and early heart disease. Later human studies concurred. Casein, whose properties, it’s important to note, are associated with other animal proteins in general, also was shown during the 1940s and 1950s to enhance cancer growth in experimental animal studies.

 

image

credit info is included on the chart

Casein, in fact, is the most “relevant” chemical carcinogen ever identified; its cancer-producing effects occur in animals at consumption levels close to normal—strikingly unlike cancer-causing environmental chemicals that are fed to lab animals at a few hundred or even a few thousand times their normal levels of consumption. In my lab, from the 1960s to the 1990s, we conducted a series of studies and published dozens of peer-reviewed papers demonstrating casein’s remarkable ability to promote cancer growth in test animals when consumed in excess of protein needs, which is about 10% of total calories, as recommended by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences more than 70 years ago.

One of the biggest fallacies my opponent presents is that a diet including meat and dairy products is the most efficient way of giving the body the nutrients it needs with a healthy level of calories. Plant-based foods have plenty of protein and calcium along with far greater amounts of countless other essential nutrients (such as antioxidants and complex carbohydrates) than meat and dairy.

Higher-protein diets achieved by consuming animal-based foods increase the risks of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and many similar ailments, caused by excess protein and other unbalanced nutrients as well.

It’s also worth noting that the government recommendations for certain population groups to increase their protein and iron consumption come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an agency long known to be subservient to the meat and dairy industries.

The dairy industry has long promoted the myth that milk and milk products promote increased bone health—but the opposite is true. The evidence is now abundantly convincing that higher consumption of dairy is associated with higher rates of bone fracture and osteoporosis, according to Yale and Harvard University research groups.

Pain Relief

Some of the most compelling evidence of the effects of meat and dairy foods arises when we stop eating them. Increasing numbers of individuals resolve their pain (arthritic, migraine, cardiac) when they avoid dairy food. And switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet with little or no added salt, sugar and fat, produces astounding health benefits. This dietary lifestyle can prevent and even reverse 70% to 80% of existing, symptomatic disease, with an equivalent savings in health-care costs for those who comply.

The Wall Street Journal

This treatment effect is broad in scope, exceptionally rapid in response (days to weeks) and often, lifesaving. It cannot be duplicated by animal-based foods, processed foods or drug therapies.

By contrast, any evidence that low-fat or fat-free-dairy foods reduce blood pressure is trivial compared with the lower blood pressure obtained and sustained by a whole-foods, plant-based diet.

Based on the scientific evidence, and on the way I feel, I know beyond any doubt that I am better off for having changed my diet to whole and plant-based foods.

Dr. Campbell is professor emeritus of nutritional sciences at Cornell University and co-author of “The China Study.” He can be reached at reports@wsj.com.

No: It’s a Question of Balance

By Nancy Rodriguez

For years a wealth of scientific research has supported the idea that healthy nutrition begins with a balanced diet consisting of the basic food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains and protein and dairy.

University of ConnecticutNANCY RODRIGUEZ: ‘It is simply untrue to suggest that animal protein causes cancer.’

Each group offers nutrients that are essential to our health. Experts agree that the most important thing to remember when considering a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is that essential nutrients removed from the diet with the elimination of meat or dairy need to be obtained from other foods.

Individuals who stop eating meat and dairy products are at risk of not getting enough calcium, vitamin D, protein, vitamin B12, zinc and iron in their diets—all nutrients that come mostly from food products derived from animals.

What happens then? Insufficient calcium and vitamin D can compromise bone structure. Lack of zinc can hinder growth in children. B12 and iron assist production of red blood cells, which deliver oxygen throughout the body. Proteins are essential for building and maintaining muscle and keeping our brains healthy. And animal proteins provide all the essential amino acids, nutrients our bodies cannot make on its own.

Calorie Efficiency

Including dairy and meat in a balanced diet can be an important way to get essential nutrients without excess calories—a key consideration given concerns about our overweight and undernourished nation. Our average daily consumption of dairy products, for example, provides more than half of the recommended daily amount of calcium and vitamin D in our diets, for only one-tenth of the calories. A three-ounce serving of beef has less than 10% of the calories in a typical 2,000-calorie-a-day diet while supplying more than 10% of the daily value for 10 essential nutrients.

Contrary to popular belief, Americans aren’t eating too much protein. According to Economic Research Service data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the daily caloric contribution of flour and cereal products increased by about 200 calories per person from 1970 to 2008, compared with only a 19-calorie increase from meat, eggs and nuts.

The Dietary Guidelines (the U.S. government’s science-based nutritional recommendations, compiled and issued every five years) have noted that some Americans need more protein, and that adequate consumption of iron and B12 (both found in lean meat) is a concern for specific population groups. The Dietary Guidelines are founded on evidence-based, peer-reviewed scientific literature, and take into account the entire body of research, not just a single study.

Proponents of a vegan diet paint a grim picture of the effects of animal protein on human health. But the effects of powdered, isolated casein on rats tells us very little about what traditionally consumed forms of milk will do to humans. And it tells us nothing that can be generalized to all “animal nutrients.” Casein is one of many proteins found in milk and is recognized around the world for its nutritional quality.

It is simply untrue to suggest that animal protein causes cancer. The American Cancer Society, along with other leading health organizations, emphasizes that the effects of foods and nutrients need to be considered in the context of the total diet. Research from many sources shows that other factors, such as not smoking, responsible alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight and regular physical activity, are much more important to reducing cancer risk than eating or avoiding any individual food.

There is scientific evidence that low-fat or fat-free dairy and lean meat, as part of a balanced diet, produce specific health benefits such as reducing blood pressure. Fat-free, low-fat and reduced-fat options are widely available, as are lactose-free milk and milk products. Many of the most popular beef cuts are lean, including top sirloin, tenderloin, T-bone steak and 95% lean ground beef.

Calcium Question

Finally, contrary to my opponent’s assertions, dairy’s role in strengthening bones has long been established by the nutrition and science community. Don’t take just the Dietary Guidelines’ word. Dozens of randomized, controlled, clinical trials—the gold standard in research—have demonstrated that calcium and dairy products contribute to stronger bones. These trials far outweigh any observational studies which, by their very design, cannot show a causal relationship between eliminating meat and dairy foods and a subsequent improvement in health.

Government and public health organizations around the globe encourage daily consumption of dairy foods to promote good health and help prevent disease. We all have emotional and cultural connections to various foods; many of us have opinions on what to eat, how much and why. But appreciating the science behind nutrition helps us make smart choices about the best way to feed ourselves and the world.

Dr. Rodriguez is a professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. She can be reached at reports@wsj.com.

Pale Blue Dot- Carl Sagan

Pale Blue Dot Close

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 The photos above  of the pale blue dot…….”a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam” as Dr Sagan put it. His comments below are worthy reading for all earthlings.

 

“We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity — in all this vastness — there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It’s been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

Carl Sagan

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It is such a miracle that we are here. The symphony of the Universe and life on earth  is our gift to enjoy and cherish. Honor your body by treating it with respect, nourish your mind and body with good thoughts and good food. That is your responsibility.