The Secret’s Out: The Reason Red Meat is So Bad for Our Health

We’ve known red meat isn’t the healthiest choice for a long time now. It’s a leading cause in heart disease, inflammation, cancer, and even digestive problems. While its highly touted by meat-lovers as being a good source of iron, (though we know there are better sources), the truth is, red meat is not a healthy food. But what is it about red meat that’s so bad?

Scientists at the University of California Found The Secret

Researchers at the University of California found that meat triggers a toxic reaction within the body that weakens the immune system due to a natural sugar it contains our bodies can’t digest. Yes, you heard that right – meat actually has a natural sugar, as small as it may be. Known as Neu5Gc, this sugar is a foreign agent to our body that is seen as an invader.

The body launches an immune response as it tries to get rid of it and in the mean time, a host of health problems occur, such as cancer (which is largely a disease of a weak immune system). The unique findings are that other carnivores can eat red meat fine because their bodies actually contain the natural sugar that digests the meat. Our bodies don’t – clearly a sign that we’re not meant to eat it.

Meat and Tumor Production

The sugar, Neu5Gc, is already in the body of other carnivores that consume meat for food. Mice (who don’t contain the sugar as we don’t) were fed meat and actually developed tumors quickly.

“This is the first time we have directly shown that mimicking the exact situation in humans increases spontaneous cancers in mice,” said Dr Ajit Varki, Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of California. ”The final proof in humans will be much harder to come by.”

We don’t think we need more proof to go meat-free, do you? Meat has led to a host of negativeenvironmental and health factors for years. Harvard University found that a diet high in red meat raised the risk of breast cancer for women by 22 percent, and found those who regularly ate 5.6oz (160g) of red meat a day had one third higher risk of bowel cancer.

These studies provide more proof that meat really isn’t a healthy choice. If our bodies don’t see meat as a welcomed food, it’s time to stop eating it once and for all.

For tips to go meatless, check out: 13 Meatless Monday Meals for the Beginner Cook.

Lead Image Source: Rpavich/Flickr

More Milk, More Problems

milk-fracture

Science Contradicts Milk Marketing

This week, another study has illustrated that milk actually has a negative effect on bone health. Researchers in Sweden published findings in the British Medical Journal showing that women who drink milk have a higher incidence of bone fractures—and an increased risk of mortality from heart disease and cancer.

According to the study, women who consume three or more glasses of milk per day have a 60 percent increased risk of developing a hip fracture and a 93 percent increased risk of death. And each glass of milk increases mortality risk by 15 percent.

However, this news should not come as a shock to anyone outside of the dairy industry’s advertising department. A 2005 review in Pediatrics showed that milk has no effect on preventing stress fractures in girls. In fact, the research linked higher milk consumption with higher fracture risk.

For strong, healthy bones, it’s important to have enough calcium and vitamin D. However, animal products tend to leech calcium from bones, yet plant foods do not have this effect. One cup of collards has 268 mg of calcium. Spinach has 245 mg in a single cup, while a cup of soybeans has 261 mg. When you take fortified orange juice and fortified tofu into account, it’s easy to obtain more than the daily calcium recommendation of 1,000 mg.

Regardless of what milk marketers would have you believe, vitamin D is not naturally occurring in dairy milk. Last week, we examined a recent Canadian study suggesting that children who consumed dairy milk had higher levels of vitamin D. After reviewing the research, we learned that the dairy milk was fortified—while the plant milks were not. Any fortified non-dairy beverage can provide the necessary nutrients, without the cholesterol and saturated fat found in milk.

The science is there: milk does a body bad. Let’s wipe off the milk mustaches and remove milk from the school lunch line. To learn how you can help get milk out of schools, visitwww.HealthySchoolLunches.org.

Last updated by at October 30, 2014.

Animal Protein as a Carcinogen

Answer to a Reader’s Question:

Although there are many arguments favoring the nutritional imbalance explanation of cancer, one of the more striking for me was the experimental animal studies discussed in Chapter 3 in my book, The China Study. Namely, aflatoxin is a very potent carcinogen for the rat. However, after the Indian researchers showed that decreasing protein (casein) intake from the usual level of consumption of 20% to 5% completely prevented this very powerful carcinogen to cause cancer, we then began our work (references in our book). We explored that finding in great depth and eventually confirmed their initial observation. That is, simple adjustment of dietary protein (casein) within very normal ranges of protein intake controlled cancer growth and it worked not by one mechanism but by a large array of mechanisms. In other words, we proved this association beyond any doubt.

Further, over the years, this research required a lot of funding and our applications for funding were reviewed by other researchers highly experienced in this field. Every time we got high marks for the quality of the research. Then, when we submitted the results for publication, they were again reviewed by peers and these papers were published in the very best cancer research journals. Among the people who know the most about cancer, our work was entirely convincing.

Very simply, normal adjustment of protein intake was capable of enormously influencing the ability of a chemical carcinogen’s ability to promote cancer. Dietary protein trumped a very powerful carcinogen in a species that was exceptionally sensitive to this carcinogen.

Then we did much the same thing with a cancer caused by a virus, the hepatitis B virus.

If we follow the criteria of determining what is a carcinogen and what is not, these findings should shake up the entire world of cancer research and education because this is the way that other carcinogens (Alar, dioxin, DDT, etc.) also work–except the evidence favoring their carcinogenicity is far less than it is for aflatoxin!

But I was not comfortable taking the usual path of declaring that casein is a carcinogen that was far more powerful than aflatoxin (“the most potent carcinogen ever discovered” according to the people who favor the chemical carcinogen hypothesis). Instead, I was more interested in asking broader questions, involving the role of animal protein based foods in their association with human cancer, as well as to study the comparative associations of aflatoxin consumption and protein consumption in humans–this was the China Study.

I have given this story to many of the very best–and most critical audiences — that I can find (Harvard, Berkeley, Cornell, Emory, Yale, Duke, NIH, etc.) and I get no serious criticism. The only comment that seems to surface more than a few times is ‘I am taking on some very powerful interests and they won’t listen — regardless of the veracity of the evidence’, or words to that effect. In other words, this issue — first narrowly defined but later expanded into a much larger issue — is mostly about politics, economics, personal bias, etc., and not about rational science. Quite honestly, it depresses me because there is so much at stake for human health. Corporate America, who controls the agenda in this health research business, is more interested in their own health than they are in the health of the public!!

Dr. T. Colin Campbell has been at the forefront of nutrition research for over forty years. His legacy, the China Project, has been acknowledged as the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted. Dr. Campbell is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University. Dr. Campbell also serves as the President of the Board for the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and is featured faculty in our highly acclaimed, Plant-Based Certificate and our online heart course, Nutrition for a Healthy Heart.
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