More Red Meat = More Diabetes

Renowned Harvard nutritionist gives us even more reason to cut back on the carne.

July 31, 2013

Higher Red Meat Consumption Linked to Diabetes
Once again, a medical study finds significant health risks, like diabetes, in the consumption of red meat. (Photo: Diane Diederich/Getty Images)

On Sunday, the Boston Globe Magazine featured a profile of Harvard professor Walter Willett, calling him the “world’s most influential nutritionist.” Willett’s influence comes as much from his ability to debunk or reframe studies about food and nutrition as it does from his original work.

In the long and very interesting article, Globe writer Neil Swidey mentions a recent study of Willett’s that was released in June: A new look at the 123,000 people involved in a 20-year study ending in 2006 found elevated red-meat consumption to be linked with an increase in diabetes.

According to the study, conducted by Willett and his colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health, participants who ate at least a half serving more red meat over a four-year period were 48 percent more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes in the following four years. Conversely, those who lowered their meat consumption by more than half a serving per day decreased their diabetes risk. The research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Previous studies have connected red meat intake with an increased risk of diabetes, but Willett’s study was the first to show that eating more meat raises a person’s risk—and vice versa. Red meat is defined by the United States Department of Agriculture as that which comes from mammals, while white meat comes from poultry and fish.

Not surprisingly, the meat lobby strongly refutes such claims—“nothing to see here, folks!”—and frequently attempts to dismiss studies that are critical of meat on propaganda websites like MeatPoultryNutrition.org and MeatSafety.org.

“While some recent studies have generated headlines linking meat to different ailments, it is important to remember that conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes are complex conditions that cannot simply be caused by any one food,” American Meat Institute spokesman Eric Mittenthal told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

On the FAQs page of MeatPoultryNutrition.org, a site run by an industry lobby group called the American Meat Institute, pleads for readers to not give up their meat: “The wisest course of action is a balanced diet, weight control, plenty of exercise and a healthy degree of skepticism about the ‘study of the week,’ ” the site reads.

But Willett’s four decades of research and consistently reliable findings are difficult to dismiss wholesale. And while he admits further study is necessary to account for lifestyle and other health factors, Willett and his colleagues believe the strong connection found between red meat and diabetes warrants people cutting back on their consumption of beef, pork or lamb (giving up meat on Mondays may be a good place to start).

And as we’ve reported numerous times, we are eating less meat, overall.Americans’ meat consumption dropped by more than 12 percent between 2007 and 2012—an amount that equals a half-pound of meat per person, per day.

If Willett’s findings hold true, the result of a less meat-centric diet may be a reduction in the instances of diabetes among Americans, which has skyrocketed in recent years. And that will be great news indeed

Brain Impairment from the Atkins Diet

John McDougall, MD


Dr John McDougall

Brain Impairment from the Atkins Diet

 

 

 

 

Low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets. Effects on cognition and mood by Kristen D’Anci in the February 2009 issue of the journal Appetite concluded that,The present data show memory impairments during low-carbohydrate diets at a point when available glycogen stores would be at their lowest.” Women followed a low-carbohydrate diet, similar to the Atkins diet, or a reduced-calorie balanced diet, similar to that recommended by the American Dietetic Association (ADA). “Results showed that during complete withdrawal of dietary carbohydrate, low-carbohydrate dieters performed worse on memory-based tasks than ADA dieters. These impairments were ameliorated after reintroduction of carbohydrates.”  After about one week of severe carbohydrate deprivation subjects demonstrated impairment of memory.

Comments:  Have you noticed any of your dieting friends slipping with their physical or mental health?  There are scientific reasons to believe this is a real change caused by a deficiency of “brain fuel,” which is carbohydrate. Sugar (glucose) is the primary, preferred fuel for the brain and it is not stored in the brain tissues.  Thus, the brain is dependent upon circulating glucose in the blood stream.  This glucose comes almost exclusively from eating carbohydrates.  Except for milk and honey, only plant-derived foods contain carbohydrate. The body’s stores of carbohydrate last about 24 to 72 hours after starting on a low-carbohydrate, Atkins-type diet.  Upon depletion of carbohydrates the body metabolizes body fat into ketones, which can be used, but less efficiently, by the brain tissues and other body tissues for fuel.

The popularity of low-carbohydrate diets is waning, but I doubt they will vanish because they promise quick weight loss while consuming familiar foods like beef, butter and Brie.  These diets work by simulating sickness.  Without carbohydrate the body turns to fat for energy. Ketones are produced from fat metabolism and with their accumulation a condition of ketosis develops. Ketosis suppresses the appetite. Weight loss follows as long as ketosis-induced, appetite-suppression, is maintained. Most dieters cannot tolerate the unpleasantness of sickness for long and they give up, regaining all their lost body fat.

The foods consumed for a low-carbohydrate diet (meat, poultry, fish, cheese, eggs) are known to cause many serious illnesses, including heart disease, strokes, cancer, osteoporosis, and constipation.  This is not the right way to lose weight.

D’Anci KE, Watts KL, Kanarek RB, Taylor HA. Low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets. Effects on cognition and mood. Appetite. 2009 Feb;52(1):96-103.

Why Red Meat is at the Root of America’s Health Epidemic

Food

By Tommy Dean | August 7, 2013

Recent health studies show that red meat is a key culprit in a slew of chronic diseases that currently affect the US.

Grilled during backyard barbecues, cooked for homemade meals, and ordered on the go at millions of fast food restaurants across the country, red meat is a mainstay in many Americans’ diets, but a growing body of scientific research released within the last year suggests that it may be the common thread in a slew of ailments that are at the root of the country’s health epidemic. While the animal agriculture industry may be quick to tout burgers and steak as tasty sources of protein, it’s increasingly clear that the food’s dietary detriments, which include cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, may warrant a warning label to caution the general public that they eat at their own risk.

Forkful of Chronic Disease
The country’s health status is at odds with the medical industry. As many fatal and life-threatening diseases are rendered obsolete with the development of vaccines, medications, and treatments, many residents continue to suffer from unprecedented levels of preventable health issues such as type 2 diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control, as of 2011, approximately 23 million people in the US currently live with the condition while nearly 70 million are pre-diabetic. Type 2 diabetes can be partially attributed to genetics and a lack of physical activity, but it is also heavily influenced by diet. A review published this year by the Harvard School of Public Health shows that go-to barbecue fare such as pork and beef play a significant role in the disease’s proliferation. During the research, the Harvard scientists analyzed three separate studies that recorded a collective 150,000 patients’ dietary habits since the 1980s. The results revealed that eating an additional 1.5 ounces of the red meat every day increases the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes by approximately 48 percent, which led them to the conclusion that reducing intake of the food is a key way to keep the chronic condition at bay: “Our results add further evidence that limiting red meat consumption over time confers benefits for [type 2 diabetes] prevention,” wrote the research authors.

At the heart of the country’s diet-related disease dilemma is the heart. Nearly 715,000 US residents have heart attacks each year, killing approximately 600,000 people annually. For years, health professionals have reported that red meat’s high fat and cholesterol content negatively affect the cardiovascular system, but a study published in the journal Nature Medicine in 2013 revealed that there is a chemical component of beef and pork that increases consumer’s risk of suffering heart disease as well. Recently, Cleveland Clinic researchers found that when humans’ gut bacteria digest the compound carnitine—which is abundant in red meat—the byproduct TMAO is released. TMAO was found to inhibit the body from expelling cholesterol, allowing the fatty substance to sink into artery walls—a deadly recipe for heart attack.

Caustic Cancer
Cancer is another leading cause of death in the US, and a significant amount of resources have been dedicated to finding new and effective treatments for the disease. But as healthcare costs become more of a concern for the general population, doctors and dieticians are training their gaze on prevention methods, such as healthier diets, that reduce the likelihood of cancer ever occurring. While fruits, vegetables, and legumes are unanimously lauded as foods that help keep a clean bill of health, there’s also an emphasis on what not to eat. Enter red meat. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2012, which analyzed the dietary habits of more than 120,000 people, revealed that consuming a 3-ounce piece of red meat every day increases the risk of dying from cancer or cardiovascular disease by 13 percent, while eating an additional serving of processed red meats, such as hot dogs or bacon, heightens a person’s fatality incidence by 20 percent. Separate studies have also found links between red meat and the development of bladder, lung, and breast cancer, and a recently released study by the American Cancer Society in Atlanta concluded that when a patients ate foods such as beef, pork, and lamb prior to being diagnosed with colon cancer—one of the most common forms of cancer in the US—it significantly raised their mortality risk as well.

Red Meat, Red Flag
In order for the country as a whole to combat chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, we need to start at the source of the problem—our diets. This means looking at the hard data from reputable health sources to make informed decisions, and replacing foods like red meat that have repeatedly proven to be inimical with sustenance that actually sustains a long and healthy existence. It is this urgency to encourage a greater physical well-being and combat the country’s collective health epidemic that has led wellness experts and dieticians to discourage meat and dairy and endorse plant-based diets.

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.

From around the web:

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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.

 

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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.

Jamie-oliver-campaign-makes-mcdonalds-change-recipe

Jamie Oliver Campaign makes McDonald’s change recipe

Chef Jamie Oliver won a battle against one of the largest fast food chains in the world. After Oliver showed how McDonald’s hamburgers are made, the franchise announced it will change its recipe.

According to Oliver, the fatty parts of beef are “washed” in ammonium hydroxide and used in the filling of the burger. Before this process, according to the presenter, the food is deemed unfit for human consumption.

According to the chef and presenter, Jamie Oliver, who has undertaken a war against the fast food industry: “Basically, we’re taking a product that would be sold in the cheapest way for dogs, and after this process, is being given to human beings.”

Besides the low quality of the meat, the ammonium hydroxide is harmful to health. Oliver calls it “the pink slime process.”

“Why would any sensible human being put meat filled with ammonia in the mouths of their children?” asked the chef, who wages a war against the fast food industry.

In one of his initiatives, Oliver demonstrates to children how nuggets are made. After selecting the best parts of the chicken, the remains (fat, skin and internal organs) are processed for these fried foods.

The company, Arcos Dorados, the franchise manager in Latin America, said such a procedure is not practiced in the region. The same applies to the product in Ireland and the UK, where they use meat from local suppliers.

In the United States, Burger King and Taco Bell had already abandoned the use of ammonia in their products. The food industry uses ammonium hydroxide as an anti-microbial agent in meats, which has allowed McDonald’s to use otherwise “inedible meat.”

Even more disturbing is that because ammonium hydroxide is considered part of the “component in a production procedure” by the USDA, consumers may not know when the chemical is in their food.

On the official website of McDonald’s, the company claims that their meat is cheap because, while serving many people every day, they are able to buy from their suppliers at a lower price, and offer the best quality products.

In addition, the franchise denied that the decision to change the recipe is related to Jamie Oliver’s campaign. On the site, McDonald’s has admitted that they have abandoned the beef filler from its burger patties.

 

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Pink Slime Aside, Meat is Not Safe

By    |   Posted on April 4, 2012 

pinkslime1 Pink Slime Aside, Meat is Not Safe

The recent uproar over “lean beef trimmings”—also known as “pink slime”—has led the maker of this ammonia-treated meat to suspend operations at all but one plant. Beef Products, Inc., acknowledged that the company has taken a huge hit since social media exploded with concerns about this disturbingly unhealthful, chemically-treated substance going into school lunch lines.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering removing pink slime from schools, and fast-food companies have even taken the slime out of their burger recipes. The pink slime pandemonium has inspired bloggers to expose the long list of other unlabeled chemicals that end up in almost all industrial meat. Without any labeling requirement, meat processors can lace meat with chemicals used to bleach fabric, disinfect pools and hot tubs, and bleach wood pulp, just to name a few.

These revelations have consumers fuming. Some are calling for more labeling, and less processing of meat. The meat industry is claiming that these chemically treated products are safe—maybe even safer than beef not treated with chemicals.

But ultimately there is no such thing as safe meat. Meat is loaded with cholesterol and saturated fat, not to mention E. coli and other pathogens that can cause serious illnesses. If treated with chemicals, it then contains substances that may increase the risk of cancer and other health problems.

Beef Products, Inc., is desperately trying to rebuild business, taking out a full-page Wall Street Journal ad and launching a website that proclaims that “Beef is Beef.”

The company has that right. From ground beef to sirloin steak to rump roast, every cut of beef contributes to more deadly illnesses than the chemicals in pink slime will likely ever cause. Whether it’s pink slime or organic, grass-fed beef, it all leads to obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other life-threatening illnesses.

The pink slime victory shows just how powerful consumers are when they come together to fight an unsafe product. But it’s hardly the end of the battle: It’s time to face up to the consequences of our meaty diets and move to more healthful ways of eating.

As originally published on PCRM.org

Doctor Klaper’s Video

  Food That Kills

Dr. Michael KlaperHello and Welcome! I am Dr. Michael Klaper, a practicing physician with forty years of experience in general practice and acute care medicine.

In addition to serving patients in my private medical practice in California and Hawaii, I also provideprivate consultations by phone and Skype.

I have a deep respect and passion for applied nutrition and complementary medicine.

My greatest enjoyment in medical practice comes from helping my patients understand complex medical topics in plain English, using easy-to-understand examples and answering all questions patiently and thoroughly.

I’ve received numerous awards as a clinical teacher and, for 10+ years, hosted a popular radio program, “Sounds of Healing” on WPFW in Washington, D.C. and KAOI on Maui, Hawaii.

John Robbins interviewed me during the 2013 Food Revolution Summit. See a list of my speaking engagements.

I recently released full-length DVDs for purchase at Amazon that feature my common-sense approach to various medical topics. I’ve also added a number of free videos to my web site for you to view.

Private Consultations: My experience and easy-to-understand explanations enable me to serve as your private medical expert when you’re faced with an important or difficult decision regarding your healthcare.

Whether it’s a diagnosis you received on an X-ray report, results on a blood test, or advice you received from a medical specialist, I can help you navigate the medical maze and help you to make the best decisions for you and your loved ones.

Thank you for visiting my new website and for considering my professional services when you need reliable, “go-to” medical information. Please subscribe to my mailing list and don’t hesitate to contact me for a private consultation. I am happy to be of service to you.

To your good health and well being,

Dr. Michael Klaper
California and Hawaii

• See a 5-minute video of Dr. Michael Klaper talking about life and health. See other free videos.

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Atkins “Nightmare” Diet

When Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution was first published, the President of the American College of Nutrition said, “Of all the bizarre diets that have been proposed in the last 50 years, this is the most dangerous to the public if followed for any length of time.”[1]

When the chief health officer for the State of Maryland,[2] was asked “What’s wrong with the Atkins Diet?” He replied “What’s wrong with… taking an overdose of sleeping pills? You are placing your body in jeopardy.” He continued “Although you can lose weight on these nutritionally unsound diets, you do so at the risk of your health and even your life.”[3]

The Chair of Harvard’s nutrition department went on record before a 1973 U.S. Senate Select Committee investigating fad diets: “The Atkins Diet is nonsense… Any book that recommends unlimited amounts of meat, butter, and eggs, as this one does, in my opinion is dangerous. The author who makes the suggestion is guilty of malpractice.”[4]

The Chair of the American Medical Association’s Council on Food and Nutrition testified before the Senate Subcommittee as to why the AMA felt they had to formally publish an official condemnation of the Atkins Diet: “A careful scientific appraisal was carried out by several council and staff members, aided by outside consultants. It became apparent that the [Atkins] diet as recommended poses a serious threat to health.”[5]

The warnings from medical authorities continue to this day. “People need to wake up to the reality,” former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop writes, that the Atkins Diet is “unhealthy and can be dangerous.”[6]

The world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals,[7] calls the Atkins Diet “a nightmare of a diet.”[8] The official spokesperson of the American Dietetic Association elaborated: “The Atkins Diet and its ilk–any eating regimen that encourages gorging on bacon, cream and butter while shunning apples, all in the name of weight loss–are a dietitian’s nightmare.”[9] The ADA has been warning Americans about the potential hazards of the Atkins Diet for almost 30 years now.[10] Atkins dismissed such criticism as “dietician talk”.[11] “My English sheepdog,” Atkins once said, “will figure out nutrition before the dieticians do.”[12]

The problem for Atkins (and his sheepdog), though, is that the National Academy of Sciences, the most prestigious scientific body in the United States, agrees with the AMA and the ADA in opposing the Atkins Diet.[13] So does the American Cancer Society;[14] and the American Heart Association;[15] and the Cleveland Clinic;[16] and Johns Hopkins;[17] and the American Kidney Fund;[18] and the American College of Sports Medicine;[19] and the National Institutes of Health.[20]

In fact there does not seem to be a single major governmental or nonprofit medical, nutrition, or science-based organization in the world that supports the Atkins Diet.[21] As a 2004 medical journal review concluded, the Atkins Diet “runs counter to all the current evidence-based dietary recommendations.”[22]

A 2003 review of Atkins “theories” in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition concluded: “When properly evaluated, the theories and arguments of popular low carbohydrate diet books… rely on poorly controlled, non-peer-reviewed studies, anecdotes and non-science rhetoric. This review illustrates the complexity of nutrition misinformation perpetrated by some popular press diet books. A closer look at the science behind the claims made for [these books] reveals nothing more than a modern twist on an antique food fad.”[23]

Dr. Greger:

The Beef With Atkins

 

David Katz, M.D.

Director, Yale Prevention Research Center

A Harvard study just published in the Annals of Internal Medicine — showing higher mortality in men and women who consumed a meaty, Atkins-like diet– has likely come to your attention, given its high media profile. Predictably, the Atkins camp was quick to weigh in and tell us why the study is flawed, and just as predictably, prominent Atkins’ diet detractors, such as my friend Dean Ornish (right here on Huffington Post), were quick to highlight the study’s importance.

When the smoke from the Hibachi clears, what does the study actually mean?

As hastily noted by its detractors, the study is observational, and thus designed to show association — not prove cause and effect. Men and women — over 120,000 of them — who, over time, ate more of their calories from animal sources and fewer of them from plants were more likely to get sick and die prematurely.

How might this be something other than cause and effect? Naturally, the study controls for alternative, likely explanations for the health outcomes observed, such as smoking (if people who eat more meat also smoke, the smoking could be the true health hazard, but that’s not the answer here). Perhaps people with a genetic predisposition to get sick and die are compelled by that same gene complex to eat more meat? If you like that one, you either own stock in Atkins Nutritionals, or should be in the bridge buying business.

It is true that an observational study does not prove cause and effect. But when, in over 100,000 people, A seems to cause B, and there is a plausible mechanism, and other likely explanations have been considered and eliminated — the most logical conclusion is that A likely does cause B, until or unless a better explanation is found. The fact that a plausible thing might not be true is a long way from proving it isn’t true!

The Atkins folks are quick to note that studies show an Atkins’ diet can improve some metabolic markers. But which do you care about — dying prematurely with a high HDL, or living long and prospering despite a lower one? Ultimately, it’s health outcomes that matter and no study has ever shown that eating an Atkins’ diet is associated with any kind of improved health outcome over the long term. It is plausible that an apparent improvement in metabolic markers can actually be associated with worse health. More than plausible: cancer often reduces body fat and lowers cholesterol.

Do I think eating a high-meat, low-plant diet increases risk of death and disease? Hell ya!

The other principal complaint of the Atkins’ camp is that this isn’t the Atkins’ diet. Perhaps not, but … soy what? The Atkins’ Diet has become a moving target, as the once powerful empire — then a victim of bankruptcy — endeavors to have its side of beef and eat it, too. The new Atkins’ Diet emphasizes more plant sources of protein, such as soy, but still wants to benefit from the ‘Atkins’ brand cache. That cache did not come from soy! It came from the image of a butter-slathered pork chop on the cover of the New York Times magazine, and similar invitations to carnivorous debauchery!

Yes, it’s true you can in fact eat a relatively high-protein, plant-based diet- my friend Dr. David Jenkins called it “eco-Atkins”– and probably derive good health from doing so. But calling this “eco-Atkins” is a bit like calling a soybean an “eco-cow,” potentially confusing to herbivores and carnivores alike.

Here are the take-away messages as I see them:

The appeal of the Atkins’ Diet was never eating soy beans; it was eating bacon, burgers and such. That was, and remains, a bad idea. Bad for the animals that are raised inhumanely to be turned into food; bad for the planet that is mightily abused in the mass production of feed animals; and bad for your health. Yes, our Stone Age ancestors ate meat, but they did not get it at McDonald’s! They ate lean, wild animals that have very little in common with pastrami. If you are inclined to eat meat you secure with a bow and arrow, I withhold my objections.

Yes, it’s true you can eat a low carbohydrate diet by eating a lot of high-protein plant foods. But, frankly, once you’ve switched to a lot of plant foods it no longer matters much if your diet is high in protein or not,although direct comparison does seem to favor more carbohydrate provided the sources are right.

Butter-slathered pork chops and walnuts are both high in fat, but they are very different foods with very different implications for your health. Everything from lentils to lollipops is high in carbohydrates, but not created equal. In the end, eating wholesome food and mostly plants, is what a staggering volume of evidence suggests will help you live long, and well.

Eating wholesome foods direct from nature is far better advice than cutting carbs or cutting fat ever was. Once you’re there — and let’s acknowledge that getting there from here is far from easy for most of us! — you are already in the dietary promised land and can stop looking around for directions from anyone with something to sell. And no, Atkins does not own this real estate.
Dr. David L. Katz
http://www.davidkatzmd.com
http://www.turnthetidefoundation.org