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Plant-based vs. Animal-based Diets

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Losing 20 pounds after switching to a vegan diet, former president Clinton told CNN[17]:

"All my blood tests are good, and my vital signs are good, and I feel good, and I also have, believe it or not, more energy"

In this article, we will see why we need to eat more  plant-based diets. 

Arguments for eating plant-based diets include:

  1. Research into 71,000 middle-aged men and women found those who ate little or no fruit and vegetables died more than three years earlier than others who ate at least five portions[25].

  2. Plant-based foods contain far more antioxidants while animal-based foods, on the other hand, typically tend to activate free-radical production and cell damage.

  3. In November 2005, National Geographic published a cover story that echoed its influential articles of the 1970s. Titled "The Secrets of Living Longer," the lead article featured three contemporary groups of long-living people, those from Okinawa, Japan, Sardinia, Italy, and Loma Linda, California, all of whom eat a plant-based diet. At the conclusion of the issue, National Geographic summarized the "secrets of long life" in two words: "Go vegetarian."

  4. The researchers who conducted the 25-year Okinawa Centenarian Study strongly advise, "Minimize your animal food consumption." As Dr. Ornish explains, "Animal products are the main culprit in what is killing us. We can absolutely live better lives without them."

  5. Iron overload can lead to hemochromatosis and even liver cancer
    • Because liver is the body's primary location for storing iron, it suffers the most damage when we have iron overload, a disease called hemochromatosis.
    • Dietary iron overload is known as a risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma (i.e., liver cancer) in Black Africans.[15]
    • Iron is the opposite of an antioxidant. It is a potent oxidant. Excess iron in the body causes the production of free radicals which in turn can damage cells, leading to many kinds of disease and causing premature aging. 
    • The form of iron found in plant foods is called non heme iron. The kind found in meat is called heme iron. Heme iron is far more easily absorbed by the body than iron obtained from plant sources. With non heme iron, our body absorbs only what it needs.
    • Good to know—studies have shown that men who donate blood on a regular basis have a lower risk of heart disease. 

  6. Help yourself by eating more healthfully, you help the planet as well. According to some estimates, it takes about two pounds of grain to produce a pound of chicken meat; four pounds of grain to get a pound of pork; seven pounds for a pound of beef.

  7. Eating plant-based food, we will help reduce our dependence on the fields of corn and soy needed for animal feed. Corn and soy use up more water, fertilizers, and herbicides that contaminate the environment than most other crops[18].

  8. As a result of the vast amount of information gathered in the China Study, Dr. Campbell came to believe that the scientific evidence indicates a diet based on plant foods with a minimal amount of foods derived from animals as the ideal diet for human beings.

  9. Based on Okinawan Centenarian Study, Okinawan elders eat: 7 servings of vegetables a day; 7 servings of whole grains per day; 2 servings of soy products per day; fish 2 or 3 times a week; only 5 percents of the diet are dairy products and meat; very little sugar or added fats.

  10. The author of "Healthy At 100"--John Robbins--had the privilege of knowing each of the following doctors (Dean Ornish, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, and Campbell) as a personal friend, and he knows that each of them is lean and thriving on the plant-based whole-foods diets they espouse.

  11. Researchers in the United States and Australia said persistently eating red meat appears to prime the body for exposure to a virulent form of intestinal germ that can cause bloody diarrhea and even death. The culprit is said to be the sugar molecules called Neu5Gc appeared in red meat. However, the Neu5Gc molecule is virtually absent in other foods such as fish, poultry and vegetables and fruits, Ajit Varki, a researcher at the University of California at San Diego, one of the study's co-authors commented.

  12. Dr. Woodson Merrell[11] in his book "The Source" said, "Animal fat, particularly from red meat (beef, pork, lamb, and veal), can cause overproduction of inflammation-promoting molecules called cytokines, which are implicated in numerous health problems including cancer, heart disease, and arthritis. Some people are more susceptible than others to developing inflammation."

  13. In a long-range study of 91,000 nurses over 12 years, the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard showed that the risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women is twice as high in those who eat red meat more than once a day as in those who consume it less than 3 times a week.  It also showed that consumption of "animal protein was associated with an increased risk of (bone) fracture.  But no association was found for consumption of vegetable protein."

  14. In Europe the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), a major study that monitors more than 470,000 people in ten different countries, reached the conclusion that: The risk of colon cancer was twice as high for people who ate large quantities of meat as for those who consumed fewer than 20 grams (an ounce) a day.

  15. A 2004 study suggests that animal flesh sources of purine (such as beef and seafood) greatly increase the risk of developing gout. However, high-purine vegetable sources (such as asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, and green peas) did not.

  16. This list of naturally-occurring antiangiogenic foods consists of mostly plants except two items: tuna and sea cucumber.

  17. Human blood pH should be slightly alkaline, at about 7.35 to 7.45. If we eat low acid foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, it helps create the ideal blood pH[6].  

  18. Eating less meat and more vegetables is tied to a lower risk of cataracts, a British study says[7].  The results show a 30 to 40 percent lower cataract risk among vegetarians and vegans compared with the biggest meat eaters.

  19. Meat and poultry produced in the United States is widely contaminated with "multi-drug-resistant" bacteria, according to a report published in the April 15 edition of "Clinical Infectious Diseases.[8]

  20. Dr. Neal Barnard[9] has promoted his Kickstart Your Health program on PBS by setting aside animal products and keeping oils low.  A lot of his patients benefit from it by losing weight, improving health, relieving pain, etc.

  21. Plants are what our apes and even earlier ancestors ate; they were our paleo diet for most of the last thirty million years during which our bodies, and our guts in particular, were evolving[14].

  22. A large study found that people who ate processed meat — a hot dog or sausage or two slices of bacon — once a day more than doubled their risk for diabetes[20].

  23. Plant-based diets may help rheumatoid arthritis by decreasing exposure to an inflammatory compound (i.e. Neu5Gc) found in animal products[16].

  24. Vegetarians live longer than meat-eaters, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine[23].

  25. Antibiotics Overuse and the rise of superbugs.  Based on a report, it says that "Sales for antibiotics used on farm animals rose in 2015"[33,36].

  26. Elevated dairy and meat intake have been associated with increased incidences and aggressiveness of prostate cancer compared to diets higher in plant-based proteins and fats[37].

Personally, I've been shifting from a mostly animal-based diet to a more plant-based diet. Because of it, I've lost 20 pounds and my lipid panel readings improved a lot from 2006 to 2008 as shown below. Noticeably my triglycerides level went down, same for LDL. However, my HDL went up in 2008.

References

  1. Healthy at 100 by John Robbins
  2. "Anti Cancer-A New Way of Life" by David Servan-Schreiber, MD., Ph.D.
  3. "Building Bone Vitality" by Amy Joy Lanou, Ph.D. and Michael Castleman
  4. Building Strong Bones
  5. The China Study by Thomas M. Cam,pbell II
  6. Acid-Alkaline Balance
  7. Vegetarian diet linked to lower cataract risk
  8. Study: U.S. meat widely contaminated with drug resistant bacteria
  9. New U.S. Dietary Guidelines Emphasize Plant-Based Foods
  10. King of Arthritis — Gout
  11. The Source: Unleash Your Natural Energy, Power Up Your Health, and Feel 10 Years Younger by Woodson Merrell, MD.
  12. Plant-Based Bodybuilding
    • Dr. Michael Greger—Lower levels of the cancer promoting growth hormone IGF-1 in those eating vegan is not expected to affect their accumulation of muscle mass.
  13. Is It the Diet, the Exercise, or Both?
    •  Dr. Michael Greger—Whose blood is better at killing cancer cells?  The answer is who eat a plant-based diet and just exercise moderately.
  14. Human Ancestors Were Nearly All Vegetarians 
  15. Mandishona E, MacPhail AP, Gordeuk VR, Kedda MA, Paterson AC, Rouault TA, Kew MC (1998). Dietary iron overload as a risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma in Black Africans.  Hepatology 27: 1563-1566.
  16. The Inflammatory Meat Molecule Neu5Gc
  17. 12 Influential Celebrity Vegans and Vegetarians
  18. Cornstalks Everywhere But Nothing Else, Not Even A Bee
  19. New Shepherds of the Farm (Natural Heroes)
  20. 7 Foods that Spike Blood Sugar
  21. Fat and cholesterol aren’t only heart dangers of red meat (The Washington Post)
  22. 5 Risky Diet Mistakes Vegetarians Make -- And How You Can Avoid Them
  23. Vegetarians Live Longer Than Meat-Eaters, Study Finds
  24. Forks over Knives (Trailer)
  25. Five fruit and veg a day helps you to live an extra three years
  26. Choosing Chicken: A Primal Purchasing Guide
  27. Making the Case for Eating Fruit
    • Whole fruits, Dr. David Ludwig explained, contain a bounty of antioxidants and healthful nutrients, and their cellular scaffolding, made of fiber, makes us feel full and provides other metabolic benefits.
  28. One in a Thousand: Ending the Heart Disease Epidemic
    • Many of our most common diseases found to be rare or even nonexistent among populations eating plant-based diets.
  29. The Truth Behind America's Meat Industry
  30. 著名中医博士罗大伦:不是要吃素,是看清了不敢吃肉 (in Chinese)
  31. Uniquely human evolution of sialic acid genetics and biology
    • Keywords: genomics, Siglec, Neu5Gc, Xeno-auto-antigen
  32. Human xeno-autoantibodies against a non-human sialic acid serve as novel serum biomarkers and immunotherapeutics in cancer
    • Keywords: Antibodies, Biomarkers, Cancer, Neu5Gc, Sialic acids
  33. Sales for antibiotics used on farm animals rose in 2015
  34. Antibiotic Overuse and the Rise of Superbugs
  35. High-Fiber Diet Tied to Less Knee Arthritis
  36. Resistance to last-ditch antibiotic has spread farther than anticipated
  37. Impact of consumption of vegetable, fruit, grain, and high glycemic index foods on aggressive prostate cancer risk

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