Flashback Friday: Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death
“Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death” In past years, I’ve addressed the most
pressing dietary issues of our time, like what’s the healthiest variety of apple,
or what’s the most nutritious nut or dried fruit, or what’s the best bean, what’s the best berry? What’s the best bowel movement? We had fun. People got to vote. You know, some folks came away all huffy,
especially the New Yorkers back there. But this year, I thought I’d lighten it up,
and answer what’s the best way to prevent death?
leading causes of death in the United States. So let’s start at the top and go down
the list — see what’s new in each category. Heart disease, #1. The 35-year follow-up of
the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, just published, is now the most definitive long-term study
on older women’s health we have.
Since the study started
thousands of participants died, but that allowed them to study
the risk factors for mortality. Because heart disease was the leading cause of death, it comes as no surprise that dietary cholesterol
intake was a significant risk factor for dying. The second leading cause was
smoking-related cancer deaths. But what’s so neat about this study is
that it’s a competing risks analysis, so it allowed them to compare
different risks to one another. So consuming the amount of cholesterol
found in just a single egg a day appears to cut a woman’s life short as much as
smoking five cigarettes a day for 15 years. The most protective behavior
they found was fiber consumption. Eating just a cup of oatmeal’s worth of fiber a day appears to extend a woman’s life as much as four hours of jogging a week.
Though you can do both. And so it’s worth noting that, look, the intake of cholesterol, only found in animal foods, was associated with living a shorter life. And the intake of fiber, only found in plant foods, was associated with living a longer life. The one specific food most tied to longevity was nuts. You also appear to get four hours of weekly jogging benefit from eating just two handfuls of nuts a week. Yeah, heart disease is the #1 cause of death, but what if your cholesterol’s normal? I hear that all the time from patients. Have to break it to them: look, having
normal cholesterol in a society where it’s normal to drop dead of a heart
attack — not necessarily a good thing. And remember, it’s our #1 killer. In a huge study last year, most heart attack patients fell within recommended targets for cholesterol, demonstrating that the current guidelines are just not low enough to cut heart attack risk.
Close to half of heart attack victims had cholesterol levels classified in the guidelines as optimal, though I’m not sure their grieving spouses and
orphaned children will take much comfort in that fact. What is considered optimal is still way too high. Yeah, having below-average cholesterol reduces your risk, but, as the editor-in-chief of the American Journal
of Cardiology wrote more than a decade ago, it’s time to shift from just decreasing risk to
preventing and reversing, and arresting atherosclerosis. We don’t want low risk; we want no risk.
How do you do it? Well, for the build-up of plaque in our arteries to cease, it appears that we have to get our total
cholesterol down to about 150. In other words, the cholesterol must be lowered
to that of your average pure vegetarian. Now but because relatively few persons are
willing to abide by the vegetarian lifestyle, you know, drugs are required to get down to similar levels. So it’s our choice. Now notice though, even though the
average vegan has a cholesterol of 150, it doesn’t mean that all vegans have 150.
That’s why I do free cholesterol
screenings here at Summerfest. Stop by my table. A little drop of blood. Just will take a couple of minutes.
I’ll be happy to do that for you. All right, so it’s our choice: diet or drugs. Why not just choose the drugs? Well, that’s a good question. As the good doctor noted last night,
the FDA just announced newly mandated safety labeling by law
for cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. So this is Lipitor, Mevacor, Crestor,
Zocor, Vytorin, and that kind of thing. The FDA issued new side effect warning labels this
year regarding the increased risk, brain-related risks, associated memory loss and confusion, an increase
in blood sugar levels, as well as new-onset diabetes.
One prominent cardiologist described this kind of Faustian bargain: yes, fewer heart attacks, but more diabetes. With all the memory loss and confusion caused by these drugs, folks may have forgotten there’s a way to lower the risk of heart attacks and diabetes at the same time, called the plant-based diet. All right, now cholesterol is just
half of the heart disease story. The other half is inflammation. We’ve known for 15 years that a single meal high in animal fat — a sausage and egg McMuffin was used in the original study — can paralyze our arteries, cutting their ability to relax normally in half within hours of eating animal products.
The whole lining of our vascular
tree gets inflamed and stiffened. And just as that inflammation —
so here’s hours, right: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 — just as that inflammation, just as
that crippling of our arteries starts to finally calm down after
5 or 6 hours — lunchtime! Right? And then we may whack our arteries with
another load of meat, eggs, or dairy. And so most people are in this chronic
state of low-grade inflammation, increasing risk for these inflammation-related diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes one meal at a time. Does the same thing to our lungs — again
within hours, inflammation in our airways. A single meal causes internal damage,
not just years down the road, but right then and there, that day,
within hours of it going into your mouth. And just this year, we finally figured out,
we finally solved the mystery as to why. And it doesn’t appear to be the animal fat itself. And it’s not the animal protein, which is what’s implicated in the inflammation from arthritis. So if it’s not the animal fat, and
it’s not the animal protein, what is it? The whole thing is a crazy cool detective story that I’ll be putting in a series of videos, next week actually: July 4th, July 5th, July 6th.
But I’ll just cut to the chase. Spoiler alert! After a meal of animal products,
people suffer from endotoxemia. Their bloodstream becomes
awash with bacterial toxins, known as endotoxins that are
present in animal products. So, I mean, no wonder our body goes crazy! These dead meat bacteria toxins
aren’t destroyed by stomach acid, aren’t destroyed by pancreatic enzymes and aren’t destroyed by cooking. They tried boiling meat for hours.
It still didn’t work. So these bacterial toxins were found
to be highly resistant to cooking and our bodies’ best attempts
at acid and enzyme digestion.
Now animal fat does play
a profound role in this whole process by ferrying the bacterial toxins present
in the meat, through the gut, into our system. So the reason animal products trigger immediate inflammation appears to be because they’re so loaded with bacteria that can trigger inflammation, dead or alive, even if they’re fully cooked. And then saturated animal fat boosts
the absorption of these toxins into our bloodstream. So now that we know what’s going on,
what do we have to do? Well, from a 2012 follow-up: while the obvious, most obvious solution
to this metabolic endotoxemia — OK, well, we can reduce saturated fat intake, which in this country comes mostly cheese and chicken. But the Western diet is not
conducive to this mode of action, and it is difficult for patients
to comply with this request.
So what? Let’s not even tell them?
Right, I mean… This patronizing attitude in the medical profession of “Oh, patients won’t change their diet or stop smoking, even if it’s going to kill them, you know, so why bother?” That attitude may be one of the real leading causes of death. But let’s get back to the official list
and take on cancer next. What’s the latest? Well, we know from the largest forward-looking study on diet and cancer ever performed by humanity: the incidence of all cancers combined,
lower among vegetarians than meat eaters, especially some of the fastest-growing tumors, like lymphomas and leukemias. And for that, the worst meat was poultry, chicken. Up to triple the rates for every
50 grams of poultry consumption. A quarter of a chicken breast: triple your risk. Normally this entire presentation would be in kind of a quiz show format, but there was a scheduling mix-up.
I was supposed to be the last speaker of the night, at night, so I could go long
and not interfere with the schedule. But anyway, it won’t happen again,
and so next year be back to the quiz show format. And I apologize. I had to cut this short. OK, but the link between meat and cancer is such that even the Journal of Meat Science last year asked, Should we become vegetarians? Or they said, Can we make meat safer? There’s a bunch of additives,
for example, you know, that can suppress the toxic effects of the
blood-based iron, the heme iron found in meat. Now the additives are still under study, but “could provide an acceptable way to prevent colon cancer,” because avoiding meat is
completely out of the question.
They fear that if the National Cancer
Institute recommendations to reduce meat consumption were adhered to, sure, cancer incidence may be reduced, but farmers and the meat industry would
suffer important economical problems. Now for those of us more concerned about
the suffering caused by the meat industry, rather than the suffering of the meat industry, what happens if you put cancer on a vegan diet? Well, the Pritikin Research Foundation just
completed this elegant series of experiments, which I want to spend a bit of time on. Simple experiments. They put people on
different diets, draw their blood, and then dripped their blood on
cancer cells growing in a Petri dish, and just stood back to see whose blood
was better at suppressing cancer growth. They were the ones that published
that study showing that the blood of those on a vegan diet was dramatically
less hospitable to cancer. Now even the blood of those on
a standard American diet fights cancer. I mean if it didn’t, everybody would be dead. It’s just that the blood of those eating
vegan fights about eight times better. The blood of those on the standard American diet suppresses cancer growth by about 9%.
You put people on a plant-based diet for a year though and their blood just tears it up. The blood circulating through the bodies
of vegans has nearly eight times the stopping power when it comes
to cancer cell growth. Now this was for prostate cancer,
the most common cancer among men; for women, it’s breast cancer. So the Pritikin researchers tried duplicating the study with women using breast cancer cells instead. Now they didn’t want to wait
a whole year to get the results. So they figured they’d try to see what
a plant-based diet could do in just two weeks against three different types
of human breast cancer. This is the before, cancer growth rates
powering away at 100%. And then this is after eating
a plant-based diet for just 14 days. Now slowing down cancer growth is great, but getting rid of them, getting rid
of cancer cells is even better. This is the before and after, measuring cancer cell death. This is the before. And this is the after.
Pre and post-plants. The same blood, now coursing
through these women’s bodies, gained the power to significantly slow
down and stop breast cancer growth thanks to just two weeks of
eating a plant-based diet. What kind of blood do we want in our body, and what kind of immune system? Do we want blood that’s just kind of going
to roll over when new cancer cells pop up? Or do we want blood circulating to every
nook and cranny within our bodies with the power to slow down and stop them? Now this strengthening of cancer defenses was after 14 days of a plant-based diet and exercise. They were out walking 30 to 60 minutes a day. Wait, maybe the only reason
their bodies became, you know, so effective at suppressing cancer cell growth was because of the exercise. Maybe diet didn’t have anything to do with it. So they put it to the test. This is measuring cancer cell clearance. And this is what we saw before, the effect of blood taken from
those eating a plant-based diet, in this case for 14 years, along with mild
exercise — just like walking every day.
So a plant-based diet, walking — that’s
the kind of cancer cell clearance you get. Now compare that to the cancer-stopping
power of your average sedentary — see this little burger, burger, apple – sorry,
on the website, it’s a little bit… All right — compared to the cancer-stopping power of your average sedentary meat eater, which is nonexistent. OK, but what about this middle group? Now this middle group, instead of 14 years
on a plant-based diet, had 14 years of the standard American diet, but had
daily strenuous hour-long exercise, like boot camp this morning.
Seriously, calisthenics. They wanted to know if you exercise
hard enough and long enough, can you rival some strolling vegans?
Let’s find out. And exercise worked, no question, right? But literally 5,000 hours in the gym:
no match for a plant-based diet.
Here’s an actual photomicrograph of cancer cells stained so that they release light when they die. As you can see in the control group,
a few cancer cells were dying. Even if you are a couch potato eating fried
potatoes, your body’s not defenseless. But here’s the hard-core strenuous exercise group. Cancer cells dying left and right. But nothing appears to kick cancer butt
more than a plant-based diet. Why, though? Some people don’t care,
but I’m always curious. All right… How does a simple dietary change make one’s bloodstream so inhospitable to cancer after just a few days? We didn’t know until last year
when they sought to determine the underlying mechanisms for
these anti-cancer effects.
And it is a wild story. I have a whole
series of videos coming out about it. The story involves little people and big people, and big dogs and little dogs. It involves marshmallows, Tinker toys,
cannibalism, and vegan bodybuilders. From beef steak to beefcake. I wish I had time, believe me,
but the videos will be up soon. Bottom line: the answer to the Pritikin puzzle is IGF-1. Insulin-like Growth Factor One is
the cancer-promoting growth hormone involved in every stage of cancer growth,
spread, metastasis, and cancer invasion. But you put people on a plant-based diet and their IGF-1 levels, plant-based diet, go down, and if they continue to be on plant-based
diet — this is just after a few weeks — if you’re on a plant-based diet long term, levels drop even further, and their IGF-1 binding proteins go up.
That’s one of the ways our bodies
suppress cancer growth, protect themselves from cancer, and protect
themselves from excessive growth, by releasing this binding protein into the
bloodstream to bind up, to tie up IGF-1. It’s like our body’s, you know,
kind of emergency brake. Yes, in as little as 11 days, a plant-based diet can reprogram your body to bring down IGF-1 production. But what about all the IGF-1 that’s circulating from the bacon and eggs you ate last week? So the liver releases this snatch squad
of binding proteins to tie up, to take all this IGF-1 out of circulation, and as you can see it just gets better
with time the longer we eat healthy.
Here’s the experiment that nailed IGF-1 as
the villain. All right, same as last time. Go on a plant-based diet and cancer cell
growth rates drop dramatically. And cancer cell death shoots up.
Already saw that. But then here’s the kicker. What if you added back to the cancer
the same amount of IGF-1, banished from your body by eating
a plant-based diet goes back? Let’s take that same IGF-1, add it back
to cancer, and see what happens. And it erases the diet and exercise effect. It’s as if you never started eating healthy at all. So that’s how we know that
lowering animal product consumption leads to lower IGF-1, which leads
to lower cancer growth.
But how low does our animal product
Does consumption have to go? How plant-based do our diets have to get? Well, let’s look at the IGF-1 levels of meat eaters, compared to vegetarians, compared to vegans. Does a plant-based diet — is it better
at lowering the circulating level of IGF-1 compared to a meat-eating
diet or lacto-ovo diet? And this is what they found. Only the vegans — so meat eaters,
vegetarians, vegans — only the vegans had significantly lower levels. And the same relationship was found
with IGF-1 binding protein levels; that’s what we want higher. Again we’ve got nothing here. One had to go to that final step, vegans, to significantly bind up all that
excess IGF-1 in their bloodstreams. This was a study done on women. What about vegan men? They found the same thing. So even though vegan men tend to have
significantly higher levels of testosterone than both
vegetarians or meat eaters — which actually can promote
the growth of prostate cancer, the reason a vegan diet can
reverse the progression of cancer, which we saw, I’ve shown you in previous
years, the Dean Ornish’s work, maybe because of how low
their IGF-1 levels are.
So high testosterone, but still
low cancer in the vegans. The bottom line is that male or female, just eating a vegetarian diet did not seem
to cut it, and didn’t do your body any favors. It looks like to get that significant drop
in that cancer-promoting growth hormone levels, one has to move towards
eliminating animal products. Now the good news is that now based
on what we know about IGF-1, we can predict that a vegan diet may be
profoundly protective concerning risk, for example, for breast cancer in older women. OK, just 13 leading causes of death to go! All right, let’s run through the list here. The top three killers used to be
heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Oh, that is so 2011. Now it’s heart disease, cancer, and COPD — like emphysema. So thankfully, COPD can be prevented
with a plant-based diet, and even treated with plants
if you want to check that out. Now, of course, the tobacco industry took
these landmark findings a little differently. Instead of adding plants to people’s
diets to prevent emphysema, wouldn’t it be simpler to just
add them to cigarettes? And, voila, the addition of acai berries
to cigarettes has a protective effect against
emphysema in smoking mice.
Next, they’re going to start
putting berries in meat. I couldn’t make this up, people. Look at this. Adding fruit extracts to burgers, right? Now this was not without its glitches. The blackberries dyed the burgers
with this kind of distinct purplish color, though infusing lamb carcasses with
kiwifruit juice before rigor mortis set in does lead to greater tenderness in the meat. And it is possible to improve the nutritional profile
of frankfurters by adding ground-up grape seeds, though there were complaints that the grape seed
particles were visible in the final product. And look, if there’s one thing we know about hot dog eaters, it’s that they’re picky about what goes in their food. Pig anus? OK. But grape seeds? Eww! Preventing strokes, #4. Preventing strokes is all about
eating potassium-rich foods. Potassium, from the words potash. You take any plant, put it in a pot, reduce it to ash, and what you’re left with is pot-ash-ium — true story. But can anyone name me a plant food particularly high in potassium? [Audience responds: Bananas!] Why is that the one thing
everyone knows about nutrition? Seriously, like did Chiquita have
this great PR firm or something? I bet you could walk into the Heart Attack Grill, where they’re eating food like this,
and ask anyone, and they’d be like, “I don’t know what to eat,
but I do know bananas got potassium.” In reality, bananas don’t even make
the top 50 sources, coming in at #86, right behind fast-food vanilla
milkshakes, and then bananas.
The top five sources are tomato
and orange concentrates and in terms of whole foods sources,
it is greens, beans, and dates. If you look at the next leading cause of death, bananas could be downright dangerous. Alzheimer’s is now our sixth leading cause of death. We’ve known for 20 years now that those who eat meat, red or white — including poultry and fish — were between 2 to 3 times more likely
to become demented compared to vegetarians. And the longer that you’re vegetarian,
the lower your risk of developing dementia. But the exciting new research is
actually on treating Alzheimer’s using these natural plant remedies,
which beat out placebo, and worked as well as the leading Alzheimer’s drug. Again, all on the website, all for free. Next on the kick-the-bucket list is diabetes, which can be prevented with a plant-based diet, treated with a plant-based diet, and even reversed in many
cases with a plant-based diet.
And I encourage everyone to check out
Brenda’s talk is at 3 o’clock this afternoon. This is from October. Those eating vegetarian had significantly
lower rates than meat eaters, but it was the vegans that did the best. And this is the surprising thing. This was after controlling for obesity. Sure vegans got lower diabetes rates,
right, they’re so skinny. But even at the same weight, vegans have
just a fraction of the diabetes risk. Why are vegans, on average, so slim? Well, obesity is so rare among
those eating plant-based diets, nutrition researchers have been
desperate to try to uncover the secret. Yes, they eat fewer calories,
but not that many fewer. In the past years, I’ve gone through several theories to try to explain this.
Maybe it’s because people eating plant-strong diets express more of that fat shoveling
an enzyme into the mitochondria, the power plants of our cells.
I’ve talked about that. Maybe it’s because the gut bacteria
populations are different. Maybe it’s because of avoiding
the obesogenic chemicals, this endocrine-disrupting
chemicals in the meat supply. It’s an obesity-causing virus in poultry
that may be even playing a role. We’re still not sure. Theories keep coming. Here’s the latest theory:
maybe it’s the propionate. After all, what’s the one thing that’s
only in plant foods? Fiber. Animals have bones to hold them up;
plants have fiber to hold them up. Now wait a second. I thought fiber was
defined as our inability to digest it. Well, true, we can’t break down fiber, but the
gazillions of good bacteria in our guts can.
And what do they make with it? They make propionate, which gets
absorbed into our bloodstream. So technically we can digest fiber, but just not without a little help
from our little friends. So but what does propionate do? Well, it inhibits cholesterol
synthesis. That’s good. It also appears to have what’s
called a hyperphagic effect, meaning it helps us eat less,
by apparently slowing the emptying of our stomachs,
which makes us feel fuller for longer. Propionate regulates food intake, whether it’s because it slows the generation of new fat cells, or it results in this overall anti-obesity effect. And we can boost the populations of these good bacteria in our guts without taking probiotics, just by eating vegetarian because we’re
feeding our little friends with fiber. Animal foods also tend to be calorically dense. For example, to walk off the calories
found in a single pat of butter you’d have to add an extra 700 yards
to your evening stroll that day.
Or a quarter-mile jog to each sardine we put in your mouth, and that’s just the edible part. And any who choose to eat two chicken legs better get out on their own two legs and go run an extra 3 miles
that day to outrun weight gain. And that’s for steamed chicken, skin removed. Here’s the latest: Meat consumption
and prospective weight gain. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of men and women studied across 10 countries with weight gain measured over 5 years. What did they find? Total meat consumption associated
with weight gain in men and women.
The conclusion is that a decrease in meat consumption may improve weight management. And this was after controlling for
initial weight, physical activity, educational level, smoking status,
and total energy intake… What? That’s the kicker.
This was after controlling for calories. The link between meat and weight gain
remained even after controlling for calories. Meaning if you have two people
eating the same number of calories, the person eating more meat may gain more weight. They even calculated how much more. An intake of 250 grams of meat a day, which is nothing compared to what the US eats, would lead to an annual weight gain 422 grams higher than the weight gain experienced with
the same-calorie diets with lower meat content.
After 5 years, the weight gain would be about 5 pounds more. So same calories, yet 5 pounds heavier eating meat. And the steak was nothing. The strongest relation between annual
weight gain was observed for poultry. Let’s say you start at a normal weight
and eat a hamburger every day. Well, this is how much extra weight you’d gain, in addition to the calories that are present. And if you ate the same number
of calories instead of processed meat, like a ham sandwich with three slices
of deli meat, you’d be up to here. And then half a chicken breast puts you up
to here, again, above and beyond the calories. In conclusion, our results indicate that meat intake is positively associated with weight gain. This persisted after adjustment for energy
intake, and therefore we’re in favor of this public health recommendation to decrease meat consumption for health improvement. For more, make sure to check out the meat industry’s take on this study — very interesting — as well as PCRM’s wonderful work trying to put a vegan diet to work in a corporate setting.
Kidney failure, the 8th leading cause of death, can be prevented with a plant-based diet;
can be treated with a plant-based diet. Why? Because our kidneys are
highly vascular organs. That’s why kidneys look so red inside. Our two little kidneys filter
through our entire bloodstream. And so if the standard American diet is so toxic to blood vessels in our heart, brain, and pelvis, leading to heart attacks, strokes, and sexual dysfunction, what might it be doing to our kidneys? Long story short, Harvard researchers
found three significant risk factors for declining kidney function, meaning you
start to lose protein in your urine. Your body’s not supposed to be peeing out its protein. The three risk factors for declining kidney function were animal protein, animal fat, and cholesterol.
It’s not protein; it’s not fat.
Animal protein, animal fat. No relationship was found with plant protein or plant fat. Not only do vegans appear to have better kidney function, but dramatic improvements were found
in treating kidney failure patients with pure vegetarian diets after just one week. Leading killer #9 is people dying
from respiratory infections. So check out my video “Kale and the Immune System,” talking about the immunostimulatory effects of kale. Is there anything kale can’t do? And if you look at my video
“Boosting Immunity Through Diet,” which was actually — if you can see this is June 28th — this is just the video-of-the-day that went up on Wednesday, you can see that eating just
a few extra fruits and vegetables can significantly improve one’s immune
response to pneumococcal pneumonia. Suicide is # 10. Now last year at Summerfest I talked about improving mood through diet.
We know vegetarian diets have been
associated with healthier mood states, but you don’t know if it’s cause and effect until you put it to the test, and that’s what was done this year. You take regular meat-eaters, and you remove meat, fish, poultry, and eggs in this study from their diets, and you can see a significant improvement in mood scores after just two weeks. It can take drugs like Prozac months to take effect. The way drugs like Prozac work is they boost the levels of the so-called happiness hormone, serotonin.
Did you know that there is serotonin in plants? I had no idea; I certainly didn’t. But there’s serotonin and dopamine and all sorts of human neurotransmitters in plants, so much so there’s been a call to start treating depression with high-content sources of serotonin, you know, like plantains, pineapples,
bananas, kiwis, plums, and tomatoes. And what are the side effects? You get a little seed stuck in
your teeth or something, right? Maybe that’s why a high intake of fruits,
vegetables, mushrooms, and soy was associated with a decreased
prevalence of depression. Maybe that’s why improved behavior
in teenagers was significantly associated with higher intakes of leafy
green vegetables and fresh fruit. For more, keep an eye out for my videos on the wrong way to boost serotonin, which is by these tryptophan supplements, a better way to raise serotonin, to fight
things like premenstrual depression, and then the best way, as reported in this
double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study on the successful use of butternut squash seeds in the treatment of social anxiety disorder, for example.
Amazing. How might a plant-based diet prevent systemic infections? Well, meat-borne bacteria can directly invade one’s bloodstream through the intestinal wall, or in women, can creep up into their bladder. Just this month, June 2012, we have
direct DNA fingerprinting proof, finally, that women eating meat are getting urinary tract infections from eating meat contaminated with fecal bacteria,
that then crawl up into their bladder. And chickens are the most likely reservoir. Wait a second.
You can’t sell unsafe cars. You can’t sell unsafe toys. How is it legal to sell unsafe meat? Well, they do it by blaming the consumer. As one USDA poultry microbiologist said,
raw meats are not idiot-proof. They can be mishandled and when they are, it’s like handling a hand grenade. You pull the pin, somebody’s going to get hurt. See if we get sick, it’s our fault. Now while some may question the wisdom
of selling hand grenades in supermarkets, the USDA poultry expert disagrees. “I think the consumer has the most responsibility but just refuses to accept it.” That’s like a car company saying,
yeah, we installed faulty brakes, but it’s your fault for not putting
your kid in a seat belt.
A director at the Centers for
Disease Control responded famously to this kind of blame-the-victim
attitude from the meat industry. “Is it reasonable,” she asked, ‘”if a consumer undercooks a hamburger that their 3-year-old dies?” Is that reasonable? Not to worry, though; the meat industry’s on it. They just got the FDA approval for
a bacteria-eating virus to spray on the meat. Now some have raised concerns about
these so-called bacteriophages, such as the possibility that these viruses can spread toxin genes between bacteria, which wouldn’t be good, especially given the difficulties in
preventing of large numbers of these viruses from being released into the
environment from slaughterhouses.
Now it could also allow the meat industry to become more complacent about food safety, if they know they can just kind
of spray some viruses on at the end, similar to the quick-fix argument about irradiation. From the industry point of view, who cares if there’s fecal matter in the meat as long as you can just blast it
at the end with enough radiation? Now the meat industry’s concerned
that consumer acceptance of these bacteria-eating viruses may present somewhat of a challenge to the food industry, not that they’d ever be labeled, of course. But if they think that’s going to be a challenge, check out their other bright idea. The “Effects of Extracted Housefly
Pupae on Chilled Pork Preservation.” This is a sciency way of saying they want
to smear a maggot mixture on the meat.
Now it’s a low-cost, simple method.
Think about it. Maggots thrive on rotting meat, yet
there have been no reports of maggots having any serious diseases — not
that anyone’s checked, but… — indicating that they have a strong immune system. They must be packed with some kind
of antibacterial properties, otherwise, they’d die themselves eating rotting meat. So they took maggots that were three days old, washed them, dried them, kind of toweled them off. Put through them in a tissue blender — kind of a little Vitamix action there — and voila! Safer meat. We did kidney failure.
What about liver failure? We’ve known for 35 years —
oh, you can’t even see this — 1977, that a vegetable-protein diet
can be used to treat liver failure, significantly reducing the toxins
that otherwise would build up eating meat with a less-than-functional liver.
Imagine eating meat without a fully
functioning liver to detoxify your blood. I do have to admit, though, that some people living on plant-based diets have a worsening liver function. They’re called alcoholics… Strictly plant-based, living on
potatoes, corn and barley, and grapes, and yet still, however, not doing so hot.
It’s unclear. High blood pressure is up next,
so-called essential hypertension, essentially only found in those who eat meat. Again, look at this. We’ve known
for decades, since 1974 out of Hopkins, we’ve known that consumption of foods of animal origin was highly significantly associated with blood pressure, even after, again, the weight effects are removed. Fast forward 39 years to 2012. And compared to non-vegetarians,
compared to meat eaters, as you get more and more plant-based, so meat eaters to flexitarian, to just
eating fish, to lacto-ovo to vegan, look what happens to hypertension,
high blood pressure. There is this progressive reduction
in risk to just a tiny fraction.
You see the same thing in diabetes.
Here’s diabetes. Again the stepwise reduction of risk as one eliminates animal products, on down. Oh, and the same thing with body mass index. As you can see, obesity rates get lower and lower. Vegans are the only population, on average, that was not overweight. Even vegetarians were overweight. Diabetes and hypertension are the leading causes of death. Is it going to take the medical profession another 39 years before we do something about it? How long does it take, being vegan,
to bring blood pressure down? Twelve days! McDougall took 500 meat eaters,
put them on a vegan diet, and over 11 days,
dropped their blood pressures by 6%, about double that drop in those
that were hypertensive, to begin with. The 14th leading killer: Parkinson’s disease. Does a vegan diet reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease? Good question.
Well, we know that every single prospective study ever done on dairy products, milk consumption, and the risk of Parkinson’s disease found an increased risk of Parkinson’s. Why? Well, one possibility is that
dairy products in the United States are contaminated with neurotoxic chemicals. There’s substantial evidence suggesting that exposure to pesticides may increase Parkinson’s disease risk, and these autopsy studies have found that
the levels of these pollutants and pesticides elevated levels in the brains
of Parkinson’s disease patients, and some of these toxins are present
at low levels in dairy products. They’re talking about toxins like tetrahydroisoquinoline, which is a Parkinsonism-related compound found particularly in cheese. Now although the amounts of this neurotoxin, even in cheese, are not very high, the concern is that they may accumulate, these neurotoxins may accumulate in the brain over long periods of consumption. And finally, aspiration pneumonia,
which is caused by swallowing problems due to Parkinson’s or having a stroke or Alzheimer’s, all of which we’ve already covered.
So where does this leave us? These are the top 15 causes of death,
and the top 15 reasons Americans die, and a plant-based diet can help
prevent nearly all of them, can help treat more than half of them, and in some cases even reverse the progression of the disease, including our top three killers. Now, some drugs can help, too. You can take one drug to treat cholesterol
every day for the rest of your life, another drug for blood sugars,
and a few more pills for your blood pressure. The same diet, though, does it all. It’s not like one diet for this,
and then a different diet for this. One diet to rule them all. And what about drug side effects? I’m not talking a little rash or something. Prescription drugs kill more
than 100,000 Americans every year. And I’m not talking about medication
errors, not abuse, not overdose. We’re talking this is just
deaths from side effects, so-called ADRs, and adverse drug
reactions to prescription drugs.
Wait a second, 100,000 deaths a year? That means — let’s go down the list — whoa! That means that the sixth leading cause
of death in the United States is doctors! The sixth leading cause of death is me! Thankfully, I can be prevented with a plant-based diet. Seriously, though, compared
to 15,000 American vegetarians, meat eaters had about twice the odds
of being on aspirin, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, antacids, painkillers, blood
pressure medications, laxatives, and insulin. So plant-based diets are great for people that don’t like taking drugs, don’t like paying for drugs, and, of course, don’t like risking adverse effects. Now this study did show that plant-based
diets have their side effects. Side effects include a lower risk of chronic
disease, fewer allergies, and fewer surgeries. We’re talking fewer varicose veins and
hemorrhoids, even fewer hysterectomies. And we’re not talking just the big killers,
not just less heart disease — and this is the longest study
of vegetarians in human history — not just less heart disease and stroke
and high blood pressure, and diabetes, but less diverticulosis, less — if you
can read this — fewer diseases overall.
That’s the side effects of a plant-based diet:
less disease overall. Here’s the allergies thing. Again, longest-running study
on vegetarians in history. Women who eat meat, compared to vegetarians, appear to have a 30% greater risk
of reporting chemical allergies, 24% more asthma, more drug allergies, even more, bee-sting allergies, and 15% more hay fever. A new side effect of plant-based diets we just learned about last year: fewer cataracts. That’s what we get, fewer cataracts,
the leading cause of blindness and vision loss. Compared to those just eating a single serving of meat a day in one meal, those eating half a serving
a day drop their risk by 15%.
Just eating fish, dropped about 21%. Get rid of fish, and drop 30%. Get rid of eggs and dairy:
full 40% drop in risk. And that’s all in addition to my favorite
side effects of plant-based diets: helping to prevent 15 out of our top 16 killers. Want to solve the healthcare crisis?
I’ve got a suggestion. Imagine if our nation embraced a plant-based diet. Imagine if we just significantly cut back on meat. Well, there is one country that did it. After World War II, Finland joined us and
started packing meat, eggs, and dairy. And by the 1970s, the mortality rate
from heart disease in Finnish men was the highest in the world,
even putting us to shame. So, look, they didn’t want to die,
so they got serious. Heart disease is caused by high cholesterol. High cholesterol is caused
by high saturated fat intake. So the main focus of the strategy was to reduce the high saturated fat intake in the country. So this means here that’s cheese,
chicken, cake, and pork. So a berry project was launched to help dairy farmers switch to berry farming.
Whatever it took. And indeed, many farmers did switch
from dairies to berries. They pitted villages against each other in these friendly cholesterol-lowering competitions to see who could do the best. So how’d they do? Well, look, on a population scale, even if mortality rates drop 5%, I mean that could save thousands of lives. But remarkably great changes took place… An 80% drop in cardiac mortality
across the entire country.
80% drop in heart disease deaths! With such greatly reduced rates of
cardiovascular and cancer mortality, the all-cause mortality was
almost cut in half, leading to 7 years, the men living
7 more years, and 6 more years for women. And, look, this is just cutting
down on animal products. Now vying for the world record for heart disease deaths, of course, the United States of America. So why doesn’t our government make
these same recommendations? I’ve got this whole series of videos on the conflicts of interest within the U.S. dietary guideline committees. They’re the ones that make
the recommendations, and indeed, whether they’re being funded by candy bar corporations, the sugar association, or a member of McDonald’s Council on Healthy Lifestyles, serving on Coca-Cola’s Beverage
Institute for Health and Wellness.
And notice, we only know about this thanks to a PCRM lawsuit against the USDA. Very impressive. One committee member served as the Duncan Hines brand girl and then as the Crisco brand girl. These are the folks that dictate U.S. nutrition policy. If you read the official dietary guideline recommendations, you’ll note that there is no discussion at all of the scientific research on the health consequences of eating meat. Why? Because if the committee discussed this research, it would be unable to justify
its recommendation to eat meat at all, as the research would show that meat increases the risks for chronic diseases, contrary to the purpose of having dietary
guidelines in the first place, right? Thus, by simply ignoring the research, the committee can come to a
conclusion that would otherwise look improper.
So they can’t even talk about the science. We know that a plant-based diet of fruits, vegetables,
whole grains, legumes, and no meat reverses heart disease, completely prevents deaths from heart disease, and slows the progression of cancer, and an almost identical diet is promoted by the World Cancer Research Fund to prevent cancer, based on the largest review
of scientific studies to date. But again, they can’t even talk about the science because how could they justify anything but a plant-based diet? Let me end with what is probably the best summary of nutrition policy in the United States that I’ve ever seen: “The new dietary guidelines have been released.
They tell us to eat healthier.” “But not as healthy as to noticeably
affect any corporate profits.” Thank you very much. Don’t forget to check out my new video every day. Please share the site with friends and family. Buy them all DVDs. All proceeds to charity. And remember, please feel free to stop by for a free cholesterol check. See you, everybody. Bye.
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