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Risks of animal based proteins
on 24 January 2008
The primary theme of this book is that animal based proteins affect the rate of cancer in any given population. He does also consider other things such as fiber, and has important findings in this area, but overall, the animal protein was the most startling.
In the introduction he explains how he worked in the Philippines when he was on the faculty at Virginia Tech. Their goal was to improve childhood malnutrition by making sure the children were getting as much protein as possible, in particular animal based protein. But, this led to a startling discovery, the children that consumed the most protein were also the most likely to develop liver cancer!
He then found a study from India, saying in essence, the same thing. They had fed two groups of rats a cancer causing agent, but one group was given 20% protein while the other was given only 5%. 100% of the rats fed a diet of 20% protein developed liver cancer, while none of the rats on the 5% diet developed cancer.
My initial thought was "What about vegetarians?" But many of them consume a large amount of animal based proteins in the form of milk, yogurt, cheese and eggs, which are all on his "avoid" list.
This blew away everything he had been taught about nutrition. He eventually goes on to study the subject in the laboratory for 27 years funded by sources such as the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, and the American Institute for Cancer Research.
His research showed that they could virtually turn on and off cancer growth by changing the level of protein consumed. This was a shocking discovery to say the least, one that eventually ends him up on a watch list funded by those who profit from the sale of animal protein.
There were other interesting insights, such as peanuts are often contaminated with a fungus produced toxin called aflatoxin (AF). AF is said to be the most potent chemical carcinogen. Carcinogen simply means that the item has been found to cause cancer. He went on to get a grant to study the subject and found that peanut butter would have levels of AF as high as 300% above what was considered safe. Whereas the cocktail peanuts level of AF was within acceptable parameters. The conclusion was, the good peanuts were being sorted out at the factor to go in the jars of nuts, and the worst and moldiest nuts were made into peanut butter.
There is of course political intrigue, because whenever you shake a financial tree like the meat producers, watch out what falls on your head. I felt like he handled this difficult aspect of his career with dignity, and didn't become a "Everybody's out to get me!" person. Instead, he continued on with his important research.
It is a somewhat heavy read but provides many insights into today's illnesses of affluence.