Health

Living in conditions of abysmal hygiene, pumped up with drugs and antibiotics, illegally slaughtered; with little check on quality, the animal products we consume can have a devastating effect on our health.

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While traditionally thought of as wholesome food, consuming animal products has been linked with most of the top 20 causes of early death. Cows in factory farms are often given antibiotics directly and through the grass they feed on (which in turn may have been chemically altered). Cows are even given ‘oxytocin’, an illegal hormone that induces milk let down. All these medicines ultimately find their way back to the milk we consume.

Listed below are the common diseases caused due to consumption of animal products and how they are caused:

Sinusitis

The milk protein casein breaks down in the stomach to produce casomorphin, which is an opiod. The opioid receptors on the mucus glands in the respiratory tract responds to the casomorphin from milk, which in turn stimulates the production of mucus from the respiratory glands. Mucus accumulation in the respiratory tract offers a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria which causes a variety of diseases like cold, sinusitis etc. That is why asthmatic patients experience an improvement on a dairy free diet.

Weight Gain

Dairy fat (and fat from meat) are dietary sources of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), which have short term fat reducing effects, but on the other hand adversely affect the insulin sensitivity and blood lipids. These effects have been attributed to the trans-10 and cis-12 isomers of CLA, which is 10% of the CLA from dairy. So, higher the intake of dairy fat, higher is the risk of developing insulin sensitivity, which manifests itself as type II diabetes and weight gain in the long run.

Joint Pain

Within hours of eating animal fats the endothelial lining of the whole vascular system gets inflamed, stiffened, thereby paralyzing our arteries. While it takes 5-6 hours to calm down, we ingest another load of animal fats (or even high levels of plant fats like refined oils rich in saturated fat), which puts us in chronic low grade inflammation all through our lives. The inflammation is caused due to endotoxemia, rather than the protein or fat from the animal product. The reason for the endotoxemia is because the animal fats cause our gut lining to become leaky, allowing gut bacteria to slip into the bloodstream, causing the inflammation across the body. Inflammation at the joints results in joint pain. A study also reported that a vegan diet in conjunction with intermittent fasting helped reverse rheumatoid arthritis in a matter of weeks.

Diabetes

A chronic increase in the blood fat levels causes pancreatic beta cell (that produce insulin) lipotoxicity. The problem with beta cells is that they don’t regenerate and the amount you have at age 20 is the maximum number; autopsy studies of type II diabetic patients show that 50% of the beta cells have been extinguished. Saturated fat and cholesterol (from dairy, meat and eggs), hours after ingestion, results in the death of these beta cells both in the short term and in the long term. Also, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs) from chicken, fish, egg, livestock, vegetable oils etc. in the bloodstream impairs beta cell function. And the saturated fat from dairy (esp. cheese) and chicken are not only toxic to the pancreatic beta cells, they also cause fatty liver disease.

Also, these saturated fats can enter into the cells, accumulating as intramyocellular lipid, which blocks the activity of insulin to facilitate the transport of glucose from the bloodstream in to the cell, which decreases the blood glucose level. This causes muscle insulin resistance, which is type II diabetes.

Cancer

Since cow’s milk contain natural estrogens, they are a source of danger for the induction of hormone related cancers like prostate and breast cancer. A recent study showed compared prostate cancer cells grown in a petri dish exposed to organic cow milk (to exclude the effect of added hormones) versus  almond milk. The cells exposed to cow’s milk stimulated the cancer growth by over 30%, whereas the opposite effect was seen for almond milk. Studies observing the incidence of cancer in people who had cancer against those who didn’t and cohort studies (observing people’s diets and looking for the occurrence of cancer in the future) show that milk consumption is a risk factor for prostate cancer. And a new study suggests that milk intake during adolescence increases the occurrence of cancer later in life. We can only imagine what effects the normal milk we have on our body, given the fact that they aren’t controlled for external administration of hormones. It is best we avoid consumption of milk altogether to reduce the risk of occurrence of any cancer.

High cholesterol from dairy, meat, eggs, fish etc. are implicated in the breast cancer risk progression. But phytosterols from sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, soy foods (in moderation) are anticancer nutrients that play a role in reducing breast cancer risk. Cancer cells feed on LDL cholesterol and fat, and intake of cholesterol directly feeds the cancer cells growing in the body, which makes sense why cancer patients have low blood cholesterol. Also, patient survival tends to be low when cholesterol uptake by the cancer cells is high.

IGF-1 (Insulin like Growth Factor -1) is a hormone produced in our body during adolescence, but higher circulating levels of IGF -1 poses a threat to our body. Protein from dairy, fish, poultry, red meat, and other sea food increase the level of IGF-1 in our body, without increasing the level of IGFBP -1 (Insulin like growth factor binding protein -1) to absorb the IGF-1 in circulation. Lower levels of IGF-1 translate to lower probability of the incidence of cancer.

Cardiovascular Disease

Elevated level of LDL cholesterol is the major reason for development of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. To reduce the LDL cholesterol, we need to avoid trans fats, saturated fats and dietary cholesterol. The main sources of these three foods are dairy, meat, eggs, and fish.

Trans fats, in addition to cholesterol from meat, dairy products and hydrogenated vegetable oils are a risk factor for cardiovascular problems. The National Academies of Science concluded that the safe intake level of trans fats is zero, since it increases the coronary heart disease risk.

Kidney Stones

Higher sulphur containing amino acids in animal based proteins increases the acid load in the body, which increases the excretion of urate-uric acid crystals, which can act as a seed to form kidney stones or form stones themselves. Removing all dairy and meat products removes 93% of uric acid crystallization.

Most kidney stones caused are calcium oxalate crystals, which are supersaturated in the urine. Restricting animal protein and salt cuts the risk of having a kidney stone in half. The oxalates in vegetables don’t increase this risk. In fact, the risk of formation of kidney stones reduces with the consumption of whole plant foods, fruits and vegetables.

Infertility

Infertility affects 10-15% of couples and in 50% of the cases, the problem is found in the male reproductive system. A recent study found that a 5% rise in saturated fat intake was correlated with a 38% lower sperm count.

Saturated fat, in conjunction with industrial chemicals accumulate up the food chain and establish the hormone disrupting attributes.

These industrial chemicals are soluble in the fats in dairy, as evidenced by a study showing that 30% – 50% of our dioxin exposure comes from dairy.

Xenoestrogens like PCB (PolyChlorinated Biphenyls) are accumulated in the fats of fish or animal flesh and cannot be removed by washing and this in turn accumulate in our fats. In addition, foods of animal origin are laden with estradiol (~10000 fold more powerful than xenoestrogens) which cause a significant demasculinizing effect, which manifests itself as manbreasts or erectile dysfunction or decreased sex drive. The main sources of estrogens is dairy products and a glass of milk has estradiol that is 4000 times the intake of xenoestrogens. The estrogen level of the genetically modified present day cows is as much as 30 fold of the cows that used to live in the wild before domestication.

In addition to lower sperm concentration, dairy has also been associated with abnormal sperm shape and movement.

Does soybean cause male infertility due to the phytoestrogens? No, it doesn’t. The study found that soy decreased sperm concentration, but did not significantly affect the sperm count. The reason was later found that soy stimulates the prostate gland to produce a larger ejaculate volume, but the actual number remained the same. In addition, the phytoestrogens in soy protect both men and women against prostate and breast cancer, respectively.

 

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