Protein Ratios Implicated in Chronic Diseases
Life-threatening Diseases Now Thought to be Caused, Possibly Cured, by Diet
Once considered healthy, high protein diets (of meats, fish, dairy, eggs) have emerged as a common denominator in a series of multi-national studies concerning heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis (MS), kidney stones, macular degeneration, cataracts and many autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, according to Dr. T. Colin Campbell. Dr. Campbell is Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, an advisory board member of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and author of The China Project, often called the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted.
While these debilitating diseases have been studied by the scientific, academic and medical professions for decades, often in search of a single cause or cure, Dr. Campbell has revisited the findings of numerous studies to conclude not only that food from animal sources is a consistently causative factor in disease, but that nutrients from a plant-based diet (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes) have a preventative and often restorative effect on chronic diseases. He believes rather than looking for single dietary, environmental, genetic or viral culprits, we must look closely at the ratio of proteins and fats from animal verses vegetable sources in our daily diets.
Campbell’s findings are both provocative and profound. Can a dramatic increase in plant-based foods significantly alter our health?
Many experts like Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. and Dr. John A. McDougall say yes, and they caution against significant consumption of familiar animal based foods. For example:
- In the U.S. 400,000 people have multiple sclerosis. Dr. Roy Swank began studying 144 MS patients in Norway in the 1940s. Half consumed diets high in saturated fat, including dairy. Half consumed fewer than 20 grams of saturated fat a day. Thirty-five years later, 80 percent of the first group had died. Within the second (low fat) group, 95 percent remained mildly disabled, while only 5 percent died. Another 1992 study by Malosse confirmed that high milk consumption amounted to a higher incidences of MS.
- Regarding osteoporosis, a 1992 report from Yale University School of Medicine compared protein intake and fracture rates from 34 separate surveys in 16 countries. It concluded that 70 percent of fractures were attributable to the consumption of animal protein, specifically casein from cows’ milk. Milk, it seems, does not do a body good. Similarly, the Atkins Center also found that Atkins dieters (who consume high amounts of animal protein) experienced increases in metabolic acid causing their bodies to leach calcium from bones and excrete 50 percent more calcium in urine after six months on the diet.
- As for diabetes, a 1992 report from the New England Journal of Medicine determined that among children who were genetically susceptible to type 1 diabetes and exposed to cow’s milk there was an 11 to 13-fold increase in the disease. This would make drinking cows milk and getting type 1 diabetes analigous to smoking and getting lung cancer or having high cholesterol and getting heart disease.
- Even kidney stones (experienced by 15% of Americans) are effected. Dr. Robertson of the University of Glasgow, determined that more than 20 grams of animal protein per day could create stones. Most U.S. men consume closer to 70 grams of protein from animal sources each day.
These, and numerous other studies*, illustrate the commonality of diseases among persons who consume animal-based foods, as opposed to the relatively disease-free lifestyles of those who choose a diet based on whole, natural plant foods. By simply adjusting the ratio of animal to plant foods we can adjust our health and quality of life.