Saturday, February 28, 2015

Plant-based Dietary Intervention in the Corporate Setting Improves Productivity

Research published in the March/April issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion finds that a low-fat, plant-based dietary intervention in the corporate setting improves productivity and alleviates symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

The 18-week study took place in 10 corporate sites of a major U.S. insurance company and included 292 employees, all with a BMI of at least 25 kg/m2 and/or a previous diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Participants were assigned to either a control or a dietary intervention group, which featured weekly instruction in how to follow a low-fat, high-fiber vegan diet.

Participants in the vegan group experienced significantly less work and nonwork related impairment because of health, with significantly reduced feelings of depression, anxiety, and fatigue. The vegan intervention group also reported significant gains in emotional well-being and in daily functioning because of physical health and general health, compared to the control group.

Previous research shows a plant-based diet can improve overall mood even outside the workplace simply by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet.

Agarwal U, Mishra S, Xu J, Levin S, Gonzales J, Barnard ND. A multicenter randomized controlled trial of a nutrition intervention program in a multiethnic adult population in the corporate setting reduces anxiety and improves quality of life: The GEICO Study. Am J Health Promot. 2015; 4:245-254.
White BA, Horwath CC, Conner TS. Many apples a day keep the blues away – daily experiences of negative and positive affect and food consumption in young adults. Br J Health Psychol. Published ahead of print January 24, 2013.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Why the man who brought us the glycemic index wants us to go vegan

In 1981, a plain-speaking, unassuming scientist at the University of Toronto published with his colleagues a meticulous list that ranked foods according to the effect they had on blood sugar. The goal was to better understand the role of carbohydrates in managing diabetes. But the effect was more far-reaching than perhaps he ever would have imagined.
Dr. David Jenkins’s glycemic index revolutionised the diet industry. His isn’t a household name, but the diets his research inspired certainly are: Atkins, The Zone, South Beach, Sugar Busters and the G.I. Diet, to name a few. Along with laying the scientific groundwork for wildly popular lower-carb diets, Jenkins’s work on international committees has influenced dietary guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and national diabetes associations around the world. His research demonstrated the statin-like cholesterol-lowering power of what he coined the “Portfolio Diet” and he helped create the President’s Choice Blue Menu line of healthier food products in the hopes of reaching even more consumers.
It’s fair to say Jenkins has had a profound influence on how and what we eat. And now he wants us to radically rethink our diets once again.
This time, though, he may meet a little more resistance: If it were up to Jenkins, he would have us all give up meat, fish and dairy and embrace veganism. And not just for our individual health.
Earlier this year, Jenkins – a Canada Research Chair in nutrition, metabolism and vascular biology, a professor in the department of nutritional sciences, faculty of medicine at the University of Toronto, and scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital – became the first Canadian recipient of the Bloomberg Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health. In a celebratory public conversation about his research, he shared with the crowd that he follows a vegan diet.
A properly planned plant-based diet – one that avoids all animal products, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy – is incredibly good for your health.
Studies have shown plant-based eaters are thinner and have lower cholesterol and blood-pressure levels, a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and lower cancer rates – especially colorectal cancer.
Foods such as beans and lentils, nuts, whole grains, fruits and vegetables offer a wealth of nutrients, fibre and phytochemicals that have favourable health effects. And vegan diets are usually higher in fibre, magnesium, folate, vitamins C and E, iron and phytochemicals, while tending to be lower in calories, saturated fat and cholesterol.
But the individual health benefits are just the beginning. Though he’s well aware of the nutritional advantages, it was environmental and humanitarian concerns that pushed Jenkins to drop meat, eggs, fish and dairy from his diet.
“Human health must be linked to planetary health, and how we feed ourselves has a major impact on the planet,” says Jenkins, now 72. It’s the positive impact of plant-based eating on the environment, as well as animal welfare, that appeals.
In Canada, more than 700 million animals – 20 times more than our human population – are killed each year for food, a large majority in intensive livestock organisations, or factory farms. The production of large volumes of meat, poultry, eggs and milk – as quickly and as cheaply as possible – is done at a major cost to the environment.
Intensive animal agriculture is one of the leading sources of greenhouse-gas emissions and uses more water than any other human activity. (In Canada it’s the single largest consumer of water, according to the 2012 report from the World Society for the Protection of Animals.) Concentrated livestock operations can be major water polluters. Factory farms, as a whole, generate far more manure than can be properly disposed of. Nitrates, phosphates, bacteria and viruses present in manure can seep into groundwater and pollute surface water, killing marine life and threatening public health.
According to Tony Weis, associate professor in the department of geography at the University of Western Ontario and author of The Ecological Hoofprint: The Global Burden of Industrial Livestock, increasing livestock production is a major force in the loss of biodiversity (the number of different species within an ecosystem), the pollution of waterways and climate change.
Within the past 50 years, increased affluence, urbanisation and population growth have increased worldwide demand for meat. Our appetite is voracious: It’s predicted that by 2050, meat production will nearly double from what it is today.
“This enormous shift [in per capita meat consumption], what I have called the ‘meatification’ of diets, greatly expands the land, water and resources needed for agriculture and the ensuing pollution burden,” Weis says.
When it comes to advocating for a shift to a vegan diet, Jenkins is hardly alone. In its 2010 Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production report, the United Nations urged a global move to a meat– and dairy-free diet in an effort to curb the environmental impacts of large-scale animal agriculture. And last week the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee announced it will recommend that Americans eat more plant-based foods and less meat, for better individual health and to protect the environment.
Animal-welfare considerations factor in Jenkins’s commitment to veganism, too. Animals raised in intensive livestock operations are crammed together in pens, small cages or on feedlots, with minimal or no access to sunlight, fresh air, open pastures or exercise. Many of us are unaware of the industrial methods – from farm to slaughterhouse – that put steak, chicken, pork, eggs and milk on our table.
The 2008 report of the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production (a project with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) notes that animals raised for human consumption endure stress and pain at some point in their lives even in the best of conditions, and much more in intensive confinement facilities.
“Our children and future generations will be horrified that collectively we paid no attention to these issues,” Jenkins contends.
That someone such as Jenkins is advocating for a shift to a plant-based diet is significant: Shortly after receiving the Bloomberg Manulife Prize, he was invested into the Order of Canada for his contributions as a nutrition scientist committed to helping Canadians make informed food choices.
For years, we’ve been making dietary decisions based on the calories, fat, fibre or vitamins and minerals foods contain. But, with mounting concerns over freshwater supply, loss of biodiversity and climate change, it’s time to make the shift away from animal foods and toward a plant-based diet.
As Jenkins says, “It’s easier to follow a healthy diet if you have more reasons to do so.”

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


The following piece is the acceptance speech given by Dr. Melanie Joy on October 9, 2013 at the House of Commons in London, where she was presented with the Institute of Jainology’s prestigious Ahimsa Award for her international work on nonviolence. Dr. Joy is the eighth recipient of the award. Former recipients include the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela.

I want to first thank the Institute of Jainology for honoring me, and the cause for which I work, with this award. And I would also like to thank them for their efforts to help create a world in which one day ahimsa will no longer be worthy of such recognition, because nonviolence will simply be the norm.

This award is a step in that direction. For it is often those with the greatest vulnerability to violence who are the most exploited and the least protected, and whose victimization remains invisible. Recognizing my efforts to illuminate the violence inherent in animal agriculture, and the violence in the consciousness that enables this practice, is a powerful statement legitimizing farmed animals as vulnerable others, as victims who are therefore deserving of protection from harm.

I am deeply honored and profoundly grateful to be receiving the Ahimsa Award, but this award does not belong to me alone. The platform on which I stand has been constructed by the tireless animal advocates and activists, the unsung heroes, whose courage and commitment to speak the truth in the face of overwhelming social denial – to demand compassion and justice for all beings – is perhaps the greatest example of ahimsa I know. And in particular I stand here because of the efforts of my team at Carnism Awareness and Action Network, all volunteers whose dedication frankly humbles me. So I accept this award on behalf of those whose work has made mine possible. And I accept this award on behalf of the pigs and chickens and cows and fish and sheep and rabbits and ducks and everyone else who has been or will be an invisible victim of agricultural violence.

Thank you.

And now I’d like to share with you how I came to be here today, the story of how my search for truth and my discovery of love helped teach me the meaning of ahimsa.


From the moment I was weaned, I was taught to both seek and deny the truth. I was taught to apply the Golden Rule – to consider how I would feel were I on the receiving end of my actions – but also to systematically violate others. I was taught to keep an open mind and a caring heart, but also to block my awareness and shut down my empathy. I was taught to practice compassion, but to participate in cruelty. I was taught to love, and I was taught to kill.

And so I learned to be a psychological acrobat, walking the tightrope between denial and truth, juggling facts and fictions in an elaborate – and deadly – act I didn’t even know I was performing. And it was my journey across that precarious mental highwire that led me to where I stand today.

My first memory of what I would later realize was my acrobatic training was from when I was just two years old, and we adopted a puppy who my parents named Fritz. Fritz became my first friend, my best friend. And Fritz and I were inseparable; he would bound by my side across the open expanse of the local golf course, under an impossibly vast, cloud-swept sky; he lay contently at my feet as I chronicled my adventures in my private journal, nestled in our secret fort in the woods; he good-naturedly pulled me across the little frozen pond between the trees that I had declared my personal skating rink; he aided and abetted me when I smuggled my unwanted dinner from my mouth to my napkin and then to him, at his station under the table, my partner in crime.

And Fritz and I understood each other. When he stepped on a shard of glass and sliced his paw, I cringed in pain. When he caught wind of his Christmas bone and wagged his tail so hard it pulled his backside along with it, my heart swelled with joy. When I lay feverish and aching he held vigil by my bedside. And when he died, at the age of 13 of cancer, I wept with grief for the loss of my brother.

I am the person I am today in part because of my relationship – my connection – to the dog with whom I grew up. Indeed, the relationships we form with others, human and nonhuman, shape our hearts and minds in profound and powerful ways, for better or worse. They wound us and they heal us. They teach us how to be givers, takers, leaders, users, performers, abusers, nurturers. My connection with Fritz helped teach me how to love.

My connection with Fritz taught me to identify with others. When we identify with another, we see something of ourselves in them, and something of them in ourselves, even if the only thing we identify with is the desire not to suffer. My connection with Fritz taught me to empathize with others. When we empathize with another, we look at the world thorough the their eyes, so when we make choices that impact them we ask ourselves, what would he or she ask us to do? Indeed, empathy is central to our psychological wellbeing, and to the wellbeing of our planet. It is the antidote to all forms of violence – from judgment to hatred, from domestic abuse to genocide – as it is the seed from which compassion blooms.

My connection with my dog taught me to be a compassionate witness, to look deeply into the truth of another’s experience, and into the truth of my own experience – even when the truth broke my heart. After Fritz was diagnosed with cancer and his dash to greet me after school was replaced by a hobble, his once overactive tail swaying limply and his once bright eyes clouded in pain, I still wanted nothing more than to keep him alive, even if just for another week. But I loved him. And my relationship with him had helped teach me that to love someone is to truly see them, and that loving another means making choices that are in their best interest. Love and denial cannot coexist.

And so my relationship with Fritz taught me to honor the truth.

But my relationship with Fritz also taught me to deny the truth. It taught me how to play my role in the circus of the absurd, teetering atop that perilous tightrope.

Somehow, throughout all those magical childhood years – years of wonder and adventure and best friendship, of sprinting across panoramic meadows, plunging in towering snow banks, burrowing in fragile, sweet-smelling leaf piles – somehow despite the powerful connection I shared with my dog, there was a deep disconnection within me. Beside my awareness and empathy there resided a numbness of mind and heart. Truth and denial lay side by side, uneasy bedfellows.

Indeed, for the first half of my life, I never thought about how bizarre it was that I could pet my dog with one hand, while I ate a pork chop with the other, a pork chop that had once been an animal who was at least as intelligent and sensitive and conscious as my dog and who – like all of us – had a life that mattered to her. The internal disconnection that caused me to unwittingly support extensive – and completely unnecessary – animal suffering was as powerful as the connection that caused me to love my dog enough to break my own heart to end his suffering. But I simply juggled these contradictions like the acrobat that I was, sleepwalking along the fine line of truth and denial.


It wasn’t until a decade after the death of my beloved dog that I woke up. I first awoke to find myself hospitalized, after having eaten what turned out to be my very last piece of meat – a hamburger that had been contaminated with the foodborne bacteria, campylobacter. And then I awoke to the truth. I awoke to the truth about what is perhaps the most entrenched and brutal industry in human history, an industry that permeates virtually every aspect of human and nonhuman existence and whose very survival depends on denial.

The truth is that nonhuman animals are intelligent, sentient beings. Pigs, for instance, are as intelligent as three-year-old humans; and scientists have demonstrated that fish and certain crustaceans have pain receptors, such that some food manufacturers no longer sell live lobsters and crabs on the grounds that boiling them alive is inhumane.

The truth is that approximately 95% of the meat, eggs, and dairy that make it to our plates comes from animals who lived and died in abject misery. (And the other 5%, from so-called organic or humane farms is, I assure you, far from cruelty-free.) For instance, baby animals are routinely castrated and have their horns and beaks cut off without any painkiller whatsoever. They are born and raised in crowded, filthy, dark environments where their existence is one of torment and terror. The females may be hooked up to so-called rape racks, where they are forcibly impregnated, over and over, only to have their offspring taken from them just hours after birth. (There are few sounds as haunting as the wailing of a cow on a dairy farm, as her baby is carried off.). And when it comes time for slaughter, these beings are shackled by their ankles, dragged along a conveyor belt, sliced open, and plunged into boiling water, often while fully conscious.

The truth is that, according to the United Nations, animal agriculture is one of the most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems facing the world today. Consider, for instance, the fact that greenhouse gas emissions caused by so-called livestock exceed that caused by all cars, trucks, ships, buses, and airplanes combined.

The truth is that there is overwhelming evidence linking the consumption of animal products with some of the most prevalent and debilitating diseases in the western world, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

The truth is that those on the front lines of killing – the meatpackers and slaughterhouse workers – are economically and physically exploited and are often traumatized by an industry whose business is violence. Human Rights Watch states that the working conditions of these individuals are so appalling they violate basic human rights; and not surprisingly, such violence begets violence. For instance, one worker stated (and I apologize in advance for the brief profanity):

“One time I took my knife…and I sliced off the end of a hog’s nose, just like a piece of bologna. The hog went crazy for a few seconds. Then it just sat there looking kind of stupid. So I took a handful of salt brine and ground it into its nose. Now that hog really went nuts, brushing its nose all over the place. I still had a bunch of salt left…and I stuck the salt right up the hog’s ass. The poor hog didn’t know whether to shit or go blind.”1

The truth is that, globally, 124,000 farmed animals are slaughtered…not every day, or even every hour….but every, single, minute. And so I would like to take a moment of silence, to honor the victims on whose behalf I stand here today, and to commemorate the 124,000 of them who will be killed during the next sixty seconds.

(Sixty seconds of silence)

Thank you.

And the truth was that an entire society of rational, caring people – just like myself – had somehow checked their hearts and minds at the door to enable a global atrocity that has caused more bloodshed than all wars, genocides, famines, and natural disasters combined, in what could only be called a collective madness.

We tearfully bury the bodies of deceased dogs, yet we contentedly consume the bodies of dead pigs. We stop in our tracks to return a fallen bird to her nest, while our chicken nuggets await us back home. We laugh beside our children as they reach toward the calf in the petting zoo, though we feed them the very milk that was taken from this baby, milk that was taken along with his mother. We would call it abuse if a happy, healthy golden retriever were slaughtered just because people liked the way her thighs taste, and yet, when the very same thing is done to individuals of other species we call it humane. We don snorkels and masks and fins to stare in awe at the sundry creatures of the sea, balm to our busy minds, yet we may also soothe ourselves by tricking these same beings into impaling themselves to death on the ends of our sharpened hooks. And the methods of mass destruction….How many times had I heedlessly driven past the squat, elongated factories – windowless sheds in remote locations in which hundreds of thousands of individuals were caged and confined, castrated and cauterized and cut open – factories that bore a haunting resemblance to other architectures of the darker chapters of our history? And how many times had I cheerfully hummed to my radio as truckloads of terrified animals passed me on their way to slaughter, the whites of their eyes flashing from behind dark little slats?

Something was horribly wrong.

How on earth had such a glaring truth been so fully eclipsed by denial?


It was after awakening but before understanding that I was compelled to seek what I would discover was an even deeper truth. And so, to make sense out of the atrocities and absurdities and acrobatics I could no longer un-see, I immersed myself in the study of violence and nonviolence, ultimately writing my doctoral dissertation on the psychology of eating animals.

And what I discovered made everything suddenly clear. There was in fact a rational explanation for the pandemic insanity that had laid claim to an otherwise sound populace.

What I discovered was that there is an invisible belief system that conditions us to eat certain animals. This belief system is woven through the very fabric of society to shape all social institutions and it is therefore internalized, shaping the very way we think and feel – or, more accurately, don’t think and feel – about eating animals. It is a system of oppression that requires us to act against our core values, our own interests, and the interests of others. The system must therefore use a set of social and psychological defense mechanisms so that rational, humane people participate in irrational, inhumane practices without fully realizing what they are doing. And the core of the system is denial.

Carnism, the name I gave to this system of denial, is constructed around an elaborate narrative that presents fiction as fact and distorts our perceptions so that we fail to see the contradictions that are right in front of us. Carnism is the ringmaster that keeps us ungrounded.

Carnism teaches us to deny the fact that eating animals is based on a mythology, on what I call the Three Ns of Justification – eating animals is normal, natural, and necessary – a mythology that has been used to justify violent practices throughout human history, from slavery to male dominance.

Carnism teaches us to deny the fact that in much of the world today, many of us eat animals not because we need to, but because we choose to. And ironically, carnism robs of us of our ability to make such crucial choices freely – because without awareness, there is no free choice.

Carnism teaches us to deny the fact that animals are individuals, with their own personalities and preferences, and to instead to see them as abstract members of a group: a pig is a pig and all pigs are the same. And as with other victims of violent ideologies, we give them numbers rather than names.

And carnism teaches us to deny the fact that eating animals is not merely a matter of personal ethics, but rather it is the inevitable end result of a deeply entrenched oppressive system. So we fail to see that eating animals is in fact a social justice issue.


So there it was. Nearly two decades after the death of my cherished canine companion, I had finally come to understand the very strange – and very dire – nature of the circus act I had been performing. And I knew that if I didn’t share what I had learned I would be colluding in carnistic denial rather than speaking my truth.

So I wrote a book based on my research – entitled “Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism” – which sold tens of thousands of copies and whose content has been translated and disseminated around the world, and which eventually formed the basis of my organization, Carnism Awareness and Action Network, now a hub of global carnism awareness activity. I have witnessed the spread of carnism awareness across nearly every continent, as more and more individuals are adopting the cause as their own and as I continue on what is now the third year of my international speaking tour.

And along this most recent phase of my journey, as I travel the world meeting thousands of people from an array of backgrounds, whose lifestyles fall all along the carnistic continuum, I have learned what is perhaps the deepest of truths. Yet unlike the tragic truth about animal agriculture, or the unnerving truth about carnism, this truth is inspiring, for it is the very reason the other truths must remain shrouded within the protective cloak of denial.

The truth is that we care. We care about animals, we care about justice, and we care about the truth. And carnism depends on our not caring, and the system is built on deception. Carnism is a vulnerable system that needs a strong fortress to protect itself from its very own proponents – us. Why else would we need to go through all the psychological acrobatics if not because we care?

The truth is that there is a way off the tightrope. Awareness sweeps out the fictions that clutter our inner worlds, creating space for truth to emerge. We can thus reclaim our authentic thoughts and feelings, and with them, our freedom of choice. With awareness we can choose to be conscientious objectors to the violent system that is carnism, and we can choose to become active witnesses in the transformation of this system.

The truth is that more and more people are waking up. The vegan movement, which is the counterpoint to carnism, is in fact thriving; it is burgeoning in cultures around the world. And the movement is growing precisely because its principles are our principles, its mission is what we all wish for. Veganism is centered on justice, and compassion, and above all it demands an end to the carnistic game of Let’s Pretend.

Veganism, of course, is not the solution to global violence and injustice, but no true solution will be possible without it. For when it comes to systems of oppression, although they can never be equated, as the experiences of each set of victims will always be somewhat unique, they can and must be compared. Because all oppressive systems are structurally similar – the consciousness that enables such oppressions is the same. It is the mentality of domination and subjugation, the mentality that causes us to turn beings into things, lives into units of production. It is the might-makes-right mentality that makes us feel entitled to wield complete control over the lives and deaths of those with less power, just because we can. And to feel justified in our actions because they’re only: savages, women, animals. It is the mentality of meat, the carnistic consciousness.

And so the truth is that, as a powerful man – Hitler – once sad, “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”2

But the truth is also that, as a more powerful man – Gandhi – once said, “all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall – think of it, always.3

So it was the love of a dog that taught me the true meaning of ahimsa. My relationship with Fritz taught me that love is not merely a feeling, but a practice, a practice that – like all practices – reflects our state of consciousness. It taught me that love should not be limited by arbitrary boundaries such as species; indeed, whenever we place limits on our compassion, we diminish ourselves and damage our world. And so it was the love of a dog that led me to my life’s work, to transform the violent system that is carnism. For transforming carnism is not simply about changing behavior, but about shifting consciousness. It is about shifting from ignorance to awareness, from apathy to empathy, from callousness to compassion, from denial to truth – and from violence, to ahimsa.

Thank you.

1 Gail Eisnitz, Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the US Meat Industry (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1997), 102-104.
2 I recognize that there is some debate around the attribution of this statement, and that the issue is as of yet unresolved.
3 Ibid.

How do the Majority of Heart Attacks Occur?

Because heart disease is called "the silent killer," many patients aren't aware that they have cardiovascular disease until they experience chest pain or have their first heart attack. In fact, 64% of women and 50% of men who have suffered a major cardiac event had no previous symptoms. Over 30% of these (first heart attacks) are fatal, making the first symptom of heart disease the last. This is very common since clinical symptoms are not felt until the disease has progressed significantly.
Everyone who has ever eaten the typical American diet has heart disease, even when some test results are considered "normal." By the time symptoms are felt, arteries may be blocked 75% or more. Many diagnostic tools aren't an accurate means of assessing your risk for heart disease because they don't detect artery blockage until the blockage is quite significant. (The heart treadmill test is one example.) The gradual clogging, hardening, loss of endothelial function and inflammation of the interior walls of the arteries goes by unnoticed for many years until symptoms develop. This gradual clogging has been taking place since childhood. Autopsies on the arteries of children as young as 3 years of age show the beginning stages of heart disease. By age 10, nearly 100% of children have atherosclerotic plaque formations.
In the above video, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn addresses how the majority of heart attacks occur. This will really surprise you. When we hear the news of someone who has had a heart attack, we immediately think of them having narrowed blockages in the arteries of their heart. However, the majority of heart attacks do not occur in the narrowed blockages in the coronary arteries. Coronary arteries with significant blockages account for only a small percentage (approximately 10%) of heart attacks. This plaque has had time to solidify since it has taken years and decades to form. As a result, "collateral" vessels have had time to grow. These vessels branch off of the main coronary arteries, providing necessary blood flow to that particular area of the heart muscle.
The greatest percentage of heart attacks (80-90%) occur when newly formed plaques on the inside of our arteries, rupture; causing a clot to form, blocking the flow of blood. The human body contains 60,000-100,000 miles of blood vessels; all of which contain these newly formed, highly unstable, volatile plaques. You can see how many opportunities there are for one of them to rupture, causing a fatal clot. Anyone eating a diet where the majority of calories come from animal products and processed foods has these unstable plaques throughout their Plaque ruptureSize400Small plaques rupture - causing a clotentire vascular system. The force of the blood pumping with each heartbeat can easily tear the cap from these fragile plaques, causing them to rupture and form a fatal clot. An animal-based, low-nutrient, fiber-deficient diet doesn't protect this from occuring, whereas a whole-food, nutrient-dense, plant-based diet does. This short animated video clip gives us a glimpse of what it looks like from the inside of a blood vessel as the rupture occurs.
When plaque begins to develop on the inside walls of the blood vessels, the walls are pushed outward. This maintains the lumen (inner open space) and normal blood flow. Because these plaques don't obstruct the inner opening, they are not visible and cannot be detected using diagnostic tools such as angiography or stress tests. Dr. Joel Fuhrman says that these plaques are the most vulnerable and very lethal. Dr. John McDougall adds that the reason why surgeons operate on the larger heart vessels is because "they can." The reason why they don't operate on the smaller, undetected plaques is because "they can't." They cannot operate on unseen, smaller, undetected plaques that have accumulated on the inside of the thousands of miles of blood vessels throughout the entire body.
This is the main reason why bypass surgery and stents do not save lives or prevent future cardiac events. The majority of the disease is still left untreated. Your cardiologist will most likely not discuss these facts with you. What they will discuss however is a treatment plan which involves a risky major surgical procedure and a life-time dependency upon drugs. Drugs and procedures offer quick fixes by minimizing the symptoms and risk factors of disease, yet they offer little value for dietary-induced illnesses since they do not treat the underlying cause of disease. Sadly, medical care using drugs and procedures is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Additionally, because the majority of doctors have had little or no training in nutritional medicine, they are not trained to offer any advice on how to prevent and reverse heart disease using an aggressive nutritional approach. Most importantly, as Dr. Esselstyn points out in the video, relieving angina (chest pain) and becoming "heart attack proof" can occur in as little as three weeks when using an aggressive nutritional approach. See how using diet instead of bypass reversed Shelia Lewis' blocked coronary arteries - click here.
Eighty-one million Americans suffer from cardiovascular disease killing one out of every three people or 831,000 each year. It's our nation's leading cause of death for both men and women, resulting in a heart attack every 34 seconds. Protect yourself and your family from being a statistic by adopting a diet which supports optimal cardiovascular health.
Food is powerful medicine with no harmful side effects. Every meal we consume affects our health either in a positive or negative way. If our diets consist mainly of heavily processed foods and animal products, rich in saturated fats, oils, salt and sugar, we are creating an environment that encourages chronic degenerative disease. However, by giving our bodies superior nutrition, we can avoid food addictions, encourage longevity, and support an immune system that resists disease. Disease prevention and reversal begins with your first bite!
For more information, click on the following links:
(1) The Empty Medicine Cabinet
(2) Heart Attack Proof Your Holidays
(3) Atherosclerosis Begins in Early Childhood
(4) Heart Disease Starts in Early Childhood
(5) Who has Heart Disease? Everyone!
(6) Caldwell Esselstyn MD Ends Coronary Artery Disease
(7) Sheila Lewis Chose Diet Instead of Bypass
(8) Yes! Heart Disease Can be Reversed Using Diet!
(9) Bypass-Angioplasty Procedures Not Effective
(10) Sick Before Their Time: More Kids Diagnosed With Adult Diseases
(11) Nathan Pritikin Shows Heart Disease is Reversible
(12) View Dr. Esselstyn's entire lecture on heart disease here
(13) The False Hope of Prescription Medications - A Pharmacist Tells All
(14) Forks Over Knives Documentary May Save Your Life
(15) Low-Carb Diets Impair Blood Flow
(16) Why do Animal Products Cause Inflammation?
(17) Doctors Know Little About Nutrition
(18) Endothelial Cells to the Rescue!
(19) Diet Linked to Heart Disease Reduction During War
(20) Desirable Cholesterol Numbers
(21) What Your Arteries Want You to "NO"
(22) How Bad Can Just One Meal Be?
(23) Antioxidant-Rich Foods Dilate Arteries
(24) Seeing is Believing!
(25) Die Sooner with Good Looking Numbers
(26) Prevent-Reverse Disease With a Plant-Based Doctor
(27) Managing Symptoms vs Treating the Illness
(28) Animal-Based Diet Turns Our Blood Fatty
(29) Today's Children not Expected to Outlive Their Parents
(30) But I Could Never Give up Meat-Dairy!
(31) Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Book
(32) Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Website
(33) Cardiovascular Disease is the #1 Killer in the U.S. for both Men and Women
(34) But I Must Have Animal Protein!
(35) Is Vegan the New Viagra?

Monday, February 23, 2015

No oil

Part of living a plant-strong life is letting go of oil. This includes all oil: olive oil, coconut oil, flax seed oil, hemp seed oil, ANY oil.
(You can keep motor oil for your cars!)
We know that there are a lot of myths around oil, and there has been a lot of misinformation about consuming oil. In short oil is a highly processed food that comes from a whole food, kind of like sugar comes from a sugar cane plant. (just a note, did you know you need about 3 feet of sugar cane to make a tbs of sugar? It takes 1375 olives to make a litre of oil!)
Back to oil, it is pure fat, and many of the great nutrients and properties of the whole food are extracted in the process of making a whole food an oil.
Let’s have some experts weigh in on the oil debate:
Dr. Esselstyn: “NO OIL! Not even olive oil, which goes against a lot of other advice out there about so-called good fats. The reality is that oils are extremely low in terms of nutritive value. They contain no fiber, no minerals and are 100% fat calories. And above all they contain saturated fat which immediately injures the endothelial lining of the arteries when eaten. It doesn’t matter whether it’s olive oil, corn oil, or any other kind of oil. This is so important I have detailed oil in Chapter 10 (of Prevent And Reverse Heart Disease).”
Want to know how Bill Clinton got healthy? It wasn’t only cutting out animals, it was cutting out oil.
You can also watch Dr. Esselstyn’s hour long lecture, which will give you a good start in understanding heart disease and what foods should be avoided, if you also want to avoid heart disease.
Is oil a health food or a junk food? Watch this short video by Jeff Novick. And what about coconut oil? Read all about the brilliant marketing that lead many to believe that coconut oil was a health food.
What about Dr. McDougall? Here is what he has to say:
“In our bodies these plant-derived, essential fats are used for many purposes including the formation of all cellular membranes, and the synthesis of powerful hormones, known as eicosanoids (prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and thromboxanes).
Our requirement is very tiny, and even the most basic diets provide sufficient linoleic acid to meet our requirement, which is estimated to be 1–2% of dietary energy.1 Therefore, in practical terms, a condition of “essential fatty acid deficiency” is essentially unknown in free-living populations.
*Essential fatty acid deficiency is seen when sick patients are fed intravenously by fat-free parenteral nutrition.  In these cases, correction of the deficiency can be accomplished by applying small amounts of soybean or safflower oil to their skin—giving you some idea of the small amount of oil we require.2 Plan on your diet of basic plant-foods supplying an abundance of essential fats delivered in perfectly designed packages, functioning efficiently and safely.
*Some people talk about a “relative deficiency” of essential fats created by a large intake of saturated animal fats, synthetictrans fats (as found in margarine and shortenings), and/or omega-6 fats compared to their intake of omega-3 fats, and they believe many of our common chronic diseases are the result of this imbalance.1 This is quite different from true essential fatty acid deficiency which would result in: loss of hair, scaly dermatitis, capillary fragility, poor wound healing, increased susceptibility to infection, fatty liver, and growth retardation in infants and children.1″Read the rest of the article here.And what about Fish oil?
Here is what Dr. Esselstyn has to say: “Fish oil is not essential. Fish get their omega 3 from plants. It is difficult to be deficient in Omega 3 if eating 1-2 tablespoons of flax seed meal and green leafy vegetables at several meals. There is also research that suggests that those on plant based nutrition become highly efficient in their own manufacture of omega 3. Patients on fish oil are also at increased risk for bleeding.”Dr. Campbell (in regards to DHA): “Most importantly, however, we need to understand that these chemicals (nutrients) work in a highly integrated, virtually symphonic manner to produce their health effect. Thus it is a matter of thinking about the collection of such chemicals in large groups of foods. I hold that we need to discard the traditional view of nutrition, based on the effects of single nutrients, and take seriously the symphonic nature of food chemicals working together. In effect, the ‘whole’ nutritional effect is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Wondering if you need fat to absorb nutrients? Dr.McDougall clears up that myth as well.
What about fish oil?
Dr. McDougall:
“Much attention has recently been paid to the possible benefits of increasing the intake of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) by consuming fish oil. However, this can have adverse effects such as raising LDL “bad” cholesterol levels in patients with already high cholesterol and causing a deterioration in glucose tolerance, in other words, making diabetes worse. (Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 44:127, 1991). In one recent study of feeding w-6 alpha linolenic acid to obese subjects insulin sensitivity and HDL “good” cholesterol diminished, and the amount of oxidized LDL “bad” cholesterol increased (Aterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 17:1163, 1997). In most other studies, however, oils high in alpha linolenic acid have little effect on cholesterol and triglycerides (Am J Clin Nutr 65:1645, 1997).” Read the rest of that article here.
Dr. Esselstyn on fish oil:
“Fish oil is not essential. Fish get their omega 3 from plants. It is difficult to be deficient in Omega 3 if eating 1-2 tablespoons of flax seed meal and green leafy vegetables at several meals. There is also research that suggests that those on plant based nutrition become highly efficient in their own manufacture of omega 3. Patients on fish oil are also at increased risk for bleeding.”
Dr. Campbell (author of “The China Study”) on fish oil:
“Most importantly, however, we need to understand that these chemicals (nutrients) work in a highly integrated, virtually symphonic manner to produce their health effect. Thus it is a matter of thinking about the collection of such chemicals in large groups of foods. I hold that we need to discard the traditional view of nutrition, based on the effects of single nutrients, and take seriously the symphonic nature of food chemicals working together. In effect, the ‘whole’ nutritional effect is greater than the sum of its parts.” read the rest of what he has to say: Dr. Campbell’s article about fish oil.
Your questions:
1. Where do we get fat? Nearly everything we eat has fat in it. It would be very difficult to not get enough fat, and many people get far too much. If you are eating a plant-strong diet, and eating enough getting enough fat is not an issue. Much like you get all the protein you need from eating plant-strong, you will get plenty of fat.
2. What about nuts/seeds/high fat plant-foods ? You don’t need to add much, like we said it is not really an issue, so long as you are not starving. If you have heart disease, type 2 diabetes or are overweight you will want to greatly reduce or eliminate high fat plant foods all together.
3. What about kids? Kids do not need to add pure fat to their diet. They can however have some of the higher fat plant foods like nuts, seeds, avocados, tofu, tempeh. But there is no reason to go overboard on this. Give fat to kids in the way of whole foods like vegetables, nuts, grains and beans.
4. What about athletes? If you are a professional level athlete (working out more than 35 hours a week) you will need to consume a lot more calories, but this in no way means you have to add oil. You might have to increase your higher caloric plant-based foods (nuts, avocado, seeds) but we would tell you to even be careful of that, too much high fat plant foods can cause issues, even to athletes.
5. How do I cook?! For stove top cooking, simply use water or low sodium vegetable broth. For baking you can use applesauce or any of these options.
6. Don’t I need to eat fat to lose weight? First, remember this is NOT a fat-free diet. You will be eating enough fat if you stick to whole starches/grains, vegetables, beans and fruit. We are not saying to cut out all fat, we are saying to cut out pure, processed fat in the form of oil. If you want to lose weight, you need to eat foods lower in caloric density, for more on that, check out Jeff Novick’s article about calorie density.
7. What about organic/natural/EVOO/other fancy ways to make oil sound healthy? And what about vegan products like vegan butter/coconut spread? They also sell organic, natural, local cigarettes, it doesn’t mean they are healthy for you. The bottom line is that oil is a processed food that causes damage to the endothelium, causes insulin resistance, and should not be considered a health food, no matter how many great marketing words they use. As for some of the non animal based junk food out there, it is still junk food. Vegan butter is still unhealthy.
8. But I know someone who eats oil every day, and I myself added oil in my diet and felt really great! Let’s go back to the cigarette analogy, ask most people who quit smoking and start again, and they will tell you they felt a lot better when they started smoking again. Their mood was better, maybe even their energy level, they ‘felt’ a lot better. Oil is a highly calorically dense food and all fat, we would be surprised if someone didn’t feel a little hit of pleasure when they consumed it. However, that should not be confused with health. As for people who eat oil and are healthy? Chances are they are healthy despite their use of oil, not because of it. Much like the Mediterranean Diet (you can read a great article about it here)
9. All things in moderation! I only use oil moderately. What is wrong with that?! Read the truth about moderation here and here. We also like Dr. Esselstyn’s take on it – if you eat unhealthy foods in moderation, you will have a moderate heart attack.
10. Food won’t taste good anymore! Why are you ruining my life? Well, our goal is to help you make your life a lot better, by giving you some more years, and better yet, LIFE in your years. Why suffer for decades with heart disease or type 2 diabetes when you don’t have to? But we understand, giving up junk food like oil is hard, it is hard because our brains seek out the highest caloric density foods, that cause us the most pleasure response. So we agree, it is not always easy. If you want to learn more about this and “The Pleasure Trap” pick up Doug Lisle’s book on why we crave and want food that does not do us any good.
11. Where can I find oil free plant-strong recipes? We have a Pinterest page with over 100’s of  oil free, plant-strong recipes (no need to have Pinterest, just click on the photo until you get to the recipe). You can check out Fat Free Vegan here (where she has over 1000 recipes) and here. Lindsay Nixon at Happy Herbivore has a bunch of awesome recipes.  Cathy Fisher from Straight Up Food has beautiful and delicious recipes. Jeff Novick has some of his fast, 10 minute meals in this wonderful album (click on photos for recipes). Healthy Girls Kitchen has a bunch of great ones. And then you can get some great DVD’s/books: Fast Food by Jeff NovickBurgers and Fries by Jeff Novick, Every Day Happy Herbivore, Happy Herbivore,
There are more recipes than we know what to do with, 1000′s of plant-strong, no oil recipes (we know we missed a few resources, but that should get you started.)
12. How do I eat out? What if I need a fast meal? This is going to take a little effort on your part, in that you are going to be a little more vocal when you eat out. But rest assured, we haven’t had a problem yet! And we travel a lot. You can read Rip’s tips on traveling here. Need quick, packaged food, we have put all of our favorite fast, packaged oil free, plant-based foods here (no need to buy them from Amazon, look for them locally, a lot of stores carry everything on the page).
13. What about the recent studies that say that olive oil is healthy? 
Read the responses by Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Campbell. You can also read the response by Dr. McDougallDr. Ornish and a response by PCRM. Do not be fooled by poorly conducted studies.
Bottom line, oil is not a health food. Please consider reading all of the resources above, but better yet – TRY IT! It might take a couple of weeks to get past the pleasure trap side of things, but it will get easier as you go. See how great you will feel when you pass on the oil.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

FAD diets

Any diet other than veganism—including vegetarianism—is unhealthy. Paleo, Atkins, South Beach, The Zone, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and the Blood-Type diets cannot produce optimum health because there is no such thing as healthy meat, cheese, milk and eggs, just as there is no such thing as healthy cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and legumes cause NO disease (with the exception of a wheat gluten allergy that causes Celiac Disease in some individuals who are gluten-intolerant). Diseases arise from the consumption of animal protein, casein, cholesterol, sugar, the excessive amount of fat found in all animal products and oils, artificial additives, the 2-9 percent of naturally-occurring trans-fatty acids found in meat and dairy, human-made trans fatty acids found in junk food, and the excessive amount of refined carbohydrates found in white rice, white bread, and pasta. Non-dietary factors affect health, too. Stress, a lack of sleep, smoking tobacco, chemical pollution, genetics, and a lack of exercise can wreak havoc on the body. Therefore, it is essential to eat plant-based foods exclusively, and control the non-dietary factors to the best of your ability. Check out this 2014 University of Southern California study which clearly indicts animal protein as a deadly toxin.

The advertising hustlers and shyster doctors of the fad diet industry claim that it's not the meat and cheese of a sandwich making people overweight and sick; it's only the bun! They tell people that it's not the bacon, milk and eggs of the standard American breakfast making people overweight and sick; it's the side of strawberries and cantaloupe.
Even moderate amounts of animal products are detrimental to the human body because moderate amounts of cholesterol, fat, trans-fatty acids, casein and animal protein are just as harmful as moderate amounts of sugar, tobacco, and heroin. If you want to avoid lung cancer and emphysema, moderately smoking five cigarettes per day would not be too bright. If you want to avoid heart diseasesmost cancersdiabetes,osteoporosis and other diseases, not even a moderate amount of meatdairy and eggs can be on the menu. From an ethical standpoint, cruelty in moderation is never acceptable.

Dr. James Anderson, professor of medicine and nutrition at the University of Kentucky said, "If you wanted to find one diet to ruin your health, you couldn't find one worse than Atkins." Egregious fad diets like Atkins are exact recipes for heart diseases and cancers.
Fad diets, however, are capable of bringing about weight loss. If losing weight—and not being healthy—is the only goal, people should try some other fabulous weight-loss methods like smoking crack, bulimia, anorexia or getting AIDS. I'm not recommending those insane techniques, but I bet if a few advertising hustlers, shyster doctors and pharmaceutical companies got together and decided to package crack and called it "The Low-Carb Crack Snack," everyone would be snacking on crack!

Skinniness doesn't equal healthiness. Skinny meat, dairy and egg-eaters have heart attacks and get cancer all the time. After you or someone else you know gets skinny on a fad diet—and then dies from a heart attack or cancer—I'm sure the pallbearers will be thrilled they won't have to strain too much as they carry the casket from the hearse to the grave.

Stop eating fish

Americans and Australians kill and eat 18 billion marine animals every year. Some are genetically engineered on fish farms, while the rest are hooked by the mouth or netted by huge trawlers that catch and kill everything in their path. Contrary to the biased statements made by meat, dairy and egg-eating addicts, there isn't one shred of doubt that fish experience a wide-range of emotions from fear and pain to excitement and happiness, and everything else in between.

Here's an analogy to help you empathize with fish: imagine you are walking down a country road lined with apple trees. Hungry from the walk, you reach up to grab a piece of fruit. Suddenly, your hand becomes impaled with a large, metal hook that pulls you out of the air and into an atmosphere in which you cannot breathe. We drown fish and other aquatic animals in our atmosphere the same way we drown in theirs.

Contrary to the slick advertisements of the fish industry, or the misinformed American doctors who only receive around THREE HOURS of nutrition information during their eight-year medical programs, fish is not a health food. With mercury, dioxin and PCBs, fish meat is the most contaminated food product available. Additionally, a regular serving of fish meat has, on average, around 70 mg. of cholesterol, which is nearly three times the amount found in a hot dog (24 mg.). Contrary to anyone who espouses otherwise, cholesterol produced by YOUR body is the only good cholesterol. If you bring it in from an outside source, it's bad cholesterol.

Claims about omega fatty acids being found solely in fish are absolute lies. Some fish have omegas because they've eaten algae/seaweed or consumed other fish who have already eaten algae/seaweed. Every vitamin, mineral and nutrient comes from the earth in the form of fruits, vegetables (sea or land), nuts, seeds, grains and legumes. Animal products only contain trace amounts of vitamins, minerals and nutrients because animals eat plants (sea or land). Meat is, at best, a secondary source of essential elements.

Açaí (fruit), beans, black currant seed oil, blue-green algae, borage seed oil, cabbage, canola oil, flax (oil/seeds), chlorella, corn, green vegetables (leafy), hemp (oil/seed/powder/milk), pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, soy, sprouts (all), squash, vegetable oils, walnuts and wheat all contain omega fatty acids WITHOUT cholesterol, WITHOUT enormous amounts of saturated fat, WITHOUT trans-fatty acids, WITHOUT animal protein and, most importantly, WITHOUT cruelty!

If someone told you to smoke cigarettes because they contain trace amounts of omegas or calcium (they do not), would you do it? Of course not. Yet those who consume animal-based foods engage in exactly this kind of behaviour by eating meat, cheese, milk and eggs, putting these deadly products into their bodies on the pretence of obtaining trace amounts of nutrients! As the great philosopher Pythagoras said, "Men dig their graves with their own teeth, and die more by those instruments than by all weapons of their enemies."

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

The big fat protein swindle

Not a week goes by, so it seems, without a new version of a high-protein diet popping up in the media. 'Getting enough protein' has become a national obsession. Self-styled diet gurus and personal trainers ascribe almost mythical properties to protein, describing it as a 'body-shaping nutrient' and 'the key to successful weight loss'.
Inevitably, those banging the drum for high-protein diets mean a high animal protein diet; they usually describe plant proteins as being 'incomplete' or 'low quality' - and of course plant proteins always come 'pre-packaged' by nature with carbohydrate, which the protein-pushers vilify as the cause of the current obesity epidemic.
Yet the undeniable fact is that obesity is rare in societies that eat a diet based on carbohydrate-rich plant foods; while in Western countries (and among the wealthy in developing countries, who have adopted a Western-style high-animal protein dietary pattern) rates of obesity are skyrocketing.

How can you get to the truth about protein? Let's examine some of the most prevalent protein myths.

Myth #1: You can't get enough protein without eating meat and other animal products

Actually, this one is pretty funny, when you think about it. The largest, strongest land animals on the planet - elephants, rhinoceroses, oxen, buffalo - eat nothing but plants. If a silverback gorilla, which weighs 200-300 kg but is up to 10 times as strong as an adult male, can maintain its bulk and strength on a diet of leaves, shoots and roots, what on earth are we worried about?
I find it alternately amusing and maddeningly irritating (depending on what mood I'm in) that personal trainers tell their clients - who are ordinary men and women who just want to lose weight and get fitter - that they need to eat animal protein 2 or 3 times a day to achieve their goals, when there are so many examples of top athletes, including:
  • Bodybuilders Jim Morris, Billy Simmonds and Patrik Babouminan;
  • Ultra Men Rich Roll and Scott Jurek;
  • Triathlete Ruth Heidrich;
  • Runners Carl Lewis, Fiona Oakes and Ellen Jaffe Jones;
  • Fighters Mac Danzig and Emily Jans; and
  • Cricketer Peter Siddle and American football fullback Tony Fiammetta,
who have maintained peak physical fitness, strength and endurance on vegan (all-plant) diets.

Myth #2: Plant proteins are incomplete

It is completely astonishing to me that this myth is still stated as fact by so many people who ought to know better, including many dietitians.
For those who aren't familiar with the technicalities of protein, there are 22 amino acids that, arranged in different sequences, form all the proteins in our bodies. 8 of them (some authorities say 9) have to be obtained through the diet and are called essential amino acids, while the remainder can be made from the essential amino acids and other precursors, and are called non-essential amino acids.

Note that non-essential amino acids are every bit as important to protein formation as the essential ones; the tag 'essential' just means that it's essential to obtain them from the foods we eat because we can't make them ourselves.

Many diet books, websites and nutrition professionals still describe plant proteins as 'incomplete', meaning they are lacking in one or more essential amino acids, and state that we MUST eat different sources of plant proteins (e.g. grains and beans, or grains and nuts) at the same meal so we can obtain enough of all the essential amino acids. This is, quite frankly, complete rubbish.

All plants synthesise all the amino acids we use to build our body proteins. Animals are reliant on eating plants, or eating animals that have eaten plants, to get their amino acids.
All plant proteins contain all 8 essential amino acids as well as all of the non-essential ones. The proportion of the essential amino acids varies in plant foods (as it does in animal-derived foods) - for example, grains tend to have lower concentrations of lysine, and legumes have lower methionine, in relation to the other essential amino acids.
However, these so-called limiting amino acids are completely irrelevant, because if you eat enough legumes or grains to meet your energy (calorie/kilojoule) needs, you simply cannot fail to secure enough of each individual amino acid.

Your brilliant, highly-evolved body also has important strategies to maintain a consistent ratio of the amino acids needed for protein synthesis in your bloodstream: It recycles your own body proteins.

The cells lining your intestinal tract are sloughed off regularly, and go into the mixture of food working its way through your intestines, to be digested, absorbed and recycled into other body proteins. Used-up digestive secretions meet the same fate.
This recycling of endogenous ('from the inside') protein ensures that no matter what you eat at any given meal, the ratio of amino acids in your bloodstream after that meal will remain virtually identical.

In fact, we utilise much more recycled protein that 'fresh' dietary protein: we produce around 200 grams of endogenous protein per day, while most people eat less than 100 grams of dietary protein per day (1).

Myth #3: You need to eat more protein to lose weight/carbohydrates make you fat

If you are overweight, you have eaten too many calories for your needs. It's that simple. Protein and carbohydrate yield 4 calories per gram, while fat contains 9 calories per gram. If you eat too much of any of these macronutrients, you will gain weight or find it impossible to lose it.

Doing complicated calculations to achieve a precise ratio of proteins:fats:carbohydrates won't change the fact that you're taking in more energy than you're burning off. Instead, keep your focus on micronutrient-per-calorie-density, or maximising the amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other phytochemicals you obtain per calorie - what I call 'maximum nutrient bang for your calorie buck'.

Although I'm not an advocate of starch-based diets (because they supply insufficient micronutrients for optimal health) it's quite hilarious to blame starches for making people fat. Asian people have traditionally eaten large quantities of rice and remained slim. It's only when they migrate to urban areas of their own countries, or to other countries, and start eating more animal-based foods, that they become overweight.

A study of over 10 000 American adults (2), conducted by researchers employed by the US Department of Agriculture (a body which has advocated the consumption of copious amounts of animal-derived foods since it was founded), found that those who consumed the greatest percentage of their daily calories as carbohydrate, ate fewer calories overall and had the lowest body mass index (BMI) - that is, they were the slimmest. So much for carbs making you fat!

Myth #4: Your blood type determines your protein requirement

The popularity of Peter D'Adamo's blood type diet is staggering. What's even more staggering is the complete lack of scientific evidence for the dietary recommendations D'Adamo makes.

I could go on and on about the glaring scientific errors in his books, including:
  • The claim that type Os are predisposed to hypothyroidism because they don't make enough iodine (duh!!!! Iodine is a mineral - no one makes it, we have to consume it in our diet);
  • The fact that there is no biochemical research that supports his claim that lectins in food react differently with the A, B and O antigens; and
  • His assertion that agglutination reactions he has observed with blood taken from people and mixed with lectins that have not undergone the processes of digestion, would also happen in vivo i.e. inside the living body - for which there is no evidence whatsoever.
Neither D'Adamo nor any of his followers have ever published any scientific trials of the blood type diet.

But for me, the most damning piece of evidence against the blood type diet is the falsity of the claims D'Adamo makes about the sequence of development of the type O, A, B and AB blood groups, and the context of that development. His entire theory rests on the claim that all of our ancestors were meat-eaters with type O blood; that the A type developed after humans learned to cultivate crops; and the B and AB types appeared much later in our evolution (less than 10 000 years ago).

This is absolute bunkum. Chimpanzees and gorillas also have the ABO blood groups, indicating that these blood groups have been in existence in our evolutionary tree for at least 5 million years (and by the way, in case you hadn't noticed, chimps and gorillas have never cultivated crops or domesticated animals to consume their milk).
Paleoanthropologists are in complete agreement that our earliest hominid ancestor, was herbivorous (vegetarian), and there is widespread agreement that the A type developed first (3).

Protein facts

Protein is undeniably an important nutrient, and it is also undeniable that you can get perfectly adequate quantity and quality of protein on a diet that includes no animal products whatsoever, if you so choose.

Relax about protein, and put your focus on obtaining maximum nutrients per calorie by basing your diet on green and other non-starchy vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts and seeds.