Meat – A Major Cause of Diseases
Populations that eat meat regularly have the shortest life spans and the highest incidence of degenerative diseases. According to published reports of national health statistics from around the world, one out of two people in the industrialized world will die from heart disease or a related blood vessel disease. In other words, heart disease is the leading killer disease in the world, with cancer following closely behind. As long ago as June 1961, the American Medical Association reported that a vegetarian diet could prevent 90 percent of our thromboembolic diseases (a condition in which a blood vessel is obstructed by an embolus carried in the bloodstream from the site of formation)and 97 percent of our coronary occlusions. This means that by adopting a vegetarian diet, we would be able to eradicate heart disease almost completely. Compared with meat-eating, smoking seems only a minor risk factor for heart disease! It is disconcerting that this important research has long been forgotten and is basically ignored today.
Heart disease is virtually unheard of in societies where meat consumption is low, and the majority of the population eats mostly traditional foods. A group of Harvard doctors and research scientists examined 400 people in a remote mountain village in Ecuador and were surprised to find that except for two men, none of the people above 75, including all the centenarians and a 121-year-old man, showed any signs of heart disease. All the villagers turned out to be complete vegetarians. Examinations of similar age groups in the United States would typically reveal a 95 percent incidence of heart disease.
Cancer, the second most common killer disease, now closely rivaling heart disease, may largely be caused by meat-eating, too. Modern cancer research claims to have found specific protein compounds responsible for certain types of cancers. This, in itself, may be a very important finding, but it is even more important to discover where these proteins come from. Putrefying meat is one answer, and the decaying protein of dead human cells is another. Meat consumption slows or hinders the complete removal of dead cells in the body by congesting the lymphatic system (which removes dead cells) and by using up the body’s resources of energy, enzymes, minerals and vitamins (needed to break down dead cells and dispose of them safely). Both undigested meat proteins and decaying cell protein can, therefore, damage human cells and impair their genetic programs.
Another reason why meat-eaters have more cancers than vegetarians may be the fact that they ingest large quantities of sodium nitrates, which are carcinogenic preservatives that are used to make meat look ‘fresh’. But meat is no longer fresh after the animal has died. If left untreated, animal flesh begins to turn a sickly grayish-green color within several days. Since nobody would buy meat in that condition, the meat industry uses these toxic nitrates to make it look red and palatable. In reality, though, it is already decomposed and highly toxic.
The most appalling news from cancer research, however, is that secondary amines, prevalent in beer, wine, tea and tobacco, react with chemical preservatives in meat to form nitrosamines. The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has labeled nitrosamines as “one of the most formidable and versatile groups of carcinogens yet discovered.” In other words, if you are a smoker or if you drink beer, wine, or tea and eat meat, you produce one of the most deadly toxins that can be found anywhere. As it turns out, most meat-eaters also drink wine or beer, and many of them smoke, too. When fed to test animals, nitrosamines produced malignant tumors in one hundred percent of the animals; the cancers appeared everywhere, including the lungs, pancreas, stomach, adrenals, intestines and the brain.
A meat-eater’s immune system also has to combat many other cancer-producing agents. Farm animals are regularly injected with hormones to stimulate growth, are fed appetite stimulants to ‘force’ them to eat non-stop, and are given antibiotics, sedatives and chemical feed mixtures. Over 2,500 drugs are routinely given to animals to fatten them and to keep them alive. Most of these harmful chemicals are still in the animals at the time of their death. Many other drugs are added after the animal has been slaughtered. These drugs will still be present in the meat when it is eaten, but the law does not require a listing of the cocktail of drugs that have been added. Hence, you have no way of knowing what kind of drug interactions and allergic reactions you could become a victim of by eating a juicy steak at your favorite restaurant. It is difficult to imagine how many people today become sick for no apparent reason, due to being drugged with poisonous medicines contained in the meat they eat. Sadly, when they go to see their doctor, they are most likely given even more drugs to combat those they have already unwittingly ingested.
One of the chemicals added to animal feed in the United States is the growth hormone diethylstilbestrol (DES). The FDA estimates that the use of this chemical earns meat producers in the United States $500 million annually. DES is highly carcinogenic and has been banned as a serious health hazard in thirty-two countries. According to another report by the FDA, the antibiotics penicillin and tetracycline alone save the meat industry $1.9 billion a year. Yet these drugs may be breeding deadly antibiotic-resistant organisms in the consumer’s body.
Animal protein foods are nearly always propagated as being the safest choices for people with Type 2 diabetes and also for those who want to avoid developing this condition. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most people believe that high blood sugar comes from eating too much sugar or refined carbohydrates. They are correct. It has recently been proven that women who drink one regular soda per day have an 83 percent chance of developing diabetes. (One can of soda contains about 12 teaspoons of sugar or the equivalent amount of high fructose corn syrup, amounting to 200 calories.) However, sugar pales as a cause for diabetes when compared with meat.
If you eat concentrated protein foods such as meat or chicken, your body requires much insulin to synthesize proteins from the amino acids derived from these foods. According to research, the stimulation of protein synthesis is a classic action of insulin. Loss of the stimulatory effect of insulin on protein synthesis would reduce growth and result in weight loss. To make certain that the amino acids derived from the protein meal are synthesized into proteins, the pancreas has to secrete insulin. In other words, the more protein you eat, the more insulin your body needs to make, thus increasing the chances of insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.
Accordingly, eating a normal-sized steak forces your pancreas to secrete more insulin than it would need to produce in response to eating 12 times the amount of sugar contained in one can of soda. In addition to that, if you also eat potatoes, a sweet desert, and drink a soda along with your meal, like most Americans do, you can expect to further increase insulin resistance. Currently, diabetes is the fastest growing epidemic in America, and it is easy to see why.
The effect of insulin on protein metabolism is complex, and it involves changes in both the synthesis and degradation of protein. If protein intake is excessive, insulin secretions increase to help with its degradation. Protein synthesis and the control of carbohydrate and fat metabolism have now been linked in unexpected ways, and many of the same signaling systems utilized by insulin to control glucose metabolism, for example, have been found to be involved in the control of protein synthesis as well. The bottom line is that excessive intake of protein is a direct cause of insulin resistance and may lead to the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
Other very harmful effects that may occur as a result of eating meat are generated indirectly by the tragic conditions to which farm animals are exposed during their short lives. Most animals never see the light of day. They spend their entire lives in cramped and cruel surroundings, merely to die a brutal death. High rise chicken farms breed animals that have never been exposed to fresh air or allowed to take as much as one step. This not only greatly upsets their body chemistry but also causes malformations and the growth of malignant tumors. These sick animals are slaughtered and sold to unsuspecting customers. In the United States, chicken with airsacculitis (a pneumonia-like disease), which causes pus-laden mucus to collect in the lungs, are permitted to be sold. Other examples of common diseases include eye cancer and abscessed livers among cows. Carcasses contaminated with rodent feces, cockroaches, and rust are routinely found in meat-packing companies, but meat inspectors are very lax about enforcing regulations because this would effectively close down the whole industry.
Modern research on diseases such as cancer and diabetes is mostly focused on how to combat the effects of an unbalanced lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits. Billions of dollars are spent on discovering everything about the symptoms of these diseases, with little or no attention being paid to their underlying causes. By contrast, some people have adopted vegetarianism as a way of life and subsequently have significantly lower disease rates, especially of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Vegetarians do not claim to understand the mechanisms of or treatments for these diseases, yet through the elimination of meat from their diets, they have attained a significant degree of success in preventing and conquering these illnesses.