Simply put, we can relax. We can take a much-needed deep breath and sit back. Moreover, we can do science more intelligently, and ask better questions because we have a sound framework relating nutrition to health.
It's taken me this long to get to the bottom of health. To understand what it truly means to live healthy. Being free in the body God has given us. Not restricted and hindered. Thinking clearly, bouncing with energy, feeling happiness and good emotions, running, walking, playing sports.. health!
When I was a teenager, young in my desire to live healthy, it was about good food choices. You, know, having a salad versus having a meat pie. Having an apple instead of cookies. Replacing chocolate with nuts and dried fruit. Then as I continued my journey into my 20's, health became about supplements. I can remember writing a list of everything I took on top of my food. Boy was it long! I think I had around 20 supplements on this list!!
For some, health is about medication, about drugs. The remedy for sickness and way to health is swallowing or injecting a drug. Like swallowing paracetamol when you have a headache. Preventing disease is about vaccination. Loosing weight is about surgically inserting a band around your stomach.
I feel like I've made a round about trip in this area. I'm back to where I started. Health is about healthy eating. It's about diet. The foods you consume. The foods you don't consume.
Do you want to be healthy? Do you truly want to live a long life? Be active until you die? Me too! But how do you "be healthy"? What are the keys? These questions have driven me for SOO long now. Driven me to try different diets. Driven me to consume a mountain of supplements! This may seem odd to some, I feel wired to figure out the answers to health. It drives me to read and read and study and study!!! After all these years, I sense I have finally arrived. The answers are becoming clearer and clearer every single day!
Diet plays the biggest role in determining whether we get sick, whether we die young.. have a heart attack, get cancer. No longer am I scared of lifestyle diseases, like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, macular degeneration, dementia, kidney stones!!! The list goes on.
A few snippets from the book I'm still reading The China Study:
Two groups of rats were fed different diets. One, 5% protein. The other 20% protein. Both groups were dosed with highly toxic alfatoxin. The 5% group didn't develop tumours. The 20% group did! It was an all or nothing result. Every single rat in the 20% group developed precursor tumour cells. When the 20% group were switched to a 5% protein diet their tumours regressed! Note, the protein used is animal protein. When the rats were fed the same amount of protein from plants not one rat developed a tumour!
The key findings from the above study? Disease onset began when the rats met or exceeded the amount of dietary protein they needed to satisfy their body growth rate. Interesting that these findings are being found in humans too.. on a mass scale!
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), protein needs are around 5-10% of total calories per day. Protein needs can be met easily by consuming plant-based foods! So what happens if you start to add in animal-based foods? Requirements for protein will most likely be exceeded! Not a good thing. Strange huh. All these years I've been fearful of never receiving enough protein! Too much protein does far more damage to our bodies than too little.
Men with the highest rates of dairy intakes had double the risk of prostate cancer and a fourfold increase in the risk of metastatic prostate cancer to lower consumers.
If you have a genetic risk for disease (as in your mother had a stroke). These genes MUST be expressed in order to have an impact. What effects gene expression? Nutrition. Your diet!
If you have Type 2 Diabetes, you can treat it twice as effectively as taking medication by consuming a low fat diet!
Breast cancer is centred on oestrogen exposure. Diet plays a huge role in establishing oestrogen exposure. Statistically significant results show (this means that the results occur at least 95% of the time), female hormones are highly correlated with animal protein intake and milk and meat.
The correlation between dietary fat and animal protein in rural China was very high, at 70-84%, similar to the 93% seen when comparing different countries.
Eating a diet high in animal-based foods essentially bumps up your fat intake! A high intake of fat is strongly associated with increasing breast cancer risk.
This one goes against everything I've been preaching for the last 4 1/2 years.. Eating cholesterol in food caused a rise in cholesterol in the blood!! This is so important because..
In 1948, soon after World War II, the Framingham Heart Study began. The study was an attempt to understand the causes and risks of heart disease and if it could be treated. Back then, little was known about it. Heart disease was considered a normal part of the ageing process. 5000 residents of Framingham (USA) were followed and studied by a group of researchers. Looking at who got heart disease and why. 1000 scientific papers have been published from this study. The most significant finding from this study was the link between blood cholesterol and heart disease. Along with high blood pressure.
Cholesterol levels over 6.3 mmol/L have more than three times the incidence of CHD (coronary heart disease) as do those with cholesterol levels less than 5.4 mmol/L.
A study was done on 18 patients with severe heart disease over 5 years. Within the 8 years leading up to the study these patients had experienced 49 coronary events (angina, bypass, surgery, heart attacks, strokes and angioplasty). The patients followed a diet free of all added fat and almost all animal products (except for skim milk and low fat yogurt). Patients were switched to a low fat plant-based diet 5 years in. In the following 11 years there was only 1 coronary event (experienced by a patient who strayed from the diet!) Ahhhh mazing!!!
At the start of the study, the patients' average cholesterol was 6.4 mmol/L. During the course of the study, the average cholesterol was 3.4 mmol/L, well below the 3.9 mmol/L target!
Seriously, this book is getting a little bit ridiculous. Studying nutrition for the better part of my 20's and I DO NOT know this.. or that ..or THIS!!..
The China findings on dietary fibre and iron, like so many other observations in this study, did not support the common view of Western scientists. People who consume more plant-based foods, thus more dietary fibre, also consume more iron (99.9% of the time!!), all of which results in statistically significant higher levels of haemoglobin.
FAR OUT. Can there seriously be any more nutritional revelations? Yep. Stay tuned next week for more amazing info!
You want to be the healthiest person you can be? Eat a low fat, plant-based diet. Minimal to no animal products! :)