July 6th, 2010 17:18 EST
Animal Proteins are Dangerous for Health
Dr. Janice Stanger, author of The Perfect Formula Diet (Perfect Planet Solutions, 2009), was recently interviewed by me for our quarterly journal Recovering the Self about her work on the perfect food for humans. Dr. Stanger is an advocate of whole plant-based foods and, as you may read her explanation, discourages all animal foods. I took the chance to ask Dr. Stanger about the constant excuse for eating meat, i.e. our protein requirements. And she revealed the truth about the protein hype as you may read in this excerpt from her interview.
Ernest: The Perfect Formula Diet discourages animal foods of all kinds. But most people all around us are still pretty much convinced that animal foods are invaluable for their protein content. What`s the untold truth about this protein hype?
Janice: People become obsessed with the need " for protein because they are blinded by myths perpetuated by animal foods industries. In fact, proteins are long chains of basic building blocks called amino acids. " All living beings, plant and animal, are made from the same 20 amino acids. Of these, for adults, 8 are essential and must come from food.
Only plants can manufacture the essential amino acids, because much energy is required for the process. While the sun powers plants, animals (including all the ones that people eat) do not have sufficient metabolic energy to make essential amino acids. This means that animal protein is recycled plant protein.
People do best getting their protein directly from plants. There is zero need to worry about complementing different kinds of foods. Any reasonable vegan diet has enough protein because only 5% of calories need to come from this nutrient, and most plant foods supply at least 10% of calories from protein.
Animal protein can have toxic effects for people. Animal protein can activate the immune system, causing systemic inflammation, pain, and chronic illness ranging from cardiovascular disease to allergies to Alzheimer`s. Animal protein also raises levels of a growth factor called IGF-1, which directly facilitates the growth of cancer cells.
Since protein feeds growth, it is fed to farmed animals to make them big and fat quickly. It does the same to people. Protein from animal sources also makes the body acidic, which can leach calcium out of bones. Getting rid of excess protein stresses and can damage the liver and kidneys.
Ernest: You also distinguish animal sugar, like that contained in milk, from other natural sweeteners. How does it harm us and what are the healthy alternatives?
Janice: The sugar in animal products is lactose in milk. Baby animals and humans are able to digest lactose " in fact, they get their energy from this sugar. However, many older children and adults lose the ability to digest lactose. This is not an illness or condition, but instead part of nature`s plan for weaning infants. Without the ability to digest lactose, this sugar can cause digestive upset and cramping.
People metabolize lactose into another sugar called galactose, which is even more hazardous. If galactose accumulates in a woman`s body, it can damage the ovaries and raise the risk of ovarian cancer. This sugar can also damage the interior walls of the blood vessels in the eyes, potentially causing cataracts.
In terms of healthy sweeteners, use a little maple syrup, organic dried sugar cane juice, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, dates, or concentrated fruit juice. Keep even these alternatives to a minimum. Best practice is to eat whole foods with no added sweeteners.
Dr. Stanger also told a lot about several other animal foods and the popular myths of their benefits that serve as an excuse for many animal food addicts. The complete interview is included in Recovering the Self (Volume II, No. 3).