Answer to a Reader’s Question:

Many people are rightfully confused about the various ways that protein recommendations are established, and fail to know the main factors that have caused the confusion. Understanding the protein recommendations requires an understanding of the history of protein research and the serious bias that crept into the science over the years. From the beginning, there was a very strong bias that has emphasized the health importance of protein and this almost always meant animal-based protein. This bias arose even though the research results clearly showed in many cases that it SHOULD NOT be emphasized. Nonetheless nutrition researchers still emphasized higher consumption of protein because it was the “sign of civilization itself” as was said in the early 1900s and, further, that those who did not consume these generous amounts of protein (i.e., meat) were “of an effeminate nature”!

Researchers continually pushed the protein idea and continually found ways to develop methodologies and algorithms to ‘show’ that higher levels of protein were advisable. The whole concept of protein “quality” was devised so that it could be said that animal protein was high quality and plant proteins were low quality when, in fact, the concept of quality only indicated a biological efficiency of utilization per unit protein consumed. Naturally, animal-based proteins more nearly mimic our needs because they are composed of the right ratio of amino acids, thus are used more efficiently. But these studies were mostly based on animal production research that served the farm community (also served for my PhD thesis!) far more than it served the interests of human health. More efficiently used “high [...]

Eating More Calories, Staying Thinner

Although the average caloric intake of the Chinese is higher than that of Americans (2640 vs. 2360 for adult males), and despite their smaller stature, the Chinese are much thinner than Americans. This may be attributed partially to the greater level of physical activity in rural China, but the evidence also suggests that it is explained partly by the composition of the diet.

The mainstay of the Chinese diet is cereal grain. Carbohydrate intake accounts for 70% of the caloric intake in rural China compared to about 40% in the U.S. More importantly, only 15% of the calories consumed by rural Chinese men comes from fat, compared to almost 40% in the U.S. Although the total amount of protein is more or less comparable in these two populations, the source of the protein is very different: in the U.S. over 70% of the protein is derived from non-fish animal foods compared to only 7% in rural China.

The Cornell-Oxford-China Nutririon project, conducted in mainland China and Taiwan, is a massive survey of over 10,000 families designed to study diet, lifestyle, and disease across the far reaches of rural China. By investigating simultaneously more diseases and more dietary characteristics than any other study to date, the project has generated the most comprehensive database in the world on the multiple causes of disease.

Grass-Fed Animal Agriculture

(In response to a reader’s question concerning Dr. Mercola’s views on The China Study)

I’ve seen the views of Dr. Mercola several times, and this is my response:

For background, it should be noted that Dr. Mercola’s views, when he says that The China Study is “seriously flawed”, parallel very closely those of the Weston A Price Foundation (WAPF), a Washington-based agricultural lobbying group, who asserts, among other claims, that high cholesterol diets are healthy even beneficial and who not surprisingly support the consumption of raw un-pasteurized, un-homogenized grass-fed beef and other animal-based food products.

They also, perhaps to be politically correct, recommend the consumption of fruits and vegetables but in a way that is virtually meaningless. They rely heavily on a personal survey that a dentist, Weston Price, did during the 1920s and 1930s when he visited a total of 14 indigenous peoples in various parts of the world to examine and photograph their dental health (dental caries and dental arch formation). However, by principally relying on Price’s findings, WAPF goes far beyond what Price actually did. They would have us believe that he published extensive data to support the health value of cow’s milk and high cholesterol animal based foods and, further, that he ‘discovered’ a fat soluble factor in milk that is likely responsible for these healthy effects of cow’s milk. I read his book and there are no data that Price accumulated, tabulated and interpreted to support that view. Indeed, the so-called fat soluble factor was noted at a time during the early days of vitamin discoveries when little was known about their metabolism and biochemically functional [...]

Genetic Seeds of Disease: How to Beat the Odds

How often these days do you read that genes cause cancer?

Probably nothing in biomedical science deserves more attention. In my view, it even needs attention in nutrition newsletters. Why? Because there’s a peculiar line of reasoning going around that goes something like this: If genes are primarily responsible for determining when and what kinds of cancer we get, then what difference does it make what we eat?

Essentially, this is a very fatalistic view. Further, if this notion about genes is accepted as being valid, then many may be tempted to simply trade in “bad” genes for “good” genes. Regrettably, this is an idea that is very much alive in science and kicking up considerable funding support. Rather than succumbing fatalistically to gene research reports or trading our genes haphazardly, let’s start to think more seriously about preventing cancer, quite literally, by getting at its “root.”
Where is the Money Going?

I’ve previously commented in this newsletter on some of my concerns about this overemphasis on gene research (see August 1995 issue). While some of the new gene discoveries may provide hopeful opportunities, many are clearly harmfulespecially when people are not properly informed. Tragically, some people have become so distraught after finding out that they or their loved ones have a particular bad gene, that they then take unconscionable actionI’ve been called twice by mothers seeking advice on possible mastectomies for their daughters.

Why do NIH and similar funding agencies provide far more research funding for investigations on the genetic control of disease rather than for the nutritional control of disease? Whose purpose is [...]

True Health Care is A Proper Education

One out of two Americans gets heart disease and half of those die instantly from their first heart attack.

One out of three dies of cancer. One out of eight women gets breast cancer and one out of six men gets prostate cancer. Roughly one out of ten middle-aged Americans has diabetes, and among those over 60, this rate becomes one out of five people. In addition, another one in five Americans has so-called prediabetes.

Unfortunately, many people suffering from these diseases do not realize that their wrong dietary choices since childhood have caused these serious problems. Numerous scientific studies, including “The China Study,” show that there is a strong correlation between an animal-based diet and these ailments. They are very rare in countries where populations live on a plant-based diet. The majority of people in Western countries assume that these diseases are inevitable as they get older, but this is not true!

People need to learn that their health is in their own hands. The fact is, they can be free of illness and brilliantly healthy if they choose a wholesome diet and lifestyle. On the other hand, an incorrect diet and poor lifestyle choices make people sick.

You can choose superior health, once you know how. The solution is very simple. All you have to do is focus on a whole-food, plant-based diet. If you aren’t convinced, you should see how the “SAD” (Standard American Diet) choice consisting of a high-fat, high-protein, high-cholesterol animal-based diet has caused levels of diseases that are common in America to rise drastically among the Japanese people ever since they [...]

Breaking Free Of The Dietary Pleasure Trap

If you are holding a copy of Health Science magazine, and know what it is all about, then you are one of the lucky ones.

Of the 300 million people who live in our country, most will spend their whole lives confused about what is good for them, and what isn’t. If you are one of the fortunate few who has a good feel for the truth about health, then you are more than halfway there. The problem is, knowing is only about half of the battle. The other half of the journey is pretty tough. Just knowing doesn’t quite get it done all by itself.For some reason, even after we know just what to do, there is a tendency to go ahead and do self-destructive things anyway. If we listen to a pop-psychology show,we might hear all sorts of dark and complex speculation about why people are often self-destructive. But doubt any of it is right. We think there are reasons for “self-destructive” behavior that make perfect sense.

The Strange Behavior of Moths in the Night

Have you ever taken a few moments to stare at moths banging into your porch light? Why do they keep circling and flying into a dangerous light? And more chilling still, why do they sometimes fly right into a candle or hot light that zaps them dead? It seems incredibly stupid, so why do they do it? Maybe moths are mysteriously self-destructive for some deep, dark, and complex reasons. But we doubt it. We think there must be another reason, and one that makes perfect sense. There is.

Why They [...]