8. Meat-Based Diet Presents Complex And Grave Nutritional Problems
Even beyond the grave dangers presented by meat-based diets is the misconception that meat is an ideal nutritional source against which vegetable proteins are measured and found wanting. The fact is that it is much more difficult to have even a reasonably good diet with meat than without it.
8.1 "Complete Protein" Status of Meat?
In the first place, even the much vaunted "complete protein" status of meat is, at best, based on a colossal error (if not a hoax). The complete protein of the animal could exist only if the animal were consumed raw and whole. Meat-eating animals eat the blood, bones, cartilages, liver, etc. of their prey—not just the muscle and fat. They eat it raw—so that they do not lose any of the mineral elements. The muscle meats (most commonly consumed by humans) are grossly inadequate as a protein source.
On the other hand, humans who eat the livers of the animals don't win either. As previously indicated, those who eat liver are exposed to greater concentrations of morbid substances. Even though liver is touted as an optimal source of such substances as iron, Vitamin A and Vitamin B-12, it can hardly be regarded as anything remotely resembling wholesome food.
For years, conventional nutritionists have maintained that complete and optimal nutrition is assured on a diet using animal foods as the primary source of protein, and that a vegetarian diet presents many problems. Dr. Scharffenberg produces well-documented scientific evidence (Problems with Meat) indicating that the truth is exactly the opposite.
8.2 Meat Deficient in Vitamins, Minerals, Fiber and Carbohydrates and Excessively High in Fat and Concentrated Protein
Meat is one of the main sources of food that provide little fiber—flesh foods lengthen the average transit time through the gastrointestinal tract from thirty hours to seventy-seven hours.
Colon cancer patients produce more than normal amounts of bile acids which enhance cancer growth. A more rapid transit time through the digestive tract reduces exposure time to these acids.
Meat contains virtually no carbohydrates and is excessively high in fat and concentrated protein.
Dr. Bircher-Benner, the great Swiss physician, said, "Meat does not give strength. Its composition is one-sided, lacking certain minerals and vitamins, and it introduces too much fat and protein into the system, disturbing the balance of nutrition and giving rise to intestinal putrefaction."
8.3 Meat is Highly Stimulating and Innutritious
Hereward Carrington, The Natural Food of Man, p. 114, says, "In the first place it must be pointed out and insisted upon that meat is a highly stimulating article of food, and for that reason, innutritious. Stimulation and nutrition invariably exist in inverse ratio—the more the one, the less the other, and vice versa. The very fact, then, that meat is a stimulant, as it is now universally conceded to be, shows us that it is more or less an innutritious article of diet, and that the supposed "strength" we receive from the meat is due entirely to the stimulating effects upon the system of the various poisons, or toxic substances, introduced into the system, together with the meat. It is for this reason that those who leave off meat and become vegetarians experience a feeling of lassitude and weakness for the first few days—they lack the stimulation formerly supplied, and now notice the reaction which invariably follows such stimulation. This feeling of weakness, or "all-goneness," is therefore to be expected, and is in no way a proof that the diet is weakening the patient. Let him persist in his reformed manner of living for some time, and he will find that this reaction wears off, and that a general and continued feeling of energy and well-being follow."
8.4 Results of High Protein Diets
Organism Subjected to Toxic Byproducts
Protein is the most complex of all food elements, and its utilization is the most complicated. People with impaired digestions will find it preferable to ingest a lesser quantity of concentrated protein, which they are capable of utilizing, rather than a greater quantity, which not only cannot be processed efficiently, but which may poison the body. When protein is eaten in greater amounts than the body is capable of utilizing, the organism is subjected to the toxic byproducts of protein metabolism, which it has been unable to eliminate—and the inevitable result is degenerative disease.
The tremendous amounts of protein frequently recommended—75 to 100 grams daily (or more)—are far in excess of the body's needs, and are the source of much trouble.
The famous nutritionists Dr. Ragnar Berg, Dr. R. Chittenden, Dr. M. Hindehede, Dr. M. Hegsted, Dr. William C. Rose, and others, have shown in extensive experiments that our actual need for protein is somewhere around thirty grams a day, or even less. Many leading contempporary scientists and nutritionists in Europe, such as Dr. Ralph Bircher, Dr. Bircher-Benner, Dr. Otto Buchinger, Jr., Dr. H. Karstrom, Prof. H.A. Schweigart, Dr. Karl-Otto Aly, and many others, are in full agreement with the findings of Drs. Berg, Chittenden, Rose, et al, and are recommending a low protein diet as the diet most conducive to good health.
High Incidence of Degenerative Diseases
The Seventh-Day Adventists and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who advocate a low animal-protein diet, have fifty to seventy per cent lower death rates than those of average Americans. They also are reported to have a much lower incidence of cancer, tuberculosis, coronary diseases, blood and kidney disease, and diseases of the digestive and respiratory organs.
Negative Lime Balance (Calcium Transfer)
Bone calcium is at dangerously low levels in those using meat as compared to vegetarians, especially in people over fifty. A high-protein diet (especially meat protein) increases the urinary excretion of calcium. Thus vegetarians are less prone to osteoporosis (porous bones).
H. J. Curtis' Biological Mechanism of Aging gives documentation of the role of high protein diets, particularly animal protein, in causing osteoporosis. Calcium is transferred from the hard tissues (bones) to the soft tissues (arteries, skin, joints, internal organs and eyes). The transfer of calcium to the soft tissues results in catastrophic fractures, hardening of the arteries, wrinkling of skin, arthritis, the formation of stones, cataracts, high blood pressure, degeneration of internal organs, loss of hearing, senility and cancer.
A study of elderly female vegetarians at Michigan State University showed they lost less bone to osteoporosis than a group of the same age that ate meat.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that when the protein intake of young men was raised to 140 grams per day, they all proceeded to lose bone calcium, even though they took liberal amounts of calcium and magnesium supplements and protein extracts which contained no fat and little phosphorus—the supplements didn't help at all.
Young men had strong bone retention with protein intake of around fifty grams per day—only a reduction in protein consumption avoids the threat of osteoporosis.
Athletes who eat much meat are especially susceptible to arthrosis, a degenerative process of the joints. Among twenty conventional-diet professional football players who were observed for eighteen years, 100% incidence of ankle arthrosis and 97.5% of knee arthrosis were found.
A negative lime balance is easily produced by increased protein supply. The eminently important minerals—potassium and magnesium—are known to be deficient in an every day diet rich in meat, eggs, cheese, fat, sugar and grains, but richly present in a full-value vegetarian diet predominating in raw food.
Rapid Maturation and Early Death
Examples are repeatedly cited of robust and apparently healthy individuals who are heavy meat-eaters. Dr. L.H. Newberg of Ann Arbor University found that when he fed large quantities of meat to test animals, they grew bigger and more alert than other animals on a vegetarian diet. But three months later these animals contracted kidney damage and died, while the vegetarian animals lived on healthily and happily. (Wade, C., Vegetarianism, Herald of Health, LXXII, Ap. 1967, p. 14)
Accelerated growth = accelerated maturity, accelerated degeneration and accelerated demise. Rapid growth and short life go together, verified by repeated studies and experiments.
Since rapid maturation occurs as a result of high protein diets, this produces earlier onset of menstruation. Girls who start menstruation before thirteen have a 4.2 times greater incidence of cancer than those who start several years later. In countries with higher meat fat consumption, breast cancer mortality rates increase, and there is a higher incidence of colon and prostate cancer.
It must be emphasized that diet alone is not the single component in cancer and other degenerative diseases, but optimal nutrition does play a fundamental and preventive role, and faulty dietary habits play a causative role.
Kofranyi of the Max Planck Institute in Russia proved that complete nitrogen balance and performance ability could be maintained on 25 grams of protein daily, and Oomen and Hipsley found a population that develops not just full health, but magnificent structure and corresponding physical performance on 15 to 20 grams of protein daily.
8.5 The High-Protein Hoax
Dr. Bircher-Benner describes the method used by the American Research Council's Food and Nutrition Board to agree on a daily requirement for adults of seventy grams, found in their tables.
Sherman, a member of the board, said that evidence pointed toward a much lower amount, somewhere around thirty-five grams. But if the protein requirement had been set so low, there would have been a public outcry. And so, a corresponding "margin of safety" was adopted, and "seventy grams" was published. Because the scientific basis for this was nonexistent, the word "recommendation" was used instead of "requirement." Of course it was publicly interpreted as the requirement, in fact, as the minimum.
"The smallest amount of food able to keep the body in a state of high efficiency is physiologically the most economical, and thus best adapted for the body's needs." This is the Chittenden concept, stated years ago by Russell Henry Chittenden, which applies forcibly to protein. The average American diet contains 45% more protein than even the National Academy of Sciences recommends, and is certainly not "best adapted for the body's needs."
8.6 Insoluble Problems of Meat-Based Diets
Flesh eating is defended almost entirely on the premise that it is a source of superior proteins. The truth is exactly opposite. The pathological effects of encumbering our bodies with the proteins of other animals is Nature's method of vetoing these proteins for human consumption, in order to promote the stability of the human species and to protect the health of the individual. Dr. Herbert M. Shelton says (Animal Foods—booklet) that allergy and anaphylaxis (see definition) are not mysterious; they are due to long-standing poisoning of the body by excess or inappropriate protein foods.
Animal proteins are often not reduced to their constituent amino acids, but are absorbed in more complex form. Absorption by the body of such partially digested proteins poisons the organism, and so-called "allergic symptoms" may be the result—or gout, arthritis, cancer, or any one or more of a host of degenerative diseases.
A meat-eater must also be concerned about digestive problems caused by too little dietary fiber; circulatory problems due to excessive cholesterol deposits from animal fats; loss of bone mass due to inadequate ingestion and retention of calcium; deficiency of vitamins and minerals; and inadequate carbohydrate intake (without increasing calories).
The Senate Committee recommended fifty to sixty per cent of daily calories from carbohydrates, but, actually, it should be more like ninety percent (provided, of course, that they are natural and not refined).
It is well-nigh impossible to solve such problems on a meat-based diet.
Home > Lesson 32 - Why We Should Not Eat Meat
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