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Plant Protein: Vegan - Gluten Free - Low GI
Health Benefits

Animal versus Plant Protein
Heart Disease
Diabetes Mellitus
Cancer
Obesity and Fats
Bone Density and Calcium

Animal Versus Plant Protein
The China-Oxford-Cornell Diet and Health Project provides data from a 20-year partnership of Cornell University, Oxford University and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, a survey of diseases and lifestyle factors in rural China and Taiwan.

“People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease … People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. “

More commonly known as The China Study, this project eventually produced more than 8000 statistically significant associations between various dietary factors and disease.  The New York Times has recognized the study as the “Grand Prix of epidemiology” and the “most comprehensive large study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease.”

Dr T Colin Campbell from Cornell University who is the former Senior Science Advisor to the American Institute for Cancer Research says "The vast majority of all cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and other forms of degenerative illness can be prevented simply by adopting a plant-based diet. Apparently, there is something naturally occurring in animal flesh which inflames the body and turns on cancer. Organic or not, according to Dr. Campbell, it's in the animal protein (dairy included).

The China Study: http://www.mcspotlight.org/media/reports/campbell_china1.ht

Heart Disease

The way in which legumes can lower your risk for heart disease is very interesting and simple. Fibre binds to cholesterol and carries it out of the body, thereby reducing cholesterol levels. Eating more fibre will cause more cholesterol to be eliminated.

The cholesterol in your diet comes mainly from the saturated fats found in animal products. All foods from animals contain some cholesterol. Foods from plants do not contain cholesterol. Other sources of dietary cholesterol are full fat dairy foods, eggs and some seafood.

Two types of Cholesterol.

  • Low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol – called the ‘bad’ cholesterol because it goes into the bloodstream and clogs up your arteries.
  • High density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol – called the ‘good’ cholesterol because it helps to take the ‘bad’ cholesterol out of the bloodstream

You do not need to eat foods that contain cholesterol, your body can produce all the cholesterol it needs. High cholesterol foods are usually foods high in saturated fats. These foods should be limited in a healthy diet.

Health authorities recommend that cholesterol levels should be no higher than 5.5mmols per litre. Approximately 50 per cent of adult Australians have a blood cholesterol level above 5 mmols per litre. This makes high blood cholesterol a major health concern in Australia.

Effects of high cholesterol levels:

The liver is the main processing centre for cholesterol. When we eat animal fats, the liver returns the cholesterol it can’t use to our bloodstream. When there is too much cholesterol circulating in our bloodstream, it can build up into fatty deposits. These deposits cause the arteries to narrow and can eventually block the arteries completely, leading to heart disease and stroke.

Diabetes Mellitus

Chronically elevated blood glucose levels and excessive insulin secretion are thought to play important roles in the development of diabetes mellitus.  

The glycemic index is a measure of the potential for carbohydrates in different foods to raise blood glucose levels.

In general, consuming foods with high glycemic index values causes blood glucose levels to rise more rapidly, resulting in greater insulin secretion by the pancreas than consuming foods with low glycemic index values.

Because legumes generally have low glycemic index values, substituting legumes for high-glycemic index foods like white bread or potatoes lowers the glycemic load of one’s diet.

Low-glycemic load diets have been associated with reduced risk of developing Diabetes Mellitus in several large prospective studies.

Cancer

When a woman begins a low-fat diet, the amount of estrogen in her bloodstream can drop by 15-50 percent within a few weeks, depending on how low-fat her diet is. Less estrogen means less stimulus for cancer cell growth.

A study of 953 women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer showed that their risk of dying at any point in time increased by 40 percent
for every 1,000 grams of fat consumed per month.

Source: "The Survivor's Handbook: eating right for cancer survival"
published by the Cancer Project.

A person on a typical western diet consumes approximately 1,500 more
grams of fat each month than a person on a low-fat pure vegetarian diet.

If you're looking to trim fat, though, simply cutting beef and switching to low fat dairy products won't do, Renideo said. While the percentage of calories from fat is higher in beef than it is in chicken or fish, the difference is slight. The leanest beef, for example, derives nearly a third of its calories from fat, according to the Cancer Project, while white meat chicken and tuna derive nearly a quarter of their calories from fat.

And dairy products - even fat free or low fat - play a role in cancer growth as well, according to the Cancer Project. Studies have shown, for example, that drinking milk raises the levels of insulin-like growth factor in the bloodstream. IGF-I, the handbook says, is a powerful stimulus for cancer cell growth.

A 1998 Harvard study found that men who typically consumed more than
two servings of milk per day were at 60 percent greater risk of developing prostate cancer than those who generally avoided milk.

The British Journal of Cancer on April 3rd 2007 published the results of a study led by Professor Janet Cade of the University of Leeds. It involved studying the diets of 35,000 women aged between 35 and 69 for eight years. Eating even small amounts of red meat can greatly increase a woman's risk of breast cancer. Women who ate large amounts (more than 103 grams) of processed meat a day could be 64 per cent more likely to suffer the disease, while the researchers found as little as 57g of beef, pork or lamb a day showed an effect.

"Women generally consuming the most total meat, red and processed meat, were at the highest increased risk compared with non-meat consumers," the researchers' report said.  The women completed 217-item food questionnaires and were divided into three groups depending on whether they were low, medium or high meat-eaters. They were compared with women in the study who were vegetarian and researchers also took into account smoking, weight, fruit and vegetable intake, education, age and use of hormone replacement therapy.

Prof Cade said "The findings are robust. Whatever we adjusted the data for we could find an association…Really these results could apply to all women. At home I have cut down on the amount of red meat we eat as a family each week."

Obesity

Low-fat plant based diets reduce body weight. The soluble fibre in legumes means you can eat more and still keep your calorie intake low.

Research at George Washington University concluded that: adoption of low-fat, plant-based diets reduce body weight, improve cardiovascular risk factors and glycemic control despite the absence of prescribed limits on portion size or energy intake.’   The American Journal of Medicine.

Numerous clinical trials have shown that the consumption of low-glycemic index foods delays the return of hunger, decreases subsequent food intake, and increases the sensation of fullness compared to high-glycemic index foods.. The results of several small short-term trials (1-4 months) suggest that low-glycemic load diets result in significantly more weight or fat loss than high-glycemic load diets.

Diets rich in legumes appear to improve blood glucose control, decrease insulin secretion, and delay the return of hunger after a meal.
http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/foods/legumes/

Fats

Although past trends have encouraged people to eliminate fats from their diets recent studies have shown that we need ‘good’ fats. Fats are responsible for carrying fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K, they are a source of the essential fatty acids which maintain the functioning of cell membranes, and are a source of concentrated energy for your body.

Substituting unhydrogenated unsaturated fats (such as those in legumes. natural vegetable oils, nuts and seeds for saturated fat (such as those in animal products) and trans-fat (such as those in vegetable shortening and hard margarine) could substantially lower the risk of becoming obese and developing diabetes as well as other chronic diseases.

Bone Density and Calcium

A person trying to increase protein intake using meat or fish will lose 25 mg of calcium from their body for every 100 g eaten. In contrast, a 100 g portion of legumes (by dry weight) has an approximately neutral effect on calcium.

Alkaline foods (typically high in potassium relative to protein) increase blood pH, thus protecting bone. Vegetable sources of protein (other than grains and some nuts) are usually alkaline, while animal sources of protein are usually acid. Milk is approximately neutral, but cheese is even more acid than meat or fish.

Reducing salt intake by 5 g per day (about half of average Western intake) will reduce calcium losses by about 35 mg per day.

http://www.saltmatters.org/

Adequate vitamin D can improve absorption of calcium from food. In contrast, caffeine reduces calcium absorption.

Other factors also help to maintain strong bones. Vitamin K, from green leafy vegetables and broccoli, helps to protect and strengthen bone, particularly in postmenopausal women.  Vitamin C and magnesium also help to build and strengthen bone.  Omega-3 fatty acids may also have a beneficial effect.