And yet there is a lot of scientific evidence that what we eat and drink has an enormous influence on whether or not we get cancer, and how we can survive it. The excellent documentary 'Forks over Knives' puts forward a thorough case that a diet high in meat or animal protein is strongly linked to heart disease and cancer. Also, the known effectiveness (for certain cancers) of the Ketosis Diet, in which the patient switches to a diet almost entirely free of carbohydrates and sugars, shows that cancer and our diet are strongly linked.
The majority of cancers, some 90–95% of cases, are due to genetic mutations from environmental factors. The remaining 5–10% are due to inherited genetics.
"Warburg hypothesised that cancer growth is caused by tumour cells generating energy (as, e.g., adenosine triphosphate / ATP) mainly by anaerobic breakdown of glucose (known as fermentation, or anaerobic respiration). This is in contrast to healthy cells, which mainly generate energy from oxidative breakdown of pyruvate. Pyruvate is an end product of glycolysis, and is oxidised within the mitochondria. According to Warburg, hence, cancer should be interpreted as a mitochondrial dysfunction."
And to quote from the man himself:
Cancer, above all other diseases, has countless secondary causes. But, even for cancer, there is only one prime cause. Summarised in a few words, the prime cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar.
Nowadays, biochemists regard genetic problems as the cause of cancer, and yet if our bodies do have such a serious genetic predisposition for cancer, why has this not been weeded out through natural selection? A more likely scenario is that our bodies have been developed, over millions of years, to digest small amounts of fresh meat, along with sugars locked up in starches and fibrous plant material. In this situation, they run fine but if they are swamped with excessive amounts of refined, raw sugar and alcoholic drinks (partly and fully fermented sugars), they are in a very unnatural situation. In such a situation, sugar fermentation takes place in their cells and cancers develop. It's worth noting that the appearance of cancers in our body is actually normal. Micro-cancers appear all the time and our immune system gets rid of them on a regular basis. But it is the unstopped development of these micro-cancers into macro-cancers that is unnatural. The presence of sugar fermentation in our cells could be the key to why this happens. That creates an unnatural cellular environment which supports those unnatural cellular activities.
After many years of drinking socially (and getting drunk), I cut back because I realised that alcohol is a 'sweet death'. It is a way to lose yourself in a warm but poisonous fog. It would seem, if Warburg is right, that sugar and alcohol may be the 'sweet death' for our bodies too.
Secondly, the problems with preserved meats, discussed in the WHO report, aren't just about the meat itself, or the fat and salt added to it. As the WHO report states, certain organic molecules are created during the high temperature cooking process. In particular, aromatic amines are created. This doesn't sound too scary but I found out, several years ago, that the amines present in preserved meats, such as histamine, cadaverine and putrescence (you can guess why they're called that) can actually alter the mood of a person eating them if that person's digestive system is low on certain key enzymes known as Mono-amine Oxidase Inhibitors or MAO's. If a person is low on these MAO's, the amines in the preserved meats can make that person moody, aggressive, tearful and generally a mess if they eat such meats on a regular basis. To read the full description, check out this earlier blog entry.
There's another problem with foods cooked to a high temperature. They often end up containing significant levels of acrylamides (chemically related to the amines discussed above). Many years ago, a research team in Scandinavia investigated the strange problem of a herd of cows that were showing signs of mental injury. The researchers eventually tracked down the cause of the cows' distress. The cows were drinking from water contaminated by acrylamides leaking from a nearby factory. The researchers followed up on this discovery and discovered that acrylamides can be toxic to the body and brain. Unfortunately, the danger from acrylamides for us doesn't come from living next to a factory. Any food that is browned or turned golden by heating will contain acrylamides. At the high temperates created by roasting and toasting, organic molecules in the food are chemically transformed into acrylamides. Their negative effect on our bodies is multifaceted. As this cancer.gov report states, acrylamides are linked to higher incidents of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and possibly renal cell cancer. In other words, our chips and toast are toxic.
All in all, there's no sense in religiously avoiding everything that might produce acrylamides; a fish and chip supper once a month isn't a death sentence, but the negative effects will accumulate. It's probably a lot like sugar and diabetes. We have to keep the consumption down and make these unhealthy foods a small minority of our diet, or we will eventually suffer the consequences. Greens for breakfast, anyone?
The man's medical records were quite clear. His case was hopeless. In the space of three years, he had had five operations to remove a tumour from his neck. The last was a failure: it was impossible to remove the whole tumour. He would die soon. As if that wasn't bad enough, the poor man then suffered two attacks of erysipelas, a skin infection that produced a lurid red rash and a high fever. But when the fever broke and the man recovered, his tumour had vanished. Seven years later, he was still alive and well. There could be only one explanation: whatever had caused the fever had also destroyed the cancer.
This post is about an article in today's Guardian newspaper that reinforces the idea put forward in those previous articles. The guardian article states that a US study of six-thousand people, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), concluded that:
High levels of dietary animal protein in people under 65 years of age was linked to a fourfold increase in their risk of death from cancer or diabetes, and almost double the risk of dying from any cause over an 18-year period.
This conclusion matches the scientific evidence quoted in the Forks over Knives documentary that a diet that contains more than 5% animal proteins significantly increases the risk of cancer. According to that scientific research, reverting to a diet low in animal protein can reverse the problems caused by the high-animal-protein exposure; the damage can be undone.
I'm hoping very much that Britain's heart disease and cancer charities respond to this mounting evidence and push forward campaigns to encourage people to reduce their animal protein consumption. As the NHANES study reported, a high animal protein diet can be as dangerous to a person's health as smoking.
A few months ago, I wrote a blog article about the excellent Forks over Knives documentary. The documentary made a fascinating and convincing case for the connection between major illnesses and a diet high in animal proteins. As a follow-on from that entry, I thought I’d mention a new article in this week’s New Scientist magazine. It reports on some very interesting new research. To quote:
Switching to a diet based exclusively on animals or plants triggers rapid changes to the microbes that rule your gut. This knowledge could help fine-tune diets to improve health, as well as reduce the risk of illnesses like inflammatory bowel disease.
The New Scientist magazine last week reported on a study by the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California to see if diet and lifestyle could reduce or revert cell-ageing in 10 men in their early sixties with prostate cancer. They were ‘asked to follow a strict healthy-living regime rather than take a course of drugs. They ate a meat-free diet, did exercise and yoga daily and went to weekly group therapies. After five years, the telomeres on a type of white blood cell were 10% longer on average in these men. In contrast, 25 men with the same condition who kept to their usual lifestyles saw the telomeres on these cells shrink by an average of 3% over the same period.’ Read More...