Recent studies over the past few years have been giving vegetarianism as well as veganism more credibility in the eyes of mainstream science. As Harvard Medical School recognizes, “Studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses.”
The plethora of data that’s emerged has also justified the use of these findings in a clinical setting, and many doctors are now urging their patients to adopt a plant-based diet to treat and avoid several diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.
Take for example Michel McMacken, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at NYU School of Medicine and the Director of the Bellevue Hospital Weight Management Clinic. She reveals the grim reality of trying to treat disease without addressing diet:
Day in and day out, I treated symptoms and blood test results related to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fatty liver, osteoarthritis, and peripheral vascular disease — but I rarely got to the common root of these conditions. My approach was usually reactive rather than proactive. My patients didn’t get much better – the best I felt I could hope for was that their disease state was ‘managed’ and didn’t get worse.
“Like most physicians,” she continues, she “had little to no nutrition instruction during [her] training, and [she] felt ill equipped to counsel” her patients with regard to their food.
But she did her research, attended conferences with like-minded practitioners, and has since seen an enormous change:
The results have been nothing short of tremendous, both for my patients and for me personally. No longer do I automatically reach for the prescription pad when I see a patient with diabetes and high cholesterol. . . . In just a short time, I’ve seen many patients avoid or decrease medications, prevent diabetes, lose weight, and reduce their cardiovascular risk by moving towards or fully adopting a plant-based diet.
Another example is Kim A.Williams,MD ,the former President of the American College of Cardiology who also adopted a vegan Diet.He often sees patients who are overweight and struggling with hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol. One of the things he advises them to do specifically is to go vegan. He is also the Chairman of Cardiology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. His enthusiasm for a planet-based diet comes from his interpretation of medical literature, having investigated several studies proving that people who pursue vegetarian diets live longer than meat eaters and have lower rates of death from heart disease, diabetes, and kidney problems.
The list of studies and practitioners is long, so if you’re of the belief that a vegan or vegetarian diet is or can be harmful, the truth of the matter is, there is no scientific basis to support it. As far as what humans are “meant” to eat, that’s also a major debate within the scientific community, yet we are presented with one perspective from a young age, and proponents of the evolution theory also seem to use that argument quite a bit. An article by Rob Dunn written for Scientific American titled “Human ancestors were nearly all vegeterians, explores this issue from an evolutionary perspective, revealing how our guts might be evolved to perform best on a vegetarian diet. This perspective also complements all of the science that is emerging today.
The fact is, people go plant based for a number of reasons. These include losing weight, reducing their risk of heart disease, decreasing the number of pills they have to take, increasing their energy levels, and more.
What About Eggs? Can They Really Be Compared to Cigarettes?
According to the perspectives presented above, eggs would fit into the same category. They have been promoted as both healthy and unhealthy at various stages, so perhaps moderation is the best answer? It’s difficult to say, particularly when you have multiple studies condemning the consumption of eggs, linking them to cancer and heart disease, and others praising the consumption of eggs, showing complete opposite results.
For example, a study published found that daily consumption of cholesterol appeared to cut a woman’s life short as much as smoking 25 thousand cigarettes, or 5 cigarettes a day for 15 years.
Following up on their research a year later, a study published in the journal of Atherosclerosis research found that regular egg consumption could put your health at grave risk. Canadian researchers examined 1,231 patients with an average age of 62. They used ultrasound measurements of the carotid arteries to establish the presence and quantity of atherosclerotic plaque. Smoking was measured in “pack-years” and egg yolk consumption in “egg yolk-years.” The researchers discovered that eating one egg per day was just as bad for your heart as smoking five cigarettes per day.A single large egg contains more than 180 mg of cholesterol, and the average American consumes almost five eggs per week, which suggests they are serious contributing factors to the number one killer in the U.S., heart disease.
People who have difficulty controlling their total and LDL cholesterol may also want to be cautious about eating egg yolks and instead choose foods made with egg whites. The same is true for people with diabetes. In studies including the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, heart disease risk was increased among men and women with diabetes who ate one or more eggs a day. For people who have diabetes and heart disease, it may be best to limit egg consumption to no more than three yolks per week.
A more recent study conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital followed more than 130,000 people for 36 years, monitoring illnesses, lifestyles, diets, and mortality rates.They found that substituting between 15g and 19g of animal protein, the equivalent of a single sausage, for legumes, pulses, nuts, and other planet protein, significantly decreased the risk of early death. Replacing eggs with plant-based protein also led to a 19% reduction in death risk.Researchers found that a 10% higher intake of meat was associated with a 2% higher mortality rate and an 8% higher chance of cardiovascular death.
According to Dr. T. Colin Campbell, known for his work on the “China study.
What I did during the early part of my career was nothing more than what traditional science would suggest. I made the observation that diets presumably higher in animal protein were associated with liver cancer in the Philippines. When coupled with the extraordinary report from India showing that casein fed to experimental rats at the usual levels of intake dramatically promoted liver cancer, it prompted my 27-year-long study The China Project, of how this effect worked. We did dozens of experiments to see if this was true and, further, how it worked.
In the study, Campbell emphasizes his use of traditional criteria to decide what is a carcinogen (in regards to animal-based proteins) from the government’s chemical carcinogenesis testing program. Campbell also stated that, “this is not a debatable subject and the implications of this conclusion are staggering in so many ways.”
The study also showed that animal protein is very acidic, forcing the body to leach calcium and phosphorus from the bones to neutralize the acidity.
How Eggs Are Mass Produced
Another thing to consider is animal cruelty. While there are some humane egg farmers, when it comes to the eggs we most commonly find in fast food restaurants and grocery stores, this isis the harsh reality.The following video by activist Erin Janus perfectly depicts what’s wrong with the way eggs are mass produced