In this Post, I will first demonstrate that vegans generally outlive omnivores (meat-eaters) by 10 years (Section A) while meat-eaters consistently show to have low testosterone and reproductive capability in comparison to vegans. (Section B)
Vegans appear to be better equiped than Meat Eaters for self-replication and Longevity: findings of fact
- 1 Section A
- 2 Vegans live longer than Meat-eaters
- 3 Telomeres, a Key Part of the Aging Process
- 4 Telomerase Keeps the Chromosomes from “Fraying”
- 5 Whole Plant-Based Foods Increase Telomerase and Protect Telomeres
- 6 Meditation and Exercise also keep Telomere Long
- 7 Veganism and The Enzyme TOR
- 8 Plant-Strong foods can Slow Down TOR, the Engine of Aging
- 9 Summary
- 10 Section B
- 11 Vegan versus Meat-Eaters with regard to Fertility, Reproductivity and Libido
- 12 Other Advantages for Plant based Diets
- 13 Discussion
- 14 Conclusion
- 15 Debunking Meat Paleo
Vegans live longer than Meat-eaters
One of the key biomarkers that determine longevity is TL, or telomere length. Different studies that I mention below show that plant-strong eaters have much longer telomeres than meat eaters. But first, a quick recap on telomeres.
Telomeres, a Key Part of the Aging Process
Telomeres may be one key to the aging process. Telomeres protect our DNA by acting as buffers at the ends of chromosomes. They have been compared to the plastic caps on shoelaces that keep the lace from fraying. Telomeres function as shoelace caps do, but they protect genes instead of shoelaces. The average cell divides between 50 and 70 times before cell death. Each time the cell divides, the telomeres on the end of the chromosome get shorter. Studies have shownthat people with long telomeres live longer and healthier lives than people with short telomeres. Likewise with this study where the older subjects’ telomeres were significantly shorter.
Telomerase Keeps the Chromosomes from “Fraying”
The telomerase enzyme rebuilds telomeres and keeps DNA from fraying. In 2009, scientist Elizabeth Blackburn was awarded the Nobel Prize for her discovery of telomerase, found in the roots of bristlecone pines but also in humans. (The oldest living organism on Earth is a 5,000-year-old bristlecone pine tree in the White Mountains of California. Bristlecone pines not only live long but also age well.)
Whole Plant-Based Foods Increase Telomerase and Protect Telomeres
Many studies have connected plant foods to longer telomeres and higher telomerase activity. In a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, data from 3,660 U.S. adults looked at diets rich in carotenoids and telomere length. The study found that a carotenoid-rich diet was linked to longer telomeres. Carotenoids are the organic pigments responsible for the bright colors of many fruits and vegetables.
In 2008, Dr. Dean Ornish teamed up with Blackburn and found that just three monthsof eating a plant-based diet significantly boosted telomerase activity.
In a 2013 follow-up studypublished in The Lancet Oncology, Ornish noted that telomere length had actually increased in the plant-based diet group. While the group eating plant foods also exercised and lost weight, other studies have shown that even more vigorous exercise and similar amounts of weight loss have not affected telomere length. And in a 2013 review, fiber (found exclusively in plant foods) was associated with longer telomeres. Plant foods are filled with antioxidants that can fight the oxidative stress responsible for telomere shrinking, preventing and even reversing cellular aging.
What was it about the Ornish intervention that so powerfully protected telomeres after just three months? We saw that stress managementseems to help, but what about diet and exercise? Was it the plant-based diet, was it the walking 30 minutes a day, or was it just because of the weight loss? In 2013, a study was published that can help us answer just that question.
The researchers took about 400 women and randomized them into four groups: a portion-controlled diet group, an exercise group, a portion controlled diet and exercise group, and a control group for a full year. In the video, you can see a comparison of the length of each group’s telomeres. After a year of doing nothing, there was essentially no change in the control group, which is what we’d expect. The exercise group was 45 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise like jogging. After a year of that, they did no better. What about just weight loss? Nothing. The same thing for exercise and weight loss, no significant change either.
So, as long as we’re eating the same diet, it doesn’t appear to matter how small our portions are, or how much weight we lose, or how hard we exercise. After a year, the subjects saw no benefit. On the other hand, the Ornish group on the plant-based diet, who lost the same amount of weight after just three months and exercised less than half as hard, saw significant telomere protection.
It wasn’t the weight loss or the exercise: it was the food. What aspects of a plant-based diet make it so protective? Studies have associated more vegetables and fruit, and less butter, with longer telomeres. From the latest review, foods high in fiber and vitamins are strongly related to longer telomeres. However, the key may be avoiding saturated fat. Swapping just 1% of saturated fat calories in our diet for anything else can add nearly a whole yearof aging’s worth of length onto our telomeres.
Saturated fats like palmitic acid, the primary saturated fat in salmon, and found in meat, eggs, and dairy in general, can be toxicto cells. This has been demonstrated in heart cells, bone marrow cells, pancreatic cells, and brain cells. The toxic effects on cell death rates happen right around what you’d see in the blood stream of people who eat a lot of animal products. It may not be the saturated fat itself, however, as saturated fat may just be a marker for the increased oxidative stress and inflammation associated with those foods.
With this link to saturated fat, it’s no wonder that lifelong low cholesterol levels have been related to longer telomeres and a smaller proportion of short telomeres—in other words, markers of slower biological aging. In fact, there’s a rare congenital birth defect called progeria syndrome, where children age 8-10 times faster than normal. It seems associatedwith a particular inability to handle animal fats.
The good news is that “despite past accumulated injury leading to shorter telomere lengths, current healthy behaviors might help to decreasea person’s risk of some of the potential consequences like heart disease.” Eating more fruit and vegetables and less meat and having more support from friends and family attenuatethe association between shorter telomeres and the ravages of aging.
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Meditation and Exercise also keep Telomere Long
I already discussed how stress reduction through meditation lengthens telomeres, (See blog, from January 2018). As for exercises, London researchers studied2,400 twins, and those who exercised more may have pumped up their telomeres along with their muscles. Apparently it doesn’t take much either. The “heavy” exercise group was only averaging about a half-hour a day.
These were mostly folks in their 40’s, but does it still work in your 50’s? Yes. A studyout of South Korea found that people in their 50’s who work out three hours a week had longer telomeres. What about athletes? The young athletes started out in the same boat, with nice, long, young, healthy telomeres capping all their chromosomes. The older athletes, in contrast to the controls, appearedto still have the chromosomes of 20-year-olds. But these were marathon runners, triathletes running 50 miles a week for 35 years
Veganism and The Enzyme TOR
Another antiaging mechanism involves the enzyme TOR, which stands for “target of rapamycin.” Rapamycin was discovered in the 1970s in Easter Island in the southeast Pacific Ocean. It suppresses the immune system and is given to transplant patients to prevent the body from rejecting the new organs, but it also inhibits TOR, an engine of aging and age-related diseases. When TOR is activated, cells grow and divide; but when it’s turned down, cells go into conservation mode and clean up and recycle old proteins. TOR-driven aging is likened to an engine on a race car going at 100 mph without brakes. When we are young, the engine runs at full speed, pummeling through the roads and soaking up fuel as we grow into adults. It’s then time to slow down, yet our “cars” continue at 100 mph.
Why? It’s how we evolved. In the wild, most living organisms don’t live long enough to age and thus have no use for breaks. In 1600s London, 75 percent of people died before they reached age 26. We evolved mechanisms to make sure our bodies run at full speed so that reproduction happens before death. But problems arise when the car continues at full speed. TOR is involved in cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases.
“Processed meat intake showed an expected inverse association with telomere length…” (Source)
Plant-Strong foods can Slow Down TOR, the Engine of Aging
Changing our diet may be the best way to slow TOR down. Rapamycin can inhibit TOR, but it comes with side effects since it suppresses the immune system, making people vulnerable to infections. Caloric restriction also inhibits TOR, but eating too few calories can leave you feeling weak and hungry and is difficult to sustain. Is there a better way? Yes. Increasing your intake of plant foods can help. Eating less animal protein has been shown to hamper TOR activity, mimicking the effects of caloric restriction without the side effects. A 2012 paper found that the amino acid leucine, mostly found in animal foods, has the greatest effect on TOR signaling compared to other proteins. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables have phytochemicals that function as natural TOR inhibitors. The cancer-protective effect of plant-based diets is thought to be in part due to TOR down-regulation
The science is consistent on this point – vegans live longer. Studies often show7-8 years of additional life, and at least 12% reduction in mortality from any cause over the same period of time as compared to meat eaters. These effects are valid for both genders, but are seen even more strongly in men.
Vegan versus Meat-Eaters with regard to Fertility, Reproductivity and Libido
1 .Vegans have higher testosterone:
A British Journal of Cancer studyof 696 men (233 of whom were vegans) concluded this: “Vegans had 13% higher T [testosterone] concentration than meat-eaters and 8% higher than vegetarians.” Not only did vegan men have as much testosterone as meat eaters, they actually have 13% MORE of this manly hormone. On the flip side, too much testosterone can be a bad thing because it leads to higher levels of IGF-I – a risk factor for certain cancers. Surprisingly, the report also found this: “Vegan men had on average 9% lower IGF-I levels than meat-eaters.” A big boost in T and added protection against IGF-I? Win and win.
This study is the largest to date to investigate differences in serum hormone concentrations between meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans. The significant 9% lower IGF-I concentration among vegan men compared to meat-eaters has not been reported before. IGF-I may play an important role in the aetiology of prostate cancer via its ability to interact with androgens to stimulate prostatic cell growth (Cohen et al, 1994), but its determinants are poorly understood. Chan et al (1998) found that men who subse- quently developed prostate cancer had 8% higher serum IGF-I concentrations than men who remained healthy, suggesting that the 9% difference we observed is large enough to significantly alter prostate cancer risk.
SHBG was significantly higher in the vegans than in the meat- eaters, leading to a corresponding increase in T in order to main- tain constant levels of FT, a pattern which has been found in previous smaller observational studies (Key et al, 1990; Pusateri et al, 1990). The differences in SHBG concentrations between dietary groups were reduced but not eliminated by adjusting for differences in BMI, suggesting that nutritional factors specific to a vegan diet may be important determinants of circulating SHBG levels, over and above their effect on BMI.
The significantly lower plasma total cholesterol concentration found among vegans compared to both vegetarians and meat- eaters, and the lower concentration in vegetarians compared to meat-eaters has been well-established in previous observational studies (Thorogood et al, 1987). These results confirm that large differences in lipid intake and lipoprotein physiology do exist between these dietary groups, but that these differences are not associated with circulating androgen concentrations.
The results did not support the hypothesis that meat-eaters have higher levels of bioavailable androgens than non meat-eaters. No differences in hormone levels were found between meat-eaters and lacto-ovo-vegetarians, suggesting that vegetarian diets may not alter prostate cancer risk, but the relatively low IGF-I levels in vegans might reduce their risk of prostate cancer. Prospective data have shown that vegetarians do not have significantly lower prostate cancer mortality rates than comparable non-vegetarians (Key et al, 1999), but these subjects were predominantly lacto- ovo-vegetarians and there are, as yet, no data on prostate cancer rates among vegans”
Testosterone levels are important for both men and women to consider, not just to buff up and stay strong, but also to support our body’s natural growth hormone, a key hormone to keep our bodies youthfuland energized.
Testosterone also supports our libidos,our mood, and our levels of motivation and drive. Though women don’t want too much testosterone, a little isactually important to ward off excess estrogenthat can lead to depression, weight gain, hormonal changes, or just an overall imbalance of sex hormones in the body. And men, of course, are always looking to improve their testosterone levels to help build muscle,stay strong, and support their male livelihood that the big T word is often associated with.
A number of studies suggest that exposure to industrial pollutants may affect sexual function, for example, loss of libido, sexual dysfunction, and impotence. This may be due to effects on testosterone levels. In a studyof men who ate a lot of contaminated fish, an elevation in PCB levels in the blood was associated with a lower concentration of testosterone levels. These pollutants are found predominantly in fish, but also meat and dairy. The lowest levels are found in plants (see Dietary Pollutants May Affect Testosterone Levels).
Testosterone doesn’t just play a role in the determination of secondary sex characteristics like facial hair at puberty. It also regulates normal sexual functioning and the overall physical and psychological well-being of adult men. Abnormally low levels of testosterone can lead to decreased physical endurance and memory capacity, loss of libido, drop in sperm count, loss of bone density, obesity, and depression.
Endocrine-disrupting compounds that build up in fish may be able to mimic or block hormone receptors, or alter rates of synthesis or breakdown of sex steroid hormones. In children, these pollutants may actually impair sexual development. Boys who are exposed may grow up with smaller penises (although only by about two-thirds of an inch shorter at most). Researchers have tried exposing cells from aborted fetal human penises to these kinds of dietary pollutants, and gene expression related to genital development is indeed affectedat real-life exposure levels. We’re not sure if the effects on penis length are due to the pro-estrogenic effects of the toxins, though, or the anti-testosterone effects
2. Vegans Have a More Attractive libido Scent
Take a group of 17 guys, put them all on a standard high-meat diet for two weeks and have a group of women rate the attractiveness of their scent. Record those results, then have the men switch to a vegetarian diet for two weeks and have the same women rate them again. Researchers in Praguedid exactly that and the results were significant (see this chart below – grey bars on the vegetarian diet). The women rated the vegetarians as smelling considerably more pleasant, more attractive and less intense.
3. Vegan Men Tend to be More Fit, and hence, better progenitors.
In this era of the super-sized epidemic, obesity isn’t attractive on anyone. Maintaining a healthy bodyweight is a guaranteed way to look better and feel more confident. It turns out, vegans are the only group successfully doing this. After comparing the BMI of vegans, several types of vegetarians, and meat eaters, all categories were at the “overweight” level except vegans. On a whole-food, plant-based diet (like my One Ingredient Diet), dropping extra pounds is almost automatic, even without any other changes. And what about the notion that vegan guys are scrawny? I’d think Brad Pitt and Jared Leto and Mike Tyson (all vegan) would have put an end to that discussion by now…
4. Vegan Men Have Glowing Skin (to attract the nuptial partner)
Granted, a glowing complexion might not be what every man dreams about having, but women find it more attractive. Studies have shown that the more yellow a person’s skin tone, the more attractive they’re rated by the opposite sex. “The healthy appearance of skin yellowness may be attributable to dietary carotenoid deposition in the skin.” It’s only a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables (i.e. a vegan diet) that leads to higher levels of these glowing carotenoids. See: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/golden-glow/
5. Vegan Men Have much Less Erectile Dysfunction than meat-eaters:
In the vast majority of cases, erectile dysfunction is a direct symptom of heart disease (our nation’s number one killer). “Erectile dysfunction and coronary artery disease are just two manifestations of the same disease: inflamed, clogged, and crippled arteries.” And also, “men over 40 who experience ED have a 50x (5,000%!!) risk of having a cardiac event.” Of course, a plant-based dietis the single most effective step to preventing and reversing heart disease (and, therefore, erectile disfunction as well).
6. Less Cancer and other chronic diseases
We know decreasing animal product consumption decreases our IGF-1 levels, but how low do we have to go? How plant-based does our diet need to get? In my 2-min. video How Plant-Based to Lower IGF-1?the IGF-1 levels are compared between men and women eating conventional, vegetarian, and vegan diets.
Other Advantages for Plant based Diets
In this new study, researchers focused on the specific sources of the subjects’ protein intake. A total of 81,337 participants were asked about their usual intake of these foods during the previous year, and then they were followed for 6-12 years. Data was analyzed to determine the percentage of total protein that came from these animal and plant sources.
Int J Epidemiol. 2018 Apr 2. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyy030. [Epub ahead of print]
Patterns of plant and animal protein intake are strongly associated with cardiovascular mortality: the Adventist Health Study-2 cohort.
Current evidence suggests that plant and animal proteins are intimately associated with specific large nutrient clusters that may explain part of their complex relation with cardiovascular health. We aimed at evaluating the association between specific patterns of protein intake with cardiovascular mortality.
We selected 81 337 men and women from the Adventist Health Study-2. Diet was assessed between 2002 and 2007, by using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Dietary patterns based on the participants’ protein consumption were derived by factor analysis. Cox regression analysis was used to estimate multivariate-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) adjusted for sociodemographic and lifestyle factors and dietary components.
There were 2276 cardiovascular deaths during a mean follow-up time of 9.4 years. The HRs for cardiovascular mortality were 1.61 [98.75% confidence interval (CI), 1.12 2.32; P-trend < 0.001] for the ‘Meat’ protein factor and 0.60 (98.75% CI, 0.42 0.86; P-trend < 0.001) for the ‘Nuts & Seeds’ protein factor (highest vs lowest quintile of factor scores). No significant associations were found for the ‘Grains’, ‘Processed Foods’ and ‘Legumes, Fruits & Vegetables’ protein factors. Additional adjustments for the participants’ vegetarian dietary pattern and nutrients related to cardiovascular disease outcomes did not change the results.
Associations between the ‘Meat’ and ‘Nuts & Seeds’ protein factors and cardiovascular outcomes were strong and could not be ascribed to other associated nutrients considered to be important for cardiovascular health. Healthy diets can be advocated based on protein sources, preferring low contributions of protein from meat and higher intakes of plant protein from nuts and seeds.
PMID: 29618018 DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyy030
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Of all the plant and animal protein sources analyzed, the risk of cardiovascular deaths steadily climbed with higher consumption of meat protein and steadily fell with greater consumption of protein from nuts and seeds.
In the groups with the highest meat intake, the risk was about 60% higher than in the group with the lowest intake. In the group with the highest intake of nuts and seeds, the cardiovascular risk was about 40% lowercompared to the group with the lowest intake of nuts and seeds.
Why Is Meat So Harmful to the Cardiovascular System?
•Meat is high in heme iron, which has pro-oxidant effectsthat promote cardiovascular disease.
•Meat promotes the growth of unfavorable bacteriathat lead to the production of TMAO, which inflamesthe endothelium and promotes atherosclerosis.
In addition to cardiovascular disease, diets high in animal protein also promote cancer.
Animal protein, which has a higher biological value (compared to plant protein) because of its greater essential amino acid content, is absorbed and utilized quickly by the body. This raises IGF-1 to dangerous levels, which promotes the growth of tumors and enhances fat storage.
Why Are Nuts and Seeds So Protective?
•Nuts and seeds are the optimal protein choicefor a cardio-protective diet.
•They are richin a variety of heart-healthy nutrients: potassium, magnesium, fiber, plant sterols, tocopherols (vitamin E), flavonoids and other polyphenols.
•They have been shownto reduce total and LDL cholesterol.
•The fat-binding fibers are not absorbed, carrying fat into the stool and toilet.
•They are highly satiating, promotinga healthy weight.
In addition to their cardiovascular benefits, nuts also facilitatethe absorption of vegetable-derived phytochemicals, which increases the antioxidant potential and the protective function of immune system cells.
Calories from nuts and seeds are absorbed very slowly, which means that the body is more likely to use them for energy rather than storage.
A diet rich in plant protein sources(such as seeds, nuts, and beans) providesadequate but not excessive amounts of all of the essential amino acids, enabling the body to modulate (lower) IGF-1 to the most protective levels, without getting too low.
As protein and fat sources, nuts and seeds are the clear winners over animal products. Nuts and seeds are crucial for cardiovascular health and longevity. Now
Well, there are similar necessary components found exclusively, or almost exclusively, in the animal kingdom—not the plant kingdom—such as carnosine, carnitine, creatine, and taurine.
But if something is made only by animals, what about those eating vegetarian? Thankfully, vegetarians are animals too, so they make it themselves. Now, true carnivores are the exception. Cats don’t make taurine, for example, but that’s because they’re built to eat animals that do. But humans produce all these compounds on their own—unless they have some rare genetic inborn error of metabolism birth defect.
There is actually a hereditary disease that may affect as many as one in 40,000 births. It’s a mutation on chromosome 5 of a carnitine transport protein. They actually make enough carnitine; but because of the birth defect, end up peeing too much out, and so develop a carnitine deficiency.
on Jeff, but it’s very difficult to be logical with meat-eaters because meat parasites and bacteria impact the gut and enteric system, including with dopamine release…so meat eaters are addicted and addiction fools their mind into making them believe that they are actually right. This appears to be sadly the case with Chris. Being a Frenchman, i agree with some of his points with wine, but not on the meat issue. Maybe he has SNPs (nucleotide polymorphisms), with the linoleic acid gene, in which case he would not be able to make arachidonic acid in sufficient quantities. Maybe that is why he did not thrive with vegan foods. If that is the case, then yes, he should eat a Mediterranean like diet. But telling people that animal foods dont lead to CVD and are healthy is irresponisble. To clarify this question, let us ask Chris if he has a SNP with regard to linoleic acid gene
Alzheimer’s Disease, but also cancer and accelerated aging. That’s why Africans with ApoE4 genes have very low Alzheimer’s Disease. Coz they dont eat much animals foods. But American africans who do have high animal foods have much more A.D and most of the other degenerative diseases. Our liver makes 2 grams of cholesterol a day. And our cells about another gram of cholesterol. That’s 3 grams of endogenous cholesterol, more than enough for the body’s needs. Furthermore, we have a HDL lipoprotein carrier that recycles cholesterol. So yes, cholesterol is important for body functions, but animal foods and their cholesterol and saturated fats messes up our biochemistry including our insulin receptors. As the President of a Cardiology association once said, you can feed a dog or cat all the meat he or she can ingest and there will be no issue if the meat is raw and clean. Not so with humans. If vegan is too difficult (the ideal is vegan without supplementation, which is even more difficult, but the best way to eat), then a Mediterranean Diet with less than 5 percent clean cheese like goat and sheep (provided there is animal welfare and care without the sacrifice of the males, which can be great lawnmowers)) can be acceptable. Some people can’t convert linoleic acid to arachidonic acid, so for these people, some animal foods is actually indicated because arachidonic is essential for human physiology, it is one of the most abundant fatty acids in the brain, and is present in similar quantities to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which you can get from vegan sources of ALA like wild pursalane. So voilà a quick reply
In the United States about 70 percent of meals are consumed outside the home, and about 20 percent are eaten in the car. About half of American families rarely have family dinner, according to Harvard University’s Family Dinner Project.
Decades of research have shown that children who regularly eat dinner with their families at home do better on a number of health measures. When kids eat with their parents, they are more likely to have:
More fruits and vegetables and drink less soda.
Lower rates of obesity as both children and adults.
Higher self-esteem and a more positive outlook.
Lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, school behavioral problems and depression.
Better body image and fewer eating disorders.
Better grades, higher reading scores and better vocabulary.
In the United States about 70 percent of meals are consumed outside the home, and about 20 percent are eaten in the car. About half of American families rarely have family dinner, according to Harvard University’s Family Dinner Project.
https://thefamilydinnerproject.orgThe Emory Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life Working Paper No. 26 May 2003 When people in their fifties and sixties are feeling low and dream about comfort food, they might long for some meatloaf and mashed potatoes or a chicken and dumplings. When those in their thirties and forties, pine for a gastronomical antidepressant, their minds might flash on macaroni and cheese or even TV dinners eaten on small folding tables. Twenty-somethings report that their comfort foods include pot roast, ice cream, Chinese food, broccoli casserole, and potato soup. When it comes to today’s children and adolescents, however, it doesn’t stretch the imagination too much to conjure the following scene thirty or forty years from now: Ashley: I am feeling so down. Nothing seems to be able to lift my spirits. Cameron: We need some comfort food. Let’s make a sandwich and wrap it in paper and eat it in the back of a van. Ashley: Wow, that’s exactly what I need! While admittedly tongue-in-cheek, this scenario illuminates the fact that fewer and fewer—if any—meals are prepared or consumed at home as we set out on our journey into the 21 st Century. Statistics tell us that as many as 70% of meals are eaten out of the home and on average, less than 33% of American families eat together more than two times per week. And when these families do eat together, they more often than not eat food that has been prepared completely in another setting or brought in from another setting and re-heated for home consumption. There are many who express grave concern about the changes in American family life that have been contiguous with the loss of American “table time.” In a large study of changes in family time use patterns from 1981 to 1997, Hofferth (1999; 2000) has reported that there was a 33% drop in family dinners commensurate with what she termed an almost complete disappearance of family conversations. Children’s free time dropped by almost 12 hours per week with play time dropping to a low of only nine hours. Unstructured outdoor activities were halved in this 16-year period. There are only so many hours in any family’s week; things taken from one place will show up in another. Hofferth identified the new uses of these lost hours. Involvement in structured sports doubled to almost 5.5 hours per week with the unanticipated consequent of a five fold increase (up to three hours per week) of non-participating children standing along the sidelines with their parents watching siblings play soccer, tag football, and the like. Interestingly, time spent on school work also increased by 50%. While there are many who decry the loss of the family meal time and the increase in structured activities (not always chosen by the child), our concern is with what else is lost with the loss of the family mealtime. Hofferth cites data that indicate that the single strongest predictor of academic achievement scores and low rates of behavioral problems was amount of home-based family meal time. She notes that meal time was a more powerful predictor than time spent in school, studying, church, or participation in sports. This result held even when controlled for race, gender, education, and age of parents, income and family size. She found further that American teenagers who had five or more dinners per week with a parent had higher rates of academic success, better psychological adjustment, lower rates of alcohol and drug use, and lower suicidal risk. Eating together surely is a good thing.
(PDF) Of Ketchup and Kin: Dinnertime Conversations as a Major Source of Family Knowledge, Family Adjustment, and Family Resilience. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267720308_Of_Ketchup_and_Kin_Dinnertime_Con%20versations_as_a_Major_Source_of_Family_Knowledge_Family_Adjustment_and_Family_Resilie%20nce[accessed Oct 05 2018].
Halstead et al. (8) reported that some Iranian villagers with very little animal product intake (dairy once a week, meat once a month) had normal B12 levels. None had megaloblastic anemia. Their average B12 level was 411 pg/ml which was quite high considering their diet. The authors speculated this could be because their diets, which were very low in protein, allowed for B12-producing bacteria to ascend into the ileum where the B12 could be absorbed. They also speculated that because they lived among their farm animals and their living areas were littered with feces, they picked up enough B12 through contamination.
Halstead et al.’s 1960 report was in contrast to Wokes et al.’s 1955 report (9) in which numerous British vegans were found to have neurological symptoms of B12 deficiency.
v8. Halsted JA, Carroll J, Dehghani A, Loghmani M, Prasad A. Serum vitamin B12 concentration in dietary deficiency. Am J Clin Nutr. 1960 May-Jun;8:374-6.
9. Wokes F, Badenoch J, Sinclair HM. Human dietary deficiency of vitamin B12. Am J Clin Nutr. 1955 Sep-Oct;3(5):375-82.
It’s possible that some vegans can ward off overt vitamin B12 deficiency, and even mild B12 deficiency, through B12 production by bacteria in the small intestine. However, this is an unusual condition, especially in Western countries, and should not be relied upon, including by raw foodists.
The common stereotype we have in North America of a “manly man” depicts a testosterone-fueled meat-eating machine with a high sex drive. But in reality meat-eaters have lower testosterone than their vegan counterparts and tend to suffer greatly from erectile dysfunction. Add an enlarged prostate to the mix, along with difficulty urinating, and you have a vision of a meat and dairy consumer that more closely resembles the truth.
Although the research—which originally began in 1958 and includes various studies on Seventh-day Adventists, who typically eat a plant-based diet as part of their religious beliefs—is only halfway finished, the results suggest that, on average, vegetarian men and women live 9.5 and 6.1 yearslonger, respectively, than …Nov 28, 2012
Although most evidence for men, women also have testosterone receptors, but strategically place in the brain for more family building. For women, testosterone needs to be fine tuned with an the right ratio of estrogen and progesterone. While many of the findings talked about in this Post apply to both genders, most of the research work has been done on men.
Real men lead with personal action when others are standing on the sidelines. Right now, there are few choices that can have a more positive impact on our personal lives and the world around us than adopting a vegan diet. Taking a compassionate stand against sickening animal cruelty is manly. Preserving our environment is manly. Improving our health and the health of our families is manly. But eating fast food burgers because that’s what the TV commercials tell us to do? Not so manly.
Vegan men tended to have significantly higher testosterone levels than both vegetarians and meateaters (see graph here), which can be a risk factor forprostate cancer, the reason plant-based diets appear to reverse the progression of prostate cancer may be due to how low their IGF-1 drops (see Cancer Reversal Through Diet?).
Finally, what could be more manly than being alive and healthy to care for your family? Diet-related diseases are thieves that steal our quality of life and ultimately kill us prematurely – first taking away our ability to play alongside our grandchildren and ultimately taking us out of their lives altogether
To summarize:inflammation, oxidation, damage and dysfunction are constantly hacking away at our telomeres. At the same time, our antioxidant defenses, healthy diet, exercise and stress reduction are constantly rebuilding them
The effectiveness of such a diet was recently demonstrated again by Caldwell Esselstyn in a follow-up of 200 high-risk patients. In this study, coronary artery disease was either arrested or reversed in the great majority of adherent patients, clearly contrasting that of any other peer-reviewed study of similar size.27
In conclusion, the totality of evidence supports the hypothesis that appropriately planned whole foods, plant-based diets promote longevity.
This review demonstrates that the conclusions of several meta-analysis studies which suggest that dietary saturated fat unlikely increases the risk of heart disease are misleading, and that the current evidence supports the recommendations to replace foods rich in saturated fat with minimally refined plant based foods. Recommendations based on the findings of these meta-analyses made by the media and low carb advocates to consume more saturated fat rich foods are therefore unsubstantiated and likely dangerous. While it may make an interesting read being told that scientists, such as Ancel Keyshave intentionally deceived us into believing that saturated fat-rich foods are unhealthy, it is appears that it may actually be the authors of such articles who lack in the way of honesty.
Ch. J. (H.M. Institute director)
Arachidonic acid is not one of the essential fatty acids. However, it does become essential if there is a deficiency in linoleic acidor if there is an inability to convert linoleic acid to arachidonic acid.
Some mammals lack the ability to, or have a very limited capacity to convertlinoleic acid in to arachidonic acid, making it an essential part of their diets. Since little or no arachidonic acid is found in common plants, such animals are obligate carnivores; the cat is a common example having inability to desaturate essential fatty acids .A commercial source of arachidonicacid has been derived, however, from the fungus Mortierella alpina.
• Arachidonic acid is also used in the biosynthesis of anandamide.
Arachidonic acid is one of the most abundant fatty acids in the brain, and is present in similar quantities to docosahexaenoic acid(DHA). The two account for approximately 20% of its fatty acid content.Like DHA, neurological health is reliant upon sufficient levels of arachidonic acid. Among other things, arachidonic acid helps to maintain hippocampalcell membrane fluidity.It also helps protect the brain from oxidative stress by activating peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma.ARA also activates syntaxin-3 (STX-3), a protein involved in the growth and repair of neurons.
Arachidonic acid is also involved in early neurological development. In one
Likewise, high arachidonic acid consumption is not advised for individuals with a history of inflammatory disease, or who are in compromised health. Of note, while ARA supplementation does not appear to have proinflammatory effects in healthy individuals, it may counter the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acidsupplementation.
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^“IUPAC Lipid nomenclature: Appendix A: names of and symbols for higher fatty acids”. www.sbcs.qmul.ac.uk.
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^Smith, GI; Atherton, P; Reeds, DN; Mohammed, BS; Rankin, D; Rennie, MJ; Mittendorfer, B (Sep 2011). “Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids augment the muscle protein anabolic response to hyperinsulinaemia-hyperaminoacidaemia in healthy young and middle-aged men and women”. Clinical Science. 121(6): 267–78. doi:10.1042/cs20100597. PMC 3499967. PMID 21501117.
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^MacDonald, ML; Rogers, QR; Morris, JG (1984). “Nutrition of the Domestic Cat, a Mammalian Carnivore”. Annual Review of Nutrition. 4: 521–62. doi:10.1146/annurev.nu.04.070184.002513. PMID 6380542.
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^Rivers, JP; Sinclair, AJ; Craqford, MA (1975). “Inability of the cat to desaturate essential fatty acids”. Nature. 258(5531): 171–3. Bibcode:1975Natur.258..171R. doi:10.1038/258171a0. PMID 1186900.
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^Production of life’sARA™, www.lifesdha.com/
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^Smith, W. L.; Song, I (2002). “The enzymology of prostaglandin endoperoxide H synthases-1 and -2”. Prostaglandins & other lipid mediators. 68–69: 115–28. doi:10.1016/s0090-6980(02)00025-4. PMID 12432913.
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^Powell, W. S.; Rokach, J (Apr 2015). “Biosynthesis, biological effects, and receptors of hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids (HETEs) and oxoeicosatetraenoic acids (oxo-ETEs) derived from arachidonic acid”. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1851(4): 340–355. doi:10.1016/j.bbalip.2014.10.008. PMID 25449650.
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^Brash, A. R.; Boeglin, W. E.; Chang, M. S. (Jun 1997). “Discovery of a second 15S-lipoxygenase in humans”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 94(12): 6148–52. Bibcode:1997PNAS…94.6148B. doi:10.1073/pnas.94.12.6148. PMC 21017. PMID 9177185.
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^Zhu, D; Ran, Y (May 2012). “Role of 15-lipoxygenase/15-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid in hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension”. J Physiol Sci. 62(3): 163–72. doi:10.1007/s12576-012-0196-9. PMID 22331435.
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^Romano, M; Cianci, E; Simiele, F; Recchiuti, A (Aug 2015). “Lipoxins and aspirin-triggered lipoxins in resolution of inflammation”. Eur J Pharmacol. 760: 49–63. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2015.03.083. PMID 25895638.
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^Feltenmark, S; Gautam, N; Brunnström, A; Griffiths, W; Backman, L; Edenius, C; Lindbom, L; Björkholm, M; Claesson, H. E. (Jan 2008). “Eoxins are proinflammatory arachidonic acid metabolites produced via the 15-lipoxygenase-1 pathway in human eosinophils and mast cells”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 105(2): 680–5. Bibcode:2008PNAS..105..680F. doi:10.1073/pnas.0710127105. PMC 2206596. PMID 18184802.
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^Porro, B; Songia, P; Squellerio, I; Tremoli, E; Cavalca, V (Aug 2014). “Analysis, physiological and clinical significance of 12-HETE: A neglected platelet-derived 12-lipoxygenase product”. J Chromatogr B. 964: 26–40. doi:10.1016/j.jchromb.2014.03.015. PMID 24685839.
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^Ueda, Natsuo; Tsuboi, Kazuhito; Uyama, Toru (May 2013). “Metabolism of endocannabinoids and related N -acylethanolamines: Canonical and alternative pathways”. FEBS J. 280(9): 1874–94. doi:10.1111/febs.12152. PMID 23425575.
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abTrappe TA, Liu SZ (2013). “Effects of prostaglandins and COX-inhibiting drugs on skeletal muscle adaptations to exercise”. J. Appl. Physiol. 115(6): 909–19. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00061.2013. PMC 3764617. PMID 23539318.
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^Crawford, MA; Sinclair, AJ (1971). “Nutritional influences in the evolution of mammalian brain. In: lipids, malnutrition & the developing brain”. Ciba Foundation symposium: 267–92. PMID 4949878.
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^Fukaya, T.; Gondaira, T.; Kashiyae, Y.; Kotani, S.; Ishikura, Y.; Fujikawa, S.; Kiso, Y.; Sakakibara, M. (2007). “Arachidonic acid preserves hippocampal neuron membrane fluidity in senescent rats”. Neurobiology of Aging. 28(8): 1179–1186. doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2006.05.023. PMID 16790296.
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vAn article by Rob Dunn written for Scientific American by titled “Human Ancestors Were Nearly All Vegetarians“, goes into great detail about this issue, from an evolutionary perspective, brining up multiple details and points about how our guts might be evolved to stick to a vegetarian diet, with perhaps the occasional piece of meat here and there as a rare treat.
“So what do other living primates eat, the ones with guts mostly like ours, eat? The diets of nearly all monkeys and apes (except the leaf-eaters) are composed of fruits, nuts, leaves, insects, and sometimes the odd snack of a bird or a lizard (see more about chimpanzees). Most primates have the capacity for eating sugary fruit, the capacity for eating leaves and the capacity for eating meat. But meat is a rare treat, if eaten at all. Sure, chimpanzees sometimes kill and devour a baby monkey, but the proportion of the diet of the average chimpanzee composed of meat is small. And chimps eat more mammal meat than any of the other apes or any of the monkeys. The majority of the food consumed by primates today–and every indication is for the last thirty million years–is vegetable, not animal. Plants are what our apey and even earlier ancestors ate; they were our paleo diet for most of the last thirty million years during which our bodies, and our guts in particular, were evolving. In other words, there is very little evidence that our guts are terribly special and the job of a generalist primate gut is primarily to eat pieces of plants. We have special immune systems, special brains, even special hands, but our guts are ordinary and for tens of millions of years those ordinary guts have tended to be filled with fruit, leaves, and the occasional delicacy of a raw hummingbird.” (source)
Disclaimer. Nothing in this post should be construed as medical or legal advise.
2017-8 (c). Happiness Medicine Institute. All Rights Reserved.
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We evolved eating huge amounts of plants. It’s estimated that 200,000 years ago we got 600mg of vitamin C a day. That’s the amount of vitamin C found in 10 oranges.Every day we appear to have consumed the amount of vitamin E found in 2 cups of nuts, the amount of fiber found in 12 bowls of oatmeal, and the amount of calcium found in 5 cups of collard greens. They weren’t milking mammoths–that came in part from all the wild greens they foraged.
we were exposed to such a quantity of whole healthy plant foods that we, as a species, lost our ability to make vitamin C. We still actually have the vitamin C gene in our DNA, but our bodies presumably just junked it because we were getting such massive daily doses that it wasn’t worth maintaining it.The problems occur when you take our evolutionary heritage, fine-tuned over the millennia, and plop it down into meat and potato chip country.
Advocates of the so-called Paleo diet are certainly right in railing against refined and processed junk, but may just use it as an excuse to eat loads of meat that bears little resemblance to flesh of prehistoric wild animals.
Pub video of monkey
Debunking Meat Paleo
Human beings lost the ability to detoxify uric acid millions of years ago. What implications does this have for our health today?
Our story starts about 15 million years ago. It was the Miocene epoch. Things seemed to be going pretty good until, it seems, two flaming meteorites smashed into what’s now Germany with an estimated power of a couple million Hiroshimas. As you can see in my 3-min. video Miocene Meteorites and Uric Acid, the crater looks quaint now, but at the time, there was a mass extinction event, wiping many animals out. Thankfully, the common ancestor of human beings and other great apes developed a mutation that may have helped them survive. We lost the ability to detoxify uric acid. Why was that a good thing?
Uric acid is naturally produced by the body and may help us hold onto fat, which is good when there’s not a lot of food around thanks to pesky asteroids. Uric acid also helps us retain sodium, which is good if there aren’t a lot of salt shakers out on the savannah, and it also acts chemically as an antioxidant, which is good since green tea hadn’t been invented yet.
Fast-forward 15 million years. When salt and calories abound, the last thing we need is more sodium and fat retention.
But the antioxidant part we like. Unfortunately, not all antioxidant compounds are necessarily good for us. For example, the preservative chemical BHA works by preventing the oxidation of foods, but is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.
Similarly, uric acid is chemically an antioxidant, but when you have too much in your blood it can crystallize in your joints, causing a painful disease called gout. High uric acid levels may also put us at risk for high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and death. So keeping one’s uric acid levels low is an important dietary goal. How do we do that? By avoiding meat and sugar (see my 2-min video Flesh and Fructose).
No surprise that the meat and sugar industries both got upset with the latest round of dietary guidance from the federal government. See Dietary Guidelines: Pushback From Sugar, Salt and Meat Industries and Dietary Guidelines: Corporate Guidance.
Gout is one of the diseases of royalty that used to only affect the “1%,” the tiny minority eating rich diets. Now we can all dine like kings and queens three times a day and suffer from the same diseases. The “peasant food” choices, the cheapest plant foods, are often the healthiest. See Eating Healthy on the Cheap and Biggest Nutrition Bang For Your Buck.
For more on the dangers of excess sodium consumption see Dietary Guidelines With a Grain of Big Salt and Salt OK if Blood Pressure is OK?. For more on eating based on our evolutionary heritage, see Paleolithic Lessons.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-hNYEVL3w4
The contaminant issue alone is compelling reason to eat as low as possible on the food chain.
, the journal of the American Meat Science Association recently published a review cataloging the laundry list: arsenic, mercury, lead, cadmium, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, preservatives, and veterinary drugs such as antibiotic residues.
Given what’s now in fish, for example, “it would be impossible to follow the Paleolithic diet while avoiding the risks associated with consuming mercury in amounts in excess of the suggested EPA threshold.”
The “paleo” diet patients I saw in my practice weren’t consuming weeds and eating in excess of 100 grams of fiber a day. They were eating burgers, not bugs.
“Sufficient scientific evidence exists for public health policy to promote a plant-rich diet for health promotion.”
Our epidemics of dietary disease have prompted a great deal of research into what humans are meant to eat for optimal health. In 1985, an influential article was published proposing that our chronic diseases stem from a disconnect between what our bodies evolved eating during the Stone Age during the last two million years, and what we’re stuffing our face with today, advocating for a return towards a hunter-gatherer type diet of lean meat, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
Though it may be reasonable to assume our nutritional requirements were established in the prehistoric past, the question of whichprehistoric past remains. Why just the last two million? We’ve been evolving for 25 million years since our common great ape ancestor, during which time our nutrient requirements and digestive physiology were set down, and therefore probably little affected by our hunter-gatherer days at the tail end. So what were we eating for the first 90% of our evolution? What the rest of the great apes ended up eating: over 95% plants.
This may explain why we’re so susceptible to heart disease. For most of human evolution, cholesterol may have been virtually absent from the diet. No bacon, butter, trans fats, and massive amounts of fiber, which pulls cholesterol from the body. Now this could have been a problem, since our body needs a certain amount of cholesterol, so our bodies didn’t just evolve to make cholesterol, but to preserve it, recycle it. Our bodies evolved to hold onto cholesterol. And so if you think of the human body as a cholesterol-conserving machine, and plop it into the modern world of bacon/eggs/cheese/chicken/pork/pastry, well then, no wonder artery-clogging heart disease is our #1 cause of death. What used to be so adaptive for 90% of our evolution–holding on to cholesterol at all costs since we aren’t getting much in our diet–is today maladaptive, a liability leading to the clogging of our arteries. Our bodies just can’t handle it.
As the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Cardiologynoted 25 years ago, no matter how much fat and cholesterol carnivores eat, they do not develop atherosclerosis. You can feed a dog 500 eggs worth of cholesterol and a stick of butter and they just wag their tail; their bodies evolved from wolves, and are used to eating and getting rid of excess cholesterol, whereas within months, a fraction of that cholesterol can start clogging the arteries of animals adapted to eating a more plant-based diet.
Even if our bodies were designed by natural selection to eat mostly fruit, greens and seeds for 90% of our evolution, why didn’t we better adapt to meat-eating in the last 10%, during the Paleolithic? We’ve had nearly two million years to get used to all that extra saturated fat and cholesterol. If a lifetime of eating like that clogs up nearly everyone’s arteries, why didn’t the genes of those who got heart attacks die off and get replaced by those who could live to a ripe old age with clean arteries, regardless what they ate?
Because most didn’t survive into old age; they didn’t live long enough to get heart attacks. When the average life expectancy is 25, then the genes that get passed along are those that can just get us to reproductive age by any means necessary, and that means not dying of starvation. So the higher the calorie foods, the better. So eating lots of bone marrow and brains, human and otherwise, would have a selective advantage, as would discovering a time machine stash of Twinkies, for that matter. If we just have to live long enough to get our kids to puberty to pass along our genes, then we don’t have to evolve any protections against the ravages of chronic disease.
To find a population nearly free of chronic disease in old age, we don’t have to go back a million years. In the 20th century, networks of missionary hospitals in rural Africa found coronary artery disease virtually absent–and not just heart disease, but high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, common cancers, and on down the list.
In a sense, these populations in rural China and Africa were eating the type of diet we’ve been eating for 90% of our last 20 or so million years–a diet almost exclusively of plant foods. How do we know it was their diet that protected them, and not something else?
In the 25-year update to their original Paleo paper, the authors tried to clarify that they did not then, and do not now, propose that people adopt a particular diet just based on what our ancient ancestors ate. Dietary recommendations must be put to the test. That’s why the pioneering research of Pritikin, Ornish, and Esselstyn is so important, showing that plant-based diets can not only stop heart disease, but have been proven to reverse it in the majority of patients. Indeed, it’s the only diet that ever has–perhaps because that’s what we ate through the vast majority of our evolution.
- D J Jenkins, C W Kendall, A Marchie, A L Jenkins, P W Connelly, P J Jones, V Vuksan. The Garden of Eden–plant based diets, the genetic drive to conserve cholesterol and its implications for heart disease in the 21st century. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2003 Sep;136(1):141-51.
- B L Turner, A L Thompson. Beyond the Paleolithic prescription: incorporating diversity and flexibility in the study of human diet evolution. Nutr Rev. 2013 Aug;71(8):501-10.
- W C Roberts, We think we are one, we act as if we are one, but we are not one. Am J Cardiol. 1990 Oct 1;66(10):896.
- M Nestle. Paleolithic diets: a sceptical view. Nutrition Bulletin 25.1 (2000) 43-47.
- K Milton. Back to basics: why foods of wild primates have relevance for modern human health. Nutrition. 2000 Jul-Aug;16(7-8):480-3.
- K Milton. Hunter-gatherer diets-a different perspective. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Mar;71(3):665-7.
- A R Walker. Are health and ill-health lessons from hunter-gatherers currently relevant? Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Feb;73(2):353-6.
- A Defieur, T White, P Valensi, L Slimak, E Cregut-Bonnoure. Neanderthal cannibalism at Moula-Guercy, Ardèche, France. Science. 1999 Oct 1;286(5437):128-31.
- S B Eaton, M Konner. Paleolithic nutrition. A consideration of its nature and current implications. N Engl J Med. 1985 Jan 31;312(5):283-9.
- M Konner, S B Eaton. Paleolithic nutrition: twenty-five years later. Nutr Clin Pract. 2010 Dec;25(6):594-602.
- H T Bunn. Archaeological evidence for meat-eating by Plio-Pleistocene hominids from Koobi Fora and Olduvai Gorge. Nature 291, 574 – 577 (18 June 1981).
- W C Roberts. The Cause of Atherosclerosis. Nutr Clin Pract October 2008 vol. 23 no. 5 464-467.
For those interested in digging deeper, there was an interesting Scientific American blog this summer entitled “Human Ancestors Were Nearly All Vegetarians”
and there’s an in-depth video series
on YouTube debunking the paleo diet fad.
- The Problem with the Paleo Diet Argument
- Lead Contamination in Bone Broth
- Low-Carb Diets and Coronary Blood Flow
- Lose Two Pounds in One Sitting: Taking the Mioscenic Route
- Paleopoo: What We Can Learn from Fossilized Feces
- Paleolithic Lessons
So, What’s the “Natural” Human Diet?Watch the video!
The wild game video I mentioned is Modern Meat Not Ahead of the Game. Kangaroo is kind of the Australian version of venison. Note that it also matters how the animals are killed. See Filled Full of Leadand Lead Contamination in Fish and Game.
And, for more on the musical fruit, see:
- Increased Lifespan from Beans
- Slow Your Beating Heart: Beans vs. Exercise
- The Hispanic Paradox: Why Do Latinos Live Longer?
- Gut Dysbiosis: Starving Our Microbial Self
- Beans and Gas: Clearing the Air
- Beans, Beans, They’re Good for Your Heart