Meat and cheese may be as bad for you as smoking

“Crucially, the researchers found that plant-based proteins, such as those from beans, did not seem to have the same mortality effects as animal proteins. Rates of cancer and death also did not seem to be affected by controlling for carbohydrate or fat consumption, suggesting that animal protein is the main culprit.”

 

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That chicken wing you’re eating could be as deadly as a cigarette. In a new study that tracked a large sample of adults for nearly two decades, researchers have found that eating a diet rich in animal proteins during middle age makes you four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low-protein diet — a mortality risk factor comparable to smoking.

“There’s a misconception that because we all eat, understanding nutrition is simple. But the question is not whether a certain diet allows you to do well for three days, but can it help you survive to be 100?” said corresponding author Valter Longo, the Edna M. Jones Professor of Biogerontology at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute.

Not only is excessive protein consumption linked to a dramatic rise in cancer mortality, but middle-aged people who eat lots of proteins from animal sources — including meat, milk and cheese — are also more susceptible to early death in general, reveals the study to be published March 4 in Cell Metabolism. Protein-lovers were 74 percent more likely to die of any cause within the study period than their more low-protein counterparts. They were also several times more likely to die of DIABETES.

But how much protein we should eat has long been a controversial topic — muddled by the popularity of protein-heavy DIETS such as Paleo and Atkins. Before this study, researchers had never shown a definitive correlation between high protein consumption and mortality risk.

Rather than look at adulthood as one monolithic phase of life, as other researchers have done, the latest study considers how biology changes as we age, and how decisions in middle life may play out across the human lifespan.

In other words, what’s good for you at one age may be damaging at another. Protein controls the growth hormone IGF-I, which helps our bodies grow but has been linked to cancer susceptibility. Levels of IGF-I drop off dramatically after age 65, leading to potential frailty and muscle loss. The study shows that while high protein intake during middle age is very harmful, it is protective for older adults: those over 65 who ate a moderate- or HIGH-PROTEIN diet were less susceptible to disease.

The latest paper draws from Longo’s past research on IGF-I, including on an Ecuadorian cohort that seemed to have little cancer or DIABETES susceptibility because of a genetic mutation that lowered levels of IGF-I; the members of the cohort were all less than five-feet tall.

“The research shows that a low-protein diet in middle age is useful for preventing cancer and overall mortality, through a process that involves regulating IGF-I and possibly insulin levels,” said co-author Eileen Crimmins, the AARP Chair in Gerontology at USC. “However, we also propose that at older ages, it may be important to avoid a low-protein diet to allow the maintenance of healthy weight and protection from frailty.”

Crucially, the researchers found that plant-based proteins, such as those from beans, did not seem to have the same mortality effects as animal proteins. Rates of cancer and death also did not seem to be affected by controlling for carbohydrate or fat consumption, suggesting that animal protein is the main culprit.

“The majority of Americans are eating about twice as much proteins as they should, and it seems that the best change would be to lower the daily intake of all proteins but especially animal-derived proteins,” Longo said. “But don’t get extreme in cutting out protein; you can go from protected to malnourished very quickly.”

Longo’s findings support recommendations from several leading health agencies to consume about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day in middle age. For example, a 130-pound person should eat about 45-50 grams of protein a day, with preference for those derived from plants such as legumes, Longo explains.

The researchers define a “HIGH-PROTEIN” diet as deriving at least 20 percent of CALORIES from protein, including both plant-based and animal-based protein. A “moderate” protein diet includes 10-19 percent of calories from protein, and a “low-protein” diet includes less than 10 percent protein.

Even moderate amounts of protein had detrimental effects during middle age, the researchers found. Across all 6,318 adults over the age of 50 in the study, average protein intake was about 16 percent of total daily calories with about two-thirds from animal protein — corresponding to data about national protein consumption. The study sample was representative across ethnicity, education and health background.

People who ate a moderate amount of protein were still three times more likely to die of cancer than those who ate a low-protein DIET in middle age, the study shows. Overall, even the small change of decreasing protein intake from moderate levels to low levels reduced likelihood of early death by 21 percent.

For a randomly selected smaller portion of the sample – 2,253 people – levels of the growth hormone IGF-I were recorded directly. The results show that for every 10 ng/ml increase in IGF-I, those on a HIGH-PROTEIN diet were 9 percent more likely to die from cancer than those on a low-protein diet, in line with past research associating IGF-I levels to cancer risk.

The researchers also extended their findings about HIGH-PROTEIN diets and mortality risk, looking at causality in mice and cellular models. In a study of tumor rates and progression among mice, the researchers show lower cancer incidence and 45 percent smaller average tumor size among mice on a low-protein diet than those on a high-protein diet by the end of the two-month experiment.

“Almost everyone is going to have a cancer cell or pre-cancer cell in them at some point. The question is: Does it progress?” Longo said. “Turns out one of the major factors in determining if it does is is protein intake.”

 

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304125639.htm

Whitewashed: How Industry and Government Promote Dairy Junk Foods

The United States is in the midst of a public health epidemic due to poor diet. While much of the focus has been on obvious culprits such as sugary soft drinks and fast food, dairy foods often get a pass. The dairy industry, propped up by government, has convinced us of the health benefits of milk and other dairy products. But the context of how people consume dairy matters.

My new report, Whitewashed: How Industry and Government Promote Dairy Junk Foods, shines a light on the shifting patterns of consumption away from plain milk toward dairy products laden with sugar, fat, and salt. For example:

  • About half of all milk is consumed either as flavored milk, with cereal, or in a drink;
  • Nearly half of the milk supply goes to make about 9 billion pounds of cheese and 1.5 billion gallons of frozen desserts–two-thirds of which is ice cream;
  • 11 percent of all sugar goes into the production of dairy products.

It’s bad enough for the dairy industry to promote junk food in the name of health, but making matters worse, Uncle Sam is propping up the effort. The federal government mandates the collection of industry fees for “checkoff programs” to promote milk and dairy. Far from being just a privately-funded program, U.S. Department of Agriculture employees attend checkoff meetings, monitor activities, and are responsible for evaluation of the programs. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the legality of the checkoff programs as “government speech”, finding: “the message … is controlled by the Federal Government.”

Checkoff money is also only supposed to be used for “generic” marketing activities. However, the program gives a huge boost to leading fast food chains. For example:

  • McDonald’s has six dedicated dairy checkoff program employees at its corporate headquarters who work to ensure that dairy plays an important role in McDonald’s product development;
  • The dairy checkoff program helped Taco Bell introduce its double steak quesadillas and cheese shreds, which resulted in a four percent increase in the chain’s dairy sales;
  • The dairy checkoff program helped Pizza Hut develop a 3-Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza and the “Summer of Cheese” ad campaign;
  • Dominos benefitted from a $35 million partnership with the dairy checkoff program, resulting in the company adding more cheese, with other pizza makers following their lead;
  • Domino’s “Smart Slice” program brought the pizza to more than 2,000 schools in 2011, with help from the checkoff.

Speaking of schools, the dairy industry, with a government assist, is heavily promoting chocolate and other sugar milks to schoolchildren, desperate to maintain its presence in a lucrative market with a captive audience. For example:

  • USDA’s milk checkoff program promotes “Chocolate Milk Has Muscle” and “Raise Your Hand for Chocolate Milk” campaigns to defend chocolate milk;
  • Dean Foods’ TruMoo is a popular brand sold in schools; one serving of TruMoo strawberry milk contains an incredible 21 grams of sugar;
  • Milk checkoff educational materials were even used to change the mind of one school official who was planning to remove flavored milk.

Finally, many federal checkoff-funded dairy organizations make dubious health claims to market their dressed up junk foods. Would you believe that:

  • “Cheese can fit into almost any eating plan”;
  • “Process cheese is made from natural cheese”;
  • “Cheese contributes essential nutrients for good health”;
  • “Chocolate milk is the perfect balance of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and protein—a combination that can’t be found in any other beverage”.

At a time when our nation is suffering from an epidemic of diet-related health problems, we cannot allow the decades of whitewashing by the dairy industry to continue. The assumption that eating dairy is essential to the diet has obstructed our ability to criticize federal government support for unhealthy forms of dairy.

It’s time to stop dancing around the federal checkoff programs by pretending they are privately-funded. As this report demonstrates, federal government administers, oversees, and approves almost every aspect of the dairy checkoff program. These funds are directly used to promote junk foods, which are contributing to the diseases our federal government is allegedly trying to prevent.

Andy Bellatti is a registered dietitian who contributed to the report by calling out the many misleading health claims made by the dairy industry. He says:

In our cultural glorification of dairy, we often forget that many of these products are directly contributing to our current public health epidemic. Even more troubling, due to the dairy industry’s deep pockets and political connections, federal authorities are giving these foods a stamp of approval, rather than raising a nutritional red flag.

Source: http://www.eatdrinkpolitics.com/2014/06/11/whitewashed-how-industry-and-government-promote-dairy-junk-foods

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This Journalist is Launching Drones

If all of these industries had nothing to hide, why are they up in arms about this? If you cannot be transparent and show the truth to your end consumers, you are flat out lying. And if hiding the truth wasn’t enough, marketing any animal product as “happy” or “humane” is wrong and should be forbidden! 

 

Here is the article:

This Journalist is Launching Drones to Expose Factory Farm Abuse (Video)

I had the pleasure of talking with Abby Martin last night on her show Breaking the Set. We looked at new laws backed by the agriculture industry which make it illegal to photograph animal cruelty and environmental abuses on factory farms, and why that prompted me to get creative for my next investigation.

On Kickstarter, I’m raising money to buy drones for aerial photography of factory farms. As Abby noted, this is the first journalism investigation of its kind, and the industry is already up in arms about it.

I met the original fundraising goal in just 5 days, and now I’m expanding the project—I hope you’ll consider donating, and sharing it with friends!

Check out the full video below…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-pySrEW3u4

 

 

The Dairy Industry – why we do not need milk

“The very saddest sound in all my memory was burned into my awareness at age five on my uncle’s dairy farm in Wisconsin. A cow had given birth to a beautiful male calf. The mother was allowed to nurse her calf but for a single night. On the second day after birth, my uncle took the calf from the mother and placed him in the veal pen in the barn – only ten yards away, in plain view of the mother. The mother cow could see her infant, smell him, hear him, but could not touch him, comfort him, or nurse him. The heartrending bellows that she poured forth – minute after minute, hour after hour, for five long days – were excruciating to listen to. They are the most poignant and painful auditory memories I carry in my brain.”

— Dr. Michael Klaper

Dairy

The dairy industry spends a lot of money on advertising. You can find dairy ads in magazines, on television, in school cafeterias and on billboards. It is almost impossible to grow up in our society without being told how great dairy products are.They definitely fooled me. As a teenager, I was a very proud dairy consumer. Even after I had become vegetarian, I still continued to consume dairy products. I knew that animals were abused and killed for meat, but didn’t see anything wrong with dairy. Cows need to be milked and milk is good for us. Those messages were completely ingrained in me. When I was twenty, I found out the true facts about the dairy industry and decided to make the step to veganism. I would like to share those facts with you, so you can make your own informed decisions.

Do Cows Need to be Milked?

Cows are mammals. Just like other mammals, when a cow has a baby, her body will make enough milk for her baby. In a normal situation, cows don’t need any help getting rid of too much milk. The goal of the dairy industry however, is to make as much money as possible. To get more money, they have several commonly used methods to get cows to produce more milk:

  • a dairy cow is impregnated every year, so she continues to produce a steady supply of milk. This is usually done through artificial insemination.

  • calves are removed from their mothers almost right after birth.

  • especially in intensive dairy farming, cows are genetically engineered and fed growth hormones to force them to produce more milk.


Calf Nursing

Cassie after having given birth to her baby.

How the Dairy Industry Operates

I recently visited a small dairy farm in Wisconsin. Most dairy cows are raised in intensive factory farms, where the situation for the cows is of course much worse. Still, I think this small dairy farm illustrates some common dairy practices really well.

The dairy cows are chained by their necks and kept indoors most of the day. Cow trainers hang above the cows to give them a shock when they arch their backs. This forces them to move back to drop urine and manure into a gutter. They are artificially inseminated each year and are milked on average 305 days per year. As with humans, a cow’s pregnancy lasts nine months. Having to give birth every year is physically very demanding.

Even though this small dairy farm has given their cows names in addition to their numbers, it is very clear that their cows are viewed as not much more than milk machines.

After giving birth, their babies are removed from them and kept in another building. I asked someone who works at the dairy farm about this and was told that removing the calves after birth is “standard practice in the dairy industry”.

“The very saddest sound in all my memory was burned into my awareness at age five on my uncle’s dairy farm in Wisconsin. A cow had given birth to a beautiful male calf. The mother was allowed to nurse her calf but for a single night. On the second day after birth, my uncle took the calf from the mother and placed him in the veal pen in the barn – only ten yards away, in plain view of the mother. The mother cow could see her infant, smell him, hear him, but could not touch him, comfort him, or nurse him. The heartrending bellows that she poured forth – minute after minute, hour after hour, for five long days – were excruciating to listen to. They are the most poignant and painful auditory memories I carry in my brain.”

— Dr. Michael Klaper


Cassie’s baby being kept in another building.


Dairy Cow

Most cows in the regular dairy industry are also given growth hormones, causing their udders to become unnaturally big and heavy, resulting in frequent infections. The Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) also increases birth defects in calves.

The average modern dairy cow will produce about 100 pounds of milk per day, which is 10 times more than it would naturally produce. Normally cows can live an average of 25 years. Dairy cows are slaughtered and made into ground beef after about 3-4 years. Because of the intense abuse wrought upon their poor bodies, dairy cows – like beef cattle – also frequently end up being unable to walk or stand, causing them to be severely mistreated.

What Happens to the Calves?

In the dairy industry, calves are removed from their mothers not long after being born (either right after birth or within 1-2 days). Female calves will be raised to become dairy cows and male calves will be raised and slaughtered for meat. Most male calves are killed for beef, but some will end up in the awful veal industry.

After being removed from their mothers, veal calves are loaded onto trucks and often sold at auctions. These small and fragile calves are often treated very roughly. If they are unable to walk, they will be dragged by their legs or ears.

Veal calves are confined in crates measuring about two feet wide. To make their meat more “tender”, their movements are restrained by chains around their necks. To give a white color to their meat, the calves are fed an all-liquid milk-substitute, purposely deficient in iron and fiber. After about 16 weeks, these poor calves are slaughtered and their meat is sold labeled as “white” veal. “Bob” veal comes from calves who are slaughtered when they are only a few hours or days old.


Veal Calve


Cow in Head Stall at the Horizon Organic Dairy Farm

Is Organic Dairy Okay?

The organic meat and dairy industry have become very popular recently. However, just like any other industry, the organic dairy industry has to make a profit. Even at organic dairy farms, cows are kept constantly pregnant, calves are removed from their mothers and male calves are turned into beef or veal.

Especially at larger organic farms, the treatment of the animals very much resembles that of factory farmed animals. There are very few regulations in place that deal with the amount of space the animals should be given or the amount of time they should be allowed outside.

Most animals raised organically are still handled, transported and slaughtered the same awful way factory farm animals are. They are still forcefully thrown into trucks where they are subjected to transportation without protection from heat or cold and without access to food or water. They are still hung upside down, have their throats slit and bleed to death, often while fully conscious.

Is Dairy Healthy?

Definitely! It is very healthy food for the calves whose tiny bodies need to grow into big cows. Just like the breast milk from any other mammal, it is especially formulated for the babies for whom it is intended. Dairy is high in fat, protein and cholesterol. It is low in carbohydrates and contains no fiber.

Should humans be consuming it? Absolutely not! There is no need at all for humans to be consuming the breast milk from another species. The best food for human babies is human breast milk. After a baby is done nursing, there is no need to switch to the breast milk from a cow.

“There is no reason to drink cow’s milk at any time in your life. It was designed for calves, not humans, and we should all stop drinking it today.”

— Dr. Frank A. Oski
former director of Pediatrics, John Hopkins University.


Calf taken away from his mother and sold at an auction.


Baby Nursing

Dairy products are in fact the leading cause of food allergies. They contain more than 25 different proteins that may induce allergic reactions in humans. Lactose intolerance, the inability to digest the carbohydrate known as lactose found in milk, is common to about 90% of adult blacks and Asians. This condition causes symptoms like diarrhea, gas and stomach cramps.

Breastfed babies can get colic and other milk-related food allergies if the mother consumes dairy products. Colic is the common allergic reaction infants have to proteins found in cow’s milk. They give the baby stomach cramps, which cause persistent fussing and crying.

 

Source: http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_cruelty/dairy.htm

 

 

The shocking move to criminalize nonviolent protest

Watch this TED talk:

In 2002, investigative journalist and TED Fellow Will Potter decided to take a break from his regular beat, writing about shootings and murders for the Chicago Tribune. He went to help a local group campaigning against animal testing: “I thought it would be a safe way to do something positive,” he says. Instead, he was arrested, and so began his ongoing journey into a world in which peaceful protest is branded as terrorism.

http://www.ted.com/talks/will_potter_the_shocking_move_to_criminalize_non_violent_protest