Study after study has shown that as protein consumption goes up, so does the incidence of chronic diseases. Similar studies show that the incidence of chronic diseases also goes up when carbohydrate and fat consumption go up. This is because if the consumption of any of the macronutrients exceeds our basic requirements, the excess hurts us. Americans already get too much protein (and fat and carbohydrates), and this is reflected in soaring increases in the diseases of excess—heart disease, high-blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and numerous others…Alright, now check out this article in The New York Times. A new study has determined that a low-diet may lower the risk of ovarian cancer. Nicholas Bakalar is on it:
…Protein, fat, and carbohydrate are macronutrients. In fact, they are the only macronutrients that exist. Macronutrients are the nutrients that contain calories; calories supply us with energy. Vitamins, minerals, and fiber are a few of the many micronutrients. Micronutrients do not contain calories; they have other essential roles to play. When it comes to designing a healthful, weight loss diet, micronutrients should be the focus of your attention, not macronutrients.
Researchers randomly assigned 19,541 women to a low-fat regimen reinforced with behavioral modification that included 18 group sessions in the first year and quarterly maintenance sessions after that, along with careful recording of food intake…Now, you don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that too much fat and animal products in your diet is a bad idea. Let’s check back with Dr. Fuhrman on this. Here’s more:
…For the first four years, there was no difference in cancer rates. But for the next 4.1 years, women on the low-fat diet had a 40 percent reduced risk for ovarian cancer. Although that is a substantial percentage difference, the absolute risk for ovarian cancer is not great. Over the eight years of the study, 57 women in the diet group and 103 in the comparison group got ovarian cancer.
There is a relationship between animal protein and heart disease. For example, plasma apolioprotein B is positively associated with animal-protein intake and inversely associated (lowered) with vegetable-protein intake (e.g., legumes and greens). Apolioprotein B levels correlate strongly with coronary heart disease.1 Unknown to many is that animal proteins have a significant effect on raising cholesterol levels as well, while plant protein lowers it.2Okay-okay, back to The New York Times report, I wanted to get a comment from Dr. Fuhrman on it and here’s what he had to say:
Scientific studies provide evidence that many animal protein’s effect on blood cholesterol may be significant. This is one of the reasons those switching to a low fat-diet do no experience the cholesterol lowering they expect unless they also remove the low-fat animal products as well. Surprising to most people is that yes, even low-fat dairy and skinless white-meat chicken raise cholesterol. I see this regularly in my practice. Many individuals do not see the dramatic drop in cholesterol levels unless they go all the way by cutting all animal proteins from their diet.
Interesting that the group with 40 percent lower risk of ovarian cancer only improved their fruit and vegetable intake by one serving a day. So they were still on a very poor diet and still saw that reduction from the diet that was even worse. Imagine the protection against cancer they’d receive if they all adopted a vegetable-based nutrient-dense diet!Not sure what Dr. Fuhrman’s talking about? It’s true! Fruits and veggies offer excellent protection against cancer. This should help explain it. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Green vegetables have demonstrated the most dramatic protection against cancer. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, collards, arugala, watercress, and cabbage) contain a symphony of phytonutrients with potent anti-cancer effects…Kind of lays it on the line—don’t you think?
…Studies have repeatedly shown the correlation between consumption of raw vegetables and fresh fruits and a lower incidence of various cancers, including those of the breast, colon, rectum, lung, stomach, prostate, and pancreas.3 This means that your risk of cancer decreases with an increased intake of fruits and vegetables, and the earlier in life you start eating large amounts of these foods, the more protection you get…
…A recent study of 61,000 women found that those who consumed more than 2 glasses of milk per day had twice the risk of serous ovarian cancer than women who consumed fewer than two glasses. The risk of those who drank two glasses a day was double that of women who rarely drank milk.4 Lactose in milk seemed to be the primary culprit. Again this larger study confirms earlier studies with the same findings.
1. Campbell, T.C., B. Parpia, and J. Chen. 1990. A plant-enriched diet and long-term health, particularly in reference to China. Hort. Science 25 (12): 1512-14.
2. Descovich, G.C., C. Ceredi, A. Gaddi, et al. 1980. Multicenter study of soybean protein diet for outpatient hyper-cholesterolaemic patients. Lancet 2 (8197): 709-12; Carroll, K. K. 1982. Hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis: effects of dietary protein. Fed. Proc. 41 (11): 2792-96; Sirtori, C. R., G. Noseda, and G.C. Desovich. 1983, Studies on the use of soybean protein diets for management of human hyperlipoproteins, in Gibney, M.J., and D. Kritchevsky, eds. Animal and vegetable proteins in lipid metabolism and atherosclerosis. New York: Liss, 135-48; Sirtori, C.R., C. Zucchidentone, M. Sirtori, et al. 1985. Cholesterol-lowering and HDL raising properties of lecithinated soy proteins in type II hyperlipidemic patients. Ann. Nutr. Metab. 29 (6): 348-57; Gaddi, A., A Ciarrocchi, A. Matteucci, et al. 1991. Dietary treatment for familial hypercholesterolemia—differential effects of dietary soy protein according to the apoprotein E Phenotypes. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 53: 1191-96; Carroll, K.K. 1983. Dietary proteins and amino acids—their effects on cholesterol metabolism, in Gibney, M.J., and D. Kritchevshy, eds. Animal and vegetable proteins in lipid metabolism and atherosclerosis. New York: Liss, 9-17; Jenkins, D.J., C. W. Kendall, C.C. Mehling, et al. 1999. Combined effect of vegetable protein (soy) and soluble fiber added to a standard cholesterol-lowering diet. Metabolism 48 (6): 809-16; Anderson, J. W., B.M. Johnstone, and M.E. Cook-Newell. 1995. Meta-analysis of the effects of soy protein intake on serum lipids. N. Eng. J. Med. 333 (5): 276-82; Satoh, A., M. Hitomi, and K. Igarashi. 1995. Effects of spinach leaf protein concentrate on the serum cholesterol and amino acids concentrations in rats fed a cholesterol-free diet. J. Nutr. Sci. Vitaminol. (Tokyo) 41 (5):563-73.
3. Franceschi, S., M. Parpinel, C. La Vecchia, et al. 1998. Role of different types of vegetables and fruit in the prevention of cancer of the colon, rectum and breast. Epidmiology 9 (3): 338-41; Van Den Brandy, P.A. 1999. Nutrition and cancer: causative, protective, and therapeutic aspects. Ned. Tijdschr. Genneskd. 143 (27): 1414-20; Fraser, G.E. 1999. Association between diet and cancer, ischemic heart disease, and all-cause mortality in non-Hispanic white California Seventh-Day Adventists. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. (3S): 532-38S.
4. Larsson SC, Bergkvist L, Wolk A. Milk and lactose intakes and ovarian cancer risk in the Swedish Mammography Cohort. Am J ClinNutr 2004;80(5):1353-1357.