Can our standard diet trigger or prevent diseases? Answer is: Yes!
While one third of the most common neoplasms/cancers can be prevented by what gets into our bodies; some other foods can trigger major health conditions. A bad genetic deck may actually be shuffled by adhering to a healthy diet.
Consequently, our food consumption can contribute to promoting or worsening our well-being.
“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison” – Ann Wigmore
Processed meat and Cancer
The World Health Organization has classified processed meat (such as sausage, salami, pepperoni, cold cuts, etc.) as group one carcinogenic; which means that processed meat have strong evidence as tobacco smoking to have carcinogenic properties. Does this mean we have been exposed to tobacco smoking since our childhood? If the answer is yes, then we should have had our regular consumption of cold cuts labeled as “illegal”.
As a matter of fact, 50 grams of processed meat daily is correlated by 18% increased risk of having colorectal cancer.
Globally, around 34,000 cancer related mortality cases are attributable to processed meat intake annually; compared to 1 million tobacco smoking related mortality.
A study showed that 10% increased consumption of processed food was associated with 12% increased risk of cancer (whether prostate, colorectal or breast cancer).
Another Chinese study showed that those who consumed less than 100 grams weekly were at 74% higher risk of developing gastric cancer than those who did not consume processed meat at all; and the risk was 5 times higher in those who consumed 100 grams and above.
Processed food contains high content of fats, salts, newformed contaminants (which have carcinogenic properties) and food additives such as sodium nitrite and titanium dioxide. Consequently, it imposes high causality of death from heart, diabetes and other conditions.
Thus, solely by adhering to fresh or unprocessed food, contributing to protecting ourselves from cancer can be accessible.
Fatty meat and Diabetes
Many think that diabetes is caused by high consumption of sugar and carbohydrates.
This is a Myth! Actually type 2 diabetes is induced by fats that build up in the body as an outcome of high meat-based diet, causing insulin-resistance. Insulin resistance hinders sugar from enter the cells; hence, sugar accumulated in the blood, and this is diabetes.
High meat consumption and fatty food are strongly correlated with diabetes development.
Constraining to a low animal meat diet is imperative for type 2 diabetes prevention. Moreover, substituting butter with non-hydrogenated plant-based oil is highly encouraged to improve and preserve insulin sensitivity.
Milk and dairy products
A scientific paper published in The New England Journal of Medicine showed that countries that had the highest levels of milk and dairy products intake had the highest levels of hip fractures.
The paper also cited that upon analyzing several studies, no evidence was found to demonstrate that elevated consumption of milk and dairy products are of any benefit to bone density or have any protective attribute on hip fractures.
Another study that assessed the effect of high milk consumption on girls and boys at the age of puberty found out that it had null effect on their bone mineralization.
On the contrary, it has been recommended to effectively lessen milk consumption during adolescences as it was associated with 9% greater risk of hip fracture in later life.
Moreover, dairy products have been linked with autoimmune disease such as type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Besides, it increases hormone-related cancers such as breast, prostatic, endometrial and ovarian cancer.
Milk can be advantageous for children in low-income setting where the overall quality of diet is poor. However, if good nutritious diet is ensured, high consumption of milk would not impose any benefit, on the contrary harms are attainable.
Cows’ milk is definitely not needed by the human body more than giraffes’ or monkeys’ milk.
It is indisputable that milk contains nutrients and growth-promoting factors that positively contribute to well human nutrition.
Nevertheless, these nutrients can be obtained through other sources rather than acquiring it from a hormonal fluid that is full of cholesterol and saturated fats such as milk! Calcium specifically can be obtained from alternative sources like nuts, beans, broccoli, kale and even fortified orange juice.
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates
It has been emphasized by research that Whole Food Plant Based diet (WFPB) is optimal for a healthy free-diseases life. WFPB champions consuming food in minimally processed and most natural form. It is more of a long-term lifestyle behavioral change.
It does not only reduce risk of cancer, high cholesterol and diabetes, but also reverses ischemic heart diseases, promotes cognitive function and enhances the overall quality of life.
WFPB diet approach permits consuming grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables until satiation.
The diet can include starch as well in the form of potatoes, sweet potatoes, pasta, cereals and bread. On the other hand, refined oils (olive or coconut oil) and animal products (meat, fish, eggs and dairy products) are avoided or limited while adhering to WFPB diet.
They say those who can control what gets into their body; have quite well control over their lives!
Controlling your diet have a crucial influence on your overall quality of life and wellbeing.
Adopting WFPB has a blooming side of protecting your body from unhealthy food habits, while commemorating nutritious plant-based food options.
Lin, S., Li, Y., Leung, K., Huang, C. and Wang, X. (2014). Salted processed food and gastric cancer in a chinese population. Asian pac journal cancer prev, 15(13), 5293-5298.
McMacken, M. & Shah, S. (2017). A plant-based diet for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes. Journal of geriatric cardiology;14, 342-354
Willett, W. and Ludwig, D. (2020). Milk and health. The New England journal of medicine; 382,644-54.
World Health Organization (2015). Q&A on the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat.
Wright, N., Wilson, L., Smith, M., Duncan, B., & Mchugh, P. (2017). The broad study: A randomized controlled trial using a whole food plant-based diet in the community for obesity, ischaemic heart disease or diabetes. Nutrition & diabetes; 7.