Cancer - What is the truth? Further comments

March 2006, Warren Matthews


I had a lot of feedback from readers about the last few articles. Because the thrust of the articles were to bring to your attention the evidence that suggests high intakes of animal protein could potentially promote cancer, a number of readers got the impression that I was advocating a vegetarian lifestyle, or worse a vegan diet.

I had a lot of feedback from readers about the last few articles.  Because the thrust of the articles were to bring to your attention the evidence that suggests high intakes of animal protein could potentially promote cancer, a number of readers got the impression that I was advocating a vegetarian lifestyle, or worse a vegan diet. 

It is important that I set the record straight and make it clear that I am not promoting or condoning a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.  What I was trying to convey is that there is real evidence that proves ‘excessive’ levels of animal protein can potentially trigger off cancer promotion.  The body needs a reasonable amount of protein and I personally believe that part of it should come from animal protein, the best type of which is no doubt fish.

The key word to remember here is ‘excessive’ animal protein.  Many people eat far too much animal protein as they have a portion of it with every meal…and sometimes that is all they have.

The China Study…

All the studies referred to in the China Study that I mentioned used animal protein in the experiments.  In the studies in which the levels of protein were kept to the anticipated body’s needs (around 12%) there was no cancer promotion.  However, when the percentage of protein intake increased the cancer was activated, and then when the intake was reduced again to less than 12% the cancer promotion went into remission.

So, it was not just simply eating animal protein that these studies found promoted the cancer but rather excessive consumption of it.  So, don’t feel that you need to all of a sudden curtail your intake of animal protein.  Just make sure that you keep the amount you eat moderate.

One reader pointed out that there is a world of difference between your normal supermarket meat and quality organic raised meat, whether it be chicken or beef.  This is a valid point and I agree if you are going to eat meat make sure it is of the highest quality.  Avoid all processed meats, and that includes hotdogs.  You wouldn’t want to know what they put in these! 

Bias in the China Study?

You may recollect that I recommended reading this book by T. Colin Campbell Ph.D.  A number of readers did go and buy the book and some have shared their observations of it.

One reader felt that the author was a bit ‘over the top’ in that he appeared to be promoting a vegan diet and was leaving out some very important facts.  One of these facts is that although he was promoting a vegan based diet he did not include in his book an important bit of research of which he was a part and which anyone considering a vegetarian diet should know.

Our reader referred me to an article published by Cornell University.

Cornell University was the institution that was involved with the China Study.  The important part of this article is pointing to some research that was part of the China Study but was not included in Campbell’s book.

What was this research?

In a nutshell…within China, people from the north tend to eat products derived from wheat whereas those in the south eat products derived from rice.  Those eating the rice based diet had significantly better blood profile than those eating the wheat derived products.

Why wasn’t that info included in the book?  Our reader speculates that this was because the author has an agenda in promoting the vegan way of life.  She may be right, as this is important information…but not all that surprising.  An amazing number of people have allergies to wheat products, but it is rare to find someone who has an allergy to rice products.  Maybe as humans we are not designed to eat wheat?

Good nutrients in rice…

Lots of good nutrients are extracted from rice but I can’t think of any that are extracted from wheat. 

I would also suspect that unlike wheat products that rice does not promote weight gain.  This would explain why Asians seem to be able to eat copious quantities of rice without gaining weight, but when they move to eating breads etc., they expand rapidly.

Even though this information was not included in the book for whatever reason, it is still worthwhile getting it and reading it just for the direct results of the studies, both on humans and animals.  As with some of our readers who don’t agree with everything the author says, neither do I, so it is important to keep the book in the correct context…which is learning how excess protein helps promote cancer.

I should add at this point, that since I have cut back on my protein intake and increased my intake of unprocessed rice, my energy levels which were good before are now incredibly good.  I don’t get any tiredness after a meal which would occasionally happen if I had eaten a lot of meat in one sitting.

In Summary, let me leave the final word to another reader from Canada 

“I'm just not convinced that animal products are the evil that many people would portray them as being. Donuts, cakes, pies, cookies, candy, soda pop, big mac's, french fries, processed meats, ice cream, along with all the other processed foods that occupy the typical American / Canadian diet is something I seem to be a little more concerned about.

Someone who exercises daily, gets adequate rest, eats a diet that is rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed whole grains I don't think should have to worry too much about eating small amounts of animal protein (fish, eggs, wild game, beef, chicken, etc,).”

Can’t argue with that logic…oh…except a possible change from eating unprocessed whole grains to unprocessed rice.

In good health.

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