A study that has gone viral suggests those eating a diet rich in eggs, meat, milk and cheese are damaging their health, and the scientist behind the study has branded such a diet “as bad as smoking”. The results stated that people following high animal-based protein diets are 4 times as likely to die from cancer or diabetes. As well as doubling their chance of dying from any cause over an 18 year period.
More about Valter D Longo, the man behind the study.
Valter Longo, nicknamed the “cancer expert” says: “I don’t eat lunch – that’s how I keep my weight in place. My diet is mostly vegan with low protein.”
So we know that he is already a vegan and eats a low protein diet. Thus making the study biased. He also correlates not eating lunch with keeping his weight “in place”. Actually, to lose/maintain weight you simply need to eat the same or less calories than what your body burns – irrelevant to eating lunch or not.
The study was observational, as opposed to a cause and effect study. This means there is room for potential factors that indirectly effected the results and caused the decline in health, other than the high protein diet itself. For example, if many of the 2,000 participants thought it would be expensive to follow a high protein diet, they could for instance choose to do their shopping at a cheap supermarket. Then if they regularly did the majority of their shopping at these cheap stores, they could well be exposing themselves to genetically modified foods. GM foods have been proven to cause cancer tumors to develop in rats (see below).
A study from the Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal found that up to 70% of rats being fed a rich GM diet had premature deaths, as well as developing significantly sized cancer tumors (1). The shocking study also concluded that kidney and liver damage was evident after just 4 months on the diet.
It is indirect factors like this one which can influence the results of an observational study, yet are not accounted for (if applicable). This observational study had no following-up or questioning about the lifestyle of each participant to notice any other correlations that were happening. This gives the study a lack of accuracy.
Peter Emery, head of Nutrition at King’s College in London, agrees:
The study failed to differentiate the health risks of eating different variations of each protein source. For example, these animal-based protein sources are deemed to be the culprit, yet an educated scientist with knowledge of nutrition would know that foods/drinks such as meat, eggs and milk cannot be vaguely described as there are different types such as free-range, pasteurized, organic that all can greatly determine a person’s health as a result.
For example, the milk you buy in the shops today is heat-treated and comes from an undernourished and unhealthy cow, resulting in unhealthy milk being produced. Due to economic gain, cows are confined and live off unnatural food source, including grains instead of fresh grass. Then to get rid of “bacteria” existing in raw milk it is heat treated. The bacteria being killed is actually good bacteria that contains enzymes such as lactase that help us digest milk. Thus to leave milk in its natural state would solve the problem of people being lactose-intolerant as they’d have the important enzyme to help them digest milk.
God didn’t make a mistake when he created milk, but humans have by altering milk’s structure; due to financial gain (cheaper costs) and lack of education (thinking a heating process is essential). A healthy cow produces healthy milk. An unhealthy cow produces poor milk. Heat treating milk also reduces the amount of vitamins and minerals available. For example, Vitamin E is cut by 50% and vitamin C by 20% during the heating process (2), making it impossible to put raw organic milk in the same bracket as pasteurized milk.
Milk is just one example, but the same can be applied to non-organic meats, non-free range eggs and so forth. Most likely all of the high-protein participants were eating non-organic and drinking pasteurized milk during this study, due to the reduced availability and higher cost. I would not be surprised if regular non-organic meat eaters and pasteurized milk drinkers were compromising their health. But in the manner this study has been conducted, its conclusions are not only vague but invalid.
The study is biased, due to the scientist’s personal beliefs on the subject (favouring a low protein diet) and it lacks accuracy due to potential variables not accounted for.
I am a natural bodybuilder who ironically follows a low to moderate protein diet and is a vegetarian. Thus the facts presented and comments made in this article are unbiased.
(2) The Pasteurization of Milk: Less vitamin and mineral content