by George Eisman, Registered Dietitian
Dec. 15, 2012
Many people ask me why a vegan diet is superior to a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, or a diet that includes “a little fish and chicken”. I answer that totally plant-based foods carry no cholesterol and no artery-clogging saturated animal fats that are highly-related to increased incidence of heart disease and stroke, the #1 and #3 killers of Americans. Most people don’t realize that fish and chicken and turkey contain just as much cholesterol, ounce for ounce, as any “red meat”.
Also, eating plant-based eliminates all animal growth hormones from the diet. These hormones, with names like Insulin-like Growth Factors (IGF1 and IGF2) and Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), are highly related to increased incidence of cancer, the number two killer of Americans. These growth hormones are PROTEINS, not fats, so their level is higher in lower-fat animal products, like lean meat, chicken, fish, low fat dairy products, and egg whites. As Americans have been switching to these lower fat animal-derived foods, the cancer rate has increased … it may soon surpass heart disease as the number one killer. This is especially evident for the hormone-related cancers like breast cancer and ovarian cancer in women, and prostate and testicular cancer in men, all of which are especially strongly increased in dairy-consuming populations, and especially as lower fat dairy products are introduced. Colorectal cancer, which kills more Americans than any other type of cancer, has been shown to have TRIPLE the risk of occurring if someone is a “regular” milk-drinker compared to a non-dairy consumer. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ( 86: 1722-1729))