Friday, May 24, 2013

Cooked Meat, Carcinogens, and Other Diet Issues

20130513 Diet Notes for fb version 2.3

Friends have been asking me to explain why I am so convinced a plant-based diet leads to better health. Here is an overview. These are short, two to four minute videos by Dr. Greger. They are based on articles from peer-reviewed medical journals yet they are very easy to understand. On you can find citations for the original papers. You can follow links to the original papers. If you start reading the references to the original papers, you will soon discover there are thousands of studies behind the research in these videos.

If you have any questions on integrative health I have an online subscription to Natural Standard and can provide a quick answer to many questions.

"Natural Standard was founded by healthcare providers and researchers to provide high-quality, evidence-based information about complementary and alternative medicine including dietary supplements and integrative therapies. Grades reflect the level of available scientific data for or against the use of each therapy for a specific medical condition."

And, if you want to see the original research papers, I also have access to PubMed.

"PubMed comprises more than 22 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books."

Dr. Greger can, at times, be overly enthusiastic. And, at other times, he can be too simplistic. If you have any doubts at all, I strongly recommend you both read the original papers and consult Natural Standard.

My interest first started when I discovered T. Colin Campbell and The China Study

About the same time I discovered the work of Caldwell Esselstyn, MD.

I was so taken by the Campbell and Esselstyn videos that I began to read and read and read. I have stayed away from the popular press and especially discussions on fad diets. I want evidence so I look to large scale epidemiological studies, in vitro studies, and in vivo studies. I want to see causal explanations based in biochemistry. And, I want to see multiple, independent studies where the preponderance of evidence converges.

In my reading, I was often inspired to follow new paths by Dr. Greger’s DVDs ( and ). In 2011, he made all the DVD segments available on-line at What follows are the videos that most influenced me.

The Tomato Effect

“Why does the medical establishment sometimes ignore highly efficacious therapies such as plant-based diets for heart disease prevention and treatment?” 20111014

My Personal Favorites

“How to essentially eliminate the great scourge of the Western world.” 20110217

“Dr. Dean Ornish proved decades ago that heart disease could be reversed solely with diet and lifestyle changes.” 20111011

“Dr. Dean Ornish turns from reversing heart disease to trying to reverse prostate cancer.” 20110218

“Profile of an editorial published by Dr. Dean Ornish in the American Journal of Cardiology describing the optimal diet and how simple choices can be as powerful as drugs and surgery.” 20110611

For many more videos and papers on cancer and diet see Especially interesting are

“Researchers discovered a dietary intervention that may slow the progression of cancer.” 20100818

“Two weeks on a plant-based diet appears to significantly enhance cancer defenses against breast cancer and colon cancer cells. The blood of those eating a vegan diet for a year suppresses cancer cell growth nearly eight times better.” 20120918

“Breast cancer can take decades to develop, so early detection via mammogram may be too late.” 20110919

Stem Cells

“A new theory of cancer biology—cancer stem cells—and the role played by sulforaphane, a phytonutrient produced by cruciferous vegetables.” 20120312

“In a test tube, the broccoli phytonutrient sulforaphane appears to target breast cancer stem cells, but how do we know it’s even absorbed into the body? Have women undergoing breast reduction surgery eat some an hour before their operation and directly measure the level in their tissues.” 20120313

See more at


“Insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) is a natural human growth hormone instrumental in normal growth during childhood, but in adulthood can promote abnormal growth—the proliferation, spread (metastasis), and invasion of cancer.” 20120925

“Lower cancer rates among those eating a plant-based diet may be a result of reduced blood levels of IGF-1 and enhanced production of IGF-1 binding protein.” 20120927

“Those eating vegan had significantly lower IGF-1 levels and higher IGF binding proteins than those just eating vegetarian, suggesting that the more plant-based one's diet becomes, the lower one's risk of fueling growth hormone dependent cancer growth.” 20120928

“Animal protein consumption triggers the release of the cancer-promoting growth hormone IGF-1.” 20121001

“The reason animal proteins trigger the release of the cancer-promoting growth hormone IGF-1 more than plant proteins may be because the relative ratios of amino acids in animal proteins more closely resembles our own.” 20121002

“While animal proteins increase levels of the cancer-promoting growth hormone IGF-1, and most plant proteins bring levels down, “high quality” plant proteins such as soy may not significantly affect levels in either direction. This, however, may depend on the quantity consumed.” 20121003


“A single meal of meats, eggs, and dairy can cause a spike of inflammation within hours that can stiffen one's arteries. Originally this was thought to be the result of saturated animal fat causing our gut lining to leak bacterial toxins into our blood stream leading to endotoxemia.” 20120704

“The endotoxemia (bacterial toxins in the bloodstream) that follows a meal of animal products and results in inflammation and stiffened arteries may come from the food itself rather than from one's own gut bacteria.” 20120705

“The high bacteria load in raw or cooked animal foods and fermented foods may trigger an endotoxemic surge of inflammation that may be exacerbated by the presence of saturated animal fat.” 20120706

Protein and Heart Disease

“Why is the intake of animal protein associated with heart disease–even independent of saturated fat—and the intake of plant protein protective?” 20121109

“Because certain tumors such as breast cancers thrive in settings of low-grade inflammation, our immune response can sometimes facilitate tumor growth.” 20121210

“Because certain tumors such as breast cancers thrive in settings of low-grade inflammation, our immune response can sometimes facilitate tumor growth.” 20121210
“This is the first of a seven video series that takes a deep dive into the human immune system to bring you Neu5Gc, a molecule in meat that human tumors may use to facilitate growth. It's one of the most fascinating topics in modern day nutrition—stay tuned! I've done similar in-depth series on reversing cancer cell growth, why animal products cause inflammation, changing vitamin D recommendations, arugula athleticism, why nuts don't appear to cause expected weight gain, as well as the latest dietary guidelines.” 20121210

“We may have a billion different types of antibody-releasing cells in our immune system, such that each recognizes a different molecular signature.” 20121211
“Isn't our immune system spectacular?! In Wednesday's video of the dayClonal Deletion Theory of Immunity we'll explore the flipside—how our immune system avoids attacking us. See yesterday’s video-of-the-day Cancer as an Autoimmune Disease for an explanation of the autoimmune theory of cancer. Why all this background? This is all a set up so everyone can understand the dietary implications of Thursday's video The Inflammatory Meat Molecule Neu5Gc.” 20121211

“Plant-based diets may be protective against multiple sclerosis because IGF-1 can prevent our immune system from eliminating autoimmune cells.” 20121212
“This is the third video in a series on understanding the autoimmune theory of cancer outlined in Monday's video Cancer as an Autoimmune Disease, followed up with Tuesday's video-of-the-day Clonal Selection Theory of Immunity. For the story of how dietary manipulation of IGF-1 may affect cancer risk, see The Answer to the Pritikin Puzzle and How Plant-Based to Lower IGF-1? IGF-1 also appears to affect prostate gland growth. See Some Prostates Are Larger than Others, Prostate Versus Plants, and Prostate Versus a Plant-Based Diet. Tomorrow we'll finally get around to the star of this video series, The Inflammatory Meat Molecule Neu5Gc.” 20121212

“Plant-based diets may help rheumatoid arthritis by decreasing exposure to an inflammatory compound found in animal products.”20121213
“Bacterial endotoxins are another reason animal products may trigger an inflammatory immune reaction. See The Leaky Gut Theory of Why Animal Products Cause Inflammation, The Exogenous Endotoxin Theory, and Dead Meat Bacteria Endotoxemia. For more on arthritic joint disorders, see Diet & Rheumatoid Arthritis and Preventing Arthritis. For the role saturated animal fat may play in heart disease and cancer see Blocking the First Step of Heart Disease, Breast Cancer Survival, Butterfat, and Chicken, and Trans Fat, Saturated Fat and Cholesterol: Tolerable Upper Intake of Zero. What does this video have to do with the previous few about Cancer as an Autoimmune Disease? You'll see in tomorrow's video of the day How Tumors Use Meat to Grow: Xeno-Autoantibodies.” 20121213

“Cancer may use a molecule found in animal products to trick our immune system into feeding it with inflammation.” 20121214
“Make sure you see the "prequels" to this video Cancer as an Autoimmune Disease and yesterday’s video-of-the-day The Inflammatory Meat Molecule Neu5Gc. Why else might those eating plant-based diets have lower risk of all cancers combined? It could be the lack of IGF-1, heme iron, inflammation, viruses, antibiotics, saturated fat,nitrosamines, and arachidonic acid associated with animal product consumption. Or it could be the DNA repair, cellular stress defenses, anti-inflammatory properties, soy, lignans, phytonutrients, and fiber associated with healthy plant food consumption.” 20121214

“The foreign meat molecule Neu5Gc builds up in human tumors and atherosclerotic plaques and may play an inflammatory role in the progression of both diseases.” 20121217

“See The Inflammatory Meat Molecule Neu5Gc for background and Friday's video-of-the-day How Tumors Use Meat to Grow: Xeno-Autoantibodies for the role it might play in cancer growth. Inflammation (also caused by exogenous endotoxins) is one of the three steps en route to fatal heart disease. See Arterial Acne, Blocking the First Step of Heart Disease, and Making Our Arteries Less Sticky. Antioxidants found predominantly in plants may also decrease inflammation within the body. Nuts may be particularly useful in this regard. Tomorrow we'll close out the Neu5Gc story with Meat May Exceed Daily Allowance of Irony.” 20121217

“The foreign meat molecule Neu5Gc may not only contribute to the progression of cancer and heart disease by supplying inflammation, but also set children up for life-threatening reactions to E. coli toxins originating in the same animal products.” 20121218

See a summary at


“DNA-damaging chemicals formed when meat is cooked stimulate breast cancer cells almost as much as pure estrogen and can infiltrate the ducts where most breast cancers arise.” 20120116

“The cooked meat carcinogen PhIP found in fried bacon, fish, and chicken may not only trigger cancer and promote tumor growth, but also increase its metastatic potential by increasing its invasiveness.” 20120118

“Those who eat meat risk food poisoning from undercooked meat, but also exposure to cooked meat carcinogens in well-cooked meat. By boiling meat, non-vegetarians can mediate their risk of both.” 20130121

“Even vegetarians could potentially be exposed to the carcinogens typically formed by cooking meat though eggs, cheese, creatine sports supplements, and cigarette smoke.” 20120121

“Using the cooked meat carcinogen PhIP to turn normal breast cells cancerous, researchers explore the use of green tea to interrupt this malignant transformation.” 20130125

“Garlic and flavonoid phytonutrients found in fruits, vegetables, greens, and grains appear to protect against DNA damage induced by mutagenic chemicals found in cooked meat.” 20130128

“The boost in detoxifying enzymes triggered by cruciferous vegetable consumption may last for weeks!” 20130130

“The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the vapors released from cooking meat may be hazardous for fetal development and increase the risk of cancer.” 20130201

A popular press summary article. 20120201

Real Anti-Aging

“The first dietary intervention shown to boost telomerase activity.” 20110222
Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death 

“Death in America is largely a foodborne illness. Focusing on studies published just over the last year in peer-reviewed scientific medical journals, Dr. Greger offers practical advice on how best to feed ourselves and our families to prevent, treat, and even reverse many of the top 15 killers in the United States.” 20120726

More Than an Apple a Day: Combating Common Diseases

Dr. Greger has scoured the world’s scholarly literature on clinical nutrition and developed this brand-new live presentation on the latest in cutting-edge research on how a healthy diet can affect some of our most common medical conditions." 20130715

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