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The risks incurred by consuming meat

The risks incurred by consuming meat

In industrial countries, life-style diseases such as adiposity, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, hypertonia,
CHD, and carcinoses are widespread. There is an abundance of epidemiologic data showing that a
vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk for these diseases.

Nevertheless, meat, sausage, and fish are still commonly considered to be normal components of human
nutrition. The myth that these are especially healthy and valuable foodstuffs is still widespread. Many
members of the medical profession also still seem to believe that meat is a vital force in your diet.

In modern epidemiologic models the public health risk of different diets is classified totally different today
than it was only a few centuries ago. Meanwhile a low intake of vegetable foodstuffs is considered a risk
factor for phytochemical deficiency diseases which include a great number of tumor diseases,
cardiovascular diseases and degenerative diseases.

The following will present facts showing that meat consumption is connected with considerable health
risks. This information is based on scientific publications available in the Medline-database as abstracts or
original works.

Bone diseases
Meat products on average contain more phosphorus than calcium as opposed to vegetable food. A raised
phosphorus/calcium ratio in nutrition leads to secondary hyperparathyroidism. (1)
The parathormone leads to a mobilization of calcium from the bones. Adolescents are particularly
endangered by this, since an insufficient bone mass in puberty is a risk factor for osteoporosis in later
years of life. A study of young women showed a negative correlation between protein and phosphate
intake and radial bone thickness. (2)
Animal proteins contain more sulfurous amino acids than vegetable proteins do. The protons resulting
from the degradation of sulfurous amino acids are a main source for the acid burden of the organism. A
continuous excess of acid promotes the demineralization of the bones, since the H+ ions are bound to
phosphate ions under formation of hydrogen phosphate.
In 2001 several studies were published on “acid-base metabolism” and bone metabolism. (3, 4, 5).
A Swiss working group at the University of Lausanne was able to show that an acid forming diet increased
the excretion of calcium by 74 % as compared to an alkaline forming diet.
The Osteoporotic Fractures Research Group of the University of California published results showing that
the hip fracture risk of postmenopausal women essentially depends on the composition of their diet.
Older women with a high intake of animal proteins as compared to vegetable proteins ran a significantly
higher risk for hip fractures than people in a control group. The incidence of hip fractures in individual
countries correlates with the ratio of animal to vegetable protein in daily nutrition. The scientists come to
the conclusion that a low-grade metabolic alkalose is probably the optimum acid-base status.
The Framingham Osteoporosis Study also showed that a high consumption of fruit and vegetable had a
protective effect on bone structure. (6).

Rheumatic diseases
All animal products, especially meat, sausage, and fish, contain plenty of arachidonic acid. Prostaglandins
and leukotriens belong to the metabolits of arachidonic acid. An increase in prostaglandin E can be
detected in the synovial fluid of rheumatics. It also contributes to the development of cartilage erosion.
The more arachidonic acid is ingested in the diet, the more inflammatory substances can be produced.
There are several publications on the anti-inflammatory and analgetic effect of a vegetarian diet on
rheumatics. (8, 9)
A vegan diet is evidently particularly effective here since no arachidonic acid is ingested.