Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

Does Eating Too Much Animal Protein Leech Calcium from Your Bones and Contribute to Osteoporosis?

By Jamie Koonce @charcuterielove

Does eating too much animal protein leech calcium from your bones and contribute to osteoporosis?Before the mainstream fame of The China Study and Forks Over Knives, Oprah and her staff had not yet gone vegan for a week, Dr. Oz had not yet challenged his TV fans to go vegan for 28 days, and the concept of juicing and green smoothies had not yet been popularized on TV programs for overweight baby boomers.

Back in the day, I got my vegan propaganda via the U.S. Mail, thanks to PETA and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.  Through this astounding scholarly literature, my pre-teen self learned that the average American has over 10 pounds of meat rotting in their colon and causing degenerative disease, animal farming is the cause of global warming, and saturated fat as well as animal protein is harmful for the human body, which is made to be herbivorous because we have flat teeth and long intestinal tracts (not sharp teeth and short intestines like carnivores).

I wanted to do something good for my health, for the environment, and for the animals, so I decided to go vegetarian.  In 1999, I made an even bigger leap and went vegan.  I was passionate about the cause, so I got involved in a few animal rights and environmental defense groups.

After reading Diet for a New America, Mad Cowboy, The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World, Diet for a Small Planet, Milk – The Deadly Poison, and Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, I was equipped with all kinds of smart-ass quotes to tell anyone who told me I ought to be eating meat and drinking milk.  According to the doctors at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, we can get all the nutrition we need just by eating vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes.  A low-fat, high carb diet with plant-based protein instead of animal-based protein supposedly not only decreases our carbon footprint, saving the planet and the animals, it’s also healthier for us.  In fact, the PCRM states that diets rich in animal protein cause osteoporosis, cancer, impaired kidney function, and weight loss sabotage.

Of course I felt healthier on a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, and mostly organic whole grains, legumes, and soaked nuts and seeds than I had felt on my previous diet of microwaved lacto-vegetarian TV dinners (breakfast), fat free pretzels (my vending machine lunch at school), and Snackwell’s fat-free toaster pastries (dinner).  But was it because I wasn’t eating meat or was it because I was actually eating real food with some nutrition in it?

By simply eating real food and eliminating preservatives and artificial food additives, I was able to “cure” myself of migraine headaches.  As a pre-med student and anthropology major at Hendrix College, I learned firsthand that nutrition is superior to drugs in preventing and reversing chronic disease.  Much to the dismay of my atheistic biology professor, I decided to forego conventional medical school to get a four-year master’s degree in Chinese Medicine instead.

Why Chinese Medicine?  It emphasizes a whole body approach to healing, and makes diagnoses based on reoccurring patterns in the body rather than isolated symptoms.  What I discovered during my first year at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine is that food, herbs, and other substances all have an energetic component that is separate from their macronutrient and micronutrient component, which is why an individual can suffer from health imbalances even when all macronutrients and micronutrients are accounted for in the diet.  For instance, you could be getting adequate calories, fats, and proteins on a vegan diet, and supplementing any deficient micronutrients such as vitamin B12 and carnosine, but you would still be eating mostly “cold” and “cool” foods (even if they are heated and sprinkled with cayenne pepper) that are lacking in Yin, Yang, Qi, and Blood, which are present mostly in animal products.

After much investigation into any evidence that meat leads to the long list of chronic, degenerative diseases, I found that the studies cited by the vegan organizations and popular media are lacking in any convincing findings.  The studies on meat causing cancer tend to be more about the cooking methods (chargrilled steak, crispy bacon, fried chicken) that produce carcinogenic heterocyclic amines, rather than the toxicity of the protein and fat in the meat itself.

The claims about meat causing acidity, bone loss, and kidney damage come from this study, which actually says “the concept that protein restricted diets decrease the risk of developing kidney disease in the general population is not supported by the scientific literature.” So apparently, the doctors at PCRM didn’t even read the studies they cite as “evidence” for their experimental vegan diet. In fact, the “evidence” actually suggests that diets high in animal protein are protective against osteoporosis and do not damage kidney function!

But don’t take my word for it.  Take a look at the studies below:

Low protein intake associated with lower bone mineral density: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1359/jbmr.2000.15.12.2504/full

High meat intake does not induce calcium loss: http://www.ajcn.org/content/37/6/924.short

High plant protein intake associated with low bone density, while high animal protein intake is associated with increased bone density: http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/155/7/636.short

When I discovered that claims that meat-eating leads to disease were bogus, and found that a vegan diet causes subtle energetic imbalances in the body from not consuming “warm” foods rich in Qi, Blood, Yin, and Yang that cannot be made up for by herbal supplementation nor by taking vitamins, I conducted a little experiment of my own in 2004.  I started consuming what some refer to now as the Primal or Paleo diet.  Within months, I began experiencing dramatic improvement in my health, fitness, mood, and appearance.  The migraine headaches never came back, but my asthma and allergies completely went away.

My mind and body felt awake for the first time ever.

This is just one reason why I choose to not get my health information from Oprah, Dr. Oz, Colin Campbell, “nonprofit” organizations, or blockbuster documentaries.  Besides, the vegan diet is on its way “out” anyway.  Gwyneth Paltrow dumped the vegan diet way back in 2003, and Ashtanga yogi Madonna has been eating red meat for ages — as long as it’s Kosher.  This should be evidence enough to convince anyone that meat-eating is not the cause of obesity and the vegan diet is no cure for it.

What did you think of this blog post?  Was it informative?  Biased?  Interesting?  Please post your comments below, and share it via You Tube, Twitter, and Google +1 if you liked it!  Thanks!

XOXO

Jamie


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