Renegade Health Radio: Low Protein Diets and Cancer Protection

Friday Mar 21 | BY |
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In the latest Renegade Health Radio show, Kevin and Frederic talk about a new study that just came out, linking low protein diets to a lower risk of cancer in middle age. But…this changes after the age of 65, when higher protein intake becomes beneficial!

Note: We apologize for Frederic’s explosive consonants. A technical problem caused this!

Show Notes: The study referenced can be found here.

Listen here now:

Click the play button to start the call:


Low Protein Diets and Cancer Protection

  • Sort of off topic, but California sure does have great tasting avocados!
  • A new study found that in middle-aged people aged 50 to 65 years, a high protein diet is associated with a four-fold risk of cancer.
  • Turns out it may be less about the protein, and more about “insulin like growth factor,” or IGF1.
  • How much protein is in a so-called “high protein” diet?
  • For people older than 65 years, more protein may be protective.
  • Why would it be different for people of different ages? The guys speculate on this question.
  • Is a so-called “balanced diet” really achievable, or even desirable? Did native cultures eat a widely varied diet?
  • If stranded on an island, what foods would you want to have?
  • Is the peel of a fruit really all that much better for you than the flesh? Frederic weighs in. “I trust monkeys,” he says.
  • Kevin tells of the best peach he ever ate.


    Kevin: Renegade Health Radio. This is Kevin Gianni with Frederic Patenaude. What’s up, Fred?

    Frederic: Hey guys. It’s Winter Day here in Montréal, still.

    Kevin: I know. You’ve got to move to California, man.

    Frederic: Let me tell you, I would totally move to California if it were not for family and just having, you know, a life here, but yes, I was looking at the weather in San Francisco this week, and it almost made me cry.

    Kevin: Did you really cry?

    Frederic: I…at this point, almost yes. I think I would have to go to visit and stay there for awhile and then I would cry. I would be like, this is unbelievable. It’s the same weather every day.

    Kevin: On the way to the airport you’d be in tears cuddling next to whoever’s sitting next to you.

    Frederic: Probably, probably. I mean, this is how I feel every time I visit California. I’m like, it’s not so much the warmth, you know, the warm climate, because it’s not necessarily warm where you live, but it’s the sunshine, for me. Like, that’s the most important thing, the sunshine, you know? I mean, it’s so amazing to see a clear sky many days in a row, right, not just once in awhile. So yeah, I miss it.

    Kevin: There’s a myth in the Bay Area here, that—at least the East Bay—that people think it’s just always foggy in the East Bay, here. Starting now until November, I mean, there’s no fog, there’s nothing. It’s just sun every day. It will probably rain three times until November. Now, it’s bad right now, because there’s a drought, but it’s one of the most beautiful places in the country. And a lot of people just think it’s just this foggy San Francisco thing. But one thing, and before we—we have some good stuff for you guys today. We’re going to get into this real quick. But I did want to bring up one more thing before we get into what we’re going to cover.

    The thing that I noticed out here—I’m from Connecticut, originally, and so East Coast, you know, grew up there my whole life, lived there my whole life, lived in Atlanta for a little bit, but always on the East Coast. The first thing that I noticed when we first came out here in the RV, essentially because that’s when we spent a decent amount of time in California, more than like a week to San Diego, that we took like after high school or graduation, you know, nothing like that, but like actually spent time in California. The avocados are so amazingly fresh and they’re so green and they’re just so creamy, and back East, you don’t get avocados like that. You know, you cut open an avocado and it’s got brown threads in it, you know, it’s half moldy, it smells weird, it maybe hasn’t even ripened because they picked it too early, and it’s like, still kind of hard, but rotted at the same time.

    Out here, every time you cut into an avocado that you get from the store, it is perfectly light green, creamy, delicious, all different types. Hass, Pinkerton, I mean, you name it, they’ve got it here, and so it’s just one of those things that you just don’t know until you know, and then you go back and you’re like, “Oh, I want to make guacamole at my mom’s house.” And I get some avocados and I go, “Ah, maybe we’ll just have something else.”

    Frederic: Yeah, I know what you’re talking about. I mean, when I was living in San Diego in my early twenties, I was definitely eating way more avocados than I should’ve been eating, because they were so good, and my favorite type was the Pinkerton. It was just amazing. You can’t find it anywhere else. I mean, have you seen it out East?

    Kevin: Not out east, no.

    Frederic: It’s this delicious amazing avocado. You can almost eat the skin, but I must say, Kevin, that it’s true that east, out east, or outside of California, it’s harder to get fresh produce, but where I live—I live pretty close to a really good market where they import top quality fruit—and it’s pretty much the only place I can go to buy avocados that I know are going to ripen perfectly like the ones in California. But the only kinds I can get are the Hass avocados and then maybe the Florida ones, but at least they’re really good. I mean they’re perfect. They just ripen properly. They’re creamy. They’re exactly the way they should be, but I’m lucky because I have that market. Otherwise, I don’t think I would even survive here.

    Kevin: You would die of an avocado deficiency.

    Frederic: Yes, and fresh fruit…fresh fruit in general.

    Kevin: Man, so what do we got today? We have an interesting article that we want to discuss from National Geographic. It’s about high protein and low protein type diets in middle-aged men and women. Fred, do you want to lead with this thing? This is pretty interesting.

    Frederic: Yes! Because it’s an article that just came out, and it kind of is interesting because last week we talked about fasting and I mentioned a study that was done on fasting where rats or mice were fasted or not fasted, and the group that was fasting resisted to chemo therapy treatments better for many reasons, because the cells were protecting themselves from harmful toxins, and so on. But I did mention who the researcher behind that study—and his name is Volter Longo from the University of Southern California. He’s originally from Italy. And he’s one of the leading researchers right now in fasting research. And an article just came out last week, and it’s a study from his team.

    So I thought it was really interesting. And the idea is they’re looking at the effects of protein on human health, because of a number of studies that were done prior to this. So what they found in this particular study is a diet in rich protein during middle-aged years, which is defined as between the ages of 50 and 65, leads to more premature death from cancer, and in fact, it’s four times more death. So…and it’s pretty extreme, and a 75 percent increase in mortality.

    Now what’s going on is that you look at populations and sometimes you don’t know what’s the driving factor. So if I find that a group of people is exercising a lot and they also happen to be healthy and not die of cancer as much, is it because they’re exercising? Is it the effect of exercise on their body that’s causing this? Or is it people who tend to exercise also tend to do other things like eat a healthy diet or live in a nicer neighborhood with not as much pollution? Who knows.

    So the researchers tried to take that into account, but it’s not possible to take all of it into account. However, in this case, what I find interesting is what was behind the studies. So, behind the study is an interesting observation that there’s a hormone that they found or a molecule that acts like a hormone. It’s not a hormone, but it’s very similar. It’s called “IGF1.” So you’re going to hear a lot about this if you follow health news. It’s called “insulin like growth factor” and it’s a hormone that the body produces naturally, especially early in life, because we need to grow, right? And it turns out that this hormone drives cancer. So what they found, which was very intriguing, was that there’s a group of people in Ecuador that have a very specific genetic disease where they don’t produce any IGF1.

    Kevin: So they don’t, ever?

    Frederic: They don’t produce. They just produce almost none of it. So they grow up to be a half feet tall, which is very small, and they don’t get cancer. These people never get cancer, ever. Even though they smoke, they have high rates of smoking, and being overweight and even obese, but they don’ get diabetes and they don’t get cancer, ever, not even lung cancer, even the smokers. So it turns out that it could be…in fact, probably the reason why they don’t get cancer is because they don’t produce any IGF1.

    Also, they’ve done studies on animals where, if you have an animal with more IGF1, they automatically get cancer, or more cancer. It’s not that it causes cancer, but if you have existing cancer cells in the body, they will just grow much faster, leading to cancer.

    So it turns out that protein is the driving force behind IGF1 production in the body. So the more protein you eat, especially animal protein. It’s probably specific amino acids. It’s probably not protein in general. It’s probably very specific amino acids. It just kind of makes the body produce more IGF1. So that’s why they found that people who eat a lower protein diet—and I’m going define exactly what it is in a moment.

    Kevin: Please do before all the Paleo people start writing in and cursing us here.

    Frederic: Yes. Well, it seems to be the evidence. I’m not saying it means, you know, anything in terms of philosophy, but it’s just, I think it’s obvious that higher protein intake drives cancer according to these studies. And it’s being backed up more and more. So higher protein means over 20 percent. A high protein diet is 20 percent of calories coming from protein. I think that’s very high, actually.

    Kevin: That is a high protein diet.

    Frederic: But I think if you’re on a Paleo diet, you’re probably getting 20 percent protein. Moderate protein intake is 10 to 20 percent, and low protein diets is less than 10 percent.

    So they found that a low protein diet in middle age protects from cancer. That’s what they found. However, they found that after the age of 65, a higher protein diet doesn’t necessarily protect from cancer, but it protects from early death for some reason.

    So people tend to get protective effects from higher protein intake when they’re older than 65. They don’t know exactly all the reasons why, and so on, because it’s just a study on a population of people, but it could be because when you’re older, you tend to be frailer. Just, you know, more “nutritious diet” can help you at that point. This study also matches the results of the blue zones, where you find populations all over the world that are long-lived, and they tend to eat this kind of diet where it’s fairly low in protein compared to a standard American diet, and higher in plant foods like fruits and vegetables and so on. So that’s the study and it just came out last week.

    Kevin: How ironic or how synchronistic that we were talking about it last week. I like to hack into these studies and kind of think about what other things are these researchers not thinking about. You know, what makes a lot of sense to me is that, is it the reason that people in their post 60s—so 65 plus—might need more protein is because generally the digestive system starts to slow down and there’s lower HCL production? I’m wondering if this is a HCL issue. It’s not necessarily…well, it is related to the high protein diet, but it’s maybe related to the fact that, you know, that low protein diet, the protein of the amino acids aren’t being absorbed as well anymore, so the person, the individual, needs to eat more protein in order to actually get what they need in terms of amino acids. And that seems to make a whole heck of a lot of sense to me as to why it would increase after someone turns 65, 70, or something like that.

    Frederic: It could also be because they’re requiring so few calories per day, compared to most people, that it’s harder to get all the nutrients and perhaps all the amino acids that they’re eating. You know, if someone is eating like 1,200 calories a day, I mean, it’s possible that if you increase the protein intake in that diet, you’re going to increase the nutrition of the diet, possibly.

    Kevin: Yeah. And that’s true, too. It’s a percentage base. It’s not based on calorie intake. So if you decrease your volume of foods and still ate that same amount of protein…so, say you eat a piece of chicken or something like that, but you ate less vegetables and less salad, than your number, your percentage, would increase, but the amount of protein remains the same.

    Frederic: Yeah exactly, yeah, yeah.

    Kevin: But the actual, like, grams of protein, that’s a kind of interesting way to look at it, too. So who knows what goes on here.

    Frederic: Yeah, we don’t know, but I think…I mean, if we look, let’s say…How many calories do you think you eat in a day, Kevin?

    Kevin: Me?

    Frederic: Yeah.

    Kevin: You know, it depends. I’m training right now, so I’ll probably eat around three thousand a day.

    Frederic: So three thousand. Okay. So 20 percent. That’s 600 calories divided by 4.5. That means, you know, to be in the high protein range, you would have to eat, like, over 135 grams of protein a day.

    Kevin: Oh my gosh.

    Frederic: So I mean, I think if you eat…like a piece of steak is, what, 50 grams of protein? Like a big one? So I mean, you would have to—you kind of have to eat a lot of animal products to be in that range, I think.

    Kevin: Yes. It seems like even we don’t judge diets anymore. We’re done with that sort of stuff. We don’t look at you and say your diet’s wrong or your diet’s right. That works for just about anyone. I mean, that works for, you know, a vegan who’s eating plant-based proteins. That works for Paleo, who’s eating animal-based proteins. I mean, it kind of works, but it works for Mediterranean diet, who;s eating more fish. It works for Adkins, which is somewhere it Paleo. I mean, it kind of all works, I think, across the board. I think that we’re coming to this understanding that people got to eat a lot of plants, so eat the plants. They’re good, and if you want protein, you can get it from multiple different types of sources. What the heck does that mean?

    Frederic: Exactly. I mean, I just wrote an article that hasn’t been published yet, but it’s probably going to be. More for my website, Kevin, but we’ll see. It’s an article on the myth of variety, or the myth of the balanced diet, in a sense. So I was kind of playing with numbers, and I like to play with nutrition numbers, and I was looking at…let’s say you were to design a diet of only like three foods, right? And as long as you are eating a lot of greens, I could pretty much not design a diet that was deficient. It wasn’t saying…I was coming up with weird combinations like only bananas, spinach, and like, kidney beans or something. Like three things like that. I mean, if you’re getting enough calories from those foods and you’re eating enough greens—let’s say like a pound a day or something—you’re just scoring through the RDAs just like crazy. You’re just having 135, 300%, 400%, 500% of the daily values that we’re supposed to get in all the different nutrients, like vitamin C and so on, magnesium.

    So I mean, it’s pretty clear that plants are very nutritious in minerals and vitamins. As long as you eat enough of them, it’s pretty difficult to design a diet that’s surely deficient, as long as you eat like a few different kinds of foods. I mean, that’s what I found.

    Kevin: And the variety thing. It doesn’t make a whole heck of a lot of sense. And we talked about not going into the past, to look at your diet sort of thing before…we’ve talked about this Fred, you and I. But I mean, if you look at cultures that are kind of landlocked or isolated, like the Okinawas and Sardinians and some of these people in the blue zones. They had a variety of diet, but they don’t have all different types of foods shipped in from all different types of places like we do. They don’t have goji berries in Sardinia and they don’t have, who knows? Raw chocolate in Japan. So they’re not growing that stuff there, at least in these isolated communities. And Annmarie and I have spent time in improving the Andes with the Q’ero, and they don’t eat a wide variety of food either. They essentially eat potatoes, and not the white big old potato, the sugar bomb that we all know about that you can get at like Wendy’s or some of these places, or just like your local grocery store. These are like real potatoes, all different sizes, all different colors, purple potatoes, red potatoes, yellow potatoes. I mean, just amazing colors and amazing flavor, too. I mean, some of them taste really, really unique.

    So you get all these tips from different types of potatoes because that’s really the base of their diet, because it grows up there. They eat alpaca from time to time, so they’ll go out and slaughter alpaca and they’ll eat the alpaca and eat just about all of it, just like most cultures do, and then they chew coca leaves. So coca leave are super high mineral leaves. They’re a green leaf. You might know coca leaf from two things. One, from it used to be the original ingredient in Coca Cola, and then I believe they still use it, but they do it without the alkaloid, without the cocaine alkaloid. And then it is used to…eventually after they process it down using kerosine and all these different types of acids, to make a paste, which is eventually used to make cocaine.

    So they chew these coca leaves. It’s also very medicinal. It’s something that they use for altitude sickness and a lot of these people are adjusted now, so they don’t really need to do it for altitude sickness, but energy too, just because it is a lower oxygen environment up there. So they eat these things and there’s maybe a few other things that they bring into their diet, but they’re strong, able and capable people.

    Now in the modern society, they would have challenges, right? So they’re not as healthy and they definitely like to eat sugary and salty and sweet things now that they can get as they come down from the mountains. But over all this is what they’ve eaten for a long time and they’ve survived. So I definitely believe in the myth of variety because there’s just not that much up there, and they seem to be pretty healthy, at least the ones that are still sticking to the regular diet.

    Frederic: That seems to be like that everywhere, right? I mean, I spent a lot of time in Costa Rica, and I think one of the areas of Costa Rica is one of the blue zones. And I don’t think people eat a very varied diet. I mean, rice and beans and a little chicken and cabbage. I mean, cabbage is pretty much the only vegetable that they eat besides tomatoes and so on, but you’ll never find a head of kale over there, and I don’t think we need all those fancy foods necessarily, which kind of brings me to an interesting question. What are your desert island foods, Kevin? Like what…if you could only live on a couple of foods, what would those be?

    Kevin: Oh man. Annmarie’s mom’s eggplant. No, I’m just joking. We were talking about this. Annmarie Colomeo—Colomeo is her maiden name. Gianni is now the name that she uses because we’re married, but we were talking about this at lunch on Wednesday in our office. So we got all our team members in the office together and we all asked the question, like, “What’s your favorite food?” And that was it. That’s why that came up first.

    But I would definitely bring something for hydration. So I’d probably bring like coconut water or coconuts. I think that that is something that I would probably have. And then I would definitely look for really high nutrients, high calorie type foods. And some of them would definitely be animal products. So something that’s higher in fat, higher in protein. Something that could sustain me, and I don’t know. These potatoes that are up in the Andes. I mean, if I could bring those, I would like to try to live on this Andean Diet here, the coca, the potatoes and the alpaca, because you can easily…what they do with the potatoes, they call it “Watia,” and they dig pieces of mud and they make like a little igloo. It’s probably only about two feet tall by about three feet wide, or maybe three feet by three feet. And it looks like this little igloo with an opening at the base where the igloo meets the ground.

    And then they put a lot of sticks in there and they start a fire and then they get those hot coals going and so they can be doing this for, I don’t know, an hour maybe. And there’s a video on Renegade Health, if you search Watia. And so they get the coals going and get the coals going and get it really hot in there. You look in and it’s like red, white, it’s so hot in there. And then what they do is they throw all the potatoes that they have in there. So maybe like, maybe a couple pounds of potatoes. And then they break the igloo down, so you know, the mud bricks kind of fall onto the coals and the potatoes in there. And then about 45 minutes later, you pull the mud off and then they reach in and grab the potatoes out and I’m sitting there…the first time I saw it, I’m sitting there watching them do it and I’m really excited about it. I’m filming it. I’m like this is the coolest thing. We don’t do this in the U.S. We need to go back to our…some sort of native culture, and really do things that mean something that require work. Like, we don’t really put work around our food.

    And so after we’re done and they collapse it and the potatoes are done and we pull the mud off, Sebastian—who is a shaman that we’ve gotten to know—he starts reaching into these coals and just grabbing these potatoes. I’m like, “Oh let me help,” and I reach in and I grab one of these potatoes and it is the hottest thing that I’ve ever grabbed in my life and I like squealed and threw it down and he looks at me and he just shakes his head. And I’m just like, “Oh man.” I’m like, “Suave, suave,” with my hands because he speaks a little bit of Spanish. Very little Spanish, but we speak it like one word kind of communication. I’m like “Suave, suave,” and he just laughs. Just like, you know, “American’s hands just can’t even handle the hot potatoes.”

    Frederic: Yeah, you’re like the weak gringo, right?

    Kevin: Oh my God, I know. I’m the weak gringo wherever I go. I’m the weak gringo when I walk out here into Berkeley.

    Frederic: Those potatoes sound really good.

    Kevin: It’s so good and they’re nutrient dense. You can just tell. I mean, they have antioxidants. Some of them have this really deep purple color. That’s in the potato. I mean, again, this is not your Russet, Idaho potato that’s one pound itself and it’s just this huge carbohydrate bomb with little or no nutrient profile. You know what else is crazy too? This is something that I think about a lot, is that they peel the skin off the potato, every single one. Every single one they peel the skin off and I don’t…I mean, it could be because there’s like alpaca and all these animals walking around, or it could be because it was just in this big pile of dirt and charcoal and whatever, or it could be the fact that they just have realized over time that maybe the skin isn’t that great.

    Frederic: I think skin is over rated. I mean, not skin but—

    Kevin: Not human skin.

    Frederic: But fruit peels and so on, because it’s just…I get a little bit upset when I hear people say the best part of the apple is the skin, and they eat the peel of everything. And yes, if you analyze, nutritionally speaking, which means you take all this food and you burn it down and then you analyze the ashes, yes. The peel is definitely more nutritious. But what really matters is what we can assimilate, and often, in the peel is just very tough fiber. So I don’t think you get much out of it and it depends.

    I mean, like grape skins for example. I think they’re just undigested. Tomato skins. They’re undigested. I mean, whatever there is on the peel we just don’t digest it. And it’s the same for a lot of peels, like many fruit peels, and yeah. Even apple peels. Not all of them. Some are very thin and so on, but some actually peel…like a Macintosh Apple. I will always peel them. and people look at me. “You’re crazy. You’re throwing away the most nutritious part of the apple.” Well, just peel a bunch of apples and then eat only the skin. Eat the peel and just realize it’s actually pretty tough and nasty.

    Kevin: See what comes out the other end.

    Frederic: Yeah. I think…yes, maybe you’re throwing away some nutrients, but I think you get plenty from whatever is in the pulp of the fruit, and even…I mean, you look at monkeys. They peel everything, including grapes. So I trust monkeys.

    Kevin: That was a classic statement. I mean, we need to put that one on the highlight reel there. Frederic trusts monkeys.

    The other thing, too, is yeah, okay, so the apple peel is the most nutritious thing. I mean, but are you only eating apples and then you’re missing out on all your nutrients from the apple peel? I mean, what if you eat an apple that’s peeled, and then you drink a green juice. Whatever nutrient was in the apple peel, it doesn’t really matter anymore. I mean, you’re getting…this is a very myopic, or very, like, shortsighted view of nutrition instead of looking at the larger picture.

    Like Fred said earlier, if you’re eating all different types of foods, or you’re eating enough calories, and you’re not, like, going really kind of askew on your diet, and not doing like really strange things like Frederic and I both have done before, you’re going to get a lot of the nutrients you need, particularly the macronutrients and a ton of the micronutrients skyrocketing above a lot of the RDA and whatever those organizations are that think they know what they’re talking about when it comes to what people should eat.

    So it’s really one of those things where you can go too far down the rabbit hole and then suddenly end up on the other side just eating apple peels and not being healthy and then you’re like, “What the hell happened?” You’re like, “Well, you went too far. You got too shortsighted.”

    Frederic: Exactly. And I must say also, I mean, that peel a peach and it’s pure heaven. Just saying. Next summer, guys, try a perfectly ripe white peach and peel it and then eat just the pulp and it’s like the best thing ever. So trust me on that.

    Kevin: I think the peach peel is there just so when you bite into it, the liquid only just comes out of the area that you’ve bitten into and not just like everywhere. Peach is like a sponge, you know what I mean? It’s like. if it was peeled, you just…if you don’t cut it, you squeeze it and just like…and just imagine, just peach juice just coming all over my hands. You know what the best peaches in the world are, though, they’re Palisade’s peaches. These are peaches that are from the west side of Colorado near Grand Junction and I had never heard about Palisade’s peaches. Someone told us about them as we were kind going through Utah, and they said, “You have to stop and get a Palisade’s peach in Colorado.” And we were just like, “All right, that’s fine. I’ve never heard about it.”

    And we drive, right? I think it’s I-70. You drive right into Colorado and you start seeing these signs for Palisade’s peaches and it’s just a really…it’s kind of a little bit of a valley where it’s kind of a…it’s still desert-ish kind of land, but in this valley there’s a river and I don’t know what river it is, I’m sorry if I’m geographically challenged here. I don’t know what river it is, but it’s coming though the mountains there, and it’s a really lush valley where they grow these amazing peaches and these things are like custard. You get them and you put them in a fridge and you get them cold and you eat them and they are like eating custard. I mean, you can almost eat them with a spoon.

    Frederic: Wow. That’s one of those things. I mean, I’m always jealous when there’s a fruit that I hear about that I’ve never tried, because I’ve tried a lot of different fruits.

    Kevin: Forget being jealous about an ex-girlfriend meeting up with someone else. It’s like if there’s a fruit that you haven’t tried, it’s this epic kind of emotion.

    Frederic: Oh yes, yes. I’ve had white peaches and I’ve had Saturn peaches and I love…I mean, do you know flat peaches? They’re called Saturn.

    Kevin: Well the ones that almost looked like…the ones that kind of look like, or they look like a little…I don’t know, like a pincushion kind of thing.

    Frederic: Yeah, exactly. Those are great when they’re properly…they’re not supposed to be tasty. They’re supposed to be sweet and juicy like regular peaches. So if you get them like that they’re perfect.

    Kevin: All right. I think it’s time to close this up. We appreciate you guys listening. Fred, when is this going to be up on iTunes?

    Frederic: I think within a week.

    Kevin: All right, cool. So guys, check us out on iTunes if you want to download this. If you don’t know how to do it on the blog here, if you want to download this on iTunes, it should be up pretty soon, and then you can get it downloaded to your i-thing regularly.

    Frederic: Sounds good.

    Kevin: Okay. We’ll catch you next week. Adios guys.

    Frederic: All right, adios.

    Kevin: Bye.

    Frederic Patenaude

    Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

    Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.


    Comments are closed for this post.

    1. Tracy Coats says:

      The China Study done by Dr. T. Colin Campbell is the most comprehensive study ever done on the link between animal protein and cancer. Dr. Campbell has 30+ yrs of experiments and studies that have been published, all come to the same conclusion….Regardless of how cancer is initiated i.e. family history, virus, chemicals(chief cause of cancer, Casein being most common in food), stress…cancer development can literally be turned on and off by reducing animal protein consumption to 5% or less(daily intake). I am taking Cornell University’s online Plant Based Nutrition course. Here is a sample letter I wrote for an assignment to a friend concerned about her family history of cancer and getting pre-screened.

      Dear Ami,

      I understand that you are concerned about your predisposition to getting cancer given your family’s current history of cancer. Based on current statistics, one out of three people are getting some form of cancer in this day and age. Given these statistics, I think that it is wise for ALL of us to take precautionary measures to prevent the onset of cancer. Aside from early detection screening, there is another area of prevention that has been studied in great detail by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Professor and Researcher at Cornell University and author of The China Study. This preventative measure is related to diet and addressing nutritional imbalance in our bodies.

      Most of us are aware that there are various factors that contribute to the development of cancer such as: chemicals, viruses, family history, sunlight, radiation and let’s not forget stress. We’ve heard about it, but I don’t think the majority of us know how cancer starts in the first place. Understanding what promotes cancer may be very helpful in determining what we truly need to do to prevent and even cure cancer. According to Dr. Campbell the initiation of cancer occurs in a very short time span and the chief cause of cancer are carcinogenic chemicals being consumed, like casein, which is found in animal protein. The promotion of cancer can take years and according to Dr. Campbell’s extensive studies on cancer…cancer is actually reversible based on what he calls promoters or anti-promoters. Let me share with you a couple studies by Dr. Campbell that were funded by the NIH, American Cancer Society and the American Cancer Institute. This will hopefully help you understand the difference between these cancer promoters and anti-promoters and help ease your mind a bit.

      In Dr. Campbell’s Dietary Intervention Study, rats were fed a 20% animal protein based diet for 12 weeks. Dr. Campbell observed a definite increase in tumor growth in these rats. Then he switched the rats to a 5% animal protein diet for 3 weeks. In just this short time of switching their diets, he observed that the precancerous tumors were turned off. The rats were then put back on the 20% animal protein diet and tumor growth occurred once again, as expected.

      The second study was conducted on Mice who were exposed to the Hepatitis B Virus in their genes. The mice were fed a 20% animal protein diet(casein) and Dr. Campbell observed actively growing tumors when the mice were fed this high animal protein diet. The mice were then fed 12% animal protein(casein) and there was still some tumor growth, but not as much. The mice were then given 6% protein and there was no tumor growth. To confirm this only happened when the mice were given animal protein, the same experiment was conducted, giving the mice plant based protein which consisted of wheat and soy. There was no tumor growth when the animals were given the plant based protein. Dr. Campbell concluded that it was the amount of animal protein consumed in excess of what was actually needed by the mice that caused the tumor growth. We can assume the same is accurate for humans, since we have approximately the same protein requirement as rodents. Our SAD(standard American diet) is high in animal protein, in excess of 10% and low in plant based proteins. Hence our high rate of cancer in the U.S.

      As you can see Ami, Dr. Campbell’s studies provide clear evidence that if we have damaged genes, we can use nutrition to control the onset of the development of cancer. I have only provided you two of the many studies that provide evidence of this. I can tell you in summary, that all of the studies Dr. Campbell has done over his 25-30+yrs of researcher have the same final conclusion…regardless of how the cancer was initiated, through genetics, through chemicals consumed, through viruses…all tumors respond the same. Growth in these tumors is promoted by animal based protein and decreased and kept at bay by consuming plant-based proteins.

      Hopefully this information will empower you, Ami…making you feel less vulnerable to a disease that has taken so many of our loved ones and friends, unnecessarily. As you know, I have been eating a plant based diet for quite some time now, I’d be happy to share some of my favorite recipes with you! Cheers to a long life of living disease free!!

      Lots of Love,


    2. Bernadette says:

      Hey! STOP telling people how wonderful California is!!!
      We have earthquakes, droughts, smog, really high real estate prices, nuclear power plants built on fault lines, crazy drivers – and WAY too much development, because so many people are moving here. Beautiful orchards and fields are being plowed under everyday to build houses, freeways, and shopping malls and it is really sad to those of us who were born here and have watched the devastation first hand.

      However, I really appreciate your show and all the information you share. Thanks for all you do.

      • Yvonne says:

        You are right. You also forgot to mention politicians lacking any real solutions to all the California problems. There is no future in that state for anybody! Sorry…

    3. cat says:

      I’ve had rats in the past as pets, many of which were born in my home. None of my rats ate the peels of anything, including blueberries! They also refused to eat tofu and tempeh. Because rats have a high metabolism, it was easy to see very quickly how the food I gave them changed their body and behavior. For example, if I fed them coconut oil (supposed to be so good for you, right?) a few days in a row, they would all gain weight, even the most active ones. I also found the same thing as Dr Campbell: that my rats fared better on a protein vs. carb diet when their health really deteriorated. BUT when I had rats that were eating a high raw vegan diet, meat, dairy and gluten made whatever health problem worse. Dairy, gluten and sugar were big factors. Since almost all rats have a mycoplasma virus, which affects their lung health, it was easy to see within HOURS how they would suddenly start wheezing or feel lethargic.

      I had a few rats who lived to 3 years of age (that’s 99 in human years), and none of them had any nasty medication that they prescribe at the vet or any rat “pet” food. I don’t know many rats who’ve been fed spirulina, chlorella, maca, bee pollen, lucuma, other “superfoods,” or healthy herbals like dandelion root, marshmallow root, nettle, aloe vera and colloidal silver!! They were BIG fans of kale, especially when kale was one of their 1st foods ever eaten. Seeing them choose kale over iceberg lettuce (sometimes even over nuts!) made me realize that the first foods we eat in life can have major impact in our eating habits in later life.

    4. Elise says:

      Dr. Campbell’s studies were done with the protein casein found in milk products. Does that mean that protein from animal flesh is okay if more than 5% from calories are eaten?

    5. Kuru says:

      IGF-1 is an ingredient in Deer Antler and is isolated as a supplement and advertised for anti aging and immune support. I took it for awhile and enjoyed the strengthening benefits I felt. But then I heard it was implicated in cancer so stopped. Can you clarify? I would love to take it again for the benefits stated, but certainly don’t want to encourage cancer. Is it irresponsible to even manufacture it as a supplement? Or is this supplement an entirely different thing? I would really appreciate some clarification on this. Thanks!

    6. Weltha says:

      You are right! Variety doesn’t matter and I don’t believe there should ever be a ‘cap’ on protein. Only a ‘balance’.
      If one eats a lot of protein, they need to balance it out with nutritious vegetables.
      A very important truth is….EAT FRUIT without believing the hooplah about ‘fructose’ . It is a lie designed to keep us from consuming enough fresh fruit. So please add fruit to the veggies for balance and to make the ‘balanced’ diet more fun and delicious.
      Thanks for everything, guys 😉

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