Animal products may contain saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol, hormones, organochlorine pesticides, excessive copper, arachidonic acid (especially in chicken and eggs–see here and here), and AGEs. Consumption of animal products may raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of gallstones, obesity (possibly chicken in particular—see here and here), neurological diseases (again linked to poultry exposure), diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, apthous ulcers, cataracts, and even urinary tract infections, but probably not osteoporosis. This is also why obtaining vitamin B12 from supplements or fortified foods is a healthier choice.
Animal product consumption may also promote the growth of certain cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. (Videos here and here cover breast cancer growth promotion and here and here cover breast cancer survival).
The recent trend of premature puberty onset in children may be partially attributed to animal proteins, particularly those found in dairy. Consuming soy, however, appears to promote more normal development, one reason why plant sources of protein are preferable—even when part of a high protein low carb diet.
“Pink slime” ground beef can be processed with ammonia and arsenic; it can also be found in both chicken and fish. Fish products are particularly contaminated with industrial pollutants and can contain pharmaceutical drug residues, PCBs, dioxins, and mercury. Food safety risks include: the toxic superbugs MRSA and Clostridium difficile, the Anisakis parasitic worm present in as many as two-thirds of retail fish fillets, and fecal food poisoning bacteria that can be found at an even greater prevalence in retail samples.
Switching to a more affordable plant-based diet may increase our antioxidant intake, help control weight, slow the growth of cancer, and even improve our mood (perhaps due to brain inflammation from arachidonic acid found in meat). The USDA’s mission is to promote agribusiness, and as such public recommendations to limit animal products are often communicated in code. Nutrition labels also tend to short-change plant foods.
Topic summary contributed by Peter Huntley
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