The Role of Poultry Viruses in Human Cancers

The Role of Poultry Viruses in Human Cancers
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Does a cancer-causing herpes virus in chickens pose a public health threat?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The incidence of cancers has been rising for the last half-century, and the question is, why? Well, up to 20% of all cancers are caused by “infectious agents, chiefly viruses”—something we’ve known was a possibility for a century, when a cancer-causing virus was discovered in chickens. It was such heresy that Dr. Rous wouldn’t get his Nobel Prize for this landmark discovery until 55 years later.

If there are cancer-causing chicken viruses, what about people who handle or eat poultry? Concern has been raised about the “potential infectivity” of cancer-causing farm animal viruses for decades. The first question was whether there was any evidence of human exposure. And, indeed, people do have antibodies to these cancer-causing chicken viruses in their bloodstream, indicating that the virus is no stranger to our immune systems. Okay, but is there any evidence that the virus itself can get into our blood? There wasn’t, until 2001.

There’s a cancer-causing herpesvirus in poultry. The question is, does it pose a public health hazard? Researchers used DNA-fingerprinting techniques to test the blood of about 200 people, and 20% had the viral DNA in their bloodstream: one in five.

Okay, but that still doesn’t mean these viruses necessarily can infect human cells. But, indeed, they can. Okay, but do they cause human disease? How are we going to figure that out? Obviously, you can’t just inject people. So, researchers looked at poultry workers. That’s how we figured out how other farm animal diseases jumped to humans—not to mention the discovery of the carcinogenic nature of things like asbestos and benzene. You study the workers who are exposed day in and day out. If they don’t have higher cancer rates, then, presumably, the viruses are harmless. But, unfortunately, they do.

Those at “high exposure to poultry [cancer-causing] viruses” do have “increased risk of dying from several cancers.” So, “the relative ease” by which some of the viruses can infect human cells, and infect and cause tumors in primates in laboratories, may be of public health significance—particularly given the increased risk of cancer among meat workers, and the evidence that we may, indeed, become infected.

Even if poultry workers are at risk, though, doesn’t mean people who just eat chickens or eggs are. Just because those who kill chickens may be “6 times more likely to die from brain cancer,” for example, they’ve got live birds flapping in their face. “The intensity of exposure to these viruses in the general population” is presumably nowhere near that “experienced by poultry workers,” though “the general population is nevertheless widely exposed” to the viruses—just because we do eat so many chickens and eggs.

This is supported by data showing that it’s not only the factory farm workers that are at higher risk for brain tumors, but also butchers or meat-cutters who have no exposure to live birds—especially those that don’t wear gloves, apparently, and who frequently have cuts on their hands. And, for other cancers as well.

Those who handle meat for a living also have higher rates of non-cancer mortality, like increased death from heart disease. Could the viruses be involved there, too? Some of the poultry viruses don’t just cause cancer in chickens, but also atherosclerosis. That cancer-causing herpesvirus also triggers the buildup of cholesterol crystals.

Okay, but that’s in chickens; what about in people? “Because chickens infected with Marek disease virus…develop atherosclerotic lesions after infection[s],” researchers “looked for the presence of [any] herpesvirus…in human artery wall tissue,” and found it—though any role viruses play in human heart disease remains speculative.

But, here we were all along thinking that the substances present in animal foods increasing risk of diseases like cancer and heart disease were like, you know, heme iron, saturated fat, cholesterol, dioxins, cooked meat carcinogens.

But, we didn’t think about the animal viruses, which were “important not only for supermarket workers, but also because the general population is exposed” as well. Indeed, that study that found the chicken cancer virus DNA circulating in people’s bloodstreams found about the same rates in office workers as they did in chicken slaughterhouse workers.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The incidence of cancers has been rising for the last half-century, and the question is, why? Well, up to 20% of all cancers are caused by “infectious agents, chiefly viruses”—something we’ve known was a possibility for a century, when a cancer-causing virus was discovered in chickens. It was such heresy that Dr. Rous wouldn’t get his Nobel Prize for this landmark discovery until 55 years later.

If there are cancer-causing chicken viruses, what about people who handle or eat poultry? Concern has been raised about the “potential infectivity” of cancer-causing farm animal viruses for decades. The first question was whether there was any evidence of human exposure. And, indeed, people do have antibodies to these cancer-causing chicken viruses in their bloodstream, indicating that the virus is no stranger to our immune systems. Okay, but is there any evidence that the virus itself can get into our blood? There wasn’t, until 2001.

There’s a cancer-causing herpesvirus in poultry. The question is, does it pose a public health hazard? Researchers used DNA-fingerprinting techniques to test the blood of about 200 people, and 20% had the viral DNA in their bloodstream: one in five.

Okay, but that still doesn’t mean these viruses necessarily can infect human cells. But, indeed, they can. Okay, but do they cause human disease? How are we going to figure that out? Obviously, you can’t just inject people. So, researchers looked at poultry workers. That’s how we figured out how other farm animal diseases jumped to humans—not to mention the discovery of the carcinogenic nature of things like asbestos and benzene. You study the workers who are exposed day in and day out. If they don’t have higher cancer rates, then, presumably, the viruses are harmless. But, unfortunately, they do.

Those at “high exposure to poultry [cancer-causing] viruses” do have “increased risk of dying from several cancers.” So, “the relative ease” by which some of the viruses can infect human cells, and infect and cause tumors in primates in laboratories, may be of public health significance—particularly given the increased risk of cancer among meat workers, and the evidence that we may, indeed, become infected.

Even if poultry workers are at risk, though, doesn’t mean people who just eat chickens or eggs are. Just because those who kill chickens may be “6 times more likely to die from brain cancer,” for example, they’ve got live birds flapping in their face. “The intensity of exposure to these viruses in the general population” is presumably nowhere near that “experienced by poultry workers,” though “the general population is nevertheless widely exposed” to the viruses—just because we do eat so many chickens and eggs.

This is supported by data showing that it’s not only the factory farm workers that are at higher risk for brain tumors, but also butchers or meat-cutters who have no exposure to live birds—especially those that don’t wear gloves, apparently, and who frequently have cuts on their hands. And, for other cancers as well.

Those who handle meat for a living also have higher rates of non-cancer mortality, like increased death from heart disease. Could the viruses be involved there, too? Some of the poultry viruses don’t just cause cancer in chickens, but also atherosclerosis. That cancer-causing herpesvirus also triggers the buildup of cholesterol crystals.

Okay, but that’s in chickens; what about in people? “Because chickens infected with Marek disease virus…develop atherosclerotic lesions after infection[s],” researchers “looked for the presence of [any] herpesvirus…in human artery wall tissue,” and found it—though any role viruses play in human heart disease remains speculative.

But, here we were all along thinking that the substances present in animal foods increasing risk of diseases like cancer and heart disease were like, you know, heme iron, saturated fat, cholesterol, dioxins, cooked meat carcinogens.

But, we didn’t think about the animal viruses, which were “important not only for supermarket workers, but also because the general population is exposed” as well. Indeed, that study that found the chicken cancer virus DNA circulating in people’s bloodstreams found about the same rates in office workers as they did in chicken slaughterhouse workers.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

117 responses to “The Role of Poultry Viruses in Human Cancers

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    1. Among many other things such as taking a magnesium supplement to ensure the cofactors responsible for detoxification and free radical scavenging. We are eating cleaner food than ever (even in terms of bacteria or viruses). Our hominid ancestors 100,000-200,000 years ago probably ate a lot of carcasses, roots, and berries covered in some nasty stuff. Hence our evolution in being able to handle viruses, bacteria, and chemicals — via many detoxification and immunological mechanisms.




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    1. agreed. Just remember veggies have feelings too (communication via mycelium…). Ahhh, the interdependence and interconnectedness of it all. ;)




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        1. That’s my point exactly. That Mr. Hackett’s comment should/could better define the mindset of Mr. Hackett and not our own personal interpretations of what Mr. Hackett thinks.




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          1. I felt Hackett communicated well enough and got his point across – at least to me.
            But, I’m sure you’re right. I’m sorry we don’t all meet your very exacting interpretations on how we should express ourselves.




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            1. I am only interested in communicating more effectively, choose to or not-is no concern of mine. Simply posting a link to a search engine query, doesn’t tell me how anyone feels about anything.

              You told me how you interpreted the actions of Mr. Hackett, not his expressed opinion or thoughts.

              Thanks for civil debate. I decline to engage further, cheers and

              Fin




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  1. Make sure you use proper handling procedures with all raw meat: use paper towels to clean up, wash and sanitize all cutting boards, wash your hands with soap and water, cook meat to 165F(74C).




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    1. Jeff Lebowski: I don’t know that “proper” handling will make any difference. Have you seen the following NutritionFacts video where some people were specifically instructed on how to clean up and they still didn’t get all the viruses removed from the kitchen? http://nutritionfacts.org/video/avoiding-chicken-to-avoid-bladder-infections/ I’m just sharing. I’m of the personal opinion that telling people that there are approved ways to deal with meat gives people a false sense of safety.




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      1. Here’s some other scary stuff: I recently watched a 2 year old Frontline presentation titled The Problem With Antibiotics. One of the topics presented is that CAFO farm manures are allowed to be redistributed onto farm fields growing vegetable matter. Untreated.
        Most people understand by now that farmed animals are held for a number of days until any antibiotics used are cleared from their systems. These meds and any undesirable bacteria and viruses are excreted into the holding pens which are later used for manure. There is no requirement to test or treat this manure. These manures are permitted even on organically grown fields.




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        1. GEBrand: Wow. That’s not cool. There are a whole range of problems with factory farming, but I think you are right that most people do not comprehend the major problem with the animal wastes. I didn’t get an understanding of eve some of the problem until I saw Cowspiracy. You just highlighted another issue for me. Thanks? ;-)




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          1. Yes, its very disturbing. I don’t know if you remember some recent ‘food poisoning’ issues with spinach, strawberries transmitting E. Coli to the public. There have been other similar events and I predict we will see more.
            One way to protect yourself (and this is what I do) is fill my sink with water splashed with a bit of bleach. I soak all my vegetables in this solution which will kill undesirable bacteria. Viruses can be more difficult to kill and I’m not sure this gets all of them. But, for me, its better than nothing. I’ve also noticed that my treated vegetables last much longer in the fridge – don’t rot as fast. (need to allow to dry thoroughly of course and I put them in uncontaminated bags, not the ones from the store that I brought them home in.)
            If anyone is interested, they can watch the Frontline show here:
            http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/trouble-with-antibiotics/




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            1. I wouldn’t use more than 2 drops of bleach per gallon of water, bleach is toxic at high levels. I steam all of my veggies, frozen or fresh.




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              1. Hi Jeff – I went ahead and used the link you posted on everything one might want to know about disinfection. Below is the info from the chart on bleach solutions from your posting. You can see the Chart and information from your posting more clearly on Page 12 from your link above. 1.5 Tablespoons to 1 gallon of water is sufficient for common household use for a 0.25% solution. And yes, rinsing the solution after sterilization would be a good thing. But I would not get unduly worried about cleaning my vegg with bleach.
                As an interesting aside, I once chugged 1.5 inches of pure bleach from a glass sitting on my counter. I was in a hurry and downed what I thought was the last of my water and swallowed before I realized what I’d done. I immediately called the poison control center and told them what happened. The advise? – do nothing. There wasn’t enough pure bleach to do any harm. I asked if I should drink water to dilute it in my system; the answer was not necessarily. Again, not enough bleach to worry.
                There is a lot more information on bleach as a disinfectant on your link.

                Chlorine compounds function through their electronegative nature to denature proteins13 and
                are considered broad spectrum, being effective against bacteria, enveloped and non-enveloped
                viruses, mycobateria and fungi.
                See Table 1 below for details regarding different bleach dilutions.
                Table 1. Bleach dilutions.
                Sodium
                hypochlorite
                %
                Bleach
                Solution
                Ratio
                Bleach Dilution ppm (available
                chlorine)
                Comments
                **Always use on cleaned surfaces.

                0.025% 1:200 1.5 Tbsp (0.6 oz) bleach
                to 1 gallon water
                250 ppm Common household use

                0.1% 1:50 1/8 C (1 oz.) bleach
                to 1 gallon water
                1000 ppm Commonly used

                0.16% 1:32 1/2 cup (4 oz.) bleach
                to 1 gallon water
                1562.5 ppm Commonly used

                0.5% 1:10 1.5 cups (12 oz.) bleach
                to 1 gallon water
                5000 ppm This is a very strong solution and
                should be used on a limited basis.

                3.33% 2:3 2 parts bleach to
                3 parts water
                33,333 ppm Effective for FMD virus – but use
                with caution




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                1. GEBrand: When water is chlorinated, chlorine reacts with water to form hypochlorous acid (HOCl), which is what is in bleach, together with -OCl. So chlorinated tap water contains bleach and that explains your adventure, or rather lack thereof, with drinking bleach.
                  HOCl is a strong prooxidant in the body, so continuos exposure to bleach may not be good. (I’m just speculating here; I haven’t seen any evidence.)




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                2. Yes but the EPA and OSHA recommend a 10% solution just to be sure to kill all pathogens(ie after a sewage spill or flooding), in a livestock setting a lower concentration is recommended. I always believe in better safe than sorry.




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                3. Possibly you could rinse with tap water and neutralize chlorine soak water with some vitamin C added to rinse water? Public utilities add C to chlorinated water, before releasing it into the environment.




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          2. Here’s another piece of bacteria information that some may find interesting. A friend this weekend had hip replacement surgery. Her surgeon put a bandage on her incision and, before going off to a rehab hospital, he told her “Do not let the nurses remove this bandage; I will do it.” It turns out the bandage is coated with silver which kills undesirable bacteria. He is using this technique precisely because of the outbreaks in hospitals of deadly bacteria that are no longer treatable by antibiotics. He said the bandage will turn black and ugly looking but it is entirely safe and to not expose the wound until it has had a chance to seal up. My friend’s 93 year old Mother added that, when she was a little girl, they used to put a silver spoon in their fresh milk which kept it from curdling – this was when her family lived without refrigeration and their only means of cooling was the cold stream running through their property.




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            1. GEBrand: Speaking of silver: Several years ago I decided to replace all my cleaning products with non-toxic or as low toxic versions as I could. One of the products I settled on is PureGreeen24. It’s pretty cool (and powerful). One of the ways it works is it has silver in it. It’s scentless, cruelty-free, etc. If interested: http://www.puregreen24.com/




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              1. Thank you! I was not aware of that product and I will definitely try it out. I, too, had gone to low-toxicity cleaning in my home, mostly vinegar and baking soda type solutions which work fairly well. But the MRSA, et. al., is very worrisome. Thank you for sharing this information with us all.




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            2. I use a topical colloidal silver gel made by SilverMiracles…can be found on Amazon…pretty effective. It disappears when used.

              Also an ozonated olive oil topical cream. Plus good old 3% hydrogen peroxide.

              All of these work better than the generic triple-antibiotic stuff you can buy.




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          1. Yes you are correct; not all bacteria are harmful. I was, above, referencing the Frontline PBS documentary which discusses the problems we are having with antibiotic resistant bacteria such as simple staph which has now morphed into MRSA which will not only eat your limbs right off your body but, if it continues into your blood stream will kill you. E. Coli is another bacteria developing resistance which is killing individuals. If it’s your kid that dies from the E. Coli infected hamburger sold at Jack-n-The-Box, its a devastating tragedy. The Frontline documentary I referenced above discusses the problem of the antibiotic resistant bacteria that infected and infested the NIH hospital and killed 12 people. They picked up this bacteria when they went into the hospital – they did not come into the hospital with it.
            You are correct that there are many harmless bacteria that we live with that live on our skin, in our guts, compost our kitchen scraps, etc. But this is not the topic I was referencing. Thank you.




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            1. Got it. Sorry if I sounded negative. Recently there was a wave of antibacteria everything. But one practical example of beneficial bacteria is dental probiotics vs using listerine at night. Resistant bacteria use the horizontal gene transfer (share DNA pieces through membrane) vs our vertical gene transfer (parent of child), which makes them harder to kill. But maybe the trick is not to bomb all but to displace them with a friend one. Maybe people with a strong biome are hardier but it depends. Just some thoughts.




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        2. Organic farmers are required to comply with NOP specific manure-composting rules and many organic farmers have taken locally available food safety courses which teach them how to properly apply manures. For example, raw manure cannot contaminate soil, water, or crops with pathogens or excess nutrients, so it can’t be applied on frozen ground.

          Raw animal manure must be composted unless it is: ?
          – Applied to land used for a crop not intended for human consumption;
          – Incorporated into the soil more than 120 days prior to harvest of an edible crop in contact with soil; or
          – Incorporated into the soil more than 90 days prior to the harvest of a product whose edible portion does not have direct contact with the soil surface or soil particles.

          For composted manures, an initial C:N ratio of between 25:1 and 40:1 must exist for the blend of materials.
          The NOP Guidance Document 5021: Compost and Vermicompost in Organic Crop Production provides methods and recommendations: http://www.ams.usda.gov/NOPProgramHandbook

          Temperatures between 131° F and 170° F must be sustained for three days using an in-vessel or static aerated pile system. Temperatures between 131° F and 170° F must be sustained for 15 days using a windrow composting system, during which period the materials must be turned a minimum of five times, and this period must be followed by an adequate curing period.

          Here are a couple of good resource describing the rules for manures:
          https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/Manure%20in%20Organic%20Production%20Systems_FINAL.pdf
          http://articles.extension.org/pages/18628/managing-manure-fertilizers-in-organic-systems
          http://articles.extension.org/pages/18567/making-and-using-compost-for-organic-farming




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  2. I don’t how poultry workers can have the same rate of virus/cancer as office workers. Can someone explain how that can be? They get so much more exposure. What then are the numbers for the general population, for comparison?




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    1. Perhaps, after a long day of slaughtering, de-feathering, eviscerating and cutting up chicken carcasses while breathing in all of the aromas of blood and feces that such a work environment is bound to generate, the last thing that most people so employed looks forward to eating is a chicken dinner.




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      1. Actually, if I’m reading it correctly, its actually 3% MORE for office workers. A very surprising result. But regardless, it would likely be considered no statistical difference between the two if you run the numbers. i.e. 7 out of 39 vs. 8 out of 38 is more or less the same.




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        1. Oh, wait, wait, wait…I just re-read your reply–you were were referring to the rate of the virus being found vs cancer rates. I need to read more carefully before posting. Never mind :-)




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          1. JaySal – you were correct. See my post above. The statistical difference between 18 and 21% is nil, . . meaning the amount of virus in the blood streams of slaughter house workers and office workers is essentially the same (19.5% if averaged together). This ultimately means that the virus “lands” in about 20% of the population as a whole. People who prepare raw chicken (office workers) are just as exposed to the MDV virus as slaughter house workers.




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            1. Might be related to the amount of exercise office workers get…and maybe indoor air pollution? Who knows how many viruses are collecting in the air handing systems?

              BASIC REALITY…everyone is exposed to viruses and pollutants…its a matter of keeping the level of exposure down and eating well and doing other things that promote heath?




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    1. Yes, this question is large. Maybe there’s some sort of limiting factor independent of contact or a susceptibility that simply doesn’t correlate to exposure. But then we have folks who eat poultry products 3-5 times per day and we have food industry cross-contaminating stuff constantly (because of course, it’s too expensive to do it properly).

      And I’ve seen videos of folks cross-contaminating their entire homes. Wonder how fully-contaminated meat factories are, and how far out into the parking area, the cars, the driveways, etc. How long is that trail? Let’s DNA light that stuff up, see the disgusting truth.

      Methinks this needs further exploration-the office/butcher exposure issue. Something isn’t adding up.




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    2. Keep in mind that sitting is the new smoking. Sitting for 8 hours a day is really bad for health. That’s why Dr. G is on his treadmill doing videos sometimes.




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    3. My sense of what Dr. G. was alluding to is that 18% and 21% are, in essence, the same amount. If you averaged 18 and 21% you would get 19.5%. That is just about 20%. What I would read from his implication is that about 20% of the population overall has MDV in our bloodstreams. The implication is that handling chicken in our society is pervasive – home makers handle chicken just like slaughter house workers. Viruses travel easily among species (think of the common cold). What we are seeing, in essence, per his information above is that our chicken-handling culture ends up with about 20% of MDV herpes virus in our blood streams – potentially to do us harm.




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  3. I shared. I’m trying a new format for sharing. Observe, Share, Ask-OSA to see if I can dig up more discussion on the items I do share.

    It’s all choir-boys and trolls in here (not many, thanks). I keep trying to poke the message out into the mainstream.

    This time I spoke to my poultry consumption over the last year (some but radically different from most folks, and my near past), then shared the video and inquired as to their current relationship with poultry and henfruits.

    crickets…




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      1. OH and one of the books stuffed into my stocking (old fashioned yo) was “Virus of the Mind-The New Science of the Meme”, Richard Brodie (1996).

        Maybe I/we can learn something from this that will help us counter the billions and billions spent promoting and justifying and treating the ailments of SAD and meatism. Someday folks are going to want to be healthier for cheaper and easier.

        Oh, that’s it. I just hit on a good title for my book/pamphlet. “Meatism” but then there’s other stuff to do first. Okay now back to my woodworking, or was it book reading…




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          1. Lets see if I understand this logic , we should not eat animals because they are like our pets , but we need to kill other animals so our pets have something to eat , nothing hypocritical about that is there.
            Killing of animals is evil if done by humans but not if done by other animals?
            In the real world my dog would strave himself to death before he would look at me as something to eat and that is the way I look at my dog as well.




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            1. Even if one were brain dead enough to think that a carnivore doing what it must to survive is “evil”, what could we do about it? Nothing. It is possible to sustain dogs on a vegetarian diet, since they are omnivores. We not only kill animals for food that we do not truly need to live, we torture them in CAFOS and slaughterhouses. Your powers of logic, indeed basic, rational thought, need a lot of honing. Go somewhere and live in an omnivore bubble and quit trolling, you’ve embarrassed yourself.




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            2. Let me see if I can clear this. Exploitation of animals is not ethical. WFPB “Vegan” diet is unnatural to begin with. Societies have consumed other insects and animals but only as part of an ecosystem. That is no longer the case. The price we pay for this exploitation is quite high (Land, water, health, carbon footprint). If we understand the underlying message then it starts to make sense. Personally, I was created as a herbivore through evolution, and thus have no need to go beyond this. Dogs, cats or other animals have to go with their nature. The fact we have pets, makes us obligated to secure their food which happens to be different than ours. If this causes discomfort then we can have no pets, or have pets that are herbivores. The problem I see is we are not congruent so this creates conflict. Human nature? Don’t know.




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          2. EquaYona: I agree that carnism is a good term. Also, that is a really good talk. I didn’t re-watch it, but I’ve seen it before.
            .
            Obviously not everyone is going to understand the point of the talk, but I think the more we bring the situation to people’s consciousness, the more we will be able to effect change.




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    1. Go into IGA, or any other food store and calmly, rationally and quietly point out to the person in line in front of you buying chicken that it causes cancer and they can learn all about it on nutritionfacts.org. They will look at you like you’re a deranged lunatic, roll their eyes and try to get as far away from you as possible. As for the people I know personally; to be frank, they don’t seem to want to know or care about the destructive effects of their diet on themselves, the planet or the animals.




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      1. I look into their carts. Their carts usually reflect the nutrition-deprived/wrong aisles of the stores and also their bloated bodies.

        It got so disgusting that I quit looking into average (heavy) Americans’ carts and now try to find skinny people’s carts to gander through, but it’s often difficult to find another skinny person at the grocery store.

        The test for your powers of observation come when you find an unattended cart with a few items in it.

        Don’t get caught, grocery stalker!




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        1. A lot of times, I have trouble even finding someone who isn’t overweight. People say that I’m skinny. But by the standards of the time when I grew up, I’m just a normal, healthy weight individual. Times change. It’s inconceivable to me when I see what people have in their cart and call food. And what’s worse, they feed it to their kids.




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    2. Wade Patton: It’s my understanding that humans are generally biologically incapable of taking in new information (at first!) if the information directly contradicts long held beliefs. However, if exposed to this new information in various ways over time, we are able to absorb new information. It sounds like you introduced this information perfectly, with gentleness and no pushing. You may not have changed anyone’s behavior with this one post, but every time we talk about this stuff, it has an impact. You had an impact on more than just the crickets. ;-)
      .




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  4. Human viruses are also associated with brain problems, so precautions are smart, such as safe sex, vaccines, gloves for daycare workers changing diapers… Some small, but startling, studies show

    (1) all 50 brain tissues from people with a type of pediatric epilepsy were positive for HPV 16;

    (2) of people with antibodies to human Herpes viruses (Herpes simplex I & II, CMV), antibodies to
    1 virus associated with 5% increased risk of dementia,
    2 viruses associated with 25% increased risk of dementia
    3 viruses associated with 40% increased risk of dementia.

    Of course, these viruses may have originated in another species way back.
    Gross fact: of the two species of lice that humans harbor, one we probably got from gorillas. And it wasn’t head lice!! :-(




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    1. My career was in Neurorehabilitation. We once had a young patient in our facility that had developed a very nasty infection and inflammation in his brain from Herpes virus. The virus essentially ate his brain and was not treatable.
      Wash hands often. And do not pick your nose – I am not being intentionally crass here. The nose is a direct pathway to the deep centers of the brain.




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  5. It would be hard to go through life and not be exposed to something.
    Probably there will eventually be a market for “lab grown” meat substitutes, such as “lab grown” beef steak, or chicken, even probably things like generic proteins or amino acids, maybe vitamins too.




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  6. These questions don’t really have to do with this specific video, but I have been wondering about them for a while now and I’d like to get a professional opinion on them as I can’t seem to find a proper answer:

    1. I have been taking 1mg of B12 twice a week instead of Dr. Greger’s recommended 2.5mg once a week. I figure this should be okay, but is it?

    2. Should I take 2 TBSP of flax seed a day and a (flax oil and algea-based) omega 3 supplement on top of them, or should I take only one of the two? I am asking because I find the supplements easier to take, but those bring me to my last question:

    3. My omega 3 supplement contains vitamin E as an antioxidant (so the fats don’t go rancid I suppose), but it doesn’t state how much vitamin E it contains. Given the research on vitamin E suggesting a link between cancer and supplemental vitamin E, should I avoid this supplement now? It’s the only non fish-oil supplement they have in stores in my area.

    Many thanks!




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    1. R T: I forwarded your post onto our medical moderators so that they could address your first and third questions.
      .
      I can address your second question. If you follow NutritionFact’s latest series on omega 3s and DHA, you will see that Dr. Greger is not recommending flax seed for the omega 3s per say, because of concern that not enough omega 3s in the flax seed are converted into the form that our bodies need. So, for omega 3s, Dr. Greger recommends an algae-based supplement.
      .
      HOWEVER, Dr. Greger does still recommend 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed every day. Dr. Greger considers ground flax seed so important that he put flax seed on the Daily Dozen (list of recommended foods to eat every day). Why is flax seed recommended? For it’s health benefits beyond the omega 3s. Here is an overview of flax seed: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/flax-seeds
      .
      Note that flax seed is preferable to flax oil.

      .
      Hope that helps.




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      1. Thank you very much! That already helps me a lot.

        I’ve noticed my easily irritated and reddened skin (I’m a 22 y/o male with a strong genetic predisposition to moles, varicose veins and rosacea, lucky me.) improves very drastically when taking either ground flax seeds and/or an omega 3 supplement. I actually switched from an omega 3 supplement to flax seeds recently, and both seem to work for my skin, but it’s good to know I should take both.

        Eagerly awaiting the answers to my first and third questions! To add to the 3rd question: Not only does my algae-based supplement contain vitamin E, it also has GMO potato starch. Intuitively I think the benefits of the supplement probably still outweigh the (potential) harms, I’d just like a second opinion.




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      2. Don’t mean to be impatient, but is there any idea about the 1mg of B12 twice a week and vitamin E in omega 3 supplements yet?

        The supplement I am talking about is A. Vogel’s Veg Omega 3: http://www.avogel.ca/en/herbal-remedies/vegomega-3.php (ingredient list is down on the page)

        It seems decent enough, but I am bothered by them not counting vitamin E as a medicinal ingredient. On one hand Dr. Greger advises against supplemental vitamin E for it’s potential role in prostate cancer promotion, but at the same time it seems many algae-based Omega 3 supplements have vitamin E in them as an antioxidant. I’ve looked at other ones besides A. Vogel but so far they have also all contained vitamin E.




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        1. R T: I understand. The problem is that we have about 300 unanswered questions in the list and we just started the list not that long ago. We just don’t have enough volunteers to answer all the questions. I hope your questions will get answered, but I can’t promise that they will.
          .
          I’m not an expert, but maybe this idea will help with your vitamin E question: Dr. Greger is aware of what goes in the typical algae-based DHA supplements and yet he still recommends the DHA supplements. That tells me that in Dr. Greger’s opinion, there isn’t enough vitamin E in those supplements to be a problem and/or the benefits outweigh the risks.
          .
          I hope that reasoning helps you decide how to move forward with at least one of your issues.




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  7. This is shocking ! I always thought my atherosclerosis ( plaque build up in arteries ) was due to high cholesterol. But, according to this research high cholesterol has nothing to do with it. It’s the virus. How do you kill the virus? Are there any foods that will knock out the virus. I guess then it is a waste of time to take Statin drugs to reduce cholesterol levels. It seems that my focus instead should be on knocking out the virus. Vitamin C is suppose to knock out virus. Maybe I should be taking high doses of vitamin C instead of statins. Maybe I should spend more time in the sunshine. Sunshine fights off virus.




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    1. The Marek’s disease herpesvirus (MDV) apparently caused atherosclerosis in *chickens* (Am Heart J 1999 Nov;138(5 Pt 2):S465-8). However, herpesvirus does not have that effect in *humans* even though it presence was determined in the aortic wall by in situ hybridization (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA Vol 80, pp 6386-6389, 1983).

      Moreover, as Dr Greger said, “any role viruses play in human heart disease remains speculative”. That is, virus in general not just MDV. The potential role of a few specific bacteria is a bit stronger (for example, Thromb Haemost 2011 Nov;106(5):858-67).




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      1. Gatherer: Your posts in general are SO helpful. I can’t remember if I’ve expressed my awe and appreciation for your participation on this site. You are quickly becoming one of a handful of participants who knows how to find and evaluate studies and do it right. I just wanted to thank you for your time. I enjoy reading your posts and seeing how many people you help.




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  8. If cancer can be transmitted to others by a virus, that means that cancer is contagious. So, do oncology nurses and oncology doctors have a higher rate of cancer than the general population?




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  9. I am confused. The last sentence ” DNA circulating in people’s bloodstreams found about the same rates in office workers as they did in chicken slaughterhouse workers ” Does that mean office workers who do not eat chicken have the same rate of disease as chicken killers?




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    1. from reading the article (Found under Sources), I found this statement that I hope clears this question (I saw the same question 3 times in the comments)

      “Using PCR, we found no differences in the prevalence of MDV DNA in human sera from poultry-exposed or non-exposed individuals. There was also no difference in prevalence due to sex or age of the subjects. In all cases, MDV DNA was detected with a frequency of approximately 20%. Our results did not correlate with the previous immunological analysis of the same set of human sera, in which the prevalence of antibodies against MDV was found to be significantly higher in the poultry-exposed group than in the unexposed group (Choudat et al., 1996).”

      “Knowing that in humans MDV DNA detection does not correlate with exposure to poultry and as exposure of the whole population to poultry is unlikely, chromosomal transmission of MDV-integrated DNA is a reasonable hypothesis.”




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  10. I once came across a study that indicated that any form of animal DNA ingested triggered a spike in white blood cell count in the gut as the body either saw the DNA as either damaged tissue or substances deemed toxic or dangerous. Are you aware of such studies? Can you put your expertise behind a video on this topic?




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    1. Simple but Not easy to shift cultural/commercial indoctrinations of several generations in a nation.

      The resistance I’m shown, you’d think some folks would sooner abandon their native tongue (learning a whole new language) than to abandon known disease vectors despite all risks. But someday maybe.

      The real trick now is to keep the disease promotion/sustaining/treatment-based system from becoming so big and un-dynamic as to force us healthy persons to participate in unsafe “routine procedures” and other such nonsense. They’re still shoving treatments down our throats, onto our breasts and up our rectums that have ZERO affect on the long-term outcome of the patient. It makes money and exposes us to risks, but there’s no _real_ benefit to the patient.




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      1. That is one of the issues I see on this forum…while I’m all into the science and stuff in order to determine WHAT causes WHAT….too many of the posts on here are of the “counting angels on the head of a pin type”…totally ignoring the realities we all face of trying to buy food and products in the face of the corporate schilling of their products for profit.

        To a certain extent most will need to avoid the retrograde and unlearning types and concentrate on trying to help themselves?

        I’m talking about the trained and indoctrinated avg person who is still sleep-walking to their death…..

        If you try to help this kind of person…they might end up dragging you down to their level…..

        Once you thought you had escaped….but you find that you haven’t…..




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  11. If you are exposed to the chicken carried virus by being in omnivore and then change to a vegan diet of no animal products, does that means that the cancer no longer poses a long-term risk (assuming your immune system initially responded to the virus)? Or does the virus stay with you for life and might still be able to cause cancer, even after years of no further exposure?

    Mark G.




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    1. Hi, mbglife. I am Christine, a NF volunteer moderator. You raise some excellent questions that I am not sure have been addressed by research. Many viruses do remain in the body permanently, and this could be one of them. I suspect that discontinuing exposure by switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet would do two things. First, it would stop adding to the overall viral load in the body. As Dr. Greger and others have said, if we think of exposure to harmful substances in food as hitting oneself with a hammer, the first step to healing is to stop hitting oneself with the hammer! Second, the antioxidants and other beneficial phytonutrients in whole plant foods should boost immunity, helping to suppress, or, if possible, eliminate the virus. We do know that high fruit and vegetable intake is associated with reduced cancer risk. I hope that helps!




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      1. I eat my veggies and avoid most meat. That is something that needs to be addressed here. Things that boost the immune system….exercise…the right foods…the right attitudes…

        I take this supplement…

        http://www.swansonvitamins.com/natural-factors-echinamide-anti-viral-formula-60-sgels

        Also a few others…..most are herbal supplements with long histories of use as immune boosters.

        http://www.swansonvitamins.com/natures-way-standardized-reishi-mushroom-extract-188-mg-100-caps




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        1. “The right foods” is subject of multi-trillion $ adverti$sement we are bombarded with daily. For me the “Right Food” is no animal products which I have not eaten for the past decade and I am in excellent health. I don’t eat Burnt meat.




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  12. When are we going to gather together and Sue the Government for allowing these Outragious things to continue to be openly sold to humans, why are these items not BANNED! We don’t need a Billionaire in the White House, we need someone who works for us, not their pocket books




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  13. Hello NutritionFacts team! I am an aspiring Registered Dietitian and want to know what area to focus on if I want to be able to analyze studies like you all do. I want to be able to understand the science and possibly even do research on nutrition and help spread awareness of diet and its effects on humans. Any tips?




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    1. George,

      I’d like to have you consider Bastyr University (Seattle and San Diego) as they are very much oriented toward the scientific rigor and their frequent involvement with dietary studies. A really good and somewhat sad evaluation of how to look at studies was done on a video, by Dr. Wilson that can be found 1/2 way down the page at : http://centerofhealth.com/statistics-and-reality-and-beliefs/ One learns to be critical of information until you can see the whole picture and get confirmation, from other sources. Even so we all have our bias’s. Good luck with your journey we certainly need more RD’s who are not pushing the status quo. Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger




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    2. There should be classes at your university that go over statistical analysis and probability so you can adequately evaluate studies on their own as well as when they are combined into meta-analyses type of papers. Since most universities do the type of research that then gets published you can keep your eyes open for the job boards that are always looking for research assistants that do the bulk of the work with patients as far as paperwork, follow up and compiling of data so that the studies can get published. Good luck!




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  14. George,

    I’d like to have you consider Bastyr University (Seattle and San Diego) as they are very much oriented toward the scientific rigor and their frequent involvement with dietary studies. A really good and somewhat sad evaluation of how to look at studies was done on a video, by Dr. Wilson that can be found 1/2 way down the page at : http://centerofhealth.com/statistics-and-reality-and-beliefs/ One learns to be critical of information until you can see the whole picture and get confirmation, from other sources. Even so we all have our bias’s. Good luck with your journey we certainly need more RD’s who are not pushing the status quo. Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger




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  15. Doesn’t extreme heat of boiling or frying or grilling destroy all the viruses and worms and bacteria in chicken meat ? Isn’t that the purpose of cooking (to kill and destroy the bad stuff). Very few people eat RAW chicken, so I wonder how do these viruses survive through the extreme heat.




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    1. Some people, either intentionally or unintentionally, do not fully cook their poultry or eggs. But yes, cooking chicken thoroughly should destroy the virus. On the other hand, cooking by frying or grilling produces carcinogenic substances. That is the interesting paradox (specifically mentioned at 1:51) in the video by Dr Greger
      “Reducing Cancer Risk in Meat-Eaters”
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/reducing-cancer-risk-in-meateaters/

      [Take home message, if you are going to eat meat it is better to boil it.]




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    2. Hi, Ray Arjoma. I am Christine, a NF volunteer moderator. While destroying pathogens is one purpose of cooking, some do survive. In order to cook the poultry, it must be handled raw, which can be another source of exposure. Pathogens may also linger in the air and on surfaces that have come into contact with raw poultry. I hope that helps!




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  16. It is good to hear about research like this from time to time to be reminded why it is worth sticking with the Plant based whole food diet.
    As a person not trained in medicine it would also be interesting to know what exactly the DNA in question leads to cancer , whether this is common in other source of animal protein. Thank you.




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  17. “Factory Farm” animal foods, and non-organic, gmo produce: avoid. There is a difference. It is easy to find healthier alternatives. I’ve yet to see any of Dr G’s works bring that topic up. But I haven’t seen all of his work. This video, for example, specifically tells about research being done on ‘factory farm workers’.




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  18. I have tried to find a video that addresses my question, but so far I have not found anything. I have read How Not To Die and think it is brilliant. It has made me change a lot about my diet, and I am really enjoying eating a mostly plant based diet. I have gotten rid all practically all processed food. However, I have not completely cut out eating meat/fish. But I do eat is 100% grass fed beef, free range organic chicken, and wild caught fish. I have cut my consumption down considerably, but I still eat this maybe once a day. Do eating these sources of meat/fish make much difference in the nutritional values of the meat/fish? Is there a video that addresses this? I know Dr Greger would prefer me to eat a totally plant based diet, but if I choose to not go totally that way, it would help if there were some info out about the grass fed vs processed and so forth. Thank you for any response you can send…!




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    1. Gary Jones: Those are good questions and ones that we get a lot. I see it as two questions: 1) Is there a source of animal products that make the food healthier? What if it is organic or wild? 2) How much can animal products can I eat and it not have an impact? I’ll answer in two parts/two posts.
      .
      QUESTION 1: Are organic, wild caught, perfectly raised animals significantly healthier to eat?
      .
      b00mer, a well respected poster on this site, once wrote the following words which helps put the issue into perspective: “……A grass fed cow will consume even more food than a grain fed cow due to the lower caloric density. Their food may not be genetically modified, but they are still part of the food chain, their food still contains environmental pollutants, and they are still concentrating them in their tissues.
      ……How people can think that the nutritional profile of an animal completely changes with its diet is beyond me. If I eat mostly kale, or mostly corn, sure an analysis of my tissues may lead to some detectable differences, but it’s still going to be human flesh. I still produce hormones, I still have dioxin, pcbs, flame retardants in my tissues, I still have saturated fat in my tissues, arachidonic acid, etc.”
      .
      The summary answer is that while these products may be *marginally* healthier, they are not significantly healthier? How do we know that? Because many of the reasons why these products are unhealthy would apply to the product regardless of its source. While an organic or wild or grass fed product may have less say saturated fat, they still have plenty of saturated fat–enough to matter. All of these animal products are still going to have saturated fat, cholesterol, animal protein, TMAO, contaminants, etc. All of these products are going to be lacking in fiber and vital phytonutrients, including precious few anitoxidants. http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/antioxidant-power-of-plant-foods-versus-animal-foods/
      .
      The following NutritionFacts overviews gets you started on this topic and you will see that most if not all of these mechanisms apply to the product regardless of it’s source: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/meat/ and http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/igf-1/ and http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/endotoxemia/ Here’s a quote from moderator Rami: “Looking at meat and dairy, they still contain trans fats which the recommended daily allowance is at 0 http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/good-great-bad-killer-fats/ Dairy blocks the phytonutrients of plant foods, http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/nutrient-blocking-effects-of-dairy/ Looking at chicken, its fat to protein ratio is abominable http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/does-eating-obesity-cause-obesity/ Fish protein itself shortens lifespan by 6 years by cutting down our telomeres http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/research-into-reversing-aging/ . … What do animal products have in common? They promote cancer due to raised IGF-1 levels, promote heart disease, autoimmune disease, dementia, etc. What can stop the progression and in most cases reverse these diseases? Plants, not meat. It seems clear based on all of the evidence that plant food, all around, is much healthier than meat, organic or not.”
      .
      NutritionFacts does have some videos that directly address your question. For example, here is a video on organic salmon: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-problem-with-organic-salmon/ Note that while organic was better, it’s still got plenty of contaminants. “The differences were really marginal…” Here is a video showing arsenic in organic chicken: http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/arsenic-in-chicken/
      .
      Looking outside of NutritionFacts for a minute, lets look at “wild” game, something paleo proponents make a big deal of. Participant donmatez once wrote, “Wild game also carry campylobacter, pathogenic E. coli, salmonella, etc. All the data available on pubmed. Example: Assessment of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli Isolates from Wildlife Meat as Potential Pathogens for humans http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2765146/ AND Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus among Wild Birds in Mongolia http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3439473/
      .
      For a smidgen of science on the issue of say grass fed beef, check out the following:
      >>> Tom Goff notes that In Uruguay for example where all beef comes from grass fed animals, the more beef eaten, the higher the rates of cancer. http://nutritionfacts.org/2016/09/08/eat-protect-kidney-cancer/#comment-2884319823
      >>> The difference in palmitic acid concentrations between grass fed and grain fed beef is not significant Table (SFA): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2846864/table/T1/
      >>> Healthy Longevity pointed out some information from Plant Postive who noted that the nomadic Sinkiang in northern China who consumed diets rich in organic grass-fed animal foods experienced a 7 fold greater incidence of coronary artery disease than the Chinese living in Zhoushan Archipelago who consumed a diet much richer in plant based foods. These findings resemble even earlier observations from the 1920’s of the nomadic plainsmen in Dzungaria in northwest China and across the border in Kyrgyzstan who consumed enormous amounts of organic grass-fed animal foods and experienced severe vascular disease at young ages. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioadYLEho8M
      >>>Darryl once wrote: “any of the constituents of animal foods of most concern are also present in organic, grass-fed, free-range, lovingly stroked animals too. Organic dairy milk will have high levels of leucine and microRNA-21 (http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1475-2891-12-103.pdf ), for example. Its intrinsic to milk’s biological purpose.
      .
      What it comes down to is that “grass fed”/natural/fresh/organic/wild might be marginally (and I mean marginally) better, but that doesn’t make it healthy! It’s marginally better in the sense that a Snickers candy bar with peanuts is marginally better than a Milky Way candy bar that doesn’t have peanuts. Neither is really healthy for you.
      .
      Does that help?




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    2. PART 2: QUESTION 2: How much animal products can I get away with and still be healthy?
      I’ll point out that one of the longest and healthiest lived populations on the planet is the traditional OKinawans and they ate less than 5% of calories as animal products. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-okinawa-diet-living-to-100/ That is a VERY small amount, much smaller I suspect than you are eating. Also, this forum is full of comments from people who were not able to get rid of various health problems until they went to a whole food plant based diet, with zero animal products.
      .
      I have heard Dr. Greger say something along the lines of: With every move you make toward eating a more whole plant food based diet, the better chances you have. That’s good and worth doing. However, eating in moderation gives moderate results. Moderate chances of health. Maybe you will only lose 2 toes to diabetes instead of the whole foot? (He’s just making a point.) If you want to maximize your chances of long term health, then you will eat very little food that is not whole plant foods. I have heard Dr. Greger say that you can probably get way with a small amount of animal products (such as the Okinawans do). I would suggest that this may be true for some people. The devil is in the details. Does the person really understand what a *small* amount is? Is the person already perfectly healthy and of healthy weight? Does the person have very low exposure to chemicals outside of food? (So that risk from minimal animal product exposure might be less of a concern.)
      .
      This question comes up a lot. At one point, I hit the jackpot, and I found a great quote from Dr. Greger where he answered this very question. I found the quote on Reddit from December 10, 2015:
      .
      “Fabulous question! There was a study involving four thousand participants that compared traditional Asian diets with and without occasional servings of meat. The researchers found that men who avoided meat altogether had only half the odds of diabetes compared to those eating a serving of meat every few days, and the vegetarian women had 75% lower odds of diabetes than women who were otherwise vegetarian but averaged a single serving of meat a week. We don’t know exactly where that dividing line is, but we do know based on the Adventist data that vegetarians who start to eat meat at least once a week appear to experience large increases in the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and weight gain. During the twelve years after the transition from vegetarian to omnivore, meat-eating was associated with a 3.6 year decrease in life expectancy.
      .
      From a nutrition standpoint, I’d much rather see people eat, for example, the traditional Okinawan diet, which is largely (but not exclusively) plant-based, than the strictest 100% vegan diet centered around french fries and vegan Doritos.
      .
      Unprocessed plant foods are the healthiest options, so the more we can squeeze into our daily diet the better. Health-wise it doesn’t really matter what we eat on holidays or special occasions; it’s our week-to-week choices that makes the most difference for our long-term health and longevity.”
      .
      I think that gives you a very good framework for evaluating your own diet and deciding how much animal products are worth eating. What do you think?




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  19. Dear Dr. Greger,

    Can you do a video on Cold Sores for vegan diets?

    People who are prone to cold sores don’t do well on a vegan diet with grains and nuts due to the high arginine lysine ratio.

    I can only avoid cold sores on a vegan diet with avoiding grains and nuts, taking lysine supplements and mostly eating fruits as a energy source.

    Questions:

    1. How can one make sure to still obtain all the nutrients needed when grains and nuts are avoided?

    2. Is it really a solution to add another supplement to the vegan diet?

    3. What are the real causes of cold sores other than the ones we all know? Like how close is it actually related to our diet?




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