Recently, the Indian Ministry of Health & Family Welfare posted a tweet advising that meat, eggs, and other animal-derived foods contribute to obesity and poor health while plant-based foods help people to stay fit and maintain a healthy weight.
Not surprisingly, meat-eaters on Twitter went bonkers, because they want to use their bodies as graveyards without being made to feel bad about it. The Ministry was even accused of fat-shaming people. The truth sometimes hurts, but that doesn’t change the facts. PETA India supports the Ministry’s honest and potentially life-saving message.
Consider these facts:
- A study at Loma Linda University found that the average body mass index (BMI) was lowest among vegans (vegetarians who refrain from consuming dairy “products” and other animal-derived foods), while the average BMI was highest among meat-eaters. Specifically, researchers found that only 9.4 per cent of the vegans studied were obese, compared with 33.3 per cent of the meat-eaters and 16.7 per cent of the lacto-ovo vegetarians.
- A study of 44,500 people in England and Scotland published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that vegetarians were 32 per cent less likely to die from or be hospitalised as a result of heart disease. Their lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and body weight were thought to be what gave them the health boost.
- Research into the dietary habits of more than 70,000 people, recently published online in JAMA Internal Medicine by Loma Linda University, showed that those who followed a vegetarian diet had a 22 per cent lower risk of developing colorectal cancer than those who were not vegetarian.
- Studies have shown that egg consumption can increase the risk of colon cancer nearly five times and the chances of developing cardiovascular disease by 19 per cent, diabetes by 68 per cent, and lethal prostate cancer by 81 per cent.
- As the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) points out in this factsheet, dairy “product” consumption is linked to a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer in humans, especially those of the reproductive system, and can lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease as well as other ailments.
- A British Medical Journal study followed 61,433 women and 45,339 men for more than 20 years and 11 years, respectively, and showed that high intake of cows’ milk is associated with an increased risk of bone fractures and death. It found that women who consumed three or more glasses of milk per day had a 60 per cent increased risk for sustaining a hip fracture and a 16 per cent increased risk for any other type of bone fracture.
So where should you get your protein and calcium? The answer is plant-based foods. In fact, contrary to what the meat, egg, and dairy industries would have you believe, plant-based foods in their natural form contain all the protein and calcium that humans need. They often have just as much of these things as animal-derived foods do and sometimes contain even more.
For example, one egg has 6 grams of protein, but 1 cup of chickpeas has 14.5 grams, a cup of boiled black beans has 15.2 grams, a cup of boiled lentils has 17.9 grams, and a half cup of firm tofu has 19.9 grams. And 2 tablespoons of peanut butter contains 8 grams of protein, which is more than an egg has.
According to the US National Institutes of Health, 226 grams of non-fat milk contain 299 milligrams of calcium. The PCRM explains that, in contrast, 1 cup of calcium-fortified orange juice has 349 milligrams of calcium, while a half cup of calcium-set tofu has 861 milligrams. Dark-green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale – as well as many beans and dried fruits like figs and nuts like almonds – are also particularly strong sources of calcium.
The human body doesn’t require excessive amounts of protein or calcium. Too much protein is linked to the development of kidney disease, certain types of cancer, osteoporosis, and kidney stones. Too much calcium is thought to be linked to the development of prostate cancer.
Get yourself on the road to good health: