Vegan cancer risk? It’s zero, right?
If you’ve read The China Study you might assume cutting meat, dairy, and eggs from you diet will leave you immune to cancer, since Dr. Colin Campbell explains that in his in vitro and animal experiments, cancer was turned on and off like a light switch when animal foods were added or subtracted.
And since Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn’s studies demonstrated heart disease can be reversed with an optimal vegan diet and lifestyle changes, all the vegans out there in the real world should be immune, right?
If you believe this, a recently-released meta-analysis1 should raise some questions for you. It drew on more than a hundred observational studies looking at 15,000 vegans, 130,000 vegetarians, and many thousands of omnivores to see what the disease risk differences were between them.
What were the results?
Vegan Cancer & Heart Disease Risk Compared To Omnivores
The vegetarians and the vegans certainly had an advantage over the omnivores, and suffered considerably less from heart disease and cancer. But you might expect – given some of the interventional trials mentioned above – that the rates would be even lower.
So why weren’t they?
Outside the fact that some of these vegans could have only been eating vegan for a short while, which may have thrown of the results, there are some other issues.
Where We Can Do Better:
Junk Food Vegans: Oreo cookies are vegan, but you won’t find any studies linking them to an ability to shrink cancer tumors. On the other hand, several types of fruit have been linked to exactly this ability.
Yet if you look around, you’ll find more junk food vegans than those sticking to low fat, whole food diets.
In the real world, you can’t be a junk food vegan and expect ideal results. Most of the interventional trials that have demonstrated an ability to reverse disease have urged participants to stick to low fat, high-nutrient foods, and you average American – of any dietary persuasion – simply doesn’t eat this way.
Exercise: Although studies have found that your average vegan exercises a bit more than your average omnivore, they’re still short of the suggested minimum of the Department Of Health And Human Services, which suggests 150 minutes of aerobic activity and two strength training sessions (not time suggestion given) per week. Exercise plays a critical role in disease prevention. Based on my own review of the available science I think 60 minutes a day should be the minimum, but even hitting the Health and Human Services suggestion would be a good start.
Fasting And Intermittent Fasting: Going longer-than-average periods without food does amazing things to the human body, including shrinking tumors that can’t be treated through conventional means. I once fasted for 26 days, and I eat before noon on only the rarest occasions. I often go well into the afternoon before eating anything.
Meditation: Researchers are increasingly finding the meditation not only preserves the brain and improves your memory and mood, but seems to have an effect on many diseases as well. Learn to meditate.
Dinu, M. Et al. Vegetarian, vegan diets and multiple health outcomes: a systematic review with meta-analysis of observational studies Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2016 Feb 6:0.↩