Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Enemy at our Doorstep—and what to do about it

Thomas Paine's Corner

Why not employ human testing? It would yield more accurate and useful results….

By David Irving


We live with an inescapable dilemma. With each passing year we become more vulnerable to heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Animal researchers believe that the solution lies somewhere within the boundaries of their profession just waiting to be discovered. The media follows their lead jumping on every little report they put out telling us about the latest “exciting” research project that surely gets us closer to a cure for these killer diseases. But animal researchers have been saying this for as long as anyone can remember. Moreover, the public is growing ever more disenchanted with their research for a variety of reasons. One reason is that animal research is unreliable. The metabolism of animals is and will always be completely different than that of human beings. Tylenol, for example, kills cats. Countless, flawed drugs that passed animal tests have caused health problems for human beings, one of the most notorious being the infamous Thalidomide that caused babies to be born with deformities. Other examples include Methoxyflurane, an anesthesia that caused kidney malfunction; Flosint, an arthritis medication that proved fatal to humans; Opren, a cough medication that killed 61 people; Zelmid, an antidepressant that caused severe neurological problems for humans; and Practolol, a drug for emergency cardiac arrhythmias, which killed 23 people and blinded 78 others. Yet medical researchers continue to experiment upon animals knowing that this research often leads to dangerous applications and can at best provide only inconclusive theories since it cannot directly translate to human beings.

Animal research is also a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too, permissive, corrupt profession that largely ignores one of the most obvious causes of cancer, heart disease, and stroke – diet. Animal researchers thereby lull the public into the mistaken belief that it can continue the bad habits that are chiefly responsible for spawning these diseases under the misperception that animal researchers are busy in their laboratories finding cures that will protect it. This creates a somnambulant public ready to be bilked out of billions of tax dollars. As Linus Pauling wrote in regard to cancer, “most cancer research is largely a fraud.” Even those few researchers who are motivated by humanitarian impulses perpetuate this fraudulent enterprise by refusing to denounce the fake research in which their fraud-minded colleagues are engaged. This money could go to far more creative medical research that does not rely on animals and would lead to more meaningful results than animal research has ever produced since it would be aimed at the actual causes of these diseases.

The indisputable fact remains that it is morally reprehensible and cowardly to enslave another living creature against its will for a hoped-for benefit for the so-called superior human race. Scientists who practice animal research have acquiesced to a mindset that relies on the exploitation of the weak and helpless. In doing so they have accepted a lower intellectual and spiritual plane where animal exploitation is the norm. It is only in such a reduced environment that animal researchers could ever achieve the acclaim they enjoy today. Refusing to respect the credentials of the lesser world these animal researchers inhabit and control, George Bernard Shaw, Nobel Prize winner in literature, wrote “vivisection is a social evil because if it advances human knowledge, it does so at the expense of human character.” Samuel Johnson, thought by some to be the most distinguished person of letters in the history of England, put it just as succinctly 300 years ago. “Men who have practiced tortures on animals without pity, relating them without shame [in the medical journals], how can they still hold their heads among human beings?”

Those who object to animal research for finding a solution to our health problems are looking for alternatives especially in consideration of the mounting evidence that links the major killer diseases to diet. John Robbins made the following observation in his book Diet for a New America: “We know how to prevent heart attacks and strokes. We know how to prevent the killers that account for more than half of the deaths in the United States every year. But most of us, thanks to the endeavors of the meat, dairy and egg industries, have not gotten the good news. We still think we must eat animal products in order to be healthy. We still think heart attacks and strokes are regrettable but more or less inevitable by-product that comes with living well and growing old. The heart attack has become so much a part of American life as to be virtually an institution. We take it for granted.”

In the search for finding a means by which to ward off heart disease, cancer, and stroke, it will help to recognize some of the enemies to good health. Robbins names three of them in the paragraph above. They are: 1. Meat. 2. Dairy. 3. Eggs. With these enemies serving as the mainstays of our diet, our lives are like a game of Russian Roulette. A pistol with bullets of heart disease, cancer, and stroke is pointed directly at our temples. We do not know if the next chamber in the gun is empty or loaded, and we are not the ones holding the gun and pulling the trigger. That assignment goes to diet. It is apparent then, that we need to know more about the affects of the food we consume.

A look at some of the work done at the Framingham Project – an ongoing cardiovascular study of the causes of heart attacks begun in Framingham, Massachusetts in 1948 – gets us off to a good start. According to the current director of the project, Dr. William Castelli, they have never “had a heart attack in Framingham in 35 years in anyone who had cholesterol under 150.” Obviously, then, if we can get our cholesterol levels down to 150 we’ve taken a big step in reducing the chances of becoming heart attack victims. The very simple way to do this is discussed further below.

It is up to us to try to put the odds for good health and a longer life in our favor as much as possible so that we can boot the killer diseases from our doorstep. A following fact sheet offers information about heart disease, cancer, and stroke in relation to diet. It is copied directly from the sources listed with links provided in each section to web sites where verifications, referenced footnotes, and additional information can be found.

One final point. There is no cutoff age for changing to a better diet. Whether a person is twenty, forty, or ninety, the health benefits that result from such a change will most certainly follow.


Heart Disease
About Those Omega-3 Fatty acids
If your cholesterol is too high how should you reduce it and what’s the story with statins.


Meat and dairy products are high in cholesterol and saturated fat. As these fatty substances, or “plaques,” build up inside the walls of arteries, blood flow to all areas of the body is impeded. This artery damage is called atherosclerosis. It often begins very early in life and develops gradually. When too little blood reaches various regions of the body, normal immune systems are impaired, setting people up for a number of diseases, most notably heart disease. Heart disease is the number one health problem in the United States today and, according to the American Heart Association, the single leading cause of death. Most heart disease is diet-related—caused by animal products. Research shows a highly significant correlation between the consumption of even small amounts of animal-based foods and the increasing prevalence of heart disease.

For example, a major study published in February 2005 reconfirmed the link between meat consumption and heart problems. The study, which was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, concluded that among the 29,000 participants, those who ate the most meat were also at the greatest risk for heart disease. The researchers also reported that a high intake of protein from vegetable sources like tofu, nuts, and beans lowers our risk of heart disease by 30 percent. Dr. Linda E. Kelemen, the scientist who headed the study, told reporters, “Not all proteins are equal”—while vegetable protein can help keep our hearts healthy, eating animal protein can put us in an early grave.”

Studies have shown that a vegan (pure vegetarian) diet—rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables—can stop and even reverse heart disease. People following a plant-based diet have 2.5 times fewer cardiac events, including heart attack, stroke, bypass surgery, and angioplasty. By switching to a vegetarian diet, you can significantly reduce and almost eliminate your chances of dying from heart disease.

Elevated cholesterol—anything above 150—promotes atherosclerosis, the buildup of cholesterol, fat, and cells in the arteries that feed the heart muscle. Incidentally, while the average cholesterol level in the U.S. is 210, the average vegetarian’s cholesterol level is 161 and the average vegan’s cholesterol level is 133.

As noted earlier in this article, nobody with a cholesterol count of 150 and below has ever died of heart disease in 35 years in the Framingham study. To lower our cholesterol count to 150 and lower, we only have to stop eating animal products.

For additional information on heart disease visit Links at the bottom of each web page are provided for further information.


Breast Cancer

Dr. Dean Ornish, author of Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease, Eat More, Weigh Less, has been featured in all major medical journals and news media including NOVA on PBS as the result of his revolutionary study proving that heart disease can be reversed through diet and exercise. He explains that “In Japan and other countries where the consumption of animal fat is much lower, breast cancer is rare. It’s not because their genes are different. When Japanese women move to the United States and begin consuming a high-fat diet, they develop breast cancer at about the same rate as Americans–more than 400 percent higher than in Japan.” A 2007 study of more than 35,000 women published in the British Journal of Cancer found that women who ate the most meat were more likely to develop breast cancer than women who consumed the lowest amount of meat. For a further description of Dr. Ornish’s study see the section below If your cholesterol is too high how should you reduce it and what’s the story with statins.

Prostate Cancer

A study comparing the dietary habits of men in 32 countries found that the highest risk factors for prostate cancer mortality were meat and dairy products. By contrast, another study of men diagnosed with prostate cancer showed that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and grains can slow or even halt the progression of the disease. The ACS (American Cancer Society), which has launched a “Five a Day” program encouraging people to eat more fruits and vegetables, believes that the “intake of saturated fat-animal fat from red meat and dairy products-is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.”

Colorectal Cancer

And the American Cancer Society web site states that “a diet mostly from animal sources” is a risk factor for colorectal (colon and rectal) cancer. As a result, the ACS “recommends choosing most of your foods from plant sources and limiting intake of high-fat foods such as those from animal sources.”

Upon reviewing an array of studies discussing the link between diet and colon cancer, scientists from the Bremen Institute for Prevention, Research, and Social Medicine and the German Cancer Research Center stated in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that “the relationship between a vegetarian and fiber-rich diet and a decreased risk for colon cancer has been reported in many studies.”

A review of population studies published in 1996 in the prestigious Italian medical journal Annali dell’Istituto Superiore di Sanita found that meat and other animal fats are among the most consistent risk factors for colon cancer and that vegetarian diets reduce the risk of colon cancer.

A population study conducted by the Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health found that “animal fat was positively associated with the risk of colon cancer.” The authors also reported that in another large-scale clinical study, women who consumed beef, lamb, or pork as a main dish at least once a day were more than 250 percent more likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer than women who consumed meat as a main dish less than once a month.

For additional information visit Links at the bottom of each web page are provided for further information.


All the cholesterol and saturated fat in animal products also clog the arteries in your brain, which can lead to strokes. Strokes are the third-leading cause of death in the United States—after heart disease and cancer—affecting one American every 45 seconds and killing one American every three minutes.

On average, vegetarians have significantly lower blood pressure than meat-eaters do. People with high blood pressure are far more likely to suffer from strokes. Researchers who tracked 72,000 women over a period of 14 years recently confirmed the fact that those who adhered to diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and grains were less likely to suffer from strokes in comparison to those who ate the typical American meat-heavy diet. If you want to protect yourself against strokes and other serious chronic diseases, the science indicates that going meat-free is one of the best steps that you can take.

In fact, high blood pressure is the single-most important risk factor for strokes, according to the American Heart Association.8 On average, vegetarians have lower blood pressure than meat-eaters do. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that 26 percent of meat-eaters studied suffered from high blood pressure, compared to only 2 percent of vegetarians.9 Further studies by scientists at Harvard Medical School have confirmed that “[s]trict vegetarians, who eat little if any animal products, and lacto-vegetarians, who regularly eat dairy products, have lower blood pressures than the general population after adjustment for the effects of age, sex, and body weight.”10 Since vegetarians have a lower risk of having high blood pressure in comparison to meat-eaters, they reduce their chances of having strokes or developing other cardiovascular problems associated with hypertension.

According to Teresa Fung, a researcher who studies strokes at the Harvard School of Public Health, “In essence, an ischemic stroke is much like a heart attack that occurs in your brain and [that] can result from atherosclerosis.”6 Atherosclerosis is the narrowing and hardening of our blood vessels that is caused by the consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol. Meat, eggs, and dairy products are the leading sources of saturated fat and the only sources of cholesterol in the human diet. Although the average cholesterol level in the U.S. is 210, the average vegetarian in the U.S. has a cholesterol level of 161, and the average American vegan has a cholesterol level of 133.7 Since vegetarians have lower cholesterol levels and lower intakes of saturated fat than meat-eaters do, they are less likely to suffer from the hardened and clogged arteries that often lead to heart disease and strokes.

For additional information visit Links at the bottom of each web page are provided for further information.


Although fish and fish-oil capsules have been promoted for their omega-3 fatty acids as a means of lowering heart-disease risk, these acids have highly unstable molecules that decompose quickly and unleash free radicals. Free radicals are damaging to living tissues and cells, but that damage can be prevented by antioxidants. The kinds of fatty acids found in vegetables, fruits, and beans lower free-radical activity while increasing antioxidant levels. When you choose vegetarian foods, you naturally and safely lower your risk for heart disease and other serious illnesses. You get twice the level of protection every time you eat.


Even if you’ve been diagnosed with atherosclerosis, there’s still hope. Dr. Dean Ornish has demonstrated that the disease can be reversed without drugs and their sometimes dangerous side effects. In a landmark study, he put a group of patients on a completely vegetarian diet with less than 10 percent fat. They also had to engage in moderate exercise. Within a year, the plaques that had been growing in their hearts for decades actually started to dissolve. Patients’ chest pains disappeared, and their cholesterol levels dropped. Nearly 80 percent of people with severely clogged arteries who follow the Ornish program for at least a year are able to avoid bypass surgery and angioplasty. Says Dr. Ornish, “I don’t understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic, while it’s medically conservative to cut people open or put them on powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs for the rest of their lives.”

The world’s largest randomized study of cholesterol-lowering drugs, or “statins,” followed 20,000 patients for up to eight years. It revealed that cholesterol-lowering drugs reduced the risk of heart attack and stroke by at least one-quarter for those at highest risk, proving that these drugs are effective. However, the effectiveness of these drugs is far outweighed by their expense and inherent risks. Americans spend billions of dollars annually for cholesterol-lowering drugs that often have dangerous side effects. The two main complications from taking cholesterol-lowering drugs are liver problems and myopathy, a painful muscle condition.

In contrast, adopting a vegetarian diet is cheaper and more effective than cholesterol-lowering drugs, and it has absolutely no adverse side effects. Dr. Dean Ornish, head of the Preventative Medicine Research Institute in California, says, “Most people can accomplish comparable reductions in LDL-cholesterol [bad cholesterol] by diet and lifestyle alone.” In a 1998 study, Ornish [reported a 40 percent reduction in LDL-cholesterol after one year among a group of patients with heart disease who followed his program, including 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily and a low-fat, vegetarian diet.

Drugmakers spend billions of dollars marketing cholesterol-lowering drugs, and the advertising works. Doctors write millions of prescriptions. The pharmaceutical companies make billions of dollars. But since the focus is on treating the disease rather than preventing it from happening in the first place, the vicious cycle repeats itself.

For additional information visit Links at the bottom of each web page are provided for further information.

David Irving is a Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude graduate of Columbia University, class of 1980, School of General Studies. He subsequently obtained his Masters in Music Composition at Columbia and founded the new music organization Phoenix in New York City.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you VERY MUCH for this and your other EXCELLENT articles, e.g.,
    'Portrait of an animal researcher'.
    These are some of the best articles I have read in years. I hope we will see more!

    Dr David Mitchell