Although protein is the most important determinant of IGF-1 levels, excess intake of refined carbohydrates can also have an effect. Insulin regulates energy metabolism and affects IGF-1 signaling by increasing production of IGF-1 and decreasing IGF-1-binding proteins. It is likely that the Western diet increases IGF-1 via both excess protein and excess refined carbohydrate. Type 2 diabetes is associated with breast, colon, and pancreatic cancers, and there is evidence that insulinmediated stimulation of IGF-1 production is partially responsible. The take-home message here is to recognize that refined carbohydrates from processed foods and our nation’s preoccupation with eating animal protein are both at the core of our cancer and diabetes epidemic. Until now, we have mistakenly focused on fat as the bad apple, endorsing egg whites and white meat, when actually these foods are not favorable for longevity. Note that switching to grass-fed beef or wild meats does not solve the problem with consumption of too many animal products, as the negative effects are not limited to fattened and sickly farm-raised animals. The heterocyclic amines, the heme iron, and the concentration of high biological protein are all negatives, especially for people prone to diabetes.
For many people, even a moderate amount of animal protein in the diet maintains unfavorably elevated IGF-1 levels and impedes the cholesterol-lowering and blood-sugar-lowering effects of a plant-based diet. But when we strive to consume most of our protein from plants, we solve the IGF-1 issue and help prevent both cancer and diabetes. The amino acids in plants are not as complete as those in animal products, so they do not raise IGF-1 to harmful levels, and they complement each other so we can achieve adequate levels of protein without going into excess.
Eating More Plant Protein Is the Key to Increasing Our Micronutrient Intake
It is interesting to note that foods such as peas, green vegetables, and beans have more protein per calorie than meat does. But what is not generally considered is that the foods that are rich in plant protein are usually the foods that are richest in nutrients and phytochemicals. By eating more of these high-nutrient, low-calorie foods, we get adequate protein and our bodies are simultaneously flooded with protective micronutrients. This fuels the reversal of diabetes and heart disease, helps heal the kidneys, and restores the body to a more youthful state. Animal protein is low-nutrient food. It does not contain antioxidants or phytochemicals, but plant protein does.
PROTEIN CONTENT FROM SELECTED PLANT FOODS
|FOOD||GRAMS OF PROTEIN|
|Almonds (3 ounces)||10|
|Broccoli (2 cups)||10|
|Brown Rice (1 cup)||5|
|Chick Peas (1 cup)||15|
|Corn (1 cup)||4.2|
|Lentils (1 cup)||18|
|Peas, frozen (1 cup)||9|
|Spinach, frozen (1 cup)||7|
|Tofu (4 ounces)||11|
|Whole Wheat Bread (2 slices)||5|
When you drop body fat, your cholesterol lowers somewhat, but when you reduce or eliminate animal protein intake and increase vegetable protein intake, you lower cholesterol radically. This clearly is a vegetable-based diet, not one based in grains or animal products. Vegetables are rich in protein but also have almost no saturated fat or cholesterol, and they are higher in nutrients than any other food is. The cholesterol-lowering effect of vegetables and beans is without question. In addition, they contain an assortment of heart-disease-fighting nutrients independent of their ability to lower cholesterol. Amazingly, they also fight cancer. This food plan is designed to use large quantities of the most powerful anticancer, disease-fighting foods on the planet. The point to keep in mind is that even if you completely ditch animal protein, or significantly minimize your consumption, you will still receive the protein your body needs through your vegetable-based diet.
The low-nutrient standard diet that is enjoyed by most Americans results in fatty deposits in the walls of the blood vessels. These eventually lead to blood vessel narrowing and blood clots that cause strokes and heart attacks. This occurs because of too many animal products, too many processed foods, and not enough natural, high-nutrient plant foods. The disease-building process is not the by-product of aging; it is the by-product of a diet poorly designed for humans. This diet gradually causes more and more damage as time goes on. Eventually, certain diseases and conditions crop up, mainly:
Heart attacks and angina—diseased blood vessels in the heart (coronary arteries)
High blood pressure and strokes—diseased blood vessels leading to and in the brain
Dementia—diseased blood vessels in the brain
Impotence—diseased blood vessels leading to and in the penis
Claudication—diseased blood vessels in the legs
Unfortunately, the drug-favoring dietary advice typically offered to diabetics and heart patients is not science based, and it caters to Americans’ social and food preferences and food addictions. In contrast, the nutritarian diet maximizes benefits for weight reduction, cardio protection, and diabetes reversal, effectively preventing and reducing the effects of all these conditions. And the food is delicious. With time, you will be shocked not only with the results but with the taste as well.