Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

No meat – no problem

I myself eat meat every few days and consume it weekly. This means I am not a vegetarian and I am in fact at a higher risk of cancer because of the chemicals meat forms inside of me. There are however a number of people who choose vegetarian lifestyles that reduce their risk of cancer. Vegans, lacto vegetarians, lacto – ovo vegetarians, and ovo vegetarians. But in this post we will be focusing on vegan diets.

The previous blogs we have talked about how eating meat, and smoking increase your risk of cancer. In this blog we are talking about how having a vegan diet can decrease your risk of cancer.

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What is a vegan diet?

A vegan diet is where person consumes absolutely no animal meat or their by-products. This means red meat, white meat, poultry, fowl, fish, honey, beeswax, gelatin, milk, cheese and butter are not allowed in this diet. Vegans also do not wear any animal products, such as leather and wool.

How does a vegan diet decrease your risk of cancer?

Explained in my first blog is the fact that meat produces N-Nitroso in the gut and damages the cells that line the bowel. The replication that is required to repair the cells can over replicate and cause cancer.

Therefore vegans cutting meat from their diet stops their bowels from being exposed to this toxic compound.

A vegan diet essentially consists of mainly fruit, vegetables, grains and legumes. Because vegan diets consist mainly of vegetables vegans are exposed to lots of carotenoids. Carotenoids are the pigments that gives fruit and vegetables their yellow, green and orange colours.

Among these carotenoids is Beta – Carotene, this carotenoid is shown to act as an immune booster, an antioxidant and it can be converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is thought to be an anti – cancer agent, vitamin A plays a role in in regulating cell growth and differentiation. The link between vitamin A and has not yet been completely determined. But it is believed that the vitamin can act in the progression phase of carcinogenesis and block the development of invasive carcinoma at sites in the body like the head, neck and lung.

The vegan diet is also shown to change the levels of a cancer – promoting growth hormone called IGF-1. This hormone is otherwise known as the insulin – like growth factor. Vegans are shown to have sufficiently lower levels than meat eaters. IGF-1 has effects on specific stages of cancer and is shown to inhibit apoptosis (cell death) and has resistance to chemotherapy. Therefore vegans having lower levels of it helps these key stages to work against cancer.

 

What are the statistics?

Individuals with a vegan diet have been shown to have decreased risk of:

  • Breast cancer
  • Gastro intestinal cancer
  • Lung cancer

 

These cancers are shown to be decreased in vegan diets compared to those of meat eaters.

Ethical implications of being Vegan

There are many ethical implications of being vegan:

  • To protect the environment – reducing greenhouse gases
  • Improve one’s health by not consuming meat
  • For the welfare of animals and to stop cruelty to animals

Those are three of the main reasons people turn vegan. Now we know it has been shown to reduce cancer risk. We are not 100% sure of the reason behind this but it they have shown a strong association towards each other.

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In my three blogs we have talked about how consuming meat and smoking can cause cancer and we have summed up on how to decrease our cancer risk.

Now I’m not saying we have to boycott meat or immediately stop smoking.

But cut down on your meat consumption and slowly cut out smoking.

It’s worth cutting down these habits to live a happier and healthy life – with a decreased risk of cancer… Among other health benefits.

References

Cancer active 2012, Beta – carotene – beward inferior synthetic copies, Cancer active, retrieved 30 April 2016 <http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=535>

Ethical consumer 2016, the ethical benefits of not eating meat, retrieved 30 April 2016, <http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/commentanalysis/animalrights/whatisveganism.aspx>

Orthomolecular 2008, Vitamin A: Cancer cure of Cancer cause?, Riordan Clinic, retrieved 30 April 2016, <http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v04n09.shtml>

Ribbons, R 2015, Why I’ve decided to go vegan, retrieved 30 April 2016, <http://www.roxeterawr.com/2015/10/why-ive-decided-to-go-vegan.html>

Vegetariannation, Types of Vegetarianism, retrieved 30 April 2016, <http://www.vegetarian-nation.com/resources/common-questions/types-levels-vegetarian/

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4 comments on “No meat – no problem

  1. Adam
    May 4, 2016

    Great blog with lots of really good information. I have to ask, after knowing this stuff why haven’t you taken the plunge and gone vegan? If you are interested in learning more about veganism the is a Deakin University Vegan Society and they are having a vegan cheese tasting night next week. 🙂

    All the best

    Like

  2. cherylkwong
    May 6, 2016

    Hi,
    One of my best friend is a vegetarian. Before she decided to be a vegetarian or vegan, we have discussed different benefits and harms of these two ways. We found that vegetarian is a better way for her. Protein is the main tissue builders in the body, so it is very important to our health. Human usually absorb protein from diary food such as milk and egg.
    If people do not have enough protein, it will affect the metabolism in long term. That’s why we thought may be vegetarian is easier to keep the nutrition balance and better to our health.

    More information about if people not have enough protein:
    https://www.gbhealthwatch.com/Nutrient-Protein-Symptoms.php

    Like

  3. lestercorncrake
    May 7, 2016

    As a vegan myself, I have express my delight that you decided to choose such a topic, considering you yourself occasionally consume animal products. It is very important that people research both the ethical and scientific viewpoints on veganism, in order to develop a well-rounded understanding of the movement rather than having a warped idea of what veganism is and what vegans actually stand for. It is great that you have addressed both the scientific and ethical reasons surrounding this important topic, which helps your audience to learn that there is more to veganism than may meet the eye. The hyperlinks to articles throughout your post is very helpful and a great idea which improves the professionalism of your piece. I have to disagree with your suggestion to people who still consume animal flesh to simply “cut down” on meat consumption, the suffering of animals deemed lesser to humans is too great of an issue to ignore, and eating even one serving of flesh per week is still contributing to the inhuman treatment and unnecessary death of another beautiful being somewhere in this world.

    A great post though, thank you for helping to spread the awareness of this important topic!

    Like

  4. ZoeJNicholson
    May 8, 2016

    A very interesting read which is based upon a very controversial issue.
    Although a vegan diet can be healthier than the “normal” diet in some aspects, it can also cause severe deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals that our body needs.
    Vegans face many vitamin deficiencies due to their narrow diets. The most common of these include: Vitamin B12, Iron and Zinc (Winston, 2009).
    All three of these vitamins deficiencies have been found to mimic radiation, causing DNA strands to break and causing oxidative lesions thereby damaging the DNA. It has also been found that DNA damage from these deficiencies is highly likely to be a major cause of cancer (Ames, 2006).
    So although it may prevent some cancers, it may also cause other cancers.
    Vegans also suffer from many other deficiencies which may cause many other near and distant health problems, which are also observed in non-vegans.
    REFERENCES
    Ames, BN 2006, ‘Micronutrient Deficiencies: A Major Cause of DNA Damage’, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 889, pp. 87-106
    Winston, CJ 2009, ‘Health effects of vegan diets’, American Scociety for Nutrition, vol. 89, no. 5, pp. 16257-16335

    Like

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