“Perhaps you are familiar with the term ‘diseases of affluence.’ These include heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and obesity. Throughout the world, whenever enough wealth allows people to move away from their basic needs, the prevalence of these disease increases. In the United States, diseases of affluence are rampant. In China, they are either practically nonexistent or notably uncommon.
It is not a secret that the more affluent and industrialized a society, the more animal products and refined foods its people consume. Americans consume 16 million animals, 165 million eggs, 11 million pounds of fish, and 345 million pounds of dairy products every single day. The United States leads the world in diseases of affluence. In contrast, the Chinese primarily eat the cleansing foods: vegetables, grains and legumes, some fish, and no dairy. What is of inestimable importance is that they obtain 7 percent of their protein from animal products, while Americans obtain 70 percent of their protein from animal products. Ten times as much!
The major reason Americans eat so much animal protein is that over the years they have been effectively conditioned to believe that protein every single day—indeed, every single meal—is absolutely essential for their health, and that animal products are the very best source of that protein. So, many people are running fat and cholesterol through their arteries, every four hours.
The idea that it is difficult to obtain sufficient protein from the plant kingdom is an outright falsehood perpetuated by the industries that make money selling animal products and by their hired ‘experts.’ Millions of dollars have been spent over the years to condition you to automatically think of meat and other animal products whenever you think of protein. One of the most frequently asked questions of a vegetarian is ‘Where do you get your protein?’ As if by not eating animal products the nutrient can’t be obtained. The conditioning has worked all too well.
The China Health Project rather soundly obliterates that particular profit-driven nutritional myth. In Eat for Life: The Food & Nutrition Board’s Guide to Reducing your Risk of Chronic Disease, published by the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Paul R. Thomas writes, ‘There is nothing nutritionally unique about meat products that other foods cannot supply.’ Dr. William E. Connor, author and head of the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition at Oregon’s Health Sciences University in Portland, sums it up well by saying, ‘The public has been sold on the idea that protein from animals is best and doesn’t realize that plants contain high quality protein. Everything that grows has protein.’ After all, isn’t that where the animals we eat get theirs?
Heart disease in China declines to an almost negligible level when fat and cholesterol levels are low. The China Health Project shows that a low-fat and low-cholesterol diet protects not only against heart disease, but also against cancer of the colon. The more animal products eaten, the greater the risk to human health.”