Tag Archives: meat

Chowing Down On Meat, Dairy Alters Gut Bacteria A Lot, And Quickly

This is a GREAT article I found.  It explains just how precarious the good bacteria in our guts are and how quickly they can be overshadowed by bad bacteria.  It is precisely why maintaining a plant-based diet is very important, as well as maintaining healthy intestinal flora by taking great probiotics and even healthy yeast (Saccharomyces boulardii).

by MICHAELEEN DOUCLEFF

December 11, 2013 1:34 PM
To figure out how diet influences the microbiome, scientists put volunteers on two extreme diets: one that included only meat, egg and cheese and one that contained only grains, vegetables and legumes.

To figure out how diet influences the microbiome, scientists put volunteers on two extreme diets: one that included only meat, egg and cheese and one that contained only grains, vegetables and legumes.

Morgan Walker/NPR

Looks like Harvard University scientists have given us another reason to walk past the cheese platter at holiday parties and reach for the carrot sticks instead: Your gut bacteria will thank you.

Switching to a diet packed with meat and cheese — and very few carbohydrates — alters the trillions of microbes living in the gut, scientists report Wednesday in the journal Nature.

The change happens quickly. Within two days, the types of microbes thriving in the gut shuffle around. And there are signs that some of these shifts might not be so good for your gut: One type of bacteria that flourishes under the meat-rich diet has been linked to inflammation and intestinal diseases in mice.

“I mean, I love meat,” says microbiologist Lawrence David, who contributed to the study and is now at Duke University.

“But I will say that I definitely feel a lot more guilty ordering a hamburger … since doing this work,” he says.

While no one's sure which foods are good for our microbiomes, eating more veggies can't hurt.

Scientists are just beginning to learn about how our decisions at the dinner table — or the drive-through — tweak our microbiome, that is, the communities of bacteria living in our bodies. But one thing is becoming clear: The critters hanging out in our intestine influence many aspects of our health, including weight, immunity and perhaps even behavior.

And interest in studying the links between diet and the human microbiome is growing. Previous research in this field had turned up tantalizing evidence that eating fiber can alter the composition of gut bacteria. But these studies had looked at diets over long periods of times — months and even years. David and his colleagues wanted to know whether fiber — or lack of it — could alter gut bacteria more rapidly.

To figure that out, the researchers got nine volunteers to go on two extreme diets for five days each.

The first diet was all about meat and cheese. “Breakfast was eggs and bacon,” David says. “Lunch was ribs and briskets, and then for dinner, it was salami and prosciutto with an assortment of cheeses. The volunteers had pork rinds for snacks.”

Then, after a break, the nine volunteers began a second, fiber-rich diet at the other end of the spectrum: It all came from plants. “Breakfast was granola cereal,” David says. “For lunch, it was jasmine rice, cooked onions, tomatoes, squash, garlic, peas and lentils.” Dinner looked similar, and the volunteers could snack on bananas and mangoes.

“The animal-based diet is admittedly a little extreme,” he says. “But the plant-based diet is one you might find in a developing country.”

David and the team analyzed the volunteers’ microbiomes before, during and after each diet. And the effects of all that meat and cheese were immediately apparent.

“The relative abundance of various bacteria species looked like it shifted within a day after the food hit the gut,” David says. After the volunteers had spent about three days on each diet, the bacteria in the gut even started to change their behavior. “The kind of genes turned on in the microbes changed in both diets,” he says.

In particular, microbes that “love bile” — the Bilophila — started to dominate the volunteers’ guts during the animal-based diet. Bile helps the stomach digest fats. So people make more bile when their diet is rich in meat and dairy fats.

A study last year found that blooms of Bilophila cause inflammation and colitis in mice. “But we didn’t measure levels of inflammation in our subjects,” David says. “That’s the next step.”

Instead, he says, his team’s data support the overall animal model that Bilophila promotes inflammation, which could ultimately be controlled by diet.

“Our study is a proof of concept that you can modify the microbiome through diet.” David says. “But we’re still a long ways off from being able to manipulate the community in any kind of way that an engineer would be pleased about.”

Even just classifying Bilophila as a “bad bacteria” is a tricky matter, says Dr. Purna Kashyab, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

“These bacteria are members of a community that have lived in harmony with us for thousands of years,” says Kashyab, who wasn’t involved in the study. “You can’t just pick out one member of this whole team and say it’s bad. Most bacteria in the gut are here for our benefit, but given the right environment, they can turn on us and cause disease.”

Nevertheless, Kashyab thinks the Nature study is exciting because the findings unlock a potentially new avenue for treating intestinal diseases. “We want to look at diet as a way of treating patients,” Kashyab says. “This study shows that short-term dietary interventions can change microbial composition and function.”

Of course, figuring out exactly how to do that will take much more research.

“The paper has made the next leap in the field,” Kashyab says. “With discovery comes responsible. Once you make this big finding, it needs to be tested appropriately.”

The Real Skinny on Nutrition

By Kathy Freston
Bestselling Author, “Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World”

From HuffingtonPost
August 23, 2011

CNN is about to air a fantastic documentary called “The Last Heart Attack,” featuring Drs. Ornish and Esselstyn talking about successfully preventing, stopping and even reversing our number one killer — heart disease — with a plant-based diet.

Though billed as the latest cutting-edge treatment, Dean Ornish M.D. and Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. M.D. have both been publishing on reversing the heart disease epidemic through diet and lifestyle changes for more than 20 years. The food-disease correlation is only recently becoming more widely understood because multibillion dollar industries have made it their business to keep the emphasis on the latest cholesterol-lowering drugs and surgeries, leaving the average lay person to find out for themselves about the latest advances in nutrition. I meet so many people these days who want to get healthy, but just don’t know where to find easy-to-understand information that will help them make decisions on how or what to eat.

This was the impetus behind NutritionFacts.org, the brainchild of Dr. Michael Greger, M.D. When he’s not out trying to save the world from bird flu or foodborne illness, he scours the world’s scholarly literature on nutrition for the most interesting, groundbreaking and practical new research.

Check out some of this fascinating information:

• Adding vinegar to meals can help you lose weight.

• Drinking kombucha tea may be harmful.

• There’s a way to get goji berries cheaper than raisins.

• Peanut butter may significantly decrease heart disease risk in women.

• Vegans have been found to be “significantly less polluted” than omnivores.

• Even distilled fish oil is contaminated with pollutants.

• Second only to fish, eggs are the most contaminated source of industrial pollutants in the food supply.

• A quarter of fast-food burgers are contaminated with parasites.

• The estrogen in cow’s milk may be contributing to premature sexual maturation in girls.

• The meat most likely to be contaminated with fecal matter is ground turkey.

• There’s a 1 to 7 scale used by doctors to classify bowel movements.

• Even people who don’t experience pain or weakness on cholesterol-lowering statin drugs may be suffering muscle damage.

• There’s a poultry virus that may be contributing to our obesity epidemic.

• Cold-steeped green tea is healthier than hot-brewed.

• Breast cancer survivors may reduce their risk of recurrence by eating soy foods.

• Researchers have raised concerns about “mad fish disease” in farmed fish.

• The U.S. Inspector General finds the USDA is failing to safeguard the meat supply from drug residues.

• Women may be getting urinary tract infections from eating chicken.

• Cooking vegetables can boost the absorption of certain nutrients.

• Raw alfalfa sprouts present a significant food safety risk.

• In meat-eating households more fecal bacteria can be found in the kitchen sink than the toilet.

• Diet can affect body odor.

• The best superfood bargain (most antioxidants per dollar) is red cabbage.

• White tea is healthier than green tea, but only if you add lemon.

• Sharing your home with a cat or dog may decrease one’s risk of cancer.

• Coconut oil may be as harmful as butter.

• There are two classes of vegetables particularly adept at stopping cancer cell growth.

• There’s a toxin in certain fish that can be sexually transmitted.

• Eating tuna is the equivalent mercury exposure to living with dozens of amalgam tooth fillings.

• Mushrooms should be eaten cooked — not raw.

• The #1 source of arsenic in the diet is chicken.

• The #1 source of aluminum in the diet is chicken.

• There are more hormones in skim milk than in whole milk.

NutritionFacts.org features hundreds of short captivating clips on the latest nutrition research and Greger is promising to upload a new video every day, seven days a week, for the first year. The first of his 365 new videos was posted today with the official launch of the site.

Non-commercial (not funded by interested parties who have products to sell) science-based sources of good nutrition information are hard to find. Check out NutritionFacts.org today and every day for the next year. I think you’ll find it hugely interesting and educational.

Doctors Take Aim At Antibiotic Resistance From Factory Farming: via HuffPost

http://huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/16/factory-farms-antibiotic-resistance-doctors_n_928140.html

How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

http://shine.yahoo.com/event/green/how-much-protein-do-you-really-need-2523319/

by Yahoo!Green, on Mon Aug 8, 2011 2:48pm PDT

By Sarah B. Weir and Lori Bongiorno
Posted Mon Aug 8, 2011 2:04pm PDT More from Green Picks blog

Guess how much protein is in a juicy, 8-ounce cheeseburger washed down with a milkshake? This single meal contains two to three times as much as most people need per day.

It’s no great surprise that Americans chow down on a lot of protein. We love beef and consume about 67 pounds per capita annually (that’s four times the international average). The popularity of low-carb regimes such as Atkins has also made meat the go-to food for dieters.

In fact, the average person eats about double the amount of protein that their body requires, according to the results of 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How to fulfill your daily protein requirement

The human body uses protein to repair damaged cells and to build new ones. Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at NYU and author of What to Eat, estimates that the average adult man needs about 65 grams of protein a day and the average adult female needs about 55 grams. Some sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization say you can maintain a healthy diet with even less.

What does this actually mean in terms of food choices? The National Institutes of Health explains that most people can meet their daily protein requirement by eating two to three small servings of a protein-rich food a day.

Examples of a single serving of protein include:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 2-3 ounces of red meat, poultry, or fish (about the size of a deck of cards)
  • ½ cup of cooked dried beans such as black beans or chickpeas

Whole grains, seeds, and some vegetables also contain protein, so consuming enough is not difficult even if you don’t eat meat. Vegetarians and vegans can easily get what they need by balancing complimentary proteins such as corn and beans or rice and tofu. Nutritionists used to recommend combining foods at the same meal, but research now shows that is unnecessary.

Are there drawbacks to eating more protein?

Eating large amounts of red and processed meats is associated with higher rates of heart disease and cancer, and most nutritionists such as Marion Nestle recommend cutting back on meat, especially on fatty cuts.

However, it’s less well known that your protein choices can have a substantial impact on the environment. Meat and dairy production requires tremendous amounts of fuel, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers, and generates greenhouse gases. The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) recently published Meat Eater’s Guide points out that if you ate once less burger a week it would be the environmentally-positive equivalent of taking your car off the road for 320 miles.

Meat is also expensive. Not all proteins are created equal — neither at the doctor’s office, nor the cash register. Here’s a comparison of three typical proteins:

Porterhouse steak
Serving size: 4 ounces
Protein: 22 grams
EWG carbon footprint rating: 2 nd worst out of 20 analyzed
Cost: 4 dollars
Fat: 22 grams
Saturated fat: 9 grams

Farm-raised salmon
Serving size: 4 ounces
Protein: 22 grams
EWG carbon footprint rating: 5th worst
Cost: 3 dollars
Fat: 10 grams
Saturated fat: 2 grams

Lentils
Serving size: 1 cup
Protein: 17.9 grams
EWG carbon footprint rating: best
Cost: 20 cents
Fat: zero
Saturated fat: zero

Many people find meat to be a delicious and satisfying component of their diet that they don’t want to sacrifice. But if you want to save money, eat a nutritionally sound diet, and are concerned about the impact meat and dairy production has on the planet, consider reducing your consumption.

Here are some tips from the EWG’s Meat Eater’s Guide:

  • Reduce portion sizes by eating one less burger or steak each week, or participate in Meatless Mondays by skipping meat (and cheese if you can swing it) just one day a week.
  • Choose the healthiest protein sources when you can. Beans, low-fat yogurt, and nuts are all high in protein and low-impact.
  • When you do eat meat and cheese, eat the highest quality that you can afford. (One way to save money is to eat less, but better quality meat and dairy products.) Here’s a guide decoding the labels, from cage-free to grass-fed.
  • Don’t waste meat. Uneaten meat accounts for about 20 percent of meat’s greenhouse gas emissions.

You don’t have to become a vegetarian or go to other extremes. These small changes will help reduce your impact, while providing plenty of protein in your diet.