In humans, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), a cancer-promoting growth hormone produced by the liver, is found to be released in excess amounts when we consume animal protein. Switching to a plant-based diet can significantly lower IGF-1 levels within just 11 days, providing us with a heightened ability to suppress cancer growth and kill cancer cells.
Low-carb diets, including “fad” diets such as the paleo diet, tend to be high in both animal fat and animal protein. The increased risk of mortality found to be connected to these types of diets was previously thought to be due only to the high levels of fat found in animal-based foods. New research supports the claim that protein plays a significant role.
In a recent study, 6,000 men and women over age 50 were followed for 18 years. Results found that those with a high protein intake displayed an increase in mortality, except in the case of plant protein. In fact, high plant protein intake was inversely associated with mortality, especially in participants with at least 1 unhealthy risk factor such as cigarette smoking, heavy alcohol intake, obesity, or physical inactivity. These results suggest that the protein source itself may be more important than the amount of the protein consumed. (Source: Association of Animal and Plant Protein Intake With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality, PubMed.gov)
This long-term study provides valuable insight into the health effects of animal consumption in humans. Some even argue that the consumption of animal protein is comparable to cigarette smoking in terms of health consequences. Overall, it is powerful to recognize that a plant-based diet can improve your health in the long-term, lowering your risk of mortality by significantly decreasing your risk of developing chronic lifestyle diseases.
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