Monday, July 10, 2017

Chris Hedges: Eating Our Way to Disease

I have long deeply appreciated and trusted the investigative journalism of Chris Hedges. This is an excellent and deeply important article. It also offers a glimpse into why I became vegetarian around 8 years ago. And, like the toxic influences of the tobacco and fossil fuel industries, this illuminates the Big Money behind the meat, medical, and pharmaceutical industries. So important to inform ourselves, to learn how to follow the money, and to choose wisely who we turn to for resources of information about the vital issues which most impact us all. - Molly


Excerpted from this article:

Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn—whose documentary “Cowspiracy,” about the environmental impact of the animal agriculture industry, led me to become a vegan—recently released a new film, “What the Health,” which looks at how highly processed animal products are largely responsible for the increase of chronic and lethal diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer in the United States and many other countries. Both films are available on Netflix.
- The companion book, also titled “What the Health,” written by my wife, Truthdig Book Editor Eunice Wong, lays out in even greater detail how the animal agriculture industry intimately joins with the pharmaceutical industry, the medical industry, health organizations and government agencies to mask and perpetuate the disastrous effects of animal products on our health. The animal agriculture industry, like the fossil fuel industry or any other branch of the corporate state, profits at the expense of our health and even our lives. Many corporations and our government have a lot invested in keeping us sick.

- The U.S. has the highest diabetes rate among 38 developed nations, according to the International Diabetes Federation. 

- Diabetes, of all the diseases, may be the most affected by meat.

- In 2014, the US spent $374 billion on pharmaceuticals. That’s more than the combined gross national products of New Zealand and Bangladesh. It’s also well over 200 percent of what the US federal government spent on education in 2015.

- “You have a $5 billion stent industry,” Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a renowned cardiologist, says in the book. (A stent is a permanent wire mesh inserted into an artery to prop it open.) “A $35 billion statin [cholesterol-lowering] drug industry. They don’t want that to go away."

- Of every US federal income tax dollar in 2015, 28.7 cents went to healthcare.

- The American Heart Association, Wong writes, “has received money from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Live Stock and Meat Board, Subway, Walgreens, Texas Beef Council, Cargill, South Dakota Beef Industry Council, Kentucky Beef Council, Nebraska Beef Council, Tyson Foods, AVA Pork, Unilever, Trauth Dairy, Domino’s Pizza, Perdue, Idaho Beef Council, and fistfuls of pharmaceutical companies.

- The reason we know cancers like colon cancer are so preventable is because rates differ dramatically around the globe.
- We need to stop believing the lie that we require animal products in our diet for protein, calcium, iron, omega-3s or any other nutrient. “Every nutrient from meat, dairy, and eggs can be found, in a form that is as healthy or healthier, in plants,” as Dr. Neal Barnard points out in the film. 

Please go here for the full article:

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