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Don’t Eat It, You’ll Get Cancer

Article by Rocco Venizelos

I was inspired to write this article after my father texted me suggesting I watch a video describing the impact of dairy products on our health, which had been uploaded by a dear friend, George, on Facebook. I told George that the assumption that there is a link between dairy products and cancer has no scientific basis. He replied, “Look bro, it was published in so many newspapers and specifically mentioned by Johns Hopkins’ Hospital”. I told him this had all started as a hoax, which Johns Hopkins itself refused. It is therefore important to be cautious and to always evaluate the quality and credibility of our sources. If I recall correctly, wasn’t it back in 1999 that mass media in Greece were urging everyone in the country to “safely” invest their money in the stock market (as if the media were investing their own funds) and soon afterwards so many people suffered from the financial losses they incurred?

So, let’s stop messing around and set things straight - why does all this information have such a strong influence and impact on our daily lives?

The key word is “fear”!

Something I recently read, specifically describing the power fear can have, was an excerpt from an article featured in Wisdom magazine, entitled “Living in the Age of Fear”. According to the author, “in these times of uncertainty, how can you find inner peace and tranquility when fear is lurking in every corner to take over your life”?

Fear finds fertile ground when there is lack of knowledge.

Directly relevant to this statement is Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, which you can read more about here. To make a long story short, the parable of the cave talks about the effect of knowledge on human nature. According to the allegory, a gathering of people lived chained to the wall of a cave in such a way as to only be able to gaze at a blank wall in front of them. The people watched shadows projected on the wall from things passing in front of a fire behind them and these shadows constituted their reality because the prisoners had never seen anything else. A prisoner is then freed and departs from the cave, but does not return to unchain his fellow cave dwellers because he is afraid of their reaction. He is afraid that he will be seen as a crazy fool if he describes the world outside the cave. Besides, people do not easily give up what they are accustomed to.

We live in the year 21st century and there is extensive knowledge we can access from the convenience of our home, yet we choose to watch “shadows” like genuine prisoners of our couch and our habits. We hear about carcinogenic red meat, “deadly” eggs, that white chemical powder NaCl (salt) that kills innocent citizens, contaminated cancer-causing water, the harmful effects of smoking, air pollution, contaminated fabrics, mobile phone radiation, “lethal” wi-fi, even potentially blinding masturbation (and I fear I won’t escape blindness here!).

But what is cancer?

Cancer is a pathogenic disease which can start almost anywhere in the human body. It is characterized by abnormal cells growing uncontrollably and invading healthy cells in the body, and may, eventually, spread to other body parts of the body (metastasis).

Research suggests that various environmental factors and lifestyle choices can adversely affect the functionality of healthy genes and turn them into “drivers” of cancer.

It has been supported that cancer-causing genetic changes can be attributed to such factors as smoking, an unhealthy lifestyle, exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun or exposure to other risk-factors in the workplace and the environment (Choices 2016).

Useful information which, above all, is backed by scientific evidence and will help you resolve many of your questions and eliminate any possible misconceptions can be found in the article by Dr. Kamal Patel (nutrition researcher) “Scientists just found that red meat causes cancer…or did they?”

As Dr. Patel very cleverly points out, in order to have a clear picture of what is going on, one must first understand the science behind red meat. Many products have been labeled as carcinogenic, for instance alcohol or even healthy elixirs like aloe. It all has to do with the amount/dosage we consume as part of our diet. Everything in life is like a knife – you can cause damage with it or you can slice a loaf of bread (forgive me for using a complex carb as an example!). What should we do then – stop using knives altogether or watch how we use them?

And to complete my discussion on dairy products where I left off at the beginning of this article, unless you are lactose-intolerant, I would strongly advise you to keep consuming them despite what self-proclaimed “nature doctors” suggest. Because how is it even possible to eat a cow’s meat but not drink its milk which formed the basis of its very own muscle growth? When I drink milk, it is often the case that people will come up to me and say “why do you do all this harm to yourself? ”Without even knowing what exactly is harmful about it and when I ask them if they consume milk protein (whey) their response is “of course I do”! Thorning et al (2016) conducted a review in order to access the health effects of dairy products on the public, which is reflected in an increasing intake of plant-based drinks, for example, from soy, rice, almond, or oat. The results indicated that milk and dairy products help to meet nutrient recommendations, and potentially protect us against chronic diseases, while very few adverse effects have been reported.

One should therefore disregard these so-called “nature doctors” who play with your lives; and where exactly did they attain their qualifications anyway, in nature itself?. One such “doctor” comes to mind; he claimed such total BS that casein (which makes up around 80% of milk protein) is used to produce glues and this is allegedly the reason it is so harmful. He also claimed that it is the cause of colic in babies (!). Let me just say here that just as vinegar is used as a cleaning agent, so do many other food products have other uses as well. So?

May Louis Jean Pasteur, Alexander Fleming, George Papanikolaou and so many other great scientists who relied on solid scientific evidence be blessed for making all these discoveries which saved and continue to save millions of lives around the world. Some interesting research produced on behalf of the Faculty of Oncology at Harvard Medical School is that of Dr. John Ioannidis (“Is everything we eat associated with cancer? A systematic cookbook review” by Jonathan D. Schoenfeld and John PA Ioannidis) who, in the field of nutritional epidemiology and food borne diseases, examined the association of 50 common food products and other less common ingredients with cancer.

So, which sources are you going to pick for your information?

How ridiculous is it when someone does exhaustive research before purchasing a car – buying all magazines, visiting car dealers, seeking advice from experts and so on and so forth but when it comes to good health (the only thing that can help you live longer), they are prepared to just listen to anyone?

So, my final questions are the following: Is it perhaps our way of thinking that is potentially carcinogenic?

Is our fear of dying stronger than our will to live?

Death is a state we cannot avoid. But the essence is not to become one of the living dead as well. As in the Cave Allegory, anyone who cannot find their purpose in life will always look for a shadow to follow. I am happy when I meet someone who fully lives their life and simply can’t get enough of it.

“What disturb men's minds are not events but their judgement of events; for instance, death is nothing dreadful, or else Socrates would have thought it so. No, the only dreadful thing about it is people's judgement that it is dreadful...” (Epictetus, Enchiridion, V)


References

Choices, N., 2016. Cancer. Department of Health. Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Patel, K., 2015. Scientists just found that red meat causes cancer ... Or did they? Examine.com. Available from: https://examine.com/nutrition/scientists-just-found-that-red-meat-causes-cancer--or-did-they/ [Accessed 6 December 2016].

Ioannidis JPA (2005). Why Most Published Research Findings Are False. PLoS Med 2(8): e124. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124

Thorning, T. K., Raben, A., Tholstrup, T., Soedamah-Muthu, S. S., Givens, I. and Astrup, A., 2016. Milk and dairy products: Good or bad for human health? An assessment of the totality of scientific evidence. Food & Nutrition Research, 60 (0).

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/97/1/127

http://lifecyclethree.org/articles/2003-03_04_Freedom_from_Fear.shtml

Thorning, T. K., Raben, A., Tholstrup, T., Soedamah-Muthu, S. S., Givens, I. and Astrup, A., 2016. Milk and dairy products: Good or bad for human health? An assessment of the totality of scientific evidence. Food & Nutrition Research, 60 (0).

Tags: Rocco Venizelos, cancer, fear, knowledge

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Rocco Venizelos - Bros Do Science
Rocco Venizelos

My name is Rocco Venizelos and I am currently working in the field of Health and Fitness as a coach, health and fitness advisor and personal trainer. I am also studying at The Anglo-European College of Chiropractic.

My experience the past 15 years in the fitness industry both as an athlete and as Personal Trainer helped me recognize the need to understand in depth the science underpinning all aspects of human performance, to strive for evidence based and theoretical well grounded practices, to validate the importance of keeping yourself up to date of the latest developments and findings in the field. But the most important is to be able to make the science accessible and transferable to coaches, athletes and practitioners.

One of my major concerns is translating knowledge into working practice. This is what I aim to do through with this website.. with the precious help of my Bros!