Effects of a high meat diet on public health: Robert S Lawrence MD at TEDxManhattan

Effects of a high meat diet on public health: Robert S Lawrence MD at TEDxManhattan

Translator: Leonardo Silva
Reviewer: Ilze Garda Good morning. I can improve on that 11-year-old, saying, “You either pay the hospital,
or you pay the farmer,” and I’m here to make a pitch
for paying the farmer. Fifty years ago, when I was
a medical student in Boston, we were in the midst
of the cardiovascular disease epidemic. I learned to do a history exam,
and do the physical examination, order the laboratory studies
and all the rest of it on accute miocardial infarction
victims as young as thirty. Some of you may remember that. Some of you may have lost
parents prematurely to that cardiovascular disease epidemic. At that time, much of the fat
in the American diet was still not directly linked
to coronary heart disease. A little bit down the road
from where I was studying medicine was the first major longitudinal
analysis of the relationship between how we lived,
how we ate, what we smoked, and whether or not we got chronic disease. It was called the Framingham study. And gradually, we began to appreciate that the amount of high-density
lipoprotein in our bloodstream causing stroke,
accute miocardial infarction, and shortening our lives was coming
largely from the saturated fat in the meat that we were eating. Most of that meat, however,
was still being raised on family farms, and it was our inapropriate valuing
of highly marbled steaks and other high-fat content meat
that was the problem, not the way the animals were being raised. Now, today, we have a problem of public health impact on the way
in which our high-meat diet drives the food production system. I’m going to briefly talk about everything
from the molecular level to the global level,
in the next ten minutes. At the molecular level,
we have these hidden ingredients. We have arsenic
coming through feather meal. I bet a lot of you don’t know
about feather meal. 600 million kilograms – that’s about 1.3 billion pounds
of feathers – every year are stripped away
from the chickens and the turkeys we eat. They’re hydrolyzed, they’re pressed
to get rid of remaining fat, they’re chopped up, and they are fed back to our pigs, to our cows, to our chickens. Some is used as a organic fertilizer, some is used as a biodiesel ingredient, but most of it gets recycled. In the center of this graphic
is the arsenic that gets recycled. At the bottom are the antibiotics
that you’ve heard about. They go into the birds we eat. But then, when the feathers are recovered, the arsenic, now in its
highly toxic inorganic form, class-one carcinogen, is fed back into the food system, and bioaccumulates in the very birds
that have shed those feathers, the next generation. And it ends up in the grocery store
and on our dinner plates. The antibiotic resistance story
has already been laid out in great detail. But just a reminder: we have
about 3.3 million kilograms that are used to treat disease
in the human population; an increasing amount of that disease, of course, coming from eating
the contaminated meat products that are being raised under conditions
that produce the antibiotic resistance. The rest of our diet
– this is a little primer on nutrition – most of you probably know
that for every gram of vegetable there are four kilocalories of energy. And if you’re watching your diet and you’re trying to stay
within that 2,000-calories-a-day range, you know that the more vegetables you eat, the more protein you eat,
and the less fat you eat, the easier it is to stay
within that caloric limitation. Much of the fat that we consume today is accompanying the 65% of dietary protein that the average American derives
from eating animals or animal products. 65%. Globally, the average is about 30%. And there are very healthy people
within our own society, vegetarians, vegans,
Seventh-day Adventists, who derive 100% of their protein
from grains, fruits, and vegetables. Now, the next impact is on farm families, their neighbors,
and rural communities. This video was shot in Duplin County,
a year and a half ago, by one of my colleagues
at the Center for a Liveable Future, for a film that he produced with the Maryland Institute
College of Art. This is liquid feces and urine,
being sprayed over crop fields, but if the wind is wrong in Duplin County, there are farm families
and their neighbors that get liquid waste sprayed
on the front of their house, and on their automobile
parked in their driveway. It is disgusting. We also have a real problem
with the relationship between the concentration
of this waste, from these CAFOs. No longer is that animal waste
being used as natural manure to restore nitrogen to the pastureland. People who are growing
pasture-raised animals are doing the right thing;
we should support them. When you concentrate
all the animals in these barns, their waste stays concentrated. We, 310 million Americans, produce 7 million dry tons
of waste ourselves every year. 4 million tons of that are returned to the soil, after it has been treated
in treatment plants. Animal waste, forty times more
than human waste, and none of it is treated. And that’s what goes
into these big open cesspits, euphemistically called “lagoons,” or it gets trucked out
from the turkey or the poultry plant, poultry growers, and spread on fields
often in abundance, above the ability of the plants
to take it up and use all the nutrients. Finally, we have a global responsibilty to do our part in feeding the world. The late Norman Borlaug,
who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work on developing
high-yield wheat varieties in Mexico, that then led to the Green Revolution
in Latin America and Asia, he was asked by the Union
of Concerned Scientists, around 1996, to look forward:
“What would we be able to do when the world’s population
reached 8 billion people by 2025?” He said, “Well, if we could get everybody eating mostly
fruits, vegetables, and grains, we could feed 9.5 to 10 billion people.” In other words, we’d have a safety margin of 1.5 billion extra mouths
that could be fed. However, if we continue the export
of our high-meat North American diet, as we’re now sadly seeing
among urban elites, even in the lowest-income
countries around the world, we would only be able to feed
about 3.5 to 4 billion people. So, when you eat right, when you support the farmer
who is raising beef, ungrained, the way Fred Kusherman does, the way Terry Spence does
with his cow-calf operation in Missouri, we are contributing
to eating higher-quality food, in smaller propotions, and paying the farmer
instead of the hospital, and making more available
for people around the world. A healthy high-vegetable,
fruit and grain diet is our global citizenship responsibility. And then, finally,
each of us has the opportunity to learn more about the food system
as we’re doing today, not to just engage our friends
and neighbors, our politicians, to lobby, to advocate, but engage internally,
change our own behavior, and then reform the food system together. The left-hand picture is a farmers’ market
in Highlandtown, Baltimore. We, at the Center for a Livable Future,
are engaging our neighbors, we’re supporting our local farmers, we’re educating people about the benefits
of maybe paying a little bit more and getting a much higher quality of food, a much healthier kind of food, and being connected with the people
who are growing that food for us. The center represents volunteers at an organic farm
in Lincoln, Massachusetts. We can go out; I’m proud to say that in September
my wife and I helped harvest, in a gleaning project
for the United Way of Central Maryland, over 800 pounds of potatoes, per person, and there were 35 of us out there. And we did this in about a 4-hour period. It was fabulous, made me feel good. The potatoes were used
to help food pantries throughout that part of the state. There are a lot of things we can do,
even as busy as we are. And finally, on the right
is a community meeting also in the city of Baltimore, to go over the details
of a food availability assessment that had been conducted
by our Eating For The Future program, at the Center. As you can see from the photo, this is a typical mixed population
of inner city people who are thinking carefully
about what comes next, as they try to raise
their families in a healthy way. So, if we are going to engage
– personal engagement – we have to eat 21 times a week. In the year 2000, the then Surgeon General
said, in “Healthy People 2010”, one of the goals for the nation by 2010 was to reduce the content
of our satured fat by 15%. Now, how many of you in the audience could, 21 times a week,
look at your plate and say, “I’m going to leave this because that’s about 15%
of the saturated fat on the plate”? None of us could do that,
not even a trained nutritionist. But one day a week is 15% of the week. So the Meatless Monday compaign,
here in New York, worked with us. We provided some of the scietific input
and fact checking and so forth, and this now has gone viral. It’s not just all across North America.
It’s around the world. And you can participate. CSAs, this is a great way to support
local farming communities that are trying to do the right thing by growing healthy food
in a sustainable way. Slow Food, USDA, certified organic, all of these things should be
uppermost in your mind when you’re on the demand
side of the equation, buying from the food system. If enough of us on the demand side
influence through our choices, we will transform the food system,
and the supply side will follow. Thank you very much. (Applause)

54 thoughts on “Effects of a high meat diet on public health: Robert S Lawrence MD at TEDxManhattan

  1. I am confused. This man applauds pasture based livestock farmers in one statement. Then in another he states we should patronize farmers who feed cattle grains. Feeding cattle grains is what causing them to need medications to stay alive long enough to butcher.

  2. @dwallinga that is a significant mistake that wasn't clear to me that it was a slip up. thx for clarifying. funny thing is, as i was writing my original comment my pasture based farmer called me to let me know when my cow would be ready. a bit ironic.

  3. I had to listen to it a couple times to realize he had to have misspoken. He fumbled around with a few words in the beginning of the presentation too..
    Great lecture though! Very insightful and informative! I just hope he had a chance to clear up his statement afterwards 😉

  4. The Inuit have a very high saturated fat diet, eating high fat meat like seals, but nutritionally and health-wise they are far better off than the average westerner.

    I think grains and starches are the real culprit here.

    We don't need to eat so much meat, but we should not be afraid of it. The best meat is grass-fed, not grain or soy fed.

  5. The health of the Inuit is not as Robust as some would lead us to believe. They often had osteoporosis early into their twenties on traditional diets, heart disease was indeed a problem, as was Constipation, stroke. i eat meat, but basing ones diet around raw meat is just not healthy. If your interested, there are studies of recently uncovered inuit mummies prior to Europeans, one female mummie in her early twenties had heart disease plaque and bad osteoporosis

  6. I disagree starches are the problem. Grains and Tubers have been staples of every single large human population throughout human history. Many Modern hunter gatherers derive much of their calories from gathered starchs such as Tubers, wild millet, grains and Acorns.

  7. Let me also add, Certain naturally occuring parasites lower Serum Cholesterol, and indeed the Inuit were often carriers of these pathogens. Hence artificially lowering their cholesterol and keeping heart disease away for longer than it should have.

  8. I think you're probably right. In fact, I don’t think there is any valid scientific evidence connecting saturated fat to heart disease.

  9. Oh no there isn't! In fact, a recent meta-analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition pooled together data from 21 unique studies that included almost 350,000 people and concluded that there is no relationship between the intake of saturated fat and the incidence of heart disease or stroke.

  10. Care to share the link then? While i keep up with research, i never let one meta analysis shift my general diet. Until then, i will keep recommending a lower saturated fat diet for my clients. While i'm sure the link may not be as powerful as once thought, research is suggesting that Saturated fat may also contribute to other degenerative illnesses if consumed in excess. Such as Diabetes

  11. I will say this much about Nutrition research. Observation is often used and controlling all of the confounders is extremely hard. It is largely unethical to lock someone in a room and force feed them a certain diet. That being said, An Ab libidum Paleolithic diet (diet that excludes Grains, Beans and eats mostly vegetables, fruits and meats) shows an increase in Ldl cholesterol, TC despite a heavy exercise regimen in the patients.

  12. I'm sorry, but it is not possible for me to post a web address here on YouTube. However, if you're genuinely interested in the subject then you can perhaps google "No link between saturated fat and heart disease".

  13. My classmates laughed when I told them I would burn calories with Cosmos Fat Loss, but then I showed them the results. Google Cosmos Fat Loss to see their reaction. (You should see their faces!)

  14. Oh, i am aware. The clear association between the two has been shown for decades. The recommendations pointed out by officials in the AHA, etc are not based off poor research.

  15. According to a recent Dutch study>>>> “Replacing saturated fats in your diet, like those from healthy grass-fed beef, raw organic butter, and other high-quality animal foods, with carbohydrates like bread, bagels, pasta, rice and doughnuts will increase your risk of heart disease.”

  16. So how is it that the French, who consume 30% more fat in their diet than we do, have one of the lowest rates of heart disease in the world?

  17. ha, you should check your facts again, per serving of meat In france is WAY more expensive then in the usa. now, if all french people are super rich then id believe you, but there diet is not meat centered like ours

  18. All this criticism coming from a guy who doesn’t even know the difference between YOUR and YOU’RE, THEN and THAN, THERE and THEIR. Seriously, you're the guy who needs to check his facts because those countries with the highest consumption of meat do not have the highest rate of heart disease—far from it. In fact, India has the lowest rate of meat consumption in the world and it has 165.8 deaths per 100,000 from coronary heart disease, whereas, the U.S.A. has only 80.5.

  19. this aint english class lol, and now your switching sources which just proves my point. also, on the subject of india… are you seriously comparing them with the usa? because the quality difference is a big factor for meat, theres crappy meat and theres less crappy meat lol. once people start throwing stats out, it just shows that your on the defensive… for what reason i have no clue and for what purpose and for what benifit is in it for you…u may gets off to this sht but whatever, peace

  20. yup, heart isn't a thing that just comes from one thing, its a combination of stupidity. as for the seal people lmao, they've been sealers for a long time and have gotten used to it. I think theres another TED talk on starches.

  21. Since when does supporting one’s own argument with facts qualify as being on the defensive? Seriously, all you’ve been doing so far is droning on, and on, and on without contributing anything meaningful to this discussion. Do a little research before spouting off. I suggest you start by checking the countries with the highest meat consumption with those that have the highest rates of heart disease.

  22. And why do you think India has higher rates of heart disease DEATHS. I would be willing to bet a lot of this has to do with poverty and poorer medical infastructure, much of india- especially in regions affected by spatial mismatch will likely experience inordinate amounts of death from the illness, when compared to a wealthier nation such as ours.

  23. A great video!!!! Now I suggest people to check out documentaries like Forks Over Knives and do what's right for your health <3

  24. I don't know; maybe they don't get enough saturated fat in their diet in India. If meat consumption is the leading cause of coronary heart disease then why is it that Americans do not have anywhere near the highest mortality rate from such disease?

  25. Our health care system is better. We have a higher ability to save individuals who suffer from chronic heart disease- often surgery is an option before a deadly heart attack occurs. Many in India cook with Clarified butter, and eat a lot of cheeses- high in saturated fats. It's not surprising that heart disease rates can be pretty high. There are many reasons why people may die from heart disease- and often ignorance of the problem- and hence discussing options with doctors is a silent killer.

  26. On the contrary, they do not eat a lot of Cheese in India. We Americans eat far more cheese than they do. Also, the French diet is 30% more saturated fat than the American diet and the French have one of the lowest rates of heart disease in the world.

  27. To cherry pick data points in attempt to crush the overarching message of the lipid hypothesis in my opinion is totally pointless. The take away message from most responsible health association is that a high fiber, plant rich diet, lower in excess animal and solid fats is the most heart healthy diet we have observed.
    There are countless examples in the literature of populations whose staple foods are butter, tallow and beef- and their health suffered because of it. Finland was a great example.

  28. Care to share the statistics you are citing? Dairy and Fat consumpsion correlated heavily with high rates of heart disease, especially in countries such as Finland, but also among populations such as the Plainsmen of central asia (whom many of which experience early onset heart disease much earlier than their city dwelling counter parts). Personally, i would much rather emulate the diets of populations who have next to no heart disease, especially in many rural asian populations,

  29. Yet you cite many Correlations in your attempt to shoot down the Lipid Hypothesis, a concept well supported by decades of research and effectively treated by public dietary programs and health interventions. Heart Disease rates shot down significantly, along with Cholesterol levels in Finland following public education concerning the limiting of Dairy, Butter and full fat meats. The public there has gradually adopted a more plant oil rich diet since the 60's, and heart disease is lower.

  30. I’m not the guy who is saddled with the burden of proof because I am not the guy who is claiming saturated fat causes heart disease—you are. Regarding the Finns; it’s piss poor science to assume that saturated fats were the sole cause of heart disease there. The Finnish diet lacked fresh fruit and vegetables and the Finns were heavy smokers.

  31. “One that seemed to support the 'healthy' recommendations was a Finnish trial published in 1975. In the five years that the trial ran, cholesterol levels were lowered significantly, and the study was hailed as a success. But in December 1991 the results of a 10-year follow-up to that trial found that those people who continued to follow the carefully controlled, cholesterol-lowering diet were twice as likely to die of heart disease as those who didn't – some success!”

  32. I agree, Heart disease likely has many causes. Diet being one of them. All i'm trying to say is that Saturated fat consistently has a link with Heart disease.

  33. Harvard School of Public Health. > "One highly-publicized report analyzed the findings of 21 studies that followed 350,000 people for up to 23 years. Investigators looked at the relationship between saturated fat intake and coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Their controversial conclusion: “There is insufficient evidence from prospective epidemiologic studies to conclude that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD, stroke, or CVD.”

  34. I assume you are referring to that 2010 meta Analysis?

  35. whole some saturated fat from the coconuts unprocessed or processed less, and any wholesome fats of any form are good for health. THE TROUBLE IS NOT THE FAT ITSELF BUT THE PROCESSES THAT IT UNDERGOES. Kerala State and Tamilnadu had more coconutpalms and people ate all foods made out of coconut oil and did not use any other processed oil. They had good heart health. But that was 30yrs back. Now things are reverse and heart health is very much down. The media changed their food habits/

  36. This talk was largely bullshit (pun intended, words meant). The modern degenerative diseases of the masses have their origin in chronicly elevated blood sugar and insulin levels as well as gut permeability followed by autoimmune reactions and systemic inflammation. All of which are direct consequenses of a high intake of carbohydrates, refined carbohydrates in particular. Grains – with high levels of allergenic proteins (lectins) and antinutrients such as phytic acid – are not far from sandpaper for your gut lining. Modern refined vegetable oils high in Omega-6 fatty acids further boost systemic inflammation and weaken cell structure. Trans-fats (hydrogenetad vegetable oils) are just pure poison, you're body has absolutely no way of partitioning them. Cut the afformentioned out of your diet, enjoy lots of healthy plants (organic) and animals (pasture-raised/wild) and live a life of thriving, boundless primal energy. Research Paleo/Primal, Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson are good sources to start with. God help the followers of the low-fat calorie counting dogma, for help they will need.

  37. Family farms do not pump antibiotics and hormones into their cattle. 
    They do not force feed weird protein to cattle.
    Only urban corporate types that despise customers, people and animals would do such things. 

  38. What evidence did he actually show?  That current farming practices are bad – which is an issue dealt with in primal living and the paleo diet (or batshit crazy diet if you want).

  39. Support the local farmer, who use pesticides, herbicides, and tons of chemicals on their foods? Unless the farmer says they are all organic…I won't buy anything from them! I went to a big farmer's market in my town, for the first time. I asked each owner in the stalls, if their produce was organic. More than half didn't know what organic meant, and the rest said no…..I don't go to farmer's markets anymore.

  40. Before buying on gearbest, know that it's thieves.
    They do not repay,
    on google search for "Thieves Gearbest".

  41. Just saying…it’s surprisingly easy not eating animal products and I’m an eater. 👩‍🌾

  42. The common problem is enslaving, killing and eating animals. Stop acting inappropriately and issues that arise from that bad behaviour will disappear.

  43. Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

  44. Who said you have to eat 21 meals a week ? I eat 5-6 meals a week with 2 days of dry fasting. And get weight if I don't watch it. 2 days ago I did 98 floors in 30 minutes at the gym. But I try to eat real food.

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