By Tunde Fabunmi
THE pancreas is one of the most important organs utilized by the body to prevent diseases. But too much protein, especially from an animal source causes excess pancreatic enzyme excretion. In other words, overindulgence in animal protein, particularly meat lead to pancreatic deterioration and makes the body vulnerable to disease, including diabetes, cancer, hypertension and kidney damage.
The link of meat to cancer has to do with the fact that when it is cooked, its fat releases potentially dangerous free radicals, which can attack the body cells, thus causing cancer. Secondly, the liver can turn the polyaromatic hydrocarbons in smoked and boiled meat into carcinogens, (cancer-causing chemicals). Too much meat also depletes the digestive enzymes in the pancreas, which may result in health disorders including pancreatic and kidney cancers.
These enzymes are extremely important in cancer prevention. High consumption of meat also plays major role in the rising incidence of diabetes. How and why? The pancreas that produces insulin to metabolize carbohydrates is also the source of protein – digesting enzymes.
Therefore, eating ‘too much meat’ in the absence of relevant nutrients to help digest it, stresses the pancreas and weakens it, thus causing diabetes. Accumulation of protein can result in uremia, which is the toxic build up of protein wastes such as urea in the blood.
In other words, while attention is mostly focused on sugar as the cause of diabetes, meat is a hidden but major cause of this metabolic disorder. And if meat precipitates diabetes, which is a major cause of kidney failure, reducing its intake will be a wise step to protect your kidneys from damage.
Too much meat also cause mass excretion of calcium from the body and this can cause obesity and high blood pressure as well as hindering repair of damaged tissues. Calcium ends up in the urine and this produces excessive amount in the kidneys, which often result in painful kidney stones.
Besides depleting calcium in the body, meat consumption also increases bad cholesterol LDL in the body, another major risk factor for high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. For instance, homocysteine is an amino acid derived from protein found in meat, milk and other diary products. Homocysteine may raise blood cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease. A diseased heart will not only impair the functions of the kidneys, but may also shortchange the kidney with essential nutrients and oxygen due to reduced blood flow to these vital organs.
Meat also contains high fat content, which can increase free radical activity, because oxidation occurs more readily in fat molecules than it does in protein or carbohydrate molecules. Cooking fat at high temperature, particularly frying meat in oils can produce high numbers of free radicals.
Food poisoning especially meat is the most common source of harmful bacteria, which may be infected in slaughterhouses and cold-room where sanitary conditions are often deplorable. For instance, the most notable outbreak of meat poisoning occurred in the United States in 1993 causing serious illness for many people, while some sustained permanent kidney damage.
Given the linkage of high meat consumption to high blood pressure and obesity, diabetes and cancer, which are some of the major causes of kidney failure, it is sensible to reduce meat intake in order to protect the kidneys.
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