"I don't really like, that much, the word diet because what I am talking about is a dietary lifestyle. In other words, The difference being that a diet is something you try now to solve some problem, whatever whether you want to lose weight or whatever and then you go back to doing what you wanted before. So this a whole lifestyle. You have to make the changes, stay with it, you let your taste preferences change and you'll discover some amazing things, thats what the bottom line is. The second thing I want to say is that I don't talk about a vegan diet. Some of my antagonists like to say I'm talking about a vegan diet. I am not. I never used the word one time in "The China Study". Basically the difference between a vegan diet and what I am talking about is that a vegan diet basically was an attempt by people for idealogical reasons to chose what they choose to do They didn't quite get the nutrition right. Because a lot of vegans, the average fat intake of a vegan diet according to the latest data is around 30% fat, thats way to high number 1. Number 2 all they're trying to do is avoid animal foods and so they end up also consuming refined carbohydrates at too high a level. So vegans are too high fat too much refined carbohydrates. And they have some nutritional advantages but not the kind we are talking about. I want to make that clear."
Q: Are there any practical differences between what you advocate and a low-fat vegan diet?
"I call it a Whole food plant based diet, whole foods, you don't use the processed stuff, you don't add back a lot of salt sugar and fat. You take the food as it was grown and you combine it in various ways to make delicious dishes.
A vegan diet they use a lot of oils and fat, they use fried foods and all that kind of stuff. Just whole food plant based diet."
Q: Do you think any animal products are healthy?
"No. I don't."
Q: Why are animal products bad?
"Well we tend to consume animal products historically, as well as in the present day, primarily in order to eat as much protein as we can get. It's really about protein more than anything else. And that's been true for decades, for centuries almost. People tend to think that we need to get as much protein as possible. Well it turns out most people also think that protein only comes from animals foods. It doesn't. We can get all the protein we need from plant foods. In fact the ideal level of protein is the amount that's provided by whole food plant based diet. But as soon as we start putting animal foods in to diet in order to get that protein we distort the rest of the diet very quickly. In other words when we start eating animal based foods then we're displacing the foods we ought to be eating namely the whole food plant based diet, the whole plant based foods. Those are the ones that have antioxidants, they are ones that have the complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are only made in plant foods. So if you're going to an animal food diet you're getting much much less antioxidants you're getting much much less complex carbohydrates and you're getting the wrong levels of fat and protein. It's hugely different."
Q: And whats bad about protein?
"Ok I'll here's whats bad about protein. I have spent, this August will be my, I'll be beginning my 60th year, that's 6-0, my 60th year in research. And it started out actually with my enthusiasm for making sure we got enough protein just like everybody else did. And so we went many many years with lots of funding lot of students, post docs, doing this research. This is all based on research, this is not my opinion. This is based on research. That when we increase protein, animal protein in the diet, above the level which is normally required, which is 10% of total calories, when we do that we turn on cancer. That's not a very good idea. We also elevate blood cholesterol levels which leads to heart disease. That's been known for over a hundred years. It's just information that been mostly ignored. Because everybody tends to worship protein so much that if anyone comes along and begins to discover some information about this protein that isn't very desirable, people want to ignore it. And so the protein itself in our laboratory research, and I published this extensively, in the professional literature, we've got something like 300 and some publications, and it was all funded by the NIH. So it's strictly, I want to really emphasize that, this is not opinion. I have no relationship with an industry so I don't have that agenda to push on anybody. It's strictly based on what we did. And here's what we did. We found that the protein, the animal protein, and the protein we used was the main protein in cow's milk, when that is increased above the level that we need, for one thing, it activates carcinogens that may be in the diet. Dramatically. And what I mean by that, the carcinogens that we might be consuming, they actually are metabolized to products that actually bind to the genes and cause, that's what starts the cancer. They also elevate the level of hormones, insulin-like growth factor we call it, and that's really what enables cell to grow faster and bigger. And that's not what we want. So the high protein diet is turning on the growth of cancer cells, it's activating the carcinogens so more of the carcinogens are able to bind to the DNA. It also changes the whole equation about the calories in calories out idea. When you use a whole plant based diet you can actually usually consume a little more calories not less, and as a result you get much less cancer."
Hear the whole interview here: