Casein Protein - The Dangers
Over that last decade or so we have heard much in the media about casein protein and autistic children. Health food stores even carry products now that state whether they are “casein free”.
Many autistic children are put on casein and gluten free diets as a form of treatment, but what about the general population? Should we be concerned about casein?
What Is Casein Protein And Why The Fuss?
First of all casein is a protein found in milk and other dairy products. In his book, The China Study, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, reports how he discovered, over many years of cancer research, a possible link between animal protein intake and cancer development. Although Campbell was raised on a farm and loved his milk and eggs and sausage, his scientific curiosity was peaked through the research he conducted as well as reviewed. Because of these potential links he found, he was finally able to receive funding to study the possible effects of protein on cancer.
What he discovered was that protein did indeed promote cancer development. However it was not all types of protein. What Campbell discovered was that casein, which comprises 85% of the protein in cow’s milk, promoted cancer in all stages of its development. The safe protein, that which did not promote cancer, was plant based.
The Cancer Casein Connection
In fact, the connection between casein and cancer was so profound that the scientists could literally turn cancer growth on and off in the laboratory animals, like a light switch, simply by altering the level of casein protein in their diets. Interestingly, they also found that feeding the animals the same levels of plant based protein (gluten and soy) did not at all promote cancer growth.
Next, Campbell was able to take his research into the real world. In the early 1980’s a joint effort was established between Cornell University, Oxford University and China’s health research laboratory. The researchers gathered data on 367 variables, across 65 counties in China and 6,500 adults. The research was conducted over a 10 year period and was funded by both the Chinese and the United States government.
The Cancer and Animal Protein Connection
The results of the China Study showed that nutrition has a very powerful influence on a multitude of diseases. Animal based foods were linked to higher breast cancer rates and higher blood cholesterol levels. Whereas plant based diets were connected to low incidents of breast cancer rates and cholesterol levels. Fiber and antioxidants from plant foods were also linked to lower levels of digestive tract cancers. Between Campbell’s research and many other studies, it appears that good science – well thought out and planned studies – are painting a consistent picture between diet and health. Because of this research we are now able to largely reduce our risk of developing deadly diseases just by eating the right food.
The Good News
Casein protein was found to promote cancer in the controlled animal studies which Campbell administered. However, further research results, particularly those of the China Study, have shown there to be a remarkable link between animal protein in general and many different diseases not just cancer alone.
The good news about this research is that good health and good food are hugely connected and largely very simple. Eating a whole foods, plant based diet is the best thing you can do for your health and your future.