* Going Against the Current (Opinion of a GP)

* Cow's Milk Is Good for a Calf, Not for a Human

* Iron and Calcium, at Their Best in Plant-Based Food

* Plant-Based Food in the Battle Against Cancer

* Concerning Conflict of Interest 

*Dealing with Carbohydrates, Fats and Protein


  • Brussels 17/01 - Dr Annelies Moons, GP: "We can also approach our diseases of affluence in a different way. Nobody has yet been cured of diabetes, coronary artery disease, hypertension... as a result of prescribed medication."

Pfizer puts the research concerning new medication for Alzheimer's on hold. Probably the most efficient way to prevent Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, numerous cancers and other diseases of affluence is to limit the intake of fat-soluble toxic pollutants, primarily consumed through animal fats in food.

Avoiding the consumption of animal-based food rich in saturated fats is also supposed to drastically lower the risk for heart and artery diseases. Our blood vessels would open again, the blood flow to the brain and the kidney function would improve and non-insulin dependent diabetes type 2 would disappear. Animal protein causes metabolic acidosis which eventually leads to hyperuricemia, an increased cardiovascular risk and loss of calcium in the urine.

The possible link between BMAA (β-N-methylamino-L-alanine), a neurotoxin produced by cyanobacteria and ALS is an interesting example. Animal agriculture is not only responsible for greenhouse gases, equating those produced by all transport collectively, but it also plays an important role in the issue of eutrophication. Nitrate and phosphate from animal manure and artificial manure used to cultivate grains to feed livestock are drained to the sea via surface water and rivers. They cause algae blooms (also known blue-green algae or cyanobacteria) and finally generate dead zones on our shores where no fish can live. Fish consume these cyanobacteria, sharks primarily store BMAA in their fins.

All the pollutants that humans dump in the environment (also metabolites from medication found in urine!) are drained to the sea with surface water. Once in the sea they contaminate the fat in fish and through fishmeal, those pollutants end up in fodder and thus in meat and animal dairy. Last week in the news there was a mention of the microplastics in toothpaste and cosmetics turning up on our plates via the sea. We store fat-soluble PCBs, hormone disruptors, flame retardants, pesticides, heavy metals... in our own fat and brain and then pass them on to our offspring within the womb and through breast milk.

These substances are carcinogens. They also influence the development of the nervous system, decrease our fertility and are toxic for the liver and thyroid gland. Babies who are breastfed, ingest the most flame retardants per kilo of body weight through their food of the entire population. Our breast milk contains more PCBs than meat. That is why some scientists now advocate to limit breast feeding till 3 months after birth. It is estimated that it takes 30 to 40 years before these toxic substances are washed out of our bodies. We are all subject to bioaccumulation.

Studies have shown that a well-balanced plant-based diet consisting of a maximum of 10 - 15% fats (primarily unsaturated) can also curb the growth of tumours thanks to an abundant consumption of antioxidants and natural angiogenesis inhibitors.

The only efficient way to overcome diseases of affluence, is to tackle the root cause: our wrong eating habits. Nobody has yet been cured of diabetes, coronary artery diseases, hypertension... as a result of prescribed medication. We pollute our planet with all kinds of chemicals that merely prolong life. It costs our health care system a lot of money too.

It is estimated that one in three deaths is due to side effects of medication. What on earth are we doing? Switching to a "Whole Food Plant Based Diet" low in fat and with as little processed food as possible, has been proven to eliminate hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery diseases and obesity in the short term.

We need to learn to replace animal protein sources by high-protein legumes, which in addition also offer fibre (healthy gastrointestinal microbiota) and slow digestible carbohydrates (energy). We should retrieve healthy unsaturated fats from a handful of nuts a day and 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed. Berries and herbs, such as turmeric, are powerful antioxidants. Leafy greens are a source of NO and so they work as vasodilators. Our body has a huge recovery ability. We only need to give it a chance to achieve this by giving it the correct nutrients.

Removing animal-based products from our plates also considerably decreases the emission of greenhouse gases, allows us to feed the starving people around the world (7 kg of corn and grains for an animal only provide us with 1 kg of meat!), possibly even provides the ecosystem in the oceans chance to recover and it would save a lot of water (1 kg of meat = the amount of water used for 3 months' worth of showering).

My literary study on plant-based foods started with an article I received from Professor Peter Clarys (University of Brussels) about acidification of the body as a result of consuming animal protein. In January 2017, I followed the online course of T. Colin Campbell (Cornell University New York) on plant-based nutrition ( He has been studying the link between diet and health for 30 years. The lobby of the industry and politics was a separate chapter. This course opened my eyes. We physicians have been trained to become puppets of the pharmaceutical industry. In our education we were never educated on nutrition, the key to primary prevention and, to a certain extent, the healing of diseases. Dieticians are also being sponsored to promote milk, cheese and yoghurt as part of a healthy diet. The influence that the pharmaceutical industry, meat, dairy and soft drink industry have is huge. They all thrive on the sick and on humans addicted to sugar, meat and cheese.

However, being a vegan is not easy. People often see you as alternative. People do not understand why we are so driven to demand more rights for animals or why dining at a table full of animal products is not evident. It all started with an international campaign in June 2014 against the dolphinarium close to the Atomium in Brussels, to cleanse my conscience. That day I became one of the many driven animal rights activists in Belgium. I have more energy than ever and need less sleep.

In April, we will be going to the Vegmed in Berlin for the first time, a medical congress on plant-based food and health. In America, there is the 'Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine', an organisation of physicians that organises conferences to raise awareness among their colleagues. We want to start a similar organisation in Europe. The movement is growing world-wide.

About the author

Dr Annelies Moons is a GP in Hulshout, University of Antwerp 1989, she was secretary of KDHO (Royal Physicians Association of Heist op den Berg and surroundings) from 2002 till 2018.

For more information:

  • The documentaries "What the health" 2016 and "Eating you alive" are highly recommended (they can be found on Netflix)

Author: Dr Annelies Moons, Source: MediQuality


The fact that cow's milk is still promoted, is something Annelies Moons does not agree with. Fortified, unsweetened soy drinks are much healthier for toddlers.



In an article in this newspaper, a mother argues in favour of regular cow's milk instead of growth milk (DS 24 July). But nothing is as unnatural as drinking milk from another animal. Breast milk is species-specific; it is a product that Mother Nature has created to provide a baby with all the necessary nutrients in the first phase of their life, depending on the age of the baby and the species. Cow's milk is adapted to the needs of a calf, goat's milk to that of a newborn goat. Our mother's milk offers the best nutrition for a newborn baby. Breast milk also contains antibodies that protect the newborn against infections.

Breastfeeding helps the baby grow significantly in a short space of time. After this, we no longer need such a large amount of nutrients. A goat doubles in weight in 19 days, a calf in 47 days, a human baby in 180 days. Calves grow quicker because cow's milk contains three times more protein than breast milk produced by humans.

Diabetes and obesity

There are many reasons for not drinking cow's milk. A first is that dairy consumption encourages obesity. Dairy products, especially cheese, contain many fats. Those fats are mainly unhealthy, saturated fats (the main cause of arteriosclerosis). Twenty percent of the calories in semi-skimmed milk are saturated fats, ten percent are unsaturated fats.

Those who follow a high-fat diet are at more risk of developing diabetes. Fats accumulate in the muscle cells and in the liver, that then become resistant to the effects of insulin. As a result, glucose is no longer absorbed by the muscle cells to function as an energy source and instead, it continues to circulate in the bloodstream.

Animal sources of protein (fish, meat and dairy, especially cheese) lead to the acidification of the body, causing loss of muscle mass, increased uric acid levels in the blood (related to gout, cardiovascular diseases and cerebral infarction) and calcium loss in the urine (formation of kidney stones). The latter explains why animal dairy products contribute to osteoporosis instead of fortifying our bones.

Plant-based diet

We obtain many toxic, carcinogenic substances that humans dump in the environment through animal fats. PCBs, dioxins, flame retardants, heavy metals, microplastics, pesticides and passed remnants of medication found in urine arrive in the ocean via surface water. They are often fat-soluble and become attached to the fats in fish. Thirty percent of what humans take from the sea is ground into fishmeal and is used as feed for livestock and for farmed fish. As a consequence, all these pollutants end up on our plates - mainly through animal products. Dairy contains more fats than unprocessed meat and is therefore more contaminated by pollutants.

Humans are at the top of the food chain in the process of bioaccumulation. During pregnancy the toxic substances are passed to the baby in the womb and after birth via fats found in breast milk. This means that a child born today has more than 200 chemical substances in his body that do not belong there. I absolutely support breastfeeding, but only recommend doing so for a maximum of six months.

Research has shown that children can be fed an entirely plant-based diet from birth, and that it has a positive effect on health further on in their lives. A well-balanced, plant-based diet consisting of whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds lowers the risk of diabetes and has a positive effect on the intestinal bacteria. Mothers can also give their infants fortified, unsweetened soy drink which contains healthy unsaturated fats, high-quality protein and just as much calcium as cow's milk.

Western diets have caused children to show the first signs of atherosclerosis by the age of ten. Choose a plant-based diet; it is better for humankind, animals and the planet.


Our food provides our body with energy and nutrients which it needs to function, grow and stay healthy. There is a distinction between macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are nutrients which can be found in large amounts in food. They are the energy providing substances, namely carbohydrates or sugars, fats and protein. Micronutrients are nutrients from which less than a gram per person per day is absorbed via food: vitamins, minerals and trace elements. They are the nutrients that regulate and guide all kinds of important body processes. The most well-known minerals in our food are calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Some minerals are only required in extremely small amounts. They are called trace elements, for example iron, fluorine, iodine and zinc.

Calcium is necessary for the development of the bones, nervous system, circulatory system and muscular system. Our bones form the storage facility for calcium in our body. Ossification and calcification of the bones is at its peak during childhood and especially during adolescence. From this age onwards, it is thus of importance to prevent osteoporosis. A high enough intake of calcium is equally important to adults and seniors, since the absorption of calcium decreases with age. Consequently, each age group needs to pay attention to consuming enough high-calcium food.

Calcium is present in small amounts in body fluids, but nevertheless plays a part in multiple metabolic processes: blood clotting, transfer of nerve impulses, muscle contractions, permeability of cell walls and the release of hormones. The calcium balance of the body is determined by the amount of calcium that is absorbed from food and the amount of calcium that is lost via bowel movement and urine. The uptake as well as the loss of calcium is influenced by interaction with other nutrients.

Calcium absorption from food is not only dependent on the amount of calcium that is present in the food itself, but also on the bioavailability, the extent to which calcium is absorbed from the food in the intestine. Vitamin D and lactose increase the absorption of calcium in the intestine, while fibres, phytates, saturated fatty acids and oxalates have the opposite effect. Fibres, phytates and oxalates make complex connections with calcium salts, which results in these no longer being dissolvable as well as no longer being absorbable. The oxalic acid level of spinach, beets and rhubarb is high. This means that the bioavailability of calcium in these nutrients is rather low.

Green vegetables with a low level of oxalic acids (broccoli, cabbage, okra and Chinese cabbage) contain calcium with a high bioavailability (49 to 61%). Tofu prepared with calcium and fortified fruit juices contains calcium with a good bioavailability (31 to 32%). Fortified soy drinks, sesame seed, almonds and most legumes contain calcium with a moderate bioavailability (21 to 27%). Other plant-based products that are high in calcium are certain types of seaweed, cabbage, nettles, purslane, artichoke, legumes, fully unrefined cereals, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, alfalfa sprouts, carrots, agar-agar, parsley, carob, endive, dried dates and figs, almonds, pistachios, brazil nuts and various calcium fortified foods, such as certain breakfast cereals and certain soy products.

The calcium absorption is more efficient if the calcium intake is lower and/or the physiological needs increase, such as during adolescence or pregnancy. Nutritional components such as sodium, caffeine and protein increase the excretion of calcium via urine and can hence disturb the calcium balance.

Protein plays an important role in the PRAL (Potential Renal Acid Load) value of food. This value indicates the estimated acid load of a food on the body per 100g of product and the influence that food has on the acid level of the urine. PRAL is measured in milliequivalents (mEq) H+ per 100 grams of food:

PRAL value (in mEq/d) = 0.49 x protein (g/d) + 0.037 x Phosphorus (mg/d) - 0.021 x Potassium (mg/d) - 0.026 x Magnesium (mg/d) - 0.013 x Calcium (mg/d)

The soil contains different minerals. Plants absorb those minerals from the soil in which they are grown. The richer the soil is, the more nutrients there are in the plants. The small amount of minerals in animal-based products originates from the plant-based food that the animals eat. Animal-based products (meat, fish, poultry, dairy and eggs) are high in protein, but low in the minerals Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium (the latter is present in dairy products). This means that a diet that is high in animal protein and low in plant-based food, on average, will have a positive PRAL value and will acidify the body. A typical Western diet consists of 17% or more of the recommended daily intake of protein, primarily derived from animal protein.

In a well-balanced plant-based diet, the protein will make up 10% of the daily consumption of calories. This, in combination with the large amount of absorbed minerals, will keep the PRAL value ranging from low to negative.

Vegetables, fruit and legumes such as beans are alkaline (negative PRAL values). Nuts and cereal products are slightly acid forming.

The following is a comparison between the nutritional values of meat, cheese, fish and legumes:

Examples of a couple of other PRAL values of nutrients:

A good acid-base balance is important for a healthy body.

Our body will attempt to buffer acidification. This leads to acidic urine and loss of calcium via the urine. This can cause kidney stones and the calcium is not available to be stored in our bones . Uric acid is shed less easily through the kidneys, which causes the uric acid level in the blood to rise. This can also lead to gout and increases the risk for heart diseases and cerebral infarction. Loss of muscle mass can also be a consequence of the disturbed acid-base balance. Acidification of the body increases the risk of metabolic syndrome, obesity and diabetes type 2.

The consumption of animal dairy products (milk, cheese, yoghurt...) does not protect us from osteoporosis, rather it paves the way for it.

Despite the high dairy consumption in the low countries, bone fractures at an elder age are a very frequent problem. A lack of physical activity, loss of muscle mass and insufficient vitamin D levels in the blood, facilitate this even more.

Iron is necessary to produce haemoglobin, the protein that attends to the transportation of oxygen in blood. Iron increases immunity and energy production and is important for cellular respiration.

Plant-based protein sources contain non-heme iron (Fe3+). Animal-based products contain heme iron (Fe2+). Iron in plants is much more sensitive to substances which hinder the absorption of iron in the digestive tract as well as to substances which facilitate the absorption. Non-heme iron is more difficult to absorb than heme iron. Phytates, oxalates, calcium, zinc, tea (even some herbal teas), coffee and certain dietary fibres decrease the absorption of iron in the intestine. A cup of tea after a meal rich in iron can lower the absorption of iron with 60%! Phytates do however also have positive characteristics: they are strong antioxidants, they lower cholesterol and they protect you against osteoporosis, since they retard bone resorption. By letting legumes soak for a night and then cooking them, the phytate level of beans decreases by -50%, of quinoa by -61%, of lentils by -76%. Hereby, the iron absorption is improved. By combining this with vegetables and fruits that are rich in vitamin C, the absorption of plant-based iron is practically the same as that of iron in meat.

By letting rye, rice, millet and mung beans germinate, the phytate level decreases with 50%. Sourdough and other fermentation processes make the iron more available.

When you have a varied plant-based diet, you absorb more than enough iron: good sources for iron are leafy greens (parsley, cress, spinach, kale, broccoli etc.), legumes, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, molasses and whole grains. Vegans rarely have anaemia as a result of iron deficiency, however the iron reserve (ferritin) can be slightly lower. The body automatically adjusts itself in the long run to a lower iron intake. Ultimately, there is a better uptake and less iron loss.

The bivalent iron in meat has an oxidative effect on the mucous membrane of the intestinal wall, which facilitates the development of colon cancer. Red meat (cow, pig, sheep) has only received a small place right at the bottom in the new food pyramid, which means that it is preferably only consumed in limited amounts. Today there are no nutrients in animal-based products that you cannot find in plants. Most of the animals that humans eat are locked in stables and do not have the possibility to consume vitamin B12 producing bacteria from the soil. They are themselves dependent on the vitamin B12 supplements in their feed. Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is important for the production of blood cells, for growth and for the functioning of the nervous system. It is also necessary for the production of protein and the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.

Farmed fish do not receive any algae to eat, that is why they contain a very low amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids protect the heart and are necessary for the functioning of the cell membrane, for the correct development and functioning of the brain, eyes and nervous system. They also have an anti-inflammatory effect.

A vitamin B12 supplement and omega-3 from algae (1g EPA+DHA a day) are recommended for everyone. Blood values of at least 400-500 ng/l vitamin B12 need to be strived for and an omega-3 index that ranges between 8 and 11%. For vitamin D, blood values of 40 ng/ml are a minimum.

If you substitute animal protein for plant-based protein from legumes, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole-grain cereal products, you do not only consume the necessary and essential amino acids but also many other important nutrients (vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, slow digestible carbohydrates as a source of energy, fibres) which you need to maintain a healthy body. You also drastically decrease your uptake of toxic hormone disruptors and carcinogenic pollutants (PCBs, pesticides, microplastics, heavy metals, flame retardants...) from the environment which, primarily attached to animal fats, end up in the food chain. 


A well-balanced, low-fat, plant-based diet (Whole Food Plant Based Diet) decreases the chance of developing different types of cancer and has also been proven to slow down the progression of certain cancers and even reverse them.

This is attributed to the protective phytochemicals in plant-based food. These phytochemicals interfere with different cellular processes that are connected to the progression of cancer and to inflammatory processes that facilitate the development of cancer. They also prevent the creation of new blood vessels in growing tumours (angiogenesis).

Examples of phytochemicals which provide protection against cancer are:

  • Carotenoids: broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes (lycopene), carrots, spinach, lettuce, apricots, oranges
  • Phytosterol: sunflower seeds, wheat germs, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, soybeans
  • Saponins: soybeans, peanuts, tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, aubergines, cereal products, all allium types (onion, garlic...), tea, spinach, sugar beet, asparagus
  • Glucosinolates: sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, spinach
  • Flavonoids and phenolic acid: broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, garlic, onion, carrots, spinach, kohlrabi, beans, lettuce, apricots, apples, oranges, cherries, lemons, whole-grain wheat
  • Phytoestrogens: genistein such as in soy, quercetin such as in capers, lovage, apples, brassica vegetables (broccoli, kale, cauliflower), berries, raspberries, grapes, green beans, garlic, tomato, red onion, green tea, St John's wort, red wine, catechins such as in tea and cocoa and naringenin such as in grapefruit, lignans such as in flaxseed, sesame seed
  • Protease-inhibitors: broccoli, spinach, green beans, whole-grain wheat
  • Polyphenols: green tea, grapes, berries, pomegranate, beer, wine, olive oil, chocolate/cocoa, walnuts, peanuts, lignans in flaxseeds, sesame seed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, cabbage, broccoli, sprouts
  • Phytic acids or phytates: grains, seeds, legumes
  • Sulphite: broccoli, green cabbage, onion, garlic, kohlrabi

Polyphenols, carotenoids, vitamins A, B, C, E, copper, iron, zinc, selenium, saponins, phenolic acid, catechins and bioflavonoids are all antioxidants that will neutralise harmful free radicals that are released during oxidative stress reactions in the body.

Not only cancer, but also cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, rheumatic disorders, psoriasis, cataracts, degeneration of the retina, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and dementia are diseases for which oxidative stress plays an important role in the disease process.

Phytoestrogens, polyphenols, lycopene in tomatoes, omega-3 fatty acids (walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, rapeseeds) and catechins (green tea) are angiogenesis inhibitors. They prevent new blood vessels from growing in tumours and hence curb the supply of nutrients. The traditional treatment of cancers consists, in combination with surgery and/or radiation therapy, of chemotherapy which curbs the growth of cancerous cells or destroys cancerous cells,  or consists of pharmaca which curb the formation of new blood vessels to the tumour. Many secondary metabolites in plants can invert tumour growth due to the latter.

Protect yourself against the development of tumours by consuming the following nutrients daily:

  • Turmeric (1 tsp/day) in combination with black pepper (½ tsp/day) and a bit of oil (olive oil, rapeseed oil, flaxseed oil) to improve the uptake of turmeric
  • Garlic, onion, shallot
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach, cress, cabbage (½ cup) = leafy greens
  • Soy (edamame, dry beans, tofu, soy drinks, tempeh...)
  • Grounded flaxseed (1 tbsp)
  • Black berries, blue berries, raspberries
  • Mushrooms
  • Nuts (1 handful)
  • Green tea (3 x 250ml)

Vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains contain more than 8000 bioactive substances which make and keep our body healthy. They strengthen each other's effects; they function synergistically. Dietary supplements that contain substances from these plants (e.g. curcumin from turmeric, vitamin C from citrus fruits, bell pepper) will never have the same effect as the full-fledged natural product itself.

The avoidance of toxic, hormonal disrupting and carcinogenic pollutants such as PCBs, flame retardants, heavy metals, pesticides, microplastics... connected to animal fats (in fish, dairy and meat), the avoidance of animal protein and in particular dairy that increases the endogenic production of IGF-1 and stimulates cell division (tumour cells too) and the avoidance of bivalent iron in meat that has an oxidative effect on the intestinal mucosa should drastically reduce your chances of developing tumours. Combining this with the protective effects of phytochemicals, retrieved from a varied plant-based diet should lower the amount of cancer cases and add many healthy, qualitative years of life.

Source: Sekundäre Pflanzenstoffe: Vielseitig Wirksam, lecture by Prof. Dr. Claus Leitzmann, Vegmed Berlin 2016


Brussels 06/06 - Let us take a look at the article "The Myth of Cancerous Meat is Protestant Superstition" written by colleague Van Impe from a different perspective. The conclusions arise from a conference which was organised on the 4th of June by BAMST (Belgian Association for Meat Science and Technology) which has scientists in the management who have connections to the meat and dairy industry. A contribution by Dr Annelies Moons, GP.

About the members of BAMST. Chairman Frederic Leroy is also a member of the scientific council of the institution Danone, which is also known to lobby dieticians. Vice-chairman Professor Stefaan De Smet is a meat expert at the faculty of Bioscience Engineering at UGent.

I happened to lay eyes upon an article about our Minister of Health, Maggie De Block, from written at the beginning of November 2017: "De Block pursues a policy to benefit the pharmaceutical industry instead of the patient". A short quotation: "She also appointed Bart Vermeulen as her vice-leader of the cabinet and head of drug policy in November last year. Vermeulen has been chief economist of the lobby group of pharmaceutical companies in Belgium." Coincidence? Not at all... this is how it usually goes down, clearly illustrating the control  the industry  has over politics .

As soon as there is a conflict of interest, scientific research loses its credibility.

BAMST's mission is contributing to the distribution of scientific information and new research results on meat in general, including its production, processing, consumption, quality, safety and its future role in sustainable meat production.

One thing that is definitely not sustainable in the food industry above anything else, is animal source foods.

Studies have thoroughly shown that diseases of affluence (hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, kidney failure, osteoporosis, decline of cognition and cancers) are related to the consumption of saturated fats (primarily found in animal-based foods: meat, dairy and fatty fish) and too much animal protein. A baby that is born today has more than 200 toxic chemicals in his body which he has received from his mother's blood through the umbilical cord, substances which the mother herself has consumed, primarily bound to animal fat in her diet, but also through exposure to air pollution.

The avoidance of animal fats (in fish, dairy and meat) that carry toxic  hormone disruptors and carcinogenic pollutants such as PCBs, flame retardants, heavy metals, pesticides, microplastics, etc., the avoidance of animal protein and in particular dairy that increases the endogen IGF-1 production wich facilitates cell division (also tumour cells) and the avoidance of bivalent iron in meat that has an oxidative effect on the intestinal mucosa are said to drastically decrease the chances of developing tumours. Combining this with the protective effects of phytochemicals, acquired through the abundant consumption of plant-based food, is said to rapidly decrease the population's cancer statistics and add many healthy, qualitative years to your life.

Doctors in America such as John McDougall, Neal Barnard, Caldwell Esselstyn, Joel Fuhrman, Dean Ornish, Joel Kahn and Kim Williams (president of the American College of Cardiology in 2016-2017) and many others, who all recommend a Whole Food Plant Based Diet to their patients - have proven that in the short term diabetes, coronary atherosclerosis, hypertension, obesity and even some types of cancer can be cured without additional medicine.

A well-balanced, fully plant-based diet consists of 75-80% slow carbs (no fast sugars!!), 10% plant-based protein, 10-15% plant-based (primarily unsaturated) fats retrieved from vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

In addition, you have the immense animal suffering behind the animal food industry. How selfish can a person be to let animals suffer so badly for a product they do not even need? As a fellow human being, I am extremely embarrassed for the havoc that we, as one of the many species on this planet, wreak on all the other inhabitants of planet earth.

The industrialised world is the main culprit; it is responsible for the emission of greenhouse gases, it is plundering water supplies, it is destroying rainforests in order to produce meat and in combination with the abundant usage of pesticides, it is causing a rapid decline of the biodiversity of our planet.


About the author

Dr Annelies Moons is a GP in Hulshout, UIA 1989, she was secretary at KDHO (Royal Physicians Association of Heist op den Berg and surroundings) from 2002 till 2018.

Dealing with Carbohydrates, Fats and Protein

Our diet supplies our body with the energy and nutrients it needs to function, grow and stay healthy. There is a distinction made between macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are nutrients that are amply present in food. It is those nutrients that provide our body with energy. Macronutrients are subdivided into three groups: carbohydrates or otherwise known as sugars, fats and protein. Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients and are only absorbed in small amounts.

In our food, we need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. For those who follow a plant-based diet, this then increases to 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. This is because not all plant-based protein sources - except for soy - provide the essential amino acids (the components of protein which the body is unable to make). However, eating a variety of vegetables, grains, legumes and seeds will provide you with all the essential amino acids needed for your body to produce protein.

Athletes need 1 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.

Therefore, a daily diet containing 56 grams of protein is sufficient for an adult who weights 70 kg. 56 grams of protein produces 56 x 4 kcal/gram protein = 224 kcal. This means that, on average, protein represents 10% of our total daily caloric needs (for an average calorie consumption of 2500 kcal/day). An average Western diet typically consists of up to 17% of calories derived from protein (primarily protein from animal products).

Animal protein sources (such as cheese, fish, meat and eggs) increase the dietary acid load of your body. An excessive consumption of these products in combination with too little alkaline plant-based food (vegetables and fruit) leads to a disrupted acid-base balance. The body will buffer this as a result of which calcium will be excreted via the kidneys in the urine. This calcium , which is no longer available to be stored in our bones, can lead to kidney stones. The excretion of uric acid by the kidneys is also reduced, while the uric acid levels in the blood are increased. This leads to gout and a higher risk of heart diseases and cerebral infarction. A reduction of muscle mass is also related to an excessive intake of acidic foods.

The gut flora of meat eaters converts carnitine, lecithin and phosphatidylcholine, (found in red meat and eggs) into trimethylamine (TMA). However, the gut flora of those who follow a fully plant-based diet does not convert these substances into TMA. The type of gut flora that a person has, depends primarily on their eating habits. TMA is then further oxidized into trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) in the liver. This substance is said to cause arteriosclerosis and also increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Malnutrition occurs when less than 6% of the calories in the food is derived from protein.

The remaining 90% of intake of calories comes from fats and carbohydrates (sugars).

Fats contain 9 kcal for every gram, whereas carbohydrates only contain 4 kcal for every gram (just like protein).

Many studies on the link between nutrition and health do not make a distinction between fast sugars or rapid-absorption carbohydrates- such as glucose, sucrose (fruit, sugar beet), fructose (fruit sugar), lactose (milk sugar) - and slow digestible carbohydrates or complex sugars that are present in plant-based food as starch (in potatoes, pasta, legumes, rice, bread, cereal products, bulgur, couscous, quinoa and inulin in sweet potatoes) and fibre (non-digestible carbohydrates).

Fats and fast carbohydrates disrupt the gut flora. An imbalanced gut microbiome has been proven to be related to an increased calorie absorption and a higher secretion of ghrelin in the stomach, a hormone that increases your appetite. This leads to a higher risk of obesity.

Whole-grain products contain prebiotic fibre. Prebiotics nourish the good bacteria that live inside the large intestine. They also slow down the digestion of carbohydrate sources, which prevents blood sugar levels from rising fast.

In a Whole Food Plant Based diet, consuming a variety of legumes, vegetables, whole-grain products, fruit and a limited amount of fats (mainly unsaturated fats) in seeds, a handful of nuts a day and a little bit of olive oil, rapeseed and/or flaxseed oil ensures an ideal ratio between the different macronutrients:

70-80% carbohydrates / 10% protein / 10-15% fat

When following this nutrient-dense, fibre-rich and low-calorie diet, there is no need for you to count calories. You will not be at risk of obesity and your gut flora will be in optimal condition, which has a lot of health benefits. You will be at a lower risk for autoimmune diseases, diabetes and will generally experience a better mental health.

Diets that greatly restrict carbohydrates, such as ketogenic diets and paleo diets, ensure a higher uptake of fats and proteins. In only a short space of time, they can play an important role in weight loss or even help get diabetes under control. They do, however, have a negative impact on your health in the long run: increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and premature death (due to increased fat uptake), higher risks of osteoporosis and bone fractures (due to low calcium uptake and other minerals naturally present in plant-based foods), pancreatic inflammation, insulin resistance (due to increased fat uptake), high blood pressure, higher risk of cancer (higher fat uptake, the oxidative effect on the intestinal wall of divalent iron found in meat, higher uptake of carcinogenic pollutants from the environment that are bound to animal fats and a lower uptake of protective antioxidants present in plant-based food).

Carbohydrates are the most important fuel for our bodies and the only fuel for our brain. A ketogenic diet that is low in carbohydrates will cause the body to burn fatty acids. As a result the liver will produce ketone bodies as an emergency backup fuel for the brain.