When we ingest animal protein, our bodies produce higher levels of the hormone IGF-1. This hormone is prominent during childhood and adolescence and then it levels off into adulthood. It is involved in the growth of bones and muscles, and it helps manage and maintain blood sugar levels.
Overproduction of IGF-1 causes cancer in adults and children and animal protein intake significantly boosts IGF-1 production from our liver.
The opposite happens in just a few days on a plant-based diet as IGF-1 levels drop significantly. Plant proteins reprogram the human body to slow down IGF-1 production and animal proteins send a different signal to the liver to increase production.
Children with cancer have often shown to have four times the levels of IGF-1 in their bloodstream. You will not see the same type of damage in the bodies of those committed to consuming plant sources.
Does Soy Protein Affect circulating Levels of Unbound IGF-1?
Despite what you may have heard or seen in the media, soy or soybeans in their natural whole food form are very beneficial. Soy is a super protein that can actually help reverse cancer. One reason for the confusion over the years, is due to the results of older studies done on rodents which showed the opposite result. When studies were done on women in more recent years, soy showed significant benefit, especially in reversing breast cancer.
Overconsumption of isolated soy protein in a concentrated form, as it is often found in many nonmeat fast-food burgers, appears to dramatically increase the production of IGF-1.
It is important to note that excess intake of any type of protein can cause a lot of stress on the kidneys as they try to clear it from our bodies. In worst-case scenarios, this can lead to renal failure and the need for dialysis.
Public and regulatory agencies are trying to hold producers of these products more accountable. The expectation, supported by science, is that food selections will improve by incorporating or preserving more of the whole components of natural plant food, and standards will continue to increase to safer levels.
Stores are increasingly improving on stocking up organic ancient grains, beans, barley, whole grain chips, cookies, cereals, and varieties of previously unknown organically grown delicious vegetables like daikon root, jackfruit, hearts of palm, and baby bok choy.
One interesting fact is that organically grown produce typically contains 10-30% more nutrients than nonorganic.
Hence another reason to make sure you reach for organic food.