A-Z of diseases

Cholesterol is a type of fat made by the liver and present in every cell in an animal’s body, including humans. Cholesterol is only found in foods of animal origin – meat, dairy, eggs, fish, shrimps, prawns and shellfish - and is particularly concentrated in organ meats and eggs.

Modern intensive farming methods designed to keep the cost of meat as low as possible have led to the emergence of new zoonotic diseases - animal diseases that can be transmitted to humans such as BSE, bird flu and Escherichia coli (E.

The routine use of antibiotics in modern factory farms has led to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as ‘superbugs’. Strains of the infamous methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) were established in UK pig farms and cephalosporin-resistant E.

Cardiovascular disease (such as heart disease and stroke) occurs when there is a build-up of fatty deposits (plaques) on the inside walls of the arteries.

The World Health Organisation says that red and processed meat increase the risk of bowel cancer. They also report links between red meat, pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer and processed meat and stomach cancer.

The global distribution of prostate cancer is similar to that of breast cancer; countries with high levels of one tend to have high levels of the other.

Constipation is when you go to the loo less often or you have to strain when you do go – caused by stools being hard and small. Common symptoms include stomach ache, cramps, feeling bloated, nausea, feeling over-full, headache, loss of appetite, fatigue and depression. It can be caused by:

Pancreatic cancer is another cancer linked to diet, specifically Western-style diets rich in meat, dairy foods and refined cereal products (white bread, white rice and white pasta) as well as sugar.

Ovarian cancer occurs most in wealthy countries, where the diet is dominated by meat and dairy foods. There is some evidence that cholesterol and eggs may increase the risk too.

We have it drummed into us from an early age that we need cow’s milk and dairy products to help build strong bones. This is not true – in fact cow’s milk and dairy products may do more harm than good.

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