Reading time: 11 min
The Effects of Cooking on Animal Protein
by Francis Pottenger Jr., M.D.
Compiled from four scientific papers:
– The Effect of Heat Processed Foods and Vitamin D Metabolized Milk on the Structures of Experimental Animals
– Heat Labile Factors Necessary for the Proper Growth and Development of Cats
– Clinical and Experimental Evidence of Growth Factors in Raw Milk
– The Influence of Heat Labile Factors on Nutrition in Oral Development and Health
Pottenger’s experiments involved cats, but the principles and laws of nutrition extend to human beings.
Animal protein in its raw state provides a high quality of health.
The “bad press” of meat and dairy products evolves from studies on cooked protein.
Conventional nutritional thinking ignores the life-giving difference between “alive” and cooked animal foods.
Natural foods (e.g. raw) groups contributed to exceptional physical and psychological health in cats.
Malnourished cats show evidence of deficiencies in a variety of areas, including heart problems, nearsightedness and farsightedness, underactive thyroid, kidney infections, irritability, sexual deviations, and more.
Optimal food diets produce optimal health.
Pottenger’s experiments provide another example of modern scientific validation of Nature’s principles, in this case, Aliveness. It also validates the practices of our Healthy ancestors who ate portions of their animal foods raw, especially the organs.
Dr. Pottenger experimented with cats, but his real work was with human beings who flocked to his clinic from around the world. He found that the same principles and laws of nutrition applied to human beings as to animals. The following describes the detrimental health effects of heat (cooking) on protein. Dr. Pottenger’s studies help us understand the “bad press” which meat and dairy products receive. We find that studies of the adverse effects of meat and dairy consumption are studies of cooked meat and dairy (pasteurization is a heating process).
When we look at studies of indigenous peoples eating animal foods in their raw state, we find that raw animal proteins were considered the most precious and essential of all foods. Societies that eat animal foods either raw or lightly cooked have a quality of health unmatched by civilizations that do not.
Conventional nutritional thinking ignores the life-giving difference between “alive” and cooked animal foods. Because scientific investigators generally dismiss research that is older than 10 years, modern investigators are deprived of a wealth of valuable knowledge. Dr. Pottenger’s work verifies how a “vitalistic” approach to nutrition provides a reliable source of guidance for eating.
In this feeding experiment, one group of cats receives a diet of natural foods with their heat labile fat, protein and vitamin factors intact. The second group receives the same foods altered only by heating. The two groups are studied based on their growth, skeletal development, dento-facial structures and dental health, the calcium and phosphorus content of their femurs at death, their resistance to infections, their allergic sensitivity, and their reproductive efficiency.
The Natural Food Group
The cats fed a natural food diet with heat labile factors intact show striking uniformity in their sizes and their skeletal developments. From generation to generation, they maintain a regular, broad face with prominent malar and orbital arches, adequate nasal cavities, broad dental arches and regular detention. The configuration of the female skull is different from the male skull and each sex maintains its distinct anatomical features. The membranes are firm and of good, pink color with no evidence of infection or degenerative change. Tissue tone is excellent and the fur of good quality with very little shedding noted. In older cats, particularly the males engaging in fighting, the incisors are often missing, but inflammation and disease of the gums is seldom seen. The calcium and phosphorus content of their femurs remains consistent and their internal organs show full development and optimal function. Over their life spans, they prove resistant to infections, to fleas and to various other parasites, and show no signs of allergies. In general, they are gregarious, friendly and predictable in their behavior patterns, and when thrown or dropped as much as six feet to test their coordination, they always land on their feet and come back for more “play.” These cats reproduce one homogeneous generation after another with the average weight of the kittens at birth being 119 grams. Miscarriages are rare and the litters average five kittens with the mother cat nursing her young without difficulty. . Processed Foods Group
The cats fed the same diet but with heat labile factors destroyed by processing reproduce a heterogeneous strain of kittens, each kitten in a litter being different in size and skeletal pattern. When comparing the changes in configuration found in their X-rays, there are almost as many variations in the facial and dental structures of the second and third generation cooked meat-fed animals as there are animals.
Evidence of deficiencies is written so plainly on their faces that with a little training, any observer can be almost certain that a given cat has been subjected to a deficient diet or that it comes from a line of cats that has suffered from deficient nutrition.
The long bones of cats on the conventional deficient diet tend to increase in length and decrease in diameter with the hind legs commonly increasing in length over the forelegs. The trabeculation (the internal structural mesh of the bones) becomes coarser and shows evidence of less calcium. In the third generation, some of the bones become as soft as rubber and a true condition of osteogenesis imperfecta is present. (note: this is quite similar to osteoporosis).
Heart problems; nearsightedness and farsightedness; underactivity of the thyroid or inflammation of the thyroid gland; infections of the kidney, of the liver, of the testes, of the ovaries, and of the bladder; arthritis and inflammation of the joints; inflammation of the nervous system with paralysis and meningitis all occur commonly in these cooked meat-fed cats.
A decrease in visceral volume is evidenced by the diminishing size of their thoracic and abdominal cavities. Frank infections of the bone appear regularly and often appear to be the cause of death. By the time the third deficient generation is born, the cats are so physiologically bankrupt that none survive beyond the sixth month of life, thereby ending the strain.
These malnourished cats show much more irritability. Some females are even dangerous to handle and three are named Tiger, Cobra and Rattlesnake because of their proclivity for biting and scratching. The males, on the other hand, are more docile, often to the point of being unassertive, and their sex interest is slack or perverted. In essence, there is evidence of a role reversal, with the female cats becoming the aggressors and the male cats becoming passive, as well as evidence of increasing abnormal activities between the same sexes. Such sexual deviations are not observed among the cats fed optimal diets. Vermin and intestinal parasites abound. Skin lesions and allergies appear frequently and are progressively worse from one generation to the next. Pneumonia and emphysema are among the principal causes of death in adult cats while diarrhea followed by pneumonia takes a heavy toll on the kittens.
Abortion in pregnant females is common, running about 25 percent in the first deficient generation to about 70 percent in the second generation. Deliveries are generally difficult, with many females dying in labor. The mortality rate of the kittens also is high, as the kittens either are born dead or are born too frail to nurse. Following delivery, a few mother cats steadily decline in health only to die from some obscure physiological exhaustion in about three months. Other cats show increasing difficulty with their pregnancies and in many instances fail to become pregnant. The average weight of the kittens born of conventionally fed mothers is 100 grams, 19 grams less than the raw meat-nurtured kittens.
When cats of the first and second generation processed foods-fed groups are returned to a diet containing food with the heat labile factors intact, they are classified as regenerating animals of the first and second orders. Their progeny are then maintained on an optimum diet to measure the time needed to rebuild their health to that of normal cats. It requires approximately four generations for either order to regenerate to a state of normal health. However, because of the lack of reproductive efficiency, very few deficient animals regain the normal health noted before deficiency was imposed on their line of cats.
One of the experiment’s more startling discoveries is that once a female cat is subjected to a deficient diet for a period of 12 to 18 months, her reproductive efficiency is so reduced that she is never again able to give birth to normal kittens.
Even after three or four years of eating an optimum diet, her kittens still show signs of deficiency in skeletal and dental development. When her kittens are maintained on an optimum diet, a gradual reversal and regeneration takes place.
Alteration of Optimal and Deficient Diets
In this experiment, one group of cats is fed an optimal diet, then placed on a deficient diet for six months, and then returned to an optimal diet. (The six-month exposure to a deficient diet is timed to correspond to the human teenage years.)
When a female cat on this alternated diet becomes pregnant, her kittens exhibit some deficiency symptoms, although she may appear in good health. Her succeeding litters show irregularities that tend to lessen in intensity for the first two or three years of her reproductive life and then increase again. As long as her kittens receive the optimum diet, their health improves; however, when they are given a deficient diet for a period of time, their resistance to disease greatly diminishes only to improve when they are returned to the optimal diet. These cats, fed alternating nutritious and deficient diets, partially maintain their skeletal structures from generation to generation, but their calcification continues to diminish; and their reproductive efficiency is injured from the standpoints of the size and vitality of their kittens and of the failure of their litters to conform to a homogeneous pattern.
The normal, wild cat subsists upon rodents, birds, reptiles, insects, fish and a small amount of vegetation and maintains regular features and normal functions generation after generation. Ordinary house cats, living a semi-wild life, will also maintain regular features and functions generation after generation. In contrast, cats that are prevented from hunting, subjected to a life of ease and fed prepared cooked foods show tendencies towards mal-development.
The following offers a specific example of weight variations caused by changes in diet. One cat fed a devitalized diet produces a litter of four kittens whose average weight is 77 grams. She is then placed on an optimal diet and her litter for the next year consists of 5 kittens with an average birth weight of 116 grams, while the following year (still on an optimal diet), the litter consists of 3 kittens with an average weight of 137 grams.
Taking a mother cat that has been on an optimal food diet and placing her on a devitalized diet may- produce the opposite result. In the case of one cat, her litter consists of five kittens with an average weight of 105 grams; the following year her litter consists of six kittens with an average weight of 91 grams.
The cats fed devitalized food may produce a premature or full-term litter of stillborn kittens. One cat proves unable to deliver her kittens even after 72 hours of labor. If a mother cat is kept on devitalized food for more than two years, she usually dies during delivery. Delivery complications such as these have not been found in cats placed on natural foods.
When deficiency is produced in kittens, it cannot be reversed even under intense therapy. A well-developed cat can be maintained in a healthy state on a deficient food if thyroid and adrenal hormones are added to her diet. A deficient kitten, even if given raw food, thyroid and adrenal hormones, does not appear to become a normal cat.