AIR DATE: April 5, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Denise Minger
FEATURED TOPIC: “The Fallacy Of Vegan/Vegetarian Diets”
Who within the Paleo/low-carb health blogosphere doesn’t love the work that Denise Minger has done over the past few years? Little did she know when she created her “Raw Food SOS” blog that it would gain such a strong following thanks to a series of posts critically examining the claims made in the infamous T. Colin Campbell book The China Study touted by vegans and vegetarians as irrefutable evidence that a plant-based diet is optimal for human health. As a former vegan herself, Denise has a lot of compassion for the struggles they go through attempting to reconcile their personal convictions about not eating meat and the reality of what that is doing to their health. She’s shared her story with me previously on “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” podcast in Episode 405 and Episode 430.
Now her debut book release entitled Death by Food Pyramid is set for late 2012 and if you haven’t already read her China Study blog posts then they are an absolute MUST-READ! Denise knows all the arguments that vegans and vegetarians make for eating the way they do. But she also is abundantly aware of the flaws in logic that people who adhere to plant-based diets tend to succumb to. That’s why she’s here to help address the fallacy of the vegan/vegetarian way of eating and what might be a better option for them to improve their health. She will also be sharing more about this topic in her lecture on the upcoming 5th Annual Low-Carb Cruise in May 2012.
If you haven’t seen Denise’s new “For Vegans” page on her blog where she outlines some simple ways for strict vegans to optimize their ability to be healthy (which was discussed at the beginning of this episode), then check this out:
NOTICE OF DISCLOSURE: http://cmp.ly/3
Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:
What in your opinion are the top three myths vegans and vegetarians hold on to like a religion and what is the easiest way to show them they’re flawed?
Could you refute the vegan/vegetarian claim that their diet and lifestyle is more sustainable, better for the environment, and more likely to be able to “feed the world”?
Apparently protein combining for vegetarians has been retracted by Frances Moore Lappe. Can you comment on this? Also can you please comment on the content of protein vs. it’s bio-availability/digestibility in vegan/vegetarian diets?”
What about the depletion of Vitamin B12 on a vegetarian diet and the possibility of irreversible nerve damage? I have a friend who is vegetarian and has tinnitus – a constant noise in his head and facial pain (another nerve-related thing). It can be caused by a B12 deficiency. I guess the easiest would be to supplement with B12 but that’s a big negative for vegetarian diets. Plus a deficiency of B12 is implicated in Alzheimer’s – apparently such a deficiency can look identical to Alzheimer’s disease.
Most vegetarians are fairly skinny…why is that?
What do you think about the protein from vegetables/bean/carb vegetarian diet vs. protein from meat argument. Vegans feel it’s equivalent to meat protein.
Now that soy dangers have come to light, what protein source do vegans use? What kind of fat do they eat?
I have attempted to eat vegan, vegetarian, raw every January when I completed The Master Cleanse. On that cleanse, (after the third day of pure misery) I felt the best I ever had. It wasn’t to lose weight, but to cleanse thoroughly. Dr. Glickman would suggest to keep the great feeling ongoing, gradually add in fruit and vegetables and remain raw as long as possible. That would last about 2 months then I would creep back to old way of eating.
I am now faithful with low-carb and have been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, insulin resistance, etc. my carb level to lose is about 10 per day but sometime have to have more for energy. I only eat vegetables and macadamia nuts for those carbs. I occasionally get dizzy and light headed.
So my question, I felt awesome eating raw vegan, but I just didn’t lose weight. I am losing weight eating low carb but have tummy aches occasionally and dizzy. What could be the issue?
I’ve seen lots of anti-sugar, anti-oil, anti-grains studies out there, but are there any pro-meat studies where they definitively show that a whole-food, meat-inclusive diet is better than one that doesn’t include meat?
A friend’s 14-year old daughter has expressed to her parents that she’s thinking about becoming vegan. I’m not sure of her reasoning–maybe because she wants to stay skinny, maybe because a lot of celebrities are vegan, maybe for animal rights…I’m not sure at this point. Any advice on how to talk with a young person who probably isn’t into science and medical studies? I made the decision to go veggie when I was 16 years old. Seventeen years later, I found myself 40 pounds overweight with pre-diabetes and cholesterol through the roof. It was only turning to a Paleo diet that changed things for me.
I started my obsession (um, interest) in nutrition last year after reading Joel Furhman’s Eat to Live. While I was never an adherent and didn’t see how I could make those food choices work for me, I was fascinated. I’ve read countless vegan books and somehow eventually found myself in the low carb/Paleo camps where–lo and behold!–they were proclaiming virtually the same health improvements as the vegans. Mystified as to how this could possibly be, I eventually came to the conclusion that avoiding sugar and processed foods was common to both and that perhaps the low-fat vegans were benefiting, like a primal adherent would, from inadvertently cutting out vegetable oils while they eschewed most fat.
Would you say this is basically a correct assessment? It seems like I and many listeners have known someone who’s gone vegan, sang from the rooftops about how much their health has improved, and wondered, “Huh? How can we BOTH be right?” I’d love to hear any thoughts you have on this.
How do vegans/vegetarians reconcile the research that shows that a very high carbohydrate, low-fat and tons of fiber diet isn’t healthy?
I’ve observed over the years that people committed to a strictly vegan way of eating seem to be very rigid/controlling about life in general, and positively adamant about the importance/vital necessity/moral obligation of following a vegan diet. So my question is kind of a chicken-and–an-egg one: Are people who are already somewhat rigid attracted to the challenge of following a strict vegan diet, or does the lack of good quality protein and fats tend to make people rigid in their thinking and expression? Or both?
Ok, whenever I have discussions about the optimal diet with vegans, I mention that at least during the Ice Age, we had no vegetable matter to eat, and therefore had to depend on animals. I’m told that we couldn’t have evolved on a meat diet because the animals we would depend on wouldn’t have any food to eat and, therefore, would all be dead, thus no food for us. I’m sure the reasoning is fallacious, but I’m always stumped over that question. Denise, can you help me out here?
I got brain cancer right after I ate low-carb consuming meat for years. I’ve been vegan and Paleo each five years at a time. I was most healthy as a vegan I have to admit. When I eat low-carb, I get migraines and all kinds of issues, yet I lose more weight that way. It’s frustrating. I ended up in the hospital many times eating low-carb. It doesn’t do well for everyone just as veganism doesn’t.
If a person wants to eat mostly vegan, what is the least amount of animal product a person can eat and stay healthy? Why do people seem to hold water (gain weight) on the vegan diet EVEN when avoiding wheat and junk? For example, if I eat vegan, I retain water, but when I eat meat, it goes away. I know a lot of vegans say that meat dehydrates us, but eating vegan seems to make me hold on to water. Is that proof that meat is needed on a metabolic level?
Also, so many sources say that meat makes cancer grow faster, so what is the response to that? Does meat affect cancer at all? Can raw vegans get cancer?