This protein source was seen in the Adventist Health Study to be negatively associated with risk of colon cancer New data suggest that legume intake is also associated with a moderate reduction in the risk of prostate cancer In Western society, vegans also consume substantially more tofu and other soy products than do omnivores 14 , Consumption of isoflavone-containing soy products during childhood and adolescence protects women against the risk of breast cancer later in life 34 , whereas a high childhood dairy intake has been associated with an elevated risk of colorectal cancer in adulthood Cancer risk in vegans may be altered because vegans consume soy beverages rather than dairy beverages.
Data from the Adventist Health Study showed that consumption of soy milk by vegetarians protected them against prostate cancer 36 , whereas in other studies the use of dairy was associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer 25 , 37 — Further research is needed to explore the relation between consuming plant-based diets and risk of cancer because there are many unanswered questions about how diet and cancer are connected.
To date, epidemiologic studies have not provided convincing evidence that a vegan diet provides significant protection against cancer. Although plant foods contain many chemopreventive factors, most of the research data comes from cellular biochemical studies. Cross-sectional and longitudinal population-based studies published within the past 2 decades suggest no differences in bone mineral density BMD , for both trabecular and cortical bone, between omnivores and lactoovovegetarians More recent studies with postmenopausal Asian women showed spine or hip BMD was significantly lower in long-term vegans 41 , Those Asian women, who were vegetarian for religious reasons, had low intakes of protein and calcium.
An inadequate protein and low calcium intake has been shown to be associated with bone loss and fractures at the hip and spine in the elderly 43 , Adequate calcium intake may be a problem for vegans. Although lactoovovegetarians generally consume adequate amounts of calcium, vegans typically fall short of the recommended daily intake for calcium 8 , 45 , Results from the EPIC-Oxford study provide good evidence that the risk of bone fractures for vegetarians was similar to that of omnivores The higher risk of bone fracture seen in vegans appears to be a consequence of a lower mean calcium intake.
Bone health depends on more than just protein and calcium intakes. Research has shown that bone health is also influenced by nutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin K, potassium, and magnesium and by foods such as soy and fruit and vegetables 47 — Vegan diets do well in providing a number of those important substances. The maintenance of acid-base balance is critical for bone health. A drop in extracellular pH stimulates bone resorption 51 , because bone calcium is used to buffer the pH drop. An acid-forming diet, therefore, increases urinary calcium excretion However, a diet rich in fruit and vegetables that is typical of a vegan diet has a positive effect on the calcium economy and markers of bone metabolism in men and women The high potassium and magnesium content of fruit and vegetables provides an alkaline ash, which inhibits bone resorption Higher intakes of potassium are associated with greater BMD of the femoral neck and lumbar spine of premenopausal women Blood concentrations of undercarboxylated osteocalcin, a sensitive marker of vitamin K status, is considered an indicator of hip fracture 55 and a predictor of BMD Results from 2 large, prospective cohort studies support an association between vitamin K intake and relative risk of hip fracture.
In addition to a high intake of fruit and vegetables, vegans also tend to have a high intake of tofu and other soy products 14 , Soy isoflavones are suggested to have a beneficial effect on bone health in postmenopausal women In a meta-analysis of 10 randomized controlled trials, soy isoflavones showed a significant benefit to spine BMD of menopausal women In another meta-analysis, soy isoflavones significantly inhibited bone resorption and stimulated bone formation compared with placebo In a randomized clinical trial lasting 24 mo involving osteopenic postmenopausal women, increases in BMD of both lumbar spine and femoral neck were substantially greater with the soy isoflavone, genistein, than with placebo As long as the calcium and vitamin D intake of vegans is adequate, their bone health is probably not an issue because their diet contains an ample supply of other protective factors for bone health.
However, more studies are needed to provide more definitive data on the bone health of vegans. To obtain a nutritionally adequate diet, the consumer must first have an appropriate knowledge of what constitutes a nutritionally adequate diet. Second, accessibility is important, ie, the availability of certain foodstuffs and foods fortified with key nutrients that are otherwise lacking in the diet. This accessibility will vary greatly, depending on the geographic region of the world, because different countries have different fortification laws.
The following section deals with nutrients of concern in the vegan diet. The problem of insufficient calcium has already been discussed in the section on bone health. Diets that do not include fish, eggs, or sea vegetables seaweeds generally lack the long-chain n-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid EPA; n-3 and docosahexaenoic acid DHA; n-3 , which are important for cardiovascular health as well as eye and brain functions.
Compared with nonvegetarians, vegetarians, and especially vegans, tend to have lower blood concentrations of EPA and DHA The oil from brown algae kelp has also been identified as a good source of EPA. The new Dietary Reference Intakes recommend intakes of 1. Vegans should be able to easily reach the n-3 fatty acid requirements by including regular supplies of ALA-rich foods in their diet and also DHA-fortified foods and supplements.
However, DHA supplements should be taken with caution. Although they can lower plasma triacylglycerol, they can raise total and LDL cholesterol 66 , 67 , cause excessively prolonged bleeding times, and impair immune responses For a vegan, vitamin D status depends on both sun exposure and the intake of vitamin D-fortified foods. Those living in areas of the world without fortified foods would need to consume a vitamin D supplement.
Those who are dark skinned, elderly, who extensively cover their body with clothing for cultural reasons, and who commonly use sunscreen are at an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency Another matter of concern for vegans is that vitamin D 2 , the form of vitamin D acceptable to vegans, is substantially less bioavailable than the animal-derived vitamin D 3 In Finland, the dietary intake of vitamin D in vegans was insufficient to maintain serum hydroxyvitamin D and parathyroid hormone concentrations within normal ranges in the winter, which appeared to have a negative effect on long-term BMD Throughout the year serum hydroxyvitamin D concentrations were lower and parathyroid hormone higher in vegan women than in omnivores and other vegetarians.
Heme iron absorption is substantially higher than non-heme iron from plant foods. However, hemoglobin concentrations and the risk of iron deficiency anemia are similar for vegans compared with omnivores and other vegetarians Vegans often consume large amounts of vitamin C—rich foods that markedly improve the absorption of the nonheme iron. Serum ferritin concentrations are lower in some vegans, whereas the mean values tend to be similar to the mean values of other vegetarians but lower than the mean value for omnivores The physiologic significance of low serum ferritin concentrations is uncertain at this time.
Compared with lactoovovegetarians and omnivores, vegans typically have lower plasma vitamin B concentrations, higher prevalence of vitamin B deficiency, and higher concentrations of plasma homocysteine Elevated homocysteine has been considered a risk factor for CVD 73 and osteoporotic bone fractures Vitamin B deficiency can produce abnormal neurologic and psychiatric symptoms that include ataxia, psychoses, paresthesia, disorientation, dementia, mood and motor disturbances, and difficulty with concentration In addition, children may experience apathy and failure to thrive, and macrocytic anemia is a common feature at all ages.
Vegetarians are often considered to be at risk for zinc deficiency. Phytates, a common component of grains, seeds, and legumes, binds zinc and thereby decreases its bioavailability. However, a sensitive marker to measure zinc status in humans has not been well established, and the effects of marginal zinc intakes are poorly understood Although vegans have lower zinc intake than omnivores, they do not differ from the nonvegetarians in functional immunocompetence as assessed by natural killer cell cytotoxic activity It appears that there may be facilitators of zinc absorption and compensatory mechanisms to help vegetarians adapt to a lower intake of zinc Fermented soy products, leafy vegetables, and seaweed cannot be considered a reliable source of active vitamin B No unfortified plant food contains any significant amount of active vitamin B The calcium-fortified foods include ready-to-eat cereals, calcium-fortified soy and rice beverages, calcium-fortified orange and apple juices, and other beverages.
The bioavailability of the calcium carbonate in the soy beverages and the calcium citrate malate in apple or orange juice is similar to that of the calcium in milk 78 , Tricalcium phosphate—fortified soy milk was shown to have a slightly lower calcium bioavailability than the calcium in cow milk The supplement would be highly desirable for elderly vegans. In addition, it is recommended that vegans consume foods that are fortified with the long-chain n-3 fatty acid DHA, such as some soy milks and cereal bars.
Those with increased requirements of long-chain n-3 fatty acids, such as pregnant and lactating women, would benefit from using DHA-rich microalgae supplements. Benefit could also be obtained by vegans consuming fortified ready-to-eat cereals and other zinc-fortified foods. A more comprehensive list of eating guidelines for vegans is available elsewhere The term vegetarian is often used to describe a whole range of diets practiced with varying degrees of restriction, making it a challenge to meaningfully compare and contrast the health benefits of various vegetarian diets.
Although preliminary data are valuable, more scientific studies on vegans are needed to get a clearer picture of their health status 7 , Current data show that vegans have a lower risk of heart disease than do omnivores and other vegetarians, but there are too few studies on other risk factors for definitive conclusions. One small pilot trial has shown that a vegan diet improves glycemic control in individuals with type 2 diabetes 81 , but more studies are needed that look at the effects of a vegan diet on the risk of diabetes, as well as cancer.
On the basis of our present knowledge, vegans do not appear likely to have any significant advantages over other vegetarians about chronic disease patterns The vegan studies that do exist often involve only a small number of subjects. Research is also needed to investigate whether the age at which a vegan diet is adopted has any influence on health outcomes. Vegans are thinner, have lower serum cholesterol and blood pressure, and enjoy a lower risk of CVD. BMD and the risk of bone fracture may be a concern when there is an inadequate intake of calcium and vitamin D.
Where available, calcium- and vitamin D—fortified foods should be regularly consumed. There is a need for more studies on the relation between vegan diets and risk of cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Vitamin B deficiency is a potential problem for vegans, so that the use of vitamin B—fortified foods or supplements are essential. Vegans generally have an adequate iron intake and do not experience anemia more frequently than others. Typically, vegans can avoid nutritional problems if appropriate food choices are made. Their health status appears to be at least as good as other vegetarians, such as lactoovovegetarians.
Other articles in this supplement to the Journal include references 83 — Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Sign In or Create an Account. Sign In. Advanced Search. Article Navigation. Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Volume Article Contents. Health effects of vegan diets Winston J Craig. Oxford Academic. Google Scholar. Cite Citation. Permissions Icon Permissions. Six arguments for a greener diet: how a more plant-based diet could save your health and the environment.
Search ADS. Health, ethics and environment: a qualitative study of vegetarian motivations. EPIC-Oxford: lifestyle characteristics and nutrient intakes in a cohort of 33, meat-eaters and 31, non meat-eaters in the UK. A very-low fat vegan diet increases intake of protective dietary factors and decreases intake of pathogenic dietary factors. Vegetarian nutrition: preventive potential and possible risks.
Part 1: plant foods. Diet, life expectancy, and chronic disease. Studies of Seventh-day Adventists and other vegetarians. Cardiovascular disease risk factors are lower in African-American vegans compared to lacto-ovo-vegetarians. De Biase. Dietary intake and biochemical, hematologic, and immune status of vegans compared with nonvegetarians. Young Swedish vegans have different sources of nutrients than young omnivores.
Dietary intake of fruits and vegetables and risk of cardiovascular disease. There are no "natural" food sources left, so I just plan to try to stay alive by having the healthiest, lowest cholesterol diet available, even if it is with pills. While Lierre Keith is factually right that we evolved differently from the Neanderthols and other primitive humans, and we ate meat to do so, there are so many other factors in homo sapian development. We had different vocal chords, which probably made us better hunters than the extinct versions of ourselves.
Yet unless meat eaters can hunt, catch and fish for the food themselves, and very few still do it will probably contain an ungodly amount of other things besides protein that I'd rather not have in my body. And the "high" that the author, respectfully, had was real. In western countries many processed foods are fortified with vitamin b That could provide you with enough b to avoid extreme deficiency symptoms. It doesn't mean you are getting optimum b for your health.
You DO need to take a b supplement. B12 is a necessary nutrient and you cannot get it from non-amimal sources. What happens when you do not get b12? Let me, who cannot absorb it from food and who did not know for many years, tell you: you will be exhausted like you have never felt before.
You will black out in the middle of a sentence and have no idea what you were talking about — none. Your gait will become odd, your legs will shake. And if you do not catch it, you will die. Take your b12 supplements. Take your shots, if you are like me and cannot absorb it. Methylcobalimin is better than cyanocobalimin, but both will do ultimately do the trick of keeping you alive. About the idea that food cravings have nothing to do with nutrition: I call BS. Big time. I trust my body to have a level of wisdom about what it needs. And it was right. It needed b12, which you can only get from animal sources.
And when I got my first b12 shot, my body absolutely did tingle. Do not discount the power of a healthy diet, with ALL the nutrients you need, to make you feel well. Late to the conversation, but want to add something here. At one point I was told I had been misdiagnosed and had no need to supplement B This was incorrect and three years after discontinuing supplements my son was born with major problems.
He had delayed maturation of the optic nerve and was blind for the first 12 weeks. He now has many developmental and neurological problems. Anyone who is pregnant should be closely monitoring their B12 levels, regardless of their diet. That said, I have also been irritated by vego friends telling other people very confidently that there is no need to supplement if you are eating aloe vera….
We eventually moved to veganism and supplemented. Now some of us are moving back to meat a hard transition emotionally after 3 decades of not eating flesh. Eat what you want, but monitor your health. I have to wonder if this book was more of a personal rant that got out of control and brought Keith into the spotlight, when she really thought it was going to be nothing more than an extended blog post.
I can't imagine she feels she could pass all this off as legitimate without going the normal route of citation and root sourcing, then again, she actually gives speeches on her "findings" now. Regardless, I'd like to disprove all her theories with my own sort of science…. Surely my 16 years of veganism has destroyed me and she should be able to defeat my sickly body with her pulsing cellular strength.
Well, that would be great—but unfortunately she says that she has suffered permanent damage from her vegan diet. And she is convinced that you will, too. Thanks for continuing to prove her wrong! This is a great post, thank you for putting the work into researching some of nutrition points in the book. I have not read it, but after reading this review, I don't think I ever will. Funny, this line made me laugh!
I knew someone who was briefly vegetarian "tried" going veg for a month and claimed she had gained too much weight to continue on such a destructive diet. I couldn't figure out how someone could gain a significant amount of weight in one month! She told me she ate mac 'n cheese every night for dinner!! Well, that'll make anyone gain weight! The same way that the Atkins diet the second half of the quote will make someone lose weight because they are deficient in carbs!
I have read a lot of these comments on this blog, but yours really annoyed me. I mean, why form your own opinion when someone else has provided one for you? I think people should spend less time speculating whether or not the Author had an eating disorder or the wrong carbohydrates and maybe accept that agriculture is causing more damage than people realise?
I do not agree with veganism, since I have switched to paleo and removed grains I have never felt better. My husband who was a vegetarian from birth feels the same way and has also moved away from vegetarianism. Being a vegan is not the right diet for humans, period. About the book, differently from Mrs. Messina I started…from the start and the first chapter contains intriguing argumentations about intensive agriculture.
My husband and I were organic livestock producers, producing grass-fed goats. However I was not a very keen meat-eater, having always had a keen interest in whole foods healthy eating and gradually moved into being a vegetarian and finally a raw food eater. Instead of improving my health, it deteriorated. My iron levels plummeted no matter what I did, developed thyroid issues, IBS, diverticulitis, overweight and diabetes.
So, gradually moved back to a paleo diet with almost nil sugars so no fruit as well — the diabetes disappeared. Not an issue any more. Removed ALL grains and had a massive health improvement — brain fog disappeared, Aches and pains gone.
A plant-based diet can be just as nutritious as a non-vegan diet
Felt really well. Moved to more meats and for the first time in 62 years, my iron levels stablised and I no longer require any supplement. Had a severe IBS encounter and tried the Specific Carbohydrate Diet which established that the one food that does not cause gut issues is grass-fed meat. So I lived on chicken broth for several months to calm my gut — which it totally did.
Began to research the one food I and every other person is told is the most dangerous to our health — meat. Currently — I am a carnivore. Eggs, meat, chicken, cream, cheese. So, to enforce a vegetarian lifestyle over a meat-eating lifestyle in any capacity, is not validating the instinct of the human body to eat what IT needs — but to answer to emotive societal tolerances and constraints. That is where humanity must draw the line. Nature itself deals in both grasses and animals — what human has the right to say nature got it wrong?
Thanks for an excellent review, Ginny! I am actually reading this book because I've heard so much about it via the vegan community and I wanted to see it for myself. I have to say that I haven't got past the moral vegetarians section yet. I read a few pages then get so aggravated by all of the assumptions, opinions, and just plain erroneous facts, that I put it down. In the first few pages, Keith attributes all of her ailments to a vegan diet. While it's a sad story, any malnourished diet or many other factors can lead to the same diseases, but yet she tries to pin it on veganism.
From reading her words, I get the impression that she was not eating a healthy diet. She talks about stopping menstruation. I'm not a nutritionist, but I do know that that can be caused from poor nutrition and excessive weight loss and not necessarily a vegan diet. To me it sounds more like she had an eating disorder that just happened to include only plant foods. One other part that just aggravated me in her book is about the fence in Africa separating the carnivores from the herbivores.
Maybe there are some vegetarians out there who just don't know any better, but the "forum post" that she describes sounds like a fake. All of the vegans that I have met are quite intelligent and well read. So, if the post was not a fabrication, then maybe it come from a very young person who just doesn't know much about basic science or nutrition.
Thanks again for the review! I wouldn't be suprised if that post about the fence in Africa really did appear somewhere on the internet. I've heard crazy things like that from vegans and from vegetarians and from meat-eaters. I think if you want to make a group sound dumb, you can find a post on the internet to prove it! But, I have to believe that she knows very well that the vast majority of vegans and animal rights activists don't think this way at all.
Her goal though, was to show that vegans are naive and "child-like" in our beliefs, and that post suited her purpose exactly. I agree—it's definitely the type of thing that drove me crazy about the book. And I didn't want to say this in my review because I have absolutely no proof it it, but I agree that she sounds very much like someone who had an eating disorder. I agree. Most of the time I've read about women losing their periods it has been the result of being an athlete like a long distance runner or the result of severe calorie deprivation and losing too much body fat.
If her book doesn't show that Keith doesn't know about nutrition, losing her cycle does show that and does show that she was not "careful". Even women eating a mediocre diet don't lose their cycles. Excellent review Ginny. I didn't want to read it so I'm glad to have this post to refer to. Looking forward to your post about soy! How about using your expertise as an agronomist to review the sections of Keith's book relevant to your expertise?
You would be doing a public service like Ginny did. Keith's fans as well as her potential fans vote, spend money as consumers and influence other people. Thank you for such an insightful review. It is really sad that the publishers would even publish that kind of crap without doing at least some amount of fact checking. I agree with BeforeWisdom — you should consider posting this on Amazon as well. How is it good food for thought if it's inaccurate and misleading?
It might be provocative, but if its premises and conclusions are wrong, isn't it best left out of any arguments? The whole point of a non-fiction book is to give you facts. If the book has been shown to be faulty with the facts, the book has no value. I can't take credit for this idea, as a friend came up with it, but I think everyone should print out this review as an insert and head to your local bookstores…. I found this claim particularly bizarre: "she speculates that African-American girls reach puberty faster because they are more likely to be enrolled as infants in food assistance programs like WIC and therefore, to be fed soy infant formula.
The WIC programs generally choose the least expensive food items as well as the items that are most readily available. Soy formula is not only less common and less easily found in the stores that accept WIC, but it's also more expensive. And even though soy formula can be purchased without a prescription, WIC often requires a doctor's note that "prescribes" soy before they will pay for soy formula. Thank you very much for reviewing this book. I began reading it but soon abandoned the effort. That is where there was any reference to source material at all. I have been hoping someone with some credentials in the area of nutrition would take the time to refute the obviously erroneous and muddled information she was presenting.
You mention the passage about her cells "pulsing" when she ate some tuna….. I concur with your evaluation of the book as a sad one, I hope things go better for her with her health issues but anyone viewing her writing as anything but an extended opinion piece with no supportive source material is in for a grave disappointment. Her conclusion that being willing to kill innocent and defenseless beings is a marker of being grown-up……………well….. Thanks again, for wading through the book. Thanks for the awesome review!
It sounds like this woman just didn't eat a proper vegan diet and had a bad experience — no reason to write a book about it, rather one that condemns something that she simply does not really understand. If a vegan diet is hurting people, she should talk to all of the vegan athletes elite and recreational since they are pushing their bodies and nutrition to some extremes ex. Scott Jurek. Sure there's a lot of variables to athletics, but nutrition is high, if not 1, on the list of functioning athletes! I don't know if you're aware, but there is blog that is dedicated to busting myths in "The Vegetarian Myth".
Melissa wrote, "Have you seen any studies on sustainable veganic? How sad that those looking for a bogey man have another pack of fabricated falsehoods to cite as stunning evidence against Veganism. This smacks of the industry lies and misinformation that has been slipped into our porridge since childhood. I'm saddened by the fact that many minds already resistent to uncomfortable truths will automatically shut down. How many people have we all encountered who cover their ears like a three-year-old and chant "I can't hear you, I can't hear you?
Does this author a term I use loosely realize how many people's health she will have damaged when all is said and done? No, because after all, it is a book about me, me, me … poor me. Interesting comment Steve… to be honest I've seen exactly the same behavior you describe demonstrated by vegans. This of course is a huge community divider, and that is one of their exact goals. How can a Vegan R. D give a impartial balanced review of a book that is against Veganism? The book may be one sided but so is this review. I know this is an obvious suggestion, but you can look at the arguments Virginia Messina made in her interview.
You can then read up to see if the arguments conform to what is taught in colleges and what current research supports something Keith did not do, the point of her review. The only conclusion I can come up with is that this book is very subjective as well as the all the reviews. I find that each group quotes professionals and cites scientific studies to prove that the other side is wrong. Each group will twist facts or exploit some subtlety of logic to prove their point….
Hi James. Thanks hugely, Ginny, for taking so much time to produce your vital, scientifically-supported review! Thank you for the review. I am also looking forward to that long post about soy. It comes up so often…. I take it that if you believe in evolution, you MUST concede this is a necessary truth.
Though, in this context it has no necessary relation to a meat diet or a vegan diet. Cow milk was rarely drank. However, I expect human milk was consumed by human babies. Perhaps this information has something to do with dairies mysterious omission. Constant conjoinment is NOT a determinant for causation. Nature is a massive feedback control system that is only poorly understood.
Until the transfer functions are well known, I don't think we're at liberty to speculate on sustainability. There's a discrepancy here, as the author is referring to her poetically put personal reaction, and you're analyzing it from a purely nutritionist perspective. A vegan diet isn't any more justifiably unhealthy than a regular one, there is substantial evidence to support your claim. While drug addicts may 'feel good' to know they've scored something for later use, that's in no way comparable to Keith's claim that her body "pulsed" the minute she swallowed food. Sorry, but my personal experience begs to differ.
After years of not having b12 enter my system undiagnosed pernicious anemia , one shot and I felt what could be called a pulse or tingle or whatever. And I know from injecting drugs. This was unexpected and different. This was after years of food cravings.
Vegan for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Be Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet
My body carved what it needed. It may be ethical or moral or arguably sustainable, but it is not healthy. Although, it does seem to me that hominids lived off of ruminant meat and other paleo treats for hundreds of thousands of years and not only survived but lived in balance with nature. I think Keith;s point here is important. There is some evidence to suggest that the increase in the size of human brains is correlated to beginning to eat meat — first scavenged, then hunted.
We need the calories to produce big brains. And even chimps eat meat. I would love to think that my body did not need meat. BUt it does. And her point about death — how many organisms died to bring you that salad? I want a full accounting, too. Vegan diet is not sustainable for a human organism — at least not without B12 supplementation.
A human body is simply not engineered to subsist on plant diet alone. We are made to be omnivores. However, there are plenty of example of communities, including the modern day Innuit, that have thrived on essentially an animal-based diet. Regarding soy: The information in "The Blue Zones" study reveals many cultures known for their longevity consume a lot of soya and tofu products.
Much appreciated. It helps a lot! What utter nonsense. Soy deserves all the negative press it has received. The consumption of soy products in Asian countries is greatly exaggerated by vegans and vegetarians that never spent a day there. Asians, when they do consume soy, use fermented soy products. Tempeh and natto are two examples of fermented soy food products they use. In fact, Asians rely on fish and pork for protein. Yes, tofu is consumed but definitely not as a primary protein source. Soy is a condiment. I'm a vegetarian transitioning to a vegan diet.
Hopfully Ms. Messina has the integrity to allow dissenting views to be posted …. Robert, dissenting views are certainly welcome. But your view on soy is misinformed. Have you looked at actual studies of soy intake in Asia? And at least half of the foods consumed are unfermented foods including tofu, soymilk, and edamame. In fact, in some parts of Asia, unfermented foods make up the bulk of soy intake. First of all I'd like to thank you for accepting and responding to dissenting views, unlike some other sites I've been to. Some sites are notorious for cherry-picking only those posts that agree with the beliefs of the site mediator.
Yes, I did mention that non-fermented soy is consumed. Tofu obviously and soy milk, edamame, etc but Asians, as a group, do not rely on these foods as a main source of protein. Pork is the most common meat consumed in Asian countries with the exception of Japan where fish is the primary source of protein. Over the years, I've had the opportunity to work with Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese people as well as travellers who spent time in these countries.
They confirm what I have extracted from the information that I've been able to find. With regards to studies: Are these studies actually food surveys? I find surveys to be a haphazard, unreliable way of obtaining information about how a population eats. Also, how were foods categorized? Was soy specified as a unique food or was it lumped into a generalized group called "legumes".
Also, how large was the sample size? Who funded the study? Did the researchers have any conflicts of interest? Its hard to comment on any study without known how it was designed. I'm interested in any study that can shed any light on this issue whether it proves or disproves what I currently believe.
Somewhere in between lies the truth and its difficult to find truly unbiased information. Thank you again for responding …. Robert, you're right that anyone study has limitations but the data on soy intake are based on some very large studies using food frequency questionnaires that were designed to assess soy intake—so they were very specific about types of soyfoods.
Eating for Healthy Vegetarians/Ngā kai tōtika mā te hunga puku-huawhenua | HealthEd
It's also worth noting that soy intake is different between older Asians and younger since many younger people have gravitated toward a more western diet. Surveying older people gives us a better idea of the role of soy in traditional diets. Yes, to obtain data on their traditional diets its best to survey the elders. I was surprised at how low their consumption of fish and meat was. I also have a diet survey of the nutritional composition of Chinese centenarians from The sample was only 34 but we are talking about centenarians here.
There was no mention of soy. Soy was probably reported under the "Bean" category. The daily intake for beans was reported as 32g. If either or both of these documents are of any interest I can email them to you. I won't even think about reading the book. I've know several people getting WIC assitance. They always have way more milk and cheese than they can possibly consume. If anything, those WIC children have had abnormally high dairy intakes.
And that comment about the food supplies is wrong and uncalled for. In the tropics food is available year round, if anything it refers to places with long winters like Europe. Wow……well written review. I have not read this book, but am rather interested to see for myself what it's all about. There's probably one for every diet. She must have been doing something really wrong to feel so bad as to start eating meat again.
I am a vegan and I am healthier and feel better than I ever have in my life compared to when I was an omnivore and a lacto-ovo vegetarian for that matter. Same here! I was born to meat-eaters, became lacto-ovo vegetarian at 17, then went vegan 1. I would never go back to feeling like I used to. Keith does not produce any compelling evidence outside of her own personal experience for becoming a carnist.
I picked this book up from my local library and was going to start reading it tonight! Thanks for the review, i have only been a vegetarian for 3 weeks and seeking all the info i can find. Grateful for the heads up now as reading it would have confused me for sure!!! Because you the author do not cite what published argument you are criticizing. In general, I would agree that it is good to cite and sad that the author of said book did not.
And a blog is not a published book. However, when urging one to cite, do it yourself. What pages in this book are you talking about? Also, as I have learned from college english 1xxx, the last paragraph is one of the most important. It summarizes main arguments. The sentences: "Lierre Keith has suffered from multiple health problems all of her life and was desperate to find an answer. Now, where are the sentences in which you claim to be an expert in human motivation and intent?
My problems with your blog: 1. You do not claim an area of expertise in psychology or other field which might enable you the special skill of discerning a person's inner motives and the root causes of their chosen actions. Even if readers pretended and gave you the author the benefit of a doubt you secret Ph. D in psychology you , your following arguments primarily address the logical and methodological inconsistencies of said author's work rather than prove that said errors are caused by lack of education. In addition to not citing credentials as a psychologist or other expert in analyzing human or even just an author's intentions, you do not cite within your internet blog your own credentials in education or knowledge.
How do we know that her errors are based on lack of knowledge and not some other cause? Perhaps the editors made typos, or she knows but just forgot? The word knowledge in and of itself is complex and not even satisfactorily defined. Are you an expert in evaluating knowledge? I would think it would take a team of R.
And even then after they come up with this means, it would be tested. One book can indicate competence. However, I have my own doubts as to whether one internet blog writer is a reliable evaluator of competence based on one book. This internet blog's overall tone is demeaning. This type of tone in combination with the fact that you disagree with the book suggests to me that you take personal offense to the book.
Perhaps since you appear to be vegan hence, vegan r. And in order to exact your revenge, you write a scathing internet blog to vent all your rage and anger? And mask this anger, which is supposed to be "bad" with disgust? In summary, I feel offended by this article because I believe it has derailed from a civil, intellectual debate to a personal and political attack. I am a nutritionist and a chiropractor who spent the last 30 years studying nutrition and healing. I have come to the conclusion that there is no one diet good for everybody all the time.
Where we live, the climate, the weather, the emotional and physical demands on us and our genetic program affect our dietary needs. To insist there is only one way to eat, either veganism or omnivorism is intellectual laziness. Thanks for posting this response. Thank you so much for this review, when I first read the book I was really worried, after all, it was a vegan for 20 years claiming that all our beliefs were wrong. After I finished it I certainly didn't feel more omnivore or inclined to think that meat was necessary specially because all Lierre's conclussions were actually more anecdotic than scientific.
However, a public refutation of this book written by someone who has credentials in the field is more than welcome for vegans and non vegans who are planning to use this book as a guide or an excuse to keep eating animals. Just wanted to say thank you for your work on this blog, especially this post. There are millions of vegetarians in the U. Thousands of us work in the animal movement and have now been vegetarian and vegan for 25 to 40 years me being one…vegetarian since and vegan since And we are perfectly healthy, and could NEVER think of eating dead animals ever again.
So to call the book The Vegetarian Myth is totally unfair, as though that in itself is a "truth" when millions of us survive and thrive on a vegan diet. She could have called it "My experience with a vegetarian diet" to be fairer. Or maybe interview of the long-term "survivors" of a vegan diet? Thanks for the review. To her credit though my cells react the same way everytime I eat cake, cookies or ice cream.
Though,It is called satisfying a craving, not getting nutrient you need. Who knows Lierre Keith? That such a book is a welcomed gift for these industries is clear and also for millions of non vegans. I have seen quotes or heard a radio interview where Ms. Keith said she "binged on eggs and dairy every chance" she got. She was never vegan, as far as I know. That has been around […]. Wholesome saturated fat!? There is such a large amount of real, valid science behind the paleo-diet school of thought, that we really don't need armchair amateurs like Ms Keith to speak for us. Let me also note though, there one has no trouble at all in finding wingnuts of Lierre-Keith caliber… inside the vegan community.
Pure Carnivore? You really eat nothing but animal's bodies Alan? How well are you digesting bone, hair and entrails? Is it safe to be eating raw? Sounds like a real mess. And now she's just a paleo wingnut instead of a vegan wingnut. Probably always been a wingnut who feels the need to strongly align herself with some dogmatic thought, she's just moving around in different spheres gaining attention for herself.
What a joke. Rampant vegetarianism is the least of our problems, ecologically and nutrionally. The idea that agriculture in itself is ecologically destructive begs too many questions — such as wise farming techiques of allowing the land to reocover, letting it lay fallow etc…Generally it is a preposterous claim.
Agrarian cultures have survived for centuries. Meat eating in this burger chomping culture is an easy sell of course. Especially when you throw in generous helpings of fat. Who knew the Happy Meal was the answer to all our dietary problems? It has nothing to do of course with child obesity and the high incidence of diabetes. Perhaps the obession with fats is overstated — but as is anything — being thoughtless about such things is not the answer. We should pay attention to the kind and quantity of fats we consume.
If you want to know what not to eat — look at what fat unhealthy people eat — high fat, high sugar, high salt junk. The nutrional values of fat are unrelated to vegetarianism , though possibly related to veganism. In other words, if your main concern is dietary fat — you don't have to be vegetarian. Eating low on the food chain and producing plant based foods is far more sustainable. The problem with the book is that it pulls so many random 'facts' from so many disparate sources that would take an inordinate amount of time to verify.
Basically, its a dispute about nutritional, biological and ecological science and the piecemeal methodology of the book hardly satisfies scientific criteria. Anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves. Comparing the agrarian practices of our ancestors with modern farming is an apples to oranges comparison. Many of the solutions presented by Keith are unrealistic.
Can we turn things around in time? Is it even feasible? I get it. It functions as a general argument inherent to homo sapiens and its survival on this planet. Also what you don't get is that monoculture grain farming is supported not to feed vegans and vegetarians but food animals cows, chickens, pigs etc. What, you mean all that corn is for human consumption??? That was sarcasm in case you didn't catch it.
Many farmers can't survive. Grain isn't even healthy for the animals. Its not their natural diet nor is it a part of our natural diet. As it turns out, Lierre Keith never was a vegan. Keith admitted during a radio interview that she "binged on eggs and milk all the time" when she told people she was a vegan. For all Keith knows her mysterious illness could have come from one of the many diseases that factory farmed animal products spread. I've worked in the healthcare arena for 15 years. I am well versed in nutrition or the lack thereof as well as cellular metabolism as it relates to bio systems.
You people are delusional. Though Ms. Kieth is somewhat off base on a few assumptions, for the most part she is spot on. The modern paleo diets get as close to right as is gets. Wise up veg heads. You are all killers, of that have little doubt. But hey, go ahead and try to live on cow feed. You'll die. Good luck with that. Otherwise you are food for grubs and tree roots. I think John makes some valid points.
Humans are not naturally vegetarians, but omnivores just look at chimps, our nearest living relatives. I think the most important points Keith made were in regards to the evils of factory farming environmental degradation, cruelty to the captive animals, etc. As for me, my preferred protein is the ultimate in free-range sustainability- Odocoileus virginianus, aka the whitetail deer.
I agree with much of what you say. Its deplorable! Most people I talk to agree that this is one area we need to improve upon. Meat-eating goes back a lot further than your co-worker states. Homo Habilis was perhaps our earliest ancestor within the genus Homo. He was not a hunter but a scavenger. Scientists have also determined that the Australopithicines also ate some meat and insects as well as plant foods.
Based upon the fossil evidence it appears much if not all its diet may have included only plant material. Erectus exhibits a smaller, less flared rib cage than his predecessors indicating a smaller gut size. This would be characteristic of a species on a diet of denser foods, i. It is thought that H. Erectus was the first to use fire. Herbivorous species have larger rib cages to accommodate their larger gut size. We have yet to find any evidence that any species resembling humans were herbivores or frugivores. As for your warning to vegans that if we try to live on cow feed we will die. Uh, cows eat grass?
No vegans i know are trying to subsist on grass. But thanks for the warning. Here is a link to a review on the concerned book on Amazon. For some one like me who doesn't have enough knowledge to decide who is right and who isn't in this regard, this was more convincing that the fanatical ranting of extreme thinking people. Please read it. There is enough division conflict in humanity over religion and politics and it's disturbing and painful for me to see people getting further divided over the approach towards food. Food is the one common aspect of all the people on this planet. And yet there are so many who are deprived of this basic need.
I was right with you until you said there is no dietary need in the body for saturated fat or cholesterol because there is no RDA for them. Now that is a dieticians answer. A balance of unsaturated and saturated fat is required for proper cellular function. You are correct in saying that the liver will produce all the Cholesterol needed.
Personally I eat and love to eat meat. I couldn't thrive in the manner that I do without it, trust me I've tried. The real disgrace with any way of eating is the lack of sustainability of what we eat, whether it is meat, fruit, vegetables etc. I would be happy to hear your comments. Kind regards, Mark. I didn't say that there is no need for cholesterol and saturated fat in the diet because there is no RDA for them. I said there is no RDA for them because we don't need them!
We make the saturated fat and cholesterol we need.
I'm not familiar with any evidence to the contrary. Can you point me to actual studies showing that humans require either one of these? Great review! What you said here: "And the book has been widely embraced by those who want to believe that meat-eating is healthy and just. This book is being taken seriously by people who should know better. I think that you're twisting her words a bit. She definitely says that we don't need to eat cholesterol.
Vegetarian Starter Kit
That is part of her deconstruction of the lipid hypothesis. I don't think it's fair to dig into her for feeling good when eating food that she has craved. She never claimed her cells were instantly awakened in a manner that implied she actually felt they were nourished at that moment. She uses literary flares to describe feeling good about what she eats.
All the people dissing the book on the comments without even reading it is ridiculous. How can you have an opinion when you have no facts? Is it because it fits your narative? I know people on this blog self select, but it really is doing a disservice to yourself to not explore and be open minded. It gets nutrition wrong. It gets environmental science wrong.
And it is a moral trainwreck. The review is if anything too kind to Lierre Keith. Her book is at many places outright dishonest. For example she props up a lot of straw men that she then swiftly attack. But she does not att all engage with the arguments for animal rights that have actually been put forward. Now, how much animal rights literature have you yourself read. No matter what theory you believe, either the "humans are meant to be vegetarian"-theory, or the "humans are meant to eat meat, not grains"-theory….
No one will ever know for sure how we are "meant" to be or eat and that is why we shouldn't attack eachother, but respect everyones individual choices. The evidence is in the fossil record. Our decreasing rib cage size was in direct proportion to smaller gut sizes. Smaller, less powerful jaws and jaw musculature and smaller teeth are all adaptations to cooked food and increased meat-eating.
Cooking was a major event in our evolution. It has allowed us to eat more nutrient dense foods, i. It has also allowed us to get more nutrients, despite what raw foodists tell us, from the plants we eat. Also, our physiology is nothing like a herbivore and we are clearly not carnivores. Not too much. Mostly plants. I just started being a vegan and feeling good. Then I saw her video and became confused. Is there or is there not any important nutrient that I can only get from animal protein? Unless you have experienced eating flesh after not having done so for 20 years you can not comment on the experience.
I too was a vegetarian for 20 years and had a very simlar experience after eating meat for the first time. So did my brother who was a vegetaring for 18 years. I have read other accounts of this from other recovering vegetarians. And, yes food can do that to you. Until I see some hard science-based evidence I do not believe that the anecdotal experiences you describe for yourself and others have any objective physiological basis.
Do you have any evidence of precisely what nutrients could induce such an effect? Citations please. Thank you for the review!! I follow a vegan diet, and I feel great! I checked out one or two of the links concerning veganism vs.
- Flight Mechanics Modeling and Analysis?
- The unstoppable rise of veganism: how a fringe movement went mainstream!
- Becoming Vegetarian Express Edition Reviews?
- The Real Mrs. Brown: The Authorised Biography of Brendan OCarroll.
- Are vegan and vegetarian diets healthy for children? | The Independent!
- The Wilde Series (Set of 4 Full Length Novels).
- Read More From TIME?
I live in Sweden and even if it is possible to live on legumes grown here and also nuts to some degree it would be a very boring diet indeed. Still I have very little knowledge of how the food I eat is grown and handled before it is shipped here. Even if it is organic, there can still be social problems connected to production. Who grows the lentils or pick the nuts and under what conditions and for how much pay?
I just wonder if anyone knows books or websites digging deeper into this.
time2change.hipwee.com/27752.php Or perhaps someone have some useful first hand information? I think that is an obvious and important point. Lol at all the angry vegans. Eat some meat, eat some fat, enjoy your lives. This was one of the finest books written on the subject and this review one of the poorest. Why is this book fine and the review poor? Please explain. Be specific.
We can keep us extremely healthy on a diet consisting only of meat also: Look at the oldest among the Masai, they are often in good health and vigorous, still capable of hunting. They have good cholesterol levels, even and stable blood sugar and otherwise healthy bodys that can easily withstand infections that we often get sick of today.
Looking back on the studies done on cultures of indigenous people as you can see that none of them lived as vegans. Most findings suggest today that animal source foods played a critical role in Human Evolution. So why eat in a way that seems completely unnatural from the way we humans have been eating to become just what we are, humans? When we talk about sustainable food production, I think we all should follow Joel Salatins concept.
The plants need the animals, the animals need the plants and we need the animals just as they need us. We are part of a cycle with no end! References: 1. Orr J. B et al. Studies of nutrition: The physique and health of two African tribes. London Cordain L et al. Am J Clin Nutr ;— Milton K. Stephen Budiansky. Yale University Press, Trying to realistically emulate a Paleolithic diet in this day and age is pretty much impossible. Our food sources have more toxins in them no matter where on the planet you are living. One other thing to remember, the key to human evolution or any other species for that matter is to simply live long enough to raise offspring and prepare them to carry on the cycle.
One interesting thing to note about the Massai; these people are pastoralists and walk 20 miles per day. Do you walk 20 miles per day? The diet of populations that do live long and healthy lives in modern times are highly plant-based. Are we all genetically like the Masai? Of course not. Did they evolve to be different relative to other cultures? Of course. So you have committed a hasty generalization fallacy.
What do vegetarian mothers feed their newborns? Breast milk — an animal product. What did our paleo ancestors feed their children? Meat and foraged forest foods. Are you trying to deny that we are, by evolution, at bona-fide meat eaters? Face it, most vegans are fanatics. They deny or are ignorant of the fact that they kill millions of life forms with each breath and that their bodies are always at war with bacterial and viral attackers.
This is how we know how long a person has been dead — by measuring the elapsed victory of our enemies. Life and death are inseparable. Someone has to start somewhere. We are not doing so now. Paxalot, be careful. Ofcourse humans feed newborns their milk — humans are mammals.
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