On the piece I did regarding veganism, I tried to point out that the history of veganism in the US was largely the efforts of Kellogs, the man who invented breakfast cereal. He was a seventh day adventist and his veganism was based on his faith...not the scientific facts of which diet is best suited for the human physiology.
Seems like in the vegan community, the faith is still pretty strong...even when there is scientific evidence that demonstrates just how mistaken certain vegans may be when it comes to the health effects of their chosen belief system.
The problem for many vegans, is that the most convincing arguments against veganism are now coming from ex-vegans, many of whom were dedicated vegans, until health problems associated with their diets made them reach the point of re-evaluation. Once they give up their vegan principles and begin to eat meat and other animal products, many experience a resurgence in good health.
People like Lierre Kieth, Rhys Southan and Melissa McEwen have put forth their personal stories and have been ridiculed, dismissed and even physically attacked by their former vegan compatriots. (Lierre Kieth was once assaulted by malicious vegans throwing hot pepper-laced pies into her face).
But the latest ex-vegan that has literally been destroying vegan arguments on the interwebs in 2010, is one, Denise Minger.
She's got the true believers utterly flummoxed..and for good reason.
She gained notoriety in the paleo/ex-vegan blogosphere when she turned her meticulous researcher's eye onto the research that has been considered the holy grail of veganism: Dr. Colin Campbell's The China Study.
While many others have pointed out that Campbell's conclusions were flawed because they were based on cherry picking the data from 7 countries -- when the stats were gathered from more than 20 -- to reach his subjective and pre-determined conclusion that veganism was the healthiest diet for humans, Denise actually waded through the research and went on to painstakingly show that Campbells support for veganism as the healthiest diet was based on far more deceptions and misrepresentations than simply just cherry picking his data.
You can see for yourself just how thoroughly she debunked Campbell's claims here.
Her initial case was so compelling, Campbell himself actually deigned to respond to her. She responded, and essentially cleaned his clock, causing he and his followers to cease trying to debate with her.
But her latest blog post goes even further, by taking on one of the biggest shibboleths promoted in our mainstream mass media culture today: the idea that meat and saturated fats clog the arteries and cause heart disease.
From Will Ditching Meat Save Your Arteries?
Sometimes, when I feel like I don’t have enough stress in my life and start craving a blood-pressure boost, I go to my old vegan haunts to read gems like these:
The only way meat can be digested is by putrefaction, our stomach acid is only 5% of that of a carnivore or omnivore so instead of being digested it basicly [sic] rots in your intestines which leaves toxic gases and waste to be absorbed into the blood.
we know what’s happening. we’ve known for decades. however, we also have found that when we talk about the health detriments associated with eating the products of the corpse industries, people don’t believe us.
[T]here is a single, sole cause to heart disease: cholesterol. If your total cholesterol is below 150 and LDL is below 70, you are essentially heart attack proof. What is the cause of high cholesterol? Saturated fat and animal products.
Don’t you love this stuff? But I digress. What I want to talk about right now is one of the most oft-cited perks of being a vegetarian: an apparently lower risk of heart disease compared to omnivores.
I remember when I used to believe all of those things steadfastly...and I wasn't even a vegan. I was more accurately a guilt-consumed meat eater that would go on vegetarian binges. I'd abstain from meat and dairy for days on end, because I believed those lies. And it certainly didn't make my health better for it.
Denise goes on:
A recent paper called Chemistry Behind Vegetarianism sums it up by saying “Omnivores have a significantly higher cluster of cardiovascular risk factors compared with vegetarians, including increased body mass index, waist to hip ratio, blood pressure, plasma total cholesterol (TC), triacylglycerol and LDL-C levels, serum lipoprotein(a) concentration, plasma factor VII activity, ratios of TC/HDL-C, LDL-C/HDL-C and TAG/HDL-C, and serum ferritin levels.”
This is a trend that some folks translate as “meat causes heart disease”—a sentiment I saw plastered all over the veggie message boards during my most recent lurking spree. I assume this belief is bolstered by all the perfectly-preserved chunks bacon found in meat eaters’ arteries during heart biopsies.
Studies on vegetarians are inherently tricky. Although some folks dump animal foods strictly for ethical reasons, many of the meatless eat their veggies alongside other pro-health behaviors like exercising more, nixing tobacco, swapping refined grains for whole, limiting processed food (soy Frankenmeats notwithstanding), and avoiding the biggest of the baddies (trans fats, corn syrup, Cadbury Creme Eggs, and pretty much everything on this site)."
What does all of that equal? Confounderville for researchers. It’s impossible to adjust for every little diet and lifestyle tweak a vegetarian makes in the name of health, so in scientific studies, vegetarians almost always have an advantage over health-indifferent omnivores. But the reason can’t be pegged on their meatlessness: Vegetarianism is a marker for a comprehensive shift in behaviors that influence disease risk.
No kidding, especially when you consider that an obese Wal-Martian who eats fast food at every meal is lumped in with the health-fanatic, paleo-atheletes under the category of "Omnivore."
Denise goes on to breakdown the data, and come to the following conclusion:
The significance of this study is that it underscores the major issue with vegetarian research at large: The health-protective effects of vegetarianism are probably due to factors other than meat avoidance. When you study vegetarians that aren’t partaking in a bigger diet and lifestyle change, they no longer have a glowing health report.--Snip--
There’s nothing about eating meat that requires someone to inhale sugar and eat less fresh produce—but because meat (with all that awful saturated fat and cholesterol) has been so vilified in the nutrition world, the folks who eat more of it are likely to be less health-conscious than those who opt for the tofu slab. That’s why patterns like these emerge: Eating less meat goes hand-in-hand with other health-promoting choices, so we often see vegetarians trumping omnivorous control groups in terms of health markers.
This is just another example of how the supposed science used to promote lies and misconceptions like a plant-based diet is healthiest for humans.
I wonder if this latest post will attract more anonymous vegan commenters that deride me and my fellow Hawaiians for our love of Spam?