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Thread: Switch to Vegan/Vegetarian For Better Health

  1. #21
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I saw a study that compared vegetarian (and vegan?) 7th Day Adventists with Mormon omnivores; they came out about the same. Most of the observational studies, as you say, have confounders--they're mostly useful to lend direction for further studies. I read a fascinating article about the Inuits in Discover some years ago that painted them as strong, healthy people with clear arteries--that's sadly changed as the SAD has taken hold. Some researchers are writing books they want to sell (Gary Taubes, William Davis, Dean Ornish, John McDougall et al), some may be angling for grant money (not much in LCHF, unfortunately), and others are True Believers of various kinds. I have great respect for the vegan researcher who was surprised to find that LCHF proved effective in his study (and danged if I can find a reference now.) Veganism is emerging as a religion http://www.idausa.org/veganism-religion/ which, I think, colors their viewpoint fatally.

    Also, Greger has been known to review his own books under the pseudonym Samuel Iyyam of something like that. I suspect green eggs and ham are not his cup of tea.

    In short, those advocates who point me to real, academic studies and let me read the abstracts for myself get my attention. Some I agree with, some I don't. Like everyone else, I can make up my own mind.
    Last edited by JaneV2.0; 8-9-16 at 11:01am.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    Jane V2.0, I had to look a few things up to refresh (or add to) my memory. There was the 7th Day vs. Mormon study done back in 1958. The second study was done more recently and only has 7th Day's, which eliminates one or factors based on life style. This seems like a reasonable summary of the second study.
    http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newar...00713p24.shtml

    Anymore I don't know that there is any scientific group safe from accusations of self betterment through books, grants, or fame. Take global warming as an example.

  3. #23
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    yea the debate on the best diet can go on forever. It was more the absolutism I was taking issue with, maybe not that many advocate eating more fats and protein for heart disease (even olive oil? fish oil? a lot of people do ...) but there's a whole bunch of other disease at least it might make sense for including those with some link to heart disease (diabetes, obesity sometimes) if they were an issue. Eat real foods though. Sometimes I figure giving the body temporarily extreme diets might be beneficial (not extreme as in all sweets - obviously that's just junk - I mean extreme diets that may be health promoting) but that's different than staying on them 24/7/365 (hey fasting is a temporary extreme diet as well that probably is health promoting).
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

  4. #24
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    In general, absolutism isn't helpful where human beings--and their genetics--are involved. That's one reason I'd like to see the government (in bed as they are with food producers) stand down. There's a variety of whole-food plans out there to suit everybody, and doctors/laypeople should be encouraged to explore them as studies continue to determine what's best for each subgroup. Wholesale DNA testing should help with this process.

    Roger, agreed that the sale of books is a red herring. And many researchers are passionate about their science. It's when advocacy crosses the line into aggressive evangelism that I stop paying attention.

    Your cited Seventh-day Adventist study was intriguing, especially this part:
    "Other healthful behaviors: Compared with nonvegetarians, the study found that vegans and vegetarians watched less television, slept more hours per night, consumed more fruits and vegetables, consumed less saturated fat, and typically ate foods with a low glycemic index, such as beans, legumes, and nuts.8"
    There are those dang confounders again. But I think that was a fair study. I couldn't figure out whether the risks for various diseases were relative or absolute. I guess I should have taken a statistics class.

    Max Planck said something like "Science advances one funeral at a time," so it often seems to take forever for significant progress to be made, what with the politics of the discipline, and outside influences. But eventually the truth will out. One hopes.

  5. #25
    Senior Member HappyHiker's Avatar
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    Observations, rather than scientific studies: our meat today, and therefore Paleo-type diets, is a far cry from the meat cavemen ate. Compare the fat content of modern supermarket (not grass-fed) beef, pork or lamb with the fat content of a wild deer, gazelle, or any other free-roaming grazing animal. Not to mention the antibiotics and growth hormones found in factory-raised meat.

    Cavemen found it difficult to bring meat daily to their table, had to be hunted in dangerous conditions with primitive tools. It wasn't available in shrink-wrapped trays at the grocery. Meat for cavemen was a sometimes thing, a rare commodity in their meals--not the daily hamburger on a white flour roll or a hefty steak or slabs of pork ribs.

    When I hear about Paleo or Cavemen diets, I find them to be a far cry from what was really eaten by our hunter/gatherer ancestors. Sure, they hunted, but for the most part they were gatherers of wild seeds, grains, fruits and vegetables. And got a lot of exercise to boot.

    I'd eat more of a true Paleo diet if I had access to (and the budget for) lean, untainted animal meat such as deer meat. I don't think Cavemen ate bacon and sausages filled with salt and nitrates, either. And their eggs came from wild birds,not factory-raised chickens.

    Food for thought?
    Author of the green eco-thriller: Falling Through Time http://fallingthroughtime.com Editor of http://vibrantvillage.com

  6. #26
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    You can't go home again. The Paleo diet is a loose approximation--most of us won't willingly eat grubs--but a lot of adherents do look for quality meats and vegetables. Game meats and offal would be ideal. Even the weakest Paleo approximation would be worlds away from the SAD.

  7. #27
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    I think with some paleo they are more focused on macronutrient ratios (although maybe it was higher protein less fat) and maybe on physiological states (cavemen probably were in ketosis sometimes I figure, perhaps at times just from lack of food as days without food will get you there, although how much was due to lack of any food depends on if you believe it was the original affluent society). Some paleo focuses on toxins in modern foods.

    I agree about the evils of industrial farming and processed meats. Personally, I only eat grass fed beef and lamb, sometimes eat non-pastured chicken that is at least organic, my processed meat consumption consists of the occasional organic chicken sausage. At restaurants I generally order vegetarian or fish unless they have grass fed.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

  8. #28
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    The theory is that the hunt often resulted in feast or famine; thus fasting. Since humans are designed/have evolved to run on either fat or carbohydrates, many do well on intermittent fasts of short or long duration. The idea of eating all day long--"grazing"--is best left to ruminants, IMO.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    I have wondered how many of the studies include the typical American sedentary lifestyle as a significant portion of their populations. Simple carbohydrates have become one of the demon foods, but people who have jobs with physical labor or who have a good excersize regime quickly burn the carbs as an easy energy source. There are just a lot of things to consider. I told my physician about my vegan diet and one of the first questions he asked was, "how to you feel". I thought that was very a wise question to ask. I generally feel pretty good and all of my blood chemistry markers are in the normal range. He said to watch my protein intake and take supplemental vitamin B12 and if I started to feel poorly or lack energy to reconsider my diet.

    Those seem like the important things to me, somewhat regardless of the studies. If you feel good and you seem to be doing well from a traditional medical standpoint that's good. If you're not it's probably time to thing about lifestyle changes, and diet is a major player. I know of people who do not do well on a vegan diet but some that are vibrantly healthy, but maybe the same could be said for other lifestyles.

    Interesting that I got the flier from the local Sprouts in the mail today and the four books featured in the ad were, Eat Dirt, Primal, Eat Fat Get Thin, and Slow Burn Revolution.

  10. #30
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    I have wondered how many of the studies include the typical American sedentary lifestyle as a significant portion of their populations.
    the typical american diet is so bad at this point that I regard studies of it as being meaningless, it's not even meat and potatoes, it's not even meat and potatoes and homemade bread and cake. It's literally weird processed ingredients in supermarket food (in the center aisles) and strange restaurant concoctions. In the 1950s or something maybe it was meat and potatoes and maybe strange jello salads but now ... good grief.

    Simple carbohydrates have become one of the demon foods, but people who have jobs with physical labor or who have a good excersize regime quickly burn the carbs as an easy energy source.
    yea but that's a good reason for a lot of people to focus on carbs if that is the alternative, ok if one has a job with physical labor fine (one often pays for this when the body breaks down after a life of HARD physical labor in the 50s and 60s and one can't work at all in that field - but life is full of trade offs and at least one doesn't develop problems around being too sedentary). But if they don't have such a job I think it's really rational for many people to focus on diet rather than a good exercise regime, as while a walk or two a day might be easily fit in the schedule (and is good) it often takes heroic dedication to fit more than that in an already too busy schedule and nearly everyone's schedule is too busy. Better to focus on diet, ok not for all health issues, may not improve bone strength that much, but for weight and similar problems, it is primary and might even fit in the schedule.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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