I’ve just watched a really fascinating video, which I’ve included at end of this blog post. Dr Michael Greger is a vegan and presents studies showing that vegan and vegetarian diets are not as healthy as some people think they are. He presents studies that show that vegetarians and meat eaters both have the same rate of mortality, but that also vegetarians are more likely to die from breast cancer or degenerative brain disorders.
And another study of vegetarians and vegans which showed that the vegans had the worst mortality rates, then the vegetarians and the lowest mortality rate was ‘vegetarians’ who occasionally ate some meat…
The point of the video from the doctor’s point of view is to show how vegetarians and vegans can correct their diet (he is coming from the closed minded position of “vegan is best”), but from my point of view, the data he presents suggests that a diet very high in fruits and vegetables with some meat and fish is the best possible diet (interestingly that’s what I eat!).
Some of my other observations:
There is much research to show that soy is not healthy in large quantities, and as many vegetarians and vegans eat a lot of soy, that could explain the breast cancer link. From my understanding, what he says about some cultures eating lots of soy for a long time is not really true, soy products are generally used as condiments in small amounts, and are often fermented as in miso, which makes them healthier. See the Weston Price Foundation for more on the dangers of soy.
Flax seeds – I have read reports that they are not as healthy as once thought. They contain phytoestrogens, which can have similar negative effects as soy.
He is massivly against saturated fats, while there is lots of evidence that saturated fat is good for you (see the research of Weston Price). This is related to cholesterol, there is a lots of research to say that cholesterol is not a problem, see this article by Dr Mercola for more info.
Right at the end he talks about trans fats – while I agree that man made trans fats are not healthy, the research shows that naturally formed trans-fats in meat are different and are healthy. See this article by Chris Kresser for more info.
In conclusion, this video is well worth watching – if you are vegetarian or vegan he explains how you could possibly improve your vegetarian or vegan diet, and if you are a meat eater, how you could improve your health by eating more fruits and vegetables.