## Vegetarians aren't healthier

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### Vegetarians aren't healthier

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/articl ... 088278.PDF

I stumbled onto this paper right before I was about to dig into this beauty. All the more reason to enjoy my lunch? So many questions...
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BioWizard

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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

So complex in terms of cause/effect. Seems like its more true that "restrictive and monotonous" veg diets can adversely affect health, where key nutrients are under-supplied. I would expect people eating a great variety of legumes, and B12 cultures like tempeh, and some egg and dairy, would enjoy the health benefits of veg diets, plus possibly the psychological boost of eating with their ethical beliefs honored. Also, different regional/ethnic groups may be differentially adapted to low-meat or no-meat diets. It would also be useful to compare lifelong vegetarianism with those who only commence that diet in adulthood and may have some trouble in their body's adapting to different staple foods.

Braininvat

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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

Leaving meat out of one's diet is not a magical healing agent, though some people think so.
I know several such people, who changed their diet in middle age and a younger one who changed after childbirth, to lose weight.
I wonder how many of those [very few] vegetarians in the survey converted because they had a heart attack or chronic gastro-intestinal illness or allergies. Their present diet didn't cause their health problems; it just hasn't cured them. (But it may have prolonged their life or reduced their discomfort.)

(PS I wonder why so many people like to photograph their meals.)
Serpent
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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

Serpent » 05 Feb 2016 05:52 pm wrote:(PS I wonder why so many people like to photograph their meals.)

In this case, it's because they prefer them to selfies. ;)
But also because I had originally intended to post this in the news discussion section (until I noticed the publication date, that is).

BioWizard

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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

Serpent » 05 Feb 2016 05:52 pm wrote:I wonder how many of those [very few] vegetarians in the survey converted because they had a heart attack or chronic gastro-intestinal illness or allergies. Their present diet didn't cause their health problems; it just hasn't cured them. (But it may have prolonged their life or reduced their discomfort.)

Did you check the matching process and the controlling they did for multiple variables including health history and lifestyle? It's in the methods section.

BioWizard

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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

Braininvat » 05 Feb 2016 03:29 pm wrote:So complex in terms of cause/effect. Seems like its more true that "restrictive and monotonous" veg diets can adversely affect health, where key nutrients are under-supplied. I would expect people eating a great variety of legumes, and B12 cultures like tempeh, and some egg and dairy, would enjoy the health benefits of veg diets, plus possibly the psychological boost of eating with their ethical beliefs honored. Also, different regional/ethnic groups may be differentially adapted to low-meat or no-meat diets. It would also be useful to compare lifelong vegetarianism with those who only commence that diet in adulthood and may have some trouble in their body's adapting to different staple foods.

Good points. And I would love to dig deeper into the study to acquaint myself better with the details. Unfortunately, I don't have the time right now.

Nevertheless... if being a vegetarian means that you have to expend $\Delta E$ more energy than a meat eater to maintain balanced nutrition and avoid a slide, then the probability that the vegetarian will develop health issues due to to an imbalanced intake is higher, by some value proportional to $\Delta E$. If I live in a world were vitamin C is absent, and I can synthesize vitamin C to supply myself, then I can stave off rickets. But there's just a much higher chance for me to mess up my intake than say someone who has access to fresh produce in their daily diet. In the end, these things boil down to odds, not possibilities.

BioWizard

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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/articl ... b36b6a4d70

Lol the story behind this paper gets interesting :)

SciameriKen
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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

Good post,

Between Vegetarian, Carnivore and Omnivore type diets, it seems logical that Variety would be the best choice. That's me.. I eat anything within reach. I have to caution folks not to sit too closely with loose fitting garments.

Best wishes,
Dave :^)

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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

Red wine that is the key :-)

wolfhnd
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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

SciameriKen » February 5th, 2016, 8:57 pm wrote:http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/comment?id=info:doi/10.1371/annotation/6efd4318-1591-4f09-9627-1eb36b6a4d70

Lol the story behind this paper gets interesting :)

I like this last comment:
In our opinion, it seems not far to seek that persons with worse health consume a vegetarian diet because they try to develop a better health and eating behavior, and not the opposite, that a certain diet (vegetarian) leads to worse health. We therefore state in our discussion that we can neither say anything about causes or effects, nor about long-term consequences. Moreover, we say that further studies are needed to analyze nutritional habits and their association with health.

In any case4, yes, I did note the matching, but didn't give it whole lot of weight, since each (rare) vegetarian was matched with three meat-eaters, one from each group. Two of those people (the ones with balanced diets) are likely to be healthy in any demographic. Meanwhile, the non-meat-eaters were all lumped together, with no regard to the comparative balance of their diet.

I would like to see a study that
1. is longer term
2. uses stricter definitions
3. comprises a larger population of vegetarians
4. starts at a comparable base-line of age, gender and health for
5. two clearly distinct diet types in a larger general population

Red wine that is the key :-)

And dark chocolate. They both work wonders, as long as they accompany lots of broccoli.
Serpent
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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

I watched all 30 hours of this during the free screening last week.

http://fatsummit.com/

Medical science is so corrupted with confounding factors, constraints, and corporate greed that it's been very hard for science to figure out the truth. That Fat Summit was excellent and I would recommend it even if you have to pay for it!

zetreque
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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

I concur with fatsummit! It was very well done

SciameriKen
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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

SciameriKen » Fri Feb 05, 2016 7:57 pm wrote:I concur with fatsummit! It was very well done

:)

People can debate this topic until they are blue in the face, but I found that this fat summit, while didn't cover everything, is still on the cutting edge of what we know. It basically sums up all of my research on what I have pieced together on my own. Of note to this thread is that John Robbins participated in it and he is one of the most famous vegetarians out there.

zetreque
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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

zetreque, amen.

I'll be sure to continue enjoyiny my steaks and wines (and chocolates and eggs) meanwhile a consesus is reached.

BioWizard

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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

BioWizard » Fri Feb 05, 2016 9:13 pm wrote:zetreque, amen.

I'll be sure to continue enjoyiny my steaks and wines (and chocolates and eggs) meanwhile a consesus is reached.

Don't forget the ghee...

Actually I might go have some right now for dessert. :D

zetreque
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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

SciameriKen » 05 Feb 2016 08:57 pm wrote:http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/comment?id=info:doi/10.1371/annotation/6efd4318-1591-4f09-9627-1eb36b6a4d70

Lol the story behind this paper gets interesting :)

I actually liked the authors' responses, and the point made by analyzing the data in two different ways (notwithstanding the part where the results become imcomparable due to the convolution of SES and other confounding factors in one). I think it adds credence to show the extent of the effect (sloppy?) methodology could have on interpretation. I would like to see more studies be critical of their own nature like that.

BioWizard

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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

zetreque » 05 Feb 2016 11:18 pm wrote:
BioWizard » Fri Feb 05, 2016 9:13 pm wrote:zetreque, amen.

I'll be sure to continue enjoyiny my steaks and wines (and chocolates and eggs) meanwhile a consesus is reached.

Don't forget the ghee...

Actually I might go have some right now for dessert. :D

Let's not get too crazy there. I'll stick with olive oil for now. Man I love olive oil.

BioWizard

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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

I eat meat because my parents ate meat. I hunt because my dad hunted. Beyond that I think of myself as a carnivore which means that I have a "spiritual" connection to hunting. I could give up meat because my favorite foods are bread, pasta, cheese and wine but eating meat reminds me of who I am. What I'm certain of is that animals suffer more from habitat destruction and commercial production than from me as a hunter. I think that too many vegetarians have a sense of moral superiority that clouds the real issues. Just as with how you acquire your meat the real question is quality of life.

It may be that you can live longer if you don't eat meat but it is a question of quality of life. The archaeological evidence is pretty clear that the first agrarian people lived shorter lives and were smaller than their hunter gatherer forbearers. The question is if on average hunter gathers had better lives in the absence of all the wonderful things culture brings. A farmer can spend entire seasons doing basically whatever they want. Science certainly will make it possible to have complete nutrition without meat so the nutritional issues are temporary as was the downside to switching to agriculture.

I love animals more than most people I suspect so part of me is excited to think that someday animals will not be slaughtered for food. I'm also of the opinion that animals are more "intelligent" and aware than most people want to believe. We have given up human sacrifice so there is no reason to believe we can't give up eating meat. On the other hand for me at least eating meat reminds me of my place in the animal kingdom and keeps me humble as to what the meaning of life is. I see no reason to argue that eating meat has no ethical issues but a man needs to know his limitations. Eventual something is going to eat me, a humble bacteria or a maggot as what goes around comes around. I think it is great idea to be buried in a cardboard box to fertilize a tree than to buried in a concrete vault with the delusion of resurrection.

wolfhnd
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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

I really don't think it can be simplified to something a la eats meat vs doesn't eat meat. It's all about how likely it is for your diet to be balanced given your eating habits.

Having a spiritual connection to hunting... What's that like?

BioWizard

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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

Serpent » 05 Feb 2016 09:41 pm wrote:
SciameriKen » February 5th, 2016, 8:57 pm wrote:http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/comment?id=info:doi/10.1371/annotation/6efd4318-1591-4f09-9627-1eb36b6a4d70

Lol the story behind this paper gets interesting :)

I like this last comment:
In our opinion, it seems not far to seek that persons with worse health consume a vegetarian diet because they try to develop a better health and eating behavior, and not the opposite, that a certain diet (vegetarian) leads to worse health. We therefore state in our discussion that we can neither say anything about causes or effects, nor about long-term consequences. Moreover, we say that further studies are needed to analyze nutritional habits and their association with health.

In any case4, yes, I did note the matching, but didn't give it whole lot of weight, since each (rare) vegetarian was matched with three meat-eaters, one from each group. Two of those people (the ones with balanced diets) are likely to be healthy in any demographic. Meanwhile, the non-meat-eaters were all lumped together, with no regard to the comparative balance of their diet.

I would like to see a study that
1. is longer term
2. uses stricter definitions
3. comprises a larger population of vegetarians
4. starts at a comparable base-line of age, gender and health for
5. two clearly distinct diet types in a larger general population

I can't say I shreded that paper by any measure. But given the data that they had, and if I were to pick a method without putting more than 5 seconds of thought into it, I would pick their matching approach.

If collecting that kind of long term data on a large enough sample and deconvolving all confounding factors was that attainable, we would be twiddling our thumbs right now (right after we're done doing all the regression analyses that is). But yeah...

BioWizard

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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

In any case, I don't care to conclude from any of this that eating meat is necessarily better for you inasmuch as that being vegetarian may not be necessarily so. Notwithstanding the psychosomatic component that BiV and wolfhnd have already mentioned.

BioWizard

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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

BioWizard » Sat Feb 06, 2016 4:32 am wrote:I really don't think it can be simplified to something a la eats meat vs doesn't eat meat. It's all about how likely it is for your diet to be balanced given your eating habits.

Having a spiritual connection to hunting... What's that like?

Many of the people I know that hunt also collect wild plants, mushrooms, and other wild edibles. There is something more intimate about gathering your substance from nature than just witnessing it.

wolfhnd
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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

wolfhnd » 06 Feb 2016 01:53 am wrote:
BioWizard » Sat Feb 06, 2016 4:32 am wrote:I really don't think it can be simplified to something a la eats meat vs doesn't eat meat. It's all about how likely it is for your diet to be balanced given your eating habits.

Having a spiritual connection to hunting... What's that like?

Many of the people I know that hunt also collect wild plants, mushrooms, and other wild edibles. There is something more intimate about gathering your substance from nature than just witnessing it.

Is it more intimate than say farming and owning livestock?

BioWizard

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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

BioWizard » Sat Feb 06, 2016 7:05 am wrote:
wolfhnd » 06 Feb 2016 01:53 am wrote:
BioWizard » Sat Feb 06, 2016 4:32 am wrote:I really don't think it can be simplified to something a la eats meat vs doesn't eat meat. It's all about how likely it is for your diet to be balanced given your eating habits.

Having a spiritual connection to hunting... What's that like?

Many of the people I know that hunt also collect wild plants, mushrooms, and other wild edibles. There is something more intimate about gathering your substance from nature than just witnessing it.

Is it more intimate than say farming and owning livestock?

Most of the people I grew up with were farmers :-)

Agriculture you have to remember reduces animals and crops to an industrial process. While some people may grow attached to mechanical devices like their car or computer those devices do not replace a relationship with say a living being like a dog. Pets are a perfect example of how we try to incorporate part of the "wild" in our lives. So it is with farmers, their relationship with nature may seem intimate but farming alone does not put you in touch with the natural world in the way hunting does.

My dad was born in 1892 and his childhood experience of hunting out of necessity made him a lifelong meat hunter. While he enjoyed it he had no interest in the way a trophy hunter may experience hunting. In fact he wouldn't hunt deer because it doesn't taste "good". For him it was just something you did in the way you would play baseball. If there was any sense of competition it surrounded how much meat hunting provided. So here you see a man who spend his entire life working out of doors but still spend all his recreational time hunting and fishing. I think it annoyed him to no end that I was more interested in observing nature than participating in it as a child. I was often too busy watching game to shoot it.

It wasn't until I started deer hunting, which requires an intense understanding of the environment, that I became what you may call a "serious" hunter. I could have become a wildlife biologist and have been happy as an observer but having done a bit of that I can confess that being an observer is not as rewarding in some ways as being a participant. Participating in the untamed world somehow cleanses you of the detritus of civilization.

wolfhnd
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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

Serpent, please never mention chocolate and broccoli in the same sentence; especially not at breakfast time. Chocolate - healthiest food in my vegetarian diet. Broccoli - unfit for human consumption (an alleged quote from George Bush).
vivian maxine
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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

Hey Jedediah Smith, I like detritus!

;-)

Braininvat

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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

vivian maxine » February 6th, 2016, 6:23 am wrote:Serpent, please never mention chocolate and broccoli in the same sentence; especially not at breakfast time. Chocolate - healthiest food in my vegetarian diet. Broccoli - unfit for human consumption (an alleged quote from George Bush).

That's because he couldn't cook. My broccoli tastes all right - so do my kale, spinach, mustard and beet greens (the secret is garlic.)

Of course, I wouldn't choose Dubya as my food guru anyway - but then I didn't choose Dr. Sanjay Gupta, either: no extremes. My [sloppy, uneven, self-indulgent] vegetarian diet was never designed for health or spirituality or anything. I just think factory farming is icky and wasteful.

And the chocolate is way down here, getting baked into muffins along with some chopped dates and nuts.
Serpent
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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

Of course, I wouldn't choose Dubya as my food guru anyway

That was Dubya's daddio who hated broccoli. George HW Bush.

BioWizard, just for anecdotal fun, would you have any interest in putting a poll atop this thread, see how many of us here have been, or are, vegetarians, and what the experience has been like, positive/negative?

I noticed an uptick in energy with a mostly-vegan diet, which I believe lies in the simple fact that I'm consuming a much wider range of vegetables and legumes. The uptick, however, plunges into a trough of fatigue and muscle cramps when I go full vegan, which symptoms match with those of protein shortage. Much as I like the emotional satisfaction of eating completely low on the food chain, no suffering animals involved, I have to recognize that for me a bit of fish, a morsel of cheese, makes the diet more optimal. For example, a bean burrito plus a vegan salad won't get me through the afternoon, but add one ounce of mozzarella to that and I have distinctly more stamina and fewer pangs of hunger. Same with adding a couple/three ounces of salmon or sardine. Basically, anything with 8 or more grams of whole protein (i.e. all 9 aminos that humans cannot synthesize themselves) And, as Wolfhound mentions, there is also a kind of humility in occasional carnivory, a descent from the rather austere pedestal of moral purity. We need our imperfections and walks on the wild side.

Braininvat

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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

BiV, so as a control for the placebo effect? ;)

BioWizard

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### Re: Vegeratians aren't healthier

Serpent » 06 Feb 2016 01:32 pm wrote:
vivian maxine » February 6th, 2016, 6:23 am wrote:Serpent, please never mention chocolate and broccoli in the same sentence; especially not at breakfast time. Chocolate - healthiest food in my vegetarian diet. Broccoli - unfit for human consumption (an alleged quote from George Bush).

That's because he couldn't cook. My broccoli tastes all right - so do my kale, spinach, mustard and beet greens (the secret is garlic.)

Amen. I also enjoy these things equally (and sometimes a little more) in raw form, though.

BioWizard

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