Calling All Vegeterians

Posted: April 16, 2012 in Uncategorized
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It seems like lately I am having to convince people more and more that being a vegeterian is not the way to go to promote longterm health and longevity. In my time as a nutritionist I have seen people get better by eating a vegan or vegeterian way, but then after a while health is not optimized. This is mostly due to the removal of processed foods from their diets and eating an abundance of high quality plant foods. The problem is, where are they getting the rest of their calories?

Most vegeterians will turn to grains for energy sources. We all know the problems with grains, but in brief summary for those who aren’t familiar. Grains contain high amounts of prolamin proteins as well as phytates. Prolamin proteins, such as gluten and gliadin, create spaces in our gut lining and enter our bloodstream undigested. Our immune system responds to this undigested protein by becoming inflammed and attacking it with antibodoes. Chronic inflammation leads to numerous health issues such as cancer, heart disease, and auto-immunity. Phytates are antinutrients that bond to the metals we ingest such as zinc, calcium, magnesium, and iron and do not allow us to absorb them. Calcium and magnesium are important for bone growth among other things and vegeterians can’t afford to not absorb all the iron they can get their hands on because meat is our richest source of the nutrient.

As for the protein in vegeterian diets, they tend to lean towards dairy. Dairy has some of the same antinutrients as grains. Casein and to a lesser extent whey are problematic for many people and create the same low level inflammation as the grain products do. Dairy is also high in phytoestrogens and IGF-1 which increase the likelihood for cancer and also increase the amount of circulating insulin in our blood. This can lead to substantial weight gain and also make it extremely difficult to drop belly fat.

Legumes are another big food choice in the vegeterian community. Legumes are high in saponins, which actually punch a hole in our gut lining to infiltrate our blood stream. They are also high in the antinutrient phytates and lectins. Too much of these antinutrients in our diets can lead to substantial deficiencies in key nutrients.

The China Study is a “study” that all vegeterians refer me to when they are selling their side of the story. I am going to use the China Study to prove my point. One, the conclusions draawn from this research were biased and the data clearly points in the opposite direction.

T. Colin Campbell used isolated casein protein as the animal protein in his studies. As mentioned earlier casein is problematic in humans. Isolating it from the other parts of the dairy increases its negative side effects. The rats fed high casein diets were developing tumors. Whey in studies has shown to be effective in preventing tumors. Remove the whey and casein is allowed to do its thing with nothing holding it back. Also, casein is not the same as the proteins found in meat. Casein is extremely difficult for the majority of people to digest It can’t be concluded that because the rats fed 20% of their calories in casein protein developed higher rates of tumors that all animal protein is bad. One thing Campbell left out was why the lower protein groups didn’t develop tumors. It was because they were dead! The 5% protein fed rats actually had higher rates of mortality. You can’t develop tumors when you are dead!

Another piece of the China Study that somehow missed Campbell’s book was with the creation of a complete protein. Vegeterians will swear that mixing foods will allow them to get complete proteins in a safer manner then animal products. Campbell in his study proved this to be wrong. when he combined wheat gluten and lysine to make a complete protein the rats got tumors at the same rates as they did with the casein! To call the China Study science is a farce.

To combat the cholesterol and animal fat piece I am going to quote Campbell himself “neither plasma total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol was associated with heart disease.” That was from a paper he published in 1990.

To end this whole piece I am going to quote Campbell again “it is the largely vegeterian, inland communities who have the greatest all risk mortalities and morbidities and who have the lowest LDL chlesterol” (Wang 2003).

Chris Masterjohn has a link debunking the China Study as well on his site,

  1. Mark Brett says:

    Hi Kevin, very interesting piece. I hope your well, I can see your still working hard and enjoying your career as a wellness expert. Quick question, im a meat eater and I occasionally take a protein supplement I’d be interested to know what your thoughts on these supplements whey and casein in relation to your research.

    • Lab created products can’t compete with real foods. Plus, most people do not tolerate dairy well and those supplements contain dairy and most contain gluten. I would recommend not taking them.

  2. Mark Brett says:

    Thanks for the reply. Ive just taken time to read more on the paleo and it does feel like a more natural diet to follow.

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