2019 The Year Vegan Pseudo-Science goes Mainstream?

Read Time: 8 minutes

For the last 4 years, I have produced a monthly News Round-Up (archive here), in which Keir and I scoured the news websites to present you with lots of nutrition-related news links from that month, especially anything connected to gluten-free, low-carb and paleo diets. However, the format and publishing deadline have been feeling restrictive for a while, partly because of the rigid once-per-month deadline (I want to share stuff closer to when it comes to my attention) and partly because so much of what I have to share isn’t exactly news. For example articles on other blogs; videos I come across; interesting scientific papers; a twitter storm… Truth is, the Main Stream Media are now so far behind the curve that they are losing relevance.

So in its place, I present: “Coffee with Afifah” which will have a looser format, and where I will post all kinds of interesting news, links, videos, scientific papers, tweets, notable patient cases (anonymously of course), or issues that crop up within my medical practice, and points of view in general.

TODAY’S TOPICS

• Veganuary Blues
Meatless Burgers
• EAT-Lancet Report
 •Vegan diets need supplements

Veganuary Blues

The month of January is often earmarked for a New Year’s challenge. This time around it was both Veganuary (= don’t eat any animal products for a month) and World Carnivore Month (= don’t eat any plant-based foods for a month). “But…” I hear you say… “wasn’t November world vegan month?” Yes, indeed it was, but one month is not enough for their world-domination plans, it seems, so they co-opted January for their crusade as well. And don’t think they will stop there: This is a war for the hearts and minds of the global population and aims at nothing short of transforming the world. Their anti-meat battle plan has shifted up a gear, with The Spectator commenting earlier this month “The war on meat has begun – and vegans are winning comfortably”.

Dry January might give way to Wet February, as grateful drinkers furtively crack open the rioja, but the intense passions aroused by Veganuary now seem set to continue all year round.

The Spectator

Plant-based diets are being pushed at all levels of society, with media, celebrities, chefs and TV cookery shows all getting on message: “meat is bad for your health and bad for the planet – and don’t you doubt it”.

…eating too much red meat can increase your risk of everything from heart disease to certain cancers, and the beef industry has a huge impact on the environment.

CNBC, Jan 22

The quote above is a perfect example of this proselytising confidence: written with an unquestioning certainty that is so far from the truth as to be laughable. Except it’s not funny, and the public is starting to take this nonsense seriously, at least in part because it is presented with a shiny veneer of scientific credibility. Such lop-sided propaganda should have been slapped down, challenged or ignored, but there is a certain laziness in the media that lets such lies and spin pass unchallenged.

Fortunately, there are still some journalists willing to stand up to the bigotry and misinformation that would shame us all into accepting the group-think around plant-based diets. Ian O’Doherty hits the nail on the head in Independent Ireland with his article “Joyless vegan fundamentalists just love to wag their fingers” which is worth a read.

I once spent a rather enjoyable evening with the late, great Anthony Bourdain and once he got on to the topic of vegans (as opposed to veganism), he was unstoppable.

Vegans, declared the chef, are the Hezbollah of the vegetarian movement; a bunch of joyless, sullen, humourless fundamentalists who are incapable of seeing any other point of view.

Ian O’Doherty, independent.ie

This graphic sums up the situation perfectly. It takes a moment to decipher, but when you get it…

Via Imgur

Meatless Burgers

The holy grail of the processed-food industry, apparently, is to make a vegan burger that is as close as possible in look and taste to the real thing. Is it close nutritionally? Well, superficially. Kind of. But not really. But, hey, that’s not important: the point is… Well… what exactly is the point? And that’s a good question. Who is this aimed at? The latest creation, which even bleeds (is that really what vegans want??) is set to make its producer’s plant-based ‘meat’ line worth a staggering $550 million.

Marketing for the ‘bleeding burger’ draws on exaggerated and highly inflated pseudoscientific claims, but which go unchallenged because they fit the “meat is bad for the planet” narrative

The idea that this fake-food ‘Beyond Burger’ uses 99% less water than beef is par for the course in this brave new post-truth world. Such marketing does not interested in facts it only cares about perception (‘the narrative’ as they are fond of calling it). And who can blame consumers for believing New Scientist when it tells them that each kilogram of beef requires 100,000 litres of water to produce? What most people do not know is that this statistic was created by an agronomist with an anti-meat agenda. For his analysis, he took a worst-case scenario of free-ranging outback steers, and included all of the rain that fell on the land during the time the animal was raised there! The true figure for UK beef is between one hundredth to one thousandth meaning that the ‘green’ marketing claim highly dubious if not downright dishonest.

What is indisputible, however, is that this ‘burger’ is a product of the ultra-processed industralised food system, and highly processed foods are incompatible with a healthy diet. A good rule of thumb is to avoid foods that contain ingredients you don’t generally have in your kitchen. So how does the Beyond Burger shape up?

Beyond Burger Ingredients: pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, water, yeast extract, maltodextrin, natural flavors, gum arabic, sunflower oil, salt, succinic acid, acetic acid, non-GMO modified food starch, cellulose from bamboo, methylcellulose, potato starch, beet juice extract (for color), ascorbic acid (to maintain color), annatto extract (for color), citrus fruit extract (to maintain quality), vegetable glycerin.

I don’t know about you, but where I come from, THAT’S NOT FOOD!!! Unfortunately, this is the kind of world the vegan crazies want us to live in: one in which we are forced to abandon smallholdings and pastureland so that highly ‘efficient’ industrialised food production (i.e. factories) can churn out food-like-products that keep us stupid and sick. Effectively, they want us to become their cash-cows, so they can continue to extract money from us at every turn.

See our article The Case for Sustainable Meat for a full analysis of the nonsense around meat and the environmental costs. It caused quite a stir with a vigorous comments section in Quillette when published there https://quillette.com/2018/04/05/case-sustainable-meat/ and it has been translated into French and published in Le Point, so for all my French readers this is for you: https://www.lepoint.fr/debats/soyez-ecolo-mangez-de-la-viande-28-10-2018-2266606_2.php

Fake Meat Pushback

EAT-Lancet Report — Politics Dressed up as Science

Another source of plant-based propaganda came this month from the Norwegian thinktank EAT which has teamed up with the preeminent medical journal The Lancet to provide a ‘consensus’ report on what defines a healthy and sustainable diet. Bottom line: they want us all to eat a heavily plant-based diet. To save the planet they say, slash your meat consumption by 95%, eat almost zero dairy and lots of beans and nuts instead.

There are so many problems with the EAT-Lancet report that it is difficult to know where to start. For starters, the backers: The EAT-Lancet commission is funded by vegan-leaning billionaires and shored up by a swathe of plant-based-diet researchers like Walter Willett who are clearly utterly biased. In fact, ~80% of the 37 scientists behind this report were selected because for their vegan/vegetarian or anti-meat credentials. They proclaim it is based on consensus science but nothing could be further from the truth.

When nutritional science took shape after the first world war it was clear that for poor people, a lack of meat and other animal products was the major factor necessary to improve health. This conclusion was demostrated again, last year, by the PURE study and confirmed in follow up analyses: “A diet quality score based on the PURE study, which advocates eating more of seven key foods — fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, fish, dairy, and nonprocessed red meat — has been linked to lower mortality and cardiovascular events in three independent data sets.” (Medscape) (My emphases) How does such a conclusion fit with the Eat Lancet ‘consensus science’ exactly?

Don’t doubt for a moment, the EAT-Lancet report is a big deal. It has the backing of several multinational ‘Strategic Partners‘ including top insurance and financial companies and a range of NGOs. This has Globalism and New World Order written all over it. The aim appears to be to drag the health of us all back down to that of the days of serfdom, and our overlords will be demanding we praise them for their virtue and saintliness whilst raking in the $£billions!

EAT-Lancet is being launched in multiple cities around the world. It aims to change Governments, Farmers, Food Producers and the global public opinion. Source: EAT-Lancet

As you might imagine, there has been a lot of pushback, although little made its way into the mainstream media (now why might that be?) and considering the reach and influence of EAT-Lancet, it does indeed look like a major strategic victory for the plant-based diet lobby.

Media articles pushing back

Hero bloggers going for the jugular

The following video brings together a lot of short comments, tweets, and podcast snippets critical of the EAT-Lancet diet.

Vegan Diets — Only Healthy When Fortified

Earlier this month a professor from Queen’s University Belfast stated that A “poorly planned” vegan diet could be potentially fatal, pointing to the potential for “hidden hunger” being created in the developed world. He cites poor bone health, lower omega-3 and iodine levels and a vitamin B12 deficiency as examples which can go undiagnosed for many years whilst health deteriorates. Consequently, most vegan diets require supplements and fortified foods. Hardly natural, eh? But which companies will profit from providing the requisite supplements?

(These plant-deficient-nutrients are the exactly the kind missing from the fake-meat burgers, despite their macros looking ‘meat-like’ on the nutrition label)

Georgia Ede MD, in Psychology Today, dug into the EAT-Lancet report where she found the authors admitting as much:

“The authors admit that it [the report] falls short of providing proper nutrition for growing children, adolescent girls, pregnant women, aging adults, the malnourished, and the impoverished — and that even those not within these special categories will need to take supplements to meet their basic [nutritional] requirements.”

The Lancet (founded in 1823!) was the first ever medical journal and has been seen as a leading light for decades. Now the Eat Lancet report calls all that into question showing they are willing to collaborate with big business, ideologues using selective science to manipulate society… Bye bye Lancet! It was nice knowing you, but you have lost the plot, and the world must reject you. Richard Horton, editor in chief, hang your head in shame!

4 thoughts on “2019 The Year Vegan Pseudo-Science goes Mainstream?”

  1. The crusade against the EAT-Lancet, which I can understand, is bringing out all kinds of non-sense arguments. This post of yours mentions two of them
    a) the meatless burguers – yes, they are junk food, just like most of the fast food burguers made with meat and available to any one – why people think a vegan should or can’t enjoy junk food is beyond my understandment
    b) the need for supplements on the vegan diet – yes, they need to be supplemented with at least B12, most likely also Omega and possibly Vitamin D as well, but do you know any omnivore without any supplementation needs? Because I see toddlers and children being supplemented with fortified milk and cereals, adults taking all kinds of supplements from multi-vitaminic to whey protein, codfish oil, iron capsules and the likes, so I can’t see where the real difference is.

    • I appreciate your thoughts John, but I believe that, by and large, even the most bog-standard un-thinking omnivorous diet is actually superior to a vegan diet, because of the presence of animal products, as these are fundamentally more nutritious than plants.
      I am, as you might have realised by reading my blog posts, generally opposed to the use of cereal grains as food, i.e. things like wheat, rye, barley and oats. This is because these ‘foods’ are now known to cause reactions in all humans, whether they experience these reactions (have symptoms) or not. Indeed the man after whom the villous damage of coeliac disease is named, Professor Michael Marsh, the ‘Marsh Classification’ has stated that all humans react to wheat. It is all about the degree of reaction that determines the degree of symptoms and of disease, and of whole physiological damage. Added to that, the one and only thing that has ever been proven to be the cause of autoimmunity is wheat and other cereal grains.
      Even rice, which many people believe to be safe as its gluten (which is called oryzenin) is considered safe enough to label it ‘gluten free’ and yet some infants fed so-called ‘baby rice’ develop horrendous and usually fatal necrotising enterocolitis. Fortunately rice is no longer promoted, in England at least, for babies as their first food, but it is still on the shelves of supermarkets, sadly.
      Yes, many omnivores take supplements, but, I reiterate, even the cheapest meat, eggs, cheese, fish and poultry are superior sources of vital nutrients, inlcluding B12, minerals (like iron), omega 3 and iodine (in the fish) and all have first class proteins. Even when combined with nutrient blocking foods, like cereal grains, or nutrient-absent things like sugar, more good comes from the cheap animal products than if they were not in the diet at all.

  2. Thank you for your thoughts.
    I understand you are avoiding addressing the issues I pointed out. One is that you can eat junk food in any kind of diet and that may harm your health, two is that most westerners (at least) use some kind of supplements throught their lifes so that doesn’t seem to be a special need of the vegan diets.
    The thing about wheat/grains is so debatable just like the dairy that most consumers stand for “because it has been part of our nutrition for ages”. Also about grains I believe the problem is that most people are now eating refined grains (mixed with lots of sugar in most cases) and not whole grains. As you probably know whole grains are consumed in most blue zones and that doesn’t seem to cause the population any health issues. It’s funny that you mention rice because as you know it is heavily consumed in asian countries where life expectancy is high, in fact, it’s their main source of carbs – the thing is that I mostly see western people eating white processed rice (sometimes even fried to add to that…) and not whole brown rice.

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