Why I Went Vegan – The Scientific Evidence

Note: If you’re just joining this series, you may want to here, the first in the series.

In my last post, I explained the personal journey that took me down the path where I started switching to a whole foods plant based diet. In this article, I want to explore the scientific evidence that helped me arrive at this conclusion.

I did not seek this information with a set conclusion in mind. Rather, I let the evidence inform the conclusion.

Digesting this post will take some time, however, if you properly review the actual scientific evidence, you will find information that can significantly reduce incidents of chronic disease in your life, put money back into your pocket, make you a more informed citizen, and generally increase your well being.

Instead of me writing a long article and probably messing up the science, I am going to defer to the expertise of doctors who have spent their entire lives in the field of understanding nutrition. I have already cited my reliance on The China Study, but for this article, I will rely on the work by Nutrition Facts. To copy directly from its website:

NUTRITIONFACTS.ORG is a strictly non-commercial, science-based public service provided by Michael Greger, M.D., launched with seed money and support by the Jesse & Julie Rasch Foundation. Now a 501c3 nonprofit charity, NutritionFacts.org provides free updates on the latest in nutrition research via bite-sized videos. There are now hundreds of videos on more than a thousand topics, with new videos and articles uploaded every day.

I highly recommend that after watching Forks Over Knives, you consider subscribing to the its youtube channel, or sign up for the free newsletter on NutritionFacts.org.

Why nutrition?

People undervalue diet and lifestyle changes and show an overconfidence in the ability of pills and procedures to prevent disease, but if patients were told the truth about how little they’d benefit, 90% said they wouldn’t even bother taking them.

And so, prevention is worth a ton of cure.

To quote from Nutrition Facts again:

Did you know there are diets proven to not only prevent and treat but reverse our #1 killer, heart disease, along with other deadly diseases such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

Nutrition is a big deal, and getting it optimal really matters.

What about what my doctor tells me?

Sadly, your doctor probably did not study nutrition at all during his/her time in medical school. In 1984, only 27% of all the medical schools surveyed in the United States required any course work on nutrition. 

But that was 20+ years ago! How about now? Well, in 2010, the number is at 25%. Even then, with thousands of hours of preclinical instruction, only 11-20 hours are dedicated to nutrition.

Sadly, physicians may be missing their most important tool to treat their patients.

Show me!

Once again, instead of me blabbing on about this, I’ll let the expert talk about this. While this talk does not explain everything, I hope this serves as a good jumping off points for you to start your own investigations on this matter. Nutritionfacts.org is once again a great place to start.

Here we go. It’s a long video, but always fascinating, always backed up by replicable science from reputable peer reviewed journals not funded by industry interests:

What about low-carb/grain belly/paleo/Atkins/etc diet? That should be better, no?

Nope. Sure, you may get rid of some weight, and gain some muscle with these low-carb type diets. But this series is about optimizing health (which incidentally also includes a slimmer waist).

But optimal health? No. See here and follow the rabbit hole with the rest of the articles/videos.

The Atkins diet (and by the way, all variations of these grain belly, paleo, etc are all variations on this type), has been thoroughly debunked by credible science from some of the most reputable institutions in the world. See here.

I’ve seen some very over-weight people taut the benefits of low-carb in front of me. I’ve seen people with a history of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc all mention that that they’re on a low-carb diet. As you could tell from the evidence posted above, they are suffering from these things BECAUSE they are eating a low-carb diet (which in turn is compensated by high-fat through nuts/seeds/oils/butters/etc).

So what should I eat?

Once again, here is a summary about this. Scroll down to see the slideshow.

Next…The Ethical Compulsion.

Sources

Please go onto nutritionfacts.org, look up the video listed, and click on “Sources Cited.”

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