Eat My Shorts 4

Meat as Bad as Smoking?:

Articles are making the rounds about a study that supposedly shows that eating meat was as bad for you as smoking. Vegans love this kinda of stuff, it really feeds their confirmation bias (just make sure that confirming evidence is vegan). But the spoilsports over at the National Health Service (UK) are calling foul,

The warning was raised in a press release about a large study which found that for people aged 50-65, eating a lot of protein was associated with an increased risk of dying.

However, the study, which assessed the diets of Americans in a single 24-hour period (rather than long-term), found in those aged over 65 that a high protein diet was actually associated with a reduced risk of death from any cause or from cancer. These differing findings meant that overall there was no increase in risk of death, or from dying of cancer with a high protein diet.

So don’t blindly repost whatever comes across your path on the net. Because chances are it is not what it seems. For a break down of the study please visit the NHS link above.

Oh No Ross and Carrie!:

There are plenty of science and rationalists podcasts out there, however many tend to repeat either the same basic format of a panel chatting about news items or a host interviewing a knowledgeable guest. But then there is the Oh No Ross and Carrie show. Rather than just talk about fringe claims, religion, and pseudoscience Ross Blocher and Carrie Poppy (Fun Fact: Carrie is a former PETA spokesperson and current vegan) jump right into the thick of it, joining groups and investigating for themselves. In the course of the show they have joined the Mormon church (LDS), visited the lair of mini-mall Satanists, infiltrated an evangelical cult, hung out with the Sihks, consulted psychics,  and visited quack doctors of all stripes. Perhaps my favorite investigation they did was on the Raelians, a science-loving, free love UFO cult started by a French race car driver. Over all the show is very entertaining and I highly recommend checking it out.

If you like what you hear then please consider making a donation to help fund future investigations.

More Ex-Vegans:

The latest ex-vegan buzz comes from a post over on OXJane where Johanna DeBiase she used to be a “fascist vegan” but is now a conflicted carnivore. See if you can spot some of the things that made me groan,

After six months of subsisting on a purely vegan diet, I began to have seemingly unrelated health issues. I went to a  naturopath who was impressed by my good eating habits. I did not substitute sugar for meat like most vegetarians did, and I ate whole foods. However, I refused to take vitamin supplements due to an aversion toward pills. My doctor introduced me to some great nutritional food supplements and gave me a series of B-12 shots to get me started. Yet as more test results came back, I found out that I had dangerously low cholesterol that no plant could cure.

I broke up with veganism a year later when I broke up with Abe. Maybe this proved that my heart wasn’t really in it. The breakup was bad, and I was miserable. In my misery, what did I crave more than anything? Black tea with cream, not soy milk; thick milky cream. I moved to Alaska, where tofu was as rare as indoor plumbing. I started eating subsistence meat, fresh caught salmon and road kill moose (seriously). I justified this kind of meat-eating; the animal lived a free and wild life. I avoided dairy for a long time, but eventually gave into it when I met my husband. When I became pregnant with my daughter, I had a hamburger for the first time in 20 years and it was really fucking good.

Early last year, I decided to try veganism again and it was nothing like it was in my twenties. I was sick, often. When I ingested homeopathic medicines, they didn’t work and made me feel sicker. I began eating eggs and dairy in hopes that this might help, but they also made me feel sick.

Since then, I have experimented with a variety of cleanses and diets trying to figure out what works best for my body. Through trial and error, I soon discovered that I am unable to digest beans, sprouted or otherwise, and that the only way I can digest eggs or dairy is to eat meat. In other words, being a healthy vegetarian is basically impossible for me at this time in my life.

Naturopath couldn’t help you out? Homeopathic medicines didn’t work? Real shocker there.

But do ex-vegans’ stories make the case against vegan diets? Ginny Messina, The Vegan RD, addresses this question in her aptly named post “Do Ex-Vegans’ Stories Make the Case Against Vegan Diets“.

Leaflet Study:

The folks at Animal Charity Evaluators have released some results from their Fall 2013 Leafleting Outreach Study. I’m wary of putting much weight on such small studies and think that animal advocacy research is still in its infancy but I am glad to see a more rational approach gain ground among activists. For an analysis of the study see here.

6 Responses to “Eat My Shorts 4”

  1. ashenst8 Says:

    My parents mentioned having seen the meat vs smoking study the other day, since they know I eat a vegan diet, and I told them that we shouldn’t infer nutrition recommendations from only one study. It would be cool if there were a scientific consensus that we could just tweak our protein intake and have that give us a statistically better outcome, healthwise, such as something like quitting smoking would, but that just isn’t the case at this point.

  2. DavidKA Says:

    Skeptical Vegan, greetings.
    I’d much appreciate your help with the following. Paleo_huntress ( ) mentioned that *calories* were measured in that study, not protein. She evidently differentiated b/w the two. Do you think that if they measured protein (the main purpose of meat eating), they would’ve arrived at different numbers and conclusions?
    Also, are you aware of any other study comparing harm to animals from plant farming vs animal farming?
    Best regards,

    • skepticalvegan Says:

      The numbers would have been different I’m sure. But I’m not sure why protein would be the preferred metric over calories.

      In her comment PaleoHuntress says “We can get calories anywhere- very few of us are suffering from caloric deprivation.”

      We can get our protein from practically anywhere too and protein deficiency is practically unheard of in industrialized nations. Protein deficiency generally results from starvation conditions, a lack of calories. More than adequate amounts of protein can be had from plants alone even without elaborate meal planning, combinations, or the use of concentrated processed forms (like seitan). Eat some greens and legumes. Want something more “meaty” go for some tofu or seitan.

      • DavidKA Says:

        If the study measured assimilable protein, would they have arrived at the conclusion that farmed meat kills fewer animals than plant farming? (I wish I were more scientifically literate to figure this on my own.)

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