Nearly 40 years ago, the government declared war on fat. The results were a catastrophe. Dr. Walter Willett, Chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health recently admitted mainstream nutrition was way off.
The “campaign to reduce fat in the diet has had some pretty disastrous consequences,” he said. “With more fat-free products than ever, Americans got fatter.”
Dr. Willett is one of the most famous nutritionists in the world.
But lately he’s shifted gears. Now he’s declared war on meat…
The War On Meat
At a recent international conference,1 Dr. Willett claimed that if we moved to a “plant-based” or vegetarian diet, we could prevent about one-third of premature deaths. We’d also have lower rates of Heart disease, diabetes, and total mortality.
I couldn’t disagree more…
We come from hunter-gatherer tribes. We evolved over millennia to thrive on meat. We have canine fangs like dogs and wolves. These teeth are meant to rip and tear flesh from animals.
But vegetarianism is a modern eating fad. It’s the brainchild of clean-living reformers in the 1800s. One of them was Reverend Sylvester Graham, who the Graham cracker is named after. He preached a gospel of whole-wheat bread, pure water, fresh fruits and vegetables.
But Graham and the veggie preachers got it wrong. Big time. They believed that all disease comes from our not following the “Laws of Nature.”2 They didn’t understand that humans are designed as meat eaters.
Vegetarian Health Issues
The latest research shows that vegetarian diets make people depressed3, decrease sperm quality4 and decreases phospholipids in cells throughout their bodies.5
Being vegetarian takes a real toll on your health…
And when vegetarians give up meat they force themselves to get the bUlk of their calories from wheat or other grain products. So they wind up eating more bread, pastas, cereals, muffins, crackers, pretzels, chips, cookies and other processed foods. In other words, they eat a lot of junk.
Sound familiar? It’s the same thing that happened with the war on fat.
For more than 20 years I’ve seen, firsthand, the health problems of vegetarians in my practice. I’ve found that vegetarians:
- Have low energy and feel frail.
- Get sick more often and age faster.
- Have poor digestion and weaker bones.
- Can’t produce growth hormones, testosterone and thyroid hormone.
- Have low sperm counts and more fertility problems.
And despite what Dr. Walter Willett says, vegetarians don’t live loNger…
What’s The Difference?
A 2015 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at data from two studies of more than 60,000 people in the U.K. It found no difference in mortality rates between vegetarians and meat eaters.6
Other studies show vegetarian diets don’t lower risk of stroke or cancer and can’t even dip atherosclerosis.
On top of that, vegan diets can even lead to DNA changes that increase the risks for both heart disease and cancer. And if that weren’t bad enough, they make people more depressed, anxious and panicky.7,8,9,10
You see, a vegetarian diet can’t give a human body what it needs.
When you don’t eat meat, it’s impossible to get many of the essential nutrients you need every day. That’s why I recommend a number of nuTrients to my patients who are vegetarian.
Give Yourself All the Nutrients Your Body Needs
- Supplement with vitamin B-12. Back in 2000, the USDA estimated that one-fifth of the U.S. population is deficient in this vital vitamin. That’s 65 million men, womEn and children deficient in this B vitamin.11 This means millions of folks are walking around with adrenal fatigue, metabolic problems, depression and hormone imbalance.Supplementing with a multivitamin is a great option so you can know exactly how much of this vitamin you’re getting. I recommend 100 mcg a day.
- Replenish your zinc. Although most people do know that vegetarians are missing iron, there’s not that much discussion about zinc deficiency.Zinc is found in small amounts in plants, and bodies have a hard time mining this mineral from plant foods that we eat.This is a problem. Zinc deficiency slows down our immunity, leaving us wide open to colds. Low zinc also can bring on hair loss, diarrhea, low appetite and slow wound healing.You can start with food sources like dark green leafy vegetables, root vegetables, dried beans, nuts and peas, but you still may not get enough of this mineral.If choosing a supplement, I recommend 30 mg a day.
- Add the right kind of protein to your meals. Cobbling together enough of the nine essential amino acids that make up a complete protein can be really hard if you’re vegan or vegetarian.In fact, the best food sources of complete protein are pasture-raised meat and poultry, grass-fed dairy and wild-caught fish — all off-limits to strict vegans.Often I’ll see tofu or soy milk recommended, but the soy in those products is GMO, non-fermented and high in plant estrogens. Dangerous, difficult to digest and disease-causing is not what we’re looking for in our protein sources.It’s important to choose the best quality meat products. I advise my patients to steer clear of any meats raised on “factory farms” where the animals are mistreated and sick. The same goes for poultry and fish.Instead, buy only — grass-fed beef, pork, lamb, and other meats; humanely Raised pastured chicken and turkey; eggs from free-range poultry; dairy products from grass-fed animals; plus wild-caught salmon, tuna and other fish.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
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1. Godlewski N. “Vegetarian diet benefits: Plant-based eating could prevent one in three early deaths.” Newsweek. April 27, 2018.
2. Gormley J. “The origins of the natural health movement.” In: Health at Gunpoint. Garden City Park, NY: Square One Publishers, 2013.
3. Hibbeln JR, et al. “Vegetarian diets and depressive symptoms among men.” J Affect Disord. 2018;225:13-17.
4. Orzylowska EM, et al. “Food intake diet and sperm characteristics in a blue zone: a Loma Linda Study.” Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2016;203:112-115.
5. Schmidt JA, et al. “Metabolic profiles of male meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians, and vegans from the EPIC-Oxford cohort.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;102(6):1518-1526.
6. Appleby PN, et al. “Mortality in vegetarians and comparable nonvegetarians in the United Kingdom.” Am J Clin Nutr. 103(1):218-230.
7. Key TJ, et al. “Mortality in vegetarians and nonvegetarians: Detailed findings from a collaborative analysis of 5 prospective studies.” Am J Clin Nutr 1999;70:516S-524S.
8. McGill HC, et al. “General findings of International Atherosclerosis Project.” Lab Invest. 1968;18:498.
9. Kumar SD. et al. “Positive selection on a regulatory insertion–deletion polymorphism in FADS2 influences apparent endogenous synthesis of arachidonic acid.” Mol Biol Evol. 2016;33(7):1726-1739.
10. Michalak J, et al. “Vegetarian diet and mental disorders: results from a representative community survey.” Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2012, 9:67.
11. USDA. “B12 Deficiency may be more widespread than thought.” Agricultural Research. August 2, 2000.