Despite the propaganda, there is no scientifically valid health reason to avoid animal foods. Here are 5 reasons why vegan diets are a terrible idea.
I got into a ‘debate’ with a vegan today. While I was debating, he was throwing logical fallacies around, begging the question, providing false dilemmas and sticking his fingers in his ears while flopping down red herrings.
I am in no way patronizing vegans, but just as it bothers me when creationists say young earth creationism is science (and try to teach it as fact to ignorant people/children), it bothers me when vegans say their way of eating is the healthiest (and try to teach it as fact to ignorant people/children). It is certainly a step above the S.A.D (standard american diet: where you eat fast food three times a week and 31% more packaged food than fresh food). However those are not the only two ways humans can feed themselves (false dichotomy). Anyway, the article really says everything I have to say, so read that instead.
I don’t have the energy right now to handle this argument, but I just wanted to share this post since it was in the vegan tag. Please followers with more energy and willingness to look things up right now, refute this argument because it is so terribly done.
Alright, it’s time to respond to this. apostatecrusader and I squabbled over who would have to do the tedious job, and it looks like the task goes to me. It’s going to be
brief and to the point. whoops
Claim 1: Vegans are deficient in “important nutrients”
Evidence A: “one study showing that a whopping 92% of vegans are deficient in this critical nutrient (b12)”
Debunking A: The study they link to in order to prove this claim also says this in the abstract: “However, their complete blood count values did not deviate greatly from those found for nonvegetarians” meaning that the “whopping” 92% of vegans who are deficient in b12 is the same percentage of the general population that is deficient in b12. b12 deficiency is very common. Vitamin b12 in animal products comes from the animal’s dietary habits, just as it would for a vegan consuming sources of b12. This means that unless the animal is eating high amounts of bacteria, which is generally frowned upon by standardized / factory farming, there is no notable source of b12 in the resulting food product. “Neither fungi, plants, nor animals are capable of producing vitamin B12. Only bacteria and archaea have the enzymes required for its synthesis, although many foods are a natural source of B12 because of bacterial symbiosis.” (source) Animals used for consumption do not generate the vitamin b12.
Evidence B: “Animal protein has all the essential amino acids… Vegans don’t get any animal protein, which can have negative effects on body composition”.
Debunking B: Here is a list of “12 Complete Vegan/Vegetarian Proteins”. A “complete protein" is a food that basically has every essential amino acid. For those who do not feel like eating these 12 foods every day, the simple idea of "protein combining" - eating your essential amino acids in different foods - is available. "Strict protein combining is not necessary; it is more important to eat a varied diet throughout the day." For more information on vegan and vegetarian protein, click here.
Evidence C, D, and E: Vegans don’t eat creatine, carsonine, or proper forms of omega-3 fatty acids.
Debunking C, D, and E: "Creatine is not an essential nutrient, as it is manufactured in the human body from L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine." If you look up what is needed for the body to produce creatine, you will find that the general population does not need to supplement any of these in their diet. Using the diet to supplement carsonine has in studies produced more negative than positive results.
Claim 2: There are no studies showing that veganism is better than any other diet.
Debunking 2 in general: there doesn’t need to be a study showing that veganism is better in order to prove that veganism isn’t terrible. Let’s suppose that veganism is no better or worse for your health than an animal-based diet. This would only mean that there are no health reasons why one should not go vegan. The health benefits of veganism do not have to be so superior to justify being vegan for ethical reasons.
Evidence A: “the Atkins diet causes greater improvements in pretty much all health markers”
Debunking A (source):
- Dr. Robert Eckel of the American Heart Association says that high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets put people at risk of heart disease. A long term study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2006 found that while women on low-carb diets were generally healthier than those on high-carbohydrate diets, women eating more protein and fat from vegetable sources, rather than from animal sources, had a lower risk of heart disease.
- A 2001 scientific review conducted by Freedman et al. and published in the peer reviewed scientific journal Obesity Research concluded that low-carb dieters’ initial advantage in weight loss was a result of increased water loss, and that after the initial period, low-carbohydrate diets produce similar fat loss to other diets with similar caloric intake.
- The May 2004 Annals of Internal Medicine study showed that “minor adverse effects” of diarrhea, general weakness, rashes and muscle cramps “were more frequent in the low-carbohydrate diet group”.
Evidence B (direct quote): “Now, there are some studies showing health benefits and lower mortality in vegetarians and vegans, such as the Seventh-Day Adventist Studies (21, 22). The problem with these studies is that they are so-called observational studies. These types of studies can only demonstrate correlation, not causation. The vegetarians are probably healthier because they are more health conscious overall, eat more vegetables… It has nothing to do with avoiding animal foods.”
Debunking B: See Evidence B. (But seriously, they just admitted there’s evidence for vegetarians and vegans being healthy and this health having strong correlations to their diet.) For an article that first claims vegans were so unhealthy, it’s doing a bad job being consistent, as it just said vegetarians and vegans are healthier.
Claim 3: Proponents of Vegan Diets Use Fear-Mongering to Promote Cause
Debunking 3: Whether or not some people lie about vegan diets has nothing to do with a factual analysis of how healthy plant-based eating is. This claim is basically “veganism is bad because somebody lied to me!” which doesn’t make any sense. The perceived honesty of individual people matters much less than the following fact:
"A 2009 review of recent research indicated that vegan diets tend to be higher in dietary fibre, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron and phytochemicals, and lower in calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, zinc and vitamin B12. Well-planned vegan diets appear to offer protection against certain degenerative conditions, including heart disease, and as of 2013 were regarded as appropriate for all stages of the life-cycle by the American Dietetic Association, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, and Dietitians of Canada."
Claim 4: Vegan diets might only work in the short term, not long term
Evidence A: (Paraphrased) If vegans online say that they feel healthier after going vegan, this is anecdotal evidence. It’s not real science. Furthermore, vegans also “recommend that people avoid added sugars, refined carbohydrates, processed vegetable oils and trans fats. Then they suggest that people stop smoking and start exercising. There are so many confounders here that can easily explain all the beneficial effects.”
Debunking A: Plant-based dieters may advocate this, or vegans on a diet, but plant-based eating does not entail living an extremely health-oriented lifestyle. Many vegans eat average diets that include sugars, carbs, processed oils and trans fats. Many vegans just on tumblr like to be known as “junk food vegans”. Vegan pizza, ice cream, and burgers are sold in grocery stores, and hey, somebody’s eating them. Not all vegans are extreme fitspo health-addicts. But most are healthier than the average omnivore. You know, just anecdotally speaking.
Claim 5: There are no health reasons to avoid animal foods
Debunking 5: Yes, there are. On top of that, there are plenty of ethical reasons.
Reblogging with the additional note that Soycrates is much better at this sort of thing than I am; while her response was to thoroughly explain why the article is wrong, my response was to literally punch my laptop.