This is not some theoretical debate - Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating

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This is not some theoretical debate


For someone like me my story is an anecdote. I can also research everything and gain second hand knowledge that I can appreciate because of some intellectual powers. But when I see stories of recovery from diabetes etc from doctors who work at the sharp end, day in day out. Then I pay attention.

25 Replies

The standard advice to diabetics - eat lots of carbs and inject lots of insulin - is roughly equivalent to handing out fire extinguishers full of gasoline.

Milton Mills' diet clearly works, but his problem, it seems to me, is this: he tells people to change EVERYTHING about their diet, and then pinpoints the removal of animal protein as the critical factor. If that were actually true, then one could continue to eat junk food - as long as it's vegan junk food - and cure diabetes.

I have absolutely no problem with veganism as a lifestyle choice. However, as I mentioned earlier, it really upsets me when people turn it into some sort of religious crusade and fudge the numbers to support their case, as on this page:

"A new cohort study published in the British Medical Journal established a connection between the consumption of red meat to an increase in death rates from nine different diseases: cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s, infections and diseases of the heart, liver, kidneys and respiratory tract."

Now, you can find the paper it refers to here:

It is an astoundingly poor-quality study. Here's a quote that's pure gold:

"Table 1 summarizes the baseline characteristics of the NIH-AARP cohort by fifths of red meat consumption. Participants with higher red meat consumption were more likely to be male, non-Hispanic white, and current smokers and to have diabetes, poor or fair perception of their health status, and less physical activity. They were also less likely to have high socioeconomic status scores and to be college graduates or postgraduates. Red meat consumption was also associated with lower fruit and vegetable intake, higher body mass index and energy intake, and higher intakes of heme iron and processed meat nitrate and nitrite."

The numbers show that meat-eaters are more likely to smoke by a factor of two, smoking being a huge risk factor for both cancer and heart disease. Well, my goodness, you don't think, guys, do you, that the observed results might have something to do with that correlation between red meat consumption and general slobbishness?

The normal procedure would be to dial out this factor. That is, you would attempt to match subjects in all respects except for their meat consumption, and group them accordingly. The researchers did not do this. Instead, they decided a priori what the causative agents are - "heme iron, nitrates and nitrites" - and analysed their results in this context.

All that aside, the raw results show a 30% increase in all-cause mortality between the first and the fifth quintile ... which might sound like a lot, except that that's across a 700% increase in red meat consumption (and, of course, the aforementioned increase in smoking, couch-surfing, etc). Deaths attributed to Alzheimer's actually decrease with increasing meat intake; stroke incidence is uncorrelated. Weirdly, incidence of heart disease and cancer FALL with increasing meat intake, although deaths from those diseases are MORE likely. I'm not sure what to make of that. I can think of several possible reasons; one of them might be that although meat eaters are less likely to get those diseases, they are also less likely to seek or receive effective treatment.

One unforgivable oversight: processed meats don't actually contain much in the way of nitrites, and nitrates are no longer used. Potentially negative health effects are related to the formation of nitrosamines, not nitrite itself. As for nitrates, the major source in the average diet is conventionally-grown vegetables (ie., those which have been raised with large amounts of artificial NPK). Soy milk, for example, often has high levels of nitrate.

So what conclusions can we draw from all this? Nothing whatsoever. The quality of the study is so bad that the results are virtually useless. It does not tell us whether meat is good, bad or indifferent. Nor does it tell us that veganism causes cancer, Alzheimer's, or heart disease (which, with an uncritical reading, it appears to do).

Incidentally, I'm not a fan of the "we should eat white meat instead of red meat" meme. It's true that chickens have higher feed conversion ratio than (say) beeves, but they generally demand higher-quality feed for maximum performance because they have a less sophisticated digestive tract, and frankly I'd rather have one cow killed than 150 chickens (which is roughly how the meat quantities work out). It's also a lot easier to give a single cow a decent life than it is to look after 150 chickens on pasture.

Hidden in reply to TheAwfulToad

upsets me too.. but then its ment too. if i was on the admin side of this forum..i would ban vegan propaganda...

i think people that keep pedaling fulse claims about "veg" are spoiling this forum.

thats how i see it.. shame others dont see like it is. 😐

andyswarbs in reply to Hidden

In propaganda I would include all the adverts on TV, all the chef's & TV shows cooking meat and drooling over what they eat, the totally gargantuan marketing budget of the meat & dairy industry that continually funds research aimed at proving meat & dairy is good for you, their lobbying power inside government and much more besides. Perhaps you might want that shutting down too? Not to mention non-stop ubiquitous worldwide advertising by companies like McDonalds using clowns directly targeting susceptible children.

You say I, and others, are making false claims. What do you mean by false. Are you saying that Dr Milton Mills is lying? Everything I post can be and mostly is backed by direct links to independent published research, much of it peer-reviewed. This means it is not my opinion so much as that of the scientific community. If you have arguments against specific research (as The Awful Toad) does above then that is helping the debate move forward.

And why the word vegan? The word vegan is used because the scientific research mostly uses that term. As a personal preference I wish there was a lovely word for a "WFPB diet with minimal oils" that was not the word "vegan." If it was then perhaps we would both be happy. Perhaps!

Hidden in reply to andyswarbs

there is no debat.. just pure propaganda..

i do know how people in goverment work.. thats in the UK goverment.

someone very close to me ( O B E , M B E ) worked in the house of parliament for 60 years.. theres not much that i dont know on how they work.

i can tell you that in no way any of them would not act in defence of of the public if there was any kind of real proof that red meat or any other meat or an egg was going to damage the health of there children. end of that one.

why you feel you have to forever going on about that " vegan " is the only way that we should live..when its very very bad for you.

ok found a platform ( healthy eating forum ) where you can say what you want without any kind of come back

i dont think thats right .

andyswarbs in reply to Hidden

happycook, if you think that going vegan is "very very bad for you." then obviously you are very much at odds with the UK's British Dietician Association who state, "The BDA recognises that well-planned vegan diets can support healthy living in people of all ages." This is the opposite of "very very bad for you."

As I always say if you make a claim, go to the science. If you are going to argue that vegan diets are bad for you please provide scientific research supporting that position. Please do so. People on this forum deserve no less.

Hidden in reply to andyswarbs

what kind of parent would just give fruit and veg to there children ?

who got the insentive to carefully plan what and how they eat fruit and veg for the rest of there life ? be it a short one!

you go on and on about been a vegan like its your destiny to convert the world to vegan in order to save it.. you have many times try to make members feel guilty for eating meat..try to frighten members on there children health if they dont give up meat and dairy..

but i dont think that brothers you at all...

like i have said , you found this healthy eating forum and its the best platform you ever had...

just wish you used it as it is intented for... the animal rights movement is not on here.

Of course I disagree with your "fire-extinguisher with gasoline" metaphor. I think if you listened properly to him you would see he would most definitely NOT be advising to "continue to eat junk food - as long as it's vegan junk food - and cure diabetes." Instead Dr Mills advised a high-quality whole-food plant diet was totally necessary. Not just that but the video showed outcomes were extremely successful.


Can I thank you for posting the study and critiquing it. It is only by doing this that we can understand the weaknesses and strengths. Very much appreciated. Though I am no sure I have ever seen research on general slobbishness!

Supporting the study you posted I came across another 2016 study that comes to similar conclusions - that a vegan lifestyle has the best outcomes. It concludes

"Despite variability in the data, the evidence is consistent that increased intake of red meat, especially processed red meat, is associated with increased all-cause mortality. Red meat also increases CVD and cancer mortality in Western cohorts. A vegan diet has been shown to improve several parameters of health, including reversal of CVD, decreased BMI, decreased risk of diabetes, and decreased blood pressure in smaller studies. Data regarding inclusion of some fish and white meat are conflicted—although fish and white meat consumption are not clearly associated with increased mortality, they do decrease mortality when they replace red meat in the diet.

Even though limitations exist in these studies (eg, lack of large, long-term randomized controlled trials; large amount of heterogeneity), avoidance of red and processed meats and a diet rich in plant-based whole foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes is a sound, evidence-based recommendation. If such a recommendation represents a difficult change for a patient, physicians should encourage limited animal products when possible and substituting red meat with plant-based proteins, fish, or poultry. "

You misunderstand me. The gasoline metaphor was referring to the standard treatment.

My point about Mills is that he does not know for sure which aspect of his diet is the critical one: he's changed too many variables. His stance is classic confirmation bias: I believe meat is the problem, therefore my diet is successful because it contains no meat. I was also flagging up a logical prediction of his theory which turns out not to be true. If Mills were genuinely suggesting that a diet of whole, natural foods would be best for your health, I think a lot of people would agree. But he isn't. He's specifically touting a particular variant of veganism (admittedly a sensible one, as far as it goes) as the solution to diabetes and other chronic diseases.

>> Though I am no sure I have ever seen research on general slobbishness!

This is a funny one, isn't it? Why hasn't someone done it? Maybe I should do one. I'm sure the Annals Of Improbable Research would be interested in publishing it.

I don't think Dr Mills would agree that he is advising anyone based on his beliefs. I think he advises people based on the science. Also I see only one variable that he changed - the diet!

From my own experience I can see his logic that "whole natural foods" may not be enough. In the video he says that only a full-on experience of his dietary advice is sufficient, anything short of that is likely to fail. My experience is that a straightforward vegan lifestyle would not have brought my health to where it is today. When I post on other forums to do with arthritis I advise exactly that point based on my own health background.

I am not saying that people have not gained recovery from arthritis using a low-carb high-fat diet, because patently many many people have. And when an illness like RA has a grip on your body I advise anyone to do anything they can to get out of that vice-like grip. Absolutely anything.

Similarly clearly many people have recovered from diabetes using a high-fat, low-carb diet.

This is the wonders of the human body in action. Give it a chance to heal itself and it will.

Andy I’ m quite frankly offended after watching that film. It’s embarrassing. If people want to go vegan then that can be a great choice for them. Don’t put things on here that say we’re all going to die an early death if we don’t go vegan.

I came to this site for heathy recipe ideas not to be bullied into someone’s way of thinking!!!. Either way meat eater or vegan. I will make up my own mind without watching trash like that to do it.

Put some of your recipes on here maybe, there are people out there asking for more vegan recipe ideas??. This is not the place for trying to sway/bully people.

Frostie2560, I am not and never have said "we are all going to die if we don't go vegan" and sorry if you interpret it that way. It is quite clear that some people live healthily to ripe old ages even if they smoke 20 a day, or drink coca-cola every day and eat whatever they want every day.

I know that my opinions are not shared by some on this forum. That is why I present science to support my claims. Then you know it is not just my opinion. I welcome challenges to the science and my interpretations of it. Similarly when I think the science is suspect or other people's interpretations are wrong then I think that is what this forum is about.

The about statement of this group says "discuss all aspects of nutrition." If the admins want to restrict it just to recipes, that is there choice. Equally if you don't like my posts or comments, then please ignore them. I won't be offended.

Hidden in reply to andyswarbs

you have implyed many times in your posts that why would we want to risk our health and that of our children and i have mention this to you before as i found that i found them distrubing ..and i feel that your fully aware that they are.

there should not be any need to feel that we have to by pass any posts on this forum becouse they are writen with the intent to make you feel guilty on eating meat or dairy..

i dont think theres any one on here that dont think the the same as me.

all the admin read these posts and i would love to hear there opinion on how they read your posts.

personal i feel good to put on post that make people happy and makes me happy, then read your vegan propaganda.

and African Americans are not Blacks as you have describe them...they are African American.

andyswarbs in reply to Hidden

Not quite sure of the reference you are referring to. If I ever mis-describe African Americans (even if quoting a research paper) or any other group then there is no intentional slight on my part. Thanks for drawing this to my attention.

Thank you also for highlighting up on the word "risk" in my posts.

Hidden in reply to andyswarbs

my pleasure to have been of help.

but after spending a lot of time responding to your post i have decieded that this is not a healthy place to be.

i will be ignoring. There is nothing like a good debate and good nutrition advice and experiences but this is stretching it. That film was terrible and I have expressed my view on that.


Similar discussions on this site, too.

andyswarbs in reply to Hidden

Thank you for the reference Hidden. The discussion starts talking about acid levels in the human gut.

In "The Evolution of Stomach Acidity and Its Relevance to the Human Microbiome" it indicates that children tend to have acid levels around 4 but that rises with to the elderly at "6.6 in 80% of study participants". This seems not dissimilar to which states a human should have a stomach with acid level around 7. Dr Mills states in an interview at that the acid level in a human is around 4.

Just on that level I don't see how the andersaaberg discussion can talk about him spreading propaganda. But then, I have been accused of spreading propaganda above on this thread. Thus "tarred with the same brush" I guess. It is easy to throw words accusatory words around. It is much harder to have a meaningful debate.

That's why I always come back to the science. If the science is not a good foundation for decisions about nutrition then someone please tell me what is! Nutrition science is not perfect, very far from it. But it is the best we have today.

PenelModerator in reply to andyswarbs

In the paper on the evolution of stomach acid, the pH levels you have quoted were for premature babies and the elderly. These low levels of acidity were associated with illness. The paper states that the stomach acid of modern humans has a low pH of 1.5, which is very acidic, and that with reduced acidity the gut is more likely to be colonised by pathogens.

Blood ph is not the same as stomach acid ph

Stomach acid - 1.5 - 3

Blood ph - is tightly regulated between 7.35 and 7.45.

andyswarbs in reply to xOceanx

thank you. I'll try to get my brain in order on this!

I think some of the biggest problems with food could possibly be that we simply eat too much of it and too much variation, just because we can and it's there.

I'm currently reading 'Foragers, Farmers and Fossil fuels' by Ian Morris. It's subtitled 'How Human Values Evolve'

It compares 3 distinct macro-historical groups, foraging societies who relied on themselves to capture energy, farming societies who used domesticated animals to capture energy and post industrial revolution societies who use combusting ancient plant-matter to capture energy.

I suspect, though I'm no expert, that the evolution of how we capture energy is instrumental in the huge issues surrounding health and food production and consumption, mainly because food was never meant to be 'produced'.

The human genome remains unchanged in 24,000 years. Humans, at the peak of their health (which is explained using archaeology) ate what they could, when they could, where they could, etc. Archaeology and anthropology have taught us that these pre-agricultural revolution people moved around more than us but at a much slower pace, ate mainly fish and smaller, what we'd call 'game' as their animal food sources along with eggs. Logic 9as well as archaeological evidence) dictates that these foods would be as-and-when, otherwise the Agricultural Revolution need never gave happened. The bulk of their diet would have been plant matter.

The concept of the overtly muscular athlete-hunter gatherer is suspect at best and largely regarded as a myth nowadays. The truth is believed to be that humans were nomadic foragers, doing what most animals do, eating predominantly vegetation, whatever animal food they could get their hands on and whatever sugary fruits they could get their hands on.

Obviously there will be variations on a global scale but these peoples skeletons suggest that they were, on average, 5 foot 10 - 11 whether male or female, lean but strong, whether male or female. Capable of walking vast distances and climbing, their teeth are still good and some of them lived until they were very old.

None of this is all in this one book (it's just what I've pieced together myself from other literature I've read and lectures I've seen and how food makes my feel, physically and physiologically) and the book's not about food. I would recommend it though if you're into history or anthropology or sociology.

andyswarbs in reply to mdr1000

Your first point about eating too much... I think there is even research showing those that eat at around say 80-90% of daily needs have greater longevity.

I can also see that evidence of humans eating bones in times-gone-by is more plentiful simply because bones do not decompose. Whereas plants are kept in fridges to stop decomposition! Now that they are finding seeds and other matter in teeth of neanderthal man that picture is changing. It is now thought that the Spanish Neanderthal seemed to have eaten mostly vegetable material, including moss, pine nuts, and mushrooms.

Whatever Neanderthals ate, Paleos ate, Ketos ate (oops just inserting a joke there) it is different today. Today we have supermarkets. Today 9% of the planet claims to be vegan (according to a recent ipsus mori poll.)

For anyone want to know how far back vegans go I can recommend an interesting take with Bite Sized Vegan at

Thanks, I'll have a look at that later. I find it interesting that that you mention bones. Bone broth is regarded as being very good for us lately.

I read in an excerpt of a book, in a newspaper article that early humans would have stayed away from large edible animals because of the competition and the threat to themselves but once the bones of the prey-animal had been stripped by other animals, early humans would have had access to just the bone marrow by account of possessing the dexterity to access it which would be lacking in other animals. The ones with jaws strong enough to access it would be the ones who had the flesh of the prey and so wouldn't bother with the bone marrow generally.

This would, I think, make it appear that nature had identified this role in the food chain specifically for us to ensure that every bit of energy which could be converted from one form into another was used.

Obviously this is just a musing of mine and it certainly wouldn't be any breed of edible animal we see in a supermarket.

I'd never suggest that we, as a species need to adopt ancient ways, just use what we know to provide for ourselves in an ethical way. This includes not stripping away areas of diverse flora and vegetation only to plant just one variety of plant - the issue I have against the grain industry ( especially when that industry is, in part, responsible for supporting companies who own the likes of Macdonalds - to keep it in 'bread rolls' ).

Food and consumption is a mine-field of philosophies, I know and I don't think it'd ever cross any of our minds were it not for some kind of health or medical concern but it's nice to have a debate about it sometimes.

andyswarbs in reply to mdr1000

My personal opinion on bone broth is... the evidence is very very weak. If you can provide strong research supporting bone broth that would be appreciated. That said I remember with pride in the days when I used to eat meat (60's and 70's) reusing the carcass to create stews. It felt good to be making the very most of the animal I was eating.

But going back to early hominoids... The fact that they had to rely on bones adds weight to the argument that they relied more on carbohydrates than animals to survive.

I mean just think about marathons of say a humonoid chasing an animal vs todays' marathon runners. Anyone these days who runs a marathon needs frequent water and carb top-ups as they run. Organisers are obliged for health & safety to provide these at water stops. Yes, the carbs might be gatorade or similar. But this is the fuel that keeps a human going when hunting. So when a hominoid is actually chasing down an animal how do they actually do that - and end up with more calories consumed than they have expended in the chase? Surely they will be eating plenty of fruit from trees as they run? Doesn't that make sense?

Or did they simply wait for animals to arrive and die in front of them? Did they lay traps for animals to fall in? If this latter idea was true wouldn't there be substantial evidence of plenty the these? Obviously paleo man did not have the guns that a modern day hunter so cherishes to bring an animal down at distance.

I am not saying that paleo, neanderthal, whatever man did not eat meat. But when you think about the practicalities it becomes increasingly obvious they relied more on plant foods for their daily sustenance and that animal food would have been an infrequent treat. And possibly much of that meat would have been from animals brought down by other animals first, and that early man rather made use off the carcass after other animal had already eaten the "choice" parts.

mdr1000 in reply to andyswarbs

Yes that's kind of the point I was trying to make; that early human meat sources will most likely have been the stripped carcasses of animals killed by much larger predators. This is what seems logical to me. There are communities who use mice as a food source, early people would most likely have had just small amounts of meat like that.

I think I mentioned it in the post before the one above that it's generally accepted that early humans wouldn't necessarily have hunted. Apparently, their remains suggest that they had a relatively slow lifestyle and any intense exercise would have been in short bursts. The worlds first marathon was the result of an emergency after-all, I'm not sure it was ever meant to be imitated.

Also, as a practicing artist, I don't think that cave paintings depict something which happened on a daily basis, more likely an unusual event that they felt moved to document. people generally don't photograph themselves doing the dishes or other everyday occurrences but they do weddings.

Maybe future generations will think we got married every day when they find the photographs in their excavations, haha.

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