Plant Doctor speaks about people stopping b... - Healthy Eating

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Plant Doctor speaks about people stopping being vegan

Dr Garth Davis responds clearly to millenials (youtubers etc) who give up veganism arguing by and large they were not following healthy diets, instead fad diets, certainly not following any diet recommended by Garth Davis himself. He talks about how their diets fall short.

He goes on to describe how the whole food plant based of diet is easy to follow, how he is never hungry, why cutting calories is bad. Arguing to stick with the science, including commenting on both the mediterranean and dash diets. He touches on supplements such as B12, micro-algae omega-3, also hyperthyroidism. Also comments on creatine, taurine shortages.

What make this video stand out is how clear he summarises the case for his style of veganism.

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Interesting video - his gripes about the vegan trend at the moment are pretty much the same as my gripes on the vegan trend - that people jump on and presume it'll be fine, without considering how it will be fine.

While he's concerned people are coming off the vegan diet as a result, I'm more concerned about people who will persevere, develop problems, and ultimately give veganism a bad name in the long run.

While veganism doesn't tend to make a difference in whether people develop autoimmune hypothyroidism, it's worth noting that 45% of those with hypo are dairy intolerant, and 10% are egg intolerant. On the flip side 45% are soya intolerant though, so could be negatively affected.

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The guy is just having a good vent. Good for him. Have you got anything on the videos his talking about.

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Bonny Rebecca is one that seems in his line of fire.

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She's a good example of someone who had problems before being vegan. She began eating vegan based on a small amount of information, tried extreme variations of vegan diets, and ended up going to a doctor (and a naturopath) who didn't know enough about healing gut bacteria. Now she's following everything they tell her. Another one is Vegetable Police. He actually drank turpentine once just because some other youtuber told him it would kill his parasites. To be honest, I feel sorry for these people; they're hurting and sometimes at risk of dying, and they don't know what to do. The science of healing gut health issues is just getting started. The damage comes from years of eating refined sugars and oils. Here's a link to a good online explanation of what's involved (the animated pictures are hilarious). bustle.com/p/8-signs-your-g...

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Well, the guy looks healthy enough, so clearly he's doing something right. However he seems to overlook the possibility that perhaps doing what he's doing isn't as easy as he thinks. Exhibit A is all those people getting it wrong. He also might want to consider why veganism tends to attract an audience of cranks or the uninformed, inventing their own fad diets. Veganism is one of those things, it seems to me, that has a very narrow margin of error.

He's quite right about the modern lack of knowledge (about human nutrition) and life skills (food preparation), and that's a pervasive problem. It's a disgrace that young people don't know how to cook dried beans, for example.

Where I think he falls flat on his face is claiming (a) scientific support for veganism and (b) the moral high ground re. animal welfare.

Science: the idea that humans ever ate a vegan diet prior to industrialisation and fossil-fuelled international trade, except out of necessity, is just laughable. As he says, B12 supplementation is a must, and omega-3/omega-6 imbalance is a maybe. Essential amino acids need careful control - and how would anyone prior to the discovery of amino acids have ever known that? Most of the planet simply doesn't provide adequate plant-based nutrition throughout the year. Almost every climate has a lean season where you'd struggle to feed yourself from vegetables alone.

The idea that plant-based foods are essentially benign (and, by extension, animal-based foods are bad for you) is easily shown to be false. Plants, in general, contain all sorts of antinutritional factors and toxins: an immobile organism has to defend itself somehow against being eaten, although herbivores tend to develop countermeasures against them. Soybeans are bad for you, in large amounts - as are many other legumes. One of my favourite vegetables - katuk - will kill you if you eat lots of it, as will the seeds of one of my other favorites, jicama. The seeds look like any other beans and if you didn't know better, you might think they were the nice nutritious full-of-protein types. Except for a few modern varieties, cassava must be carefully cooked to remove cyanide compounds. Several grains are susceptible to potent carcinogenic moulds. Meat, on the other hand, has no such problems. The statement in the video about heme iron is simply untrue; and even if it were true, it wouldn't explain why (say) eggs are to be avoided.

Animal welfare: I've done this rant before, so I won't repeat myself. The good doctor has no idea what he's talking about here. Yes, we all know industrial meat production is a despicable cesspit of cruelty, inefficiency and waste. That observation does not imply that veganism is the optimum answer (morally or ecologically) for human nutrition.

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So many wrongs here, impossible to know where to start. Rant over.

Sorry so brief I thought I ought to just edit it and make one point. If soya beans were so bad half the population of china, say, would have died years ago. Instead so much of Asia thrives on soya day in day out. On the other hand most us soy crops are fed to animals instead of grass, totally wrong imo.

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If someone made the same argument about a meat containing diet though...

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Hahaha yes. There are too many wrong ideas to deal with. Let me just comment on the first one, which deals with what the original post and video were about:

"...he seems to overlook the possibility that perhaps doing what he's doing isn't as easy as he thinks."

For some it is, for others, it's definitely not easy. He has helped thousands of patients move off SAD and into healthier diets. I've seen several of his videos and Dr Davis is a realist and a pragmatist. He is aware that a WFPB diet is not always what all of his patients can handle all at once. I'm confident that he knows much more about how difficult it is than you or I do because he deals with so many actual people actually doing it. His patients, and people like them, are the ones he's concerned about. As he says, he's worried that they're being unduly influenced by kids who hopped on veganism because they saw some other cool kids do it, or they were looking for solutions to existing gut issues. THAT'S what this video is about.

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>> He's worried that they're being unduly influenced by kids who hopped on veganism because they saw some other cool kids do it,

I get that, and he's probably right. I have no doubt that it's possible to eat only plants and live a healthy life, if you know what you're doing and have access to the trappings of modernity. However his position is essentially this: "you should stick with this primarily because veganism is morally right, and don't worry, because science says it's not bad for you if you get it right". His words at the start of the video are: "I did it because of science" and "veganism is an ethic".

He then admits in the next few minutes that the main role of science is to help supplement the bits the are missing, ie., it's bad for you.

So it was that that I was attacking, and I was attacking it because it's as facile and dangerous as the arguments from the "millennials" he was attacking. I note the issues that he raises specifically (such as "healthy shakes" and calorie control) are mainstream ideas that are promoted by governments and most Western nutritionists, and nothing to do with veganism per se.

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Let's each pick a wrong idea so we're not so overwhelmed by them. I'll comment on this one:

>> Essential amino acids need careful control - and how would anyone prior to the discovery of amino acids have ever known that?

This demonstrates an incorrect understand of what protein is and what amino acids are and how our amazing bodies use them. Proteins contain essential amino acids, meaning our bodies can’t make them; and so, they are essential to get from our diet. But other animals don’t make them either. All essential amino acids originate from plants (and microbes).

This is the important part to understand: all plant proteins have ALL the essential amino acids. Different types of proteins contain varying amounts, arranged differently, but they are all broken down by our bodies (or gut bacteria) anyway. The only truly “incomplete” protein in the food supply is gelatin, which is missing the amino acid tryptophan. So, the only protein source that you couldn’t live on is Jell-O.

Do vegans get enough protein though?

Absolutely. People who eat plant-based diets average about twice of the estimated average daily protein requirement.

So why do so many people get it wrong? The concept that plant protein was inferior to animal protein came from studies performed on rodents more than a century ago. Scientists found that infant rats don’t grow as well on plants. But infant rats don’t grow as well on human breast milk either; so, does that mean we shouldn’t breastfeed our babies? Ridiculous! They’re rats. Rat milk has ten times more protein than human milk because rats grow about ten times faster than human infants.

It is true that some plant proteins are relatively low in certain essential amino acids. So, about 40 years ago, the myth of “protein combining” came about. The idea was that we needed to eat “complementary proteins” together (for example, rice and beans) to make up for their relative shortfalls. This fallacy was refuted decades ago. The myth that plant proteins are incomplete and that plant proteins aren’t as good, that one has to combine proteins at meals—these have all been dismissed by the nutrition community as myths decades ago, but many in medicine evidently didn’t get the memo. Dr. John McDougall called out the American Heart Association for a 2001 publication that questioned the completeness of plant proteins. Thankfully though, they’ve changed and acknowledged that “Plant proteins can provide all the essential amino acids, no need to combine complementary proteins.”

It turns out our body maintains pools of free amino acids that it can use to do all the complementing for us, not to mention the massive protein recycling program our body has. Some 90 grams of protein are dumped into the digestive tract every day from our own body to get broken back down and reassembled, and so our body can mix and match amino acids to whatever proportions we need, whatever we eat, making it practically impossible to even design a diet of whole plant foods that are sufficient in calories, but deficient in protein. So, plant-based consumers do not need to be worried about amino acid imbalances from plant proteins.

PS I've saved several answers like this one so that I don't have to find or rewrite them all the time. Feel free to copy and save this to use. The original answers come from various places but I can give references as needed.

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Very comprehensive answer. Hopefully Tad et al will learn from your diligence.

If I can add a note about o3/o6 ratio. Before we had a hygienic and lots of refined oils society society tended to have a ratio as good as 1 to 1. Now people on the SAD diet can be as bad as 20 to 1. So sufficient access to o3 in bygone times was the norm whereas now it is the exception.

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First, thanks for taking the time to write a comprehensive answer. I appreciate it.

I'm aware of the origin and distribution of amino acids. I'm also aware of the stupid experiments nutritionists do that don't measure what they think they measure. Nutritionists provide a never-ending supply of such papers. They should probably diversify into toilet tissue manufacture.

Nitrogen recycling is imperfect, which is why there is such a thing as essential amino acids. Your body can't just recycle its own protein endlessly. Although some of it can be recovered and reconfigured, what usually happens is that the backbone is burned for energy and the nitrogen is excreted (which is, incidentally, why it's a crying shame that we flush all that nitrogen out to sea instead of putting it back into the soil whence it came).

Plant proteins are mostly complete. Not all plants contain all amino acids. There is a definite surplus of some compared to others. In nature - when nature is not subverted by clever humans - the problem is solved by animals in the middle of the food chain. Goats, for example, can synthesize amino acids that humans can't (with the assistance of their internal bacteria), and they can do it on a substrate that humans can't even digest.

If plant proteins were as complete as you assert, then vegans would not experience a consistently higher rate of protein-deficiency symptoms compared to meat-eaters. It's more noticable in children. You're probably aware of the "all or nothing" principle: if your body doesn't have all the required amino acids on hand for a needed protein, that protein won't get made. Yes, your body has a comprehensive bag of tricks, but there are limits.

>> I've saved several answers like this one so that I don't have to find or rewrite them all the time.

I think I should do this too ;)

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"If plant proteins were as complete as you assert, then vegans would not experience a consistently higher rate of protein-deficiency symptoms compared to meat-eaters. It's more noticable in children."

Here's the thing about that. If you call yourself a vegan and feed your kid only Oreos and soda (vegan foods) then, yes, your kid's going to have a protein deficiency. If, on the other hand, you feed your kid at least a few cups of beans or lentils a day, then he won't. Of course, eating a wider variety is much better.

How's that any different from a meat eater not giving his kid at least a few ounces of meat a day? You have to know at least that much or it doesn't matter what you call yourself other than stupid.

This is a perfect case of an imaginary disagreement, generated to make news, as demonstrated by this article. plantbasednews.org/post/veg...

What Dr Mills (and Dr Davis) says in the article is that a varied whole food diet will basically automatically have enough complete protein. In the article, the dietician who's making the claim that vegans can have a protein deficiency ends up saying the same thing.

And in case I have to say it more directly -- it's exceedingly rare for anyone to have a protein deficiency or rickets, etc. "consistently higher rate of protein-deficiency symptoms" is over the top.

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In my first post, I did flag up protein deficiency merely as a "maybe". The main concern - which even the video agreed with - is B12 deficiency.

I agree that parents can find any number of ways to give their kids a crap diet. Veganism is just one more route to getting it wrong.

>> "consistently higher rate of protein-deficiency symptoms" is over the top.

As you said earlier, your body is very good at keeping itself alive via various workarounds. That doesn't mean it'll be on top form. Deficiencies can show up as subclinical problems long before they progress to eg., kwashiorkor. "Failure to thrive" is the usual term. The main problem for vegan children in the West can often be traced to a deficiency of fat, because vegans seem to fear fat even more than the population-at-large (this isn't true, incidentally, in Asia, where fat is recognised as important and vegans use a lot of coconut oil, palm oil, and similar). Can you feed your child a vegan diet and get away with it? Yes, probably. If you're lucky, smart, and vigilant.

The question remains, though: given the high risk of getting it wrong, why would you want to? It all comes back to belief in being right, doesn't it? And that's why I always rail against people like Dr Davis. I think beliefs are important. Crucially important. People are impressionable, and they listen to all sorts of rubbish if it's presented in the right way by men in suits with "M.D." after their names.

I don't really care what people decide to do with their own bodies - that's their own business - but veganism embraces ideas about the environment and the human place in the world which are not just wrong but dangerously so: not so much individually, but as a package of errors, the whole being more problematic than the parts. If those ideas spread beyond the fringe and governments start legislating against animal products - which looks like it might be on the cards - we'll be in even deeper trouble than we are right now.

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Good. I'll address one:

"The idea that plant-based foods are essentially benign (and, by extension, animal-based foods are bad for you) is easily shown to be false."

I'm not sure who's idea this was. Yours? Not all plants are safe to eat. Got it. Thinking that they are all safe is practically nobody's reason to say that eating meat is bad for you.

But here we go anyway.

"Plants, in general, contain all sorts of antinutritional factors and toxins: an immobile organism has to defend itself somehow against being eaten, although herbivores tend to develop countermeasures against them. Soybeans are bad for you, in large amounts - as are many other legumes. One of my favourite vegetables - katuk - will kill you if you eat lots of it, as will the seeds of one of my other favorites, jicama. The seeds look like any other beans and if you didn't know better, you might think they were the nice nutritious full-of-protein types. Except for a few modern varieties, cassava must be carefully cooked to remove cyanide compounds. Several grains are susceptible to potent carcinogenic moulds."

Again, what's the point? This is why God invented parents - to pass down knowledge to their idiot children so that they maybe won't die. So... what was the point to all of this??

Oh, I see, you then point out:

"Meat, on the other hand, has no such problems."

Well, it doesn't have those particular problems, just others. Do I really need to list them? Salmonella anyone? Before you say it, yes veggies can get contaminated by it, but it always comes from an animal. " Salmonella live in the intestinal tracts of animals, including birds. Salmonella is usually transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated with animal feces."

There are many other reasons not to eat meat, dairy, or eggs. But at least I don't think you can deny salmonella.

I don't know though. Have they ever done a randomized, prospective, controlled, clinical trial of salmonella? If not, how can they be sure? Maybe it's not really a class A food poison after all?

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>> Again, what's the point? Thinking that they are all safe is practically nobody's reason to say that eating meat is bad for you.

The doctor made an assertion that a plant-based diet is inherently better for you than one that contains meat. It was one of his arguments directed at apostate vegans, and it was that that I was addressing.

The examples I picked were the extreme ones, but my point was that plants defend themselves, and they do it with toxic substances. Plants contain both good stuff and bad stuff.

This only becomes an issue for vegans because they have to eat a greater volume of vegetables than carnivores in order to get the nutrition they need. For example, there's a lot of noise lately about plant sterols that "reduce cholesterol". This happens because those sterols are toxins; they interfere with your body's mechanism for regulating cholesterol (statins, which actually stop cholesterol synthesis, were first isolated from plants). If you're eating a lot of plants, you are inevitably eating a lot more of things like this that are inherently bad for you. Is all this going to kill you? Obviously not. I'm nitpicking. But the doctor was asserting "science" behind his statements, so I'm merely pointing out that "vegetables are the best food for humans and exceedingly good for you" is overly simplistic at best. I dislike people claiming "science says so!" when it just doesn't.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying humans shouldn't eat vegetables. Our bodies have ways of dealing with (some) plant defences. My diet is mostly vegetables. All omnivores eat mostly vegetables. I'm only attacking the idea that vegetables-and-nothing-else is the optimal diet for a human.

Yes, of course parents and elders should - in theory - pass on some knowledge about what to eat and what not to eat. In practice that doesn't pan out so well: most modern diseases have faulty advice at their root.

>> Well, [meat] doesn't have those particular problems, just others.

I was going to mention this, and it's a valid point, but you have to do something to the meat to make it dangerous. A fresh kill is sterile. If you leave it in the sun, or do the various disgusting things that they do to meat in "modern" scientific slaughterhouses, then it becomes contaminated. Similarly with eggs.

The mainstream vegan argument against meat is that it is inherently bad for you. The video doesn't mention food-poisoning (which would have been a more sensible position to take) and instead dredges out some stuff about heme iron.

>> Maybe it's not really a class A food poison after all?

I imagine, as with most other pathogens, there must be a certain bacterial load in the first place to overwhelm your immune system. Basic hygiene is the mundane answer to most food-poisoning risks (botulism being the only notable exception I can think of).

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>> If soya beans were so bad half the population of china, say, would have died years ago.

This is like the "Japanese people eat lots of rice" argument. As you correctly said, Chinese soybeans are mostly exported for cattle feed, and cattle don't normally eat soybeans (or grain, or bits of dead cows, or any of the other exciting new feedstuffs the "scientists" have come up with). It's only viable because they're slaughtered before they die of disease.

Soybeans in China and Japan are used for soy sauce and for side dishes. They're not eaten the way vegans eat them, as a primary source of nutrition. Tofu, for example, might well be a good source of calcium (it comes from the coagulant, calcium chloride), but it's normally eaten in bite-sized pieces to add texture to something else. Edamame (毛豆 in China - "furry beans") is something you pick at before a meal. Chinese people as a rule are cautious about eating soy-based products: their long history of growing soybeans is precisely why they grok the upsides and the downsides.

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I've seen coverage suggesting that vegans live on tofu. I eat tofu once in a blue moon, possibly once a year. I have some in the fridge, but it has been there for some time. I will only have soya beans if a restaurant happens to put them in a salad that I have chosen.

My body has plenty of calcium, plenty of protein. I get very annoyed with advertising labelled "get your protein here". It's a pile of rubbish, unless you are body building etc. For the normal person protein is in all plant foods, and it is easy to get enough providing you get enough calories in whole foods.

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Dr garth Davis ought to be looking healthy. He does ironman races afaik.

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Let me pick another one of TAD's claims, that the history of veganism is laughable. For one of the most enlightening answers check out bite sized vegan's YouTube videos youtube.com/playlist?list=P... For me what's more important is the amount of carbs in previous societies. An uncomfortable truth for pure vegans is that the majority of mankind has probably eaten meat throughout time. However in defence of veganism successful societies have always been high carb. Low carb enthusiasts often cite the inuit, as if these are glowing examples of the benefits of meat consumption, however modern research shows, looking at all cause mortality, they have no better health outcomes than anyone eating the SAD diet. Which is hardly a glowing recommendation.

(Thanks to TAD for pointing out the video link wasn't working. I've replaced it with Emily's playlist. So lots of watch for anyone interested!)

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The video won't play for some reason, but I wasn't arguing about carbs vs. no carbs. I was simply pointing out that very few climates provide ample vegetable nutrition all year round. Vegans can be vegans today because:

1) Science provides them with B12 tablets

2) Fossil fuels deliver vegetables sourced elsewhere

3) Subsidized and fossil-fuelled agriculture delivers local produce in abundance and out-of-season

Prior to the 20th century, such conceits would have been available only to a tiny, privileged minority, if they were available at all.

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