Did you know that a number of vegetarian and vegan websites promote health benefits of such diets through shoddy research like the one below?
In a research by Seventh Day Adventists published on the The Wall Street Journal here it is claimed that in a period of 6 years a diet study was conducted on 70,000 people. The researchers claim that “male vegetarians have a 12% lower chance of dying than meat-eaters”
However people who actually ate fish and even ate meat occasionally were added to the vegetarian group. When you take the fish-eaters and occasional meat-eaters and put them back to the meat-eating group, there is actually no difference in the life expectancy of vegetarians vs. meat-eaters.
Oh, The Lies!
Some of these vegetarian or vegan promoting websites are on a “noble” mission to save animals from our BBQ grills and ovens and go too far. Jeff Nelson of vegsource.com explains:
“Experts who try to convince their audience that the “vegetarian diet” or the “vegan diet” can produce this or that health benefit, and then cite research on the diet programs of Esselstyn, Pritikin, PCRM or McDougall to back that claim — are doing a disservice to the public (often for noble motives having to do with an animal agenda, but not health).
What you often see from such outlets is a mishmash of “facts” and conclusions that are misleading at best, useless at worst. “
Vegetarian vs. Vegan vs. Plant-Based
The information found on such sites can be misleading but there is nothing much misleading about diet programs like Esselstyn, Pritikin, PCRM or McDougall. However these are plant-based diets which are not the same as vegetarian and vegan diets. Thomas Samaras who has studied longevity and nutrition for about 35 years says:
“Most areas famous for their longevity and high percentage of centenarians follow a plant-based diet. (However, they also eat some animal products as well)”.
So let’s look at the difference:
- A vegetarian does not eat any kind of animal but will eat products produced by animals such as eggs and dairy.
- A vegan does not eat animals and also does not eat any animal products.
- A plant-based dieter may be a vegetarian or vegan or neither. He primarily consumes a whole food plant-based diet which may include a very small amount of meat, fish or eggs.
As I said many times, this blog does not propagate the use of certain diets or promote any trends out there. My job is to bring you the information so that you can make the right decision for yourself.
If you had been caught up in the battle between vegan, vegetarian, and meat-lovers (like myself [God, I love meat]) and you have not heard of the benefits of a plant-based diet you might want to take a look at Esselstyn, McDougall, Pritikin and PCRM.
Let us know what you think by leaving us a comment below. Thank you!