Meat Kills! Maybe, possibly….

Recent headlines are filled with proclamations that ‘Meat Kills!’ Nothing sells newspapers like the old chestnuts – meat kills!, saturated fat is bad! Let’s take a quick look at this most recent study see if we can draw some conclusions. The study was called ‘Association of Animal and Plant Protein Intake with All-Cause and Cause-Specfic Mortality‘, and published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

This took data from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, a large prospective cohort. This means they followed 131 342 patients over decades, asking them what they ate. Some of them will die or develop other illnesses and then they look at the database collected to see if there are any associations. You can’t make any inference of causality, but many people do anyway. Why not? Because these are only associations.

For example, there is a clear correlation between eating ice cream and drowning in the pool. This is because both activities happen more commonly in the summer, not because eating ice cream somehow impairs your swimming ability. Almost all such associations are false because there are usually an infinite number of associations, and only 1 or 2 true causal agents. Swimming accidents for example, are associated with sunburns, driving convertibles with the roof open, going to a fair, having barbecues etc. But there’s likely one main causal factor – if you don’t know how to swim, you are more likely to drown. Duh. With that caveat, let’s look closer at this study.

In this study, they asked people what they ate and classified it as animal or vegetable protein. Plant protein included bread, cereals, pasta, nuts, beans and legumes. Processed meats were bacon, hot dogs, salami, bologna sausage and kielbasa. When taking a cohort group like this, you need to see whether the groups you are comparing differ in other respects other than just the eating of meat vs. vegetable. Turns out, there was a substantial difference.

For example, those eating more plant protein were also more physically active and smoked less. So, in order to level the playing field, researchers make an adjustment. But what’s the proper adjustment? Here’s the problem. You can make any adjustment you like. For example, how much should you adjust for physical activity? You could argue that you should adjust mortality by anywhere from 5% to 100%. It’s meaningless and anytime you see the word ‘adjusted’, just understand that it means ‘we made it up’.

So after adjustment, for every 10% increase in animal protein intake, the hazard ratio for death is 1.02 (not statistically significant) and 1.08 for cardiovascular death (significant). So, the conclusion is that you don’t die more often, but when you die, you are more likely to die of heart attacks and strokes. But here’s what they don’t tell you. If you accept that conclusion, then eating less animal protein gives you less heart deaths, but must INCREASE YOUR RISK OF DYING FROM SOMETHING ELSE. Funny, I didn’t see that mentioned in any of the hysterical articles on how ‘meat kills’. If you accept these conclusions, then you must also accept that ‘vegetable protein KILLS’, but not from heart disease.

So, with such small differences in hazard ratio, this article is mostly just worthless. It doesn’t tell us much about anything, so why so much ‘spin’ in the media and from the authors? Well, millions of dollars and thousands of man hours were put into this study. If you put out an intellectually honest conclusion – “This study shows that there’s really not much difference to eating meat and vegetable protein”. I can hardly think of a blander headline. No news articles. Nobody cares. So, with a little razz-ma-razz, you can instead generate a sexy headline like ‘Meat KILLS’, why not? As an author, you generate glory for yourself and increased prominence in the academic field. So what if millions of people are misled?

But let’s see if we can actually get something useful from this. When looking at the raw data, you can see that one data point really stands out, and it certainly is not meat versus vegetable protein. The data point that really drives the results is the processed meats. There seems to be a huge disadvantage to eating processed meat. Does that make sense? Sure.

Let’s consider fresh meat and bologna. How are processed meats made? Well, you take the worst, most horrible cuts of meat imaginable, grind it up so that you can’t recognize all the yucky parts that went into it (lungs, hooves, noses etc) and then shove in lots of sugar, chemicals and lots of seasonings, including MSG and other stuff to cover all the terrible flavours. Then you shape it into something that looks vaguely like meat (sausages, sliced meats), package it nicely and then advertise the hell out of it. If you knew how they made hot dogs, you wouldn’t eat it.

What is mechanically separated chicken/pork? Well, they take the chicken carcass, after all the good meat has been removed and they fling it around violently, so that any remaining meat comes away from the bone. Yes, all the eyeballs, nose hairs, lung, intestines get ground up into processed meat.

So, in this bologna, which looks appetizingly like sliced turkey or chicken, it actually contains corn syrup, sodium lactate, sodium phosphates, autolyzed yeast, sodium dictate, sodium erythorbate (made from sugar), sodium nitrite, dextrose extractives, potassium phosphate, sugar, and potassium chloride. WTF?? But here’s the secret. Corn syrup is sugar. dextrose extractives is sugar, sugar is sugar – this ingredient shows up 3 times in the list. Autolyzed yeast is MSG. It’s all sugar and MSG to make things taste good.

Does it seem reasonable to lump this unholy meat concoction together with grass fed fresh beef? Hardly. This brings us back to one of the key messages. Eat real food. Don’t eat processed carbohydrates. But also just as important, don’t eat processed meat or oil either. Processed vegetable oils are not the same as natural fats.

So here’s the real lesson from this study.

  1. Meat and vegetable proteins are similar in terms of health as measured in this study. However, this does not account for many other ways that meat and vegetable proteins are different (ie. meat is a complete protein)
  2. Don’t eat processed meats. Eat real food. Preferably fresh. This probably does not apply to all processed meats such as traditionally aged meats like prosciutto, but highly industrialized and processed meats should be avoided.
  3. Beware of overhyped ‘studies’ in the media. The headline usually has little to do with reality.

58 Responses

  1. Lungs, hooves and noses are perfectly healthy. It is all from the additives. But, it does not matter either way. Until they make a study that shows that fresh or frozen grass fed meat is deadly, most people of average intelligence and up will simply ignore these studies. The most remarkable part of this is once again we see how many deeply corrupted individuals are there in academia.

  2. Live to Ride

    Hi I haven’t fasted in about 30 years. Am now 49 in fair health do a good amount of cycling and weights/plyometrics workouts as well. Still have challenges with weight. I’m 6’3″ and 300 pounds with a lot of fat on my frame so not the average cyclist build.

    Purchased The Complete Guide to Fasting over the weekend. Have been doing 4 hour eat windows for the last few days. Finding it easier to get through the days each day. Plan to move toward doing a few 5 day fasts.

    My question is this. I do a fair amount of cycling mostly because I enjoy it. I ride at a decent speed. Avg speed around 25-30 Kmh. Often go for over an hour occasionally something toward 3-5 hours. Wondering about effect of cycling while fasting. Should I be concerned about eating for short and or longer rides getting dizzy etc or am I likely to be okay with my body feeding of the energy stored in my fat?

    Thanks in advance for any feedback.

    • It probably takes more than a few days of (intermittent) fasting and/or Low Carb High Fat diet to become adapted to using fat for primary fuel. It is quite normal to feel occasionally dizzy during the transition period. If you eat high carbs during the transition, you might postpone the potential dizziness to happen after the bike ride, but then your transition may take longer. If you eat LCHF before the ride, you might still get dizzy because of not being fully adapted yet… so maybe prepare for the chance of dizziness somehow if you ride, or wait a few weeks to become better adapted before attempting longer rides?

      When I started LCHF and IF over a year ago, I used to have some carb-based cheating once a week. That slowed my adaptation: I felt quite dizzy a day or two after the carb feast. It took maybe 4-5 months to adapt to the level where I could switch back to fat burning without some unpleasant side effects.

      But being finally fat adapted is great! I can go to fishing and hiking trip for a day or two without bringing any food with me, and still have loads of energy to enjoy the nature.

      • Chris Hastings

        I am 6’1″, 230 down from 300 and an avid cyclist as well. I started with LCHF/keto diet with IF, and for the first couple of weeks I had issues with climbing and sprinting endurance, but otherwise INCREASED endurance on the flats. Once my body became more fat adapted, most of the Sprint and climbing issues faded away, and now my cardiovascular endurance has significantly improved, both in cycling and running. I find no significant difference in performance when I am on an extended fast. The only thing that KILLS my performance is if I have significant glycogen stores. I don’t perform any worse than I did before starting LCHF, but I definitely have significant cardiovascular and endurance improvements in ketosis. YMMV

    • I fast twice a week 20-24hrs and 15-16hr daily fasts and cycle to and from work up to 2hrs a day ~30km/h. If you aren’t fat adapted you’ll bonk but you will get used to it and you’ll only lose a bit of top end power after a month or two.

    • I don’t think you will get dizzy (if you do, stop riding and eat), but you will see a difference in strength. You will ride slower and tire easier for a while, and later you will adapt.

    • Conversion to fat burning can take 2-3 weeks (if supported with an otherwise low carb environment).

      Dizzyness from fasting, if it occurs at all, can usually be countered quite effectively by sipping salty drinks (like a cup of two of chicken broth) an hour or so before going out. You can further encourage the fat conversion process by NOT eating before you go out or even during the ride. Deliberately take it easy for the first few rides. You most definitely will notice a reduction in overall endurance but this passes as the body adapts.

      Ideally this process can lead to becoming completely bonk-proof because you’ll no longer be dependent on the body’s 2,000 calorie glycogen storage limit. You instead open the possibility of burning tens of thousands of otherwise unused fat calories instead.

    • It will depend a bit on your current diet. Do you eat fat? Maybe a lot of fat? If so, I predict that you will not experience any dizziness, just ordinary hunger. You are already fat-adapted on a metabolic level.

      On the other hand, if you generally eat low fat, and are used to eating frequent, small, carb-based stuff (goo, bars, refueling products in general) you are at a higher risk for experiencing more difficulty and possibly getting dizzy.

      My advice is to take a packaged food bar with you on your ride as insurance. If you’re hungry and have less power than normal, you don’t need it, but if you get dizzy go ahead and stop and eat, for safety’s sake.

    • Live to Ride

      Thanks so much for the excellent feedback. Feel a lot better about trying riding while fasting now.

    • Here is another data point for you. I am 70 years old. I have cycled all of my life. A typical ride for me is 50-60 miles. Previously I have managed to do a century or two in the fall. It took five years to gradually reduce carb intake, digest Phinney and Volek and begin to apply it to my cycling. I gradually fell into eating two meals between and 9 and 5 and not eating between 5 and 9. After learning about BHB, inflammation, fat metabolism as it applies to endurance athletes, I threw out the gels, gatorade, and peanut butter sandwiches. Now I eat breakfast, refrain from eating for an 8 hour period while riding, and I further refrain from eating until the next day. I never get hungry. I never get dizzy. In fact, there is a heightened awareness. I never have trouble sprinting a short distance or climbing a hill at the end of the day. And surprise, surprise, my recovery time from riding is roughly cut in half. Any aches and pains just do not exist.

      I could go into detail about why I see these changes, and why it works this way, or you can just ponder the fact that according to Tim Noakes, endurance athletes were coached not to eat anything during their events, and drink only as necessary (when they were thirsty). That all changed in the 70’s.

      I arrived at where I am at over several years. I am never going back. Just continue training and tweaking your diet. If full blown ketosis does not work for your activity like it works for me, then up the unprocessed carb a bit. Whatever you do, do not go back to gels and gatorade.

      • Live to Ride

        Thanks Samuel. I’ve never been a gel person. I tried gatorade for a bit. After drinking them 1 summer it didn’t do anything for me and drinking florescent drinks never sat well with me so I stopped and went back to water. I tried cliff bars one season as well. So heavily processed and the best tasting of them are still horrible. I was never comfortable with them and disliked carrying them with me. Nuts in a smallish amounts or a sugar drink like coke have worked for me for either short bursts or longer hauls.

        I’ve been riding since childhood but didn’t consider myself a cyclist until after about 19 when driving was a real choice but preferred to ride and still do. I do a 20km commute each way work as often as I can.

        Fasting worked really well for me when I was young. There wasn’t the easy access to information or feedback then like there is now. I have spoken to people about trying fasting for years and get the it’s awful/dangerous for you story even from medical people. It might not be for everyone but does seem to work well for me. I’m very much interested/excited to see if I can turn myself into a bonk proof fuel burning cycling machine :D.

        Great to hear from someone that is 70 and still putting in quality rides and enjoying it. Exactly the sort of thing I hope to be doing myself. I can honestly say I ride more Kms and probably faster now then when I was 30. I didn’t have the focus or tech then and didn’t know as much about training. Now I’m challenging myself and setting goals. Back then it was just a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon or to get to work. Now every ride is about building a better base and getting more out of the fuel tank.

    • Mike kosty

      Hello, I am new to this blog, but not new to fasting. I am looking for a place to ‘jump in’ and noticed the mention of cycling which is mainly what I do for exercise. I read an article in Harpers Magazine about 7or 8 years ago about fasting…it was fascinating…Dr. Michael Mosley came around a few years later. Anyway, my question is does anyone experience a ‘brain drain’ (my term) when fasting? That is, my mind becomes less sharp, sort of dull not anywhere near the level of interest in my work or energy that I experience after I have eaten. I am an elementary school teacher, which poses a big problem for me. In a classroom with 22 young sharp active brains, it takes a lot energy to keep on top of the learning environment. I have been hesitant lately to go into work in a fasting state because of this. Does anyone experience this?
      My apologies if this question is inappropriately placed….or….if someone could direct me to a more appropriate place to have this discussion, that would be appreciated.
      Best!
      Mike530

    • Elias Jones

      One tip that might help you with long rides. Take a drink of diluted lemon juice and ginger with you.

      Blend lemon and ginger (without the skins and seeds) to a concentrated pulp and refrigerate. Add a teaspoon or so of the pulp to your water flask, to form a diluted sports drink. Adjust the concentration so that it satisfies your thirst, but doesn’t increase it.

      This takes some trial and error. I use two lemons, plus a piece of ginger one-third the size of my little finger, to form the pulp, then add one or two teaspoons of pulp to a 24 oz flask nearly filled with water.

      The dilute ginger/lemon drink will help you replenish electrolytes during a long ride ( > 1 hr).

  3. thebigpicture

    Although I don’t want to rule anything out, I agree that it’s basically the processing that is the problem. And thanks for pointing out this fact.

    In my honest opinion the only foods that can be linked to mortality are sugars. All arrows point in that direction yet few want to admit it. They taste too good!

    Regarding meats: generally good in moderation, and balanced with plants. Probably not good in excess. Really, only plants can be safely eaten in excess, but so few people do that anyway.

    • Roger Bird

      Have you healed yourself or someone else of a degenerative disease like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc.?

  4. Robert Hambly, MD

    You appear to have begun doing beginner level Intermittent fasting. You did not mention what you are eating during the 4 hour window, or what you eat or drink on your short and long bicycle rides but I suspect that you are still burning glycogen for most of your energy.
    Dr Fung addresses keto-adaptation on pages 244 and 245, and you can train in a fasted state, but muscles need time to adapt. The five day fast that you mention casually is a very different thing than a 20 hour fast. Depending on how insulin resistant you are (how much fat you have in your liver and other organs), I would still suggest a lot of experience with the programs in Chapter 13 (see Mark Sisson suggestion on page 214), before you jump to Chapter 14.
    Have you seen your Doctor? Do you have NASH or NAFLD? What does an ultrasound of your liver show? Or your Liver enzymes? You have a lot of weight to lose (60 to 150 lbs) and definitely should find some medical support and supervision to do this safely. (No fainting while riding a bicycle, please!)
    If you wish to become a “fat adapted” athlete, you should at least also read the older material by Steve Phinney and Jeff Volek. (The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, and especially The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance).

    • I am a T2 diabetic. Is milk and cheese good or bad, I am referring to IGF and Insulin spike. Can I eat/drink dairy if I am starting KETO diet ? or even even IF (18 hour daily FAST) ?

      • Cheese is fine, don’t drink milk, too many carbs. Whipping cream is the only liquid dairy we use.

  5. Are you convinced that MSG is bad for you?

    • Roger Bird

      You mean other than giving me intense headaches in the past?
      It ain’t natural to use MSG in that volume, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say it is unhealthy.

  6. I eat processed meats, including bacon, liverwurst, bologna, sausages, and hot dogs, all the time. It’s possible to get high quality versions of these. Furthermore, if they’re so deadly, why are the Germans — who eat tons of processed meat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — just as healthy as we are? When I went to Germany, I had a lovely breakfast of lunch meat and cheese. That’s what’s for BREAKFAST. Then, I ate various sausages for lunch and dinner. It’s a low carb dream.

    These studies are complete BS. They’re comparing people who are wealthier and care about their health with people who are not and do not. Moreover, if this study is from Harvard, you can just ignore it, as they produce epidemiological (epi) garbage. Truly, they are the ones who gave us the devastating hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which CAUSED more deaths. That is, epi studies from Harvard showed that women undergoing HRT had fewer heart attacks and deaths. What happened when they actually performed a randomized controlled trial? There were more deaths in the HRT group than in the placebo group. The epi studies were completely wrong, because the women taking HRT in the epi studies were wealthier, healthier, and kept better care of themselves.

    Don’t believe anything Harvard says.

    • Do they still have food purity laws in Germany? I often seek out German food here in the states because the list of added ingredients is generally much shorter and more clear. Food processed(manufactured) under US laws and regulations seldom passes our lips. Shame too.

      Mine is the first generation of our family that did not farm. I remember how careful my dad was to deliver clean, healthy, non-stressed cattle and pigs to the stockyard. We took every precaution to see our stock graded out as high as possible. I am sure most row crop and truck farmers are doing the same. Most problems come from the food ‘scientists’ and the food manufacturing process. All I can do is not patronize their products and encourage others to do the same.

      • Stephen T

        Jim, Germany still purity laws in relation to beer but I don’t know about food. However, sausages and other similar products are such a staple of the German diet that my guess is that anything poor quality wouldn’t sell. Here in the UK it’s easy to buy sausages that are 90 – 97% pork, which have a little salt, pepper or other natural flavour. That’s a world away from the Bologna processed rubbish shown at the top of Dr Fung’s article.

        You have to take this meat kills with a pinch of salt. Many of the studies involve mice, genetically disposed to disease which are fed a high carb diet with plenty of sugar and some poor quality bologna type ‘meat’ added in. When the mice get ill, it’s the meat that did it! Some of these studies are very badly done and clearly biased. They come from the camp that says that meat causes diabetes, cancer, tennis elbow and rain in the summer.

        Here’s a good summary of the meat studies.
        http://www.diagnosisdiet.com/meat-and-cancer/

    • SomePerson

      My bet would be that the german processed meat is a far sight different from our stuff. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that traditional sausages, traditional leberwurst and other traditional processed meat items are made from higher wquality meat and with less weird stuff put into them.

      No self respecting german would consider oscar meyer’s anything to be on the same level as any number of their regional sausages.

    • secundino linares

      Andorra, where folks consume lots of processed meats, has a life expectancy of 83.5 years.

    • Germany’s sausages and other processed food contain at least 60% of meat. The difference is really huge. Also in Europe is not that much sugar in food. btw bacon is not processed food 😉 it’s slice of the real meat

    • This is what I came here to say, you can get the cheap “sandwich meat” from the supermarket or you can go to a meat market/deli and get a lot better stuff. I’ve seen them make bologna and hot dogs (they make fermented sausages too) at my local meat market/deli and it’s nothing like the description of large scale, cheap, mass market stuff at all. Even in the supermarket there are worse and better choices for processed meats but even the better ones usually still fall short. I have a meat grinder and have been considering getting into fresh sausage making, you have to be careful with meat fermentation though (salami, etc.).

    • I’m glad you mentioned Germany! I’m an American living in Germany, and yes, the Germans eat a lot of processed meat and appear to be very healthy. I buy the best organic hams, sausages, bacon, liverwurst, etc., and I feel good eating this stuff- (I might add that I eat far less processed meat than most Germans do, but as I said, it doesn’t seem to be harming them). In addition, I’ve been to parts of the Mediterranean where the people are healthy, long lived, and also eat a fair amount of processed meat. I agree with other posters who mentioned that it’s the sugar and other fillers in American processed meat that is most probably the unhealthy element.

      One more thing: it is healthy to eat the “bad” parts, our ancestors ate all parts of the animal! I believe there are many important vitamins and minerals we are probably lacking because we don’t tend to do this anymore. Beef and chicken hearts are loaded with CoQ10, which is important for heart function. I’ve often wondered if part of the rise in heart disease has to do with the fact that we don’t eat these important foods anymore- (and the rise in heart disease began around the time that we gave up offal). Humans have eaten meat for millions of years, and many groups thrived on all meat diets, at a time when heart disease was almost unheard. Recent evidence seems to point to sugar as being the culprit.

  7. William Brady

    Is there a study of blood chemistry for people who are fasting? It would be interesting to see.

    • Roger Bird

      William, there are probably lots of such studies. I know that apoptosis and autophagy are triggered by fasting, and that should clear up the blood also. You might want to check those two words out: apoptosis, autophagy. Or search for the words “fasting autophagy” and/or “fasting apoptosis”.

  8. Fried bologna sandwiches …… great childhood memories. And yes I was singing the oscar Meyer song to write B O L O G N A. I said goodbye to bologna and SPAM (let’s not forget SPAM mmmm) many years ago. Although it was probably more healther-ish back then. Thanks for the Great article.

  9. Hi Guys, I like your blogs and articles…my comment to your blogs and articles is simple; “the best fat to eat is your own fat by fasting…..keep fasting on…..and eat your own fat. Take care and stay healthy from like mind person on LCHF life style.

  10. Great article, and great comments! The devil is in the processing my friends! I would not be upset if it were only beaks and feet; but they had to add the sugars and other poisons to the mix.

  11. off topic, but I wanted to share this. I read somewhere that if you’re in high ketosis, the ketones in your breath could impact an alcohol breathalyzer test. So I picked up a cheap breathalyzer and sure enough, it registers when I’m in ketosis–I confirmed it with ketostix. It’s not as precise as a ketone breath analyzer, but it’s a lot cheaper. No more buying ketostix for me.

    https://www.amazon.com/BACtrack-Keychain-Breathalyzer-Portable-Keyring/dp/B00LVOU27U/ref=sr_1_4?s=wearable-tech&ie=UTF8&qid=1490367576&sr=1-4&keywords=bac

    • Interesting. I assume you mean the breathalyzer will indicate one has been drinking… What kind of numbers are we talking about? Could I get in trouble in a roadside breathalyzer test because I am in ketosis?

      • Same question. Anyone knows about it? Could someone get in trouble because of it?

      • I have read that if you are in ketosis and are pulled over, you should refuse the breathalizer and insist on a blood draw. That would be the safer way to go.

      • It read 0.08 and I hadn’t had any alcohol for days.

  12. Gary Van Exan

    …a bit off topic as well. All of the insulin related issues: abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, hypertension and elevated fasting glucose have resolved over the last 14 months. Ketosis was elusive, but now I run between 1.1 and 4.2 ketone levels with glucose between 4.2 and 6.6,(down from 7 to 8) with blood monitoring recorded daily, recorded on a blood monitor with strips. I try to eat clean, my food diet shows that I consume less than 15 gms. of carbs per day, and practice intermittent fasting of 1 to 4 days at a time of fasting, once or twice a week. After more than 2 days of fasting, the keto levels really climb. All in all, its mostly good. Here’s the question: a drink or two simply destroys the ketone level for up to 3 days. Does anyone have anything to suggest? Is alcohol completely off the menu? Off course it’s do-able, but not necessarily my first choice.

    • Terry teh

      In my experience, a Few glasses of beers or wine have no effect on blood sugar. In fact it recuces it slightly because yeast do have a lot of effect. Morever, the carbs in beers and wine are what I call natural carbs as oppose to refined carbs. It has no impact on my ketosis at all, possibly because I am on IF daily with 5 days fast once in a while.

      • Stephen T

        Terry, my experience is different. After going low carb and very low sugar, I began to react badly to beer, which I used to love, and had to move onto to red wine. I also lost 10 pounds without effort, felt much better physically and mentally and got control of my appetite, so I’m not complaining.

        I’ve seen beer described as liquid toast, so I’m now happy to be without it, but tolerating one or two would be good. My Irish friends can’t believe that I no longer drink beer.

    • A glass or two of dry red wine (i.e. Spanish, not American wine) keeps insulin low IME and does not interrupt the fast. I believe ketones (blood or breath) is a good proxy for measuring low insulin. The higher the insulin, the lower the ketones and vice versa. Seyfried treats cancer patients with keep dirty and he says most find dry red wine is ok when fasting. I wouldn’t recommend anything other than dry red or spirits. Certainly not beer. Even if it doesn’t raise blood sugar it may still raise insulin. Test ketones the morning after a glass or dry red or a scotch on the rocks. Should be fine.

  13. Go to NutritionFacts.org for multiple unbiased non sponsored studies/analysis on why a plant based whole foods diet is much healthier than one that incorporates Meat, Dairy, and all Processed oils.

    Loving the fast angle Dr Fung…but this fear of unprocessed starches and sugars and reliance on meat, cheese, dairy and oils is misguided. Meat based ketogenic and low carb higher protein diets are both unhealthy and unsustainable.

    Just try cutting these out of your diet and see how you feel and watch all your markers of health improve

    • Many of us have been there done that. To the contrary, my markers were not good back then.

    • Stephen T

      Mar1kle, who’s advocating processed oils? I think low carbers are about their biggest critics. You are coming from this from your own angle and seem to misunderstand low carb.

      Your markers might improve on the diet you describe, but mine improved dramatically on low carb. These diets aren’t “meat based” in my experience, although meat and fish are certainly included. You seem to make the common, possibly deliberate, mistake in labelling such diets “high protein”. For most, it’s high fat (and definitely no vegetable oils).

      • In fact, for me it is very low proteins. Why? because experimentation made me go that way, but also because a good fraction of it is my daily collagen, which is protein sparing. I believe those that say one can go below 10% and be healthy. animal foods essentials are butter, lard and tallow, liver and other offal, bone broth, and perhaps eggs. But not meat.

    • Susan Weiss

      @mar1kle, great that all veg works for you, but we are all individuals. I do much better on lots of veg, good quality protein, limited nutrient dense carbs and the occasional fast. I eat more vegetables, and more variety of vegetables, than many vegetarians of my acquaintance. Humans have evolved as omnivores.

    • Thank you, mar1kle, I have done exactly that for many years and it made me pretty darn fat. Perhaps read Dr. Fung’s work on insulin resistance in more detail before dispensing advice on his blog comments?

    • mar1kle, Seriously – you are recommending “NutritionFacts.org for multiple unbiased non sponsored studies/analysis”! NutritionFacts.org appears to be a pro-vegetarian site. After snooping around the website I found a blog with this leading statement: “Our coronary arteries start out healthy, but then the saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol in the standard American diet increase the cholesterol in our blood, which…”. (March 28, 2017 – How to Prevent a Heart Attack) The connection between dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol has been completely debunked many years ago. And to lump man-made trans-fat with natural saturated fat (including that in our own bodies) is just ludicrous and screams out that this organization is far from unbiased. Certainly not current.

  14. Roger Bird

    Just this line: “anytime you see the word ‘adjusted’, just understand that it means ‘we made it up'” means that Jason Fung should get a Nobel Prize for Academic Sarcasm. (:->)

  15. Gary Van Exan

    For now, it seems that what I’m currently doing is working. I may cut back on the hard cheeses a bit, on the off chance that it increases the insulin response but that’s most likely as far as I’ll go, I think.

    I’m into the second year of the ketogenic lifestyle and it has worked wonders so far. I have introduced the intermittent fasting protocols from Dr. Fung’s books, and have seen the results. I may try a 2 days on 2 days off fasting schedule for a few months, but that’s as much ‘tweeking’ as I’ll do for the time being.

    This stuff works and I’m absolutely grateful.

    • Roger Bird

      Gary, you are now a certified expert. For me, the only people with credibility are those who have healed themselves or healed others. Letters after people’s names don’t count for $H1T with me.

  16. thebigpicture

    May I remind everyone here that epidemiology is compromised for the very fact that our modern industrial healthcare systems tend to keep people alive well beyond their natural expiration date.

    In other words, even if you live an unhealthy lifestyle, develop coronary artery disease, and develop a heart attack at 50, what actually happens? Do you keel over and die? Sometimes, but more likely you will be taken by ambulance to a hospital, where workers including expert physicians will reduce any blockage and put you on a cocktail of meds which will actually have short term survival benefit, and you will live.

    Same goes for any other medical disease you can think of.

    None of really knows what constitutes mortality reduction in the natural world, but we can make some educated guesses. Obviously, maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active seems to be most important, but what I like about this blog is that it goes into the nitty gritty of diet and how there actually might be a proper way to eat to both lose weight, cure metabolic disease, and live the longest, healthiest life you can.

    I will also remind everyone here that your mortality rate is 100%. Every day you get closer and closer to the end. I nominate any physician or scientist who can reverse this, as the most brilliant person in history.

  17. I would suggest looking at a couple of different studies – the China Study, and the Adventist Health Study 1 and the currently on-going Adventist Health Study 2. These show the benefits of a plant-based diet in a more scientific manner than just what you have outlined above. That said, processed ANYthing is worse than whole foods. (In my health journey, I have changed things repeatedly over the years from meat eating to vegetarian to vegan and finally to whole plant foods with only occasional refined/processed foods and have seen a betterment each step I’ve made.) But please don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater just so people are happy to keep eating meat without knowing that it is not as healthy for you long-term.

    • Stephen T

      Pixie, vegans and vegetarians love association studies but they are close to meaningless, as Dr Fung points out.

      I’ve looked and I couldn’t find a single remotely credible study that justifies your last comment. I did find rigged mouse studies, which I mentioned earlier, but they just won’t do for people who can count to ten. Why do most people who try a vegetarian or vegan diet give up? Because they look and feel terrible.

  18. Ron Hunter

    How about an article on the whole issue of increased Omega 6 content in modern farmed meats. I suspect that’s a big issue.

  19. I think that calling such studies mostly worthless is being too kind. This is not evidence based anything. Speaking of evidence based science, I’m not so sure that processed meats are so bad, just citing ingredients only persuades those who already have their fists clenched. I’m not so sure at all that this is a big deal, and it will take more than this to convince me 🙂 I see all kinds of what can only be described as dogma out there in the functional medical community, this is the stuff we’re supposed to be uncovering, and just because a lot of us feel that eating real food is best doesn’t mean we can make what amount to unsupported broad assumptions like avoid processed food and damn it all just because it’s processed. Sure, you can poison rodents with enough of the stuff, sure, just about everything is oxidizing, “damaging,” but this is always dose dependent and we can’t just assume this stuff and get angry 🙂

    My wife and I just eat processed food actually, neither of us cook or care to, and if we did this would significantly affect our quality of life. Convenience is a much bigger deal for some. This may mean that one may need to pay even closer attention to one’s health though, but we do.

Leave a Reply