I have a confession to make.
Yesterday, against my better judgement, I got into an internet debate with… a vegan.
Now I have nothing against vegans per se.
(The dramatic pause above was merely for theatrical effect).
My sister is one.
And I like her.
She’s very sensible and caring and healthy, and not a zealot about her dietary choice.
The guy in the Instagram comments, however…
He posted a picture of the human small intestine.
With the caption ‘does this look like it should have meat passing through it’?
Stating that ‘humans can’t digest meat due to its lack of fibre’.
He then proceeded to state that this was ‘yet more proof’ that a vegan diet was superior.
When pressed by a fellow curious stranger whether this counted as ‘proof’, he told her to, effectively, ‘stop denying science’.
Now I knew, deep down, the type of conversation that I’d end up having with this person.
And I usually don’t engage in petty arguments on the internet.
But the way he had dismissed this other person as an idiot riled me.
And, against my better judgement, I piled in.
The interesting thing was that, when I asked him to provide the ‘science’ behind his claims,
he simply directed me to ‘go and watch The Game Changers, or [some guy] on YouTube’.
I’ve spoken about the Game Changers before.
And how the ‘science’ in there doesn’t actually prove anything.
How the makers of the film misrepresent the scientific literature in order to fit their agenda and bias.
How they cherry pick athletes who happen to be vegan, completely ignoring the majority of [even more successful] athletes who are not vegan.
How the ‘doctors’ in the film have vested interests, and make money from vegan books or products.
How ‘cloudy blood’ after eating fatty meat is not evidence of the arteries ‘clogging’, but merely a short term, normal [and not negative] response to fat in the diet.
How the makers of the film seem to care about funding sources of studies when they don’t like the data
[‘oooo Big Dairy, Big Bad Meat Industry],
but then choose not to cite the funding sources of studies that match their agenda. [eg. The Hass Avocado brand].
How they blind people with ‘scientific research’
knowing that the average person will never go and fact check the studies, to see if they actually conclude what they are claiming
[they do not].
How association/correlation does not equal causation.
[for example, meat and inflammation seem to be correlated in observational studies.
But you can’t say that meat causes inflammation,
any more than you can say that fire engines cause fires, even though there is a fire engine at almost every fire.
Or, if leaving school at 16 increases the likelihood of you becoming pregnant earlier, that leaving school at 16 impregnates you.
There are many more confounding variables at play,
the main one, for inflammation, being overconsumption of calories leading to weight gain - vegans consume on average 600 fewer calories per day than omnivores,
and a health seeking omnivore has just as healthy a body as a health seeking vegan.]
And finally, how going vegan does not improve boners.
If you’ve not seen the film, you did read that right.
The Game Changers tries to fear monger men into thinking that their willys will be floppier by eating meat.
Suffice to say, this is not something us men need to worry about.
[Despite the burrito ‘experiment’ and the film-makers’ incorrect representation of a study on testosterone].
The point I was going to make in this blog was that, despite my unbiased attempts to ask a man on the internet for real scientific evidence
He resorted to telling people to look at a picture, citing fact-deficient films and recommending YouTube videos.
Which disappointed me in a way.
If he had come back with a body of scientific literature that concluded that veganism was better for human health
Then I’d quite happily have accepted this evidence
And I’d be writing to you now as a converted vegan
But, alas, he instead exhibited the type of behaviour that, in my opinion, damages the vegan movement as a whole
Veganism is a personal, ethical, choice.
Unless, and until, the scientific evidence proves otherwise [which seems nigh on impossible given what the current body of literature says], being vegan is not automatically healthier.
The addition of veg and fruit into the average person’s diet clearly has a positive effect.
Humans definitely benefit from having fibre in the diet.
Our guts, and our overall health, benefit from eating a wide variety of fruit and veg.
But the absence of meat does not confer any additional benefits.
Eating animal products does not, in itself, damage your health.
Humans, quite clearly, can digest meat.
And animal proteins are more ‘complete’ in terms of their profile of essential amino acids, which we must get from food since we can’t synthesise them in the body.
So go vegan for ethical reasons.
Don’t assume that a vegan diet is automatically healthier.
Environmentally, there are still some considerations to make.
But don’t be an idiot.
PS. If you want to improve your health and performance in an environmentally friendly way, without having to go vegan, the Healthy Planet Project is for you. Try it for FREE with the 14 Day Free Challenge.
PPS. You can do it as a vegan too.