“An unflinching determination to take the whole evidence into account is the only method of preservation against the fluctuating extremes of fashionable opinion.”—Alfred North Whitehead

 

An unpopular viewpoint.

 

For some time I have wondered about the unflinching belief that many have about vegetarianism, the belief that it is inherently healthier for the human body.  In fact this story has been bandied about for many years.  Recently I began investigating the research about vegetarianism and longevity, and have come to the awareness that the case studies are being done now, by the vegetarians themselves.  In other words the research does not point to vegetarianism increasing lifespan, in fact for the most part it points to just the opposite.  Throughout history traditional, healthy human cultures have never been completely vegetarian; in fact studies of some of the vegetarian cultures in India have shown these to be some of the unhealthiest people on the planet.  Now I wouldn’t claim that anyone out there has the whole story on human health as it relates to nutrition, but for sure to choose a radical, unproven dietary lifestyle that excludes an entire source of important nutrients is a definite role of the dice for health and longevity.

In fact a review of the research on all cause mortality for vegetarians found the annual all-cause death rate of vegetarian men is slightly more than that of non-vegetarian men (.93% vs. .89%); the annual death rate of vegetarian women is significantly more than that of non-vegetarian women (.86% vs. .54%) (Am J Clin Nutr 1982 36:873).

With these facts in view, why take the chance on your health and especially that of your children?

 

This is an excerpt from an article by Stephen Byrnes, PhD, RNCP

Originally published in the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, July 2000. Revised January 2002.

 

The Evolution of a Myth

Along with the unjustified and unscientific saturated fat and cholesterol scares of the past several decades has come the notion that vegetarianism is a healthier dietary option for people. It seems as if every health expert and government health agency is urging people to eat fewer animal products and consume more vegetables, grains, fruits and legumes. Along with these exhortations have come assertions and studies supposedly proving that vegetarianism is healthier for people and that meat consumption is associated with sickness and death. Several authorities, however, have questioned these data, but their objections have been largely ignored.

As we shall see, many of the vegetarian claims cannot be substantiated and some are simply false and dangerous.

For the rest of the article: http://www.westonaprice.org/mythstruths/mtvegetarianism.html

 

 

The following are links to more info.

 

http://www.westonaprice.org/mythstruths/mtnutrition.html

http://www.acsh.org/healthissues/newsID.760/healthissue_detail.asp