Dr McDougall in Shocking Vegan Interview


Let me start by saying this: Being a vegan is fine. I find the ethical arguments compelling and I’m impressed by people who manage to avoid animal products for ethical reasons. Also, I believe that most vegan food (supplemented by vitamin B12) is healthier than a standard Western diet.

That said, I was shocked when listening to a new interview with low-fat vegan advocate Dr John McDougall. A couple of days ago he was on Jimmy Moore’s podcast and, really, you have to hear it to believe it:

The LLVLC Show (Episode 686): Dr. John McDougall Pushes Starchy Diets For All

Here’s the problem:

Agricultural bliss?

Dr McDougall believes that everybody should eat a low-fat high-starch diet comprised of potatoes, rice, beans etc. and avoid meat, dairy and even olive oil. His main argument? Throughout “all of recorded history” every successful major civilization based their food intake on that kind of food.

That’s correct. It’s called agriculture.

Agriculture supplied the plentiful source of calories that allowed populations to grow big, starting 10,000 years ago or so. But that does not mean it’s healthy. Fossil records show a decline in human health and stature at the start of agriculture.

Furthermore, history did not start 10,000 years ago. Human evolution (depending on where you draw the line) has been going on for hundreds of thousands of years if not millions of years. Back then there was no agriculture.

Finally there were no vegan cultures, ever, during all of human history. People who completely avoided animal products for a long time died from vitamin B12-deficiency. So while agriculture supplied a lot of food it was never the only source.

Refined carbs

It’s quite possible that eating unprocessed starchy food like potatoes and rice, á la McDougall, is better than a standard American diet. After all, the refined carbs, processed food and enormous amounts of sugar are lost.

Jimmy Moore repeatedly tries to discuss this, but McDougall does. not. want. to. hear. it. He just won’t discuss that possibility.

Nasty personal attacks and hypocrisy

What’s really shocking on the podcast is the nastiness and the number of personal attacks. McDougall repeatedly brings up mr Moore’s weight struggles – “I’ve seen your pictures!” – as evidence that a high-fat diet does not work.

Then mr Moore tells him that he has lost 100 pounds eating like that and weighs less now than ever before in his adult life. McDougall’s answer? “You’re a study of one”, implying that it does not count, probably forgetting his own attack one minute earlier. Then McDougall repeats the personal attack again and again. I’m impressed that Jimmy Moore did not lose his temper.

McDougall’s next argument? “I’m a doctor and you’re not”, implying that it makes him right and mr Moore wrong. I wish life was that simple!

Low Carb vs. Plant Based

What shocked me even more was Dr McDougall’s repeated insistence that people watch a YouTube video called “Low Carb vs. Plant Based“:

It ranks among the most infantile things I’ve ever seen. Is this really the best argument Dr McDougall has? “I’m thin, you’re fat, therefore I’m right”?


The vegans in the video are *extremely* thin, good for them. However, I wonder if they wouldn’t benefit from more high-quality protein, to put on some muscle mass. That may be a matter of taste though.

By the way I’ve met professor Loren Cordain and Dr William Davis recently and they’re in fine shape. Check them out on the Dr Oz show earlier this year: Cordain / Davis. And Jimmy Moore is thinner than ever.

And let’s not mention the high-fat badass #1, Mark Sisson, who was somehow not chosen to appear in the video. Update: But he was on “Vegan Island” with Dr McDougall six years ago. Check out his report.

More reactions to the show:

Controversial Interview Raises Ire, Rises To Top Of iTunes Health Podcast Charts

What do you think about it?

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Top Comments

  1. Martin,
    I believe that many of the diseases of civilization are caused by the Western diet, that's high in sugar and refined starch, among other things.

    I'm not at all surprised if most (maybe all) people switching from a Western junk diet to a low-fat vegan diet will improve.

    Basically the Western processed food diet may be the worst ever in history. That's why "all diets work". Switch from the worst one to any other and it's an improvement.

    Reply: #16
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  2. Dan
    You know, there's another angle to this we should all remember--the rise of LCHF and the revelation of the good science behind it that refutes so much of the trendy-but-bad science that people like McDougall have been living off of for years (perhaps with good intent and just ignorance as their excuse--even "medical doctor" "qualified" ignorance is still dumb, y'know) means that many, many people who've been making a good living and a great deal of ego boosting fame out of that BAD science are now faced with a very real threat to their livelihoods and their egos. It is no different to note, as you've done on this site, the amazing hypocrisy of Coca-Cola sponsoring diet conferences than to see that a whole lot of McDougall's belligerence and attitude is because he's like any cornered animal--threatened, angry, and afraid. It doesn't make his position any more defensible or right, but perhaps it can help us to be a little less insensitive to his fear and anticipation of pain. Presuming, as we must unless we know otherwise, that he began his rise to prominence out of good intent and with honest motives, now that he's standing on top of, well, only slight joke re. the USDA intended, a "pyramid" whose foundations are crumbling and which he has to KNOW intellectually are at least threatened with utter collapse, no wonder he's so darned arrogant and angry! Granted, a more mature and self-enlightened person would have the grace that another one did in an earlier posting (sorry I forget the name) who told Gary Taubes "You were right, I was wrong." but most people aren't like that, alas. Basically, McDougall is in the position of the classic semi-joke statement "I'm not a brat! I'm NOT! I'm NOT! I'm NOT!" When "experts" with great prestige in the vegan/vegetarian community like him are this way, we certainly must expect even more nasty attitude from those lay people who've followed that misguided cause and invested not only money and effort into it but have, because like all such cults it demands and encourages this, invested a huge chunk of their self-identity and self-worth in it. I don't know about the rest of you, but I EAT a LCHF diet and feel better and am measurably healty for it, but I am NOT ANYTHING LIKE an "LCHF-ian" or an "LCHF-itarian" or whatever. My identity is based on my values and my character and not on my diet, but for Vegans and Vegetarians, that's not so. When you question what, to you as an enlightened sensible person, is their dietary science and choices, THEY HEAR you attacking them PERSONALLY. So let's not be too harsh on the sad case of Dr. McDougall, and let's remember this when we talk to less-famous folks who, like he has, simply got sold a bill of goods or wandered down the wrong path when searching for the truth.
    Reply: #138
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All Comments

  1. Brandi
    Coconut oil, If you can find some way of getting coconut oil, that should certainly give you the fats you need because of its medium chain triglycerides it does not need the larger secretions of bile from the gallbladder to break down. So if you could appear to all others around you to be on a low fat diet by getting most of your fat from coconut oil and eat your vegetables and some lean meats maybe you could get the services you need. in the mean time maintain you low carb results Just stay away from the sugars and processed foods and you should be able to maintain a low enough carb intake and a moderate amount of fats with ease to maintain your wonderful weightloss. I wish I had never let them take mine, also there are some enzymes and such you can find on the internet to help your gallbladder. Maybe you can save your gallbladder and still live a healthy low carb lifestyle.
  2. Brandi

    Inuits live or at the very least used to live on a diet rich in fat and protein without any veggies or carbs. Only in times of extreme hardhsip did they turn to the roots of a plant I cant recall the name of, but beside the point. They thrived in a harsh environment without carbs. Maybe you should look into Weston A Prices book, on modern hunter gatherers. Also in response to your opinion that Asians eat alot of rice, they do not. They eat a decent amount which is still less than you think is moderate, dont get me wrong they do eat it, but alot of there diet before world war 2 was high in fat. They too are now fighting the fight against obesity and health problems, the only reason they are still low is that the older generation is still eating the traditional higher fat diet while avoiding other starches, and they are late to the game. In the US we started early but you will find that as we all get away from our traditionally higher fat diets that other countries are catching up to the US.

    Im not at all surprised Chistopher is alive, I am sure that he is in better health than most of us.

    Mr. McDougal is the one you should be surprised is alive, damned modern medicine.

  3. Lily
    I have to agree with McDougal here. A lot of americans who eat meat and dairy look slim, but that doesn't mean that their bodies are healthy from the inside. There is so much crap put in meat and dairy that defending it automaticly makes your theories fail. It's like trying to coinvince people that smoking is healthy.
  4. Galina L.
    The trend to buy pastured and free-range animal food is growing,especially among people who are interested in eating meat and avoiding grains and sugars for health reasons. Modern agriculture puts crap everywhere, plants included. Organic produce is expensive as well.
  5. Gail
    Hi all

    Everyone claims to know about our evolution and way of eating. Have you got a degree in nutrition? I thought so.


    You know.


    Reply: #106
  6. Zepp
    One should have a degree in antropology.. not nutrition to know about evolution!

    But Im Swedish.. and I only need to walk out in the forrest to know what my ancestors lived of, and try to live on plant food is imposible!

    But there are plenty of game!

  7. Gail

    Yes, I agree our ancestors probably did eat flesh, but we are not our ancestors, we have a CHOICE. Choose LIFE.

    As Mr Ghandi so eloquently said 'while ever there are slaughterhouses, there will always be war'

    Mr Paul Mccartney reminded us 'if slaughterhouses had glass walls, noone would eat meat'


    Reply: #108
  8. Zepp
    Strange an odd thinking, lack of life experience I think?

    Im born and raised on a farm.. and its the small childrens jobb to stir the blood at slaughter!

    And as more grown up to be a part of hunting of game and butchering of both game and livestock!

    I think you should get out to a forest in your vicinity and try to live on what you can find!

  9. Chel
    WOW!! I'm not sure WHY there's ALL of this bickering and arguing back and forth. I think it's an American thing. People of color have ALWAYS followed our natural and TRADITIONAL eating patterns. As it is understood - EVERYONE has DIFFERENT "ancestors" so for a person to say they definitely ate a "flesh based" diet vs. a plant-centered one is COMPLETELY false. It depends on WHO you are and where your genetics come from. NOT rocket science in any way....just plain common sense. Bashing others for their practices and beliefs is outright rude - just do what you think and feel is best for yourself and family...whatever those choices may be. Some people eat rice and beans - FINE and others eat meat, milk and cheese- FINE too. It's NO one's place to push their food choices on anyone else.
  10. Galina L.
    Hi, Gail,
    We can benefit from the knowledge of more educated in the paleontology people than ourselves. Nutritionists and dietologists look suspicious after diabetics in masses complain that they are normally advised by the people who received the special education to eat whole grain bread, margarine and avoid animal food, and advised not to measure blood sugar often.
  11. Gail
    I'm Australian, brought up on a poultry farm so I often saw chooks either being plucked and gutted for cooking and all the other stuff in between. I'm also a grandmother of four grownup children and seven grandchildren so I have life experience.

    There are ten supermarkets and various other food shops within a five kilometre radius of my home and more further out, so I can choose from an abundance of food which doesn't involve the DEATH of some poor creature.

    I can see no reason to go into the forest to pick off some unsuspecting creature to satisfy my hunger.


  12. Galina L.
    Yes, vegetarians are usually city idealists, but there are exceptions. My choice is my health (I hope no one is under an illusion that I don't know the difference when I feel good and I feel less than good) and a natural order of things. I hope more animals would be raised outdoors and fed their natural food. I live in Florida. It costs a fortune and tones of chemicals to keep a perfect lawn here , and we under an obligation to do it because of rules in our neighborhood. I wish more people would keep goats and chicken in the the areas where there is a grass year round.
  13. Nicholas
    Jimmy Moore went from very obese to just plain obese, get real. Yet he is some kind of guru, author and the leading podcaster in the low-carb, paleo realm. That is how low your standards are. The only low-carbers that are not fat are those who have the metabolism to get away with eating anything at their current age. Try to remember that when you get older, if you are not already fat. And look at that video, no-one advocating a vegan, whole foods diet is fat, despite many of them being well over 50 years old, McDougall himself is 66 years old.
    Reply: #115
  14. Danielle
    Not only are your comments ignorant, your actions - like McDougall's - are flat out rude. And no diet is going to help that. Although, I've heard about something called "carb rage"....brought on by high carb, low fat diets. I may be fat according to you (not others), but I'm not ugly (and I don't harbour horrible prejudice against those who eat what works best for them). And you know what? I'll take that any day.
  15. Galina L.
    Low Carbohydrate diet keeps me wrinkles-free at 52 years old, and all my health problems got 90% better or disappeared. The weight I lost is still lost.
  16. Alisha
    I gained weight on McDougall. I was tired and hungry ALL THE TIME! My triglycerides went sky high too. Guess what? Triglycerides induce leptin resistance at the blood brain barrier. Thus, the body thinks it is starving and causes massive hunger and low metabolism.

    "Obesity is associated with leptin resistance as evidenced by hyperleptinemia. Resistance arises from impaired leptin transport across the blood-brain barrier (BBB), defects in leptin receptor signaling, and blockades in downstream neuronal circuitries. The mediator of this resistance is unknown. Here, we show that milk, for which fats are 98% triglycerides, immediately inhibited leptin transport as assessed with in vivo, in vitro, and in situ models of the BBB. Fat-free milk and intralipid, a source of vegetable triglycerides, were without effect. Both starvation and diet-induced obesity elevated triglycerides and decreased the transport of leptin across the BBB, whereas short-term fasting decreased triglycerides and increased transport. Three of four triglycerides tested intravenously inhibited transport of leptin across the BBB, but their free fatty acid constituents were without effect. Treatment with gemfibrozil, a drug that specifically reduces triglyceride levels, reversed both hypertriglyceridemia and impaired leptin transport. We conclude that triglycerides are an important cause of leptin resistance as mediated by impaired transport across the BBB and suggest that triglyceride-mediated leptin resistance may have evolved as an anti-anorectic mechanism during starvation. Decreasing triglycerides may potentiate the anorectic effect of leptin by enhancing leptin transport across the BBB."


    Does this happen to everyone? Obviously not. Some people can tolerate the diet. I cannot and I'm certainly not alone.

  17. Galina L.
    I see too many people in my gym who choose to eat a "kind diet" and just got fatter, especially in a middle-section, probably, the result of getting hungrier and consuming way too much carbs while getting the required amount of proteins from grains and beans. The people who do not get fat look emaciated with rapidly aging faces, like former president Clinton. May be vegetarians are kinder toward a life-stock , if you exclude poor innocent animal creatures displaced by agriculture from their natural habitat, but they are not kind to fellow humans.
  18. Nicholas
    Thanks for being honest enough to admit you are low-carb and overweight. Now the question is, what will you do about it? Will you continue to be overweight and pretend that low-carb works, like Jimmy Moore who has been fat for most of the last 10 years, but still blogging and podcasting deceptively about how "low-carb worked for him"? Or will you do something that works? Look at the video "low-carb vs plant based" and decide, if you want to be slim like the whole foods, plant based advocates.

    @Galina L.:
    This anecdotal nonsense from you low-carb folks needs to stop. In the 2010 documentary, "Lemmy", Lemmy Kilmister, from the well known band Motorhead, stated he only needed one or two prescriptions. At his age during the time of filming, that was phenomenal health for a 64-65 year old compared to his peers. But does that mean that binge drinking, eating out all the time, doing heroin, cocaine, acid and chain smoking is healthy? Of course not, he was healthy in spite of that. Now news reports show he is unhealthy, his lifestyle finally caught up and he is canceling tours. Anyway, unlike Lemmy, we cannot check your anecdotes or determine if you are making them up. Like McDougall noted, and going even further, you are just a study of not even one, since you are not being studied and confirmed by a third party. You cannot know why you are wrinkle free using your methodology, and it is almost certainly not from an unhealthy low-carb diet.

    Again see what I wrote above about anecdotes. In a study entitled: "Type of vegetarian diet, body weight, and prevalence of type 2 diabetes," they examined body weight on different types of diets. Omnivores(meat-eaters), flexitarians(those who are vegetarian but eat meat once or twice a month), and vegetarians were all overweight or even obese. Vegans were the only group in this country that is not overweight. That is how metabolically damaging meat and milk is.

  19. Sophie
    Galina: you must not have read that Bill Clinton is said to be a "fake vegetarian". He was reported a few weeks ago having a huge steak after being hidden in a special room in a restaurant.

    It's just a rumor, but I totally buy it.

    One can look emaciated on any sort of diet.

  20. Danielle
    @Nicolas...according to you, Nicholas, I am fat because I am over 50 and low carb. When reality is that my BMI is 24. I have lost and still maintained a 200 lb weight loss after 4 yrs of low carbing under the care of internal medicine physician, Eric Westman, MD. And my health markers are perfect, after 30 years of them not being that way on low fat and began diets. I have my life and my health back, better than ever. with my very best years ahead. So how do you explain that? What are you going to do about that?
  21. Galina L.
    I am not a public figure, but I am doing what I can to have a documented proof of the healthiness of my diet. Before going on a LC diet, I followed an anty-inflammatory diet, recommended by Dr.A.Weils because I have several autoimmune issues. It was not a vegetarian diet, just low fat, very limited red meat and saturated fat, and, of course, plenty of plants, whole grains, no sugar, all the rest. My health on Dr.Weils diet got sharply worse, I gained 26 lb during the year even though I significantly increased the amount of exercise, I was hungry all the time, urinary tract infections became very frequent,migraines worse, asthma got worse, everything got worse. Probably, what Dr.Weils recommends could benefit to the people who eat a lot of junk food, but it was not my case. I have being cooking all my food always, unless I am away from my home. I understood I had to go another direction. I remembered, how my mom's uncle was cured from tuberculosis when antibiotics were not available (it was long time ago, during World War in a Europe) by selling all his possessions and buying instead on a black market eggs, butter, salted pork fat.
    After I turned my health around to the amazement of my family doctor, I asked him to put it in my medical records, that I did it by limiting carbohydrates in my diet, eating eggs, red meat and butter every day. Vegetables is my side dish. I registered my data at the NuSI registry, it will be public one day together with many more who share my experience, and it will stop being a bunch of personal anecdotes. I hope it will stop the long history of vegan's lies as well. Since November 2007 I had no seasonal flues(it used to be at least yearly occurrence), no urinary tract infections, no yeast infections I stopped my request for asthma inhalers, migraines got under control, the weight loss was not regained since then. Wrinkles are nothing compare to all that, it is partially genetic, of course, but I remember my face being more puffy during the period when my health got worse, and I had a leg edema for unknown reason .
  22. Ken Walker
    I adopted the same diet Dr McDougall advocates, before I was even aware of Dr McDougall.
    After various blood tests, doctors were at a loss as to how I could combat a sudden onset of a strange version of rheumatoid arthritis. Large and multiple doses of anti- inflammatory drugs and operations on my back and shoulders were the considered way forward.
    Even after this I would have to give up karate and change my occupation (self-employed builder).
    Clutching at straws , (I was already vegetarian) I became vegan. I kid you not, three days in i had much less pain and inflammation,within a fortnight I was a different person.
    My doctor documented this change bi-weekly with blood tests, he said, and I quote, 'I have never in my career had a patient so quickly and absolutely resolve such a serious health issue', he later added that not only have I halted the damage but all indications are that I have reversed them.
    Additionally I no longer get bouts of acute chest pain.

    Your information about B-12 supplements is just plain nonsense as anyone with access to a vegan or a search engine can tell you.
    It is almost as daft to ask where a vegan gets their protein from.
    Rather than promote a knee jerk reaction to something you and most people don't understand, research more.......rather than just selecting evidence that supports your position.
    Don't wait until illness and desperation forces your hand, give the diet a go and eat intelligently as a vegan for 3 months, you will be surprised I guarantee it.

    Reply: #123
  23. Adam C
    Glad you found a workable solution to your RA. Sounds a lot like a reaction to dairy or eggs, since you were already vegetarian. I'd cut them out too if I had such symptoms and couldn't tolerate those foods, but that wouldn't convince me that a low-fat high-carb meat-free diet is optimal, even if I could stomach the thought of eating that way. If you ate ovo- & lacto-free non-vegetarian LCHF for a while, I suppose you'd know for certain. But you're probably as unlikely to try it as I am to forgo it in favor of McDougall's plan, since I have my own dramatic disease-reversal narrative on LCHF :-D
  24. Geni
    Its not that you became vegan or vegetarian that made you feel better, but the cleansing and detoxing that occurred in your body through the vegan/vegetarian diet, you cleanse from GMO, MSG, sugars, refined starches, it was not the meats, cheese and eggs that made you sick it was the bad meats, non-organic eggs and bad milk you consumed. Just like it took time to make you sick from bad proteins combined with bad starches, sooner or later you will get sick from to much cleansing, you will destroy your immune system and than you will blame vegan/vegetarianism that made you sick. Good luck, hope you find the perfect nutritional information.
  25. Jen
    Why does eating meat mean choosing "death" and eating plant is choosing "life"? Plants are alive, too. It's death either way but the latter just can't express anguish in being killed. We have both incisors and molars for a reason. because we are omnivores. Why can't we eat both? I mean since being on an LCHF diet, I have only moved from eating rice and pasta to eating vegetables. I found that I actually ate less food (both meat and veg) this way than having them with carb loaded food. In fact, I only have the need to eat twice a day and I can't even stand the taste of bread, sweets and flavoured drinks anymore. Getting rid of excess carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods has made my fibromyalgia and sinusitis much better in the space of a few months. I was at that state where my sinuses were blocked so much I would be near tears everyday due to frustration and this diet has helped a lot. LCHF does not mean all meat for those who argue, we just eat a lot of butter with our veg, which as I can recall, do not contain lactose (which is good because I'm lactose intolerant, thanks to the candida overgrowth I got because of switching to a western diet when I moved in with my hubby, amongst other health problems like gluten intolerance, chronic fatigue, mastitis, dizziness, anxiety and depression). :D

    Seriously people, arguing will get all of you nowhere. You can't make someone else change the way they eat just because you don't agree with it. Diet Doctor has not forced anyone to change their diet but simply gave us information. Go with it if you want but if you don't want to, then don't, most of us couldn't care less. Also, stop with all the "death" thing because at the end of the day, we are all animals and we need to eat something or another. Lions eat gazelles, zebras or whatever gets in their way... are you all going to preach them to eat vegetarian as well? There are people all over the world who don't eat meat because of either poverty or ethical reasons, but they're not as disease ridden as westerners and that is probably because of they don't eat all the crap manufacturers shove in practically EVERYTHING nowadays to make their products last longer. Then there's the exposure to pollution, genetically modified crops, unhealthy habits (smoking, drinking, sedentary lifestyle, etc), chemicals in "medicines" and formaldehyde in "vaccines" and a lot of factors that need to be taken into account as well. The point is, look after your own body the way you see fit, and once you're like 120 years old, boast about how awesome your diet is and how long you've lived compared to the rest of us. But don't go shoving your beliefs down people's throats and make sure to enjoy seeing how much crappier this world becomes in a 100 years time. THEN you can tell the rest of mankind that the way YOU eat is the right way. Okay?

  26. Gail
    The fact is, eating meat or other substances from animals, begins with suffering.
    Whether you acknowledge that or not.
    Or have no conscience.

    That maybe the problem - 'most of us couldn't care less,' - a pitiful sign of these times.

    Peace, Gail

  27. Galina L.
    I observed several people whose health suffered as the result of following a diet based on ideology, not nutrition values. My health got much worse when animal-based products were limited in my diet. It looks for me that declaring an unnatural for humans diet to be the only moral way to eat is a form of cruelty itself because it calls for a self-sacrifice . The normal way of life for humans involves eating animal flash. It is not the pitiful mark of modern times but a biological necessity.

    We could support the more sustain agriculture by spending our dollars(who can afford it) on grass-fed meats and pastured eggs and dairy products. Farm animals are essential for the health of agricultural soil and animal grazing is much environmentally friendly that crops-raising. Recently a person was describing how a vegetable waist was utilized by feeding it to farm animals, http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/page/2/, but a vegan who choose to comment, saw in it not an environmentally friendly practice, but only an animal cruelty.

  28. Olivia
    It is pretty difficult to know for sure what our ancestors ate. You should eat what helps you t feel healthy and strong, that is what common sense tells me. Sugary sweets make me feel good and then after about an hour I feel pretty bad. Some days a big helping of well-seasoned meat makes me feel good but then the next day all I want are rice and veggies, it varies from day to day. I mentioned having to season my meat because otherwise I personally hate the taste of meat. I have just read a history book on England in the year 1000 AD and it said the people then were actually quite strapping on a diet of wheat, barley, veggies, and limited meat. That is true for most healthy cultures, they didn't just eat one food group, they had solid foundation in grains with meat more as a limited serving, and they were not stunted. It is not all or nothing, but moderation, balance, and whole foods, but most importantly, healthy societies do not eat refined sugar products.
  29. Jeff G
    You vegans do realize that none of the plants you eat can grow without consuming animal by-products. Nitrogen, Phosphate, Potassium ... the basic materials that drive plant growth, are all animal by-products. In other words, you're still surviving because of the death of another living being.

    And, you do realize that in order to grow the plants you eat that large areas of natural ecosystem must be destroyed and converted to farmland. How is that being kind to the animals that used to live in that natural ecosystem?

    You can't say (with any degree of integrity) that a plant-based diet is more humane than an animal-based diet.

    Life cannot be sustained without the death of others. It's just the way it is.

    You may have other (I suppose, legitimate) reasons for being vegan. But, ethics is not a valid reason.

    I suggest you read The Vegetarian Myth

  30. Gail
  31. Marie
    Alisha, I gained weight on the McDougall way of eating, too. Sure, it may be anecdotal information, but it's MY information. Anyone can spout statistics and reports, but if I gained weight, all the data is really moot, isn't it?

    I'm no fan of paleo or low carb, but have to restrict my food in order to maintain a healthy, disease-free weight. I eat fruit, vegetables and whole grains and some fish, but all in restricted portions. (So much for the McDougall cry of "lose weight without going hungry" --- heck, I'm hungry all the time!)

  32. A (Mostly) Impartial Observer
    So much anecdotal "evidence" on all sides of this issue. So few facts. (Yes, your personal story can be factual, but it is rarely peer-reviewed.)

    Unfortunately, it's hard to decide what the truth of this matter is, because so many of the studies done are executed with the express purpose of convincing the other side that ideology A is correct, instead of trying to find out the truth. Most of these organizations have an agenda, and their studies will support that agenda, whether the science supports it or not.

    McDougall is a shill, but he might be right! At least for some people... And wrong for others. Vegans in videos are almost always super-skinny, so that tells you something... Probably that it's real hard to get your RDA on that diet, since the foods are generally not calorie-dense (especially compared to meat and donuts).

    I suggest you all stop bickering and spend that energy in useful ways - none of you appears ready to acknowledge that you really don't know much about this topic, so you're not changing anybody's mind.

  33. Wade Henderson
    I have not been following this thread but keep getting updates. Today I decided to read it.

    Some observations. Posts like the impartial observer keep pointing out the extreme versions of that way of eating---- vegan.
    As you look around the world, there are very few vegans.
    Rather the more appropriate of that direction of eating are like Okinawa, South East Asia in the more traditional areas as opposed to the more modern cities.
    I can assure you from my time living there that hundreds of millions eat a relatively lower fat, and higher carb diet without missing out any of the RDA requirement.

    It works for them. Why does everyone fight that fact.
    McDougall and his type carry that message to the extreme. To absurd levels, avoiding even weak chicken broth.
    No one in Asia eats like that.

    But that is not a direct message to run completely to the other side of the ship.
    You can, and it may work better for many, however hundreds of millions live healthy lives eating a diet that has been in place in Asia for centuries and doing quite well.

    There is something in the human condition that leads people to push towards the extremes.
    Not enough to lower animal fat, you must eliminate it.
    Not enough to lower carbs, you must slam them down under 50 or 100 grams.
    It is really comical advice for the vast majority of the population who can do quite well with out heading to one extreme or the other.

    People become very crazy about diet. Cranking through pre-history to see what some people were supposedly doing 10,000 years ago..... as though billions of people haven't been healthy since then. Laughable.

    Reply: #134
  34. A (Mostly) Impartial Observer
    Well said, Wade! But that kind of reason is not welcome in the extremist crowds.
  35. Bobbie James
    All of Dr. McDougall's articles are highly sourced from peer-reviewed scientific journals. If you pick up his book about the starched based diet, you will find source after source.
    This article above looks quite biased, as the evidence shows there were people in "Paleo times" eating cooked tubers and some even had grain production. The diets were varied and the diets depended on where they lived.
    There are countless studies now showing how cholesterol and saturated fat clog arteries, and when people with clogged arteries, many who have had heart attacks, change to a starch based diet, their arteries actually open back up.
    Your Paleo people are probably healthier than the average person due to lower chemicals and more vegetables, but their cholesterol rates are most likely still too high. A total cholesterol rate of 150 or lower is needed to be considered safe against heart attacks. Yet most doctors will allow total cholesterol up to 200 and call that safe. Some of the slimmer Paleo people could be walking time bombs with clogged arteries from all the saturated fats and cholesterol.
    I have been vegan for 5 years now due to ethics, but have a total cholesterol of 120, and am the same height and weight as in high school, 115. I am 5' 4-1/2 and I am 57 years old. That would be quite difficult if I ate meat and cheese, as I am one of those people who puts food in my mouth at least 5 times a day! I am quite thankful that I have learned about nutrition from doctors such as McDougall, Barnard, Esselstyn, Campbell, Klapper, etc.
    The people who get their information from Weston A. Price foundation should take a look at their sources, such as Denise Minger who is so wrong in her calculations and had no background in science when she wrote her book. The Weston A. Price foundation advocates people drink raw milk and cream, feed raw milk and organ meat to babies (can you say brain damage?), and consistently attacks vegetarianism and veganism with faulty evidence.
    There are many vegans who have been vegan for life, and we know what to eat and to get our B12. Since most of you eat factory farmed animals, you should know that your B12 comes from additives to the cow's food and is absorbed and you get that B12 second-hand depending on how much B12 the cow absorbs. Most of us vegans get our B12 from nutritional yeast and know how much we are getting. I think we should ask of meat eaters, "Do you know if you get enough B12?" We get Omega 3 from flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts and canola oil (I use fresh ground flax seeds and walnuts). No need for dirty, mercury laden, high saturated fat and cholesterol filled fish.
    Enough for now.
  36. Barbara Noon
    This is my debunking of Lierre, based heavily on an article (even copying certain parts) thatI will post at the end. I also use my opinion and facts I have looked up. If you thought her book was great, please read this!

    First, Lierre talks about big brains being attributed to eating meat, but even though that is all over the Internet, I researched brain growth coming from a mutation and all sorts of rewiring and thus growth of the brain. I don't know which is true for sure, but people back in the times they cooked meat also ate cooked tubers and grains, and the amounts depended upon where they lived. Also, they do not have evidence of fire pits when the brains started growing! So it is not proven - at least in my mind.

    Lierre has almost no research, and she gets her "facts" from the Weston A. Price Foundation, with their overweight leader, a woman who has taken over and offers very dangerous advice such as eating minerals by eating clay (too many minerals may lead to Alzheimers) and drinking raw milk and feeding it to babies and giving them organ meats (brain damage). (Price died a long time ago but actually said a vegetarian diet was healthy.)

    Lierre says things like "the archeological evidence is incontrovertible" when she does not back that up with any evidence!

    Dairy is an agriculture based food, and she mixes it up with a hunter-gatherer food. The Paleo diet allows dairy in creams and with raw milk, but both are really bad for a person.

    She believes fat is needed to absorb nutrients, and thinks polyunsaturated fat is low fat! She thinks there is a dietary need for cholesterol. Cholesterol is made by the body – I believe by the liver, but I am not sure. There is no need for saturated fat or cholesterol. There are only two essential fatty acids required by humans – unsaturated fats found in plant foods.

    Fat intake has increased in the world and she says it has dropped. It’s at 33% of the calories of the average American diet.

    As far as environmentally, I have debunked any of the environmental articles out there that claim raising animals on grass land is better than raising crops for food for humans. They all base their “evidence” on one paper and write papers off of that idea. Basically, they claim more animals are killed by harvesting crops than with raising cattle, but they include mice killed in and around silos who are poisoned by farmers – and there are other ways of deterring those animals without poisoning them. Seal the dang silos up at the base! As far as harvesting, people in our area raise their blades to avoid killing anything when they harvest corn and wait until after quails have finished raising their young. Also, they fudge data by putting cows side by side and claiming you get more meat per some square footage amount than you get in weight of grain. Of course! That’s why they measured in poundage! Cows need 2 acres each to graze, so this side by side comparison and comparison by weight is the only way they could come up with to try to make meat look better.

    (For the person who put that grain takes up so much room to grow that it is bad, it is still much better for land and the environment than raising meat, and our problem is actually the high population that is still growing, and it should be addressed world wide, but it is not due to power and mainly due to religion.)

    Lierre talks about Polyface farming, but does not mention that there are more calories needed in feed for chickens than is produced in food.

    She talks about the need for animal fertilizer, but does not know there are leguminous cover crops to fix soil nitrogen.

    E-coli comes from not only grain fed cattle but grass fed cattle. Most people don’t know that.

    She bases a lot on her own desire for meat and her food cravings, but she is wrong and all people are wrong who write that they immediately feel better when they take a bite of meat. It takes awhile for the meat to be absorbed. The authors where I got my information claim Lierre is sincere and thinks she is helping people – she is just totally wrong!

    She sounds like she has food issues. In short, there is nothing to support her claim.

    She talks about eating disorders and claims being vegan or vegetarian can lead to them. There are a few girls who will say they are vegan or use it to mask their behaviors, but there really is no connection between the two. I used to have an eating disorder, about 28 years ago, and I can tell you that there is a huge difference between being ashamed of yourself and being proud of yourself!

    Lierre claims soy reduces testosterone, but there is no evidence for that. She claims soy formula causes early puberty, but again, there is no evidence for that. (She probably got that from Weston Price Foundation because they bash soy constantly and bash vegetarians.) Actually, the medical evidence says the chemicals in milk and animal protein cause early puberty.

    Soy protein will not give men boobs. That is a rumor from people who do not understand phytoestrogens (plant estrogens). "For men and boys, the phytoestrogens in soy do not appear to have any effect on hormone levels and have not been shown to affect sexual development or fertility. Research studies show that men consuming soy have less prostate cancer and better prostate cancer survival." PCRM.org

    Lierre claims Mark Messina claims Japanese eat one tablespoon of soy a day. The author of the article above is married to Mark Messina and he says and has written in his 2006 study that they eat or drink 1 1/2 servings of soy a day.

  37. Claire
    I have to say something in response to all the "vegans are healthier" bigots out there. I am about to turn 40 years old (in 2 months) and of that 40 years I spent of 17 of them without meat, 8 years of that being vegan. (8 years vegan and another 9 vegetarian). When I was vegan I came close to death from b12 deficiency that while killing me left me incredibly lethargic and constantly ill.

    I was also at that time about 180kg *dress size Australian 24 - 26) and suffering from disabling bipolar disorder.

    10 years ago I became a "pescatarian", started the regular consumption of seafood, this seemed to be the start of my health recovery. I also soon after that worked as a cook for a vegetarian restaurant, I mostly ate at work, and was therefore nearly completely vegetarian (with rare additions of fish). Then 5 years ago I started eating a bit of meat, looking back this was the time when I also started to recover from my mental health problems.

    18 months ago I went LCHF paleo, I was still mentally ill and 180kg.

    After only 18 months of this new regime I am 90kg (I am a 6' tall woman, dress size - Australian 16, not fat by any definitions although I am still a little overweight) and no longer have mental health symptoms. I hesitate to say it because I will not be believed but I would consider myself to have recovered from bipolar. I lost 90 kg in the first 9 months on paleo and have kept if off since.

    Sorry for the chain of consciousness but it's hard to explain it all.

    In essence, after most of my life without meat I went LCHF paleo and lost 90kg in 9 months and heald an incurable mental health problem. A vego/vegan diet made me fat and crazy, a high animal fat low carb paleo diet (pretty much the opposite) healed those problems.

    BTW, I eat more vegetables now than I did when I was a "starchatarian"

  38. Farmer
    Dan's comment about the cornered animal is right on target IMO. Compare this cornered animal with doctors (yes, they are DOCTORS LOL!) who look to all of the latest research with open and curious minds, and are able to modify their approach as new information comes to light. They are not cornered animals having to be viscious and defend themselves, but are free to move amongst their peers in the spirit of healthy discussion and study, and with mutual respect. I have heard this person say disparaging, untrue remarks about Dr. Atkins, for example, specifically about his death, and misrepresenting his dietary approach. Then, that infantile movie he made, showing people he sees as threateniing to his status quo in their worst light, and at the worst camera angles. Add to that his misrepresentation of those who do not sit in the pews before his pulpit and dare interpret the medical literature to a different tune. Sheesh, I have totally lost respect for him. Forget what he believes and stands for. It's the character that takes me aback.

    I am "mostly vegan" and get my fat from nuts and avocados. I do believe in the health benefits of fat, thanks to current literature and Perlmutter's work, and avoid wheat thank you Wheat Belly, but cannot contribute to the cruelty and slaughter of animals. The eggs I do eat come from my well-cared-for chickens who free range and are given all organic supplementary feed and loving care. So, vegan-leaning though I am, I do not blindly follow anyone just because they are vegan, but do look to those smarter than me for guidance and interpretation of the facts. Just MHO.

  39. Carol
    I transitioned from SAD to plant-based whole foods with occasional meat and occasional favorite chipsd in 1987. This was a great improvement for me. I further cleaned up my diet 10 years ago and followed a careful high-quality fresh veg and fruit no meat low fat dairy, essentially clean vegetarian whole grain diet. I was hungry all the time, gained weight, blood lipids hit the roof, and glucose inching toward type two. Now on LCHF I am healed. The numbers don't lie. Maybe it's not one diet fits all. When younger I could stay thin on any diet, but that no longer works for me. I am healthy and thin on LCHF now. Both of my parents were obese. Their diet was food pyramid.
  40. Chris
    The more I read, and research, the more I'm convinced that a whole foods, balanced diet is best - this means one that includes both meat, fat, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. I do not think carbs are bad, just refined, processed carbs. If we simply would stay away from processed junk, and cook real food, we'd likely see no disease. I also find it interesting that as human beings, a higher fat diet seems ideal for optimal health. I think those who are scared of fat may be doing harm to themselves, while thinking they are making a healthy choice.

    I'm not against vegans, however, I've seen too many accounts of people who end up having issues in the long run, or have to supplement like crazy to really make it work long term.

  41. Carolyn
    I fully support Dr Mcdougall here. Let me just start off by saying that Dr McDougall has helped me open my eyes to 'real' nutrition, the lies that the meat and dairy industry are feeding everyone and has helped me to lose weight, gain health and more importantly he has provided me and thousands of others about TRUE nutrition.
    The consumption of meat does the human NO GOOD. Apart from the B12 issue that everyone seems to be so concerned about but it's been proven that even people that eat meat on a regular basis suffer from B12 deficiency so it's not just vegans or vegetarians that suffer from lack of B12, it's meat-eaters also. What have we to gain from consuming meat and dairy products that plants can offer, apart from fat, cholesterol and diseases? Meat contains NO fiber, NO vitamins or minerals (asides from B12) and tastes disgusting without the addition of flavoring, cooking, fatty sauces and condiments. People just want to hear good things about their BAD HABITS. I have to say though that I do not entirely blame people for this. The multi-million dollar meat and dairy industry have EVERYTHING to lose if people were exposed to this truth, the truth that doctors such as Dr McDougall are speaking of. If everyone switched to veganism, everything would be different. No more animals getting killed and raped every second just so people can have their hamburgers and steak, no more fuelling of the drug industry as people would be thriving on plant foods, as meat and dairy consumption is the number one cause of diseases such as heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer, high blood pressure etc. Elimination of meat and dairy is going to benefit not just us humans but on the animals, environment. EVERYTHING. Why do people not seem to get that?
    Every dollar we spend as consumers on products we buy everyday, is a vote. Are you going to vote for death, obesity, disease and destruction? Or health, ethical living free from disease and destruction?
    I am SO sick of hearing that carbohydrates makes people fat. I am an Asian (Korean) and to say that white rice causes weight gain is just ridiculous. It is FAT that makes people fat, not carbohydrates. It is very inefficient to convert fat into glucose to be used as fuel by our bodies. Therefore, it gets stored STRAIGHT INTO OUR BODIES. If you disect your body, you can actually tell what kind of fats you have been eating, whether its pigs, cows, fishes etc. Carbohydrates on the other hand is very inefficient to be stored as fat. If we do consume excess carbs (more than our body requires) it gets stored invisibly in our muscles as glycogen. If they are not burned off, they are burned off as heat (dietary thermogenesis) or through everyday activities such as breathing, walking to places, thinking etc.
    Why can't everyone see that it is the FAT making people fat, not Carbs. DO NOT BLAME THE CARBS.
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