My previous post got one of the lowest rankings ever. It was a perfect storm of crappiness. Some people objected to the validity of the study I mentioned, others bristled at the suggestion of any kind of control on what they eat. Some folks pointed out that if vegans had demonstrably lower health risks, there would already be special low-cost insurance for that group.

This got me wondering if vegetarians actually have fewer chronic diseases. So I put the question to you. Do you personally know anyone who has been a vegetarian for over twenty years and then got diabetes or heart disease or cancer?

For this purpose I will lump vegetarians (who eat some dairy) with vegans who don't. And remember to include only people you know personally; no celebrities and friends of friends.

Let me acknowledge that this will prove nothing. Personally, I don't know any vegetarian who has ever died, but that probably doesn't prove they are immortal. I just wonder if you collectively know plenty of vegetarians who are dropping dead from diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. Obviously you know plenty of non-vegetarians with all of those problems.
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-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 13, 2009
I frankly hate what I call "The Vegetarian Mafia"! and their preposterous preaching about the glory of Vegetarianism and the tut-tutyness of meat eating. Anyway, that apart -- it is true (in my humble opinion) that getting adequate protein in your diet is that much more difficult for a vegetarian, who obviously has less choice from a person having a balanced diet.

Also ----- excessive carbohydrates in your diet do result in higher chances of Diabetes and heart disease

just saw this post on my phone -- regret the late response

Aug 11, 2009
lol seeing Google adds about hamburgers, I'm glad in not vegetarian...
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 5, 2009
My wife has been a vegetarian for about 20 years... she was sick enough to choose me as a husband
Aug 5, 2009
Scott, I have decided to add to this mele. Yes. My father-in-law has been a militant vegetarian for over 40 years. He became a vegan about 5 or 6 years ago. He is 60 now, severely overweight and has lost one leg to diabetes 3 years ago. While diabetes is a problem in his family, heart disease is not. I have a theory that had he eaten some meat, eggs and cheese he probably would have had a more balanced diet than subsisting on bread and pasta with a sprinkling of soy based foods.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 3, 2009
Steve Jobs. Long time vegetarian, recently fighting ppancreatic cancer.

Diet is like anything... moderation in all things. Eat healthy, get some regular exercise, don't do stupid things to your body like smoke, drugs or drink heavily... and you are likely to reap the rewards of improved health. But not a guarantee. No need to take things to the extreme, no need to be militant and try and force everyone to see things your way... moderation & balance is the key.
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 3, 2009
I sure have known a lot of vegetarians with anemia. Can't imagine that's any sort of long-term healthy. Plus vegans are smug and annoying. That's gotta increase their risk of being victims of violent crime.
Aug 2, 2009
A good friend of mine has been a vegetarian for at least 20 years and she looks GREAT. She is the whole package though...she works out regularly and has a positive mental outlook. I think to maintain good health these days, it's all these things. My DH was vegetarian for several years but got really ill with cancer. I think it was he ate mostly starches (like the poster above whose co-worker ate fries all the time). We now eat a basic diet involving all food groups with an emphasis on fresh fruit and veggies (minimal red meat/pork though) and that seems to be working to maintain our health. I started the Rosedale Diet about 6 weeks ago and have had very good results. It's a low carbo diet like South Beach and I'm really happy with it. I lost 8 pounds right away and feel more energetic.

Everyone should definitely see that movie, Food Inc.!

+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 2, 2009
My sister was a vegetarian. And she's still alive! Imagine that!

I had to listen to the weekly "Why do you eat meat?!", "Meat kills animals!", "If God had wanted you to eat meat, he wouldn't have invented plants!"


One morning, I'm grilling up a big 'ole batch of smokey bacon, and who comes downstairs? "Great," I thought, "Now the lectures about killing pigs will begin."

SHE sits down, and says, "Wow! What smells so good?!"

I said, "Bacon."

She says, "Can I have some?"

I handed a plate over on the spot!

You see? Bacon can cure the World's ills.

Now, if we can only get the Muslims to eat some.....
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 1, 2009
"In many respects — and going against the grain of a number of the medical establishment’s accepted notions about diabetics and protein — protein will become the most important part of your diet if you are going to control blood sugars, just as it was for our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

"The advent of our agricultural society is comparatively recent in evolutionary terms — that is, it began only about 10,000 years ago. For the millions of years that preceded the constant availability of grain and the more recent year-round availability of a variety of fruits and vegetables, our ancestors were hunters and ate what was available to them in the immediate environment, primarily meat, fish, some fowl, reptiles, and insects — food that was present year-round, and predominantly protein and fat. In warm weather, some may have eaten fruits, nuts, and berries that were available locally in some regions and not deliberately bred for sweetness (agriculture didn’t exist). If they stored fat in their bodies during warm periods, much of that fat was burned up during the winter.

"If you are a long-standing diabetic and are frustrated with the care you’ve received over the years, you have probably been conditioned to think that protein is more of a poison than sugar and is the cause of kidney disease. I was conditioned the same way — many years ago, as I mentioned, I had laboratory evidence of advanced proteinuria, signifying potentially fatal kidney disease — but in this case, the conventional wisdom is just a myth.

"Nondiabetics who eat a lot of protein don’t get diabetic kidney disease. Diabetics with normal blood sugars don’t get diabetic kidney disease. High levels of dietary protein do not cause kidney disease in diabetics or anyone else. There is no higher incidence of kidney disease in the cattle-growing states of the United States, where many people eat beef at virtually every meal, than there is in the states where beef is more expensive and consumed to a much lesser degree. Similarly, the incidence of kidney disease in vegetarians is the same as the incidence of kidney disease in nonvegetarians. It is the high blood sugar levels that are unique to diabetes, and to a much lesser degree the high levels of insulin required to cover high carbohydrate consumption (causing hypertension), that cause the complications associated with diabetes.

"Call it the Big Fat Lie. Fat has, through no real fault of its own, become the great demon of the American dietary scene. It is no myth that more than half of Americans are overweight, and the number of obese Americans is growing.

"Current dietary recommendations from the government, and nearly every “reputable” organization with an opinion, are to eat no more than 35 percent of calories as fat — which very few people can maintain — and there are some recommendations for even lower percentages than that. The low-fat mania in our culture has spawned an increase in sugar intake. All a candy or cookie has needed is the label “fat free” to send its sales through the roof. The fallacy that eating fat will make you fat is about as scientifically logical as saying that eating tomatoes will turn you red.

"This is the kind of fallacious thinking behind the prevailing “wisdom,” which maintains that there is an unavoidable link between dietary fat and high serum cholesterol. And that if you want to lose weight and reduce cholesterol, all you need to do is eat lots of carbohydrate, limit consumption of meat, and cut out fat as much as possible. But many contemporary researchers exploring this phenomenon have begun to arrive at the conclusion that a high-carbohydrate diet, especially rich in fruit and grain products, is not so benign. In fact, it has "been shown — and it is my own observation in myself and in my patients — that such a diet can increase body weight, increase blood insulin levels, and raise most cardiac risk factors.

"In an unbiased, clearheaded, and award-winning article in the respected journal Science of March 30, 2001, the science writer Gary Taubes explores what he calls “The Soft Science of Dietary Fat.” (A link to the full text of this article is available at www.diabetes-book.com [http://www.diabetes-book.com].) Taubes cites the failure of the antifat crusade to improve the health of Americans:

"Since the early 1970s, for instance, Americans’ average fat intake has dropped from over 40% of total calories to 34%; average serum cholesterol levels have dropped as well. . . .

"Meanwhile, obesity in America, which remained constant from the early 1960s through 1980, has surged upward since then — from 14% of the population to over 22%. Diabetes has increased apace. Both obesity and diabetes increase heart disease risk, which could explain why heart disease incidence is not decreasing. That this obesity epidemic occurred just as the government began bombarding Americans with the low-fat message suggests the possibility . . . that low-fat diets might have unintended consequences — among them, weight gain. “Most of us would have predicted that if we can get the population to change its fat intake, with its dense calories,* we would see a reduction in weight,” admits [Bill] Harlan [of the NIH]. “Instead, we see the exact opposite.

"The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data in the year 2004 indicating that 66.4 percent of U.S. adults were overweight and 32.2 percent were obese. Furthermore, the incidence of overweight in children and adolescents aged 2–19 years increased from 11 percent to 19 percent in the period 1988–94 through 2003–04. These statistics are occurring even though people are eating less fat.", [Richard K. Bernstein, Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution]
Jul 31, 2009
I live in the mid-west. Not only do I not know any vegetarians that have been so for 20 years, I don't know one vegetarian. Even my Indian co-workers eat chicken in the US. I've never met a vegan.

Maybe living in the BBQ capitol of the world means I'm not long for this world!!! ;) My 90-year-old family members, raised on fresh beef, chicken, pork, and turkey would beg to differ.

Along those lines, I think it's probably more about the chemicals we induce from meat today that kills us. That stuff wasn't around 100 years ago.
Jul 31, 2009
ah... so links are not allowed, i just thought a lot of cursing was going on. bbc's website :) you can search for it.
Jul 31, 2009
@bound4doom, this does not !$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*! guy apparently felt a little weaker, as for the remaining 11?

"Well, luckily for them, the results were inconclusive.... Vegetarians can for now ignore the taunts and stay true to their beliefs."

I don't think any drastic alteration to diet is wisely applied overnight. The human "biome" takes time to adjust.
Jul 31, 2009
I forgot when I commented earlier, Dr. Oz has a TV show called "The Truth About Food" he did a study one time on the show where 2 groups of women athletes were tested I think it was 6 per group. Group 1 were all vegetarians and they agreed to eat meet for 3 months, the others were meat eaters and agreed to abstain from meat for 3 months. Their performance and benchmarks were set and evaluated in strength and endurance. All meat eaters turned vegan had measurable performance decreases and generally felt crappy. 4 of the 6 vegans who ate meat had measurable performance gains. the other 2 remained the same or no noticeable increases.
Jul 31, 2009
Linda McCartney. She and her husband Paul were plant eaters when they got married in the early 70's and she died in the late 90's.
Breast cancer.

There are always exceptions.
Jul 31, 2009
Each individual is unique, with genetic predispositions for certain health related issues. It doesn't really make that much difference in their life styles, the potentional for illness is there.
Some people smoke and have no adverse effects, other come in contact with limited amouts of 2nd hand smoke and suffer from lung cancer.
Each person much make individual choices of their diets and life style based on their specific requirements.
What may be the best thing for person "A" may have limited impact on someone else

Thoughts for the day
Life is a carcinogen
Living can be hazardous to your health
Jul 31, 2009
Hardcoder: perhaps, being an Aussie, your experience with snow is less than mine, but as any Canadian can tell you, eating snow only makes you thirstier :)

However, I agree with you on dairy. While I can't give up my cheese entirely, and really, what's coffee without a little cream? I think many of us will remember the dairy expose from a while back, when it was revealed that the sacred food guides were produced by the dairy farmers, and that we were being told we needed far more dairy than we actually need to be healthy.

Flipping back to the other side for a minute, I would say that humans wouldn't have gotten very far, evolutionarily speaking, if we hadn't adapted to using the life around us to further ourselves. Meaning, it doesn't matter if we live off the milk of another species, or the meat of it, so long as we continue to survive and hopefully improve along the way.

In general terms, I think many of us could experience improved health via a change in diet. I've tried a number of things, and for me, the biggest improvements came from almost completely cutting out dairy and starches, dramatically increasing my fruit and vegetable intake, stopping pork altogether (which was hard, so thank you bad Chinese buffet for the memories that keep me away) and having small amounts of chicken and fish daily and a small amount of red meat every week. Without a little red meat, I find I become weak and listless. Since I started eating this way, I developed clearer thinking, more energy and I stopped catching every bug that came around.

For someone else, a better diet could have more red meat and fewer veggies, or no meat at all. I just don't believe in one-size-fits all solutions, be they for food, energy, global warming, cell phones or sports bras.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 31, 2009
Humans evolved as omnivores. I think the real problem is that we don't eat enough of a variety of foods - we eat the same things each week and far too much of everything especially red meat.

I think vegetarians might be healthier because:

They are forced to learn about nutrition
They have to monitor what they eat to make sure they are getting enough
Fruit and Vegetables are "bulky" so they eat less
They eat more raw foods
They have to eat a wider variety of foods
Most "junk" fried foods aren't available to them.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 31, 2009
My mother's friend from church died from cancer after being a strict vegetarian of 20 years.
Jul 31, 2009
Oh yeah, and I knew another vegetarian who often ate nothing but french fries for lunch. She went back to eating meat after feeling "unhealthy" :)
Jul 31, 2009
I am vegan, but don't believe a vegan diet is necessitated for health reasons (but sure, it has benefits). And I don't believe all animal protein intake is equal.

I quite strongly believe (and it's a *belief*) that my type I diabetes was _triggered_ from milk intake (diabetes has a genetic predisposition, but an environmental trigger). As a (non-vegetarian) kid, I never really enjoyed milk on its own, but I consumed copious amounts of cheese, ice-cream and ate cereal growing up. One winter on a ski trip, I started microwaving my Weetbix (an Australian shredded wheat cereal) with milk to warm me up. Next thing I know, I'm eating snow to quench my thirst, and looking for the toilet every few hours... Nothing had really changed in my diet, except increased intake of "nuked" cereal & milk. I'm not sure if this affects the milk protein or not, but it seems it was a pretty clear point in time where it seems like something was enough to push my body over the edge. These symptoms were early ones, and not enough for me to identify anything was wrong. After that trip, symptoms were temporarily eased, before worsening and being properly diagnosed months later.

There are some studies suggesting that milk intake has a relation to diabetes.

I also think our society has a hard heart, and I don't know why people get so up tight about this. I started looking into vegetarianism for health reasons (as a diabetic, diet becomes very interesting...). These are selfish reasons. As you look into it further, you understand the environmental reasons are strong. And is it really so wrong to show compassion towards other living creatures? These are *selfless reasons*.

My favorite experiment is to suggest to my pregnant couple friends to make coffee from human milk... or cheese... or ice cream. People invariably screw up their face and say "gross!". But isn't it weird that it's not gross with the milk that comes from the udder of a completely different species? :) No species on the planet has evolved *needing* the milk of another species - it wouldn't get very far on the evolutionary chain!
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