It’s not often that a group of qualified, credible scientists and researchers goes public with a rebuke of the veganism-for-all proselyting. But take heart: That happy event is here!
Are you familiar with the Nutrition Coalition? If not, make the acquaintance of the researchers and scientists who formed that organization to provide a credible response to the relentless drumbeat of vegetarianism-for-all as the preferred dietary pathway for the health of humanity and the survival of the planet.
Not that there’s anything wrong with choosing a vegetarian diet, but its positioning by Vegan Nation’s most ardent disciples as the ONLY worthy diet is often tainted by a lack of solid science to back up its claims of nutritional superiority.
To that end, the Nutrition Coalition recently posted an analysis of the recent EAT-Lancet report, which received global media coverage of its conclusion that vegan/vegetarian diets (read, “anti-meat diets”) are the solution to chronic disease and of course, implying that governments should institute a “meat tax” to discourage consumption of animal foods.
There are a host of problems with the EAT-Lancet report, as the Nutrition Coalition members elegantly and pointedly noted, including:
- The Lancet commission is biased. As detailed by the coalition, EAT-Lancet was launched by corporate food processing corporations with interests in marketing vegetarian products, including Mars, Nestle and Kellogg’s. The report claims that the only way to save the planet is to drastically reduce red meat consumption and replace it with grains, soy protein and rice, along with — and this is a quote from the coalition’s critique — “8 teaspoons of sugar per day and 14% of calories as vegetable oils.”
- The group’s recommended diet is unbalanced. The coalition noted that the EAT diet “is demonstrably deficient in essential nutrients, as well as low in complete proteins.”
- The science they offer is seriously lacking. To quote the coalition, The EAT-Lancet diet is supported by “virtually no human clinical trials showing that it can either sustain healthy human life or protect against nutrition-related diseases.”
Perhaps worst of all, media coverage of the EAT-Lancet commission portrayed the group as some 37 highly qualified scientists from all over the world. Not true.
To quote from the coalition’s analysis, “In reality, the authors represented a very narrow range of opinions: 31 out of the 37 (commissioners) had established, published records as being in favor of vegetarian/vegan or anti-meat diets.”
That’s a pretty solid majority and reveals what’s really going on with this so-called “objective” report.
The media have presented the commission as if the members were randomly selected, based purely on their scientific credentials Instead, as the coalition’s analysis explained, “This group was one-sided from the start. Instead of grappling with the very real scientific controversies that exist on these [nutritional] topics, the group considered virtually none of the science that contradicts their views.”
Not only that, the EAT-Lancet report was not subjected to the most fundamental part of the process of ensuring scientific credibility: peer review. Instead, the authors of the report literally reviewed themselves.
Serious nutritional deficits
There’s more in the Nutrition Coalition’s rebuttal about the bias of the EAT Lancet commission. But the underlying problem with an obsession with veggie/vegan diets is that for all but the most dedicated of consumers willing (and able) to embrace highly sophisticated selection of foods, they’re nutritionally problematic.
For example: According to UK researcher Zoe Harcombe, Ph.D., who analyzed the EAT-Lancet diet, it fails to provide adequate nutrition, specifically providing:
- Only 17% of retinol (vitamin A) needed for eye health
- Only 5% of vitamin D requirements
- Only 22% of sodium, 67% of potassium, 55% of calcium and 88% of necessary dietary iron
The EAT Lancet diet is also deficient in vitamin B12, which can only be obtained from animal foods. Even worse, most of these nutrients are less bioavailable when consumed from plant sources, rather than animal sources.
I can’t provide the perfect response that effectively squelches all the anti-meat-eating messaging of the activist vegetarian community, but the rebuttal to this one biased that was expertly prepared by the Nutrition Coalition is a pretty darn good start toward that end.
Here's the Nutrition Coalition's Complete response to the Eat Lancet report.
The opinions in this commentary are those of Dan Murphy, a veteran journalist and commentator.