I chose in 1972 to go into farming rather than Medicine, and the reason was to explore the true science of Nutrition.
I learned the hard way, by making lots of mistakes, but I was working in fertile ground (Minnesota) if in a hostile climate (near the Mayo Clinic where my father had worked).
I learned that beans, grains and vegetables can be a wonderful source of balanced nutrition. I read "Diet and Nutrition" still a classic, by Dr. Rudolph Ballentine. Most importantly, I stayed healthy, got stronger and stronger, got married, and had a son.
Now I am retired from farming, in the Pacific Northwest. I teach nutrition and foods via hands on classes called The Healthy Gourmet. I volunteer as an instructor at the local Coronary Health Improvement Project. My wife is now retired from her work as a medical social worker, and we work together. Our son is grown and is an accountant with an international data-storage company. Life is good.
Non of us are overweight. I am 55, 5'10 and 159. Ruth is 52 5'6 and 122. Sam is 5'10 and 148. We ski, we windsurf, we hike, and we travel a lot. We do take supplements, the pharmaceutical grade but natural variety, which come with a guarantee. Ruth has a figure that most 17 year olds would envy, and I still have all my hair, though it is not all light brown any more! We have eaten "flexitarian" most of our lives, but our best period of health ever has come now that we have given up all dairy products. We do not eat beef, pork, or chicken, but will have wild game once or twice per year, and we do include wild-caught seafood several times per week. I was never a hunter, but always a fisherman.
When we teach, we tell the truth because we are living proof. We teach how to do what we do, which is eat low on the food chain, economically, so we consume fewer resources and can travel internationally with a clear conscience, that we are now part of the solution, instead of being part of the problem.
You say that any attempt to consume recommended amounts of protein a day means "you're on a very high-carb diet and on a fast-track to obesity and chronic diseases." Simply not true. In study after study, vegans are found to be more likely in the "normal" weight range than meat eaters. In fact, I've never met an obese vegan, except for those still bringing down their weight from years of being meat eaters. It's also strange that you'd imply veganism causes diabetes when adopting a vegan diet has been shown in studies not only to stop the progress of Type 2 diabetes but to reverse its effects. Please give any citations of studies showing that plant-based diets are more likely to lead to diabetes, colon cancer, heart disease or similar serious ailments.
Then you say that people eating low on the food chain "aren't necessarily consuming fewer earthly resources" than meat eaters because grain crops "exact a big toll on the earth." Say what? So people who eat grains don't "necessarily" consume fewer earthly resources than people who not only eat grains but also eat livestock raised on grain? Since half of the grain in America is used for cattle feed, that logic makes no sense. Converting plant protein into meat protein is a huge burden for the Earth, for all of the reasons you mention, with the added problems of animal waste polluting rivers and underground aquifers, not to mention all of the antibiotics and other chemicals used on the animals, the added fuel used to transport the cattle, the huge water needs, etc.
John Robbins says it all in this missive: "...the article you printed warning against soy products betrays that trust. Actually, it wasn't an article, it was a diatribe. Under the guise of warning people, and pretending to be a voice of caution, it spreads fears that are unwarranted, exaggerated, and fictitious. Young mothers don't have the time to investigate the credibility and balance of the articles you print. They trust you to do that for them. In this case, you failed them big time.
I have no association to the soy industry, but I do have a strong dedication to people having accurate information about foods. It is difficult in a short letter to respond to seven pages of biased material, particularly when each page is crowded with half-truths, statements taken out of context, and conclusions drawn inappropriately from data.
The article's author, Kaayla Daniel, repeatedly says that people of China, Japan and other countries in Asia eat very little soy, so there is no historical precedent for eating the amounts being recommended by people like Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Christiane Northrup. This is a misleading half truth. It is true that in parts of Asia, most notably China, soy consumption has been low. But Asia is a very large area with several billion people.
What's important is not the average soy consumption for the whole of Asia, but the soy consumption in those parts of Asia which demonstrate the highest levels of human health. And there is no question about where that is. The elder population of Okinawa (a prefecture of Japan) have the best health and greatest longevity on the planet.
This is important because the highest soy consumption in the world is in Okinawa. Many North Americans know of Okinawa only for being the site of one of the longest and bloodiest battles of World War II, and for now housing U.S. military bases. But the people of Okinawa have repeatedly been shown to be the healthiest and longest-lived people in the world. This has been demonstrated conclusively by the renowned Okinawa Centenarian Study, a 25-year study sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Health.
How much soy have the elder Okinawans eaten throughout their lives? The Okinawa Centenarian Study included an extremely thorough analysis of food consumption in the prefecture. The principle investigators and authors of the study (Makoto Suzuki, M.D., Bradley J. Willcox, M.D., and D. Craig Willcox, Ph.D.) state: "Okinawan elders eat an average of two servings of flavonoid-rich soy products per day."
This is about 20 times more than the amount of soy Kaayla Daniel claims "Asians really eat." When she says "there is no historical precedent for eating the large amounts of soy food now being consumed," she is incorrect. Soy makes up twelve percent of the diet of Okinawan elders.
The authors of the Okinawan Centenarian Study analyzed the diet and health profiles of Okinawan elders and compared them to other elder populations throughout the world. They conclude that high soy consumption is one of the main reasons that Okinawans are at extremely low risk for hormone-dependent cancers, including cancers of the breast, prostate, ovaries, and colon. Compared to North Americans, they have a staggering 80 percent less breast cancer and prostate cancer, and less than half the ovarian cancer and colon cancer.
This enormously reduced cancer risk arises in part, the study's authors say, from the Okinawans large consumption of isoflavones from soy. This is an important finding. The lowest cancer rates in the industrialized world are found in the Okinawans who consume the most soy.
Other studies have confirmed the link between soy consumption and reduced cancer risk. The Japan Public Health Center Study found the lowest breast cancer rates in those prefectures where women ate the most soy products. And a recent study published in the British medical journal Lancet showed that women who ate the most flavonoids (mostly isoflavones from soy products) had a substantially lower risk for breast cancer than those who had lower flavonoid intake.
The reason the ardently pro-pharmaceutical FDA wound up affirming that soybeans are a food that can prevent and even help cure disease was not, as Kaayla Daniel says, because the agency is in bed with the soy industry, but because the evidence was so convincing. The reason the FDA now allows food manufacturers to talk about the benefits of heart-healthy soy in their products is because the substantiating data are overwhelming.
Indeed, the authors of the 25-year Okinawa Centenarian Study state that high soy consumption in Okinawa is one of the primary reasons elder Okinawans have 80 percent fewer heart attacks than North Americans do. Their high soy consumption is also why, if Okinawans do suffer a heart attack, they are more than twice as likely to survive.
These are staggering numbers. The study's authors state that if North Americans lived more like the elder Okinawans, and ate the amount of soy they do, we "would have to close 80 percent of the coronary care units and one-third of the cancer wards in the United States, and a lot of nursing homes would also be out of business. By 1990, Okinawan life expectancy figures had even surpassed the absolute limits of population life expectancy assumed by the Japan Population Research Institute. Limits had to be revised upwards simply to account for the phenomenal longevity of the Okinawans."
It is not an accident that in Okinawa, home to the highest soy consumption in the world, heart disease is minimal, breast cancer is so rare that screening mammography is not needed, and most aging men have never heard of prostate cancer. The three leading killers in the West - coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer - occur in Okinawans with the lowest frequency in the world.
There's also the fact that elder Okinawans have much stronger bones than we do, and less than half the hip fractures that we do. The authors of the Okinawa Centenarian Study attribute the increased bone strength and health in Okinawa to soy consumption. Many other studies confirm the connection between increased soy consumption and reduced osteoporosis.
I am very sorry that Mothering printed the article by Kaayla Daniels because it is so full of bias and fallacies. Its authoritative tone may sway some people to unnecessarily avoid soy, and that would be a shame. For most people, consumption of the levels of whole soy foods recommended by authors like Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Christiane Northrup, which correspond to the levels eaten by the Okinawans, are not only safe, but tremendously helpful to disease prevention and the creation of vibrant and resilient wellness. Of course if you are allergic to any food, then you shouldn't eat it. But dairy products, for which soy products are often substituted, are more likely to produce allergic reactions than soy. And by the way...
Cow's milk provides more than nine times as much saturated fat as soy beverages, so is far more likely to contribute to heart disease. Soy beverages provide more than 10 times as much essential fatty acids as cow's milk, and so provide a healthier quality of fat. Soy beverages are cholesterol-free, while cow's milk contains 34 mg of cholesterol per cup, which again means that cow's milk is far worse for your heart and cardiovascular system. Soy beverages lower both total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, while cow's milk raises both total and LDL cholesterol levels, providing yet more reasons soymilk is better for your health. Soy beverages contain numerous protective phytochemicals that may protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease and osteoporosis. Cow's milk contains no phytochemicals. Men who consume one to two servings of soymilk per day are 70 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer than men who don't. I do not understand why Mothering would allow its pages to be used for such a misleading article. I hope that you allow more balanced voices substantial space in the future to undo the damage you've done. Mothering's readers expect and deserve sane and helpful articles, especially about subjects like nutrition. They don't need more fear mongering. We've got quite enough of that in our society today.
Readers who want further information about health and longevity in Okinawa can see the excellent book The Okinawa Program.
And readers who want to see a balanced response to many of the specific allegations made against soy can visit: http://www.foodrevolution.org/what_about_soy.htm
Author, Diet For A New America, May All Be Fed, and The Food Revolution"
JayY - You post a review about falling for onedollarmail.com (this is visible in your profile), and you expect to be a credible reviewer of this book and an expert on the complicated subject of nutrition? LOL
WARNING: Before you consider what JayY is saying, think to yourself if you would fall for a pyramid scheme like onedollarmail.com! Check out the description from Google's cache:
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Yes, it's true! The only reason why I registered was to point out how idiotic you are. I feel that your rantings are so heavy-handed and overreaching, I don't need to address each false claim specifically. I am happy leaving my comments to solely point out your stupidity.
And you are obviously sexist because you assumed I am a man...
I feel like we have a credibility issue here. After reading JayY's posts I decided it would probably be a good idea to look up the articles cited. After all, the titles sound pretty intimidating. I was not able to track everything down without giving up too much of the time I enjoy cooking healthful vegan meals but I hope what I found out will help people who might otherwise be put off. JayY is not alone. These same studies are cited as references in other websites ranting against vegetarianism. Another point to consider is the source of funding. All of these studies are expensive and are paid for by someone. For example, Baylor University is conducting a lengthy study on the effectiveness of the Curves weight management plan. This research is fully funded by Curves. That doesn't mean that the researchers or Curves are dealing dishonestly, but it's important to have that information up front when looking at the reports.
JayY cited: F. Jeppesen and others. Effects of low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets on risk factors for ischemic heart disease in post-menopausal women. Am Jnl Clin Nutr, 1997; 65:1027-1033
This study followed a group of 10 healthy postmenopausal women during 6 weeks. For 3 weeks they were on a diet consisting of 15% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 45% fat. The other 3 weeks they were switched to a diet of 15% protein, 60% carbohydrates and 25% fat. The conclusion was that in some of the women, some of the risk factors for IHD increased on the high carbohydrate. The issue addressed in the China Study is the role of animal protein in the diet. Since there was no third group following a plant-based diet which would eliminate animal protein and saturated fat this study simply is not relevant to the issue.
JayY cited: I. Zavaroni and others. Risk factors for coronary artery disease in healthy persons with hyperinsulinemia and normal glucose tolerance. New Eng J Med, 1989, Mar 16, 320:11:702-6
I was unable to access the full text of this study but, according to the abstract, they used two groups of 32 people each. One group was considered to have hyperinsulinemia and the other group was not. The normal diet of the individuals is not mentioned. Plasma glucose levels, mean fasting plasma triglyceride levels, plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations and blood pressure were measured after an oral glucose challenge was administered to each participant. Once again this does not seem to relate to what the result might be in a person following a no-animal-protein, very low-fat, high carbohydrate diet where the carbohydrates are consumed in the form of whole food (not syrup ingested in extremely unusual quantities).
JayY cited: G. Reaven. Syndrome "X". Curr Treat Opt Cardio Med, 2001, 3:4:323-332 I couldn't find this publication. Gerald Reaven's other writings on Syndrome "X" do not address veganism.
JayY cited: Herrmann, Schorr, Purschwitz, Rassoul, Richter. Total homocysteine, vitamin B (12), and total antioxidant status in vegetarians. Clin Chem, 2001, 47(6):1094-10
From the article: "High liver stores combined with effective enterohepatic recirculation prevent healthy adult vegan vegetarians from developing vitamin B12 deficiency (15). However, people with low body storage of vitamin B12, impaired absorption or metabolism of vitamin B12, and physiological conditions with increased demands (e.g., pregnancy and breast feeding) may develop deficiency symptoms much faster." It would certainly be a good idea for people to work with their doctor, dietitian, or nutritionist on what is the best approach to maintaining healthy levels of vitamin B12. Most people eating the typical Western diet consume so many of their calories from meat and fat that they do not get enough of the many, many nutrients that our body needs and can get only from plant-based foods.
JayY cited: D Mazzano and others. Cardiovascular risk factors in vegetarians. Normalization of hyperhomocysteinemia with vitamin B(12) and reduction of platelet aggregation with n-3 fatty acids. Thromb Res 2000 Nov 100:153-60
I have been unable to find this publication.
JayY cited: L Corr and M Oliver. The low-fat/low cholesterol diet is ineffective. Eur Heart J, 1997, 18:18-22
The European Heart Journal would only let me search articles back to January, 1998.
JayY cited: G Taubes. The Soft Science of Dietary Fat. Science 2001 Mar 30 291:5513 2536-45
Once again, the issue in the China study is animal protein. If you eliminate all animal protein that will automatically eliminate most sources of fat and all sources of cholesterol (except for what you might find in a pat of butter here and there). But let's keep our focus on the main culprit named: animal protein.
JayY cited: DM Dreon and others. A very-low-fat diet is not associated with improved lipoprotein profiles in men with a predominance of large, low-density lipoproteins. Amer J Clin Nutr, 1999, 69:411-8
Once again we are adjusting levels of dietary fat without dealing with animal protein, nor was the subjects' normal diet a consideration.
I live in Colorado. I have two daughters, age 1 yr and 3 yrs old. I am committed to raising them in the best way possible. Can you counsel me or do you have newsletters or something I can subscribe to? Should I purchase "Diet and Nutrition" and go from there? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Food intake patterns and 25-year mortality from coronary heart disease: cross-cultural correlations in the Seven Countries Study. The Seven Countries Study Research Group.Menotti A, Kromhout D, Blackburn H, Fidanza F, Buzina R, Nissinen A. Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA. email@example.com
In the Seven Countries Study, associations between the intake of food-groups and 25-year mortality from coronary heart disease (CHD, defined as sudden coronary death or fatal myocardial infarction) were investigated. Baseline surveys were carried out between 1958 and 1964. A number of individual characteristics were measured in 12,763 middle-aged men belonging to 16 cohorts in seven countries (USA, Finland, The Netherlands, Italy, former Yugoslavia, Greece and Japan). Dietary information was collected in sub-samples using the weighed record method. Vital status of all participants was verified at regular intervals during 25 years of follow-up and the underlying cause of death was adjudicated. Eighteen different food-groups and combinations were considered for comparison among cohorts. Large differences in food-group consumption were seen, with high consumption of dairy products in Northern Europe, meat in the USA, vegetables, legumes, fish, and wine in Southern Europe, and cereals, soy products, and fish in Japan. Population death rates from CHD showed large differences, ranging from 268 per 1000 in East Finland to 25 per 1000 in Crete, Greece. Animal food-groups were directly correlated, and vegetable food-groups (except potatoes) as well as fish and alcohol were inversely correlated with CHD mortality. Univariate analysis showed significant positive correlation coefficients for butter (R = 0.887), meat (R = 0.645), pastries (R = 0.752), and milk (R = 0.600) consumption, and significant negative correlation coefficients for legumes (R = -0.822), oils (R = -0.571), and alcohol (R = -0.609) consumption. Combined vegetable foods (excluding alcohol) were inversely correlated (R = -0.519), whereas combined animal foods (excluding fish) were directly correlated (R = 0.798) with CHD death rates. Multivariate stepwise analysis selected butter, lard + margarine and meat as significant predictors and produced an R2 of 0.922. These findings were confirmed by factor analysis. These cross-cultural analyses are consistent with the hypothesis that dietary patterns are important determinants of differences in population CHD death rates, and confirm the opposite effects on apparent risk of animal and vegetable foods.
PMID: 10485342 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
1: Med Monatsschr Pharm. 2006 Oct;29(10):371-7. [Nutrition and prostate cancer--what is the scientific evidence?][Article in German] Theobald S. firstname.lastname@example.org
Prostate cancer is the most frequently occurring form of cancer in German men with an incidence of 49.000 in the year 2002. Epidemiological studies indicate diet and physical activity may play major roles in both incidence and progression of the disease. Obesity may increase both primary risk and biochemical (increase in prostate specific antigen) or clinical recurrence. Among individual food groups/nutrients a high consumption of total fat, saturated fats, meat, dairy, and calcium are related to an increased risk. Tomato products, soy, lycopene, selenium, marine omega-3-fatty acids and vitamin E in smokers may inversely be associated with prostate cancer. Interventional studies with supplemental tomato products and selenium also showed a delay in disease progression. Evidence from experimental studies and clinical experience suggest that application of selenium during chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy may decrease therapy related toxicities and increases the effect of the standard therapy on cancer cells. For expert patients it is essential to participate in decisions concerning their standard as well as complementary therapy by developing individual self-help concepts. These often include both changing dietary habits and taking dietary supplements. Physicians should consider these needs when they counsel cancer patients.
PMID: 17058896 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
But diary isn't all bad, it is associated with a reduced risk of hypertension, stroke and colorectal cancer.
That being said, the China diet does not improve the rate of dementia and the their rate of stroke is much worse. The Okinawa diet seems to strike a better balance.
IS HE IN THE EMPLOYMENT OF THE MEAT, MILK AND EGG INDUSTRY? HERE IS A GOOD EXAMPLE THAT WHEN NUTRITION IS ADVISED WHICH DOESN'T INCLUDE THE ALMIGHTY POWERFUL ABOVE INDUSTRIES THEY WILL USE THE MEDIA TO PUT DOWN THEIR ADVERSARY. JAMES WATTS