Plants V.S. Animals

How important is meat?


American Dietetic Association, and of Canada Dietitians. “Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: Vegetarian Diets.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 109.7 (2009): 1266-1282. ScienceDirect. Web. 20 June 2013.

This article proposes the American Dietetic Association’s view of vegetarian diets as of July 2009 and it expires December 31, 2013. The association says, “Appropriately planned vegetarian diets have been shown to be healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” The article defines what types of vegetarian diets it is concerned with: lacto-ovo-vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian, and total vegetarian or vegan. These terms are all grouped under “vegetarian” unless otherwise specified. The article addresses the rising popularity of vegetarian diets then gives nutritional considerations for new and seasoned vegetarians. Protein, n-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 are the main concerns for dietitians when working with vegetarian clients. Advice is given on how to eat vegetarian at all life stages then chronic disease is addressed. Most studies seem to support the benefits of a vegetarian diet with people who are obese, have cancer, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc. Osteoporosis is a point of confliction though. Not many conclusions are made for the vegan diet and its effects because not many studies have been done on this group of vegetarians.

This association credentials dietetics professionals and publishes the peer reviewed periodical Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) was founded in 1917, and is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.

They are a credible source, sticking to objective information about nutrition.

This article is a very central piece to my research topic. It seems to have the best general summary on the nutritional issues with vegetarian diets. The cited studies are also large and given grades based on how reliable the study is. The studies used are not all given perfect grades, which adds to their objectivity on the topic. The less than perfect grade studies are still mentioned to make their argument strong and to address possible future developments. The article has a good pool of studies to reference.

Ives S. ohmyraw. ohmyraw. 2012. Accessed 10 June 2013.

Ohmyraw is a website for vegan related content created by Sarah Ives. She states that she teaches “how to eat more raw foods and plant foods without the dogma and the fanaticism.”  She has one published paper in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal, as well as four other editing credits for scholarly researchers in the primary health care field. She is a Certified Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. This blog is a more general vegan blog with tips and recipes, but it also has discussions about the challenges the vegan diet faces. This blog is representative of a typical positive vegan view.

Ramsey D. The Farmacy. Sussex Directories, Inc. 2002. Accessed 10 June 2013.

Drew Ramsey, M.D. is an assistant clinical professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. In 2008, he turned his attention to changes in the American food supply and how diet influences brain health and mental wellness. He writes about the relationship between food and our brains on his blog. The blog is on the Psychology Today website. He provides a different logical view on the topic of consuming meat. He argues that our brains need nutrients, only found in meat, to thrive. He provides the view that if our meat is treated well through its life, then we can ethically take it as repayment.

Messina V. The Vegan RD. The Vegan RD. November 2007. Accessed 10 June 2013.

Messina got her M.P.H. in Human Nutrition from the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. She has many books published and a lot of work experience in the field of health and nutrition (see here: Her blog is also a general resource for tips on being/becoming vegan, but the information is a bit more in depth, with her being a vegan dietitian. She has more resources for further research. Her blog provides a more expert perspective on being vegan, above the usual vegan recipe blog.

Mursu J, Robien K, Harnack LJ, Park K, Jacobs DR. Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women: The Iowa Women’s Health Study. Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(18):1625-1633. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.445.

This study was cited in Drew Ramsey said he was increasingly worried about substituting supplements from the actual whole foods, especially because of this study which showed a relation between taking multivitamins and early death. Upon further research, this study has been found to be extremely flawed and unreliable. The women’s supplement intake was self reported for one thing; self reports are extremely unreliable in determining causation.

Campbell CT. The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health. Dallas, TX: BenBella; 2005.

This blog (Jonny Bowden) brings up this famous book that many vegans and vegetarians turn to for arguments against meat eating. A long term study was done on many people in a province in China on their eating and lifestyle. I have seen this book many times on other vegan/vegetarian websites. I have seen this book mentioned in many vegan/vegetarian/health documentaries. What I discovered from the actual blog though was that it is only an analysis by Campbell. It is not the actual study and it only pulls out select statistically significant pieces of evidence from the actual study. The actual study provided 8,000 statistically significant pieces of evidence on many aspects of the study they performed.

Smit LA. Baylin A. Campos H. Conjugated linoleic acid in adipose tissue and risk of myocardial infarction. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. May 12, 2010; 34-40. doi: 10.3945/​ajcn.2010.29524

The Farmacy blog mentioned this as well. Like vitamin B12, CLA is a fat only found in meat. While B12 deficiency is an essential nutrient that apparently needs to be taken in supplements by people who do not eat meat, CLA has not been proven essential. Ramsey argues that he sees only benefits in this fat and says that it should be essential. This study determines that “despite the high saturated fat content of dairy products, no clear association between dairy product intake and risk of myocardial infarction (MI) has been observed.” CLA may be good, some others say it may be bad. This study provides evidence for the benefits of eating meat.

Deckers J. Obesity, Public Health, and the Consumption of Animal Products. Journal Of Bioethical Inquiry [serial online]. March 2013;10(1):29-38. Available from: Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed June 19, 2013.

Deckers addresses the increasing rates of obesity in his article. Obesity is not only hurting us, but it is hurting the environment. One factor that is making us obese is our consumption of animal products. We are abusing animals, abusing the environment to raise them, and abusing our bodies by eating too much of the animal products stuffed with hormones, antibiotics, LDLs, saturated fats, etc. It is not ethical to ignore these issues. Deckers proposes some solutions for governments that are already trying to promote healthy eating.Dr. Jan Deckers is a lecturer in bioethics at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom. He has BA’s and MA’s in Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Theology, and a PhD in Environmental Ethics. He is qualified to talk about this topic of biological ethics, but possibly not very qualified to recommend solutions to governments because he may not be well learned in the subject of government proceedings. I do want to avoid the issue of animal rights in my own research because that is a huge bias for me, but this article does provide many arguments against eating meat, especially too much meat. They are brief mentions, but they are cited and good leads into actual scientific studies that would help strengthen my research.

Babauta L. How to Become a Vegetarian, the Easy Way. Zenhabits. August 17, 2007. Accessed June 25, 2013.

This is an article about tips for becoming vegetarian and how to stick with it.

Wein H. Digging a Vegetarian Diet. NIH News in Health. July 2012. Accessed June 25, 2013.

This is a summary article about what vegetarian diets are, what they require and how they can benefit the body. This article also mentions the study done on the Seventh-Day Adventist Church members in California. The managing editor for the article is Harrison Wein, Ph.D.  He received his B.A. in Biology from Columbia University, his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley, and now is a science writer/editor for the National Institutes of Health. He may not have an expertise in nutrition, but he does know biology, making him qualified enough to organize the writing of the authors under him when they created this article. I think this is a great lay press article because it is not too long, it goes into the major points of vegetarian requirements and benefits, and it is from a reputable institute. The language used is also not very technical, making it a good resource for any reader interested in learning more about vegetarianism.

Kaplan K. Do you need to be a vegetarian to lead a healthy life?. Los Angeles Times.,0,2434805.story. June 4, 2013. Accessed June 26, 2013.

This article gives an overview of a study done on 73,308 people for an average of 6 years. The researchers from Loma Linda University in California examined the health records of members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church because they are strongly encouraged to follow a vegetarian diet. 52% of the subjects fit into some kind of vegetarian category, and the rest were non-vegetarians. It was found that the vegetarians were 12% less likely to die during the study than people who consumed meat more than once a week. More specific percentages found during the study are given. The author does not recommend jumping on the vegetarian band wagon. She explains that doctors do not know if the benefits are directly related to consuming less meat, or consuming more plant foods. The main advice from doctors is to avoid limit sugary drinks, foods with added sugar, refined grains, saturated fats, and transfats.

Karen Kaplan is the Science and Medicine Editor at the Los Angeles Times. She graduated from MIT with a major in Journalism, with a focus on mathematics. I do not think she is qualified to talk about much science or medicine with her degrees, but she probably knows how to do good solid research as a journalist and editor. I think this is a nice lay press article because it does not provide much bias for any side. The benefits of vegetarianism are laid out, but it is admitted that there are many confounding variables that could have been in the Loma Linda University study. There are many variables in what constitutes a healthy diet as well.

Kirkpatrick K. 5 Risky Diet Mistakes Vegetarians Make — And How You Can Avoid Them. The Huffington Post. Accessed June 25, 2013.

This article explains the appeal vegetarian diets are getting from the media and in turn their appeal to the general population. She mainly addresses the mistakes people make when becoming vegetarian. Many people get their nutrition information from unreliable sources. People often replace meat with more junk food. People will stick to fruits and vegetables that they are comfortable with and never branch out. She addresses the misconception about how much and what kind of protein we need. Lastly she explains a unique appeal to vegetarianism. People think they can avoid food-borne illnesses on a vegetarian diet, but there are plenty bacteria on all kinds of foods.

Kristin Kirkpatrick is a registered dietitian and manager of wellness nutrition services for the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Insititute. She is qualified to talk about nutrition and most likely has a lot of experience with patients coming to her asking her how to plan a healthy vegetarian diet. Knowing the mistakes and misconceptions that people have is important for writing a paper on how to become a healthy vegetarian because these are the problems that solutions need to be found for. I personally have dealt with some of these issues when first discovering and transitioning to vegetarianism, so I know these are valid issues and problems.


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