plant based scientific studies

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    Jarod thank you for adding this article to the conversation. I need to address it, for the benefit of everyone on this thread, at length and I am on the road right now. I will get back to it a little later today when I get back home. The title of the article is misleading to the extreme however which is not a good start. Until later. (And thank you!).


      Jarod I just opened that article and, I'm no scientists but I don't think it's written with actual scientific evidence. The title alone (which is as far as I got) makes no sense. If animal nutrition is what powers our brains, how did humans survive when meat was scarce?


        Jarod thank you for your patience on this. I will deconstruct this article a little. Before I do so I need to mention that my background is in Chemical Engineering. My Masters (MSc) is on "quantum mechanical phenomena in laminar flow dynamics". My role within the Darebee Team is to make sure the science we use in our articles is sound and we back everything we say with the latest research. Food and exercise are essentially forms of energy management and, as such, follow fundamental Thermodynamic Laws that are the foundation of all laws of physics.

        Now, this piece you cited. First, the title. Although the article is titled ""The Brain Needs Animal Fat" is misleading. The author herself says in the "Unanswered Questions" section of the article that there are other sources of DHA that can be derived from algae and (more importantly) supplements, that wouldn't need us to consume animal fat. There is a deeper issue here too. The author of this article is a nutritional psychologist who hopes to use better nutrition to reduce psychological issues. While she is correct that DHA is needed by the brain and this is a nutrient the body cannot manufacture easily her insistence on consuming animal products at a time when mounting medical research indicates that consuming animal products causes cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and poor circulation - ailments that adversely affect brain health, creates a bind where what she proposes as a solution may be part of the problem.

        We can discount the quantum mechanical properties of DHA as they have zero bearing on this piece (no idea why they're included as they're still highly speculative and untested). This leaves us with the focus of it which is muddled at best. Each informational piece has to work with a particular audience. Nutrition in particular is very difficult to target correctly. During development, for example, children and young adults can safely ingest animal products because their bodies are geared to making good use of them. In our adult form we no longer need milk (studies have shown it doesn't help with osteoporosis and bone density) and we may no longer need to consumer as much (or any) animal protein. The author's piece is using the development needs of the young brain which needs DHA and absolutely must not be deprived of it to conflate the need for DHA of the adult brain. A need which, by nature, is going to be different in both amounts and usage.

        Similarly, her suggestion that we just eat more seafood in order to get the right kind of omega-3 (a.k.a. DHA) risks us poisoning ourselves as fish and shellfish contain higher amounts of mercury than say meat or vegetables.

        Algae, do contain, DHA. It is not yet certain how effectively we can digest that (but more studies are coming out soon.) The human body can convert some DHA from other fatty acids (like alpha-linolenic acid - ALA for short) but the process is inefficient. In addition a diet rich in omega-6 nutrients counteracts some of our ability to manufacture or extract omega-3 ones.

        The best answer on this is to use supplements that are lab-made, where DHA is extracted from algae. Like with B12 (a vitamin which animals get from bacteria in the soil ) DHA is derived from primary sea organisms (in this case algae) and in balancing things out we need to go to the primary source. People on a mainly vegetarian or vegan diet get B12 in the form of supplements, they should also get DHA.

        I hope this has helped. Feel free to ask any questions that may arise.

        In an update to this please see my follow-up comment.


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            Damer Thank you for your inputs.
            There are still many things in areas of fitness and nutrition I don't know and I'm always interested in getting new info. But I had to learn to read in between the lines because many people seem to be pushing their hidden agendas. For example I see increasing efforts to make meat-eaters feel guilty and it makes me wonder...

            I joined this thread only because there was a mention of an essential nutrient missing in plants, I tried to think of what it might be and I remembered that article. It's clear to me that it's no peer-reviewed study for a scientific magazine but a column for folks on the internet. Perhaps the author should have had more responsibility not to use slogans, not to exagerate and not to oversimplify. But the two key pieces of information for me are 1) DHA is essential for healthy human development and 2) DHA is not found in plants. You confirmed those two facts.

            Animal products have been part of human nutrition ever since, in various periods for various groups in various amounts. Only since recent times food is available so easily (alas not yet in all parts of the world) that it's sometimes becoming unhealthy.
            I say let everybody eat whatever they find convenient/suitable and whatever God/creation/nature/evolution/culture/local and global economy made them available, provided they decide responsibly with the correct information and they learn to eat in moderation.


              Originally posted by Jarod View Post
              I say let everybody eat whatever they find convenient/suitable and whatever God/creation/nature/evolution/culture/local and global economy made them available, provided they decide responsibly with the correct information and they learn to eat in moderation.
              Well said Jarod.

              Thanks everyone for the information, I really need to get a read on some of these at some point.

              The thunder has started here in Northern Ireland and if it gets bad I may lose my internet connection .


                Jarod you're more than welcome. As always with Darebee we follow the research and allow each person to make their own, informed choices. Thank you for adding that article here as it helped the discussion.


                  I like this one . . .


                    thinman could you send me the link to that video, I want to post it to my local community Facebook. Thanks.





                        I haven't watched the video thinman posted, but from the text and comments I guess it falls into a similar category as this article I've read today:

                        The Game Changers Review - A Scientific Analysis

                        This article analyses some of the studies and anecdotes presented in the film and gives quite a lot of sources at the end. It also shows the conflicts of interests of the producers and doctors involved in the film and shows some of the methods of biased presentation used. I thought it was very interesting and I liked that in the end, it doesn't tell you if veganism is wrong or right or whatever. It's just an analysis of the film and I found it very informative.


                          Originally posted by Nihopaloa View Post
                          it doesn't tell you if veganism is wrong or right or whatever.
                          The bottom line in the video is that some do well on a vegetarian diet but many don't and said other than religious reasons there's no need to be vegetarian and said that flexitarian diet would be better than vegetarian. He also sez that the vegetarian diet can be a lot of carbs.


                            Ah, thanks for the conclusion, thinman. The part from my post you quoted refers to the article I posted, where the author doesn't give a judgement regarding diets, he only breaks down the film itself.


                              Nihopaloa Also he didn't recommend a raw fruit diet which he sez can cause hair and teeth loss.


                                Originally posted by IWillGoSuperSaiyan View Post
                                From what my mother has told me, while humans are omnivorous, we have evolved to be mostly plant based, and because of this, eating meat so much is not what we were made for. back a long time ago, when we had to hunt and forage for food, we would not have meat very often, but nowadays, meat is to easy to get. leading to us eating to much of it. although I have done no research on the matter, and this is just an opinion. which should be taken like a grain of salt.
                                I have tried to let this post go but I feel I have to set the record straight. Not to dismiss and put down but to state some facts.

                                Yes, humans are omnivores. We can survive on both plants and meat. Yes we can go vegan and live with a load of supplements. Equally we can go carnivorous and live with minimal to no supplements. We can also meet somewhere in the middle to and live a reasonable life.

                                The facts are, yes, our ancestors would have eaten meat every so often but not because we are more plant based but more to the fact that we didn't have to eat as much when we were eating fatty meat. We got enough calories in 1 hunt to sustain us for awhile. Plant matter would have been very scarce to the point where it was only used as an emergency and if it was our main source of calories we would have been foraging all day every day. Meat allowed us to have some down time between hunts. In the summer months berries would have been available, tubers etc.... These foods would have allowed us to put on some fat reserves to make it through the winter. The only reason we became plant based was due to early agriculture and now through profit margins. We can create plants for food at a fraction of the cost it costs to produce meat.

                                It should be common knowledge that we share a common ancestor with chimpanzees but the only reason we were able to break away from the animal kingdom is because our ancestor began eating meat. This gave us the energy though fat to grow our brains that has made us what we are today. Look at gorillas, they have a massive stomach, small brain. They are required to eat plant matter all day to extract all the nutrients they require and even then, they eat the poo to get the rest that they couldn't the first time round.

                                Can we as humans get everything we require to be healthy from plant matter? No. We require supplementation to make up for the short fall. If we were to be vegan in the early days we would have died out as a species. Can we get everything we require from meat? Yes. Meat is nutritionally superior to plants hands down. We get all the vitamins, minerals, amino acids (protein), fat soluble vitamins (require fat to be used) and the essential fats, Omega 3 & 6 (essential cause we can't create it, same with protein). There is no such thing as an essential carb but there are essential proteins and fats. Granted there are parts of our brain, I believe our eyes and maybe our blood platelets that require glucose for energy. Thankfully, our body has a mechanism to create this requirement called gluconeogenisis. Our liver takes the glycerol from fat (leaving 3 fatty acids for ketones or for cells that can use it as it is for energy), as well as some amino acids and converts this to glucose.

                                As far as all the studies that have proved (wild claim) that plants are good and meat is bad have been based on poor epidemiological observation studies. These studies are often based on food frequency questionnaires that are followed up on not every day, but months apart. I don't know about you but I can't remember what I ate 2 months ago? So they are often flawed because the participants make up what they had. These studies often miss the healthy user bias too and even when it is taken into consideration it is calculated poorly. Normally, those that go on a plant based diet also, drink less alcohol, workout and don't smoke. Often the "meat eaters" aren't all that worried about health and eat a lot of processed rubbish with loads of sugar, smoke etc.... When healthy meat eaters are matched against healthy plant based eaters there are little to no differences between them.

                                Cholesterol is usually thrown around as the cause of heart disease and often a reason why people adopt a plant based diet. Cholesterol isn't the enemy we have made it out to be. All our cells in our body require cholesterol, our brain is made up of it, all our nerve cells are wrapped with it to allow our brain to send signals to our body. Without it, we would die. Yes, in times of need our liver will create all the cholesterol we require. Dietary cholesterol has no affect on our cholesterol because through homeostasis, it down regulates the production with the influx of more. The problem comes with a poor diet and cholesterol becoming oxidized. Often this is through a high sugar, high seed oil based diet. Pretty much a vegan diet. If cholesterol is so bad for us why does LDL increase when you do a long term fast? This is because the only way to send fatty acids around the body to be used as energy (fasted remember so you need to tap into your fat reserves) is in an LDL particle. Fatty acids can't go around the body in the blood system on its own because it is hydrophobic (I think that is correct one?), which means it can't mix with water or in this case blood. Think of it like fat floating to the top of a glass of water. The main purpose of LDL is to transport fatty acids, a secondary purpose is to send cholesterol in case it is needed somewhere. Though a poor diet we get lesions in our arteries and it is at that point that cholesterol tries to act as a band aid to heal the hole.

                                Also note, pretty much all the plants we eat today have been genetically modified or cross breed with others to get them to where they are. We would never have found broccoli, cabbages and the rest in the wild. In fact, 80% of the plants on this plant aren't edible or will kill you with toxins whereas 80% of all animals are. Also note, plants have a lot of defenses built in to them. A plant can't run away from something that is going to eat it like an animal so it has things like oxalates, phytic acids to name a couple. These can and do cause problems for some people. Often people with skin conditions, neurological issues etc... heal them selves by excluding plant matter.

                                On a side note, the number 1 cause for mortality with vegans is heart disease. Also, there has never been a civilization that was vegan.

                                Sorry for the rant but I think people should look at all the sides, studies, where the money is coming from and then make a decision. Do not watch a movie created by plant based people with an agenda and make your mind up.

                                Also, plants are fine if you can eat them but the most important thing is to prioritize protein first and the best way to get it is through animals. Protein dilution is the main reason for all the health issues we face today because when it is diluted, your body forces you to eat more of the rubbish you are eating to try and get the protein it wants and desires.