Forks Over Knives, or Meat Over Veg?

Scheduled for release next week is a movie that appears to be either just another piece of Vegan propaganda, or the dietary savior of Humanity. Forks Over Knives, will be released on DVD and Bluray on August 30, 2011. Will this movie help to convince people that they should switch to Forks over Knives, or Meat over Veg?

“What has happened to us? Despite the most advanced medical technology in the world, we are sicker than ever by nearly every measure.” – Forksoverknives.com

Forks Over Knives

Forks Over Knives

Created and produced by Brian Wendel, the movie features interviews from a long list of supposedly notable people, most of which I have never heard of, but our friend T. Colin Campbell Ph.D. gets top billing as the main interview. Most of us will recognize Dr. Campbell from the infamous China Project study, which was followed up by the China Study book, which was followed up by a thorough debunking of Campbell’s conclusions by Denise Minger.

I’m not going to lie, the idea of a Vegan diet saving humanity from the diseases of civilization doesn’t sound like great science to me, because I follow a Paleo Lifestyle. But, the whole thing is muddied further considering that Cambell’s credibility is in question to anyone but the staunch Vegans (or really gullible people), who bought into Campbell’s smorgasbord of cherry picked data in his China Study book.

“His legacy, the China Project, is considered the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted. Dr. Campbell is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University and Project Director of the acclaimed China-Oxford-Cornell Diet and Health Project. The study was the culmination of a 20-year partnership of Cornell University, Oxford University and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine.”  – Forksoverknives.com

It’s true that shire amount of data that was gathered in the China Project, really did justify it’s reputation as being “all that and a bag of chips”, but the conclusions that Campbell drew from the study data were far from stellar.

“Could it be there’s a single solution to all of these problems? A solution so comprehensive but so straightforward, that it’s mind-boggling that more of us haven’t taken it seriously?” – Forksoverknives.com

Yes, there could be, and it’s called the Paleo Lifestyle.

“FORKS OVER KNIVES examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods. The major storyline in the film traces the personal journeys of a pair of pioneering researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.” – Forksoverknives

Ok, so I haven’t even seen the movie yet, so obviously my opinion is limited here, but the statement about degenerative diseases being controlled or reversed by rejecting animal-based foods goes against everything we know about 2.5 million years of human evolution. However, the “processed foods” part I can get behind, because cutting out processed foods is an established core value of the Paleo Lifestyle.

“The idea of food as medicine is put to the test. Throughout the film, cameras follow “reality patients” who have chronic conditions from heart disease to diabetes. Doctors teach these patients how to adopt a whole foods plant-based diet as the primary approach to treat their ailments – while the challenges and triumphs of their journeys are revealed.” – Forksoverknives.com

Vegan Power

Vegan Power!!

I fully intend to watch Forks Over Knives, and I fully intend to point and laugh at my TV frequently during this Vegan extravaganza. At the end of the day though, if this movie helps people, it’s obviously a positive thing. It just makes me wonder how long these allegedly positive effects experienced by maintaining such a lifestyle will last. We already know that a Vegan diet typically promotes initial weight-loss, but followers of the diet commonly report nutritional deficiencies, so how could it be the magic bullet that these people are touting it to be? In my opinion, it cannot.

I will refrain from making any recommendations to watch or avoid this movie until after I have viewed it myself, but I must say that my curiosity is truly peaked. If you watch it, and want to tell me what you thought, please leave a comment below.

Learn More About Forks Over Knives


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Barry Cripps is a Paleo-based Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, who operates out of Bowling Green, Kentucky.

For more information please visit: www.undergroundnutritionist.com

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16 Responses to Forks Over Knives, or Meat Over Veg?

  1. Lila Solnick August 25, 2011 at 10:31 am

    There is a connection between yesterday’s article about Sharon Kintz, fixing her heart through diet and this post about “Forks Over Knives”. Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn comes up in both, so the odds are pretty good that Sharon Kintz has gone vegetarian or worse, vegan. Brian, you will have to report on that, if you watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s program on CNN on Sunday.

  2. Jennifer August 25, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Hey Barry, I like your review and love that you are honest about admitting the limitations of reviewing without having seen it. I’ve been veg for 20 years, the last 11 vegan and my full blood panel last year was so good the (non-veg) doctor was floored. She said repeatedly, “this couldn’t be better” and the vegans I know have the same experience when eating whole food, plant based. This includes cholesterol under 100 and D and B12 above average. Have you read about Brendan Brazier or the endless successful long term veg athletes? Veg bodybuilders Robert Cheeke, Derek Tresize… etc. Anyway, enjoy the film!

    • Barry Cripps August 26, 2011 at 8:44 am

      Hi Jennifer! I think that’s amazing that you’re healthy and well on a Vegan diet. At the end of the day, if it works for you, keep on doing it!

      One of the things that can trip people up though, is that most doctors still don’t fully understand the significance of specific Cholesterol numbers, and how to properly interpret them. Here’s a good primer on the misconceptions that surround Cholesterol. For example, an LDL number below 100 is not indicative of a healthy person, because epidemiological evidence over the last 30 years, has shown that people with low, medium, or high levels of Cholesterol have been dying at the same rate. There is also a lot of evidence that shows that a low HDL Cholesterol level, which is primarily raised by animal based fats, coupled with a low LDL level, leads to strokes and other major Neurological issues.

      It’s my opinion that people can SURVIVE on a Vegetarian/Vegan diet, but not truly THRIVE. :-)

  3. Jennifer August 26, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Hey Barry, thanks, there are hundreds of thousands more of me! :) We are beyond thriving. I’m also excited for Essestyn’s CNN talk this Saturday. His clinical research is fascinating, too.

    • Healthy Curls May 25, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      Jennifer, I think you need to read Barry’s answer a little more closely. Your response indicates that you skimmed it and didn’t see the center paragraph. There is evidence that a lower cholesterol level causes significant health risk… including neurological issues, which might be part of the problem here.

  4. Phil September 6, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    I just watched this film. Two points that jump out:
    1) Avoiding processed foods and eating more vegetables should be on the agenda of everyone on the planet. 2) Neglecting 2.5 million years of human omnivore evolution in favor of ANY study is absurd and questionable. 3) Vilifying the consumption of animal products should take into consideration the method by which those animals were raised. The way nature intended = grass fed… The way Wall St. wants people to eat = grain fed. This film makes no attempt at finding a difference between the two.

  5. Bonnie September 13, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    I agree with Phil. I watched the movie and it is so slanted against animal protein. Doesn’t mention the benefits of grass fed beef. Most people cannot thrive on little or no oil, and animal protein. There are so many culprits out there that are damaging our health; processed, toxic laden foods, wheat, sugar, on and on…They also mention the China Study again which has been manipulated and proven so. I tried veganism and became depleted and ill. I’ve since learned that my own body requires red meat. Everyone is different. Some people can thrive on a plant based diet but many people cannot. Michael Pollan has the right idea. Weston Price had it right on.

  6. Michelle October 18, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I have had three heart attacks since the age of 38. I ate the SAD (Standard American Diet) until the first one, then ate the American Heart Association’s “heart healthy” diet and included grass fed, local beef, free range chickens and turkey, while lessening my intake of refined sugars and carbs, organic fruits and vegetables, and eliminating completely fried foods and fast food. In the next 12 years I suffered 2 more heart attacks with permanent damage to my heart, and 13 months ago I developed type II diabetes and hypertension, and while on Lipitor and the “heart healthy” diet my total cholesterol was 345 and a 90% blockage in another artery and had a stint placed. Fortunately I began researching nutrition and vegetarianism, and came across The China Study, since the healthcare system and all of the cardiologists in the world could not do another thing for me, they waited for my next heart attack so they could collect the big $$ on me. When I learned that ‘bad’ cholesterol ONLY comes from animal protein, I knew I had to eliminate it, or I was going to die. Well, I went vegetarian 13 months ago, and when I saw Forks Over Knives 4 months ago, I went vegan. I no longer take Lipitor for high cholesterol, am off my diabetes and high blood pressure medicine, as well as arthritis medicine. I have so much energy and feel great! I finally am living, not waiting to die! Last month I had my cardiology checkup, and the physician couldn’t believe his eyes when looking at my angiogram, the narrowed vessels I once had are completely restored, I did excellent on my stress test, and my total cholesterol was 145! All on a whole food, vegan diet alone.

    Don’t wait until you are nearly dead to start taking care of yourself properly. Have an open mind, and consider that the western doctors stand to profit from our illness, not wellness. they can/will only treat symptoms, not the causation of many illnesses that are killing us. Take control of your own health, be informed. I opened my eyes, and it saved my life, I have no doubt!

    Being a healthy vegan is about eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seed, legumes, and whole grains, and limiting or eliminating sugars and refined carbs, and not get seduced by vegan desserts! All vegans should take sublingual B12 (not animal derived) and daily intake of flaxseed or chia seed for the omega fatty acids. I have talked to people who said they “didn’t’ feel well’ on vegetarian or vegan diet, and on further talking with them I find they had no idea how to get a balanced diet, and many got caught up in eating vegan desserts often because they thought they were ‘healthy’ simply because they were vegan desserts, which is untrue, sugar and carbs are not good for you whether or not you eat meat!

    • Barry Cripps October 18, 2011 at 7:22 pm

      Hi Michelle! Wow, I’m so happy for you that you found something that works for you, and is helping you to beat cardiovascular disease!!

      I will say though, that it’s false conventional wisdom that the dietary cholesterol that we eat, contributes to a build-up of plasma Cholesterol. Animal products alone don’t raise your Cholesterol. Humans ate a diet that consisted mostly of animal protein and fat for 2.5 million years, so it doesn’t make any sense to think that eating animal products gives us heart disease now. Here are a couple of recent studies for you, that support this information:

      http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/272/17/1335.abstract

      http://www.direct-ms.org/pdf/EvolutionPaleolithic/Cereal%20Sword.pdf

      http://www.NaturalNews.com/030823_natural_foods_injury.html

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19857053

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19604407

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19209185

      Plus, Cholesterol on the whole, high or low, is not a good indicator of heart attack risk:

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2753.2011.01767.x/pdf

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/why-cholesterol-may-not-b_b_290687.html

      Lastly, if you look at the data, the thing that could truly be the reason for your turn around in health, is that you cut sugars and refined carbs from your diet. It is actually these foods that cause heart disease. If you eat animal products without all of the processed carbs, and sugars, you would gain the same heart-healing effects from your diet:

      http://www.njmonline.nl/getpdf.php?id=10000756

      http://www.ajcn.org/content/91/3/502.abstract

      http://www.opposingviews.com/arguments/myth-meat-causes-osteoporosis-kidney-disease-heart-disease-cancer

      While your current diet is obviously helping your heart health, which is AWESOME!!! it’s still nowhere near the best diet for optimal human health. If you cut out all legumes, grains, and dairy products, and focused on good healthy animal products and vegetables etc, you wouldn’t need to supplement with vitamin B12, and you would get tons of heart healthy Omega-3s to speed up your healing process. Humans cannot thrive and be 100% healthy on a Vegetarian/Vegan diet:

      http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/vegetarian.html

      Thanks for commenting, and best of luck for the future Michelle!!!

      • Dave November 12, 2011 at 11:45 am

        “Humans ate a diet that consisted mostly of animal protein and fat for 2.5 million years, so it doesn’t make any sense to think that eating animal products gives us heart disease now.”

        I found this site while looking to see how Sharon Kintz is doing. I don’t have much to contribute about these debates, but as an evolutionary biologist I must point out the flawed thinking in the above statement… and similar statements throughout this site.

        When humans were evolving there were no evolutionary pressures that selected for healthy, heart disease free individuals. Our species simply didn’t live long enough for the cumulative effect of a poor cardiovascular diet to take its toll. And even if we did live long enough, reproduction – the driving force of evolutionary change – would have occurred long before heart disease became a selection factor (e.g. killed us).

        This can be said about any late onset diseases. Alzheimer’s, many cancers, etc. We didn’t evolve to avoid them, because they didn’t affect our ability to reproduce and thus evolve.

        So suggesting that because early humans ate a certain way 2.5 million years ago that it is therefore evidence that it will help modern humans avoid late life problems just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

        In other words, the early human diet may have been the best way to survive and reproduce in those environments – that doesn’t mean it is the best way to avoid heart disease that will kill you later in life.

        • Barry Cripps November 13, 2011 at 7:25 pm

          Interesting Dave….

          So what do YOU think causes Heart Disease?

      • Doug Spoonwood May 24, 2012 at 11:00 am

        “Humans ate a diet that consisted mostly of animal protein and fat for 2.5 million years, so it doesn’t make any sense to think that eating animal products gives us heart disease now. ”

        That would only hold given that heart disease would pose an evolutionary problem for humans (it doesn’t since even today people who gorge on animal protein today can usually survive, reproduce and even ensure that the next generation will survive and reproduce before they die of heart disease), AND we exist in approximately the same environment that humans lived throughout most of evolutionary history, AND that the population of humans living today has not significantly evolved from humans throughout much of their evolutionary history. The third point, I’ll ignore, but if you wish to start comparing most people in industrialized nations with hunter-gather tribes it’ll come up, since due to the isolation of hunter-gather tribes conditions for genetic drift exist. We don’t live in the same environment as most humans did throughout their evolutionary history in several respects 1. we live in homes 2. we have a rather different bacterial environment due to antibiotics, food cleaning, living in homes, coming into contact with more people, etc. 3. we don’t have parasites around like most humans did throughout evolutionary history. Some of them eat cholesterol.

        As to your claim “it doesn’t make any sense to think that eating animal products gives us heart disease now. Here are a couple of recent studies for you, that support this information” it comes as rather irrelevant for Michelle. She *already* has heart disease. She needs to, and seems to have taken steps to, *reversing and arresting it*. You need evidence of an arrest and an reversal, NOT something which might indicate that animal protein might not contribute to heart disease. I’ll also point out there there exists an entire book which deals with animal and plant proteins and their effects on atherosclerosis, which references over 2000 studies: Dietary Proteins and Atherosclerosis.

        “Plus, Cholesterol on the whole, high or low, is not a good indicator of heart attack risk”

        I don’t know what the study referenced considers high or low cholesterol at all. Hyman’s article is not a study. Also, he says “Your total cholesterol should be under 200″. But, that is too high. Under 150 comes as a more reasonable threshold.

        “Lastly, if you look at the data, the thing that could truly be the reason for your turn around in health, is that you cut sugars and refined carbs from your diet. It is actually these foods that cause heart disease.”

        Again, for people like Michelle you need to show that such *reverses and arrests* heart disease. And you’ll need to show that in real-world people, not just as a speculative hypothesis. Someone like Caldwell Esselstyn who actually has done this with some people, might point out here that refined carbohydrates significantly raise blood sugar. “The body compensates to the sugar high with a surge of insulin from the pancreas–and the insulin, in turn, stimulates the liver to manufacture more cholesterol.” p. 71 of “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” by Caldwell Esselstyn (he has this in a section on fruit, citing this paper: http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM198910053211403) but it seems like it’ll apply to anything that significantly raises blood sugar levels. So, if refined carbohydrates pose a problem for heart disease, since they raise *serum* cholesterol levels, then the problem of refined carbohydrates actually *supports* the lipid hypothesis.

        Define “optimal” and “thrive” please. It comes as quite clear that many people on 100% plant-based diets can also claim to have an optimal diet and thriving. It comes as ridiculous to claim that people like Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, Gary Francione, Carl Lewis while *winning* olympic gold medals, Scott Jurek, and many others aren’t thriving.

        • Barry Cripps May 24, 2012 at 7:14 pm

          “That would only hold given that heart disease would pose an evolutionary problem for humans (it doesn’t since even today people who gorge on animal protein today can usually survive, reproduce and even ensure that the next generation will survive and reproduce before they die of heart disease), AND we exist in approximately the same environment that humans lived throughout most of evolutionary history, AND that the population of humans living today has not significantly evolved from humans throughout much of their evolutionary history. The third point, I’ll ignore, but if you wish to start comparing most people in industrialized nations with hunter-gather tribes it’ll come up, since due to the isolation of hunter-gather tribes conditions for genetic drift exist. We don’t live in the same environment as most humans did throughout their evolutionary history in several respects 1. we live in homes 2. we have a rather different bacterial environment due to antibiotics, food cleaning, living in homes, coming into contact with more people, etc. 3. we don’t have parasites around like most humans did throughout evolutionary history. Some of them eat cholesterol.”

          I’m not sure I really see your point here Doug. The diseases of civilization has only been in the epidemic proportions that they are now, for about the last 40 years. The large difference between now and then is that people have been eating LESS saturated fat, and more processed garbage. This doesn’t point to what specifically causes heart disease, because there are a ton of variables included, but the majority of the variables revolve around processing methods, and modern industrial ingredients.

          If a person eats a whole food diet, whether it is high in animal protein/fat, OR a vegan/vegetarian approach, I believe that there is a significantly less chance of developing any of the diseases of civilization…..IF Wheat and Polyunsaturated fats are excluded.

          As to your claim “it doesn’t make any sense to think that eating animal products gives us heart disease now. Here are a couple of recent studies for you, that support this information” it comes as rather irrelevant for Michelle. She *already* has heart disease. She needs to, and seems to have taken steps to, *reversing and arresting it*. You need evidence of an arrest and an reversal, NOT something which might indicate that animal protein might not contribute to heart disease. I’ll also point out there there exists an entire book which deals with animal and plant proteins and their effects on atherosclerosis, which references over 2000 studies: Dietary Proteins and Atherosclerosis.

          I was showing that dietary protein probably wasn’t the original CAUSE of her heart disease. Was I writing that post, or were you? LOL…. it seems a little silly and knit-picky to tell me what I should have been saying, when that obviously wasn’t the point I was trying to make. As for the book you cite, I’m sorry Doug, but that’s not a scientific study or article either….it’s a book!

          I don’t know what the study referenced considers high or low cholesterol at all. Hyman’s article is not a study. Also, he says “Your total cholesterol should be under 200″. But, that is too high. Under 150 comes as a more reasonable threshold.

          How do you know this? What constitutes a “reasonable threshold” for a marker that may have absolutely nothing to do with health and heart disease? How high should HDL be? What about Triglycerides? What about the two sub-particles of LDL Cholesterol? What about the fact that none of these markers are actually Cholesterol? HDL, and LDL are merely lipoproteins that carry Cholesterol.

          You should listen to this three-part series on Cholesterol by Chris Kresser, and Chris master john:
          http://chriskresser.com/the-healthy-skeptic-podcast-episode-11

          Again, for people like Michelle you need to show that such *reverses and arrests* heart disease. And you’ll need to show that in real-world people, not just as a speculative hypothesis. Someone like Caldwell Esselstyn who actually has done this with some people, might point out here that refined carbohydrates significantly raise blood sugar. “The body compensates to the sugar high with a surge of insulin from the pancreas–and the insulin, in turn, stimulates the liver to manufacture more cholesterol.” p. 71 of “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” by Caldwell Esselstyn (he has this in a section on fruit, citing this paper: http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM198910053211403) but it seems like it’ll apply to anything that significantly raises blood sugar levels. So, if refined carbohydrates pose a problem for heart disease, since they raise *serum* cholesterol levels, then the problem of refined carbohydrates actually *supports* the lipid hypothesis.

          Again, I’m not sure that you a really firm grasp on the science of Cholesterol. The Lipid Hypothesis is not good science.

          Define “optimal” and “thrive” please. It comes as quite clear that many people on 100% plant-based diets can also claim to have an optimal diet and thriving. It comes as ridiculous to claim that people like Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, Gary Francione, Carl Lewis while *winning* olympic gold medals, Scott Jurek, and many others aren’t thriving.

          I think you can use a dictionary, right Doug? haha. Have you ever read the book, “The Vegetarian Myth”? Or what about Denise Minger’s critique of the china study? they’re rather eye-opening. Man did not evolve to be vegetarian, or Vegan, and thus mankind will never be as strong, and healthy and as PREDATORY as the will if they eat animal fats and proteins. A person cannot completely thrive on plant matter alone. :-)

  7. Doug Spoonwood May 25, 2012 at 10:51 am

    “The large difference between now and then is that people have been eating LESS saturated fat, and more processed garbage.” This doesn’t point to what specifically causes heart disease, because there are a ton of variables included, but the majority of the variables revolve around processing methods, and modern industrial ingredients.”

    I don’t know how you think this. 1. If you want to point to the increase of products with less saturated fat, this doesn’t really do anything, since the consumption of saturated fat doesn’t necessarily correlate with more products with less saturated fat. On top of this, even if saturated fat intake has gone up, that doesn’t necessarily bear relevance here. The lipid hypothesis concerns *serum* levels, NOT dietary ones. Processing methods and ingredients don’t matter until the relevant substances have gotten absorbed into the blood stream. So, no, the variables don’t revolve around processing methods and modern industrial ingredients. The variables revolve around what happens in the blood.

    “If a person eats a whole food diet, whether it is high in animal protein/fat, OR a vegan/vegetarian approach, I believe that there is a significantly less chance of developing any of the diseases of civilization…..IF Wheat and Polyunsaturated fats are excluded.”

    That would hold true, but only because if polyunsaturated fats (which come as basically present in all foods to *some* non-zero degree) get excluded, then you have a starvation diet. A starvation diet does effectively lower the chances of developing any disease of civilization, since people actually on one, would die first from starvation. But of course, starvation diets really don’t interest anyone, in a practical sense, when thinking about how to prevent, reverse, or arrest disease.

    “I was showing that dietary protein probably wasn’t the original CAUSE of her heart disease. Was I writing that post, or were you? LOL…. it seems a little silly and knit-picky to tell me what I should have been saying, when that obviously wasn’t the point I was trying to make. As for the book you cite, I’m sorry Doug, but that’s not a scientific study or article either….it’s a book!”

    It comes as a book which references hundreds of scientific studies. You may have tried to show that dietary protein probably wasn’t the original cause, but you certainly haven’t (did the studies look at the consumption of animal protein in isolation from *anything* else?). On top of this, it isn’t like people consume animal or plant protein in isolation, so even if you had shown that, it comes as quite irrelevant to Michelle and people like her. Michelle wrote: “When I learned that ‘bad’ cholesterol ONLY comes from animal protein, I knew I had to eliminate it, or I was going to die. Well, I went vegetarian 13 months ago, and when I saw Forks Over Knives 4 months ago, I went vegan.” Well, surely technically speaking, increases in serum cholesterol don’t come strictly from animal protein, but again no one eats animal protein in isolation. For anyone who eats animal protein, they also eat animal cholesterol, and animal fat among other things. Animal foods generally do elevate serum cholesterol levels. There really doesn’t exist anything uncertain about this. The only thing uncertain comes as *how much* animal foods elevate serum cholesterol. This happens, in part, because people with higher serum cholesterol concentration generally experience *less* of a change in serum cholesterol levels due to the consumption of animal foods than people with lower serum cholesterol levels do.

    “But, that is too high. Under 150 comes as a more reasonable threshold. ”
    “How do you know this?”

    1. “KIRK HAMILTON: Well this is what I think I got. I appreciate your time. If I could summarize and correct me if I’m wrong. If we were really gonna jump after reducing cardiovascular disease, you’d go on this very low fat vegetarian diet that’s totally unrefined, you would shoot for an LDL of less than 70, triglycerides less than 60, and a cholesterol:HDL ratio 3.5 or less and maybe a total somewhere around, I don’t know, maybe between 130, 150, something like that? Those are all good -

    DR. WILLIAM CASTELLI: Well if you could, yeah. I mean, we have had about a half a dozen people get eventually a heart attack with a total cholesterol under 150 in Framingham. One of them did have this high triglyceride/low HDL syndrome. The other four or five, we don’t know what they had.

    KIRK HAMILTON: So that’s a half dozen in how many years?

    DR. WILLIAM CASTELLI: A long time, 30, 40 years almost. Yeah.” http://www.prescription2000.com/Interview-Transcripts/2011-02-18-william-castelli-heart-disease-lipids-transcript.html

    2. It comes as all over the relevant work of Caldwell Esselstyn and his colleagues. Here’s just one writing: http://www.heartattackproof.com/study01_background.htm You could also see his book _Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease_ Most his patients in his study where heart disease reversal and arrest occurred had this. Due to the data here http://www.heartattackproof.com/reversal01.htm one might try and argue for something a little higher than 150. However, if you make that argument, one can as easily then argue 150 as low enough.

    3. “For example, in rural China where the average total cholesterol was found to be 127 and very little animal products are consumed, less than 5% of the population suffered from heart attacks.(2) By comparison, in the United States, more than 40% percent of the population dies of heart attacks.” http://www.drfuhrman.com/faq/question.aspx?sid=11&qindex=0

    4. p. 210 of Daniel Steinberg’s _The Cholesterol Wars_ reads “Now of course we know that lowering LDL cholesterol to 70 mg/dl (total cholesterol ca. 150 mg/dl) is more effective than lowering it to just 100 mg/dl (total cholesterol ca. 180 mg/dl).

    Other sources exist also.

    “What constitutes a “reasonable threshold” for a marker that may have absolutely nothing to do with health and heart disease? How high should HDL be? What about Triglycerides? What about the two sub-particles of LDL Cholesterol?”

    I didn’t claim such as a “reasonable threshold” in an absolute sense. Adding emphasis, I said “Under 150 comes as a MORE reasonable threshold.”. I also didn’t claim cholesterol as the only risk factor.

    “What about the fact that none of these markers are actually Cholesterol? HDL, and LDL are merely lipoproteins that carry Cholesterol.”

    I didn’t talk about HDL and LDL. I just talked about cholesterol in general.

    “Again, I’m not sure that you a really firm grasp on the science of Cholesterol. The Lipid Hypothesis is not good science.”

    The lipid hypothesis comes as a well-accepted fact by the vast majority of scientists of the relevant scientific community: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipid_hypothesis. This sort of criticism “Critics point out that the standard for proof in the field is placebo controlled, double blind tests and not argumentum ad populum.[16]” doesn’t mean much when you realize that plenty of scientific endeavors don’t often use the most rigorous methods available, and actually rely on the consensus of relevant experts. Examples include 1. evolutionary biology 2. astronomy which simply can’t do experiments and 3. mathematics. Mathematics may seem strange, but almost all mathematicians write informal proofs instead of writing completely formal proofs in a logical language. They end up relying on the consensus of relevant experts when evaluating mathematical claims. Consequently, claims about say The Lipid Hypothesis as “not good science” end up meaning very little in light of the fact that the vast majority or relevant experts think it correct.

    “I think you can use a dictionary, right Doug? haha.”

    Dictionaries give you little more than how a term has gotten used historically. A term like “thrive” often comes as overly vague and subjective. The term “optimal” also ends up as overly vague in this sort of context, since we don’t know what sort of goals a person has in mind.

    “Have you ever read the book, “The Vegetarian Myth”?”

    Why would I want to read a book from someone who doesn’t have a relevant background on those topics? Why would I want to read a book from someone who supposedly tried to become a vegan for 20 years, failed, and describes her eating behavior as involving “binges”? Listen to about 5:30 here http://www.30bananasaday.com/forum/topics/the-vegetarian-myth-by-lierre

    “Or what about Denise Minger’s critique of the china study? ”

    The book _The China Study_ references plenty of other studies than the Cornell-China Oxford Project. Denise Minger only goes after how that study gets interpreted by Campbell and others. The book _The China Study_ can stand on its own *without* any reference to the Cornell-China Oxford Project. Have you read this on Denise Minger: “http://www.scribd.com/doc/76821348/It-s-Official-Denise-Minger-now-Exposed-as-DEBUNKED-The-China-Study-Troubleshooting-the-Non-Vegetarian-Rawfoodsos-Paleo-Fallacy-and-Mark-Sisson”? Or Colin Campbell’s own responses http://www.vegsource.com/news/2010/07/china-study-author-colin-campbell-slaps-down-critic-denise-minger.html? Or all of the relevant videos on her here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDBBB98ACA18EF67C&feature=plcp? You might also want to note that Denise Minger has an undergraduate degree in English. She doesn’t have a relevant background of any sort. She makes easily refuted, or at the very least confused, claims about 100% plant based nutrition here: http://rawfoodsos.com/for-vegans/ such as this one “Bivalves—such as oysters and clams and mussels—are incredibly rich in nutrients that are absent or hard to get from plant foods. Oysters in particular are a great source of iron, B12, zinc, selenium, copper, and vitamin D, and have a small amount of true vitamin A as well.” She doesn’t have any sort of background in statistics, and since it comes as well-known that one can easily manipulate statistics improperly if one doesn’t know what one is doing, everything is suspect.

    Have you read books like _Vegan for Life_ which make NO reference to the book _The China Study_ when talking about health and plant-based diets (the authors there actually refuse to talk about such in that section, since it comes as an ecological study)? Have you read the philosophical arguments of Peter Singer or Tom Regan or Gary Francione or Henry Salt?

    And no, they aren’t rather eye-opening. They just demonstrate that people can make ignorant claims and that you can find dozens of people who believe those ignorant claims, just as happens with Creationists.

    “Man did not evolve to be vegetarian, or Vegan, and thus mankind will never be as strong, and healthy and as PREDATORY as the will if they eat animal fats and proteins.”

    First off, no species evolves “to be” something, they only evolve “as” something. In other words, to make things clearer, evolution is NOT a telological process. Second off, evolution is NOT a completed process and never was. Even in the course of own lifetime this can matter, since bacteria play a crucial role in digestive processes, and bacterial populations evolve over our lifetimes, it comes as quite clear that our digestive processes can also significantly change. Decreased gas production of regular bean eaters probably provides an example of this.

    Third, only *populations* evolve… individuals do NOT. All eating happens at the individual level, not at the level of a population. So, it simply does not follow that humanity evolved as vegetarian, vegan, OR meat-eater since all of those terms refer to behaviors of individuals, NOT populations. Species do NOT eat, only individuals of those species do. Fourth, evolution does not optimize. It only “cares” about the survival and reproduction of populations, and such survival and reproduction only needs to come as good enough for more survival and reproduction. Fifth, a past trait which worked out as evolutionary successful does not work out as a guide to what will work well in the future for a species. Environmental conditions can and often change and species who once enjoyed evolutionary species DO go extinct. The bacterial environment of people in industrialized societies today differs significantly from most people of the past. Other environments also differ. Sixth, you simply can’t know a priori how strength compares without different populations to compare.

    Seventh, predation doesn’t matter. It’s not the only way to measure strength, and in no way laudable as a behavior. On top of this, even were I to agree with predation as an ethical behavior (which I most certainly do not), there does exist at least one person who has engaged in deer-hunting while eating a plant-based diet Don Felton. See p. 51 of _Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease_. So, your claim about predation consists of sheer speculation.

    Lastly, I’ve already pointed out examples of people thriving on “plant matter alone” (biologically speaking, that may not come as quite correct, since mushrooms aren’t plant matter… but plants-and-mushrooms isn’t much of a stretch). Two of them champions in their athletic fields while on a completely plant-based diet. Many more examples could get supplied. Your claim “A person cannot completely thrive on plant matter alone. ” consequently consists of a direct denial of reality.

    • Barry Cripps May 25, 2012 at 11:13 am

      While this is all great fun Doug, I don’t agree with you, so obviously we’re going to have to agree to disagree.

      I can quote studies at you, and you can quote studies at me, but it’s obviously not going to matter either way. My standpoint is that humans require animal based foods to be as healthy as they can be. Veganism and vegetarianism are fine as long as a person is going down that road for ethical reasons. There are no good biological arguments against eating animal products, and there is no good science on exactly how Cholesterol fits into the equation of health right now.

      I don’t think that any of science you have referenced is good science, sorry.

      I feel like you are in denial of millions of years of evolution…..or do you deny evolution too?

  8. Doug Spoonwood May 25, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    I don’t agree quite that we have to agree to disagree, in the sense that such a phrase implies this as just a matter of opinion like one’s feelings on Van Gogh’s paintings. So, I reject your proposal to agree to disagree.

    “I can quote studies at you, and you can quote studies at me, but it’s obviously not going to matter either way.”

    No, it will matter one way, because one side will have more evidence to it and one side will have more studies supporting it.

    “My standpoint is that humans require animal based foods to be as healthy as they can be.”

    Then it comes as logically consistent with your position that olympic champion Carl Lewis when he won gold medals in 1990s as not as healthy as he could be, as well as claiming Scott Jurek as not as healthy as he could be when he won ultramarathoning championships, as well as centenarians not as healthy as they could be http://www.flickr.com/groups/513900@N23/discuss/72157626391777857/.

    “Veganism and vegetarianism are fine as long as a person is going down that road for ethical reasons.”

    People often go do that road for both ethical and health reasons.

    “There are no good biological arguments against eating animal products, and there is no good science on exactly how Cholesterol fits into the equation of health right now. I don’t think that any of science you have referenced is good science, sorry.”

    Sure, because you deliberately make “good” to mean anything which supports your preconceived view of how things work.

    “I feel like you are in denial of millions of years of evolution…..or do you deny evolution too?”

    Your feelings don’t much matter with respect to the issue at hand, and your loaded question doesn’t even make much sense as a loaded question. I don’t deny the lipid hypothesis, you do. So make no mistake, you’re the denialist here.