Thursday, April 19, 2007

Just Innocent Comments?

I was listening to Lime radio with Dr. Weil, and a woman with osteoporosis calls in to ask if the doctor had any suggestions. She said she followed a mostly vegan diet with very rarely a dairy product. Dr. Wiel says, I'm paraphrasing here, "I don't know how ethical you are but ..." He then goes on to suggest that she get a good source of complex omega-3 fatty acids, preferably in the form of fish oil supplements and to take vitamin d3 supplements (which are usually from animal products!). He also told her to see an exercise therapist for some weight-bearing exercises. Meat-eaters continue to ignore the weight of science in how healthy a vegan diet can be and how harmful animal protein is. I probably would have been a vegan a lot sooner had I not been fooled by all the fear mongering by people who are not even qualified to speak on nutrition. Look at the labels of those nutrition books that were written by Dr. So-and-So. How many of them have degrees in nutrition? Dr. Weil certainly doesn't. Medical school is not an adequate training ground for nutritionists. In fact, most medical schools barely touch on the subject of nutrition. So, why then, do so many people trust the likes of Dr. Atkins? It's simply because he has a Dr. before his name and the medical degree, and that's all. Doctors need to admit when they are not an expert on something and refer it to the person who can give the advice. You know nutritionists published studies in peer-reviewed journals about trans-fatty acids in the 1970s and early 1980s about how harmful they were, but it wasn't until the information came out 20 years later in the New England Journal of Medicine did anyone believe it. Now that's hokey. There are many plant foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Granted, most are not in their complex forms, but the body makes complex chains of omega-3 out of the more simple forms we give it. The sun is the best source of vitamin d. Don't take my word for it, see what nutritionists have to say about it, but please don't go looking to doctors for advice on what to eat. Educate yourself. Here is a good article about calcium from the Vegetarian Resource Group. Here's a discussion about vegans and osteoporosis by Jack Norris, a guy with a nutrition degree, and it isn't very flattering to vegans, unfortunately. Here's a discussion about bone health by Norris. The book, "Becoming Vegan," by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina has a good discussion about bone nutrition. Both Davis and Melina have nutrition degrees. The book, "The Vegetarian Way: Total Health for You and Your Family," by Virginia and Mark Messina is also excellent and provides an overview of the studies done on bone health. Mark has a doctorate degree in nutrition, a pretty good qualification, and Virginia also has a degree in nutrition.

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