7 Reasons to Eat Meat? Here Is Why They Are All Wrong

In some ways, it’s good news when someone writes another article about “why we should eat meat.” The arguments are so weak that it just reinforces the truth: meat eating can’t be defended.

The most recent of these pieces lists seven reasons why writer Christina Sterbenz “refuses” to stop eating meat. So, let’s look at them.

1. Meat has heme iron which is more easily absorbed.

Vegetarians do have lower stores of iron—which may be to our advantage—but the evidence suggests that meat eaters are just as likely to develop outright deficiency.  And, the fact that iron in plant foods is sensitive to both enhancers and inhibitors of absorption is no doubt a good thing since iron may be bad for us ... Read More >

Do Some People Need to Eat Meat?

It’s one of the most frequent questions I get from blog readers: How do we respond to people who insist that they require meat in their diets?

I know very well that some vegans struggle with their health, because I hear frequently from those who are looking for help. Most who contact me are animal advocates who are experiencing nutrient deficiencies (diagnosed through blood work) or they simply don’t feel well.

These are not people who are eating junk-food vegan diets. Anyone who gets sick from eating a diet based on potato chips and cookies will usually have a fairly good idea of why they got sick, and they also know how to take some steps to fix that. Instead, those who write to me ... Read More >

Vegans and Vivisection

Way back in time, when my husband was working on his PhD at Michigan State University, I thought I might get a PhD, too. I applied, was accepted, and enrolled.

One of the things that presented a little barrier for me right from the start, though, was that my advisor wanted me to begin my doctoral career with a “small animal research project” just to get a quick publication and a little bit of research experience. It was a conversation that took place just after I had adopted a shelter kitten who turned out to have feline distemper and appeared to be dying.  I was distraught as I tried to explain to my advisor why I wasn’t going to do a “small animal research project,” ... Read More >

The New York Times, Nina Planck, and Safety of Vegan Diets

Last week brought more shoddy coverage of vegan diets from The New York Times. This time, it was a debate about the safety of veganism. And it didn’t occur to the Times to solicit opinions from anyone with actual expertise in vegan nutrition.

At the center of the discussion was food writer and farmer’s market expert Nina Planck, who excels at making sweeping, unsupported observations about nutrition. She is woefully uninformed and spectacularly unconcerned about her lack of knowledge and credentials.

Planck believes that we have “extraordinary needs for nutrients not found in plants,” –including vitamins A and D, omega-3 fats, and carnitine–which translates to a need for what she refers to as “synthetic supplements.” I imagine that in referring to these supplements as “synthetic,” ... Read More >

Bad news for red meat is bad news for chickens

Red meat has a bad PR problem. Two recent meta-analyses—one published in 2009 and one in 2011—linked red meat consumption to increased colon cancer risk. In May, the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund reaffirmed conclusions from an earlier comprehensive report, saying that the evidence for a relationship between red meat and colon cancer is “convincing.”

And it’s not just cancer; a study published just last week found that adults who consume 4 ounces of red meat per day have a 20 percent increased risk for developing diabetes.

The evidence strongly suggests that it’s a good idea for everyone to reduce their intake of red and processed meats. But from the animals’ perspective, this is not necessarily great news. That’s ... Read More >