I was directed here by someone asking me if I would directly respond to this issue.
Ted W Bishop wrote:
I find myself questioning my previous concept of a “good diet” that I have learned at SDSU and from other sources like Dr. Nicholas Perricone. The teaching about Dr. McDougal and a no fat, vegetarian diet to greatly reduce risk of disease and to control it is thought provoking. The largest question I have is it necessary to be vegetarian to accomplish this? Could the similar or the same result be achieved by Dr. Nicholas Perricone approach with limited amount organic meat form wild Salomon and range free Chicken breast and there eggs using the white of the egg primarily.
You ask a great question.
BTW, you may want to check into the background of Dr Perricone and you can do so here..
His work is full of statements that are questionable, unverifiable, and erroneous.
In regard to your question, if I understand it correctly, is there any benefit to 100% plant diet vs a (lets say) 95-99% plant based diet, with both of them being planned as healthy as possible.
Unfortunately, no one knows for sure. There is lots of evidence that dramatically reducing the amount of animal food in ones diet and dramatically increasing the amount of plant food in ones diet brings tremendous health benefits, especially if the plant food is based on unrefined/unprocessed plant foods that are in their more natural state without all the added sodium, refined sugars, and/or saturated fat, hydrogenated fat or trans fat. However, I do not know of any evidence that making it 100% is required for it to be optimal in regard to the health benefits. It doesnt mean someone couldnt choose to do so, as there plenty of evidence that a 100% plant based diet can be more than adequate.
Some of the studies and research mentioned above definitely supports the concept that less animal food in ones diet is better, and gives lots of support to the notion that the more plants the better, but unfortunately, none of it shows that none is best. Why? there was no vegan groups in these study.
However, here have been some studies done on vegans to determine this (The Seventh-Day Adventist Church Health Study), and some of the best data comes out of the work done on the Seventh Day Adventist. From their studies
The Seventh-Day Adventist Church Health Study is the only major ongoing study on the general health and mortality of vegetarians in the U.S. Data was collected from 1976-1988. Of the 34,192 participants, all members of the Seventh-day Adventist church: 29 percent were vegetarian, while 7-10 percent of the vegetarians were vegan.
(NOTE: This equates to about 2% of them being vegans, however the results are on all of the Seventh Day Adventists who were studies and not just the vegans)
Research funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health has shown that the average Adventist in California lives four to ten years longer than the average Californian. The research, as cited by the cover story of the November 2005 issue of National Geographic magazine, asserts that Adventists live longer due to not smoking or drinking, and their healthy, low-fat vegetarian diet rich in nuts and beans. The cohesiveness of Adventists' social networks has also been put forward as an explanation of their extended lifespan.
Seventh-day Adventists are less likely to smoke and may exercise more than the typical person in the US. Many follow a vegetarian diet; nearly 30% of the subjects were vegetarians, and another 20% described themselves as semi-vegetarian (ate meat fewer than one time per week but more than once per month). At birth, an infant who would grow up to be a California Adventist male would be expected to live 78.5 years, a female California Adventist, 82.3 years. If the California Adventist was also vegetarian, life expectancy at birth increased to 80.2 years for men and 84.8 years for women. Compare this to a US male whose life expectancy at birth is 73 years and a US female who can expect to live 79.7 years.
The following is from Diet, Life Expectancy and Chronic Disease. Studies of Seventh-Day Adventists and Other Vegetarians. Gary E Fraser. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003, from the chapter Risk Factors and Diseases among Vegans, page 239...
(NOTE: Gary is the guy who did much of the research on the Seventh Day Adventists and knows the data very well.)
1. Vegans are thinner than other vegetarians
2. Levels of blood cholesterol and of blood LDL cholesterol are lower in vegans than in other vegetarians. HDL levels may also be lower, but the evidence is not consistent.
3. Blood pressure levels in vegans appear to be modestly, but significantly lower than those in other vegetarians. This statement is based mainly on a large British data set.
4. Data on other risk factors are too sparse to allow meaningful comparisons between vegans and others.
5. Conclusions about disease events among vegans are also hampered by the low numbers of subjects in studies. but it seems unlikely that there are large differences in disease experiences between vegans and other vegetarians. Studies than include more vegans would be necessary to detect any small or moderate differences. The California Adventist results did raise the possibility of higher cancer mortality in vegans (with a borderline statistical significance), but this needs confirmation from other studies to carry much conviction.
(NOTE: I do not know of any other evidence supporting the cancer issue and a healthy vegan diet is in line with most all dietary recommendations to reduce cancer risk)
In addition, while I can not speak for any individual or author, the Ornish diet is not and never was vegan, neither was the Pritikin diet, and neither is the recommendations in Eat To Live. However, all of them include vegan recommendations/options.
Now, having been a vegan for around 30 years, I am not arguing against veganism, I am only trying to help answer a valid question.
Remember, veganism is not a diet. Veganism is clear on exactly what not to eat, but not so clear on exactly what to eat. It is a philosophy that includes dietary restrictions. However, in and of itself, these dietary restrictions may not always be healthy. You can live on potato chips, French fries and ketchup and still be a vegan, but you wouldn't be healthy. A vegan diet, to be healthy, still has to follow certain health guidelines and principles. While there are differing variations on how to do best to that, in the end, most of the differences are minor and the basic concepts are similar. These health issues have nothing to do with the moral/ethical issues on why some people choose to become a vegan.
In regard to the Omega 3/6/9 issue, most of what we here is blow way out of proportion. A healthy plant based diet can provide plenty of essential fats all in the right ratios.
In regard to the quote of mine on the old book: many people do suffer from gluten intolerance to grains, and do better without the gluten containing ones (wheat, rye, oats, barley) and I for one am who finds the less of these grains the better. According to results that came out about a year ago from Dr. Alessio Fasano's Celiac Disease Center at the University of Maryland, the incidence of formal gluten intolerance is estimated to be about 1 in 133 in America and the incidence may even be higher as this rate is for the formally diagnosed disease and there may be many others who have a milder form of intolerance and/or sensitivity. I do still include some "intact" whole grains, and you can find some great article on this issue at my website.
My recommendation in regard to the question: For health, focus on the 95-99% and not the 1%
Wishing you all the best of health