Avoiding the Dangers of a Vegan Diet

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Avoiding the Dangers of a Vegan Diet

Postby Calistoga Bill » Sat Feb 28, 2009 9:39 am

Here's a new article by Dr. Alan Goldhamer, co-author of The Pleasure Trap.
I printed it because I'm not sure the URL will open.

Avoiding the Dangers of a Vegan Diet
Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D is a hormone that is formed naturally when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Thirty minutes of full body exposure can result in the formation of up to 10,000 IU of vitamin D and there is no risk of excess vitamin D forming from this natural route. There is a risk from sunburn from overexposure and burns should be avoided by carefully limiting your exposure to the sun. Sunburn can increase your risk of the formation of skin cancer and can contribute to the premature aging of the skin.

The best way to insure optimum vitamin D levels of 35-50 units is by getting regular sunshine. If you cannot get adequate sun exposure a sun lamp may be the best alternative. If for some reason this does not result in a normal level of vitamin D then supplementation of vitamin D is an option. It is important to avoid excess vitamin D supplementation as excess vitamin D
from supplements can be toxic. Most individuals can restore their levels with 1000 to 2000 IU per day of vitamin D2 (vegan) or D3 (from sheep’s wool). Some individuals may require higher doses in order to replenish depleted body stores. Once normal levels have been achieved, supplementation should be discontinued or reduced to the lowest levels needed to sustain optimum blood values. If at all possible, sunshine or a sunlamp should be used to sustain normal levels.

Problems from vitamin D deficiency include: osteoporosis, immune suppression, chronic pain and some cancers, etc.
The blood test for vitamin D status is 25-dehydroxy vitamin D. We suggest that vitamin B12 and vitamin D be routinely evaluated by including a homocysteine and 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test with each individual’s periodic health checkup.

A diet that avoids all animal products including meat, fish, fowl, eggs and dairy products is called a vegan diet. People
following a vegan diet have been shown to experience reduced heart disease. Despite the proven benefits derived from
avoiding the use of animal products in the diet, many vegans do not fare as well as they might.

Problems with Animal Products
1. Bacteria
2. Viruses
3. Prions
4. Biological concentration of toxins
5. Heavy metals
6. Growth stimulants/hormones
7. Antibiotics
8. Pesticides

Avoiding the Dangers of a Vegan Diet

Some studies suggest that vegans may actually have increased incidence of some diseases, including cancer of the uterus, ovaries and stomach. Is a vegan diet safe? Not all vegan diets are created equally. Eliminating animal products from the diet does not guarantee a healthpromoting diet. Much of the benefit derived from eliminating the risks of animal products in the diet (see breakout box) can be offset if the diet is not a health-promoting diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds
and sprouts and the variable addition of minimally processed whole grains and beans. Potato chips, french fries, alcohol, soda pop and chocolate might all be vegan but that hardly qualifies them as healthy.

Vegetarians and vegans often consume large quantities of highly processed foods containing large amounts of oil, sugar, flour and salt. If they believe that their avoidance of animal products alone will grant them dispensation from the devastating consequences of the dietary pleasure trap, they may be sadly disappointed. They say that some vegans get headaches — from their halos being too tight. Avegan diet may be undertaken for many reasons: health, social, environmental and/or spiritual. A vegan diet may help you get into heaven, but it will not delay how quickly you get there, unless you avoid some potential pitfalls. In addition to the problems caused by the dietary pleasure trap resulting in the consumption of highly processed foods, vegans are subject to the deficiency of two important nutrients.

Vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 is produced only by bacteria. Rich sources of bacteria, including animal products, contain large quantities of this essential nutrient. The elimination of animal products in conjunction with modern Hygienic standards reduces the exposure to bacteria and thus vitamin B12. The reduced intake of vitamin B12 can lead to a depletion of vitamin B12 stores and eventually to vitamin B12 deficiency. Although it may take years or even decades to deplete body stores of vitamin B12, this does occur and, in our experience, is quite common in long-term unsupplemented vegan patients. A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to numerous symptoms including neurological disturbances, and increased blood levels of the protein homocysteine.This elevated level of homocysteine causes inflammation in the blood vessels and increases the risk of heart disease. The most accurate way to assess the vitamin B12 status is to perform a blood test measuring homocysteine or methylmalonic acid. These two metabolites will increase when vitamin B12 deficiency is present. Oral supplementation of vitamin B12 in the form of methylcobalamin is thought to be the most efficient way to correct deficiency. A single, daily 1000 mcg tablet is sufficient to correct a B12 deficiency and maintain normal B12 status in most patients.

Alan Goldhamer, D.C., is the founder of TrueNorth Health Center in California. He is the author of the Health Promoting Cookbook and co-author of The Pleasure Trap. Jennifer Marano, D.C., is the co-founder of TrueNorth Health Center.

Contact the authors at: www.healthpromoting.com or at 707-586-5555
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Postby JeffN » Sat Feb 28, 2009 9:45 am

Thanks Bill!

Here is the link!

http://www.healthpromoting.com/node/72

The only thing I would add is that in addition to a serum B12, to also check Homocysteine and Methyl Malonic Acid levels as the Urinary Methyl Malonic Acid (uMMA) test, may be the best screening tool for catching B-12 deficiency in its early stages. It is easy to get and very inexpensive.

http://www.b12.com/

In Health
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Postby groundhoggpeggy » Sat Feb 28, 2009 1:26 pm

"Some studies suggest that vegans may actually have increased incidence of some diseases, including cancer of the uterus, ovaries and stomach."

I've seen breast cancer added to these statistics.

Any explanations out there?????

...and I won't accept "not-full compliance" as a good answer... afterall... if veganism is in itself a better direction than SAD, that partial compliance should not bring worse cancer incidence than SAD... should be a steady decrease in cancer incidence, from SAD, decreasing with partial, low-fat vegan compliance, and finally ending with good/low incidence stats for 100% low-fat vegan compliance... ain't that right???? So... these stats are not so good to hear... I first heard of them from Michael Gregor back about 10 years ago... I dismissed them at that time as impossible and crazy... being a 100% McDougaller, I did not choose to hear those stats... but there they are again.... anyone, anyone??????????
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Long-term Vegans

Postby Calistoga Bill » Sat Feb 28, 2009 1:42 pm

groundhogpeggy,

This is a troubling lecture by Dr. Michael Klaper titled "Things About Vegetarian Nutrition That I No Longer Believe."

http://vsh.voip-info.org/Klaper.html
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Postby JeffN » Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:12 pm

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Postby groundhoggpeggy » Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:24 pm

Calistoga Bill...Thanks, I have seen that Klaper lecture (veganism / McDougalling and I go back a long way! But thank you... I do remember it :) ).

Jeff... let me ask this... is this logical thinking on this???

1- pk. a day smokers have a xx% chance of getting lung disease.

1/2 pk. a day smokers have a xxx% chance of gettting that same lung disease.

Non-smokers have only x% chance of getting that disease.

So... to me, it looks like the message here is the same, except substitute meat for smokes.

Junky, meat-eatin' SAD folks get those cancers mentioned xx% of the time... oil and sugar-eatin' vegans, who are removed from SAD only by having no meat or dairy... have xxx%... and low-fat 100% compliant vegans have only x% chance.

This is what I feel I am seeing. Somethin' ain't right there! Know what I'm sayin'? In other words... is it healthier to have cheeseburgers and steaks with your potato chips and Twinkies? I mean, I'm going by such info from vegan authors as the quote above :
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Postby JeffN » Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:48 am

groundhoggpeggy wrote:Jeff... let me ask this... is this logical thinking on this???

1- pk. a day smokers have a xx% chance of getting lung disease.

1/2 pk. a day smokers have a xxx% chance of gettting that same lung disease.

Non-smokers have only x% chance of getting that disease.

So... to me, it looks like the message here is the same, except substitute meat for smokes.

Junky, meat-eatin' SAD folks get those cancers mentioned xx% of the time... oil and sugar-eatin' vegans, who are removed from SAD only by having no meat or dairy... have xxx%... and low-fat 100% compliant vegans have only x% chance.

This is what I feel I am seeing. Somethin' ain't right there! Know what I'm sayin'? In other words... is it healthier to have cheeseburgers and steaks with your potato chips and Twinkies? I mean, I'm going by such info from vegan authors as the quote above :


Greetings,

Good questions. I don't have an answer but here are my responses...

First, welcome to the world of epidemiology. They spend their life trying to figure out the questions you are raising.

Second, I am not sure I understand your specific point or your numbers, thought I think that if I am correct in my understanding of what you are trying to say, I think I agree.

There seems to be a message that is clear in the literature which is... the more healthy habits you engage in, the better for you.

There are even studies that have shown that you can somewhat reduce the potential harm of a negative food but consuming healthy foods along with it. In other words, putting oil on a salad is less harmful than putting oil on white bread.

However, since it seems to me that most all of us here are seeking better health and/or a longer life with better heath, the bottom line remains, the more healthy habits you engage in the healthier you will be.

To me, trying to find the exact cut off point of where, what and how much you can get away with is for actuaries, statisticians and odds makers in Vegas and not those seeking optimal health. :)

In Health
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Stupid Question from a newbie..

Postby bigbear » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:49 pm

I have see it in a lot of post...what is SAD....??
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Postby Calistoga Bill » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:53 pm

Standard American Diet. Also how you'll feel if you're on it!
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ok...thanks..

Postby bigbear » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:56 pm

Just did not know the lingo..appreciate it..
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Postby Calistoga Bill » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:03 pm

Don't feel bad. I thought LOL was Little Old Lady!
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Postby groundhoggpeggy » Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:35 pm

Well, what I'm saying is that it seems that rather than a continuum of habits/health, from SAD on one end to lf vegan at the other... it seems to make a crazy jump, in some ways.

For instance... vegans get more of certain cancers (see above somewhere), etc....

So, rather than the score for some things looking like SAD-eaters, xxx% -- quasi vegans xx% -- full lf vegans only x% of some disease... it sometimes appears to be more erratic... something more like, SAD-eaters xx%, -- quasi vegan xxx% -- lf vegan x%... i.e., if you get messed up as a vegan, they tell you it's because you're not the right KIND of vegan, when in fact, it seems ANY kind of vegan ought to have somewhat improved health stats over SAD.
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Postby JeffN » Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:50 pm

groundhoggpeggy wrote:Well, what I'm saying is that it seems that rather than a continuum of habits/health, from SAD on one end to lf vegan at the other... it seems to make a crazy jump, in some ways.

For instance... vegans get more of certain cancers (see above somewhere), etc....

So, rather than the score for some things looking like SAD-eaters, xxx% -- quasi vegans xx% -- full lf vegans only x% of some disease... it sometimes appears to be more erratic... something more like, SAD-eaters xx%, -- quasi vegan xxx% -- lf vegan x%... i.e., if you get messed up as a vegan, they tell you it's because you're not the right KIND of vegan, when in fact, it seems ANY kind of vegan ought to have somewhat improved health stats over SAD.


The comment on vegans and cancer may or may not be true but has shown up in a few studies. More will be revealed.

However, it only appears to make some sort of "crazy jump" if you make the same "classification" error that many others make and continue to make. Veganism is not a defined diet. Veganism is a philosophy that includes dietary restrictions but in and of itself, it is not a guidelines to optimal health or dietary excellence. It only tells you what people do not eat and not what they do eat what you do eat may be more important than what you don't eat. Personally, I don't see the crazy jump.

At the beginning of every 10 Day Program, Dr McDougall makes 2 points that he says are key to understanding his program and being successful on it. The first one is that this is not a vegan program. While many who choose to follow the principles and guidelines of the program also choose to be vegan, it is not required nor is it a fundamental principle of the program

There are many such discussion in this forum on this topic and you can also read his latest newsletter on the Fat Vegan

http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2008nl/dec/fat.htm

and my newsletter on "Plant Based Diets & Optimal Health: Going All The Way?l"

http://tinyurl.com/b26oda

As I always say, I am a health advocate, not a vegan advocate.

If we look within these vegan diets in these above mentioned studies, we will find many common denominators that are related to cancer that they are doing wrong, similar to non-vegans. These include (but not limited to) high intake of fat, high intake of polunsautated fats, high intake of omega 6s, too many free oils, too many refined foods, too many processed foods, poor essential fat ratios, inadequate fiber, inadequate activity, etc etc, all of which have been related to cancer.

Read the thread on Triage Your Health in this forum, and the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute For Cancer Research Report on Cancer from 11/07, which is also discussed in this forum. As you will clearly see, being a vegan is not mentioned in either one of them.

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Postby JeffN » Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:33 pm

groundhoggpeggy wrote:Thanks for getting back with me, Jeff.


Your welcome!

groundhoggpeggy wrote:I think I keep seeing a trend in reporting MORE cancer cases of certain types in the vegan population than in SAD...


I don't "see" that perpective at all or know of any conclusive evidence to support it.

This is why it is important to look at controlled trials because our human perspective is often flawed when trying to look at and understand these bigger picture issues.

This is also why when studies are done, the effect has to be greater in the experimental group than in the control group to account for the placebo effect and other testing and human influences that need to be accounted for. Believe it or not, they really do to try to address these issues.

And while the cancer issue may have appeared in a study or two, if you will take the time to read the material posted, you will get a better understanding.

groundhoggpeggy wrote:I've seen advice given to people who say they are having problems with the diet indicating that their only problem with the diet is that they are not restrictive enough... that every nut, drop of oil, refined grain, etc., hurts, and that is why they are not doing well, because they are not 100% all the time in every way.


I don't see that perspective either, either here on the board or as a professional. Clearly, as I stated above, not only do people often have problems with perspective on what is going on in the bigger picture, people also have problems in perspective in what is going on with the smaller picture. For example, few people actually really know what their intake is, and as I have discussed here many times, even trained professionals can be up to 30% off in regard to actual calorie and nutrient intake. Asking people to be more compliant is really just asking them to be more attentive and to get a better picture of what they are doing and where, if any, there may be some problems.

There is a recent link in this forum to someone who was very careful about what they ate and was under the impression their diet consiste of "x" and yet, and was challenging some of the concepts discussed here. When I had them just take a closer look at what they are doing (without any recommendation to remove any drop of oil, nuts, etc) they realized their intake was much different than they originally thought. And this was someone who thought they were paying close attention. Of course because of this, their overall perspective was skewed, but how could it not be?

Interestingly, they also did not want to do the experiment at first and instead just debate the issue. So, I closed the conversation for a bit, recommending the take the time to do the experiment, as there is no point in the continued discussion on the topic if we don't want to take the time to really understand the topic and what is going on, especially in our own life in regard to the topic.

Then once, the experiment was done, the conversation took on a whole new life and changed its course. Why? Simple. Understanding and clarity. :)

Sure, not everything is known, but like the WHO said in their recent report, to use the rare exception and what is not known to interfere with doing what is right, is counterproductive.

Also, I have never seen me, or any other health professional I know of, or any study I know of, insist, that the only way to do this is through strict adherence and if not, there will be problems, nor could anyone find any evidence in this forum supporting that claim.

groundhoggpeggy wrote:At the same time, I believe I am hearing that ..... vegan eating in general (not meaning potato chips and pop, but more like vegan with oils, etc.) should be better tahn SAd... yet some stats don't seem to support that.


I don't see that either, especially in today's world with all the vegan junk food available, (much of it cleverly marketed as health food).

Again, while I know some "out there" may be saying that, it has not only never been said here, I am always pointing out the problem with that distinction/perspective, even with those who insist on using it.

Vegan is not a definitive term in regard to diet and lifestyle. Vegan is not a good term to use due to its lack of clear definition in regard to the diet and lifestyle factors that are known to effect health and disease risks, So, as long as it is used, it will continue to create confusion and problems.

We have to move beyond the limitations we have identified if we are going to move into new areas of understanding and clarity. :)

In Health
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Postby groundhoggpeggy » Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:14 pm

When I say certain cancers occurring more in vegans, I'm going by what vegan doctors have reported in their findings... Michael Gregor, (Micheal?) Klaper, for instance.

Maybe this is wrong info, but I got it from vegan doctors.

Also, yes I have seen on this forum people not doing well who were advised it may have been because they eat too many nuts, avocados, some oil in their cooking here and there, etc.

Dr. McDougall says it's not all or nothing; yet, if somebody isn't doing so well... you hear the reason is because you're not doing it all, down to the letter, 100%.

Then someone comes along and says you're not as low-fat vegan as you think you are... ok... whatever. I think we know if we eat potato chips, processed foods, packaged supposed "health" foods, too much sugar, or whatever. Outside of absolute denial... we can read a McDougall book and get the gist.

Again... not trying to rock the boAT or anything, but just trying to sort things out for myself. I will do anything on earth that will protect my health... I would do anything on earth to help anyone else around me find the best route to excellent health.

My concept of what-all is involved, though, or even if it's possible, was blown out of the H2O a while back, and my head is still spinning.

So, yes, on this forum, I've seen some of that... you're just not 100% abd that's why you're not doing well.

And those annoying cancer "stats" or whatever, that came straight from vegan doctors... that's what I was saying... it seems it should be on a continuum.... SAD should have the worse cancer stats... quasi-vegan (and if you don't like that word... we'll say people who avoid animal proteins but still eat tater chips or olive oil) should have somewhat more encouraging stats, and low-fat, non-processed vegans should have the best stats.

Are we seeing that?
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