Study Shows That Vegans Are at a Greater Risk for Heart Disease

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Is being vegan bad for your heart?
As the Globe and Mail points out, you'd think that abstaining from all foods containing animal fats would keep your heart healthy. But a new study suggests that restricting one's diet to plants could mean missing out on certain nutrients vital to cardiovascular health.

The study, which compared data on vegans around the world, reveals that vegan diets tend to be low in iron, zinc, vitamin B-12, and omega-3 fatty acids, resulting in low levels of "good cholesterol." But critics of the study say that the role of "good" cholesterol is to counteract the effects of "bad" cholesterol, and that vegans don't have high levels of the latter, which reduces their need for the former.

Accrued data aside, the fact is that vegans who gorge themselves on highly processed vegan substitutes are probably not getting much in the way of nutrition. One option for vegans who might not be getting the nutrients they need, say experts, is to take supplements. Another is to introduce foods like quinoa, which contains all nine essential amino acids. In any case, you should probably keep your tofu dog intake to a minimum.


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11 comments
iron supplement
iron supplement

Angstrom Minerals are the smallest form of liquid minerals today.Some products claim to be as small as 10 angstroms. That is small. But not as small as the minerals by the Angstrom Mineral Company.

Greenpt
Greenpt

Yeah Right! Look at Bob Barker and Betty White, they're both vegan and both thriving. You see you don't need to eat animals to get any nutrients.

Robert Cohen
Robert Cohen

Is the Village Voice Effing Kidding Us?

"I await the hour when a journalist can be driven from the press room for venal practices, as a minister can be unfrocked, or a lawyer disbarred." - John Haynes Holmes (Founder of the ACLU & NAACP)

Today, I am presenting three short unedited piecesfollowed by my comments.

The first is an angry letter written to me by Chantal Martineau, a Village Voice newspaper reporter, after I questioned her lack of journalistic integrity. I asked Chantal for a retraction because her article headline and sarcastic comments regarding vegans was not based upon the publication in a scientific journal which she incorrectly cited in her column.

1) Angry Letter from Reporter to Notmilkman2) Village Voice Column3) Abstract from Journal4) Notmilkman's Comment

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"Oooo... A confused man who twists facts to suit his cause will not be kind to me. Because I have an issue with processed foods? That was not an interview. You could probably barely hear me over your ravings. You're as much of a journalist as Glenn Beck. Laughable that you would tell me to check my sources. I'm an award winning journalist who went to college at age 13. You are an attention seeking child. I advise you not to try to rope me into your little website shenanigans again."

Chantal Martineauchantalmartineau@yahoo.com260 St. James Place, #5A | Brooklyn, NY | 11238tel: 917.312.0812 | fax: 212.994.9316

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"Study Shows That Vegans Are at a Greater Risk for Heart DiseaseBy Chantal Martineau, Mon., Feb. 7 2011

"As the Globe and Mail points out, you'd think that abstaining from all foods containing animal fats would keep your heart healthy.

"But a new study suggests that restricting one's diets to plants could mean missing out on certain nutrients vital to cardiovascular health.

"The study, which compared data on vegans around the world, reveals that vegan diets tend to be low in iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids, resulting in low levels of "good cholesterol." But critics of the study say that the role of "good" cholesterol is to counteract the effects of "bad" cholesterol, and that vegans don't have high levels of the latter, which reduces their need for the former.

"Accrued data aside, the fact is that vegans who gorge themselves on highly processed vegan substitutes are probably not getting much in the way of nutrition. One option for vegans who might not be getting the nutrients they need, say experts, is to take supplements. Another is to introduce foods like quinoa, which contains all nine essential amino acids. In any case, you should probably keep your tofu dog intake to a minimum."

* * * * * * * * * *

"Chemistry behind VegetarianismJournal of Agricultural and Food ChemistryDepartment of Food Science and Nutrition, Zhejiang University, 268 Kaixuan Road, Hangzhou, China 310029J. Agric. Food Chem., 2011, 59 (3), pp 777–784January 4, 2011 Abstract:

"This review summarizes the effect of a habitual vegetariandiet on clinical complications in relation to chemistry and biochemistry.

"Omnivores have a significantly higher cluster of cardiovascular risk factors compared with vegetarians, including increased body mass index, waist to hip ratio, blood pressure, plasma total cholesterol (TC), triacylglycerol and LDL-C levels, serum lipoprotein(a) concentration, plasma factor VII activity, ratios of TC/HDL-C, LDL-C/HDL-C and TAG/HDL-C, and serum ferritin levels.

"Compared with omnivores, vegetarians, especially vegans, have lower serum vitamin B12 concentration and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) levels in the tissue membrane phospholipids, which are associated with increased collagen and ADP stimulated ex vivo whole blood platelet aggregation, plasma 11-dehydrothromboxane B2, and homocysteine levels and decreased plasma HDL-C.

"This may be associated with an increased thrombotic and atherosclerotic risk. It is suggested that vegetarians, especially vegans, should increase their dietary n-3 PUFA and vitamin B12 intakes."

* * * * * * * * * *

Summary: The Village Voice Reporter's Headline was:

"Study Shows That Vegans Are at a Greater Risk for Heart Disease"

Chantal Martineau clearly did not check her sources. In less thanone minute, I was able to find the actual scientific abstract whichwas neither a new study nor a study at all. The original paperwas more of an opinion piece than a study, and was written inThe People's Republic of China. The Chinese author (Duo Li) wrote:

"Omnivores have a significantly higher cluster of cardiovascular risk factors compared with vegetarians..." (The entire quotationlisting those risk factors can be found above).

The reporter also wrote that "vegan diets tend to be...low in Omega 3 fatty acids" while the author of the Chinese review does not mention that factor in the journal abstract. As a point of fact, it is curious that the author of the Chinese review would conveniently omit Omega 3 levels since the European EPIC study of 14,000+ men and women, aged 39-78 (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer) has revealed (as reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition):

"Women following vegan diets have significantly more omega-3 'good fats' in their blood, compared with fish-eaters, meat-eaters, and ovo-lacto vegetarians."

Does Village Voice reporter Chantal Martineau have a secret pro-dairy/anti-vegan agenda?

On June 8, 2010, Notmilk reported a phony dairy-sponsoredstudy in which dairy-paid researchers fudged data to reportthat the consumption of milk fat can prevent heart diseaseSee:

http://health.groups.yahoo.com... The very next day, June 9, 2010, Village Voice ran this headline:

"Milk Is Good for You"

The byline? You guessed it, Chantal Martineau, the award-winningjournalist who went to college at age 13.

Reporters who do not check their sources and then jump toanti-vegan conclusions should sharpen their pencils, and whentheir commentaries are found to be in error, turn those pencils around and apply their erasers.

Influential reporters who fool consumers in order to achievetheir own agendas, even by ranting "award winning journalists" who "went to college when they were 13" deserve to sit in thecorner, have their pencils taken away, and spend considerabletime out until they learn how to behave ethically.

Note the use of the word "little" in the feminist reporter'sdiatribe against me, a complex attempt to castrate males, perhaps?"Vegans who gorge themselves." ??? This reporter clearly hasissues. Perhaps as a thirteen-year-old, she should have been developing social skills, rather than attending college.It might be that deep down inside, Chantal has a serious caseof 'bean-us' envy.

Robert Cohenhttp://www.notmilk.comhttp://www.Twitter.com/TheReal...

Estefano Miro
Estefano Miro

Meat and dairy industry is going down, there are isolated "studies" like this one that tend to mislead people, however there are several dozens if not more than hundred papers that shows how detrimental is for health to eat animal products. We can included there a study done actually by the Chinese Government, where they asked Dr. Collin T Campbell to study why in communities in China where there is none or low consumption of animal product there is ZERO rate of cancer and other diseases found in the western societies, and this study was done over 20 year!!!! The China Study - To all meat and dairy lobbies, please give up and plant organic vegetables and make the market flourish with awesome veggies and healthy food!

DougMatey
DougMatey

This is a very irresponsible story and simply poor journalism. As the previous comments make clear, the author of this article did not read the study, fabricated a sensational and misleading headline, and appears to be advancing a political agenda or justifying their own eating habits.

BigRedAngus
BigRedAngus

The title of this article is misleading and shows that the author did not read the study she is referring to. Vegans are at a "greater risk of heart disease" in comparison to whom? Certainly not omnivores according to the study, which states that meat-eaters have notably increased combination of heart problems when compared to vegetarians and vegans. It should also be noted that the study was published in an *agricultural* journal, not a nutrition or medical journal, and that is was widely disseminated via press-releases on the same day that Oprah Winfrey announced her "vegan challenge".

What did the study ACTUALLY say? Although the study's author examined no patients, and provided no statistics, it merely pointed out that although vegetarians and vegans are at a far lower-risk than meat-eaters, vegans are not immune to heart disease (no one is) and that they should be sure to supplement their diets with B12 and omega fatty acids.

While I agree with the need for vegans to supplement with B12, I disagree with the recommendation to supplement with omegas, because evidence shows that vegans tend to have more healthy long-chain fatty acids in their blood than even fish-eaters. For example, the results of the European EPIC study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently reported that:

"Women following vegan diets have significantly more omega-3 'good fats' in their blood, compared with fish-eaters, meat-eaters, and ovo-lacto vegetarians, according to a new report from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study. Levels in vegan men were not quite as high as in vegan women. Despite zero intake of long-chain omega-3s eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and substantially lower intake of their plant-derived precursor alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), vegan participants converted robust amounts of shorter-chain fatty acids into these long-chain fatty acids. The study included 14,422 men and women aged 39 to 78."

I think the Voice's food writers should stick to writing about food, and perhaps leave writing about science and health to people who are more qualified. This article (about an article in the Guardian, about an article in an agricultural newsletter) is actually quite an embarrassment. Go to the source, or risk looking like a fool.

Ail5901
Ail5901

"Meat and dairy industry is going down"

You are hilarious. Outright misinformed, completely ridiculous, and utterly incorrect. Look, I support veggie/vegan everything, love sustainability, and support humane practices, but if you think we meat eaters are going to quit eating meat and drinking milk you are so caught up in your own ideals that you may as well be a space monkey from Fight Club.

Melissa
Melissa

I'm certainly not a vegan and in fact am universally despised by such, but the actual study says "Onthe basis of the present data, it is suggested that vegetarians,especially vegans, could benefit from increased dietary intake ofn-3 PUFA and vitamin B12 and thus improve the balance ratio ofn-3 to n-6 PUFA and vitamin B12 status, which may reduce anythrombotic tendency that might increase their generally low riskof cardiovascular disease."

Generally LOW RISK.

danielle
danielle

Agreed, excellent reply.

This article is worthless. As a vegan, I clicked, thinking "what the hell??" And yet. No. Just no.

Paul F
Paul F

Excellent reply!

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