Paleo Diet is PseudoScience? Problems Debunked & Exposed?

Collection of clips, quotes & links to reports by Doctors & other Nutrition Experts who Debunk & warn of the flaws & dangers of the Paleo diet fad.

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The Problem with the Paleo Diet Argument” is a short visual presentation by Dr Michael Greger MD at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wx0pOGVMntM with the text transcript at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-problem-with-the-paleo-diet-argument/

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A 2017 news report titled “Weight gain, higher cancer risk, possible serious illness: what doctors think about the paleo diet.
Excerpts: “The World Health Organisation said… “The idea of cutting out grain-based foods and legumes is not backed by science and eating more meat than is needed by the body certainly has risks”…
Alex Nella, a dietitian at the University of California, said the typical paleo diet “puts most (people) at risk of deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D”.
“At the same time, saturated fat and protein can be consumed far above recommended levels, increasing the risk of kidney and heart disease and certain cancers,” Ms Nella said…
Low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets are becoming more popular, but there is no evidence that these diets work,” Professor Andrikopoulos said. “In fact, if you put an inactive individual on this type of diet, the chances are that person will gain weight.”
The Medical Journal of Australia wrote that any strong conclusions about the long-term health benefits of the paleo diet were difficult to make.
Improvements in type 2 diabetes or any other condition couldn’t be demonstrated, it said.
In 2015, US News and World Report placed the paleo diet dead last in its annual Best Diets Rankings.
A panel of experts assessed 35 different diets, examining factors from nutrition and safety to weight loss effectiveness. Paleo failed to meet the grade.
As well as an ineffective weight loss method, many experts are concerned about its potential health impacts.
Prominent nutritionist Rosemary Stanton told Daily Life in 2014 that the high content of red meat and lack of wholegrains promoted by the diet were risky.
“Cancer experts rate a high intake of meat as a convincing cause of bowel cancer while wholegrains reduce the risk. These two factors also increase long-term risk of heart disease,” Dr Stanton said.
Physician and nutritionist Melina Jampolis said paleo fell into the ‘fad diet’ category and warned people to steer clear of it.
American nutritionist Bridget Hastings Komosky agreed, saying the paleo-recommended amount of saturated fats could increase the risk of kidney and heart disease.
And Melbourne nutritionist Lisa Renn concluded that the diet had a few pluses.
While cutting down on processed foods is good, particularly white bread and sugary cereals, Ms Renn said eliminating all cereals and legumes means cutting out fibre…
And the claim that paleo’s principles are based on our ancestors’ eating habits are also disputed, given no one really knows what they ate.
Renn said diets varied wildly depending on geography and season, as well as basic access to sustenance.
“The main thing I can’t get my head around is why you would want to eat like people who never lived beyond 40,” she said.
Gretchen Spetz, a nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic in the US, is equally confused about the touted Palaeolithic association of the diet.
“Guess what? You’ve evolved — and your digestion system has evolved — since our Palaeolithic ancestors walked the Earth a few millions of years ago, but the diet works under the assumption that we have the same gut health as our ancestors, which we don’t,” she wrote.
Sydney science and medicine writer Jane McCredie said the diet “borders on ridiculous”
“The average life expectancy at birth in the Palaeolithic era has been estimated at 33 years, a statistic that doesn’t figure prominently in the (paleo) marketing hype,” Ms McCredie said…”
Source: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/health/weight-gain-higher-cancer-risk-possible-serious-illness-what-doctors-think-about-the-paleo-diet/news-story/7b0faecbf7146c54f9fb82257995bfaa

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2017 interview with Dr Anthony Lim “Why I quit paleo and went plant-based” on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbH6TIdtZ3Q

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Dr Shivam Joshi, MD, article: “Why the Paleo Diet Doesn’t Make Sense“.
Excerpts: “The Paleo diet assumes that humans in the Paleolithic period, the era which Paleo pundits reference, spanning 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago, were living in a manner that was in harmony with their—and by extension our—“genetic makeup.” But the human genetic makeup has been evolving for millions of years, and drawing a conclusion from one particular time point neglects the evolutionary context that surrounds it.
Human evolution dates back to at least 40 million years ago: a messy process filled with dead-ends and detours extending from anthropoids to hominoids to hominins to, finally, Homo sapiens sapiens, better known as the modern human. During the bulk of this time, human ancestors were primarily herbivorous
early humans made weapons, hunted, and ate venison because it was necessary to stave off starvation and not because this was in their “genetic makeup.” Had these early adventurers found pizza, doughnuts, or french fries lying around the glacial forests and tundras of yesteryear they would have consumed that too…
The carnivorous departure is a fairly new phenomenon and only represents 1 percent of the human evolutionary timetable, even when considering the earliest time point for effective human hunting. Any diet that says we should eat meat overlooks the other 99 percent of human history when we weren’t eating meat…
Our biology is best suited for a plant-based diet. After 40 million years of evolution, we see that the human gut anatomy is remarkably similar to our closest extant relative: the chimpanzee, who share 99 percent of their DNA with us. Chimpanzees are also 99 percent herbivorous, eating primarily fruits and leaves. Only 1 percent of a chimp’s diet is meat, while the average American wolfs down about 27 percent, or more, of their daily calories from animal-based sources. It is easy to see how a lifetime of errant dietary habits can take their toll on human health.
And indeed, medical science proffers the final coup de grâce on the subject. For years, scientists have published studies on meat shortening human life expectancy in some cases the difference in life expectancy has been as great as a decade, the difference between the life expectancy of smokers and nonsmokers. Researchers have also shown a dose response with meat: the more meat in your diet, the higher the risk of dying.
Humans during the Paleolithic era ate meat for survival, not for long-term health. Fortunately, humans of today are living under less brutal, and more enlightened, conditions. It’s difficult to argue that the Paleolithic diet’s requirement for meat is in sync with our genetic footprint, and the oversight is proving fatal for both the Paleo diet and, perhaps, for those following it.”
Source: https://www.forksoverknives.com/why-the-paleo-diet-doesnt-make-sense/

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Dr John McDougall MD: “The Paleo Diet Is Uncivilized (And Unhealthy and Untrue)
https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2012nl/jun/paleo2.htm

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Dr Garth Davis debunks the claims of pro-Paleo diet advocate Chris Kresser – “Leading Doctor Weighs In On Joe Rogan Paleo-Vegan Debate” at https://www.plantbasednews.org/post/leading-doctor-joe-rogan-paleo-vegan-debate (Sep 2018)

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Dr Michael Greger: “There have been about a half-dozen studies published on Paleo-type diets, starting around 20 years ago…
Same problem with some of the other Paleo studies: short, small, no control group. But favorable results were reported. No surprise, given they cut their saturated fat intake in half—presumably because they cut out so much cheese, sausage, or ice cream… The longest Paleo study was only three months, until this one, 15 months—but, done on pigs. It was a Paleo pig study…
I’m all for condemning the Standard American Diet’s refined carbs, “nonhuman mammalian milk,” and junk foods, but proscribing legumes is a mistake. As I’ve noted before, beans, split peas, chickpeas, and lentils may be the most important dietary predictor of survival. Beans and whole grains are the dietary cornerstones of the longest living populations on Earth. Plant-based diets in general, and legumes in particular, are a common thread among longevity Blue Zones around the world.”
Article and video at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/paleo-diet-studies-show-benefits/

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2015 news article: “What Paleo diet experts think – and why they’re wrong. Claims by proponents of the carbohydrate-averse food regimen supposedly based on what our paleolithic ancestors ate do not stand up to scientific scrutiny…
recently, a study found that people lost more fat on a low-fat diet than on a low-carb one.
And the latest blow: the University Chicago’s Quarterly Review of Biology has released a report that calls into question one of the cornerstone beliefs of Paleo carnivores…
according to evolutionary biologist Karen Hardy and her colleagues, carbohydrates played an essential role in the developing of bigger brains. A high-functioning human brain needs lots of glucose, which carbs provide
according to Hardy’s findings, eating starchy tubers like potatoes is precisely what allowed our hunting-gathering ancestors to thrive…
“modern humans require a reliable source of glycemic carbohydrate to support the normal functioning of our brain, kidney medulla, red blood cells and reproductive tissues. The brain alone accounts for 20–25% of adult basal metabolic expenditure. In addition to the demands of the brain, red blood cells require approximately 20g glucose per day directly from the bloodstream. Under normal circumstances, a glucose requirement of approximately 170g/day is met…”
Article at https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/aug/18/paleo-diet-critics-science

Click this link for a page with many more reports about human evolution, brain size and diet.

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Dr John McDougall MD discuss how the paleo “Eskimo Low Carb Diet Is Deadly
at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6N8CJ_Wy9c

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Debunking the paleo diet” Christina Warinner TED talk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMOjVYgYaG8&

Christina Warinner, an achaeological geneticist, here debunks the Paleo diet fads… “So what I want to talk to you about today is that this version of the Paleo Diet that’s promoted in popular books, on TV, on self-help websites and in the overwhelming majority of press has no basis in archaeological reality
I want to talk to you about what we really do know from the archaeological record and from scientific studies about what Palaeolithic people did eat…
So, myth one is that humans are evolved to eat meat and that Palaeolithic peoples consumed large quantities of meat. Humans have no known anatomical, physiological, or genetic adaptations to meat consumption. Quite the opposite, we have many adaptations to plant consumption…”
Transcript at https://singjupost.com/debunking-paleo-diet-christina-warinner-transcript/

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Dr. Klaper debunks the Paleo Diet” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n663H-Acyp4

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From an article titled “Debunking the paleo diet” by nutritionist dietitian Bill Shrapnel, some excerpts: “Adopting the diet of our ancestors is considered to be the pathway to health. Sounds plausible enough, yet critics say it’s based on false assumptions
Professor Marlene Zuk, an evolutionary biologist from the University of Minnesota, argues that modern paleo diets are based on pseudoscience and speculation rather than actual research. In her book titled ‘Paleofantasy’ she argues that the paleo diet concept is based on misconceptions about how evolution works…
Dr Christina Warriner from the University of Oklahoma takes aim at present day paleo diets saying they have ‘no basis in archaeological reality’. She should know as she is an archaeological scientist who studies the health and dietary histories of ancient peoples using bone chemistry and ancient DNA. Warriner dismisses the very idea that there was one diet that adequately describes the way ancient peoples ate…
paleo diets are hardly a prescription for modern public health nutrition. For a start, paleo diets are expensive and out of reach of those most in need of healthier diets. As well as being sources of essential nutrients and fibre, grains, legumes and potatoes are all relatively cheap…
As the world’s population increases towards a peak of 9 billion people there is no way that they could all be fed according to paleo principles…”
Article by Bill Shrapnel “nutritionist for over 30 years… Dietitian-in Charge at two NSW health services, National Nutrition Manager with the Heart Foundation” at http://scepticalnutritionist.com.au/?p=873

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A 2012 presentation titled “Paleolithic Lessons” by Dr Michael Greger M.D. – “An evolutionary argument for a plant-based diet is presented, in contrast to “Paleo” fad diets” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR_-lJYRSEw The text transcript is at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/paleolithic-lessons/

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A 2015 article in the Sydney Morning Herald news site is titled “Meat-brained humans? Paleo cops a punch as researchers highlight importance of carbs for human evolution.”
Excerpts: “the researchers say, starchy carbohydrates “were essential for the evolution” of the human brain nearly 1 million years ago. The human brain uses as much as 25 per cent of the body’s energy and up to 60 per cent of blood glucose, the researchers say.
Such a glucose and energy-hungry brain was unlikely to develop on a low-carbohydrate diet…
The research will help put an end to the fashion of carb-phobia, dietitian Dr Joanna McMillan hoped.
“While many Paleo diet advocates avoid carb-containing foods, this research and from other palaeontologists show that, in fact, most Paleo diets were moderate in carbohydrate not low,” McMillan says. “In fact, Loren Cordain’s [the founder of the Paleo movement] own paper showed that a true Paleo diet was closer to a Mediterranean diet than to a low-carb one.”
McMillan adds that humans have adapted to a variety of diets.
“There was no one Paleo diet,” she says. “Humans were smart enough to learn how to get nutrition from eating certain plant foods by cooking and other means of preparation [soaking for example]. In that we differ from other animal species.”
Humans are not meat-brained after all, it seems.
And for those concerned that carbs were not only unnatural from an evolutionary perspective, but have lead to the obesity epidemic, McMillan says: “Carbs will only be converted to fat if you eat them in excess over your body and brain’s needs – when glycogen stores are full and there is nowhere else for that carbohydrate to go.
“But the body can’t get it back once it is converted to fat and so it is energetically unfavourable for it to do so. Note that excess protein and excess dietary fat above our needs will also be stored as body fat.”
Article at http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/meatbrained-humans-paleo-cops-a-punch-as-researchers-highlight-importance-of-carbs-for-human-evolution-20150810-givmak.html

More articles like that are on the page about the Role of Plant Foods in the Evolution of Human Intelligence

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Original Paleo diet included eating other people
https://nypost.com/2016/07/07/original-paleo-diet-included-eating-other-people/

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From a 2016 presentation by Dr Michael Greger M.D. “What’s the “Natural” Human Diet?”
Excerpts: “During our truly formative years, the first 90% of our existence, one might say, our nutritional requirements reflect an ancestral past in which we ate mostly leaves, flowers, and fruits—with some bugs thrown in, thanks to wormy apples, to get our vitamin B12.
For this reason, another approach that might improve our understanding of the best dietary practices for modern humans is to focus attention not on the past, but rather on the here and now—that is, on study of the foods eaten by our closest living relatives, given the bulk of our ancestral diets, and the lack of evidence supporting any notable diet-related changes in human nutrient requirements, metabolism, or physiology, compared to our fellow great apes.
This could explain why fruits and vegetables are not only just so good for us, but vital to our survival. We’re actually one of the few species so adapted to a plant-based diet, that we could actually die from not eating fruits and vegetables—from the vitamin C-deficiency disease, scurvy. Most other animals just make their own vitamin C. But why would our body waste all that effort when we evolved hanging out in the trees, just eating fruits and veggies all day long?…”
From article and video at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/whats-the-natural-human-diet/

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The “True” Human Diet: From the standpoint of paleoecology, the so-called Paleo diet is a myth.”
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/the-true-human-diet/

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This site contains pages with hundreds of science reports on the higher rates of disease & death associated with eating red meat, dairy, chicken/poultry, eggs, fish/seafood & of the lower rates associated with eating healthy plant-based diets high in fruits & vegetables & nuts.

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A 2016 presentation by Dr Michael Greger M.D. – “Paleo Diets May Negate Benefits of Exercise” at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/paleo-diets-may-negate-benefits-of-exercise/

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Paleo diets = weight gain
https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/paleo-diets-weight-gain

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The ‘paleo diet’ is pseudoscience: This is what our ancestral menu really looked like” at http://www.rawstory.com/2015/02/the-paleo-diet-is-pseudoscience-this-is-what-ancestral-menu-really-looked-like/

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Paleo diet could make you gain weight, new scientific research shows”
http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/paleo-diet-could-make-you-gain-weight-new-scientific-research-shows-20160218-gmy7kp.html

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Youtube clip: “Humans Are Starchivores (Starch Eaters)” at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHfbqodBXdw&t=8s

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“The Great Protein Fiasco” is a short presentation by Dr Michael Greger MD – “The field of nutrition got human protein requirements spectacularly wrong…” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NW32vLq340
Excerpts: “Turns out there’s no real evidence of dietary protein deficiency. The actual cause [of kwashiorkor] remains obscure… studies suggest changes in gut flora may be a causal factor. How could the field of nutrition get it so spectacularly wrong?…
there are still those obsessing about protein. Those promoting Paleolithic diets, for example, try to make the case for protein from an evolutionary perspective.
Okay, so what is the perfect food for human beings, the food that was fine-tuned just for us over millions of years to have the perfect amount of protein? Human breast milk. If high-quality protein was the “nutrient among nutrients,” helping us build our big brains over the last few million years, one would expect that importance to be resoundingly reflected in the composition of human breast milk—especially since infancy is the time of our most rapid growth.
But this is patently not the case. Human breast milk is one of the lowest-protein milks in the mammalian world. In fact, it may have the lowest protein concentration of any animal in the world—less than 1% protein by weight. This is one of the reasons why feeding straight cow’s milk to babies can be so dangerous. The protein content in human milk is described as extremely low, but it’s not low—it’s right exactly where it needs to be. That’s the natural, normal level for the human species.
Adults require no more than 0.8 or 0.9 grams of protein per healthy kilogram of body weight per day. So, that’s like your ideal weight in pounds, multiplied by four, and then divided by ten. So, someone whose ideal weight is 100 pounds may require up to 40 grams of protein a day…
People are more likely to suffer from protein excess than protein deficiency. The adverse effects associated with long-term high protein diets may include disorders of bone and calcium balance, disorders of kidney function, increased cancer risk, disorders of the liver, and worsening of coronary artery disease. Therefore, there is currently no reasonable scientific basis to recommend protein consumption above the current recommended daily allowance, due to its potential disease risks.”
The text transcript at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-great-protein-fiasco/

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For many reports on why Eating Plant Proteins is Healthier than Eating Animal Proteins – longer lifespans and healthspans with lower rates of chronic diseases – click that link to go to another page on this site.

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How to Really Eat Like a Hunter-Gatherer: Why the Paleo Diet Is Half-Baked
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-paleo-diet-half-baked-how-hunter-gatherer-really-eat/

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Dr Michael Greger M.D. “The Real Paleo Diet” article at https://nutritionfacts.org/2013/02/21/the-real-paleo-diet/

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Real Paleo Diet: early hominids ate just about everything
at https://theconversation.com/real-paleo-diet-early-hominids-ate-just-about-everything-36689

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A 2015 article on the Vox website is titled “What Paleo diets get wrong: We’re not evolved for meat, and our ancestors ate carbs.”
Excerpts: “Scientists have long debunked the Paleo diet’s foundational myth that our forefathers and foremothers ate in this one way.
The truth is our ancestors ate in a lot of ways, Harvard paleoanthropologist and author of ‘The Story of the Human Body’ Daniel Lieberman told me: “There is no one ‘Paleo diet.’ There are millions of Paleo diets. People in East Africa ate different foods than people in West Africa versus the Middle East, and South America, and North America.”
What’s more, we didn’t necessarily evolve to eat meat. In a popular TED talk, anthropologist Christina Warinner explains that humans actually have “no known anatomical, physiological, or genetic adaptations to meat consumption.” In fact, humans actually have many adaptations to plant eating:
“Take, for example, vitamin C. Carnivores can make their own vitamin C, because vitamin C is found in plants. If you don’t eat plants, you need to make it yourself. We can’t make it, we have to consume it from plants. We have a longer digestive tract than carnivores. That’s because our food needs to stay in our bodies longer, so we have more time to digest plant matter.” …
There’s also plenty of evidence that people in the Paleolithic era ate grains, starch, and other carbs — even though they’re forbidden by the new Paleo enthusiasts. According to a recent Carl Zimmer piece in the New York Times, our evolution may have even depended on carbs: “Scientists propose, by incorporating cooked starches into their diet, our ancestors were able to fuel the evolution of our oversize brains.”…
Lieberman actually calls the assumption that we only adapted to eat food that our ancestors usually ate “the most important problem” with Paleo eating… “It doesn’t take long or much evolutionary theory,” he added, “to realize some of the premises behind the Paelo diet are silly.”…
People lose weight on any diet that restricts calories and cuts out junk food, including the Paleo diet…”
Article at https://www.vox.com/2015/8/20/9179217/paleo-diet-jeb-bush-weight-loss

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2017 article “The Caveman Diet is Going Extinct: Why Paleo is Failing As Veganism Explodes” at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-caveman-diet-is-going-extinct-why-paleo-is-failing_us_59684b16e4b022bb9372b0a5

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For many science journal reports on the Health Benefits of Plant-based Diets – longer lifespans and healthspans with less of the degenerative diseases – click that link to go to another page on this site.

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This page is also reached via www.tinyurl.com/paleodebunks

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This set of articles were compiled for

www.EatingOurFuture.com

Pages on this Site:

Eating Meat & Dairy Increases Climate Change, Pollution & Damage to Our Environment

Quotes from news reports & science journals on how the Western omnivore diet with meat and dairy products accelerates climate-change through: i) increasing our carbon footprint of greenhouse gases; ii) deforesting & destroying wilderness that absorbs carbon and protects biodiversity; iii) creating massive pollution; and iv) wasting resources like grains, water, fuels and agricultural lands.

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Eating Meat linked to Higher Rates & Risk of Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease & Early Death

Excerpts & links to medical studies, articles & reports on the links between meat consumption and increased incidences of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and early mortality (a shorter lifespan); also to reports on how cancers are increasing in young people.

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Scientific Studies on Health Advantages of Vegans & Vegetarians

Quotes & links to articles in science, medical & health journals that report great benefits vegetarians and vegans generally have including longer lives with less of the chronic degenerative diseases like cancer, cardiovascular heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and obesity as well as lower blood pressure, hypertension and blood cholesterol levels.

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Mass Extinction Loss of Biodiversity caused by Humans

Excerpts & links to articles in news media  science journals about the current ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’ known also as the ‘Holocene Extinction’ or ‘Anthropocene Extinction’ as it is largely caused by human activities.

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Dairy Milk Health Problems – Issues & Risks for Related Disease & Illness

This page contains quotes & links for studies & articles in science journals, news media & by medical doctors; on the association of drinking milk to higher rates of osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.

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Risk of Infectious Disease Epidemics from Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria due to Animal Agriculture

This page features quotes & links to articles in news media and science journals about the rise of microbes that are resistant to antibiotics; posing a grave threat to all of us; from 50% to 80% of antibiotics are (mis-)used in animal agriculture industries.

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How the Meat & Dairy Industry Influences Politics, Government, Education, News & Media

This page features quotes & links to reports that expose how the animal agriculture industries (meat, dairy, poultry) influence government, politics, the education schooling system and news media in order to promote their interests.

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Eating Seafood & Overfishing is Destroying Oceans, Rivers & Wildlife

Excerpts from articles about the marine ecosystem collapse that is happening now in oceans, seas & rivers due to over-fishing and the toxic pollution in waterways from land-based animal agriculture meat-farming; worsening climate change; threatening the entire food chain.

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Studies Find Eating Fish Seafood Not So Healthy With Raised Risks of Disease

Articles from science journals & news reports that dispute the health claims made regards eating fish; some even find higher rates of heart disease and cancer among seafood consumers.

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Are Soy Foods Healthy or Not? Doctors & Nutrition Experts Refute Some Myths

A collection of quotes & links for articles by doctors, dietitians & nutrition experts who refute & rebut the negative claims made regards “the soy food debate”

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