A refutation/debunking/rebuttal of the article co-titled “9 Lies Vegans Love Telling” hosted on the “Legion Athletics” website.
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The fundamental flaw of the Legion Athletics article is that it is based on the “Straw Man” fallacy; defined below. The “9 lies” are not referenced to anyone in particular. They seem to be contrived as an attempt to distract from the large number of reports in science journals that attest to:
i) the health benefits of plant-based (vegan) diets; and
ii) the higher rates of disease and mortality associated with consuming products made from red meat, chicken, eggs, dairy and fish – links to pages on this site.
Before addressing each of the “9 lies” below, by way of definition: “A straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while refuting an argument that was not advanced by that opponent. One who engages in this fallacy is said to be “attacking a straw man”. The typical straw man argument creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent’s proposition through the covert replacement of it with a different proposition (i.e., “stand up a straw man”) and the subsequent refutation of that false argument (“knock down a straw man”) instead of the opponent’s proposition…” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man)
Addressing the straw man “lies” one by one:
In the Legion Athletics article the author lists lie number 1 as the straw man of “There’s More Protein In Vegetables Than In Meat.” The author asserts that “to maintain a healthy protein balance” vegans “have to work harder in order to do so.”
What the author overlooks – or maybe seeks to distract readers from – is that protein deficiency is pretty much unheard of and of how plant protein is associated with lower rates of chronic disease and a longer lifespan.
This site contains a comprehensive page on the health benefits of plant protein at https://eatingourfuture.wordpress.com/science-studies-vegan-vegetarian-health-diets-reports-less-chronic-disease-illness/plant-protein-is-healthier-than-disease-risks-of-animal-protein/
For a quick overview see these two short clips by Dr Michael Greger on youtube titled:
+ “The Great Protein Fiasco” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NW32vLq340
+ “Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein?” A 2013 study of 60,000+ people states “on average vegetarians and vegans get 70% more protein than they need every day…” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2m4p8s7xskQ&
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Regards “lies” 2 and 3 the Legion Athletics article sweeps over matters related to evolution. Lie number two presents a straw man of “Our Primate Ancestors Are Vegan So We Should Be Too”. Lie number three presents a straw man of “Humans Were Not Meant To Be Carnivores”. In regards to these topics refer to this page of quotes & links to reports in news media and science journals on the major role of plant foods in human evolution with focus on increased brain size & intelligence.
The link is: https://eatingourfuture.wordpress.com/human-evolution-ancestors-paleo-foods-diets-brain-size-intelligence/
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Lie number 4 presents a straw man of “Vegans Easily Get Enough (Healthy) Fat.” The Legion Athletics author promotes the eating of fatty fish and dismisses plant foods as presenting “a harder time” regards obtaining essential fatty acids. In contrast to that, for numerous reports on obtaining healthy sources of omega 3 fats from plant foods see this site’s page at https://eatingourfuture.wordpress.com/science-studies-vegan-vegetarian-health-diets-reports-less-chronic-disease-illness/healthy-omega-3-on-plant-based-diets/
And for a more detailed coverage of the higher diseases risks associated with eating fish and other seafood see this page at https://eatingourfuture.wordpress.com/eating-meat-raises-risks-of-cancer-heart-disease-early-death-shorter-life/studies-on-health-disease-risks-of-eating-fish-seafood/
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Lie number 5 presents the straw man of “Vegans Get All Of Their Nutrients From Plants Without Supplements.” Among numerous errors the author states “vegans have to take vitamin B12 because B12 is not found in anything that grows or comes out of the ground.” This is incorrect, misleading and is refuted in numerous science journal reports that are listed on this site’s page about Vitamin B12. Those reports discuss bio-available vegan food sources for B12 such as nori (derived from purple lavers), certain mushrooms, chlorella as well as fortified foods. Other reports there explain why it seems wise for everyone to supplement B12. For there are also quotes and links to science reports that found 40% of the general USA population is “flirting” B12 deficiency; despite high consumption of products derived from animals. And that B12 supplements are routinely given to a high percentage of livestock animals because they are deficient; in large part due to overuse of antibiotics.
The Legion Athletics article states “Vegans also test low on vitamin D levels” while overlooking the fact that vitamin D deficiency is very common in the general population – despite all the meat, dairy, fish & eggs they consume with the associated higher disease risks.
A 2011 study in the Nutrition Research journal reported for the USA that “overall prevalence rate of vitamin D deficiency was 41.6%, with the highest rate seen in blacks (82.1%), followed by Hispanics (69.2%).” (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21310306)
Likewise a 2009 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine reported that the “current analysis describes a much higher prevalence (77% during NHANES 2001-2004) of vitamin D insufficiency in the US population…” 77%!!! (Source http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/414878)
Regards deficiencies why does the Legion Athletics article overlook the fact of serious nutritional deficiencies that exist among the general population? Noting that their nutritionally deficient condition exists in the context of being omnivores; people who consume products made from animals; like meat and dairy.
+ The U.S. Environmental Working Group states “More than 40 percent of adults have dietary intakes of vitamin A, C, D and E, calcium and magnesium below the average requirement for their age and gender…”
+ The Journal American Medical Association stated in 2002: “Most people do not consume an optimal amount of all vitamins by diet alone… it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements…” (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12069676)
This site has a page with quotes and link to around 40 science news reports on the nutritional deficiencies that are common in the general (U.S.) population including comparisons of omnivores with vegans & vegetarians.
Some related clips by medical doctor Michael Greger include:
+ “Omnivore vs. Vegan Nutrient Deficiencies… Average vegan diets tend to be deficient in three nutrients, whereas average omnivores tend, unfortunately, to be deficient in seven.” See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVJCHVEatqY
+ “98% of American Diets Potassium Deficient… Less than 2% of Americans achieve even the recommended minimum adequate intake of potassium, due primarily to inadequate plant food intake… Every cell in the body requires the element potassium to function…”
+ Regards fiber deficiency Dr Greger states: “Less than 3% of Americans get even the recommended minimum adequate intake of fiber… This deficit is stunning in that dietary fiber has been [protectively] associated… with the risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease…, obesity, and various cancers as well as… high cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood [sugars]. Therefore, it is not surprising that fiber is [now] listed as a nutrient of concern in the… Dietary Guidelines… By definition, fiber is only found in plants…” See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2m4p8s7xskQ
The Legion Athletics article also ignores the fact that the vast majority of people who take supplements are omnivores; people who consume animals. The American Journal for Clinical Nutrition reported in 2007: “52% of adults reported taking a dietary supplement in the past month, and 35% reported regular use of a multivitamin-multimineral (MVMM) product… data indicate an overall prevalence of dietary supplement usage of 40%…” (Source: “Multivitamin-multimineral supplements: who uses them?” at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17209209)
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Lie number six presents a straw man of “Vegans Never Have Cancer Or Heart Disease”. To review the statements of scores of studies in science journals that report lower rates of cancer and heart disease associated with plant-based (ie. vegan, vegetarian) diets see this site’s page at https://eatingourfuture.wordpress.com/science-studies-vegan-vegetarian-health-diets-reports-less-chronic-disease-illness/
For scores of science studies that report higher rates of cancer and heart disease associated with eating red meat, chicken, dairy, fish & eggs click on those links for pages on this site.
The main page – with a focus on red meat, cancer and heart disease – is at https://eatingourfuture.wordpress.com/eating-meat-raises-risks-of-cancer-heart-disease-early-death-shorter-life/
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Lie number seven is the straw man of “Vegan Food Is Always Healthier”. Of course anyone who eats a largely junk-food diet – be it plant or animal-based – puts themselves at greater risk of developing illness. The ideal is for a person’s diet to feature a high proportion of foods that are associated with lower rates of disease.
In addition to this site’s collection of science reports on the diseases associated with eating red meat, chicken, dairy, fish and eggs this site has a page with many science reports on the association of fruit and vegetable consumption with lower rates of cancers, heart and other diseases.
The link is: https://eatingourfuture.wordpress.com/science-studies-vegan-vegetarian-health-diets-reports-less-chronic-disease-illness/fruits-vegetables-lower-risks-of-cancer-cardio-heart-diseases-overall-mortality/
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Lie number eight is Legion Athletics’ straw man of “Eating Vegan Is Cheaper Than Eating Animal Products.” Here are some external articles that explore the affordability of plant foods versus animal products:
+ 2015 Time magazine article titled “Here’s How Much Money Vegetarians Save Each Year”. A quote: “It turns out skipping animal protein doesn’t just add years to your life: New research suggests vegetarians can save at least $750 more than meat-eaters per year…” at http://time.com/money/4066188/vegetarians-save-money/
+ Another article states: “So when we swapped poultry, fish, and steak – for fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, grain and other vegan/vegetarian menu items – we were recouping nearly $200 a month. And it turns out, we’re not the only ones. A study published by the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition found that most vegetarians save at least $750 compared to meat eaters per year. Resources like Plant Based on a Budget even provide grocery lists and healthy recipe suggestions that cost $20-$30 a week to feed an entire family. Bank account savings: +$2,000 annually…” (Source: https://efirstbankblog.com/five-things-that-happened-to-us-and-our-bank-account-after-giving-up-meat-and-dairy/)
+ An article titled “30 tips for eating as a vegan on a budget” is at
+ “Debunking the myth that vegetarian living – even part time – costs more than being a full-time meat eater” is at https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2014/06/05/4-ways-vegetarian-living-can-help-your-wallet
An important point to add is that disease is expensive. A CNBC report states: “Medical Bills Are the Biggest Cause of US Bankruptcies: Study… Bankruptcies resulting from unpaid medical bills will affect nearly 2 million people this year—making health care the No. 1 cause of such filings… even having health insurance doesn’t buffer consumers against financial hardship… Even outside of bankruptcy, about 56 million adults—more than 20 percent of the population between the ages of 19 and 64—will still struggle with health-care-related bills this year, according to NerdWallet Health…”
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Lie number 9 is the straw man of “It’s Becoming Easier To Be A Vegan.” It obviously is becoming easier with the increase of food options and increasing awareness.
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