Page of clips, quotes & links to science journals, media & doctors’ reports that found Plant-based Diets Decrease Mental Illness (eg. anxiety & depression); that higher rates of illness are associated with eating inflammatory animal products; plus debunks of media reports that claim or imply higher rates of mental health problems among vegetarians and vegans.
= = = =
“Which Foods Increase Happiness?” is a 5 minute clip by Dr Michael Greger MD who reviews how “Certain foods are linked not only to increased happiness, but also to greater “eudaemonic” well-being – feelings of engagement, creativity, meaning, and purpose in life…” The youtube video clip is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBbTuKlN10Y
The article transcript at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/foods-increase-happiness/
~ ~ ~
From The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society journal: “according to large and well-conducted observational studies, food patterns potentially associated with REDUCED risk of depression are those emphasising seafood, vegetables, fruits and nuts…” (emphasis added)
Reference: “Food patterns and the prevention of depression”, The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 2016 May;75(2):139-46; at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26898781
~ ~ ~
Depression, Inflammation and Foods that Raise or Reduce It.
2017 article in Psychology Today “New Research Shows Depression Linked with Inflammation. Plus 5 Ways You Can Fight Inflammation.”
Excerpts: “A new study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry supports the premise that increased inflammation may play a role in depression. The large study examined data from 14,275 people… Eat better: more anti-inflammatory foods, less inflammatory foods… You can reduce inflammation in the body by eating better. Avoid foods on Harvard Health’s list of foods that worsen inflammation: fried foods, soda, white bread and pastries, margarine, lard, and red meat. It’s not surprising this is the same kind of food associated with higher rates of depression.
Foods that are anti-inflammatory include tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, nuts like almonds, walnuts, fish, and berries. These foods also overlap with my recommended top 10 foods to eat for your mood…” Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/urban-survival/201701/new-research-shows-depression-linked-inflammation
~ ~ ~
Dr Michael Greger MD’s clip “Anti-inflammatory Diet for Depression” is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xbNNxQZEgA The text transcript is at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/anti-inflammatory-diet-for-depression/
~ ~ ~
From the science journal Nutrition: “This meta-analysis indicated that fruit and vegetable consumption might be inversely associated [meaning lower occurrences] with the risk of depression, respectively… Ten studies involving 227,852 participants for fruit intake and eight studies involving 218,699 participants for vegetable intake… The combined relative risk… of depression for the highest versus lowest category of fruit and vegetable intake was 0.86… and 0.89… respectively…”
That means the rate of depression was just 0.86 regards fruit and 0.89 regards vegetables for people with highest versus lowest consumption.
Reference: “Fruit and vegetable consumption and the risk of depression: A meta-analysis”, Nutrition, 2016 Mar;32(3):296-302; at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26691768
~ ~ ~
Dr Michael Greger MD’s clip “How to Counter the Inflammation of Aging” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dj_MaHa2NDY … Excerpts: “In the first systematic review of the associations between dietary patterns and biomarkers of inflammation ever published, the dietary patterns associated with inflammation were almost all meat-based or so-called “Western” diet patterns, while vegetable and fruit-based or “healthy” patterns tended to be inversely associated, meaning more plant-based, less inflammation.
The reason why meat is associated with inflammation may be because of both the animal protein and the animal fat. In the first interventional study that separately evaluated the effects of vegetable and animal protein on inflammatory status as it relates to obesity and metabolic syndrome when you’re trying to lose weight, what they found was that a higher intake of animal origin protein—specifically meat—is associated with higher plasma levels of inflammatory markers in obese adults…
In contrast, whole plant foods have anti-inflammatory effects, though some plants are better than others. The folks made to eat five-a-day of high antioxidant fruits and vegetables, like berries and greens, had a significantly better impact on reducing systemic inflammation and liver dysfunction compared to five-a-day of the more common low antioxidant fruits and veggies, like bananas and lettuce.”
The text transcript is at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-to-counter-the-inflammation-of-aging/
~ ~ ~
From The Guardian newspaper 2015: “Is depression a kind of allergic reaction? A growing number of scientists are suggesting that depression is a result of inflammation caused by the body’s immune system…
A diet rich in trans fats and sugar has been shown to promote inflammation, while a healthy one full of fruit, veg and oily fish helps keep it at bay. Obesity is another risk factor, probably because body fat, particularly around the belly, stores large quantities of cytokines.
Add this to the fact that stress, particularly the kind that follows social rejection or loneliness, also causes inflammation, and it starts to look as if depression is a kind of allergy to modern life – which might explain its spiraling prevalence all over the world as we increasingly eat, sloth and isolate ourselves into a state of chronic inflammation.
If that’s the case, prevention is probably the place to start…”
Article: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jan/04/depression-allergic-reaction-inflammation-immune-system A similar article is at https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/av4pdj/is-depression-an-allergic-reaction-039
~ ~ ~
Dr Michael Greger M.D. “How Does Meat Cause Inflammation?” excerpt: “The anti-inflammatory effect of plant-based diets is about more than just the power of plants. It’s also the avoidance of animal foods…
We’ve known for 14 years that a single meal of meat, dairy, and eggs triggers an inflammatory reaction inside the body within hours of consumption. This results in a stiffening of our arteries… Within 5 or 6 hours, the inflammation starts to cool down, but then what happens? Lunchtime! At that point we can whack our arteries with another load of animal products for lunch. In this routine, we may be stuck in a chronic low-grade inflammation danger zone for most of our lives. This can set us up for inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers one meal at a time… After digging deeper, investigators discovered that after a meal of animal products one’s bloodstream becomes soiled with inflammation!…”
Article at https://nutritionfacts.org/2012/09/20/why-meat-causes-inflammation/
~ ~ ~
From an article by Harvard Medical School: “Foods that Fight Inflammation.” Excerpts: “Doctors are learning that one of the best ways to quell inflammation lies not in the medicine cabinet, but in the refrigerator…
Choose the right foods, and you may be able to reduce your risk of illness.
Consistently pick the wrong ones, and you could accelerate the inflammatory
Try to avoid or limit these foods as much as possible:
– refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
– French fries and other fried foods
– soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
– red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
– margarine, shortening, and lard…
Include plenty of these anti-inflammatory foods in your diet:
– olive oil
– green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
– nuts like almonds and walnuts…
– fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges…”
From article at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation
~ ~ ~
Dr Greger clip titled “Improving Mood Through Diet” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jByVfCACb7o
Summary: “The purported role arachidonic acid plays in brain inflammation could explain why eliminating chicken, fish, and eggs may improve symptoms of mood disturbance, depression, anxiety, and stress within two weeks…
In terms of psychological benefits, the egg-free vegetarian group significantly improved — meaning greater reductions in both the Depression, Anxiety, Stress scale and the Profile of Mood States…
Conclusion: “The complete restriction of flesh foods significantly reduced mood variability in omnivores… Our results suggest that a vegetarian diet can reduce mood variability in omnivores. Perhaps eating less meat can help protect mood in omnivores, particularly important in those susceptible to [mood] disorders.”
Text at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/improving-mood-through-diet/
~ ~ ~
Dr Michelle McMacken, MD: “plant-based diets are naturally anti-inflammatory, because they are high in fiber, antioxidants, and other phytonutrients, and much lower in inflammatory triggers like saturated fat and endotoxins (toxins released from bacteria commonly found in animal foods). Studies have shown that people who adopt plant-based diets can dramatically lower their level of C-reactive protein (CRP), an indicator of inflammation in the body…” From the article titled “7 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Meat” at https://www.forksoverknives.com/7-things-that-happen-when-you-stop-eating-meat/
~ ~ ~
Regards “Top Food Sources of Saturated Fat in the U.S.” the Harvard School of Public Health states “Pizza and cheese are the biggest food sources of saturated fat in the U.S. diet, and other dairy products and meat products are also major contributors…” From the article at https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/top-food-sources-of-saturated-fat-in-the-us/
~ ~ ~
Anxiety also Reduced on Anti-Inflammatory Plant-based Diets.
Dr Michael Greger MD clip “Plant-Based Diets for Improved Mood & Productivity” is a 5 minute review of science journal “studies showing that diets high in carbohydrate and low in fat and protein are associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression, and have beneficial effects on psychological wellbeing… removing meat, fish, poultry and eggs improved several mood scores in just two weeks…” The video clip is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9rx9wQrVdk with the transcript at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/plant-based-diets-for-improved-mood-and-productivity/
~ ~ ~
From Nutritional Neuroscience journal: “lower anxiety in males was related to a vegan diet and daily fruit and vegetable intake… and lower stress in females was related to a vegan diet and lower daily intake of sweets… A strict plant-based diet does NOT appear to negatively impact mood, in fact, reduction of animal food intake may have mood BENEFITS.” (emphasis added)
Reference: “Vegans report less stress and anxiety than omnivores”, Nutritional Neuroscience, Volume 18, 2015, Issue 7; at
~ ~ ~
From Nutrition Journal: “Omnivorous diets are high in arachidonic acid (AA) compared to vegetarian diets. Research shows that high intakes of AA promote changes in brain that can disturb mood… In a recent cross-sectional study, omnivores reported significantly worse mood than vegetarians despite higher intakes of EPA and DHA. This study investigated the impact of restricting meat, fish, and poultry on mood… Mood scores were unchanged for OMN or FISH participants, but several mood scores for VEG participants improved significantly after two weeks… Conclusions: Restricting meat, fish, and poultry improved some domains of short-term mood state in modern omnivores. To our knowledge, this is the first trial to examine the impact of restricting meat, fish, and poultry on mood state in omnivores.”
Reference: “Restriction of meat, fish, and poultry in omnivores improves mood: A pilot randomized controlled trial”, Nutrition Journal, 2012, 11:9; at
~ ~ ~
A study of the mental health and diet of nearly 3000 adolescents concluded “These findings implicate a Western dietary pattern in poorer behavioural outcomes for adolescents. Better behavioural outcomes were associated with a higher intake of fresh fruit and leafy green vegetables.” Their results state “Higher total internalizing (withdrawn/depressed) and externalizing (delinquent/aggressive) CBCL scores were significantly associated with the Western dietary pattern, with increased intakes of takeaway foods, confectionary and red meat. Improved behavioural scores were significantly associated with higher intakes of leafy green vegetables and fresh fruit.”
Reference: “The association between dietary patterns and mental health in early adolescence”, Preventive Medicine, 2009 Aug; 49(1):39-44; at
~ ~ ~
Concerns about Fish and Seafood Consumption and Mental Health Disorders.
Dr Michael Greger MD’s clip “Fish Consumption and Suicide” is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crVbnU_tHOA … Summary: “The mercury content in fish may help explain links found between fish intake and mental disorders, depression, and suicide.” The text https://nutritionfacts.org/video/fish-consumption-and-suicide/
~ ~ ~
From Nutrition Journal: “We examined associations between mood state and polyunsaturated fatty acid intake as a result of adherence to a vegetarian or omnivorous diet in a cross-sectional study of 138 healthy Seventh Day Adventist men and women… Results: Vegetarians… reported significantly less negative emotion than omnivores… Conclusions: The vegetarian diet profile does not appear to adversely affect mood despite low intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.”
Reference: “Vegetarian diets are associated with healthy mood states: a cross-sectional study in Seventh Day Adventist adults”, Nutrition Journal, 2010, 9:26; at http://www.nutritionj.com/content/9/1/26 and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2887769/
~ ~ ~
Dr Michael Greger MD’s clip “Is Fish “Brain Food” for Older Adults?” is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tG5vjcWosAI … Summary: “Why has fish consumption been associated with cognitive impairment and loss of executive function?”
Excerpt: “The available randomized controlled trials show no benefit for cognitive function with omega-3 supplementation in studies lasting from six months to 40 months among healthy older adults.
It may sometimes even make things worse. Higher current fish consumption predicted worse cognitive performance, and greater past fish consumption in childhood predicted slowed perceptual speed and reaction time. This may be due to neurotoxic contaminants, such as mercury, in fishes. We’ve known that the developing brain is particularly sensitive to the damaging effects of mercury, but maybe the aging brain is as well…”
The full text transcript is at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/fish-brain-food-older-adults/
~ ~ ~
Regards Diet and Alzheimer’s Dementia:
From Neuroepidemiology journal: “We investigated the relationship between animal product consumption and evidence of dementia in two cohort substudies… The matched subjects who ate meat (including poultry and fish) were more than twice as likely to become demented as their vegetarian counterparts (relative risk 2.18, p = 0.065) and the discrepancy was further widened (relative risk 2.99, p = 0.048) when past meat consumption was taken into account…”
Reference: “The incidence of dementia and intake of animal products: preliminary findings from the Adventist Health Study”, Neuroepidemiology, 1993;12(1):28-36; at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8327020
~ ~ ~
“Can the Ketogenic Diet Lead to Alzheimer’s Disease?” is an article by Dr Dean Sherzai MD & Dr Ayesha Sherzai MD. Excerpts: “In our book, The Alzheimer’s Solution, we reviewed and summarized over 300 peer-reviewed articles and brought our own experience working in a comprehensive dementia clinic and conducting clinical research to bear on this question of what can help prevent cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.
From all these sourced, there was no question that a life filled with physical and mental activities, restorative sleep, stress management, and a whole food, plant-based diet low in sugar was profoundly effective in keeping our brains vibrant and active throughout a long life…”
In contrast to that “the path to achieving a ketogenic diet, which often leads to glucose and lipid dysregulation, has repeatedly been shown to create harmful byproducts, as well as deposition of amyloid and tau proteins which are known to be strongly associated with end-stage Alzheimer’s disease…”
The doctors are co-directors of Alzheimer’s Prevention Program at Loma Linda University, USA. Reference: http://nutritionstudies.org/can-ketogenic-diet-lead-alzheimers-disease/
~ ~ ~
Gut Health, Probiotics and Mental Health
Dr Greger clip “Gut Feelings: Probiotics and Mental Health” is at
Summary: “This is the study that really rocked the scientific establishment… One month of probiotics was found to significantly decrease symptoms of anxiety, depression, anger, and hostility. How is that possible? Well, a variety of mechanisms has been proposed for how intestinal bacteria may be communicating with our brain…”
Text transcript at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/gut-feelings-probiotics-and-mental-health/
~ ~ ~
More on the Benefits to Mental Health from Plant-based Diets.
Dr Michael Greger MD’s clip “Antioxidants & Depression” is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__l-815KZfo … Summary: “Neither antioxidant or folic acid supplements seem to help with mood, but the consumption of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables and folate-rich beans and greens may lower the risk for depression.” The text transcript is at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/antioxidants-and-depression/
~ ~ ~
From BMC Medicine journal: “We performed a dynamic cohort study based on Spanish university graduates free of depression at baseline. Dietary intake was repeatedly assessed at baseline and after 10 years of follow-up with a validated semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire. Three previously described diet quality scores: Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS), Pro-vegetarian Dietary Pattern (PDP) and Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010 (AHEI-2010) were built. Participants were classified as having depression if they reported a new clinical diagnosis of depression by a physician or initiated the use of an antidepressant drug during follow-up…”
Conclusions: “Better adherence to the MDS, PDP and AHEI-2010 was associated with a reduced risk of depression…”
Specifically: “The hazard ratios and 95 % confidence intervals for extreme quintiles (fifth versus first) of updated adherence to MDS, PDP and AHEI-2010 were 0.84… 0.74… and 0.60… respectively…”
Reference: “A longitudinal analysis of diet quality scores and the risk of incident depression in the SUN Project”, BMC Medicine, 2015 Sep 17;13:197; at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26377327
~ ~ ~
Dr Michael Greger MD’s clip “Fighting the Blues With Greens?” is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxXm6RhGEAY … Summary: “Natural monoamine oxidase enzyme inhibitors in fruits and vegetables may help explain the improvement in mood associated with switching to a plant-based diet.” The text transcript is at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/fighting-the-blues-with-greens-mao-inhibitors-in-plants/
~ ~ ~
Dr Michael Greger MD’s clip “Which Spices Fight Inflammation?” is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXnMi6RE0B4 Summary: “herbs and spices have some of the greatest antioxidant activities known… An elegant experiment is described in which the blood of those eating different types of spices—such as cloves, ginger, rosemary, and turmeric—is tested for anti-inflammatory capacity… Cloves, ginger, rosemary, and turmeric were able to significantly stifle the inflammatory response…” The text transcript is at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/which-spices-fight-inflammation/
~ ~ ~
In this clip “Boosting the Bioavailability of Curcumin” Dr Greger covers how “Dietary strategies, including the use of black pepper (piperine), can boost blood levels of curcumin from the spice turmeric by up to 2,000%.” See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N3iLhjLF5s Text is at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/boosting-the-bioavailability-of-curcumin/
~ ~ ~
A short clip called “The Wrong Way to Boost Serotonin” by Dr Greger MD is at
Quote: “Likewise, you can give people tryptophan pills to improve their mood. And, indeed, it became a popular dietary supplement—until people started dying from something called eosinophilia myalgia syndrome, an incurable, debilitating, and sometimes fatal flu-like neurological condition, caused by the ingestion of tryptophan supplements. May have been due to some unknown impurity, but, better safe than sorry. Instead of supplements, there are dietary strategies one can use to improve mood—which we’ll talk about next…” The transcript is at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-wrong-way-to-boost-serotonin/
~ ~ ~
A short clip called “A Better Way to Boost Serotonin” by Dr Greger MD is at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLLuFSrIEwI The transcript is at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/a-better-way-to-boost-serotonin/
~ ~ ~
A 2 minute clip called “The Best Way to Boost Serotonin” by Dr Greger MD is at
Excerpt: “Since the main determinant of brain serotonin concentrations appears to be the ratio of tryptophan with others that compete with it for uptake into the brain, to maximize the mood-elevating effects of diet, one would ideally choose a snack with a high tryptophan-to-total protein ratio—which would mean primarily seeds, such as sesame, sunflower, pumpkin… “Protein-source tryptophan as an efficacious treatment for social anxiety disorder: a pilot study.” So, what protein source did they use? Butternut squash seeds, because of their high tryptophan-to-protein ratio, as part of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study of people suffering from social phobia, also known as social anxiety disorder. And, they found significant improvement in multiple objective measures of anxiety in those eating the squash seed bars…
If this is true, then those eating vegetarian should be golden. And, indeed, this was the reasoning used to explain why “Global mood… was significantly better in the ‘vegetarian’ than in the ‘mixed’ diet group.” It’s all about carbohydrates, and a huge tryptophan-to-protein ratio. “The vegetarian group was instructed to avoid meat, fish, and poultry and to restrict intake of milk, milk products and eggs to a minimum…” And, within three weeks, the vegetarian diet groups had a significantly improved global mood.”
The transcript is at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-best-way-to-boost-serotonin/
~ ~ ~
Dr Neal Barnard MD “Power Foods for the Brain” TED talk at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_ONFix_e4k … He discusses the association of higher consumption of saturated fats (animal foods being the most common source) with higher rates of Alzheimer’s Dementia and similar cognitive impairments. “Dr. Barnard has led numerous research studies investigating the effects of diet on diabetes, body weight, and chronic pain, including a groundbreaking study of dietary interventions in type 2 diabetes, funded by the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Barnard has authored over 70 scientific publications as well as 17 books…”
~ ~ ~
Dr Greger “Exercise vs. Drugs for Depression” clip at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRNMgtjPXSE Summary: “Aerobic exercise interventions found comparable to antidepressant medication in the treatment of patients with major depressive disorder.”
Text at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/exercise-vs-drugs-for-depression/
= = = = =
Refutations/Debunkings of Media Reports that Claim Vegetarians and Vegans have (or are at risk of) Higher Rates of Mental Health Disorders.
Have you seen articles on the internet regards “vegetarian diets and depression”? There is a “hall of shame” list further below of such articles. They imply or claim that science has found vegetarians are more depressed, more unhappy, than people who eat meat.
As you can read below those sensational and inaccurate articles are based on reports of small *surveys* that have been thoroughly debunked as junk “science”, or let’s call it pseudoscience; details below.
Note that those surveys point the finger at vegetarian diets and not at vegans. And note that many of the self-described “vegetarians” in those surveys were found to actually eat meat, fish, shellfish, poultry and dairy!!
So it is both laughable and sad that anyone takes those articles seriously, that they did not bother to read the reports to check on the claims, and even more concerning they try to use them to dismiss vegan plant-based diets that strive to avoid all products derived from animals.
1/. The 2012 “German Study” – Debunked, Refuted.
Firstly let’s see what the German survey actually states: In 2012 the results of a very small survey were published under the title “Vegetarian diet and mental disorders: results from a representative community survey.” It has been referred to in media with words like “German study” and “study conducted in Germany”. As the report title states it was a “survey” and it was on an insignificant sample of only 54 self-reported “vegetarians”. Most importantly the report actually concludes: “THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE FOR CAUSAL ROLE OF VEGETARIAN DIET IN THE ETIOLOGY OF MENTAL DISORDERS.” Reference: International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2012; 9: 67at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3466124 (capitalised emphasis added).
Refutations of the German “study”: Here are some comments on that small German survey by professor of psychology Hal Herzog: “The good news is that most of the vegetarians and the semi-vegetarians did not suffer from any of the four categories of mental illnesses… among the vegetarians and semi-vegetarians with psychiatric diagnoses, their psychological problems generally PRECEDED changes in their diet… In short, the magazine headline was wrong… What I found illustrates why you should not get your science news from flashy headlines…” Those excerpts are from Professor Herzog’s article titled “How Scary Are the Mental Health Risks of Vegetarianism?…” at https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animals-and-us/201512/how-scary-are-the-mental-health-risks-vegetarianism (emphasis added)
Regards health problems that “preceded changes in their diet” it is a common occurrence for people who are ill to change to a plant-based diet (like vegetarianism or veganism) to help improve their pre-existing illnesses and diseases. Writers who misreport and claim – see examples below – that the new dietary pattern perhaps caused the pre-existing illness are being incompetent and irresponsible.
~ ~ ~
2/. The 2014 Austrian Graz University Health Survey – Refuted, Rebutted, Debunked.
There have been several media reports that refer to an “Austrian study” by researchers from the University of Graz. The initial report is titled “Nutrition and Health – The Association between Eating Behavior and Various Health Parameters: A Matched Sample Study”; published during February 2014 in the Plos One journal.
Refutations of the Austrian “study” – Firstly, the UK Government’s National Health Service (NHS) website has published a detailed rebuttal of the Graz University survey report. This debunking is titled “Vegetarians have ‘poorer quality of life’ study claims” and is at https://www.nhs.uk/news/food-and-diet/vegetarians-have-poorer-quality-of-life-study-claims/
Here is a short summary of the NHS rebuttal points: “the study provides NO proof that vegetarians are in poorer health than meat eaters… The study has numerous limitations, including the cross sectional survey design, where data is taken at a single point in time, so it CANNOT prove cause and effect… it is possible the associations seen could be due to ‘reverse causality’: people with existing health problems might have switched to a vegetarian diet that may be perceived to be more healthy… Very general categories of “vegetarian” and three “carnivorous” groups were used… Very general categories of diseases were used… the research included a relatively small sample of ONLY 330 vegetarians…”
Another detailed criticism of the Austrian University of Graz is titled “Could it be True: Vegetarians Are LESS Healthy than Meat Eaters?”
Some excerpts: “the mainstream media has appeared to take this research and run with it without bothering to report on its limitations, it is worth our time explaining that this study has some serious problems: chiefly, that IT SAYS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT VEGETARIANS AT ALL….
the study didn’t actually use any kind of firm definitions for how it broke people down into their dietary groups, AND THE FACT THAT VEGETARIANS WITHIN THAT SAMPLE GROUP ATE MEAT means, simply, that the group included people that we wouldn’t actually class as vegetarian, at least in the accepted sense of the word. Even among those who didn’t eat meat, their diets may have differed so much so as to make the study’s term of “vegetarian” almost meaningless. That’s a major flaw…
“There is at least one other serious problem with this study and that is that there appears to have been NO CONTROL ON HOW LONG SOMEONE HAD BEEN A “VEGETARIAN”.
Why does this matter? Consider the following scenario: You are diagnosed with having a moderate to serious health complaint. During the course of your treatment you are asked to look at your lifestyle and make improvements where you can. One of the areas you look into is your diet. Based on the information you have been given about healthy diets, you therefore take on a predominantly vegetarian lifestyle to try to improve your health. However, you still have an underlying health condition.
That’s caused reverse causality: the disease (whatever it is, in this case depression, cancer or an allergy) led the person to becoming vegetarian, not, as the researchers seem to be implying, the vegetarian diet having caused the ailments screened for in this study.
There’s another issue about definitions, and that comes down to how the researchers looked into the 18 specific diseases it tracked among the participants.
NONE OF THE DISEASES WERE MEDICALLY VERIFIED and there seems to have been no control to gauge the severity of any of the ailments and whether in fact they met diagnostic criteria at all.
That is concerning because, even if we were to accept that vegetarians in the sample were more likely to get certain diseases, say depression, how did the study rate depression? How severe was that depression? And how did the most severe kinds break down by diet? These are all questions that the study has left unanswered and ones that really did need to at least be approached if the research was to have significant results.
There are some more mundane but no less valid caveats that undercut the study: the small sample size for each group, the self-reporting, the fact that it sampled respondents from only one country, and that the study doesn’t appear to have used any strict measures in how it assessed quality of life and other health variables, among others…
Fortunately, there are a number of such studies with far more rigorous research methods that demonstrate a vegetarian lifestyle may carry certain benefits. At the very least, there is a lot of evidence to show that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can increase health, well-being and possibly even lifespan.”
(capital emphasis added)
The full article is at https://www.care2.com/causes/could-it-be-true-vegetarians-are-less-healthy-than-meat-eaters.html
A third rebuttal of the Austrian study is titled “Total Quackery – Austria’s Graz University “Study”” An excerpt: “Most of those “vegetarians” (343) consumed milk & eggs and many ate fish. Less than 10% (31) of the vegetarian group were vegans, as vegans were only 0.2% of the total survey… So, 31 vegans out of a group of 15,474 people, nearly 100% of whom eat animal products regularly, are said to give real information about vegan or vegetarian lifestyles in some way. Science? No. This is madness, showing the utter desperation of meat industry interests in the face of veganism becoming more obviously a very healthy and humane way to live and gaining in popularity…” The full article is at https://blameitonlove.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/total-quackery-austrias-graz-university-study/
~ ~ ~
3/. The 2017 University of Bristol UK study – Debunked, Refuted.
In 2017 several media outlets reported on a survey titled “Vegetarian diets and depressive symptoms among men.” It has been referred to by phrases like “University of Bristol study” and “Bristol UK study”. It is published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, Volume 225, 1 January 2018.
Again the major flaw of the Bristol study is that more than 50% of the 350 self-identified “vegetarians” ate animal products – see below. This makes the study meaningless in regards to vegans and people on healthy whole-food plant-based (wfpb) diets. Table 3 in the results section of the report shows the self-identified “vegetarians” self-reported consumption of the following animal products: 10.3% ate Meat pie; 7.4% ate Sausage/Burger; 4.7% ate Meat; 12.3% ate Poultry; 1.3% ate Offal; 57.6% ate White fish; 52.3% ate Oily fish (which was 51.1% for non-vegetarians); and 28.9% ate Shellfish (compared to 23.3% for non-vegetarians). Add to that 54.3% ate Fried foods, which, of course, are not healthy. The report does not state if poultry includes eggs. Why not? And it is puzzling that the report does not list the consumption of dairy products. Why not? For cow’s milk, cheese, butter and yoghurt – along with eggs – are high in saturated animal fats that are considered by many to be inflammatory. As we have seen above saturated fats and inflammation are associated with higher rates of mental disorders along with other health problems. It can be assumed that a large portion of the “vegetarians” consumed dairy products. Though the report omits a figure and also of how it compares with the non-vegetarians.
These crucially important aspects are not mentioned in the many misleading media articles about this report.
OTHER REFUTATIONS of the Bristol UK study.
Quotes from a refutation by Dr Joel Kahn of the Bristol study: “Nowhere in the media reports are comments on the major limitations of the dataset recognized by the authors… there were so few vegans in the study that they were lumped into the vegetarian designation…
The [Bristol] study in question collected data on 9,668 male partners of 14,541 pregnant women followed in England (why did nearly 5,000 men not participate?). They were asked to report if they were vegan, vegetarian, or non-vegetarians. Although hardly a joking matter in terms of the quality of the dataset, 72% of the self-reported vegans indicated current consumption of red meat.
This important fact is buried in the discussion section, and never mentioned in the media reports, but this was clearly a confused group of men with no apparent understanding of what a vegan diet constitutes.
In fact, the vegetarian cohort reported eating sausage or burgers in 7% of the respondents, meat pie in 10%, poultry in 12% and fish and fried food in over 50% of the men…
A study of even larger size was published in 2015 showing an association of a pro-vegetarian dietary pattern with less depression. The headlines then were few and without the aggressive tone and scariness of this past week. Where was the headline about “Meat-eaters are miserable”? What’s up with the media and their apparent bias?…”
Read Dr Kahn’s full article at https://medium.com/@Kahn642/reading-the-headlines-about-vegetarians-and-depression-is-depressing-the-media-response-after-85a91e1d6b7b
Quotes from a refutation of the Bristol UK study by Viva Health UK: “the original study this article was based on shows that 10.3 per cent of the ‘vegetarians’ said that they ate meat pies, 12.3 per cent ate chicken, 52.3 per cent (even more than the non-vegetarians) ate oily fish and 4.7 per cent ate meat! So a large number of the so-called vegetarians in this study were not vegetarian. Which is perhaps why the authors chose more careful wording than the Daily Mail journalist in their conclusion: “… self-identiﬁcation as a vegetarian was associated with an increased risk of depressive symptoms”…
A study published in 2015 found that vegans report less stress and anxiety than meat and dairy-eaters. The authors say: “A strict plant-based diet does not appear to negatively impact mood, in fact, reduction of animal food intake may have mood benefits”…
A 2012 study looked at the effects of a changing to a vegetarian diet on a group of meat-eaters. They found that mood scores didn’t change for the group continuing to eat meat and fish, but in those eating a vegetarian diet, mood score improved significantly after just two weeks…”
Read the full article at https://www.vivahealth.org.uk/vegetarians-are-less-likely-be-depressed
~ ~ ~
Further points that debunk the German, Austrian, Bristol-UK and similar misleading reports of “studies” that imply vegetarians and vegans have higher rates of depression and related mental health disturbances.
As noted above many “vegetarians” eat secretions from animals like chicken’s eggs and dairy products eg. cow’s milk, cheese and butter. Those are often high in inflammatory saturated fats which are – as the reports and studies cited on this page and elsewhere on this site show – associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety and other illnesses.
Click these links for pages of science journal reports about: i) the higher rates and risks of disease associated with eating eggs (including cardiovascular heart diseases (CVD, CHD), diabetes & cancers); and
ii) the higher disease risks associated with consuming dairy products (including higher mortality rates (earlier death) from cancers of the prostate, breasts, ovaries and testicles as well as higher rates of osteoporosis-related bone fractures, obesity, parkinsons disease, infertility/sterility and other symptoms of the feminization of men from the estrogen hormones in dairy).
Also note that many vegetarians eat fish and consuming fish has also been associated with higher rates of “mental disorders, depression, and suicide.” Those are the words of Dr Michael Greger MD in this short clip titled “Fish Consumption and Suicide” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crVbnU_tHOA
The text transcript is at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/fish-consumption-and-suicide/ Click this link for a page of further reports on the health hazards and dangers of eating fish products.
~ ~ ~
Hall of Shame – incompetent or deliberately misleading “journalism”?
The below list highlights examples of the very poor and mostly uncritical reporting on the “studies” debunked above – the German, Austrian-Graz & Bristol-UK reports. We have seen above how unscientific and deceptive those reports are. These below media articles make it worse by claiming or implying that vegetarian and vegan diets – being diets without meat & animal products – are associated with or are somehow a cause of higher rates of mental health disorders like depression.
As you can see elsewhere on this page and site these below articles are thoroughly debunked by many scientific studies and reports in science journals.
a) Debunked article titled: “Study Claims That Vegetarians And Vegans Are More Unhappy Than Meat Eaters” by Paul Sacca, 2017, on the site called “brobible”… A quote: “Sure having a diet that consists heavily of red meat has plenty of problems such as higher chances of heart disease, obesity, diabetes… Another study, this one in Germany, also found a connection between a vegan diet and depression. The study of 4,100 people, found those who practiced a vegan or vegetarian diet had a 15% higher level of predisposition to depressive behavior…”
b) Debunked article titled: “The Scary Mental Health Risks of Going Meatless Vegetarianism can come with some unexpected side effects” by Jill Waldbieser, December 105 on the site called “womens health mag” … A quote: “A separate German study backs this up, finding that vegetarians were 15 percent more prone to depressive conditions and twice as likely to suffer anxiety disorders.”
c) Debunked article titled: “Study: Vegetarians Less Healthy, Lower Quality Of Life Than Meat-Eaters” by Benjamin Fearnow, April 2014 on the Atlanta CBS Local website.
d) Debunked article titled: “Vegetarians are ‘less healthy and have a lower quality of life than meat-eaters'” April 2014, author unknown, on the website of the UK’s independent newspaper.
e) Debunked article titled: “Vegetarians and vegans are more unhappy than meat eaters, study claims” on the “curious mind magazine” website
f) Debunked article titled: “Study Finds That Meat Eaters Are Happier Than Vegans And Vegetarians” by Tim Williams (aka. timw_brap) on the “sickchirpse” website, August 2017
g) Debunked article titled: “University of Graz Study Finds Vegetarians Are Unhealthier, More Mentally Disturbed Than Meat-Lovers” by “P Gosselin” March 2014 on the “notrickszone” website.
h) Debunked article titled: “Vegetarians are unhealthy and ‘mentally disturbed’, says new research” by Roisin Lanigan ( aka. Róisín Lanigan, Rosie Lanners), February 2017 on the website of “The Tab” UK.
i) Debunked article titled: “Controversial Study Finds Vegetarians ‘Less Healthy’ Than Meat-Eaters” by Stewart Perrie, November 2017 on the “ladbible” website.
j) Debunked article titled: “Vegetarians are ‘less healthy’ and have a poorer quality of life than meat-eaters” by Emma Innes, April 3 2014, Mail Online, the site of the “Daily Mail” UK newspaper.
k) Debunked article titled: “Study claims that vegetarians and vegans are more unhappy than meat eaters” by Leon Oteng October 2017, on the “Food Envy” website.
l) Debunked article titled: “Science Says Vegetarians Might Have A Higher Risk Of Suffering From Depression” By Alena Hall 09/12/2017, on the “Swirled” website. This article is better than other reports in that it points out some flaws of the Bristol UK study; the author makes an effort to be more objective. Quote: “The research from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom and the National Institutes of Health included almost 10,000 male participants… Approximately 350 of them considered themselves to be committed vegetarians or vegans. Every participant provided self-reported dietary data for analysis via a questionnaire… It’s worth noting this study’s clear limitation: it only included men. Plus, the potential reasons for the noticeable differences in mental health among the groups of participants are simply additional hypotheses. Researchers did not conduct additional tests to see which of these factors… played a significant role on their subjects in particular. Now, a truly balanced vegetarian (or vegan) diet shouldn’t lead to any mental health problems. But the fact of the matter is that a lot of people who choose to go vegetarian (or even vegan) don’t go about it in a healthy way…”
m) debunked article titled: “New Study We 100% Want To Believe Says Vegetarians Are Actually ‘Less Healthy’ Than Meat-Eaters” by Douglas Charles, November 2017, on brobible. A copy of that article is titled “After Shaming Meat Eaters For Years, Vegetarians Get Horrible News From Experts About Their Health” by “Lady Liberty, November 2017 on the “veteranaf” website.
Read the content above on this pages to see those articles are refuted, debunked, discredited.
More to come …
~ ~ ~
Let History Judge and Decide:
In conclusion we have seen how those articles have been thoroughly debunked, discredited, refuted, rebutted and exposed for their failure to do good research, for failing at responsible journalism and for misreporting in a way that encourages large-scale misery via:
i) meat-based diets that many large scientific studies show are associated with higher rates of degenerative diseases and premature death (click that link to see them); as well as
ii) the very large amounts of pollution, resource waste, deforestation and climate changing greenhouse gases caused by eating animals.
And let’s not forget: iii) the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs that is due to a large degree to animal agriculture; and iv) the rapid loss of biodiversity and mass extinction of species as a result of people eating meat and other animal products.
Which leads one to wonder: what sort of a person would knowingly spread misleading reports like those listed above in the “hall of shame” and thereby promote disease, damage and destruction to our lives and our world?
~ ~ ~
More to Come!
= = = =
This set of articles were compiled for
Pages on this Site:
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.
~ ~ ~
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.
~ ~ ~
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.
~ ~ ~
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.
~ ~ ~
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.
~ ~ ~
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.
~ ~ ~
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.
~ ~ ~
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.
~ ~ ~
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.
~ ~ ~
A collection of quotes & links for articles by doctors, dietitians & nutrition experts who refute & rebut the negative claims made regards “the soy food debate”
~ ~ ~
For Archives of Related Memes see:
= = = =