A reader thought I might get a kick out of this photo:
Fake tuna fish. Boy, that sounds awesome … especially if you look up the ingredients:
Pea protein, pea starch, water, olive oil, potato starch, sea salt, seaweed powder, organic agave nectar, organic apple cider vinegar, konjac powder, ginger.
How the heck does this stuff end up tasting like tuna?! I asked myself. According to the Amazon reviews (which average two out of five stars), it doesn’t. Here are some quotes:
One of the worst vegan products I’ve ever tried. It looks smells and tastes like cat food. It’s utterly disgusting and even the thought makes me want to vomit.
Dog food. This was seriously the worst product I’ve tried since becoming a vegan. Looks like dog food, smells like dog food, tastes like…I don’t know.
This stuff is awful, so oily and salty, and the smell… Couldn’t even finish my lunch.
Okay, it’s oily, it stinks, and it tastes like something you’d feed a dog or a cat. But it’s plant-based, so it will save your life! I know that, because the apostles of the Church of the Holy Plant-Based Diet are always telling us as much.
In fact, while organizing all my blog ideas, study links, study papers, etc., into Microsoft OneNote recently, I came across a Nutrition Update for Physicians that promotes the Holy Plant-Based Diet. I think it’s a fine example of how the Holy Plant-Based Diet produces miraculous improvements in health, so let’s take a look:
Despite the strong body of evidence favoring plant-based diets, including studies showing a willingness of the general public to embrace them, many physicians are not stressing the importance of plant-based diets as a first-line treatment for chronic illnesses. This could be because of a lack of awareness of these diets or a lack of patient education resources.
Or it could be because the physicians have gotten a whiff of Vegan Toona.
National dietary guidelines for active living and healthful eating are available at www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.
Well, if they’re pushing MyPlate as a guide, we already know what great experts we’re dealing with.
The goal of this article is to review the evidence supporting plant-based diets and to provide a guideline for presenting them to patients.
Here’s how I’d suggest you present plant-based diets to patients: give them a free can of Vegan Toona.
We start with a case study …
A 63-year-old man with a history of hypertension presented to his primary care physician with complaints of fatigue, nausea, and muscle cramps. The result of a random blood glucose test was 524 mg/dL, and HbA1C was 11.1%. Type 2 diabetes was diagnosed. His total cholesterol was 283 mg/dL, blood pressure was 132/66 mmHg, and body mass index (BMI) was 25 kg/m2. He was taking lisinopril, 40 mg daily; hydrochlorothiazide, 50 mg daily; amlodipine, 5 mg daily; and atorvastatin, 20 mg daily.
A glucose reading of 524?!! Okay, this poor guy was a mess. He was a type II diabetic with screamingly high blood sugar. (And for the internet cowboys who insist insulin resistance is caused by getting fat, please note that his BMI was only 25.)
But of course, eating meat doesn’t cause high blood sugar. So how did switching to the Holy Plant-Based Diet help this guy with his diabetes? Here’s how:
He was prescribed metformin, 1000 mg twice daily; glipizide, 5 mg daily; and 10 units of neutral protamine Hagedom insulin at bedtime.
The first order of business was insulin and other drugs that lower blood sugar. Makes sense, given the screamingly high glucose reading. But what about that plant-based diet that was responsible for all the magic?
His physician also prescribed a low-sodium, plant-based diet that excluded all animal products and refined sugars and limited bread, rice, potatoes, and tortillas to a single daily serving. He was advised to consume unlimited non-starchy vegetables, legumes, and beans, in addition to up to 2 ounces of nuts and seeds daily.
Let’s read that one more time with a slight edit and some emphasis added:
His physician also prescribed a low-sodium, plant-based diet that EXCLUDED REFINED SUGARS AND LIMITED BREAD, RICE, POTATOES, AND TORTILLAS TO A SINGLE DAILY SERVING.
Now wait just a @#$%ing second! You’re presenting a miracle performed by the Holy Plant-Based Diet, and part of the protocol was to limit bread, rice, potatoes and tortillas to one serving per day? THOSE ARE PLANT FOODS! If it’s the meat and eggs that were turning this poor old dude into a diabetic, why the flippity flip was he told to cut out sugar and bread?
Back to the article:
Over a 16-week period, significant improvement in biometric outcome measures was observed. He was completely weaned off of amlodipine, hydrochlorothiazide, glipizide, and neutral protamine Hagedorn insulin. Follow-up blood pressure remained below 125/60 mmHg, HbA1C improved to 6.3%, and total cholesterol improved to 138 mg/dL.
The presented case is a dramatic example of the effect a plant-based diet can have on biometric outcomes like blood pressure, diabetes, and lipid profile.
Yes, indeedy. In this paper, ladies and gentlemen, we present the case of a guy whose blood sugar was totally whacked. He was told to cut out meat and eggs, even though they don’t raise blood sugar more than a smidge. He was also told to limit bread, rice, potatoes, tortillas and other plant foods that jack up blood sugar to a single serving per day. And looky there, his glucose level plummeted – which proves how wondrous the Holy Plant-Based Diet can be.
Head. Bang. On. Desk.
This is, of course, the bait-and-switch the plant-based apostles pull all the time. I call it the Ornish Two-Step. Take people eating total crap diets full of processed sugar and starch, get them to eat whole foods while cutting out all the processed sugars and starches – oh, and meat and eggs, too – and when their health improves, claim you’ve just made a solid case for eliminating meat and eggs.
The improvement in blood pressure observed over a 4-month period with few medications is also rarely encountered in clinical practice and is likely related to a low-sodium diet and the avoidance of red meat.
Uh, no. In clinical studies, reducing sodium intake has failed rather spectacularly as a treatment for high blood pressure. And as for red meat causing high blood pressure, here’s the conclusion from a recent meta-analysis at Purdue University:
Consuming red meat in amounts above what is typically recommended does not affect short-term cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as blood pressure and blood cholesterol.
However, several studies have demonstrated that a high sugar intake will raise blood pressure. So remind me: wasn’t the guy in this case study told to eliminate sugar from his diet? And isn’t sugar a plant food?
If people want to adopt plant-based diets for ethical reasons, fine, I don’t care. But I do care when apostles of the Church of the Holy Plant-Based Diet blame meat and eggs for the sins committed by sugar and other processed carbohydrates. Part of the reason it annoys me so much is that it’s clear the apostles KNOW it’s the processed carbs doing the damage. They toss meat and eggs in the same basket as sugar and white bread simply because they don’t want people to eat meat.
If the apostles really and truly believed animal foods are the primary drivers of disease, they’d conduct studies where the only change in a crappy diet is to substitute tofu for meat. And they’d encourage physicians to offer counseling to patients that goes something like this:
“Well, I’m afraid your labs are awful. Your blood sugar is through the roof and you’re obviously a type II diabetic. We need to switch you to a plant-based diet.”
“Wait, Doc, you mean no more meat and eggs?”
“Bummer. But I can still eat Pop-Tarts for breakfast, right?”
“Of course. Pop-Tarts are made from wheat, sugar, soybean oil, dried berries and corn syrup. Those are all plant foods, so they won’t hurt you.”
“Hostess Ho-Ho’s okay for lunch?”
“Sugar, wheat flour, corn syrup, and hydrogenated palm oil. No animal ingredients, so they’re fine.”
“Awesome. But what about dinner? My wife likes to make casseroles.”
“No problem. The makers of Vegan Toona say it makes a terrific ‘toona’ casserole.”