We shall now lay out some Myths and Facts about Vegetarianism that come from the Weston A. Price Foundation. Here it goes.
Myth: All the hungry could be fed if grazing land were cultivated for crops.
Truth: Only about eleven percent of the land on earth can be farmed, a percentage that cannot be increased without deforestation, irrigation, chemical fertilizers, and other destructive ecological practices.
MYTH: Meat consumption contributes to famine and depletes the Earth’s natural resources.
TRUTH: Properly carried out through managed grazing, animal husbandry builds soil fertility and restores deficiencies created through grain production. One billion people on the Earth depend exclusively on animal foods for survival. Small mixed-use farms are the answer for personal and planetary health.
MYTH: Livestock is a major source of greenhouse-gas emissions
TRUTH: Only a small percentage of atmospheric methane comes from ruminant flatulence; the largest source is the burning of fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation. A surprising source is emissions from wetlands, Raising animals on pasture is the most efficient way of pulling carbon from the atmosphere and returning it to the soil.
MYTH: Beef production requires 2500 gallons of water per pound of beef.
TRUTH: This figure is widely quoted by vegetarians without supporting evidence. The beef industry estimates that a pound of beef requires 435 gallons of water, mostly for grain production to feed the animal. Pasture raised beef requires only the water that the animal drinks, which works out to about 30 gallons per pound of beef (slightly less if it is veal), about the amount used in one shower. By contrast, it takes 500 gallons of water to grow the wheat for one pound of bread. [bread is a complex carbohydrate that depletes the body of a variety of nutrients – particularly zinc, selenium, iodine, molybdenum, copper, iron, and manganese. It also stimulates the brain in an unhealthy way and causes brittle bones and leads to a wide variety of our modern day chronic diseases…. especially heart disease].
MYTH: Vegetarians are not involved in killing animals.
TRUTH: About 300 animals per acre are killed for the production of grain–often in gruesome ways. Only one animal per acre is killed for the production of beef. People who fly, drive, play string instruments, talk on the phone and take part in many other ordinary activities also rely on animal products.
MYTH: The China Study found that people who ate more plant foods were healthier.
TRUTH: What’s said in the bestselling book THE CHINA STUDY does not match the findings of the actual China-Oxford Study, in which there was no correlation with more or less disease in people eating a lot of plant foods. The China Study was not a study. It was an epidemiological report. Essentially, the only real thing that it proved was that Americans who eat lots of sugar and processed foods with large amounts of red meat in the same meal are unhealthy and have unhealthy physiology. This was the main finding of the study. In no way did it indicate that being a vegetarian or having a predominantly vegetarian diet has any healthy benefits. I would recommend that you pick up a copy of the China Study and read the book for yourself.
MYTH: Vitamin B12 can be obtained from plant sources.
TRUTH: True B12 is only available from animal foods; many vegans concede that those avoiding animal foods should play it safe and take a B12 supplement.
MYTH: Our needs for Vitamin D can be met by sunlight.
TRUTH: We only make sufficient vitamin D from sunlight at midday during the summer months if you are living naked in the tropics; traditional cultures obtained this essential nutrient year round by eating vitamin D rich animal foods (like cod liver oil and bear and buffalo liver and kidney.)
MYTH: The body’s needs for vitamin A can be met entirely from plant foods.
TRUTH: The body converts carotenes from plants into true vitamin A very poorly; most people cannot do this sufficiently and some cannot do it at all.
MYTH: Vegetarians live longer.
TRUTH: Some do, some don’t. Health-conscious vegetarians who eat pastured dairy and eggs may well live longer than omnivores eating processed, packaged and fast foods. Analyses of studies on vegetarianism show that vegetarians have a greater all-cause death rate and even a greater death rate from heart disease.
MYTH: Vegetarianism protects against cancer.
TRUTH: The science on this is inconsistent and contradictory at best. Vegetarians are particularly prone to cancers of the nervous system and the reproductive organs. Soy, a staple of many vegetarians diets, can cause, contribute to and accelerate the growth of some cancers, particularly breast cancer.
MYTH: Eating meat causes heart disease.
TRUTH: Vegetarians have as much atherosclerosis as meat eaters and higher levels of homocysteine. (High homocysteine levels are the leading cause of heart disease along with increased c-reactive protein.) Heart disease is associated with consumption of trans fats, refined vegetable oils and sugar, all of which come from plants. The largest number of research studies ever conducted on heart disease and cholesterol levels show that LARGE amounts of red meat protect against heart disease and cause the heart to be much healthier and stronger. These studies were done primarily on the Masai and Samburu tribes of East Africa. (Using the word “tribes” is not really politically correct these days. I hope nobody is offended by this. They are people who live in the Eastern portion of Africa mainly in Kenya.)
MYTH: Meat-eating causes osteoporosis
TRUTH: Meat eaters do not have more osteoporosis than vegetarians. Nutrients required for healthy bones, such as vitamin D, collagen and calcium, are either better absorbed or exclusively found in animal foods. The precursors needed to make the hormones that are necessary to metabolize healthy bones come from the break down of cholesterol and amino acids that come from animal proteins.
MYTH: The human body is not designed for meat consumption.
TRUTH: Humans are equipped with a mixed feeder’s teeth and digestive system. The intestinal tract of a human being is more like that of a dog than a sheep. Animals that live on plant foods do not manufacture hydrochloric acid, have from two to four stomachs and a longer intestinal tract than humans.
MYTH: Meat putrifies in the gut.
TRUTH: The human digestive system is perfectly designed to digest meat, starting with a stomach that produces hydrochloric acid for digesting meat proteins. Enzymes in the small intestine break down proteins into peptides which the body absorbs through the gut wall.
TRUTH: There is no science to support this claim. However, we do know that vegetarian diets lower serum cholesterol, and low cholesterol is associated with violent and anti-social behavior in humans, monkeys and dogs.
MYTH: A vegetarian diet is safe for children.
TRUTH: Some children can grow well on vegetarian diets rich in dairy products from pastured cows and eggs from pastured chickens. Children brought up on vegan diets have poorer bone health and reduced mental capacity compared to children brought up on diets containing animal foods. Rampant tooth decay in the baby teeth is common among children born to vegan mothers.
MYTH: Animal products are unhealthy because they contain numerous harmful toxins.
TRUTH: All foods contain toxins if raised with pesticides and herbicides. It is important to choose animal and plant foods that have been raised without toxic chemical inputs. The nutrients we get from animal foods, such as vitamins A and B12, sulfur and zinc, help the body detoxify.