About | Denise Minger
The meat and dairy lobbies both were upset by their location near the top, near . food blogger and investigator Denise Minger set out to explore “How shoddy. In a single blog post, Denise Minger systematically refuted the main points George McGovern, who represented the cattle-raising state of South Dakota, . a nice chapter about meat and meat eating, titled “Meet Your Meat. The China Study: Fact or Fallacy? by Denise Minger - article found and I can see how she might reach the conclusions she did; this is .. Or was this bias reflecting your personal preference for eating raw meat and avoiding wheat flour The ecological badness is also well documented as factory cattle.
Here's the bad news. Several gene mutations can slash BCMO1 activity and thwart carotenoid conversion, rendering plant foods inadequate as vitamin A sources. Worse, a host of non-genetic factors can lower carotenoid conversion and absorption as well — including low thyroid function, compromised gut health, alcoholism, liver disease and zinc deficiency 567. If any of these get thrown into the poor-genetic-converter mix, the ability to produce retinol from plant foods can dwindle even further.
So, why isn't such a widespread issue causing mass epidemics of vitamin A deficiency? An omnivorous BCMO1 mutant can generally skate by on vitamin A from animal sources, blissfully unaware of the carotenoid battle waging within. But for those who eschew animal products, the effects of a dysfunctional BCMO1 gene will be obvious — and eventually detrimental.
When poor converters go vegan, they can eat carrots until they're orange in the face literally! Carotenoid levels simply rise hypercarotenemiawhile vitamin A status nosedives hypovitaminosis Aleading to deficiency amidst seemingly adequate intake 3.
Even for low-converting vegetarians, the vitamin A content of dairy and eggs which don't hold a candle to meat products like liver — the vitamin A King of Kings might not be enough to stave off deficiency, especially if absorption issues are also at play.
Not surprisingly, the consequences of inadequate vitamin A mirror the problems reported by some vegans and vegetarians. Thyroid dysfunction, night blindness and other vision issues, impaired immunity more colds and infections and problems with tooth enamel can all result from poor vitamin A status 91011 Meanwhile, vegans with normal BCMO1 function — and who dine on plenty of carotenoid-rich fare — can generally produce enough vitamin A from plant foods to stay healthy.
People who are efficient carotenoid converters can generally get enough vitamin A on vegan diets, but poor converters can become deficient even when their intake meets recommended levels.
Death by Food Pyramid by Denise Minger
Gut Microbiome and Vitamin K2 Our gut microbiome — the collection of organisms residing in the colon — performs a dizzying number of duties, ranging from nutrient synthesis to fiber fermentation to toxin neutralization There's ample evidence that our gut microbiome is flexible, with bacterial populations shifting in response to diet, age and environment 13 But a great deal of our resident microbes are also inherited or otherwise established from a young age.
For instance, higher levels of Bifidobacteria are associated with the gene for lactase persistence indicating a genetic component to the microbiomeand babies born vaginally scoop up their first bundle of microbes in the birth canal — leading to bacterial compositions that differ over the long-term from C-section babies 15 In addition, trauma to the microbiome — such as a bacterial wipeout from antibiotics, chemotherapy or certain illnesses — can cause permanent changes to a once-healthy community of gut critters.
There's some evidence that certain bacterial populations never return to their former glory after antibiotic exposure, stabilizing instead at less abundant levels 17181920 In other words, despite an overall adaptability of the gut microbiome, we might be "stuck" with certain features due to circumstances beyond our control. So, why does this matter for vegans? Our gut microbiome plays a huge role in how we respond to different foods and synthesize specific nutrients, and some microbial communities may be more veg-friendly than others.
For example, certain gut bacteria are needed for synthesizing vitamin K2 menaquinonea nutrient with unique benefits for skeletal health including teethinsulin sensitivity and cardiovascular health, as well as prostate and liver cancer prevention 2223242526272829 The main K2-producers include certain Bacteroides species, Prevotella species, Escheria coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae, as well as some gram-positive, anaerobic, non-sporing microbes Unlike vitamin K1, which is abundant in leafy greens, vitamin K2 is found almost exclusively in animal foods — the main exception being a fermented soybean product called natto, which has a taste that can be euphemistically described as "acquired" Studies have demonstrated that full-spectrum antibiotic usage dramatically lowers levels of vitamin K2 in the body by obliterating the bacteria responsible for K2 synthesis So, if someone's microbiome is short on vitamin-K2-producing bacteria — whether from genetic factors, environment or antibiotic usage — and animal foods are removed from the equation, then vitamin K2 levels can sink to tragic levels.
Although research on the topic is scant, this could feasibly rob vegans and some vegetarians of the many gifts K2 bestows — potentially contributing to dental problems, a greater risk of bone fractures and reduced protection against diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
Conversely, people with a robust, K2-synthesizing microbiome or who otherwise identify as natto gourmands might be able to obtain enough of this vitamin on a vegan diet.
Vegans without enough bacteria for synthesizing vitamin K2 can face problems related to inadequate intake, including a higher risk of dental issues and chronic disease.
Amylase and Starch Tolerance Although there are certainly exceptions, meat-free diets tend to be higher in carbohydrates than fully omnivorous ones 3536 While these diets have an impressive track record on the whole — Esselstyn's program, for instance, effectively slashed cardiac events in those who diligently adhered — some people report less savory results after switching to high-starch vegan diets Why the dramatic difference in response?
The answer may, again, be lurking in our genes — and also in our spit. Human saliva contains alpha-amylase, an enzyme that lops starch molecules into simple sugars via hydrolysis. In general, people from starch-centric cultures like the Japanese tend to carry more AMY1 copies and have higher levels of salivary amylase than people from populations that historically relied more on fat and protein, pointing to a role of selective pressure In other words, AMY1 patterns appear linked to the traditional diets of our ancestors.
Here's why this matters: When people with low amylase consume starch especially refined formsthey experience steeper, longer-lasting blood sugar spikes compared to folks with naturally high amylase levels I still love animals, but given the broader context of our food system, my goal now is to support only humane farms that treat their animals well, and encourage others to do the same.
How would you describe your current view toward the ethics of the omnivorous diet? But conscious omnivores are perhaps in an even better position than vegans to help transform the way farm animals are treated.
This is at the core of omnivore ethics—working towards a major reform of the way we incorporate animals into our food system. So why on earth would you willingly dive into something as vicious as food politics?
Is this issue just that important to you, or do you simply enjoy being called names? It keeps me sane. Do you have any guidance for people suffering from health problems that might help them avoid falling prey to the many faddish, cultish, or simply unscientific diets out there that promise to relieve everything from gout to diabetes to cancer hello, China Study?
The flag gets even redder if a diet requires you to buy an expensive line of supplements the author happens to sell. But beyond the truly obvious scams, it does get tricky figuring out which claims are legit, because so many diet plans cite just enough science to sound impressive.
My best advice is to avoid short-term fixes—e.Meet Your Meat - Part 2
Our grain-and-vegetable-oil-based USDA diet is also a recent invention, and shamelessly caters to the food industry rather than human health. Any diet that relies on meal-replacement shakes or packaged foods is also unlikely to be optimal in the long run.
When we look at the diets out there cultish or not that claim a high degree of healing success, they all have a few things in common: This holds true for the paleo diet, the raw food diet, the macrobiotic diet, and even the plant-based diet espoused in The China Study.
Vegetable oils, most grain products, and refined sweeteners. Your book, Death by Food Pyramid will be coming out later this year. Can you give a preview of what food issues it will be covering? Figuring out what to believe and who to trust is a major issue for anyone who wants to be healthy. Along with ripping apart some of the most influential studies that sculpted our nutrition landscape, the book will teach virtually anybody how to look at a study or health claim and critically evaluate it on their own.
Basically, I want to close the chasm between the scientific community and the layperson—and my goal with Death by Food Pyramid is to give people the tools necessary to take charge of their health without needing a nutrition PhD and elaborate understanding of Latin prefixes.
Was writing a book on these issues simply a natural extension of your background as an English major — foisted upon you by fans of your blog and China Study debunkery, or was it something you actively pursued? An even split between the two, for sure. All English majors secretly or not-so-secretly want to write a book and then be on Oprah because the book was so great. It never goes away. But Death by Food Pyramid is the product of something a lot more important than curing my Writing Flu.
I want to help people.
How to Make Your Meat as Healthy as Possible
I want to give something of real value back to those people, and to all the health-seekers out there—something they can use to improve their lives, or the lives of their loved ones. It seems like every week, another book comes out detailing what people should and should not eat.
Do you worry about your book being viewed as white noise in an oversaturated market?