Veganism is not the optimal diet for humans.
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Veganism is not the optimal diet for humans.
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(1) Main Argument
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Veganism - A diet that abstains from meat and all other animal products
Optimal Diet - The diet which provides the best level of health
Humans - Human beings in general
Burden of Proof:
Shared burden of proof. I have to prove that veganism isn't the optimal diet for humans and the contender has to prove that veganism is the optimal diet for humans. It is not my burden of proof to uphold a standard american diet and I should not be pigeonholed as trying to prove eating junk foods or having poor lifestyle choices is optimal.
By accepting this debate you accept the Rules, Rounds, Definitions, And BOP.
- Human Beings Evolved to Be Omnivores, Not Herbivores
Meat eating is what made us human. “Meat-eating was one of the most pivotal changes in our ancestors’ diets and that it led to many of the physical, behavioral, and ecological changes that make us uniquely human.” Teeth changes, digestive tract changes, and we also have an improved ability to process cholesterol and fat. https://www.americanscientist.org/article/meat-eating-among-the-earliest-humans
Results from the Adventist Health Study-2 revealed that vegetarian diets are associated with a lower overall cancer risk, and especially a lower risk of gastrointestinal cancer. Furthermore, a vegan diet appeared to confer a greater protection against overall cancer incidence than any other dietary pattern. Recently, vegan diets were reported to confer about a 35% lower risk of prostate cancer. A meta-analysis of seven studies reported vegetarians having an 18% lower overall cancer incidence than nonvegetarians: https://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/22/2/286
If you click the link to the study con has posted, you’ll see that the actual concluding text is:
“Well-designed vegetarian diets provide adequate nutrient intakes for all stages of the lifecycle and can also be useful in the therapeutic management of some chronic diseases.”
A ‘well-designed’ vegetarian diet providing adequate nutrition is a far cry from the average vegan diet providing optimal nutrition.
Because a vegetarian diet includes egg and dairy products, which fill in the nutrient deficiencies of a vegan diet, I’m in agreement that you can follow a vegetarian diet and have adequate nutrition with minimal deficiencies.
RE: Adventist Study revealed that vegetarian diets are associated with a lower overall cancer risk
RE: Vegan diet, greater protection against overall cancer
RE: reducing saturated fat intake reduces chances of developing cardiovascular disease by 17%
Again, this fails to prove that veganism is the optimal diet for humans as the vegan diet doesn’t exclude saturated fat. Here are a list of vegan foods that contain saturated fat:
“The scientific evidence seems to support the conclusion that MedDiet adherence is a preventive and therapeutic tool for cardiodiabesity.”
Vegan desserts (cakes, pies, cookies like oreos, biscuits), margarine, some refined and processed oils, microwave popcorn, deep-fried foods, frozen pizza, non-dairy coffee creamers, chips, crackers
Fatty fish 3x per week
Poultry, meat, and eggs 8-9x per week
Dairy 3x per day
Humans have canines and incisors (carnivore traits) and molars and premolars (herbivore traits). Animals who have both are omnivores.
Carnivores tend to have well-developed stomachs and long small intestines, while herbivores tend to have a chambered stomach with a well-developed caecum and colon. Humans fit neither of these patterns. The human gut has a simple stomach, relatively elongated small intestine, and reduced caecum and colon, suggesting a relatively high dependency on meat. https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt14bt4vj
The stomach pH of humans suggests that it evolved when we were carrion scavengers.
Humans have the ability to digest heme iron, which is sourced almost entirely from animal foods.
Humans have a limited ability to synthesize taurine, so we need to eat it, and it’s found almost exclusively in meats and fish.
“Predominantly plant based” does not mean vegan. Con is touching on the “blue zones” by mentioning Okinawa and the longest lived populations. The blue zones are five areas of the world with the longest-lived populations. Each blue zone negates that veganism is the optimal diet and supports omnivorism. You can explore their diets here: https://www.bluezones.com/exploration
5% meat, 6% fish, and goat’s milk and cheese (~4%?)
Other reasons for longevity: napping, fasting, choose goat’s milk over cow’s milk, no clocks on the island (lower stress), immune from the industrialization of modern society, use lots of native herbs
5% meat, fish, poultry, 26% dairy (primarily from sheep and goats)
Other reasons for longevity: lots of socialization, daily laughter, walk 5 miles per day, strong social ties appear to be key determinants of the high mental health
2% eggs, 5% meat, fish, poultry, 24% dairy
Other reasons for longevity: lifelong physical work and chores, constantly visiting with neighbors, get lots of sun (Vitamin D), traditions that encourage low-stress attitudes
1% eggs, 1% fish, 4% meat and poultry, 10% dairy
Other reasons for longevity: strong faith-based community, emphasis on volunteering and helping others, lots of exercise
2% fish (mainly white fish), meat (mostly pork), and poultry
Other reasons for longevity: low-stress lifestyle, caring community, activity through walking and gardening, strong sense of ikigai (purpose), and spirituality of the inhabitants of the island. Japanese are already the longest-lived ethnic group globally.
Many studies have demonstrated that excess intake of fiber may actually be harmful, particularly for gut health.
RE: 6. Eating meat causes erectile dysfunction and therefore sexual dissatisfaction
RE: 7. Vegan diets increase endurance and performance
“The overwhelming majority of elite endurance athletes regularly consume all six of these ‘high-quality’ food types. The reason they do so is that a balanced, varied, and inclusive diet is needed to supply the body with everything it needs nutritionally to handle the stress of hard training and to derive the maximum benefit from workouts.”
RE 1: Human Beings Evolved to Be Omnivores, Not HerbivoresI demonstrated in my response why humans have traits of herbivores and while we “can” eat meat, our biology makes us better suited to eat only plants (like herbivores).
RE b. Chimpanzees
Only 3% of chimp diets come from meat: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/how-to-eat-like-a-chimpanzee/
Gorillas are folivores: https://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/what-do-gorillas-eat-and-other-gorilla-facts
RE c. Humans have been eating meat since before we were even humans. (Pre-History)
This does not mean that our ancestors ate the optimal diet. We lived much shorter lives in our past.
Out brains run off of glucose, not meat: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK22436/
Sure but that does not disprove that a vegan diet is not optimal. As new information comes in, we enhance our understanding of what the optimal diet is.
RE e. Clarifying Contra Naturalistic Fallacy
I can argue that we our ancestors had the “wrong” diet, even though it may have been necessary for survival or what have you, it does not mean it was optimal for them. We may have evolved to better adjust to eating meat, but that does not imply that eating meat is optimal.
II. The Vegan Diet is Deficient in Critical Nutrients Required for Basic Health
RE a. 52% of Vegans are Deficient in B-12
Sure, tons of omni’s are deficient as well. Im advocating for a well-planned vegan diet, much like any healthy diet should be well planned
RE e. The Vegan Diet is Deficient in Critical Nutrients
Again, an improperly planned vegan diet is not what I am advocating for. I am advocating for a well balanced vegan diet that accounts for each nutrient, much like is needed for an omnivorous diet.
RE f. Infants and Children Suffer Impaired Development by Breastfeeding from Vegan Mothers and Eating a Vegan/Vegetarian Diet
III. More Health and Psychological Consequences of Vegan Diet
RE a. While People Become Vegans for Ethical Reasons, They Return to Meat for Health Reasons
These are appeals to anecdotes. They may have had an improperly planned vegan diet just like you can have an improperly planned omnivorous diet. They could have returned to eating meat for societal reasons.
RE b. Veganism is Associated with a Higher Risk of Mental Disorders
More research needs to be done on this, I don’t have much of a response to this atm.
RE c. Vegans Eat Highly Processed Foods That Are Proven to Cause Disease
Im not advocating for a vegan diet that is high in processed foods.
RE d. Many Vegan Women Lose Their Periods
Anecdotal evidence, need scientific evidence please.
RE IV. Health Authorities Favor a Balanced, Omnivorous Diet
My definition here is a vegan plant based diet, one not including animal products.
RE: Heart disease is the leading killer in America and a plant-based diet has been shown to reduce one's risk of developing such a disease.
Vegan plant based diet…
RE: a well planned vegan diet is adequate for all stages of life and that vegans are at a reduced risk of certain health conditions https://tinyurl.com/y37jcjgp
RERE: Adventist Study revealed that vegetarian diets are associated with a lower overall cancer risk
Link for you to re-read:https://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/22/2/286
RERE: World Health Organization says processed meat causes cancer: https://tinyurl.com/k5lqvgo
You missed my argument about red-meats (not just processed meats) being carcinogenic:
UK Cancer Research have given processed meats a Group1 (causes cancer) Carcinogen classification, and red meats a Group 2A (probably causes cancer) Carcinogen classification: https://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2019/04/26/bacon-salami-and-sausages-how-does-processed-meat-cause-cancer-and-how-much-matters/
RERE: reducing saturated fat intake reduces chances of developing cardiovascular disease by 17%
The vegan diet I am advocating for does not include saturated fats.
RERE: 2. A plant based diet is the only diet proven to dramatically reduce and even reverse heart disease
Yes it is true, did you read the study? http://www.dresselstyn.com/site/study-01-results/
RERE: 4. Populations who live the longest tend to eat predominantly plant based
Just because their diet included a small amount of meat does not mean that that’s what led to their optimal diet. It is probably negligible, unless you are advocating for eating only 2-5% of your calories from meat?
RERE: 6. Eating meat causes erectile dysfunction and therefore sexual dissatisfaction
The more meat you eat, the shorter your erections last: https://nypost.com/2019/10/18/the-more-meat-you-eat-the-shorter-your-erections-last-study/
RERE: 7. Vegan diets increase endurance and performance
Here is a list of top performing athletes who are vegan:
Scott Jurek was a “dominating ultramarathon runner” who is vegan:https://www.google.com/search?q=scott+jurek+vegan&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS725US725&oq=scott+jurek+vegan+&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l7.5441j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
Good luck to Pro!
Con concedes to my omnivorism argument by saying, “we can eat meat,” but also says, “our biology makes us better suited to eat only plants (like herbivores).”
Humans have canines and incisors which are carnivore traits.
Human gut morphology suggests a relatively high dependence on meat.
Human stomach pH suggests humans evolved as carrion scavengers (scavengin old carcasses of animals)
Humans have the ability to digest heme iron, which is found almost exclusively in animal foods.
Humans have limited ability to synthesize taurine, so we need to obtain it through our food
Con concedes of our closest animal relative, “3% of chimp diets come from meat.”
The vegan diet does not have a monopoly on glucose, which can be derived from fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and nuts--all of which are consumed on different omnivrous diets. This point would only be relevant in arguing against the carnivore diet, which I’m not advocating. And even then it would fail as the human body converts 10% of the fat we eat into glucose and some of the protein. https://tinyurl.com/ycuony5s
Con agrees, “Sure but that does not disprove that a vegan diet is not optimal.”
All great empires, societies, and tribes in human history have eaten animal foods, this gives an approximation of what kind of diet will enable a society of our species to thrive.
“Okinawans ate predominately plant-based (less than 3-5% of their diet came from animals) so they were pretty close to a vegan society.”
Okinawans ate meat along with all the other ‘Blue Zones’ of long-lived people. A flourishing omnivrous society is not a testament to veganism; and it is a definitional non sequitur to argue that it is. This is not an argument for veganism, it’s an argument for balanced omnivorism.
In addition to Okinawa all other blue zones (Ikaria, Sardinia, Nicoya, Adventists) ate animal products and are known widely as the pinnacle of longevity based on diet and lifestyle.
Con concedes, “Sure, tons of omni’s are deficient as well [no source or reason given].”
Vegan - 52%
Vegetarian - 7%
Omnivore - 0.4% (1 man out of the 281 in the sudy)
To reiterate a “well planned vegan diet” being adequate, is a far cry from the average vegan diet being optimal.
Further the study con posted mentions the fact that vegan pregnant women should supplement with 150 mg/day of iodine, DHA, vitamin D, B12, and calcium. That is the exact opposite of your diet being “adequate” is requiring the use of supplements in addition to your diet.
And the same symptoms of adults who are deficient in those nutrients is observed in babies of vegan mothers. As one review puts it, “Vegetarian and vegan diets for children carry significant risks of nutrient deficiencies that can have dire health consequences.”
Con: “More research needs to be done on this, I don’t have much of a response to this atm.”
Veganism is associated with a higher risk of mental disorders and the 6 studies with 131,125 subjects that prove this.
Con rejects this stating, “I’m not advocating for a vegan diet that is high in processed foods.”
Vegan substitutes for animals products are highly processed and unhealthy. Regular beef burgers are healthier than vegan burgers with processed ingredients.
Veganism is a hassle, and therefore vegans opt for more processed foods that reduce shopping and cooking time
Con retorts, “Anecdotal evidence, need scientific evidence please.”
CON: Eating plant based reduces your risk of developing heart disease and some types of cancer
Con states, “My definition here is a vegan plant based diet, one not including animal products.”
CON: Adventist Study “Vegan diet seems to confer lower risk for overall”
Con doubles down, “The vegan diet I am advocating for does not include saturated fats.”
“Just because their diet included a small amount of meat does not mean that that’s what led to their optimal diet.”
Sardinia - 31% animal foods
Nicoya - 31% animal foods
Loma Linda - 31% animal foods
Okinawa - 2% animal foods
I demonstrated through a holistic approach from evolution, biology, and history that humans are omnivores. Con couldn’t find a reason why a species that evolved as an omnivore with specific adaptations to eating meat somehow should be vegan to have optimal health.
Con admits that vegans have a range of nutrient deficiencies.
Con provided no satisfactory response for why the top health authorities favor an omnivorous diet.
Con dropped 10 arguments.
However, I feel I have done an adequate job in this debate and will explain:
Plant-based diets were eaten throughout most of human evolution:
Again, to claim that we should model our diets based on close ancestors, while considering that chimpanzees diet consists of only 3% meat (this accounts for eating meat 9 times out of the year). It is absurd to claim that that 3% is accounting for the overall healthfulness of the diet. To me it would make much more logical sense to see what the species is consuming 97% of the time, and count the other 3% as noise in the data.
Appeal to history. We shouldn’t use history to determine the optimal diet. This would be similar to accepting that slavery is moral because it was once acceptable in history.
Infants and Children Suffer Impaired Development by Breastfeeding from Vegan Mothers and Eating a Vegan/Vegetarian Diet
These vegans did not design their diet well, therefore they returned to an omnivorous diet. This does not imply that a well planned vegan diet is not superior to the omni diet.
Veganism is Associated with a Higher Risk of Mental Disorders
Pro says “your personal advocation is irrelevant to the average vegan diet and we can’t change the definition most of the way through a debate.”
”Higher intake of well-done grilled or barbequed red meat and ensuing carcinogens could increase the risk of aggressive prostate cancer”
Yup, again, I don’t advocate saturated fats as part of the well-planned vegan diet, as reducing sat fat intake reduces risk of CDV. Therefore, if you parent reducing meat intake you aren’t reducing sat fat and are therefore not reducing CVD risk. Therefore, and omni diet is not optimal.
iBack to the chimpanzee argument, if Okinawans only consumed 2% or less of their calories from meat, it is absurd to claim that their advantageous health outcomes were a result of 2% of their diet. Makes much more logical sense to base their health outcomes on the majority of their diet, the 98% of which came from plants.
Pro is making too many assumptions and absurd claims that 3% or less of calories in a given diet accounts for a diets benefits while ignoring the 97% which is far more likely to be the significant factor.
Therefore, by demonstrating the various harmful aspects of consuming meat, and the various benefits of a vegan diet, it is safe to conclude that a vegan diet is the optimal diet.