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Thread: Being plant-based and social gatherings

  1. #31
    Plant-Based Person Lentil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rami View Post
    Just today I read on his blog that he has reviewed thousands of scientific studies, and his ideas are derived from them. From my experience with him, when he is uncertain about something, he'll say so, when he's wrong about something, he'll confess it. He says that he has treated 10,000 patients over the years and he has seen the results of his Eat-to-Live nutritional philosophy. I'm curious, What specific claims do you take issue with?

    Thanks for responding.
    Sorry, I don't really have time right now to look up the specifics -- but one thing I do remember was an article/newsletter of his on ulcerative colitis. He claimed that it could be managed with diet, particularly with things like green smoothies. While there are some small studies looking at things like wheatgrass in UC, there is definitely not a preponderance of evidence. Particularly what I'm looking for is large scale, multi-center clinical trials, but even a variety of small studies would lend strength to the argument -- alas, there are only 1 or 2 on any particular food. He may be very sure this will work, but the evidence just isn't there. There were other claims I took issue with, but the UC stuff hit close to home as I have a family member with UC and have done some significant reading on the topic. I know how desperately sick people search for anything that will provide relief, and I do think to some extent Dr. Fuhrman is taking advantage of this to promote himself, although he may have the best of intentions.

    I don't doubt that he mentions there is uncertainty in some of his claims, I just don't think his level of uncertainty is appropriate compared with the level of evidence that is available. Just about every single claim about diet curing disease is completely unproven, and he certainly doesn't put a disclaimer after every line. When only 1 or 2 small studies show a result, the appropriate thing to say would be, "A small study has shown that food X improves symptoms in people with disease Y, but further work needs to be done to confirm this result." Even that is sketchy given that most lay people would just read right past the uncertainty in the statement -- the better thing to do would be to wait until there is more evidence before attempting to convey it to laypeople.

  2. #32
    Im not demonizing MDs. I just think they ought to know much more about nutrition than I do. Joel Fuhrman is a specialist in nutrition. He has reviewed thousands of scientific studies. So has Dr Greger. And the two of them agree 99% of the time. As much as I love Dr Greger, he, like me, is a vegan and pro-animal rights, so I recognize that we have a common bias. This is why I tend to trust Dr Fuhrman more. Still, there IS a preponderance of evidence that a balanced whole-food plant-based diet can reduce one's risk of developing heart disease, cancer, etc. But I do understand your frustration with doctors who make grand claims and lead people to believe that they own the miracle solution. And you are right, one should be skeptical of people who are selling their own brands.

    In his latest book, "Super Immunity", he explains in detail how it is that greens, berries, mushrooms and onions protect us from developing cancer, for example. Dr Greger's videos point to the same conclusions as well. Of course, much more research needs to be done; this is all very new and recent information for all of us. Still, these ideas do not proceed out of thin air. There is research and evidence behind them.

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Lentil View Post
    Just about every single claim about diet curing disease is completely unproven, and he certainly doesn't put a disclaimer after every line. When only 1 or 2 small studies show a result, the appropriate thing to say would be, "A small study has shown that food X improves symptoms in people with disease Y, but further work needs to be done to confirm this result." Even that is sketchy given that most lay people would just read right past the uncertainty in the statement -- the better thing to do would be to wait until there is more evidence before attempting to convey it to laypeople.
    I have no idea what ulcerative colitis is and I am not familiar with Dr Fuhrman's claims on how it can be cured... Sorry... But it seems to me that there IS evidence that diet can arrest and even reverse heart disease. Colin Campbell, The Esselstyns, Dr Greger, even Sanjay Gupta are now convinced of it. Forks over Knives explains how the damage can be repaired.

    I'll concede one thing. I do think that eating well is a good strategy for preventing chronic disease and less effective in the treatment of disease. Two friends of mine are dealing with cancer right now. I have been doing a lot of research and I must say, while there does seem that we can do much throughout our lives to prevent cancer, there is little diet can do to cure it once cancer has gotten going.

  4. #34
    Plant-Based Person Lentil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rami View Post
    Colin Campbell, The Esselstyns, Dr Greger, even Sanjay Gupta are now convinced of it.
    Sorry, each of these medical/nutrition "celebrities" has their own significant biases and I wouldn't consider any of them to be particularly reputable. I would not take their opinions to be representative of the state of nutrition science.

    You can read about ulcerative colitis here. It is a particularly cruel disease in that it very often affects young people in their 20s and 30s (even children and teenagers), and while some people go into remission, if you have persistent symptoms with medical management, the only "cure" is removal of the colon. The cause is unknown but it is thought to be autoimmune.

    I don't doubt that there are things we can eat and do in our early lives that increase or decrease our risk of cancer and chronic diseases. However, the idea that we know what those things are to any great extent is just not true in 2012. Don't forget the role of genetics -- one of the major risk factors for many cancers and other diseases is family history. Current research has only begun to scratch the surface on many of these very complex issues.

  5. #35
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    Food and diet isn't, in a sense at least, preventative medicine?

    "Actual causes of death.

    Results: The leading causes of death in 2000 were tobacco (435 000 deaths; 18.1% of total US deaths), poor diet and physical inactivity (400 000 deaths; 16.6%), and alcohol consumption (85 000 deaths; 3.5%). Other actual causes of death were microbial agents (75 000), toxic agents (55 000), motor vehicle crashes (43 000), incidents involving firearms (29 000), sexual behaviors (20 000), and illicit use of drugs (17 000).

    Conclusions: These analyses show that smoking remains the leading cause of mortality. However, poor diet and physical inactivity may soon overtake tobacco as the leading cause of death. These findings, along with escalating health care costs and aging population, argue persuasively that the need to establish a more preventive orientation in the US health care and public health systems has become more urgent." [emphasis mine]

    JAMA

    "Americans should eat more vegetables and reduce (or if they felt they actually could, even eliminate) animal fats", has been pretty much the mainstream medical mantra for several decades, if you ask me. Nothing "So called Alternative Medicine" [ScAM] about it.

    [This post addresses the thread in general. Not specifically the post above it.]
    Last edited by Mahk; 01-02-2012 at 01:11 PM.

  6. #36
    Anti-anti-vacccine Dandelion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rami View Post
    Im not demonizing MDs. I just think they ought to know much more about nutrition than I do. Joel Fuhrman is a specialist in nutrition. He has reviewed thousands of scientific studies. So has Dr Greger. And the two of them agree 99% of the time. As much as I love Dr Greger, he, like me, is a vegan and pro-animal rights, so I recognize that we have a common bias. This is why I tend to trust Dr Fuhrman more. Still, there IS a preponderance of evidence that a balanced whole-food plant-based diet can reduce one's risk of developing heart disease, cancer, etc. But I do understand your frustration with doctors who make grand claims and lead people to believe that they own the miracle solution. And you are right, one should be skeptical of people who are selling their own brands.
    Just because you are less biased for Fuhrman doesn't mean he's any more right. You are simply shifting one form of bias to another. Science is a methodology that requires evidence, lots of it. Regardless of a single good study, it's just a single study and plenty could go wrong about it. It is not ready for primetime and people who do that to game the system are cranks. Read the Greger thread about this. A balanced whole-food plant-based diet is something every doctor will likely agree to. Eating too much of anything can cause ill health. Too much animal products has been correlated to disease yes but the dose makes the poison.

    THIS:
    Quote Originally Posted by Lentil View Post
    When only 1 or 2 small studies show a result, the appropriate thing to say would be, "A small study has shown that food X improves symptoms in people with disease Y, but further work needs to be done to confirm this result." Even that is sketchy given that most lay people would just read right past the uncertainty in the statement -- the better thing to do would be to wait until there is more evidence before attempting to convey it to laypeople.
    They could be right on a number of claims, and maybe they will prove to be right. But if that is so it's only because they lucked out on bets hedged by wagering against the public's best interest and filling their own pockets.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rami View Post
    In his latest book, "Super Immunity", he explains in detail how it is that greens, berries, mushrooms and onions protect us from developing cancer, for example. Dr Greger's videos point to the same conclusions as well. Of course, much more research needs to be done; this is all very new and recent information for all of us. Still, these ideas do not proceed out of thin air. There is research and evidence behind them.
    If this is true then what kind of a sick bastard makes money off of this claim by writing a book about it instead of publish papers for peer review and furthering the science?! Is cancer even an immunity issue? Will having strong immunity keep you from getting sick? Is he an oncologist himself?
    It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

  7. #37
    Anti-anti-vacccine Dandelion's Avatar
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    This video is a great example of how a whole panel of "plant-based diet" cranks treat science like a sideshow leaving the audience to fend for themselves unarmed. How is any layperson able to make any sense of this? It encourages this form of pseudoscientific thinking where truths are subjective.
    It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

  8. #38
    No. I'm not "less biased" for Fuhrman. I simply trust him more because I realize that he is not pushing an animal-rights agenda. To me that says that he is less likely to be biased by a vegan philosophy. Furthermore, he is emphatic about the point that eating a small amount of animal products (probably less than 10% of calories) is not worse than eating no animal products. Dr Greger would probaly never say this. This is why I trust Fuhrman more.

    Where did you get the idea that Fuhrman and Greger base their claims on a single study? They have both reviewed thousands of studies. Of course, they then interpret the results and their interpretations may differ. So?

    One would thing that most doctors would agree that a balanced whole-food plant-based diet is a good thing. Perhaps you are right, but lately I have heard that some doctors advise their patients not to be vegan. The most striking recent example in my memory is Dr Romeo Mariano, who advised a vegetarian acquaintance of mine to "stop that". He told him animal saturated fats were good and plant fats were bad. He told him that we cannot absorb much from plants and this is why he was deficient in vitamin D, B12, iron, vitamin A and a few others. I don't know... I sense that there is an anti-vegetarian backlash happening these days, what with the whole Vegetarian Myth crowd, the Paleo folks, the Atkins people...

    I don't know what all of this name-calling is about, but if you are really interested, read Fuhrman's book and then we can talk about it. The man wrote an informative book about the latest scientific findings. I don't see what the problem is. Are you arguing that books such as his, that report the latest scientific findings and inform the public of them, should not be written? Why?

  9. #39
    I've seen the video. Again, I don't understand what the problem is. There is no Nutritional Truth that has descended to us from on high. All we have is scientific information and specialists who interpret scientific findings for us. And often times they disagree. I understand your frustration : I wish there WERE a kind of Nutrition Bible containing all Nutritional Truths, handed down to us from the gods themselves. But there isn't. So we have to educate ourselves, and make informed choices about which interpretations seem most reasonable. I confess, I feel unsettled when the anti-vegan crusaders like Mercola and Taubes make grand pronouncements about the dangers of vegetarianism. So, I get it: what is the average Joe supposed to think when doctors make totally contradictory claims? Well, the first thing is to understand that we do not have access to any Truths. All we have is the evidence that's available and the conclusions that we are able to draw from it. I am sure Taubes, Atkins, Mercola, McDougall and Fuhrman are all sincere about the claims they make. Do they make money by pushing their claims? Sure they do. But that doesn't necessarily make them quacks.

    You say "it encourages pseudoscientific thinking where truths are subjective". If there are truths about nutrition, we do not have direct access to those tablets. All we have is evidence. Sure, the evidence can be examined objectively, but by human beings, who all carry their own perspective, limited knowledge and biases. It is to be expected that there would be difference of opinion on what the evidence means. It is up to the individual to decide for him/herself which argument sounds most reasonable. And THAT's often the hardest part - overcoming one's own bias.

  10. #40
    Anti-anti-vacccine Dandelion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rami View Post
    Where did you get the idea that Fuhrman and Greger base their claims on a single study? They have both reviewed thousands of studies. Of course, they then interpret the results and their interpretations may differ. So?
    Did you read the Dr. Greger thread? His whole site is about trumping up the latest (often single) studies. In fact the front page brags about it with: "latest in nutrition research" and it's geared toward the layperson. We don't have the tools or context to evaluate theses studies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rami View Post
    One would thing that most doctors would agree that a balanced whole-food plant-based diet is a good thing. Perhaps you are right, but lately I have heard that some doctors advise their patients not to be vegan. The most striking recent example in my memory is Dr Romeo Mariano, who advised a vegetarian acquaintance of mine to "stop that". He told him animal saturated fats were good and plant fats were bad. He told him that we cannot absorb much from plants and this is why he was deficient in vitamin D, B12, iron, vitamin A and a few others. I don't know... I sense that there is an anti-vegetarian backlash happening these days, what with the whole Vegetarian Myth crowd, the Paleo folks, the Atkins people...
    So what. It's not their job to advice us on diet. The anti-vegetarian backlash is just as pseudoscientific as the pro-vegetarian crowd.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rami View Post
    I don't know what all of this name-calling is about, but if you are really interested, read Fuhrman's book and then we can talk about it. The man wrote an informative book about the latest scientific findings. I don't see what the problem is. Are you arguing that books such as his, that report the latest scientific findings and inform the public of them, should not be written? Why?
    I'll trust the consensus of experts as interpreted by an expert in that field and not a single family physician who has his own line of supplements.. Conflict of interest much? Scientists don't make their case to the public, how can we ever decide if they're right or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rami View Post
    You say "it encourages pseudoscientific thinking where truths are subjective". If there are truths about nutrition, we do not have direct access to those tablets. All we have is evidence. Sure, the evidence can be examined objectively, but by human beings, who all carry their own perspective, limited knowledge and biases.
    Which is why a consensus of peer review is important and guru MDs with websites selling their diets are not doing science. That is done in the journals where their peers can review them.
    It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

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