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Thread: Youtube: Vegetarians and Heart Disease

  1. #1
    Anti-anti-vacccine Dandelion's Avatar
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    Jan 2003
    Chicago, Illinois, United States

    Youtube: Vegetarians and Heart Disease

    C0nc0rdance>>Journal Club: Vegetarians and Heart Disease

    Vegans fared worse with ischemic heart disease than vegetarians but better than meat eaters.
    It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

  2. #2
    Plant-Based Person
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    Oct 2007
    "The number of vegans was small (n = 753 subjects, 68 deaths), so the analyses in Table 7 were repeated with the inclusion of data from the Health Food Shoppers Study, making the assumptions that all nonvegetarians were regular meat eaters and that vegetarians who reported that they did not consume dairy products were vegans. "[emphasis mine]

    Umm...they seem to be forgetting the "lactose intolerants" who would report "no dairy" and the food category they eat called "eggs", making them not vegan . They outnumber the vegan population by far, even in "Americans"* which have one of the lowest incidences of lactose intolerance worldwide.

    "Mortality from ischemic heart disease among the vegans was slightly higher than among the fish eaters and the vegetarians, but the number of vegans was small. "

    I've often said I assume my health would be better by eating small amounts of certain fish, but of course that has zip to do with why I'm a vegan.

    * not to be confused with Native Americans, who are 80- 100% lactose intolerant.
    Last edited by Mahk; 08-20-2011 at 01:51 AM.

  3. #3
    Plant-Based Person Lentil's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Midwest, US
    Quote Originally Posted by Mahk View Post
    I've often said I assume my health would be better by eating small amounts of certain fish, but of course that has zip to do with why I'm a vegan.
    What I don't understand about this is why pescatarians and lacto-ovo vegetarians would have similar mortality from ischemic heart disease. Is eating eggs or dairy really protective, with all that saturated fat and cholesterol? Or is it as C0nc0rdance says, that most vegans have B12 deficiency that affects the heart? It's a scary thought, but it makes me glad that I pay attention to B12 and recently started a DHA supplement.

    I wasn't able to determine if the authors did any correction for multiple comparisons -- basically, they would need to adjust their threshold for what is deemed a statistically significant result if they want to compare multiple things from the same data set in order to avoid having a lot of false conclusions. For example, if you do 1000 comparisons with a significance level (p-value) of 0.05, you would expect 50 (or 1 in 20) of those comparisons to achieve statistical significance (p-value < 0.05) when the difference is really just due to chance, not due to a real difference between the two populations.

    So, it's possible this study doesn't really have the statistical power to be making so many subgroup comparisons, and this supposed difference may not be "real."

  4. #4
    The pescatrians probably benefited from the DHA. Without a DHA supplement most vegans, especially men, would not be able to convert DHA from ALA in optimum quantities. My daily ALA intake is about 4.5 g. If 1% of that ends up converting to DHA (a reasonable suggestion, I think), I'd get only 45 mg of DHA. I think Dr Oz recommended 900 mg. I take a DHA supplement that adds 130 mg or so...

    Also, if the vegans in the study weren't taking a B12 supplement, that would contribute to the explanation. Isn't B12, along with B6, and one other nutrient (folate?) involved in getting rid of homocysteine?

    The guy in the video mentions that vegans often have deficiencies of B vitamins. Judging from my own experience with tracking my nutritional intake, I don't know what he is talking about. Obviously, B12 is an issue, since we get pretty much none of it from food without fortification. But the other ones are not a problem. One possible exception in my experience has been niacin. Of all the B vitamins it's levels are the lowest. I do make an effort to eat at least one serving of mushrooms a day - they are an excellent source of B vitamins, as is tomato paste.

    And one more thing. I'm beginning to discover that there is a huge range of vegan diets. It's kind of difficult to generalize about "the" vegan diet. There is so much more to nutrition and health than what one is NOT eating.

    When I first decided to go vegan, for ethical reasons, in 2006, I was just kind of stumbling in the dark. I had no idea what to eat. And so I was quite sickly for about a year and a half. I'm certain that my diet was deficient in all kinds of nutrients, but hey, I was on "a vegan diet," right? What one IS eating is just as important as what one is NOT eating. I'd love to see a study comparing vegans who eat processed foods and vegans who are nutritarians, whose diets consist predominantly of whole foods.

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