Friday, December 30, 2011

Bad Reporting Alert:

This one infuriated me.

Yesterday, published an article entitled Vegans at Risk for Heart Attacks and Strokes. Alarming headline, right? The article begins:
Doctors continue to remind us of the increased cardiovascular risk factors from eating red meat and other animal based products, and suggest we eat more vegetables to maintain good health. Environmentalists inform us how large production cattle ranches wreak havoc on the quality of our air and water, and urge us to go vegetarian. Animal rights activists protest the mistreatment of animals from dairy cows to egg laying chickens, in a concerted effort to promote total veganism.
With all of this anti-meat and animal rights campaigning, one might think eating animal products was just wrong, but new research suggests people who follow a vegan diet are at risk for developing blood clots and atherosclerosis, which are two conditions that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Basically, the author is indicating that all the people saying "Give up meat!" are wrong, because vegans are at risk for heart attack and stroke. Clearly, she's indicating that it's a greater risk than carnism right? WRONG.

The abstract that the author based this on - which wasn't even linked in the article, but she later linked to in the comments section - says this:

This review summarizes the effect of a habitual vegetarian diet on clinical complications in relation to chemistry and biochemistry. Omnivores have a significantly higher cluster of cardiovascular risk factors compared with vegetarians, including increased body mass index, waist to hip ratio, blood pressure, plasma total cholesterol (TC), triacylglycerol and LDL-C levels, serum lipoprotein(a) concentration, plasma factor VII activity, ratios of TC/HDL-C, LDL-C/HDL-C and TAG/HDL-C, and serum ferritin levels. Compared with omnivores, vegetarians, especially vegans, have lower serum vitamin B12 concentration and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) levels in the tissue membrane phospholipids, which are associated with increased collagen and ADP stimulated ex vivo whole blood platelet aggregation, plasma 11-dehydrothromboxane B2, and homocysteine levels and decreased plasma HDL-C. This may be associated with an increased thrombotic and atherosclerotic risk. It is suggested that vegetarians, especially vegans, should increase their dietary n-3 PUFA and vitamin B12 intakes.
Did you notice the part where it says that omnivores have a significantly higher number of risk factors?

Basically what this abstract says is that while going vegetarian reduces your overall number of risk factors for heart attack and stroke, there are a few unique nutritional factors that vegans have to watch out for. Vegetarians and vegans need to increase their intake of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12.

But if you're vegan, odds are you already knew that.

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