I received an approach to do a debate on animal vs plant-based diets. It wasn’t the right time for various reasons. Then I spotted in a forum, of which I’m a member, that Ivor Cummins was going to be doing it. That was a great result in my view.
The debate was due to be held on GB News, on the Bev Turner show (Monday to Thursday 10-noon). Bev introduced the debate as “This section is a two chart challenge. I’m going to get two experts and they’re going to answer the big issues from a factual point of view. The question today is ‘What diet is healthier – is it a vegetarian or a meat-based diet?’” (Ref 1).
Ivor’s opponent was Dr Michael Greger. Dr Michael Greger is a strident vegan. I’ve covered Greger’s recommended diet in this 2018 post (Ref 2). The Daily Mail ran a series of articles to promote Greger’s book. The book was called “The How Not to Die Cookbook.” The first rebuttal clearly needed to be “we’re all going to die.”
Helpfully, Greger summarised his diet as a “Daily Dozen” – the foods that we should eat every day. (Servings were approximately 60g as a general guide). The “Daily Dozen” were 3 servings of legumes, 1 serving of berries, 3 servings of other fruits, a serving of cruciferous vegetables, 2 servings of greens, 2 servings of other vegetables, 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds, a handful of nuts, 1/4 teaspoon of herbs/spices, 300g of cooked oats/rice/pasta, and 5 glasses of water/tea/coffee. That adds up to 11. The 12th item in the daily dozen was nothing to do with food. It was to do 90 minutes of moderate or 40 minutes of vigorous exercise daily, which is a very healthy thing to do.
The first article in the Mail series claimed “Yes, this really is food to help you LIVE LONGER!” The article questioned: “What if you ate a diet composed solely of plant foods and avoided processed and animal foods?” I analysed the diet to answer that question and found that consumers would be deficient in B12, retinol, D3, heme iron, and omega-3 in the right form (DHA and EPA), just for starters (likely calcium, zinc and more too).