Does Eating Meat Cause High Blood Pressure?

In yet another installment of my series examining the supposed health detriments of eating meat we move to the topic of high blood pressure. I’ve heard people claim that meat gives you high blood pressure (usually citing some epidemiological studies on vegetarians with low blood pressure to support it). Since high blood pressure is associated with and appears to play a role in cardiovascular disease, including stroke (1) this would be bad for the meat eaters. Well, let’s give a quick run through of some controlled trials to see how true this theory is. Continue reading

Does Meat Cause Diabetes?

Continuing my series in which I evaluate the validity of various anti-meat arguments, we look next to diabetes. It has been suggested that meat, especially red meat, might contribute to diabetes by worsening insulin resistance, which prevents the body from clearing glucose from the blood stream. Since there isn’t a widely agreed upon mechanism for how meat might do this, let’s look at it from different possible angles. Continue reading

Does Meat Increase Homocysteine?

Meat, especially red meat, is often the target of criticism in some nutrition circles. Not always for the same reasons–most seem to appreciate its protein but lambast its fat as “artery clogging”. However, there also exists a number of noted nutritionists, particularly those recommending a “plant based diet”, who claim meat protein itself is unhealthy for a various reasons. One of their claims is that animal protein is acidic and causes bone loss as a result. I already this claim in a previous posts, concluding that it was completely untrue. But what about some of the other claims leveed against meat protein, do they have merit?

One claim I sometimes hear relates to homocysteine. Homocysteine is a compound found in the blood that appears to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (1,2). Homocysteine is derived primarily from the amino acid methionine, which meat protein is particularly rich in. This generally serves as the bases for the argument that meat should increase homocysteine levels. This makes some sense in theory, but do studies actually support it? Let’s find out. Continue reading

Saturated Fats and Omega-6 Rich Vegetable Oils on Risk of Death

I care about my health. And one important consideration when discussing health is death; dying really puts a damper on good health. So when I go to the grocery store and see a bottle of vegetable oil proudly stamped with a sticker about how healthy it is I wonder “Is that true?”. And when I read in a magazine about evil saturated fats I sometimes ask myself “Would replacing my butter and beef fat with corn and soybean oil reduce my chances of dying?”

Of course, extensive personal experience tells me that I would feel much crappier consuming the vegetable oils, but hey, maybe I would live longer?

I decided to examine long term controlled trials who’s only variable was pitting saturated fat against polyunsaturated fat (primarily the omega-6 variety found in vegetable oils). Let’s see what happened to mortality rates, shall we? Continue reading

The Alkaline Diet: A Review

In comparison to the other sciences, it’s only relatively recently that nutrition has gained some of the prominence it holds today. It’s a field of study that finds itself maturing and I believe the future will see many more people recognizing just how important a healthy diet is. We are, however, far from having one consensus on what exactly constitutes a “healthy diet”. Things can seem divisive among people to say the least, with plenty of disagreement, misinformation, and the occasional ridiculous bullshit being spewed onto anyone who’ll believe it. Because of this it can be hard to differentiate a scientifically sound argument from a fallacious concept. There are numerous theories on nutrition out there and it can be tough figuring out which ones are accurate.

One theory that has been around for awhile is the basis for an eating plan known as the alkaline diet. Continue reading