Fw: [voicesforRahkim] Fw: Prejudice against vegetarian nutrition
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Subject: [voicesforRahkim] Fw: Prejudice against vegetarian nutrition
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2005 22:47:21 -0500
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Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2005 11:43 AM
Subject: Prejudice against vegetarian nutrition
Prejudice against vegetarian nutrition
- press release from the European Vegetarian Union (EVU)
24 February 2005
It is not new that attempts are being made to discredit the vegetarian
way of life. The most recent case is a particularly remarkable
combination of scientifically untenable statements, extreme living
conditions of the children under observation, and obvious financial
involvement of the meat industry.
Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science
in Washington, Prof. Lindsay Allen of the University of California made
serious accusations: "Animal source foods have some nutrients which are
not found anywhere else. If you're talking about feeding young children
and pregnant women and lactating women I would go as far as to say it is
unethical to withhold these foods during that period of life. "
Unethical? The European Vegetarian Union, an umbrella for most
European Vegetarian Organisations, wants to put the record straight:
1. Professor Allen's lecture was based on a study (1) with 544 children
in Kenya who ate a very unbalanced diet, many suffered from several
health problems, including amebiasis, a source of intestinal blood loss
which leads to a deficiency of B12 and iron. It is well known that
vitamin B12 deficiency can impair the cognitive development of children
and so it comes as no surprise that additional B12 brought about
positive health effects.
However, even though the children suffered from multiple micronutrient
deficiencies, increased plasma Vitamin B-12 proved to be the only
detectable micronutrient response to meat or milk supplementation. (2)
However, it must be stressed that of the three tests (Raven's
Progressive Matrices test, verbal meaning and arithmetic) only the first
shows a better development of the meat-group. Regarding the verbal
meaning and arithmetic tests, the nutrition supplement without any
animal products (but with vegetable oil) shows the best results. In all
three tests the milk-group had the poorest results; the Raven-test
results in that group were even worse than in the control group. If
these malnourished children had received a carefully planned vegetarian
diet, their health would have improved even more.
2. In some newspapers, reference is made to unspecified "studies
of vegetarians in both the United States and Europe/Holland" implying
that missing out on meat and dairy products could permanently damage a
a. These reports are challenged by living proof:
- Indians have been vegetarians for hundreds or even thousands of
years. There is not the slightest indication that this way of life has
"impaired" them in any way - just the opposite.
- Children in some European families are vegetarians in the fourth or
fifth generation and they are bright and healthy.
- Long term vegetarians are appalled by the statements of Prof Allen.
Sir Paul McCartney, himself father of four healthy and successful
vegetarian children, dismisses her claims as "rubbish".
b. In their position paper "Vegetarian Diets", the American
Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada (ADA), the nation's
largest organization of food and nutrition professionals with nearly
70,000 members, states that "appropriately planned vegetarian diets are
healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the
prevention and treatment of certain diseases. [.] Well-planned vegan and
other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the
life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood,
and adolescence. Vegetarian diets offer a number of nutritional
3. Even to impartial observers, the research mentioned by Professor
Allen raises some doubts as to its neutrality: it was presented at the
conference "Animal Source Foods and Nutrition in Developing Countries"
held in Washington, D.C. June 24-26, 2002 and sponsored by Global
Supplement publication was supported by Food and Agriculture
Organization, Land O'Lakes Inc., Heifer International, Pond Dynamics and
The National Cattleman's Beef Association partly supported the project.
Conclusion: The European Vegetarian Union wants to point out that
a vegetarian diet needs to be balanced, just like any other one.
However, comprehensive studies conducted over long periods and with
thousands of participants have proven again and again that the
vegetarian way of life is a very healthy one.
European Vegetarian Union (EVU)
Contact: EVU Secretariat
Phone: +32 65 362584, e-mail:
Press release online:
> (1) http://www.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/133/11/3941S
> (2) http://www.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/133/11/3972S
> (3) http://www.eatright.org/Public/NutritionInformation/92_17084.cfm
> -Vegan Society UK -
> -VegSource - http://www.vegsource.com/articles2/ncbs_vegan_study.htm
> -VVF - http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/mediareleases/050221.html