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Talk:Forks Over Knives

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Additions[edit]

A BoN made a lot of new, well-written, and (at first glance) solid additions that defend the China Study, in particular. It also makes some large claims, though, such as asserting that there are no contradictory studies. I think this needs research or - ideally - an educated eye. Anyone to help?--ADtalkModerator 13:46, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

I'm fairly sure that edit was from a China Study supporter looking to slander Denise Minger. It's quite obviously an attempt to whitewash the article. Since no source was provided and the content was quite questionable (not to mention the ad hominem attacks against Denise), I reverted the edit. Firemylasers (talk) 14:47, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Further investigation has revealed that this IP has been blocked from wikipedia for vandalism. Six blocks so far — that's quite impressive. This person's previous wikipedia user page (it got wiped recently) is also quite impressive. Considering this information, I think reverting 24.199.60.210's edit to this article is fully justified. Firemylasers (talk) 14:57, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Hm. Well, your actions make sense. I wish this person would come back with some solid references, though, because some well-reasoned push-back on our current perspective could improve the article.--ADtalkModerator 16:45, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
I think your doubts about the quality of argumentation in the current article are well founded. For how much snark there is, there's relatively little in the way of actually repudiating the documentary's claims, or dismissing the evidence that it brings as support for its argument. And while some of the critiques of 'reasoning' reflect caveats that any rational viewer of the documentary should have, there is a pretty heavy spin that tends toward vilification of the rhetor, and this in turn can tend toward an ad hominem attack that is not particularly well-founded in objective facts anyway. I'm not sure that it is a substantive critique to point out that the video talked about animal products as a group as being sufficiently different in general from plant products. Most animal products have many features in common that plant products don't have. All meat lacks fiber, phytonutrients, and certain vitamins, and is generally rich in either protein or fat but not carbohydrate, and contains cholesterol, for example, and while there are border cases in the animal product category that are low in the things that the plant-based people would call problematic, the outliers are relatively rare and a relatively tiny component of the diet. Egg-whites are still primarily a source of protein and are deficient in all except a few micronutrients, so even if they are low in saturated fat and cholesterol many of the doctors in the movement may still be inclined to 'sloppily' treat them as part of the animal-products category that they advise patients to avoid. Part of the idea of guidelines is that they should be relatively easy to follow, so to some degree they may not articulate all the details completely and fully optimize the strategy for achieving an excellent contribution to health from diet. Also, for what it's worth, there is some difference of opinion among the plant-based authorities on these border cases. Ornish allows up to three servings of animal products in his current 'best' dietary recommendations for the Spectrum program, but restricts these foods to a very specific type: either egg whites or low-fat dairy. Esselstyn encouraged low-fat dairy as part of his initial consultations with cardiac patients, but later changed his mind and decided to recommend against consuming them.
Still, the general feature of these diets is that they strongly emphasize the importance of keeping unrefined plant foods as the bulk of the diet. This is why the apparent criticism that 'whole-food plant-based' is weasely language falls flat for me. The commentary implies that they are secretly hiding an endorsement of veganism, but maybe they are simply using the term because it is a much better description of their dietary advice. No evidence-based statement could distinguish between a diet excluding X and a diet containing X at extremely low concentrations, so the 'vegan' term is not the best choice when you want to be rigorous and clear about the evidence. Vegan diets still pass the test of being extremely plant based, but it would be fallacious to say that only vegan diets are plant-based if 'plant-based' is to help us to make practical judgements about what sorts of eating patterns would be healthy. Similarly, 'vegan' describes what the diet excludes, but could still allow for very unhealthy diets: stipulating that the plant-based foods should be unrefined clears up a lot of that confusion and forbids a large collection of foods that are vegan, but widely recognized as unhealthy if they provide the bulk of calorie intake. And still there are criticisms in the article like the sarcastic "All our problems can be resolved by becoming vegans!" which presumes that the concept of the recommended diet in question is a merely vegan concept, And there's the criticism that they are not being clear that the sort of diet that they are praising is one which excludes vegetable oil, which is a refined plant food. The term "whole-food, plant-based" helps to create clarity about what the documentary is arguing toward, rather than confusion.
And as for that oil comment, I'm not even sure that the critic who wrote that watched the film. If memory serves me there was a very distinct point when they sketched a dietary specification that avoided all animal products, added sugars and added fats, including oils. I'd have to rewatch the documentary closely in order to really be sure that my countercritism is well-founded, of course, but am not particularly inclined to do so because I don't think that a critique of the documentary that follows the film's details closely is really worth anyone's time. I do think that the argumentative style is much better than "Super Size Me" for the purpose of being rigorous about allowing the viewer to think logically about the facts presented. The sort of theatricality that characterized Spurlock's film would make it much harder for many people to realize that the individual cases in the film (like the diabetic man who got considerably better) are not the sort of strong quantitative evidence that could really show that the diet works in general for these types of ailments. Ultimately I'm inclined to dismiss it as a serious source of facts because the factual component of the argument is relatively weak, diffuse and incomplete. But I excuse it for this incompleteness, at least in part, because no rational audience will necessarily expect that a relatively short video can articulate the relevant science on the topic and make its arguments scientifically rigorous. I join the important conclusive remark in the article on "Super Size Me," and apply it in the case of this film; at the end of the day we need to recognize that part of what we expect from these types of documentaries is not facts per se, but consciousness-raising in the community. If the film produces insufficient evidence to really validate its implied thesis, that may be reasonably okay, so long as it helps sponsor the type of discussion in the population that actually does lead to a recognizably objective conclusion. This is why I think it's good that the documentary website links to a variety of other sources. Whatever you think of their financial motives, this does at least help you to recognize the sources that the filmmakers take to provide a better and more complete base of evidence for their position.
Not that I give a complete pass to the movie. I don't regard it as a very legitimate authority on matters of fact about the possible benefits of a whole-food plant-based diet, and am dismayed to see some vegans representing it as if it were something close to bulletproof evidence that their diet is the best or that meat intake is the sole dietary cause of chronic disease in general. While part of that abuse is due to the character of the vegans in question as poor critical thinkers, there is some component of the film which tries to create optimism about the diet and that helps to feed those who rely on emotions rather than reason to make their decisions (but consider that some reviewers described the documentary's emotional timbre as a veritable cure for insomnia). At the end of the day, though, I don't really see too much point in an extensive discussion of this documentary, even if the ultimate purpose is to dismiss the whole-food plant-based movement as woo or as something that is otherwise poorly evidenced. There are better ways to spend your time if you want to evaluate these claims. For starters, you might start with less popular sources that aren't strongly aimed at getting popular acclaim from an audience that happens to be largely ignorant of the relevant science.
For example, McDougall's lecture at the American College of Lifestyle Medicine may be an appropriate target. The video is not that much longer than Forks over Knives, and the audience is probably sympathetic to his views, but the primary audience is composed of doctors. Under these conditions, McDougall is clearly expected to support his claims with evidence -- which he does, in no small part through reference to the scientific literature. If he grossly manipulates or misinterprets his choice of references, then we can clearly call him out as not providing the facts when they are really required, and his argument is amply refuted, and he loses credibility. Since the movement's credibility rests not only on the idea that key inferences are widely shared in the movement, but that the reasons for holding them are widely shared as well, and others in the movement have explicitly stated that they accept McDougall as a reasonably responsible authority in advocating for plant-based diets, discrediting this type of video would do a much better job of calling the whole movement into question and justifying a label of 'woo.' Even if the video were not woo, exposing it to skeptical fact-checking would be a service to the public good at least insofar as it invests in following the citations closely and more completely than the average person would achieve on their own after watching the video. Shirtsleeves (talk) 00:57, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
It's a long response, and it's been at least one month now, but I'll try to address your response. Let me know (politely) if I'm missing anything out.
I think the main problem this documentary has is that it does lump animal products into a homogenous group. There are some nutrients that plants have that most "animal products" don't, but it's unfair to classify all animal products as heart-wrecking, cardiac vessel congesting nightmares, as this documentary seems to imply. The argument I had that the movie continuously fails to address is, What about fish like salmon, sardines, tuna...? Those can be an amazing source of omega-3s, and they're essentially pure protein, if things like liberal amounts of mayo or soy sauce leave them alone. Speaking of soy sauce, Japan has hardly agrarian lands to sustain a plant-based diet, so what do they do? They fish. And Japan happens to have the longest lifespan in this planet. Now, there are probably much more variables that factor Japan's longevity, but since "good diet" can contribute to long lives, I suspect that fish, bar mercury, added mayos, fried bread crumbs, and the like, is healthy, and it's not fair to group it with U.S.A. staples like steak and pork.
Likewise, there are good and bad plants. High-fructose corn syrup, although refined, is completely "plant-based". So is Coca-cola. And French Fries. White rice and bread gives consumers mostly nothing other than carbohydrates, making them nutritionally empty. You can eat these "junk food" and still have a plant-based diet. So, I think that's why the documentary is going for "whole, plant-based diet," because all those examples I listed are refined, but it depends on how they're defining "whole". So, to an extent, I agree with you. "Whole" sounds a bit too loaded for me, though. Plants are not 100% advantageous over meat/dairy/eggs either. Proteins in plants are handled a bit differently than the proteins in meats, I think, so our biology encourages us to eat meat. But not too much.
Another problem with this documentary is that it leaves out other factors of obesity and its associated diseases: primarily, portion size. Mama mia, that's a biggie (no pun intended). Not only U.S.A.nians are eating less fruits and vegetables, the crap sit-down and fast food restaurants serve is inflated. Steak serving size is supposed to be, like a deck of cards (last time I checked), but you're given one the size and weight of, like, two bricks. The drinks are no better, with the "small" portion being enough to drown a raccoon. The salad option does not fare any better, since its mostly contaminated with liberal amounts of fattening dressing, croutons, and many other non-leafy stuff, while the (wilted) plants themselves are just token greenery among the slop. Honestly, you're better off with a burger (if it isn't Ruby Tuesday burgers).
Now, I do agree with the premise that most U.S.A.nians do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. This documentary can make them concerned about how little plant matter they're eating. And since you're arguing that these documentaries serve such purpose, I agree as well.
P.S. Egg whites, bar protein, are nutritionally empty and taste like nothing without the yolk, so yeah, if you want the most out of your egg, eat the yolk. LEFTYGREENMARIO 16:45, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
I think your main claim that the film is out to vilify animal products as a single lump comes a bit from the sour-grapes perspective of one who sees the change to the advertised diet as personally costly or unattainable. The spin that the film puts on diets themselves errs more on the side of hopeful thinking, I think, although Essylstein does like to make the point that a scenario in which heart surgery is necessary is something to be feared and is not something that we should imagine to be a simple fix that effectively manages the risks associated with the disease. With that in mind, consider that the positive part of the argument is the most important. If you are sure that an (almost) entirely Blue diet can prevent the progression of heart disease and can mitigate the risk of some cancers, then that's great news, even if you don't know that all Green foods are extremely bad to the same degree, or that there is some other dietary pattern that is marginally better but not yet well-evidenced. Part of the rationale for eliminating animal foods is what they aren't. Sure, fish has long-chain omega-3's but is also a bioaccumulator of mercury and other oceanic toxins, and the dietary histamine involved is another example something that seems to me to be of questionable indication for health. When you are couching the benefits in terms of one or two closely related nutrients as in this case then you may be better off just supplementing with krill oil. The empirical results on DHA and EPA are not so great for mitigating heart disease last I checked, and when you consider the mechanism by which they are supposed to help there wouldn't be much benefit for heart disease if you didn't accumulate the plaque to begin with, if you didn't expose the endothelium to inflammation.
This is part of the point. A lot of the science on nutrition these days uses as a baseline people who are unhealthy in the sense that they are exposed to the risk of the chronic diseases that we see today in industrialized countries. When talking about what's ideal you have to consider your sources and make your extrapolations carefully. The process of inferring low-risk diets is aided by cross-cultural comparisons with poor people. A major reason why I see it as valuable to restrict meat, eggs, dairy, and fish is that there is pretty broad evidence that large and diverse populations without an abundance of these things in the diet lack a large fraction of our age-adjusted disease burden in things like type II diabetes, ischemic disease at various sites, and some cancers, such as the reproductive cancers of the prostate/breast, and colon cancer. I see comparatively few risks in making these restrictions. Some Asian cultures have risks for gastric or pancreatic cancer, for example, but from what I've seen so far, these are linked with dietary practices that I won't be replicating.
Your point about portion size is relevant, but I mostly read it as an additional benefit to this restrictive attitude toward diet, rather than a focused reason why I'm not likely to get strong benefits from my dietary habits; basically, I'm a conscientious objector to this type of restaurant eating, and you can bet that if I find myself in a situation where I'm obliged to eat out routinely, I will plan my other meals so as to not be very hungry and will scrutinize the menu for something minimally offensive. Meanwhile, the benefit of foods with fiber, water, and lower caloric density from lower fat content is relevant in this arena. Portion sizes tend to be larger at the same caloric level and this tends to invoke mechanisms which make the meal more satiating. Also, just as there are apparently people who are habituated to slathering mayonnaise over everything and thus unconsciously overeat things that they find to be minimally tasty (which most of us would find disgusting) I would say that my taste patterns have adjusted somewhat so that the standard restaurant fare comes off as a bit disgusting and over-rich. That was my experience with relatives this winter, at least.
Broadly, it's about strong attitudes (not inflexible beliefs, I hope) and about making sensible substitutions wherever possible. The whole-food-plant-based mantra seems to me to be a pretty good rule of thumb. You are right that the egg white is almost a non-presence in terms of taste, and has not much in the way of nutrients apart from protein (which is a bit overrated, as far as I can tell). To get a significant array of tastes and micronutrients from the egg you'd want to eat the egg with the yolk, but then you are carrying risks with it such as the dietary cholesterol (which matters more for people who are using diet to keep blood cholesterol in a range that is lower than the currently recommended acceptable levels, which still allow populations to succumb to cardiovascular disease), and I don't yet see compelling reason to try to focus on some particular nutrient that is particularly rich in eggs but not in a lower-risk, higher-benefit substitute like some combination of grains, greens, and legumes, or in a vitamin b supplement.
As I've said before, I can agree that the film is a bit heavy on pathos and only sets the stage for a careful consideration of available evidence, if it is even successful at that. What I don't want to see is people rushing to whitewash an unpopular viewpoint by exaggerating the film's weaknesses and being overzealous in dismissing its main claims on flimsy scientific grounds, just because it's somewhat normative on the site to suppose that you are assassinating crackpottery, and that a unilateral argument is perfectly adequate because the matter is already decided in our self-affirming hearts. When I see people rushing to a secondary source like Minger's blog but not considering the secondary-source criticism of her views (e.g. http://www.plantpositive.com/blog/2012/3/27/response-to-denise-minger-4-china-revisited.html) that is just a stone's throw away in the browser, I get a little concerned about unilateral bias and superficiality in arguing what is ultimately a matter for careful science. Shirtsleeves (talk) 04:21, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
Surgery itself, especially on internal organs, is already scary enough; I've been through wisdom teeth surgery; I can't rely on my own personal experience to generalize, but heart-surgery should be a last-ditch thing, not something you can just shrug off. Just like any other meat, you have to choose the right fish for optimal omega-3 and mercury levels. Wild-caught Alaskan salmon, for instance, has amazing amounts of omega-3 and other healthy fats. Fish is also essentially pure protein. Also, you can't disregard fish just because it can have mercury or other ocean toxins. It would be similar to dissing plants because they have filthy bacteria and nasty pesticides. You just have to be careful when choosing your products; there are some fish, like shark and swordfish, that are not worth eating usually due to their high costs and high mercury levels. The documentary makes absolutely no mention of fish, however, which raises my suspicion that they're on to something. Also, considering other animal products, we have crabs, lobsters, and shrimp, which, dodging the tartar and butter, are essentially pure protein. Again, they are not the same as steak, pork, or poultry, so again, it's unfair to consider them body-destroyers as the other meats.
You are drawing a correlation between lack of animal products in the diet and lack of a prevalence of diseases in countries. I, honestly, don't see the link, especially in the context of what's going on today. Sure, more cheese and milk have been consumed lately, but so are nearly everything else except fruits and vegetables, thanks to portion sizes. The fruits and vegetables themselves are tainted with sugar, partially hydrogenated oils, and other crap. I find the rise of food additives, sedentary work conditions, and increase in portion sizes to be more convincing than consumption of animal products. Animal product consumption seems to be just a result of the "portion distortion" picture. I find standard restaurant fare to be disgusting, elephantine, and a burden to my 100lb frame (I'm 5'1''). They really overdo their food with salt, cream, syrup, and otherwise ruin the simplicity of the food. But, to have this documentary completely dodge the rise portion sizes, it makes me feel they're omitting something they know.
As for eggs, better news for the yolk: the cholesterol in the yolk will not harm you. Back then, cholesterol was a scary thing, and people limited their consumption of eggs. Nope, the cholesterol is just fine, even if you're watching your cholesterol. Just have at max 3 eggs in one day and you'll reap the benefits without costing the strength of your ticker. You can substitute your eggs (and meat) for vegetables, but keep in mind that we haven't evaluated every single nutrient in food (there are probably nutrients waiting to be discovered), nor have we completely understood the differences in metabolism for vegetables and meats. I'm not saying that any food is 100% superior, or supplements are worthless, but vegetables and supplements, although solid, will probably not be the perfect substitute for meats.
I didn't write the page, but I am highly critical of the documentary nevertheless. I'm also quite new here, so I'm probably not exposed to snark as much as other people here. That being said, we do need more experienced users to take part in this discussion so we know what we can do to make the article better while avoiding a petty flamey argument. By the way, I wouldn't use blogs to criticize a blog; it doesn't seem to be the best way to go. I wouldn't use blogs as a source nor as a back-up, so I don't know why the blog was added in the first place. Unilateral bias sounds scarily like groupthink, and I don't want it to happen so often that it's a detriment. LEFTYGREENMARIO 18:44, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

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Meta-Discussion, cholesterol(dietary) and cholesterol(serum)[edit]

As one might expect from what was a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy on my part, this discussion is moving away from the film itself and is starting to focus on the evidence for and against the idea that adopting a whole-food plant-based diet is a good strategy. I don't necessarily have the time, expertise, or motivation to push the argument in all its particulars, particularly if I'm the only advocate here and only two people or so participate in the discussion. Still, let me respond to a few of your points, since the discussion is still somewhat focused on the film and although I'm relatively busy this season, I would be interested in contributing to a larger discussion on this wiki if it ever takes place.

First, I'm not so sure about your sources if you are arguing something as outrageous as saying that three whole eggs daily is perfectly okay and doesn't contribute to cardiovascular disease. Here you can read the [AHA's] take on it. They take no more than 300mg cholesterol to be a relatively authoritative recommendation, and egg yolks contain about 200mg each in addition to their saturated fat content. 600mg is already twice the recommended daily limit for people with "normal" LDL. As an aside, I'm also suspicious that their recommendation is stringent enough for people who want to have as optimal an LDL as possible within the limits of an otherwise healthful, inexpensive, and conveniently prepared (from my point of view) diet. Also, your language choice in that sentence is very salient to me. Talking about the "strength of [my] ticker" seems to put a trivializing spin on what is a very serious disease in contemporary society. It also may reflect a degree of ignorance about heart disease. A gradually failing heart can be a problem, but heart attacks help to justify a long-term preventative approach in part because they can strike quite suddenly in a person with no apparent heart problems. If you have a severe thrombotic event in a major artery feeding a 'strong' heart, you can still wind up with a dead heart.

Second, [this] is one type of research that I am referring to when I say that dietary cholesterol has higher effects in those with low cholesterol. In a meta-analysis of several controlled feeding trials, they observe a non-linear trend between dietary cholesterol and total serum cholesterol and fit a non-linear model. They also make a reasonably credible claim that most of the increase in serum cholesterol as measured in these studies came about as an increase in LDL. At 600mg per day from a baseline of 0, they predict an expected increase of about 0.6 mmol/L, or around 23 mg/dL. That's a very non-trivial change. Think about the consequences if the media or (God forbid) some of the newer researchers fail to take this type of finding into account. They can look at a legitimate study of high-risk people whose LDL isn't moved much from their high-risk baseline by additional dietary cholesterol, and report uncautiously that this is good evidence that people in general don't need to worry that much about dietary cholesterol.

I think that at least some blogs are admissible for discussion on this wiki in part because this wiki doesn't have an intrinsically superior claim to authority over a blog on matters scientific; after all, RW itself usually presents itself as a blog, not an encyclopedia. These people may not be peer-reviewed researchers and their blogs may not be peer-reviewed journals, but they can still derive credibility by using more authoritative experts and primary research in the correct way. I mention Plant's work in particular in part because I think that his content is essentially missional from RW's point of view. That is, he develops original (secondary) research, and the primary focus of his work is to challenge the range of uncritical pseudoscience found in proponents of the low-carb fringe, and to discuss the social processes that help to give people a distorted view of the science on nutrition. If you looked at http://www.plantpositive.com/23-cholesterol-confusion-6-die I hope you'd agree that his discussion is fairly useful in furthering the debate because even if you disagree with him, he presents an internally consistent argument of 30 minutes' length that refers to a range of scholarship on the topic. His references can help to speed up the process of research and his argument helps to structure the kinds of questions that you might want to ask in looking critically at the connection between dietary and serum cholesterol.

Of course, I also don't think that we should simply take his claims at face value if we want to derive our views on this wiki with some degree of independence. We can't even do this with peer-reviewed researchers speaking on their own research, not with complete comfort; even scientists have personal biases and we rely on a scientist's scientific peers to average out the effect of some of these biases.

But anyway, this is already a long arc of reply and I don't want to overload a thread with too many points. I may come back and reply to some of your other points from the last post, since some of them need to be developed with evidence and some of them are simply dubious (I also agree with some claims), but we'll see how things go here. Again, it takes a lot more time to bring definite evidence to the table than it does to say "well, maybe...." and I don't have that much time to devote to the topic on a wiki that doesn't currently seem too interested in investigating the topic critically. Shirtsleeves (talk) 19:17, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

About the eggs, it seems to be just talking about the rest of the day portions. The eggs themselves, however, pose no harm to your diet, only if you made the adjustments. But you can make that claim for any food, basically (laughs). I do think three eggs is a tad excessive anyway, but eggs aren't as damaging as once thought. The point? Don't fear eggs, but don't go nuts on them. But you can make that claim for any food that isn't pure partially hydrogenated oil. My little side remark may be salient, but don't take it seriously. I'm no expert on this field, so do expect dubious claims made by me, and try to counter them. I could really help with the knowledge. One thing I have a frequent tendency to do is to make good claims but without sourcing the thing.
One thing I can't stand are .pdf files, so if you have to go to the trouble of linking me to one, please just give me the general points. I do source .pdf files, but they're always asses to load and read. LEFTYGREENMARIO 05:50, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

The reason fewer people died of cancer, diabetes etc in the past[edit]

...was due to them dying of malnutrition, an assortment of unpleasant infectious diseases, sabre-tooth tigers, drinking muddy/polluted water (including lead pipes), food adulterants, death cap and destroying angel mushrooms, ergot-flavoured grain, boats which were not seaworthy, toxic cosmetics, dinosaurs wandering through a Creationist-logic-induced hole in the multiverse.... (add to taste). 171.33.222.26 (talk) 15:33, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Yes, diabetes is a disease of affluence, and risk for cancer increases with age.--"Shut up, Brx." 04:22, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
What do you mean? At a given age, affluent diets generally expose a person to greater risk of diabetes than the non-affluent diets of non-industrialized societies. You say 'yes', but half of your statement is effectively saying 'no' to the prior comment (which is biased and/or unreflective about the other side of the argument, btw). Shirtsleeves (talk) 22:43, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
A (partial) listing of 'causes of death' which have significantly decreased in the modern era (with an obvious 'unlikely' addition). The modern equivalent of [1] even adjusted for terminology would have a quite different range of diseases. Anna Livia (talk) 19:09, 20 March 2018 (UTC)

"...primarily fish"[edit]

I made an edit to this claim about the Japanese diet in an effort change the meaning, but got rebuffed for only achieving an assault on the 'literacy' of the sentence. That may be, but I still think that my proposed edit did more than that and I think that the current sentence does at the very least imply that the Japanese derive (or at one time derived) more of their diet from seafood than from any other food group. I would like to see the evidence that the Japanese consume more calories from fish than from rice before I'd be willing to accept the article's language as-is. Just talking vaguely about how many mountains Japan has and how much coast doesn't do it for me. Shirtsleeves (talk) 20:26, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

Calories themselves isn't really a fair measure since rice is more caloric-dense than seafood. Anyway, I have a tendency to state stuff without the source, so I've looked at World Factbook. Here is what Japan has and doesn't has.
  • resources: negligible mineral resources, fish note: with virtually no energy natural resources, Japan is the world's largest importer of coal and liquefied natural gas, as well as the second largest importer of oil
  • land use:arable land: 11.26%
    permanent crops: 0.81%
    other: 87.93% (2011)
  • "Japan is one of the largest consumers of fish"... and Wikipedia, which uses The World Factbook as the source, states that "Japan is one of the largest consumeatrs of fish".

Considering that rice-growing is quite labor-intensive, and the geography isn't the best for growing crops, including rice, I think it's safe to assume that Japan relies on fish, more so than many other nations in the world. LEFTYGREENMARIO 06:01, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

Not an answer to the concern. Traditional diet was for a smaller population where rice stored well without refrigeration but fish was comparatively more difficult to handle. Rice is such an obvious staple of Japanese culinary heritage that I wonder why you are digging in your heels over the wording here and not considering that it implies too much. See e.g. http://spice.stanford.edu/docs/145#aspects and note Japan's dependence on imported rice to satisfy the demands of present industrial populations-- and this is before we consider the basic idea that paddy-cultivated rice was one of the most space-efficient, labor-intensive crops of premodern civilization. One reason is probably that it helped to choke out weeds and introduce nutrients in a time where this was not easy to do in general. Another is that it is grown closer to the equator in areas that get high rainfall and ample sunshine throughout much of the year. This makes plants grow better.
To say that the American diet contains more french fries than other diets is not nearly the same thing as saying that their diet is primarily composed of french fries. That's such an obviously weak connection that I fail to see why you continue to advance land use statistics to defend the wording in the article. If caloric intake is not going to be the measure by which to compare dietary components when saying that one component is the primary component, what measure do you propose to use? Do you seriously want to use the land use involved in attaining the food? Is that what the language in the article implies? What do you think it implies, if not a measure by calories? I'd argue that calories are the most sensible measure by default since volume and mass can fluctuate more easily due to their dependence on water content, which depends on preparation.
Really quick Googling got me to this [paper] published in 1968 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. You can get tables for 1963 survey data very early in the paper. Note that in the breakdown of table II, by calories, rice is the majority of the diet at this time, and trending downward. By weight, also, more rice is consumed than all animal food put together. This balance has of course been shifting as the country has become wealthier and has tended to adopt some western food patterns, but the contemporary elderly Japanese that we tend to credit with long lifespan also tend to be the ones sticking with the dietary pattern of earlier times and the diet of their formative years was probably no less important than the diet of their later years for determining long-term health and longevity.
The original quibble about wording was meant to get a relatively quick fix. I thought the validity of the criticism would have been obvious when pointed out, and was concerned that I might see someone chiding me to just go ahead and edit the page directly next time for this kind of thing. Instead I see this blunt resistance despite a general lack of hard information in support of a statement that clearly had the potential to claim too much. I've given strong reason to believe that it has claimed too much, too carelessly. I am puzzled, and twice as exasperated. Shirtsleeves (talk) 04:51, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
damn shame that you're making cogent arguments against the snide misinterpretations and straw-man-spinning abundant in the section generously titled "Criticisms" and the article continues to be labeled 'woo'. the movie at no point glorifies anything 'eastern' but someone who forgot to take off their false dichotomy cap decided to dust off that dull chestnut anyway; Campbell more than once states rather clearly that a low level of casein consumption was shown to 'turn off bad genes' (to indulge in oversimplification that doesn't miss the point, unlike the oversimplifications still present) - nobody at any point calls for an utter absence of animal protein; these critics seem to misunderstand that "-based" does not mean or even imply "-to-the-exclusion-of-all-else". even one or two of the (justly questioned by those of us who prefer significant claims to stick to facts, logic etc.) personal anecdote participants in the film display a more nuanced and less gullible attitude to the subject matter than most of the 'criticisms' seem desperate to insinuate (if not outright presume).
the seemingly obvious (if only it were that obvious!) point is to argue against dependency and overindulgence, with (in my opinion) not nearly enough detailing of the seductions and shortcomings of highly processed foods. anyway, that's two straw criticisms that should've been in the dirt by now. your exasperation is more than justified. leftygreenmario does less bloviating than the latest edit, but still seems content to toss out advice on egg consumption as though anything that specific is universal.71.212.81.117 (talk) 04:46, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

An observation[edit]

Cats, dogs, sharks, Tyrannosaurus Rex-es, and Venus flytraps etc are not noted for suffering from an excess of the illnesses claimed for a meat-eating diet? 82.44.143.26 (talk) 17:10, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

A bit late, but different animals have different biologies. Most carnivores have relatively short lifespans, due to all the parasites in raw meat; humans are the exception because we learned to cook. The best way would be to look at the lifestyles of the longest living populations of humans, which would be modern humans in places like Canada and Australia, both of which go heavy on the meat...
But the overall healthiest would be a diet that contained just a couple ounces of meat each day rather than getting half your calories from the stuff. You need variety. CorruptUser (talk) 04:41, 24 August 2017 (UTC)