Research isn’t cheap, and someone has to pay for it. But when the money comes from the industry that supplies the products being researched, there’s a serious conflict of interest.
You’ve probably seen news recently about a new “study” published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition claiming that there is “no risk” to cardiovascular health in eating up to 12 eggs a week. Australian media lapped it up and published stories about it widely – unfortunately, without reading the fine print.
In the study, people who ate two eggs per week ended up with much the same cholesterol as those who ate two eggs per day. Going beyond the headline, however, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reveals that the study was funded by the Australian Egg Corporation, Ltd. And the “low egg” group of participants was asked to make up for eating fewer eggs by eating more meat. So the study actually compared those who ate more eggs with those who ate more meat. No wonder there were no big differences – they were both consuming heaps of cholesterol.
Taking ‘Science’ With a Grain of Salt
A New York University nutrition professor found that 168 US studieswere funded by food and beverage companies and trade groups in 2015 alone, and of those, 156 showed results that favoured the sponsor’s interests. Meat & Livestock Australia(MLA) boasts that it “invests in … the CSIRO, leading Australian universities and international research centres” to the tune of over $90 million a year. MLA funds are matched dollar for dollar by the federal government – your tax money. The chicken meat industry spends over $1 million a year on research, which includes “[m]arket research and intelligence gathering to inform industry decision making” – also matched by the Australian government.
Where Is the Truth?
So where can you get unbiased facts about nutrition? First, do your own research, double-checking both the studies themselves and who is bankrolling them. Look for studies that don’t have potential or perceived conflicts of interest. Some helpful resources include NutritionFacts.org and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
The largest organisation of food and nutrition professionals in the world – the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics– states that vegetarians and vegans enjoy a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease, lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes, and lower body mass indexes as well as lower cancer rates overall. Well-planned vegan diets provide us with all the nutrients that we need, minus all the saturated fat, cholesterol, and contaminants found in animal flesh, eggs, and dairy “products”. Vegetarians and vegans live, on average, six to 10 years longer than meat-eaters.
Going vegan also reduces carbon emissions dramatically and, of course, spares millions of animals lives filled with terror and agonising deaths. And there’s another health benefit: because no animals are killed for the plant-based foods on your plate, you’ll sleep better at night.Get Your Free Vegan Starter Kit Now