“I’m a cocktail-before-dinner guy, and hell will freeze over before I give up steak.”
So begins an intriguing article titled “Researcher contends meat may be essential.”
Writing in Canada’s Winnipeg Free Press, columnist W. Gifford Jones noted that, “I’ve found an ally in Prof. Duo Li, professor of nutrition at Zhejiang University in Hangahou, China.”
Prof. Li reported on his research quantifying the value of eating meat in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, which is a legitimate scientific publication—although one with a peculiarly practical bent—as these selected articles demonstrate:
- “A Novel Glutathione-Hydroxycinnamic Acid Product Generated in Oxidative Wine Conditions”
- “Investigating the Chemical Changes of Chlorogenic Acids During Coffee Brewing”
- “Identification of Phenolic Constituents in Cichorium endivia Salads by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography”
Li’s research underscores the reality that vegetarian diets are generally lacking in iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and essential omega-3 fatty acids, all nutrients necessary for optimal cardiovascular health. On the flip side of that coin, heavy consumption of vegetables tends to increase production of blood platelets, which play a key role in normal blood clotting. Too many, however, increase the risk of forming dangerous blood clots that can cause fatalities if they become lodged in coronary arteries or severe strokes if they end up in the brain.
Vegetable consumption also produces an increase in the amount of homocysteine in the circulatory system, which has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Prof. Li’s studies also show that a strict vegetarian diet results in a decreased amount of high-density lipoprotein, the so-called “good” cholesterol, also a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
The Big C and CoQ10
I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but although industry proponents, researchers and dieticians have worked tirelessly to spread the gospel of a balanced diet that includes animal foods to add the quality protein, heme iron and B vitamins often lacking in processed foods, a similar balance is nowhere to be found in media coverage of food and nutrition issues. For example, the recommended daily allowance for iron is 18 milligrams, yet the typical North American diet contains only about 6 mg, which is a big problem for teens, pregnant mothers and those who are nursing.