30 Bananas a Day!

Ok so in this thread I want all the different nutrients that are (for the most part mistakenly) thought to be lacking or deficient in a human veg/rveg diet to be covered with references to online sources if at all possible. The thesis is that there are no known essential nutrients in the human diet which cannot be obtained in ample amounts from plant sources or the human body, so at the very least the majority of humans notwithstanding some unusual health condition should do fine on a nutritionally adequate veg/rveg diet. Also of interest would be covering health conditions that are believed to require supplementation or inclusion of animal derived foods or nutrients, and to investigate whether or not this is the case. In no particular order here are the nutrients which must be covered:

(the most common:)

B12

Vitamin D (D2 vs. D3)

EPA/DHA

Protein (how much protein a vegan needs; why the predigested form found in fruits are superior to 'quality proteins' from animal foods;)

Iron


These are some more obscure non-essential nutrients which are either absent (carnosine) or harder to come by (the rest) on veg diets. They are cited by anti-veg or skeptics as nutrients which humans may lose the ability to produce with age or due to certain health conditions .. without of course providing any evidence that this is the case thru blood tests or other objective tests:

CoQ10

Carnosine

L-carnitine

Biotin


If I'm missing anything that should be covered above let me know or post below. Anything you want to contribute just post below and I'll compile above and eventually put into a factdoc as Prad suggests.

The significance of this list is that if it can be shown that a vegan diet is completely nutritionally adequate if done properly (which it almost certainly is), and the health concerns which human consumption of animal food entails are enumerated (which will be the topic of the next discussion), it leaves virtually no ethical justification for humans purchasing and consuming animal derived foods, notwithstanding harrowing situations like dire food shortages or being stranded in the wild long term.

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B--somewhere I think (maybe?) you need to address the absorption issue....and how to heal it. What I mean by this is that I think some people/some of us have run our bodies down so much through stress, overwork, poor nutrition, etc, that even if they/we are getting super-nutrition, we might not be absorbing it because our bodies arent functioning optimally. So maybe note that we do recognize that this could be the case for many people--so it shows we've thought about it--and then note how to address/heal these sorts of possible issues.

Or maybe thats not your point...maybe your point is just to show that everything needed can be gotten from non-animal sources...? But still, for the sake of practicality, realism, and showing we've taken the issue seriously and that we want to help people find a way to live animal-free even if they might not have an optimally-functioning digestive system at the moment, i think it might be helpful to address the absorption issue... of course maybe im making a wrong assumption here, based on what I've heard naturopaths and TCM practitioners say...and maybe what they are saying is wrong at its core--Im basing my comments here on the assumption/belief that many hold that these nutrients (b-12 protein iron etc etc are MORE EASILY ABSORBED from animal protein when one has a compromised digestive system....and maybe thats not truly the case at all? so if thats NOT the case, and these people are thus working from a wrong standpoint/assumption to start with, then this should be noted as well. And if it is in fact false that these things are more easily absorbed from animal products when one does have a compromised digestive system, THEN, are there articles/studies to prove this? if so, that would be helpful as well. of course im generalizing about TCM/naturopathy here...im just speaking from my own experience of what I was told by naturopaths (i.e. that my body cant absorb from the raw plant foods because my digestion was not strong enough etc) and also what Ive read of others experiences with alternative medicine/TCM/naturopathic drs. Regardless of whether its true, i think its something commonly held by ?TCM and naturopaths and so we should address it.
I think the digestive issues associated with each nutrient can be listed under that nutrient. For example in Marieb's Human Anatomy and Physiology text she points out that B12 is destroyed in a highly acidic environment, which suggests that B12 found in meat would likely be destroyed/damaged by the high quantities of gastric HCl required to digest it. And of course we only need to evoke any old physiology textbook to show that the human body cannot utilize proteins (chains of 50 or more amino acids) as is, that these need to be broken down into their amino acid constituents before they can be utilized by the body.. Which fruit actually does itself to its own proteins with it's own enzymes.


So maybe note that we do recognize that this [absorption issues] could be the case for many people--so it shows we've thought about it--and then note how to address/heal these sorts of possible issues.

I think that's a good suggestion Kaybee. In a nutshell in terms of diet including blended (high speed blender like vitamix which apparently breaks down cell walls) or juiced fruits and veggies may be of great help for helping people more easily assimilate these nutrients. Long term water fasting is another healing modality that has been shown to be greatly effective in healing digestive issues. It would be worth including at least anecdotal evidence of the efficacy of these approaches.

It is unfortunate, I've heard of many naturopaths discourage people from trying/staying with a veg/rveg diet because of concerns about getting enough 'protein', including some of my friends. Blood tests results for veg and rveg folk would be the best form of evidence to support that in general all the nutrients are there in the plant foods so long as enough of the right types are eaten AND that human physiology can digest/absorb them this way.

It's also worth pointing out as you know it's not just vegfolk who have compromised digestion, and it's a gambit of people who are against being 100% raw typically that plant foods can't be properly digested by humans or at least those with compromised digestion, to which the above listed strategies should likely prove more than adequate.

My theory is that its a SAD diet, poor food combining plus other substances unfit for human consumption (antibiotics, meds, alcohol, drugs etc) in addition to other unhealthy lifestyle habits which you name are the causes if bad digestion and absorption issues. We should be able to find plenty of evidence to support this, especially if it's true. :)
"And of course we only need to evoke any old physiology textbook to show that the human body cannot utilize proteins (chains of 50 or more amino acids) as is, that these need to be broken down into their amino acid constituents before they can be utilized by the body.."

haha, yeah its funny....people somehow subconsciously think that if they eat meat, the meat just sort of "grafts" itself directly onto their own muscle or something...! they dont even think about/realize that EVERYTHING has to be broken down into amino acids first and then rebuilt... so i think you're right that this is def a point worth emphasizing. we all think about this but people who havent done any exploration into nutrition and how food works just dont think about/havent thought about this.
we all think about this but people who havent done any exploration into nutrition and how food works just dont think about/havent thought about this.

so true including doctors.. and nutritionists. It's a bit spooky really.
here is eva's request for help which she posted as a comment, but i'm reposting here. it is about the protein myth which really needs to be buried. eva is a dedicated activist in her own right (she started the feminism group), so let's give her the ammo she can use!

in friendship,
prad


finally i need your help! and as usual everthing centers on protein. ;)
the forum i’m posting on is the forum of an austrian parkour community so i focus on the health and performance aspect. my main line of argument is: more plant-based foods = +health, +performance. lots of fat & protein which animal products tend to be high in = -health, -performance.
i’m moving right now and can’t access any of my books about nutrition (not that there were such a lot of them anyway). so i rely on you – whatever info and/or links you choose to provide is greatly appreciated.

you are free to tell me that it’s not my smartest move to get involved in discussions without my sources on hand...


here’s the hot topics:

1) is it true that our body creates more protein out of animal protein than of plantbased protein?
i know that plants contain all the amminoacids we need from food, and that the myth of animal protein being superior has been debunked long ago.
it’s the first time ever i encounter this claim. true? false? well, it’s complicated...?

2) what happens when fat and protein are used as source for glucose?
what i already know is that a) breaking down fat & protein results in some nasty byproducts (toxic? acid?), and b) energy is wasted.
now just by calling something nasty i ain't gonna convince anybody, so i need to specify the evil.

3) how much protein do we need? why is too much fat & too much protein unhealthy? (besides the info provided already by 2.)
what i know: doug’s recommendations (well, obviously lol). animal fat can clog blood vessels, the fat/diabetes connection. doug mentioning that some others allow for a slightly higher fat max.
here i’d like to do something like this:
too much fat = diabetes, heart attack, stroke, ...
too much protein = cancer?, ...
just need some more illnesses and ailments and dangers and nasty things...
and you, b, mentioned a formula you use to determine your protein need?

4) why don’t we need more protein for musclegrowth than is healthy for our bodies?
what i already know: this answer contains its question. ;D
there’s things about protein the meatindustry can be really proud of...
to give some examples of lowprotein bodybuilders would be cool in this regard.
i know for prooving that vegan bodybuilding is possible there’s veganbodybuilding.com, but i don’t think they’re low protein over there (don’t know much about the website, i admit) and that’s not in line with my argumentation.
i thought there was a bodybuilding group on 30BaD but it seems i’m either wrong or blind. however, an example that is vegan & RAW would be too much anyway. i don’t want to scare people off, and so far i think i did quite well in producing interest and keeping them susceptive to the topic. you know, in german i can be really charming ;)

this is the first time ever i’m doing some sort of vegan activism.
and it’s mainly thanks to 30bad and you, b and prad, that i have become more passionate about this issue.
q1) no, adult humans only need a small amount of dietary protein (5-6% of total calories consumed per day according to T Colin Campbell). Unlike fat and carbs (to a certain extent), amino acids/proteins cannot be stored by the body. if we consume more than our body can utilize then they have to be eliminated. This process is called deamination, by-products of which are ammonia which must be converted to uric acid (in the urea cycle), both of which are toxic to the body. Btw uric acid must be eliminated by the kidneys, too much of which can cause kidney stones. No more protein here.

What is true is that the hormone IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1), which is found in milk and meat and is often fed to dairy cows to increase their milk production, can promote/accelerate growth in humans (cow's milk is meant make a 60lb calf grow to be a 600lb cow in about 8 months after all). it's job is to stimulate cell growth when we're growing up; our body produces it also. of course if we consume too much of it it promotes the growth of tumors. Campbell states that individuals who grow up on a nutritionally adequate vegan diet demonstrate normal growth anyways, so no need to play russian roulette with the steak and moo juice.

parts 2-4 to follow..
This is really good to know.. I will read the other parts you submit. It's no secret we have an incredible amount of kidney disease in this country- people should be looking into why!
q2) when our blood sugar is running low and our cells are out of glycogen, dietary fats are broken down into fatty acids and glycerol to be utilized as fuel sources. Certain cells of the body (heart, muscles) can utilize fatty acids directly in cellular respiration to produce energy (celluar ATP). Glycerol can be converted to glucose in the liver via gluconeogenesis and then used by cells. Neither of these are particularly 'dirty' forms of energy, i.e. resulting in toxic byproducts, but they are considerably less energy efficient than consuming enough dietary carbohydrates to keep our cells happy. Fat also requires considerably more energy to digest and metabolize than carbs, which means less energy available for athletic performance.

Under certain conditions (e.g. fasting) fatty acids can no longer be used as cellular energy sources and must be converted to 'ketones' in the liver. these can be used as energy sources for the cells, but they have an acidifying effect on the body. this state is known as 'ketosis', and our decision making and judgement ability is impaired akin to alcohol intoxication, it is also thought by some researchers to be a strain on our liver. ketoacidosis is an extreme and uncontrolled case of ketosis where our blood pH is lowered beyond a safe threshold, and can actually be fatal.

Most amino acids are 'glucogenic', meaning they can be converted to glucose via gluconeogenesis in the liver. the byproduct of this is acetone, which is a ketone body which cannot be used for energy and is essentially a waste product (it's the same compound that is used in nail polish remover incidentally). a couple amino acids (leucine and lysine) can be converted directly to ketones but not glucose. deamination as mentioned previously allows gluconeogenesis of amino acids to occur also but also of course produces ammonia and uric acid. In addition to all this energy being wasted for the sake of getting more 'quality' protein in one's diet, proteins also require considerably more energy to digest than carbs (methionine which animal foods are high in is particularly difficult to digest), making them probably the least ideal fuel/energy source for the body.

The bottom line is the body always uses glucose/glycogen/dietary carbs as fuel/energy sources before it will rely on the others mentioned above; they are essentially secondary or backup fuel sources, and they all come at a cost.
q3) as said before according to Campbell humans need only 5-6% calories from protein daily.

in the china study too much animal protein (the magic number was more than 10% calories from protein) was shown to cause cancer on laboratory rats and mice.. tumor growth went on and off like a light switch when they went above and below 10% calories from protein.. plant proteins however apparently did not do this (he tested wheat and soy, I'd still be concerned about excess protein from overt fats like nuts and seeds personally).

This is a brief passage from an essay by Campbell on the specific effects of excess animal protein on the body:

Two of the more prominent of these biochemical/physiological responses [of the carcinogenic effects of animal protein] result from increased production of growth hormones and an elevation in body acid load (metabolic acidosis) that impacts a number of critical enzyme activities.
http://www.vegsource.com/news/2009/09/dr-campbell-responds-to-dr-me...

This shouldn't surprise us since animal foods are known to be acid forming, and if our pH goes too low this has toxic effects on the body.

some problems associated with excess dietary protein intake: various forms of cancer (including liver, prostate, breast, pancreatic), autoimmune disorders (type 1 diabetes [cow's milk is belived to contribute to this]; rheumatoid arthritis; fibromyalgia, etc] osteoporosis, kidney failure, accelerated aging (those who practice calorie restriction for longevity purposes apparently don't benefit if they don't restrict protein intake).

the simple way to calculate how much protein you need is to take your daily calorie requirements, let's say 2000.. if you want 5% calories from protein that means 100 calories. then divide that by 4 (1g of protein = 4 calories). so 25g of protein a day would be enough to sustain someone who needed to consume 2000 calories. not hard at all on a vegan diet.

the china study concluded that diets high in animal foods (too high in fat/protein, not enough fibre) are associated with high blood cholesterol, which is the strongest predictor of the big 3 chronic degenerative diseases: heart disases, diabetes, and cancer. excess dietary fat is also cancer promoting because it inhibits the cells ability to utilize oxygen (cancer cells run anaerobically according to the nobel prize winning german cellular physiologist otto warburg).

ok i'll let someone else do 4 lol I'm beat.
I guess you could go by burning 40% calories through physical activity consumed as Doug suggests, though that's probably in the optimal rather than minimal ranges.

Optimum nutrition and calorie output are interrelated and interdependent.
oh yes :)
These are all good points AM. the 5% total required calories / 4g is just a simplified way to estimate your minimum protein requirements. it's quite accurate if you actually know how many calories you burn in a day, unless as you point out if you're older and sedentary it may be a bit low. it's more accurate if you go by a person's weight. I personally use the formulas for estimating one's calorie and protein requirements (the latter is based on weight) that Adam compiled in the 30bad nutrient requirements document. Whether you use the protein formula(s) (there's a few depending on who you ask how much you need lol) or you use the total calorie formula and take 5% / 4, you get comparable minimum amounts.

I think we'd both agree on this: unless you're a 60+yr 85+ woman who's in bed all day 1000 calories is not enough to meet your calorie requirements (and requirements for other nutrients) in a day, so no it wouldn't be accurate to calculate your protein requirements based on 5% of 1000 calories. you have to go by how many calories they actually burn, or better yet by bodyweight.
eva,

you are charming in english too!
as you can see B and am have provided excellent responses to some of your questions already and will provide more info i'm sure.

meanwhile you may be interested in some of these studies i'm uploading which relates to #4:

1. am j clin nutr protein supplementation bfore and after exercise does not further augment skeletal muscle mass and strength ... at least in elderly men. verdijk et al.

2. rocky ate raw eggs and milk right? he didn't see this study though:
am dietetic assoc - incident heart failure is associated with ... dairy and egg intake .... nettleton et al

3. and let's not forget the side effects of more protein from animal sources. since obesity is a crushing epidemic it is interesting to note what this study found out that weight loss works better on a vegan diet as opposed to the national cholesterol education program diet:
obesity ... two-year randomized weight loss trial ... turner-mcgrievy, neal barnard (pcrm!)

there will be more eventually, this is the best i could do at present.
i'll try to find some specific studies relating to #3 in the next day or two.

in friendship,
prad
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