The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
9 Points

Resolved: A vegan diet is superior to low carbohydrate diets.

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/17/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 594 times Debate No: 75424
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (3)




Resolved: A vegan diet is superior to low carbohydrate diets.

Now I would like some clarifications:

1. I know that veganism isn't mutually exclusive with low carbohydrate diets. That isn't the point, we are talking about a typical fruit(quite a lot of carbs) and vegetable filled diet.
2. I also understand that many people oppose vegan on emotional and ethical issues. I am okay with ethical arguments but emotional arguments are not allowed in this debate. I have specified so in the rules.
3. I understand I use low carbohydrate diets non-specifically but I will not attempt to argue a multitude of different diets, I will stick to a standard low carbohydrate diet, I am only using the plural term in order to indicate that there are many types of low carbohydrate diets.

- No lawyering,trolling or disrespectful remarks
- Burden of Proof is shared
-No direct plagiarism(copying and pasting without sourcing or acknowledging it isn't your work)
-Structure must be adhered too.
- No pathos arguments(emotional)

Structure(very important):
Round 1: Con explains Rules, Pro 1st argument
Round 2: Con's 1st Argument, Pro Rebuttes
Round 3: Con rebuttes, Pro Closing Remarks
Round 4: Con Closing Remarks, Pro does not make any more arguments.


Hello people of DDO! In this debate I will argue in favor of veganism over low carb diets (hereafter LC). My opponent acknowledges the possibility of a vegan diet and a low carb diet to not exclude eachother. However, from his clarifications and his comment I take his defended LC's to include animal products in some form and to some degree. Hence I will limit myself to ethical arguments as he agreed to on my query.

Veganism:"A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food[...]. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals."(1)

Low Carbohydrate Diet(s):"The low carb, real food based diet involves eating natural, unprocessed foods with a low carbohydrate content." (2)

I suppose that Con would agree to this definition, although it is intended for the reader anyway.

What Does "Equality" Mean?

One of the most influential words of the last decades is "equality". But what does this word actually mean?
Is it perhaps an assertion of fact about people? Surely not. Every person we meet in our daily lifes is distinct from the next in their physical abilities, mental abilities, physique, personality and many other things.
Is it a guideline for treating everyone exactly the same? Surely not. Neither does an adult want to be treated as a child nor is it sensible to treat the child like an adult.
But what could it possibly be? The only sensible use of "equality" is as a principle to take into consideration everyone's interests equally. On this ground we can easily reject sexism and racism, even in the unlikely case of there being actual differences between sexes or "races" a sexist or a racist could cling to in defending his irrational view.
Now, if we actually believe in equality and we do not want to be hypocrites, then we cannot dismiss a beings interests on the basis of sex, race...or species. (3)

Killing Animals
I don't think anyone would seriously deny the sentience of non-human animals or the interest of sentient beings to not feel pain. However some might content that it is perhaps permissible to kill them painlessly. So let's assume the possibility of rearing and killing non-human animals without any pain or stress (whether or not farms would be able to do this to a significant degree is another debate). Would that not be acceptable? Let me ask you this: would it be ok for us to painlessly rear and slaughter humans? I don't think anyone in their right mind would agree to this, but what could possibly make this difference? Genetics is already out after our discussion on equality.
It might be argued that animals are not capable to comprehend their pain or the life they will loose while humans are. However it might be true that you, reading this, are this comprehensive as opposed to non-human animals (whether this is unconditionally true is disputable, but also not relevant for my argument), but this does not apply to all humans. Severely mentally handicapped people, very young babies, patients in a permanent coma and those who lost huge parts of their cognitive functions due to accidents all lack this ability, would it be permissible to rear and eat them? I don't think so either.
I can find no other criteria that would make it permissible to (painlessly) kill non-human animals while keeping it reprehensible to do it to humans and as such I close my discussion.

In this first round I have demonstrated the absurdities the consumption of non-human animals pose to the meat-eater and I await my opponents opening arguments.

low carbohydrate diets
(3) Ideas taken from Peter Singer, Practical Ethics

Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting this debate I hope that my opponent and myself can learn much about the ethics and practical reasons for choosing a low carbohydrate diet over a vegan diet.

As per the structure of the debate, it is not my obligation this round to refute my opponent's case. I will of course address his argument in the third round. I am clarifying this so that my opponent cannot accuse me of dropping his argument.

I will now formally present my own case against the veganism.

The Argument from Healthy Choices

Clearly this argument needs justification from me as many people argue that vegan diets are the healthiest method on which one might conduct their life. You see the argument from a low carbohydrate diet is that we can use fat to fuel our body for nutrients. The problem is that many are using the Lipid hypothesis to justify their assertions for arguing that meat is unhealthy and that furthermore vegan diets(because plants contain no fat) are much healthier.

Here is my argument in deductive form:

P1) A low carbohydrate diet is more healthy than a vegan diet

Subpoint A. A Vegan diet promotes many deficiencies

Subpoint B. A Vegan diet causes negative effects

Subpoint C. The lipid hypothesis is false.

P2) We should do what is healthier for our body.

C1) We should adopt a low carbohydrate diet.

As you can see, the conclusion naturally flows from the premises.

P1) A low carbohydrate diet is more healthy than a vegan diet

Subpoint A.

A vegan diet has been shown from many studies to promote low levels of many different nutrients. The most notable nutrients of these are vitamin B-12, omega 3 fatty acids, and iron. For B-12, studies has shown that serum levels are always low in vegans[1]. Furthermore, because of their B-12 deficiency they have low HDL(good cholesterol), elevated homocystetine and lipoprotein(a) levels[2]. Regarding omega fatty acids, studies have also shown that plasma EPA and DHA are lower in vegetarians and vegans regardless of duration of adherence to the diet[3]. Studies have also shown Omega 6:3 is higher in vegan children[4]. When we move onto iron I think you will find the results are quite similar, not only is the RDA for iron 1.8 times the levels for meat eaters(due to heme iron from meat being more bioavailable)[5][6], many vegan foods contain polyphenols and phytates that can decrease the absorption of nonheme iron(i.e. Spinach, lentils, wheat germ, etc)[7]. There is evidence for deficiencies in many more nutrients including: Vitamin A, Vitamin K2, Iodine, Coenzyme Q10, Taurine, Carntine, Vitamin D and Calcium. I can provide studies if needed for any of these nutrients at my opponent's request, but I think the audience get the main argument that Vegans suffer from many different deficiencies and low levels of nutrients vital to surviving.

Subpoint B.

A vegan diet not only promotes deficiencies it has negative physical effects on the body. I will be going over many aspects of negative factors on veganism including low testosterone, increased disease risk, and negative child development effects. The first point I would like to make is that vegetarians and vegans both suffer from lower levels of testosterone[8][9] and sperm count[10]. Not only that but there has been a case report that there is a loss of libido and erectile dysfunction on a soy-rich vegan-style diet[11]. When it comes to increased disease risks, you can look no further than veganism! Not only do vegan diets cause reduced gallbladder emptying [12], but they can lead to Alzheimer's disease[13], and cardiovascular mortality[14]. It also increases your chance for heart disease by decreasing HDL(cited above but I will provide another study)[15]. Child development has many studies on the negative effects of veganism, this includes B-12 deficiencies[16], lower birth weight and earlier labor[17], and tend not to grow normally[18].

Subpoint C.

My last point is the lipid hypothesis is false. Technically, my opponent has burden to prove that lipid hypothesis is correct however because many accept the lipid hypothesis without question I will argue against it here. The lipid hypothesis is simply put is the theory that fat is what cause heart disease and cholesterol increases. It also states that cholesterol in of itself causes heart disease. However, this hypothesis is false in everyone of its links. For one, even very recently the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics have conceded that from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee's Scientific Report, we can eat red meat as part of a healthy diet[19]. Furthermore, saturated fat(a constant in animal products) has been shown to have no correlation with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease or coronary heart disease[20][21].

P2) We should do what is healthier for our body.

My second premise is that we should do what is healthier for our body. While I don't believe this premise will be contested, I will argue it anyway. I would like to remind the audience that the implied premise for this premise is within moral reason. Which means that ethical considerations still apply. However, we should note that we have an ethical responsibility for self-preservation. It would not be immoral, for example, to kill someone who broke into your home and was attempting to kill you. The point I am trying to make here is that ethics always must take practical concerns into account. We must remember that our own self-preservation is a very high moral ethic to abide by and must go above most other values.

C1)We should adopt a low carbohydrate diet.

If the premises are true then the conclusion naturally follows.

The Argument for the Permissablity

This argument revolves around what degree that animals have rights and what degree they are sentient. Now equality must exist in some respect as animals do have some level consciousness yet we know that this is degreed because we do not afford the same rights to some who kills a cockroach as to someone who kills dog. Likewise we do not afford similar punishments to someone who kills a dog to who kills a human.

Here is my argument in deductive form.

P1)If animals are not morally equivalent to humans, then it is okay to eat them.

P2) Animals are not morally equivalent to humans.

C1) It is okay to eat animals.

As you can see, if the premises are true then the conclusion naturally follows.

P1) If animals are not morally equivalent to humans, then it is okay to eat them.

Now if we assume that animals are not morally equivalent to humans does that mean we have right to eat them? I would argue it is so. For example, we do not argue that lions ought to be converted to veganism. Neither do we say that a cat is committing a moral atrocity by killing the mice in our house. We know that it is in their nature, and even if they did have a moral obligation to not kill animals outside their species they don't have the capacity to comprehend said morals and cannot be seen as responsible for making that moral mistakes.

We can further see this when we consider the argument above, because a low carbohydrate diet is healthier(physiologically) than a vegan diet, this implies there exists a need for animal products to satisfy the health requirements of human beings. If our body needs it, and animals are not equivalent to humans then it must be okay to eat them.

P2) Animals are not morally equivalent to humans.

Animals cannot participate in human culture, and they cannot live ethically by nature of their own capacity. Moral theory not only considers everyone's equality but it also considers practical concerns and because animals are not moral beings by nature, it would seem to be illogical to argue that animals can have the same rights and responsibilities as humans. No one would argue that animals have this capacity.

I would like to point out that its the human's responsibility to prevent unnecessary suffering not the animals moral right not experience it. That's why we get up set when we see animal abuse, because we know its unneccesary not because the animals have had their rights violated.

C1) It is okay to eat animals.

I will pass the argument onto my opponent and I would like to thank him in advance for this debate!




In his opening argument my opponent presents two arguments against veganism, both of which I will address in this rebuttal.

The Health Argument

P1) A low carbohydrate diet is more healthy than a vegan diet

P2) We should do what is healthier for our body.

C1) We should adopt a low carbohydrate diet.

Premise 1
"It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes."(1)

My opponent justifies this premise by listing several nutrients vegans lack. I will in response list briefly how vegans can easily reach optimal supply of them.

Subpoint A
Due to character limitations I am not able to respond to every single nutrient my opponent listed, but instead I focused on the three he highlighted.

Vitamin B12
Con says B12 levels are always low in a vegan's serum. However his corresponding source does not even contain the words "vitamin" or "B12". As such I am left wondering where his information stems from. I propose direct supplementation and fortified breakfast cereal to counter possible shortcomings.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Here the relevant omega-3 fatty acids are DHA and EPA. Both of which can be found in fish. However it is not the fish itself producing them, it is the microalgea they eat. Again, fortified food and supplements can carry ones supply.
Additionally flaxseed, flaxseed oil, canola oil, soy products, hemp products, and walnuts among other foods contain ALA, from which the human body can produce DHA and EPA (1).

It is true, we absorb more iron from animal than from plant based products. However vitamin C for example enhances the absorption rate of non-hem iron (3) (4). Decreasing the consumption of inhibitors, like phytates or tannins, furthers one's absorption rate even more (4).
In the end drinking a glass of orange juice before every meal provides more than enough vitamin C to achieve sufficient iron supply.
Foods containing large amounts of iron include various beans, tofu, fortified breakfast cereals, cashews, various seeds, spinach and lentils (5).
The RDA for iron is 8 mg/day for adult men and one cup of cooked soybeans already includes 8.8mg of iron (5).

Subpoint B

On the contrary, it is not the vegans and vegetarians who have significantly lower testosterone, it is the vegans who have higher testosterone than both vegetarians and meat-eaters.
"The results did not support the hypothesis that meat-eaters have higher levels of bioavailable androgens [testosterone] than non meat-eaters. No differences in hormone levels were found between meat-eaters and lacto-ovo-vegetarians, suggesting that vegetarian diets may not alter prostate cancer risk, but the relatively low IGF-I levels in vegans might reduce their risk of prostate cancer." (5)

Alzheimer's Disease
I was not able to view the whole study and the abstract never said anything specifically about vegans. Therefore I will present general means to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease
Coffee contains caffeine, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals, all of which affect disease risks. Recent studies reveal that coffee helps to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinsons's disease (6).
Furthermore, it has been shown that apple juice (7) and ginger (8) also reduce the risk.

Child Development
From the study my opponent cited:
"The results of this study show that children can be successfully reared on a vegan diet providing sufficient care is taken to avoid the known pitfalls of a bulky diet and vitamin B12 deficiency."(9)

HDL & Heart Disease
From the study my opponent cited:
"risk is reduced most effectively when trans fatty acids and saturated fatty acids are replaced with cis unsaturated fatty acids."(10)
Cis unsaturated fatty acids such as ALA.

Sperm Count
It should be noted that the cited study compared the semen of 471 meat-eaters and 5 vegans. It is anecdotal at best
. This was a study of men who were patients at an infertility clinic. The area around the clinic is populated by the Seventh-day Adventists, so a lack of possible participants could not have been the reason for the low amount of vegetarians and vegans. It might just be because vegans are less likely to need infertility treatments. Moreover the sperm count was not low enough to raise infertility concerns, they were well within the normal range. (11) Researchers suspected B12 sufficiencies, a problem that can easily be rectified.

Please understand that again due to character limitations I was no able to cover every single point made by my opponent. If you think I was to brief on some of them, keep in mind that listing deficiencies is one thing, presenting solutions is another.

Subpoint C
I don't advocate the lipid hypothesis and I don't know why I should have the "burden to prove that [the] lipid hypothesis is correct". If anything the burden is on my opponent to demonstrate why I need to support this hypothesis.

Premise 2
My opponent takes this premise to be self evident, however I disagree.

Ethical Self Sacrifice
Consider a mother whose children are endangered or just any person saving the life of multiple others at the expense of their own. In those cases nobody in their right mind would advise the mother to do what is healthier for her body, we would praise her for her sacrifice. I do not suggest that we should never do what is good for our health by any means. However put as an universal prescription this premise is plainly false.

Benefiting Others
Let's pretend that veganism actually brings some minor health deficits. Perhaps you would not be able to become a top athlete anymore or would run into a slightly increased risk of becoming ill. The main motivation behind a vegan diet has always been to save the life's of innocents and veganism (dietary wise) is simply the best way of achieving this goal. Climate change among other things is a problem everyone should care about and everyone can contribute to solving.
"So I want to highlight the fact that among options for mitigating climate change, changing diets is something one should consider." - Dr. Pachauri, chair of the IPCC ()
Even if I would have to sacrifice some minor things mentioned above, I can in return contribute to a truly greater goal. Why vegan? Because it sets a sign.

The Permissibility Argument

P1)If animals are not morally equivalent to humans, then it is okay to eat them.

P2) Animals are not morally equivalent to humans.

C1) It is okay to eat animals.

Premise 1

Equality and Obligation
If one was given the choice to either rescue a pregnant mother or an elderly man with perhaps only months left to live, then I don't think many would favor the man. The elderly man is not morally equivalent to the woman. If we were to meet him on the street however we would certainly not try to eat him if we just happen to be hungry. Even if animals are not morally equivalent to humans, it does not follow that they have no moral status. Lesser obligation is not equal to no obligation.

Ecosystem Intervention
I am not sure why Con brings up the conversion of carnivorous animals to support this premise. However it should be noted that human interference with an ecosystem will most likely lead to its ruin. Arguing it would be better for animals to be where they cannot be eaten or suffer from disease is the same reasoning American slave traders used to justify taking African people out of the "dangerous wilderness".

Moral Animals
My opponent claims that animals cannot comprehend morality, but this is not true. Chimpanzees disprove of wrong doings among their peers, just as packs are organized in complex social structures (). It might be true that they don't understand our morality, but we on the other hand understand theirs, at least in part, yet willfully decide to violate it.

Cognitive Capacities
It should again be noted that this moral nature is not something all humans poses (as I have argued in my opening statement).

Why only Animals?
If a bodily desire for meat justifies this premise, then I would ask: why limit yourself to non-humans? After all, we are just as capable to consume any human flesh to meet out nutritional needs (avoiding the brain and spinal cord to not risk Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease). Either we accept both meat sources or none.

Premise 2

Participation and Moral Nature
To refute this premise one only has to look at my opening discussion. Not even all humans can participate in "human culture" and yet it is not permissible to eat them.
It is not clear what is meant by "moral theory", because I can think of at least five different normative moral theories (utilitarianism, natural law, divine command, virtue ethics, deontological ethics), all taking different stances on this issue, depending on the particular version of the corresponding theory. I would argue that because they experience pain and pleasure much like we do, we have a moral obligation towards them.

Unnecessary Suffering
My opponents claims animal abuse is bad not because it violates an animal's rights (nor because it causes suffering), but because it is unnecessary. But why does non-necessity amount to moral badness? If they truly are not part of "the moral sphere", then why should causing animals (unnecessary) suffering be bad in any way?
It seems prima facie inconsistent to hold both beliefs and this demands explanation from my opponent.

The arguments Con put forward have been rebutted and I await his objections to my opening statement.

Sources in Comments
Debate Round No. 2


I apologize I am going to have to concede because I simply do not have time to finish this debate. I thank my opponent for his time!

Vote Pro


Thanks to LaniusMarius for this debate and his polite resignation.
Debate Round No. 3


Once again I apologize for not having time to finish this debate! I thank Fkkize for his understanding :)

Vote Pro
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Fkkize 1 year ago
Thanks for voting bladerunner060!
Posted by Fkkize 1 year ago
(1) USDA Nutrient Data Base for Standard Reference, Release 18, 2005, and manufacturers information
(1)* Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets.
(4) USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24, 2011 and Manufacturer"s information
(5) Hormones and diet: low insulin-like growth factor-I but
normal bioavailable androgens in vegan men
(7) Apple juice prevents oxidative stress induced by amyloid-beta in culture.
(8) [6]-Gingerol attenuates ^6;-amyloid-induced oxidative cell death via fortifying cellular antioxidant defense system.
(9) The Growth and Development of Vegan Children.
(10) "Some Observations on Human Semen Analysis." National Center for Biotechnology
(11) The role of vitamin C in iron absorption.
Posted by LaniusMarius 1 year ago
You can use solely ethical arguments if you want too, however you have to refute arguments I use regarding ethical or logical arguments.
Posted by Fkkize 1 year ago
If I can limit myself to ethical arguments then I'd take it.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by tejretics 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con concedes, so arguments to Pro. It was an interesting debate, and it's a pity it ended so fast.
Vote Placed by lannan13 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession by Con.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con conceded, so arguments to Pro. What was there was fun to read, though.