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

Plant-Based Diets are just as good if not better than Animal-Based Diets/diets with animal products

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/18/2013 Category: Health
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,921 times Debate No: 35734
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (1)




Why? After much research, it becomes surprisingly simple (however, there is always so much to learn). I'm not citing sources because I don't feel like looking all of them up -- however, I do feel confident that my opinions have been fairly well-researched. I'd be happy to look up anything and find the source that someone else can't find when they look it up, though.

1) Dairy is completely unnecessary for anyone living in a developed country.
Cow's milk, which is made for baby calves much the same way human women produce breast milk ONLY for their own species, is known as a healthy drink. But is this really necessary for a country (I'm from the USA) that has access to virtually unlimited sources of protein and calcium? Milk is the food that is raved about for its protein and calcium -- I'm not impressed. I have concluded that the only humans truly in need of this source of protein & calcium are those poor third-world countries that have very little hope of meeting their daily needs in these categories. Everyone else who has easy access to markets and grocery stores and doesn't realize there are so many other sources of protein and calcium is simply making an uninformed statement.

2) Although meat is the only food source of Vitamin B12 that we know of, B12 is added to many foods that don't include animal products, and from the research I've read, there appears to be no huge difference between how the body absorbs this added B12 (if anyone has research to the contrary, please inform me). So far as I can tell, B12 is THE ONLY nutrient in meat that can't easily be found naturally in other foods.

3) Factory farms help produce and kill 56 billion animals per year for human consumption. Factory farms are very often places operating with highly unethical practices. From gestation crates (pigs that can't turn around in their crates for their 2.5 years of existence), to artificially inseminated cows (they're repeatedly impregnated unnaturally so they will lactate and we can thus take their milk), to bigger animals via hormones and antibiotics (all of which are likely in the meat/dairy when you eat them) who produce far more meat and milk than they're naturally supposed to and live far less as long as they naturally would because we abuse and then kill them for our consumption, to chickens who get a max of 5 minutes of fresh air, to baby calves being taken away from their milk-producing mothers at birth and then killed for veal, know what, there's a lot more. Go find out.

4) Western society eats too much meat. Straight-up. It's very obvious when you begin to look at chronic disease charts and when you look at the correlation between meat/dairy and disease. It's clear that small amounts of lean meat and dairy CAN be very healthful...but the reality is, most people with modern diets eat too much of these products to the point that it is unhealthy. If, for the most part, meat and dairy are unnecessary, then it just doesn't make sense why we eat so much of it.

5) Excess animal protein actually INCREASES risk of osteoporosis. Definitely not what they taught me in school or in that stupid food pyramid thing. But yes, this is true. It's likely that even the recommended levels of protein (around 70 grams, I believe) are too high, and the number I've seen for typical dairy American consumption is an average of over 100 grams of protein per day. Most of it is animal protein. That is INSANE. So, complete plant proteins and other incomplete plant proteins which can be combined, are actually healthier than animal proteins in the long-term when considering this fact.

6) Plant-based diets are more likely to be healthier overall. This is a statement made with a bit of speculation, but I want to point out that vegetarians/vegans aren't estimated to live a few years longer than omnivores because they don't eat meat, but more likely because they're overall more aware of what they're eating. Trust me, that is really the main goal for overall nutrition and health. Awareness! Where is your meat/dairy coming from and how was it produced? Do you know? That is my problem with an animal-based diet, in addition to it not really being even necessary to consume animal products.

7) Plants, in general, have fewer calories and 400X the micro-nutrients than meat/dairy do. Micronutrients are far more helpful to the body than excess/unnecessary/small amounts of vitamins, protein, and calcium. Many vegetables, fruits, grains, and pseudograins are very high in not only protein and calcium, but also Vitamins A, B, C, D, K, and also iron, magnesium, and much more.

Going back to the first statement of this point, the reason why this matters is...well, look around. Obesity is now a disease in the US. Weight, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic problems related to lifestyle choices can be relieved by taking a look at our diets. If plants have fewer calories and WAY more nutrients than meat and dairy, it will DEFINITELY benefit overweight and unhealthy people to cut it out! Literally!

8) Nutrient deficiencies are just as likely to happen in omnivores as vegetarians/vegans, except for B12. Iron is more likely to be a problem based on your sex instead of whether or not you eat animals. Females have much more trouble maintaining iron levels than males. Vitamin D deficiency is commonly found in omnivores and vegetarians alike. We are all supposed to be eating "well-planned diets," not just vegans. Silly.

9) Most people who switch out vegetables/other plants for meat, even if they don't completely cut it all out of their diet, eventually report feeling much better. It's like a load lifted off the body. For some popular/pretty credible examples, check out Mike Tyson, Bill Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres (ok, she's just a talk-show host, not a high-performance athlete or politician, but she had some great things to say about changes in her diet), Brendan Brazier (former Ironman triathlete), Tony Gonzalez (NFL), and oh so many more.

10) Eating meat/dairy contributes to world hunger.
About 1/3 of the world's grains and crops produced are fed to livestock bred solely for human consumption -- this food could and should actually be going to HUMANS. It is well known that 1 pound of beef costs an ungodly amount of resources to produce compared to 1 pound of grain (the grain would go straight to humans instead of the animals, which are then fed to humans). It is well known by informed people that we have all the food and resources to feed all the hungry and starving people in the world. But we're not, and simply, we could if first-world citizens would just cut back on their meat/dairy intake. It's that simple, guys. If we would be less selfish and gluttonous, we could feed every single hungry person on this earth. It is pretty mind-blowing. Then everyone else would have a shot at getting the bare minimum of their protein and calcium needs, too.


Pro claims “Plant-Based Diets are just as good if not better than Animal-Based Diets”

First let’s define a few essentials
A plant-based diet (PBD) is based on vegetables, grains, legumes and fruit, with little or no animal products.[1]

Animal Food Sources (AFS) include many food items that comes from an animal source such as meat, milk, fish, eggs, cheese and yogurt.[2]

Pro has the BOP to prove that diets without AFS are as good or better than PBD alone.

There are several problems with this position

1. Nutrition – PBD do not contain performed vitamin A, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. [2] Also, many AFS give nutrients (like Iron and trace elements) in forms that the human body can use more readily.

2. Micro-nutrient deficiency is often a result of PBD [2] – “All six micronutrients richly found in AFS, vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin, calcium, iron and zinc play a critical role in the growth and development of children.”

3. Vegetarian diets are linked to menstrual problems in young women. [3]

4. It takes intelligence and hard work to maintain a healthy PBD. Most people are not willing to do the study or work at the self discipline required.

5. Bacon – yum – seriously, just because I can live without AFS, why would I want my life to be made so complicated by unnecessary food rules. Often AFS products are in foods that might surprise you.[5]

The focus of PRO's argument seems to be that PBD leads to greater awareness, which leads to greater health.
If that is the case, the debate should read "greater awareness of diet is better than being a dietary moron"
Looking at PRO's arguments one at a time leads to these responses
Dairy is completely unnecessary for anyone living in a developed country
The debate did not specify for developed countries. In fact, one reason for AFS diets is that animals can eat plants that we can't (grass etc.) and convert it to meat, milk and eggs which we can eat. In less developed agricultural areas (Canadian North, Greenland, harsh environments) where fruits and grains are impossible to grow there are cultures that thrive on AFS diets because it it what is easily available.
So far as I can tell, B12 is THE ONLY nutrient in meat that can't easily be found naturally in other foods
I hadn't expected you to debate for ASF.
According to PRO vitamine B12 must come from AFS diets. BP diets alone are not as good.
"Factory farms help produce and kill 56 billion animals per year"

The economics and sustainability of PBD may be great. I was not aware this debate was about fashion, economics, music or anything but diet. PBDs are not as good as a diet where foods can be chosen from the full range of foods.
I am all for improving harvest conditions of AFS.
"Western society eats too much meat"
Many cultures do not eat enough fish, eggs, milk or meat or other AFS foods and experience malnutrition.
Excuse me for skipping your points 5-9 as they are about crazy obese American dietary problems of overfeeding on processed junk food and getting way too little exercise. Bone density increases with impact related exercise (walk, run, sports) and decreases with a sedentry lifestyle. Most of points 5-9 are similar.

"Eating meat/dairy contributes to world hunger."
If we as a culture stop buying meat and begin buying PBD foods the instability in food markets will cause harm.[6]
A part of the problem is not just the need for grain foods, but a need for purchasing power and stable governments.
Bad government contributes to world hunger.[7]
I am not saying that PBD are always bad. They do take more work and care to get enough nutrients AND CALORIES
I am saying that a balanced diet is easier with a varied diet. [8]
Debate Round No. 1


There are lots of inaccurate statements made by the CON in Round 1.

1. "Nutrition - PBD do not contain performed Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D."
Wrong. As stated before, a herbivore can get ALL those things from a varied PBD. Vitamin A is in lots of plants...carrots, for example. Vitamin D comes from direct sunlight & fortified food. You also missed my statement that both omnivores and herbivores alike are prone to being Vitamin D-deficient...this is not related to being vegan but being HUMAN. Regardless of diet, we should consider taking a Vitamin D supplement & going out into direct sunlight during the early afternoon hours. Simple. Not related to a specific diet. And B12? You missed my point, that it is easy to get B12 in these modern times regardless of your diet.

2. "Micro-nutrient deficiency is often a result of PBD."

"An estimated 25,000 different micronutrients exist in the plant kingdom."

"Individuals who eat a typical Western diet generally have reduced intakes of several micronutrients, compared with individuals who primarily eat plant-based diets."

"Vegans obtained a higher percentage of total energy from carbohydrates than did omnivores and had higher intakes of polyunsaturated fat, monosaccharides, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, and magnesium. Furthermore, female vegans had lower intakes of total and monounsaturated fat and a higher intake of iron than did female omnivores. Male vegans had lower intakes of alcohol and sodium than did male omnivores."

Proper research will teach you about the antioxidants and micro-nutrients found in plants that are necessary for sustaining life.

3. "Vegetarian diets are linked to menstrual problems in young women."
Wrong. Being FEMALE is linked to iron deficiency. No healthy diet should result in menstrual problems. A vegetarian who is not getting proper iron sources is probably going to have problems. But an ABD that is not well-planned could also result in this.

"Female vegans had a higher iron intake (excluding supplements) than female omnivores, which does not support a previous finding (28). However, intake was similar when including supplements. Low iron status was as frequent among omnivores as among vegans, despite the vegans' intake of nonheme iron only, which has a lower absorption rate than does heme iron (48), and higher intakes of dietary fiber and possibly phytic acid, which decrease the bioavailability of iron."

You mentioned that AFS gives nutrients like iron in forms that the human body can use more readily. No problem. "Iron bioavailability may be increased by combining iron intake with intake of food items high in vitamin C." ( Any informed person, whether they subscribe to PBD or ABD, will take advantage of this information - where do you get Vitamin C from? Fruits and veggies (and/or supplements).

4. "It takes intelligence and hard work to maintain a healthy PBD."
This is speculation. My statement would be more like: it takes an informed person to eat a well-balanced, ethical diet, regardless of whether it is a PBD or ABD. This is a much more accurate statement, in my opinion.

5. Unnecessary food rules? There are no food rules here. Opening yourself to the possibilities away from the limitations of an ABD is actually freeing. There's no way to miss every single animal byproduct, mostly because our culture has allowed this, NOT because a PBD is any less healthy.

More and more foods are becoming clearly labeled as vegan and animal-free! There is the certified Vegan label, which will let people know there are absolutely no animal-products in them. This is growing, thank God. Although there are still many "hidden" animal ingredients, more producers are starting to get the point that this is NOT ok to keep hidden.

The CON side didn't seem to get that I am speaking from an American's perspective. My point is that no one in a developed country needs milk. This still stands. The ones who need dairy are those in developing countries (or in less agricultural areas -- but likely they have access to imported foods) which DOES NOT PROVE that ABD are better, just that they can be helpful for those who don't have access to all the macro & micro-nutrients that the typical American does. I was pointing out that the typical Westerner or anyone with access to markets and groceries DOES NOT NEED DAIRY.

B12 -- this is not an argument for an ABD, haha. This is proving that you can get every single other nutrient you need apart from B12 from plants, and with modern times, you can get B12 in an absorbable form either in your foods or supplements. Most uninformed people assume that vegetarians/vegans are highly deficient in nutrients that they can't get from plants. This is not so! Clearly both those on ABD & PBD have to carefully monitor their nutrient levels -- this takes education and information ON BOTH SIDES. But it is easy to get all the nutrients you need, and much more, from a PBD.

Economics and sustainability are very much a part of what makes PBD a better OVERALL diet than ABD, in addition to superior nutrition. I take the ethics & responsibility of individuals in account, because well, they are relevant to diet. Read this article, "Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler."

The malnutrition from cultures -- simple. Let's stop eating as much meat and dairy since some myths about needing them have been debunked, and give those resources and nutrition to them. You handed me that one. Please note that I'm not saying every single person should stop eating meat and dairy. For some reason, omnivores get the idea that vegans are telling them they think EVERYONE should stop eating ALL meat. Not so.

Obese American dietary problems, which are highly relevant to other cultures because they are following in our footsteps (American meat consumption is decreasing, while other developing countries are INCREASING their meat intake by following our former lead --, have a heavy foundation in animal-based diets. The majority of Americans and any of the other many westernized countries with similar diets are on animal-based diets. So there is an issue here, and clearly, if most of these diets are animal-based, these heavy animal-based diets must be causing problems. Cause and effect.

"These are often convenience products targeted to an overworked population, as well as to younger consumers who may lack cooking experience or skills."

Bad government contributes to world hunger. This is true, however it is not the full story. We are the consumers. We buy the unethical products & allow world hunger to continue through overconsumption of meats & dairy -- which is not done out of respect for nutrition, but for taste/wealth/status (you yourself said that bacon is Who cares? LOTS of things are tasty! Get over it!).

"A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change, a UN report said today. As the global population surges towards a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050, western tastes for diets rich in meat and dairy products are unsustainable, says the report from United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) international panel of sustainable resource management."

PBD are not bad at all. They are just as good if not better than ABD -- nutrition-wise AND ethically speaking. Only when stepping out of a heavy animal product based diet does one see that a PBD can actually be much more varied than the typical ABD.


I think you reasoning is circular.
A. You believe that a full diet is evil.
B. You want to restrict your diet to plant source foods only.
C. You want people to remove animal food sources from their diet and then study and work hard to find ways to get a healthy diet on only plant based sources.

To this circular argument I respond:
Balanced diets with animal and plant sources are a better choice for most people.

Let’s look at the premise of your debate.

You say plant based diets are better.
You say AFS are unnecessary as those nutrients can come from supplements or plant sources.
This is not an argument for plant based diets. You need to convince me of the resolution, not teach how to make up for the limited nutrition of a PBD.

Lets look at your arguments.

1. You claim that dairy is unnecessary (round 1) in not relevant to the debate.
You say “it takes an informed person to eat a well-balanced . . . diet” (round 2 point 4)
I say dairy is part of a well balanced diet
(so does th Canada food guide[1] and the American Dietary Guidelines[2])

2. You speak about eliminating dairy, and then claim
“Excess animal protein actually increases risk of osteoporosis”
The calcium from dairy decreases risk of osteoporosis and has a place in a healthy diet
Studies show fracture risk correlation increases with plant protein and decreases with AFS [3]
Total protein: - risk reduction 3.6 times
Animal protein:- risk reduction 4.5 times [4]
Vegetable protein:- risk INCREASE 2.9 times [4]
Carbohydrate:- risk INCREASE 4.9 times

3. You speak about micro-nutrients (Round 2 point 2) and reference a web page[5] that says
“At the molecular level, biochemistry becomes physics. The atoms in a chemical bond share a pair of electrons that create a magnetic attraction.” I would not trust any page that calls covalent bonds a MAGNETIC attraction. What kind of fringe science is this?

Even if it were true that every nutrient I need is available by selecting just the right mix of plants to eat (which it is not), it is far less costly (time and money) and more efficient (dietary uptake issues) to includes fish, dairy, eggs and meat in a balanced diet.

4. In response to my evidence from the National Institute of Health you responded
“Wrong. Being FEMALE is linked to iron deficiency. “
I had not bothered mentioning iron deficiency specifically (which is often a fact of PBDs).
I stated that “Vegetarian diets are linked to menstrual problems in young women.".
Some references that ALL state a link between vegetarianism and health problems in women.

Check the references here

4. You state “it takes an informed person to eat a well-balanced, ethical diet, regardless of whether it is a PBD or ABD”

Finally we agree. Thanks for forfeiting the debate.
A balanced diet with dairy, fish, eggs, and meat can easily do as well or better than a PBD.

5. You have theBOP to show that a PBD is as good or better than a full balanced diet. You have not done this. Then you give me the debate by saying those who need dairy are in developing countries (round 2 after point 5) If animal source food is helpful, then a good full source diet is better than a restricted diet.

6. Again you bring up B12. You seem to be advocating supplements to overcome the deficiencies of a PBD. “Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. Vitamin B12 is generally not present in plant foods”[6]

You state
“Economics and sustainability are very much a part of what makes PBD a better OVERALL diet than ABD, in addition to superior nutrition. I take the ethics & responsibility of individuals in account, because well, they are relevant to diet.”

Economics and sustainability-
Harvesting local foods is good for the local economy.[7] Today I ate local vegetables, corn, eggs and fish. How would shipping oranges from Florida and pineapple from Costa Rica be good for anyone? The Wiki on pineapple says [8]
“Three-quarters of pineapples sold in Europe are grown in Costa Rica, where pineapple production is highly industrialised. Growers typically use 20 kg of pesticides per hectare in each growing cycle”

Lets say a bottle of vitamin supplements costs $25 for a 2 month supply, or $150 per year.
Even people strongly pro PBD say it costs more to eat an ethical vegan diet.[9] An "ethical PBD" seems too costly for most of our world

A PBD does not equate to an ethical diet. Depending on what you believe constitutes ethical you have to work hard and learn much because people want to tell you their product is ethical. It may not be. This my be a marketing trick.
Are you in favor of GM foods? Monsanto has many products that fit the PBD definition[10]

From my POV ethical food include: Local harvest, less chemicals, sabbath practices for workers, not a cash crop in an area of worker poverty, and the list goes on. Many plant based foods have unethical sources.

You make some statements that help me understand your position. When you speak of “Obese American dietary problems” (round 2 after point 5) it makes me think you are comparing a moderate PBD to the insanity of morbid obesity and junk food diets. Almost any diet is better than Coke, chips, Big Macks and twinkies. A good balanced diet is better than a PBD that has to wash down supplements and seek far away specialty foods to just get proper nutrition.

Pro starts out round 1 by stating
“ I'm not citing sources because I don't feel like looking all of them up -- however, I do feel confident that my opinions have been fairly well-researched. “
He then starts round 2 by stating that referenced material from round 1 is wrong.
It is difficult to have a debate if you claim referenced items are wrong but give no references

Several times you say “ You also missed my statement” . . .
Without good references, I don’t believe your statement just because you said it.

If you have no (valid) references, I can not believe your assertions.
Are you getting your info from fringe web sites or supermarket tabloids?

Let me close with a quote[11]
Reference please? We haven’t found such statistics in a search of the medical database.

In spite of claims to “stacks of studies,” there is actually very little scientific literature that carefully compares mortality and disease rates in vegetarians and nonvegetarians. In 1991, Dr. Russell Smith, a statistician, analyzed the existing studies on vegetariansim and discovered that while a number of studies show that vegetarian diets significantly decrease blood cholesterol levels, very few have evaluated the effects of vegetarian diets on overall mortality. His careful analysis revealed no benefit from vegetarianism in terms of overall mortality or longevity. In fact, Smith speculated on the possibility that the available data from the many existing prospective studies were left unpublished because they failed to reveal any benefits of the vegetarian diet. He notes, for example, mortality statistics are strangely absent from the Tromso Heart Study in Norway, which showed that vegetarians had slightly lower blood cholesterol levels than non-vegetarians.

[7] Feenstra, G. (2002) Creating space for sustainable food systems: lessons from the field. Agriculture and Human Values. 19(2). 99-106.

Debate Round No. 2


I’m lectured about credible sources from a person who cites not one but three Wikipedia articles for his arguments, the last one being the Wikipedia page about “Pineapple!” Laughable. Wikipedia is well known for its lack of credibility. I don’t accept your lectures & can’t possibly find your arguments based on Wikipedia to be credible.

Since there are more nutrients in plants than animals, there is clearly no making up for the “limited nutrition of a PBD,” as you say. This does not make sense.

Excess animal protein leads to bone decline and osteoporosis.
The Journal of Nutrition, published by the American Society for Nutritional Sciences says: “Osteoporotic fracture rates increase as cultures become ‘Westernized.’”
“Because increases in dietary animal protein are associated with increases in urinary calcium excretion, the increase in osteoporotic fractures has frequently been attributed to the increase in dietary animal protein.”

The Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine: Diets that are rich in animal protein cause people to excrete more calcium than normal through their kidneys and increase the risk of osteoporosis. Countries with lower-protein diets have lower rates of osteoporosis and hip fractures.

“The high calcium content of processed cheese products may be offset by the high sodium, polyphosphate, and protein contents of these products, which can be expected to increase calcium losses.”

Harvard says: “...we cannot be confident that high milk or calcium intake is safe.” Also, “Currently, there’s no good evidence that consuming more than one serving of milk per day in addition to a reasonable diet (which typically provides about 300 milligrams of calcium per day from nondairy sources) will reduce fracture risk.”

“But, medical studies confirm that drinking cow’s milk does not lead to stronger bones and just relying on milk without sufficient vegetable intake can actually worsen bone health.”

“It is far less costly (time and money) and more efficient (dietary uptake issues)” to include animal-based food sources. This is highly inaccurate and an unbacked statement.

U.S. News wrote in their “Best Plant Based Diets” article: “Among the qualities considered were each diet’s ability to deliver weight loss, provide good nutrition and safety, and be relatively easy to follow.”
They detailed their favorite plant based diets →

The American Institute for Cancer Research says: “Plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans should cover two thirds or more of the plate.”
In my area’s grocery stores, not ONE of these foods is more expensive or harder to get and prepare than meat and dairy. Give me a break. Please stop repeating myths about vegetarian/veganism you’ve heard over and over -- they’re simply not true.

LiveVest, a financing company, broke down the costs of different diets, concluding that a daily organic vegan diet is over $3 cheaper than a daily meat diet:

The potential cost of health care later in life raises huge questions as to whether an ABD could ever truly be cheaper for some people:
“...when you consider that meat and dairy foods clog our bodies with saturated fat, growth hormones, and antibiotics, things that have been conclusively linked to cancer, heart disease, and's certainly a lot less expensive -- and less painful -- to prevent debilitating diseases through our food choices than it is to treat them later,”

The only reason why AFS are cheap enough for Americans to afford is due to government subsidies of crops used to feed industry livestock -- subsidies are NOT given to farmers who grow fruits and veggies. This is unfair to citizens. Americans pay tax dollars to finance their “cheaper” meat/dairy products -- produced in unethical and disease-rampant factory farms.

No debate forfeiting here. Again, I repeat, a PBD is just as good if not better than an ABD -- clearly since not everyone will opt for a PBD, then people must inform themselves about their nutrition needs. It is just that simple. ABD, when consumed in small quantities, can be healthful, but that does not prove they are better than PBD sources. Stop putting words in my mouth.

There is no B12 deficiency in a PBD or an ABD if one makes educated decisions about their diet. B12 is brought up repeatedly to refute the myth that vegetarians/vegans are unable to access MULTIPLE vital nutrients naturally from their diet, when this is clearly not the case. B12 is easy for anyone to get enough of, regardless of diet.

Why wouldn’t I advocate local food harvesting? Your comments only prove that good, fresh, local produce is better than shipped fruits and veggies. Thanks for helping me out there.

He then starts round 2 by stating that referenced material from round 1 is wrong.” Yes, your referenced material from Round 1 was wrong, perhaps because you got it from Wikipedia. Sorry to break it to you. P.S. I’m female -- you couldn’t even get that right. Sad. (It’s in my profile, guess you didn’t check sources to make sure.)

And for research showing mortality-disease-diet connections? There’s plenty.
“A recent large cohort study6 with 10 years of follow-up found that a higher intake of total red meat and total processed meat was associated with an increased risk of mortality.”

“The results of our analyses suggest that men and women with a high consumption of processed meat are at increased risk of early death, in particular due to cardiovascular diseases but also to cancer. In this population, reduction of processed meat consumption to less than 20 g/day would prevent more than 3% of all deaths.”

University of Oxford, after testing 45,000 people in what was the “largest study ever conducted in the UK comparing rates of heart disease between vegetarians and non-vegetarians,” says: “The risk of hospitalisation or death from heart disease is 32% lower in vegetarians than people who eat meat and fish.”

“Vegetarian diets are associated with reduced death rates in a study of more than 70,000 Seventh-day Adventists with more favorable results for men than women, according to a report published Online First by JAMA Internal Medicine, a JAMA Network publication.”

When researching if diet affects risk for metabolic syndrome (risk for Type 2 Diabetes), doctors and researchers concluded: “After adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, smoking, alcohol intake, physical activity, and dietary energy intake, the results showed that triglycerides, glucose, blood pressure levels, waist circumference, and BMI were significantly lower (P < 0.05) in vegetarians than in nonvegetarians. Semi-vegetarians had significantly lower waist circumference and BMI (P < 0.001) than nonvegetarians. Additional adjustment of these variables for BMI showed that the results remained significantly lower in vegetarians for glucose and diastolic blood pressure (P < 0.05).”


Thank you for you thoughts.
Since you are PRO and have the BOP I will simply respond to your round 3 statements.

1. The tone of this debate seems to have become hostile. I ask for a respectful tone.

2. You state - “I’m lectured about credible sources” - (round 3 line 1)
My request for sources was a response to your statement in round 1 “I'm not citing sources because I don't feel like looking all of them up -- however, I do feel confident that my opinions have been fairly well-researched.”
- lets compare the sources used in round 1 and round 2
1. 0 9
2. 5 11

3. You suggest that Wikipedia is not a valid source

- Wikipedia was used for definitions of PBD and AFS in my round 1
This is because you failed to define terms for the debate.
Looking for a dictionary to define terms used in the title to your debate was unsatisfactory.

- You dismissed my information on pineapple growing because it came from wikipedia.
Do you have conflicting data?
“Three-quarters of pineapples sold in Europe are grown in Costa Rica, where pineapple production is highly industrialized. Growers typically use 20 kg of pesticides per hectare in each growing cycle”
Which part of this statement do you refute?

4. You reference “the journal of nutrition”
I think you are misrepresenting or misunderstanding the content.

a) it states that animal or plant protein increase urinary calcium equally - “Therefore increasing intake of purified proteins from either animal or plant sources similarly increases urinary calcium. ”
b) it suggests that the calcium in milk compensates for protein related calcium loss. - “the high amount of calcium in milk compensates for urinary calcium losses generated by milk protein.”
c) it suggests that high potassium levels “will decrease urinary calcium.”
d) it says that meat protein is high in phosphate which helps offset the calcium loss that is normal for too much protein - “The hypocalciuric effect of the high phosphate associated with the amino acids of meat at least partially offsets the hypercalciuric effect of the protein.”

Their conclusion is ““Excess” dietary protein from either animal or plant proteins may be detrimental to bone health, but its effect will be modified by other nutrients in the food and total diet.”

This is about excess dietary protein - from either plant or animal sources.

Dietary Animal and Plant Protein and Human Bone Health: A Whole Foods Approach by Linda K. Massey - ©2003 The American Society for Nutritional Sciences

As I researched further I found 87 scholarly articles that referenced your “source” on google scholar. Some spoke of the conflicting opinions. Worse, the paper you cite is a minority, or even fringe opinion.

Not only did you misunderstand (or misrepresent) the content of Massey’s research, but it came under fire in the peer review process.

“In sharp opposition to experimental and clinical evidence, it has been alleged that proteins, particularly those from animal sources, might be deleterious for bone health” . . .
“The main purpose of this review is to analyze the evidence that refutes a relation of causality between the elements of this putative patho-physiological “cascade” that purports that animal proteins are causally associated with an increased incidence of osteoporotic fractures.”

The consensus of much research seems to be “It does appear that protein from animal sources is an important source of protein for humans from infancy until mature adulthood.”

International Society of Sports Nutrition Symposium, June 18-19, 2005, Las Vegas NV,
USA - Symposium - Macronutrient Utilization During Exercise: Implications For
Performance And Supplementation

5. You frequently speak of excess or rich diets.
Excess anything is unhealthy. We are talking about moderate / balanced diets of two kinds
a) A plant-based diet (PBD) is based on vegetables, grains, legumes and fruit,
b Animal Food Sources (AFS) include many food items that comes from an animal source such as meat, milk, fish, eggs, cheese and yogurt.
We are not talking about starvation diets or super obese diets.
We are debating healthy diets with and without AFS

6. You speak of processed cheese as if it was a healthy part of anything.
That is like promoting candy apples or sugar cubes as representative of vegetarian food.

7. You seem concerned with Osteoporosis - Here are ways to reduce bone density loss
Get regular exercise, especially weight-bearing and muscle strengthening exercise.
Get vitamin D, whether through diet, exposure to sunshine, or supplements.
Consuming enough calcium to reduce the amount the body has to borrow from bone.
Consuming adequate vitamin K, found in green, leafy vegetables.
Not getting too much preformed vitamin A.

Note - there are dangers in excess protein, and cola is very bad.


This, however had nothing to do with AFS diets.

You need to prove that a diet without AFS is as good or better than a diet with AFS.

7. You mention “U.S. News wrote in their “Best Plant Based Diets” article:

Top marks went to the Mediterranean Diet (Nutritionally sound, Diverse foods and flavors, Lots of grunt work, Moderately pricey) - It is more expensive than our families current shopping plan. I like that it includes “eating fish and seafood at least a couple of times a week”

Second place went to The Flexitarian Diet (Flexible, Lots of (tasty) recipes , Emphasis on home-cooking) - The claim here is weight loss, and it allows for AFS.

The vegetarian diet was tied for 4th place.
This is good evidence FOR AFS diets.

8. The American Institute for Cancer Research says: “Plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans should cover two thirds or more of the plate.
- this leaves 1/3 of the plate for AFS

9. “Please stop repeating myths about vegetarian/veganism you’ve heard over and over ”
No myths - my daughter was a vegan for 5-6 years. Her health suffered. Menstrual problems, headaches, depression. She simply could not get enough iron which may have been a problem with her microbiome. On a diet that includes AFS she is much healthier.

10. Great Huff Post link
“As I coach people on becoming vegan, one common refrain I hear is that it's too expensive. When funds are low, the cheap burger or basket of chicken can appear to be the best value -- the most calories for the lowest price. We've been aggressively peddled the idea that a healthy diet is an expensive diet, something only for rich folks. And our experience seems to bear that out.”

Let me conclude with this.

I am not saying a PBD is always bad.
I am saying that a balanced diet works well with a wide range of AFS and PBD foods.

You frequently cite American bad diet habits.
I agree that many Americans are incredibly obese and unhealthy.

That does not change the fact that a PBD is often more work, more expensive, less local and in some cases less ethical.

In my setting (East Coast Canada) eating local is a healthy mix of fish, milk, eggs, fruit, grains, greens and meat. Much of what I eat is grown by people I know. I get a little too much starch (a good friend has a potato farm). Lobsters are too rich ($ and cholesterol) for me so I don’t make use of that harvest. Fresh fish in season is wonderful, and I hope to catch some this week. Clams & muscles can be harvested year round, but summer/fall is best. I have not often eaten moose, deer, goat or lamb except with my native or Muslim friends.

A balanced diet is better than an artificially restricted diet

Vote CON

Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
Except for the special yeast found that has B12, there are no plants that produce B12. However B12 is component of dirt, where it is present due to insect fragments. So the trick is to eat vegetables that are not too carefully washed.

A debate is not a chat. Making a clear resolution with well-defined terms is extremely important. the Pro side of a debate is at an disadvantage because of this reuirement to write an unambiguous resolution. Pro must always be very careful.

I didn't judge the debate based upon B12, I took the resolution in the general sense that "just as good" mean "just as easy to get all the elements of good nutrition." I was only pointing out that demanding a narrow definition doesn't help.

I once thought that vegetarians were characteristically interested in health. I learned from DDO debate and interactions that this is not true. The dominant reasons for vegetarianism have to do with religion, killing animals, or other non-health reasons. I would have readily accepted that vegetarians live longer and have better health. I'd expect to see examples of vegetarian monks who live to 108 due to their health regimen. Such is not the case. In practice, strict vegetarians fare no better than those with decidedly unhealthy meat diets.

The deal with Wikipedia is that they are a good source when they reference through to other valid sources. Overall Wikipedia has a bias that would tend to favor vegetarianism and other ideas that are in vogue among the liberal elite. Hence when they are contrary to what's trendy it's probably reliable. There are more references in this old debate I had with vbaculum has been consistent in defending veganism, so you might want to try to get him to weigh in on this debate.

I think it is quite possible to have a healthy vegan diet. It's just more difficult.
Posted by monikker 5 years ago
Hah, I was trying to say that I believe in the power of sun food over omnivore bias any day.

Plants are superior sources of nutrition compared to animal products, when you compare them nutrient for nutrient. For every vegan you say is unhealthy, I'll show you two who are not only healthy but in superior shape. For every ABD eater you show me who is healthy, I'll show you just as many who are not. If vegetarians need spreadsheets to track their nutrients (which they don't, that is hilarious), then by God, omnivores need spreadsheets too.
Posted by monikker 5 years ago

The idea that I lost because of the B12 conversation is silly. This is a common argument against vegetarians, one that is unrealistic because as I said, vegetarians CAN and DO get B12 from their diets -- thus, plant-based diets DO include B12. I hit the nail on the head to get this one out of the way, because any half decent argument against vegetarians would include the B12 discussion, I would assume. This is even a quote from a source the Con side referenced: "Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in some foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement and a prescription medication." Omnivores & herbivores both have B12, iron, & Vitamin D issues.

I'm trying to figure out where you got all the facts for the claims you made in your comments...oh, Wikipedia? I guess omnivores really like using this shaky source for their confirmation bias. I at least choose more credible sources most of the time for mine.

I didn't define the terms of PBD because 1) this is my first debate on here 2) I didn't realize I'd have to both be the moderator and the debater 3) Common sense will tell you that anyone who eats plants most of the time is ON A PLANT-BASED DIET. I'm mostly vegan but if my girlfriend is going to throw away her sushi, am I suddenly on an animal-based diet now because I didn't want it to go to waste? I don't think so. Let's not be ridiculous here. Clearly some people find PBD to have a small amount of flexibility -- fine, I can go with that. The main point is that anyone on a PBD almost always eats plants -- it's just not that hard. I proved that anyone on a PBD can be just as healthy if not healthier than one on an ABD. Please read my sources.

And yes, not only can PBD be just as good or healthier than ABD, but they also are a bit more friendlier in terms of ethics and sustainability, usually. I don't understand why this isn't important. I did not lose and I did not pick the best of the winners. Sun foo
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
The problem with your resolution is interpreting the meaning of "just as good." does it "just as good" mean that the minimal nutritional requirements can be met? If so, you lose because you conceded that B12 requirements cannot be met. You didn't need to admit that because a vegetarian source of B12 was found, but you conceded that early in the debate and that's fatal to your case. it's true that a healthy diet can be had from strict vegetarian sources, but you nonetheless conceded it could not.

However, you were wandering all over the map, arguing animal welfare, cost, and other things. That clouds the resolution, and it's your job as Pro to make a clear resolution. Now you are telling me that plant-based diet does not even mean "vegetarian" or "vegan." "Plant-based" says vegetarian to me.

You say it easy to get a cheap vegetarian diet in Austin, but most of the world's population is not in Austin or any place like it. Much of the world survives on beans and rice, but much of the world also suffers from deficiencies. Vitamin A deficiency is a big problem, and Wikipedia says "The major cause is diets which include few animal sources of pre-formed vitamin A."

If you took away fish from the diets of many impoverished countries there would be a serious health problem because in those localities fish is cheap. In northern climates fruit and vegetables are very expensive. Eskimos could not survive. The advantage of being omnivorous is that people can eat what is cheap and available. You seemed to be saying throughout that vegetarianism is viable option for anyone who want it, but it isn't.

Strict vegetarians live no longer than promiscuous hamburger chompers. They certainly can, but it requires a careful accounting of diet.

You can win a bunch of vegetarian debates by focusing on the possibility of being healthy on a vegetarian diet. In this debate, you argued ten different things and then afterwards tried to pick out the winning topic form the losers.
Posted by monikker 5 years ago
@RoyLatham, my sources prove that PBD can be just as healthy if not healthier (please look at the last section of my post on Round 3), just as cheap if not cheaper, and just as easy (beans, veggies, fruits, legumes, etc are all easily available and just as easy to consume as meat & dairy). This is what I set out to prove, and I did.

Now, the Con side was trying to prove that vegetarians can meet all nutritional needs. My research goes far above that to show that's not even an issue. I don't get why you voted for Con.
Posted by monikker 5 years ago
Also, @RoyLatham, my sources were just as credible and used just as thoroughly in Rounds 2 & 3. I cited over 10 research studies, while the Con side did not. I don't understand how his references are more credible than mine.
Posted by monikker 5 years ago

The debate is whether or not PBD are as good as ABD -- you stated that it is "quite possible to eat a healthy and completely nutritious diet from only plants" yet voted against this. The debate wasn't over history or the healthiest diets in the world. :(

Any advantage to vegetarianism should be relevant to the resolution, because it is a debate about PBD and ABD.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
I have researched this topic for my own debates. It is quite possible to eat a healthy and completely nutritious diet from only plants. Vegetarians have found a rare yeast that produces B12, so the truly devoted can stay strictly vegetarian. However, it's not too easy to maintain a strict vegetarian diet and get enough protein, calcium, iron, and B12. People without spreadsheets respond to cravings, so a reasonably balanced diet is obtained automatically. The healthiest diet in the world is probably the Okinawan traditional diet, which is high on vegetables but includes meat, eggs, and fish.

It turns out the traditional Eskimos diet of nearly all meat is also a healthy diet. Raw seal blubber is actually a reasonably healthy food. Just don't cook your seal blubber. Point is that humans are omnivorous and can do well on a variety of foods, depending on what's available.

The current generation of Japanese are quite a bit taller than previous generations. This is attributed to the introduction of dairy products adding calcium to the diet. While it's possible to get enough calcium from vegetables, it doesn't usually happen.

Most of the claimed other advantages of vegetarianism were irrelevant to the resolution. I'll only point out that fish provides an important source of protein and calcium for a significant fraction of the world's people, and it's likely that seafood will become more important as the technology of ocean farming progresses.
Posted by monikker 5 years ago
Pro's comments on Con's Round 3 post:

I'm not interested in refuting the claim that eating a pineapple is unethical. That is a ridiculous waste of my time, since there are so many other local plants to be eaten instead of pineapples!

I'm well aware that a PBD can be as healthy, and for some people, can prevent or reverse chronic disease better than an ABD, making it healthier for them. Not everyone succeeds on a PBD, but guess what -- lots of people fail on an ABD.

Where I live in Austin, TX, I not only have superb access to local produce (and meat and fish, if I so desired) but there is also an array of oddly superb markets and grocery stores--all which carry at least some local food, along with inexpensive & expensive plant-based foods. Being vegetarian/veganism in a place like Austin is so easy, it's ridiculous. Anyone with access to a couple decent stores/markets can get great PBD sources for cheap, though.

Bottom line, though -- eat more fruits and veggies. Many PBD do includes animal products (the U.S. News article was called "Best PLANT BASED Diets,") so just because someone is on a PBD doesn't mean they don't EVER touch an animal. My research (and some critical thinking, I feel) shows that PBD can be just as good as ABD. Vote PRO.
Posted by monikker 5 years ago
I couldn't include this in my last post due to text limitations, but as for the fish the Con side had for lunch the other day? Enjoy fish for now, because it may not be around for too much longer. If you have any kids or grandkids, they will likely be forced to find more plant sources. Multiple reports predict fish depletion by 2048.

Time to re-think our diets and resources now, eh?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro got off to a bad start by saying he wasn't going to use sources because it was too much trouble. A debate of this kind comes down to sources, and Pro never caught up against Con's thorough use of references. There is a problem with the resolution. Does the resolution translate to (a) "Humans can meet all nutritional needs with a strict vegetarian diet." or does it mean (b) "It's just as easy to have a healthy vegetarian diet as an omniverous diet." Con's (1) support's (a) and (2) denies (a). His (3, 4, 5, 10) are irrelevant to either, and (6, 7, 8, 9) support (b). That and the way the debate evolved lead to (b) as the meaning. On that, Con had the better sources and Pro did not meet the burden of proof.