Viva! Says Plant-Based Diet Promotes Better Sex Life, But Nutrition Expert Says Not So Fast

In March, Viva! brought its campaign claiming that a vegetarian diet is key to a vigorous sex life to Scotland. The groups claimed that eating a vegetarian diet can prevent impotence and baldness, but a nutrition researcher suggested the group’s claims should be taken with a huge grain of salt.

Viva! director Juliet Gellatley told the Sunday Herald,

People are much more savvy now than they were 10 years ago. Over that time the medical evidence has become much stronger, not just that vegetarians lead a longer life, which they certainly do, but also that they lead a healthier life.

But Dr. Jane Scott, a professor of public health and nutrition at Glasgow University, told the Sunday Herald that the group was vastly overstating the evidence,

It’s hard to tease out the effect of diet as opposed to the other aspects of a person’s lifestyle. A lot of studies focus on cultures that don’t eat meat, but then they might not drink or smoke either, and this is quite important. . . . [And some conditions are largely genetic] The chances are, if your dad was bald, you will be bald too. As for claims that a vegetarian lifestyle cures impotence, I would be extremely dubious and would like to see some proper evidence.

Come on, proper evidence? How would that advance the vegetarian snake oil salesmen?


Forget Viagra . . . vegetables are key to a longer sex life. Paul Dalgarno, Sunday Herald, April 10, 2005.

Study of Raw Food Vegan Adherents Suggests They Have Strong Bones

A small study of 18 raw food vegans found that they had surprisingly high vitamin D levels and relatively strong bones for their body mass.

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine examined the raw food vegans who ranged in age from 33 to 85. On average, the people in the study had been on a raw food vegan diet for an average of 3.6 years.

Compared to a control group of individuals on a more traditional American diet, the raw food vegans had lower bone mass, but nonetheless showed indicators of strong bones. Lead researcher Dr. Luigi Fontana said,

We think it’s possible these people don’t have increased risk of fracture but that their low bone mass is related to the fact that they are lighter because they take in fewer calories.

The 18 raw food vegans had a BMI that averaged 20.5, compared to the control group which had an average BMI of 25.

The group started out with the hypothesis that, since they do not consume dairy products, the raw food vegan group would have lower levels of Vitamin D than the control group, but in fact it was the control group that had lower average vitamin D levels than the raw food vegans.

Dr. Fontana said of this finding,

These people [raw food vegans] are clever enough to expose themselves to sunlight to increase their concentrations of vitamin D.


Raw food vegans thin but healthy, study finds. Reuters, March 28, 2005.

Animal Rights — Its Even for Flesh Eaters!

Sometimes you see quotes from animal rights activists that makes you wonder if they even understand their own ideology.

For example, in march the Body of Animal Rights Campaigners — a University of Central Florida animal rights student group, collaborated with the Orlando Animal Rights Alliance and the Farm Animal Reform Movement for a Meatout Walk.

Why they bothered to organize such a walk is a mystery given this statement from Body of Animal Rights Campaigners co-president Sara Beniamino,

You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to support animal rights. I just think if people had all the facts, as I do, they’d get there, because I used to eat meat, too.

Fine, I’m going to take this twit at face value and come out here and now — that’s right I’m a closet animal rights supporter. I support animal rights, I just also happen to think its okay to eat meat, experiment on animals, kill them for fur, hunt them, fish them, put them in zoos and circuses, and pretty much everything else that’s legal to do with animals in the United States other than cockfighting.

Maybe we need a whole new nomenclature for animal rights types similar to the umpteen versions of hyphenated vegetarians (for example, I might be classified as a morte-ARA — someone who supports the rights of animals but I also think its okay to kill them with impunity as long as you’ve got a good reason to do so, like you’re hungry or have a thing for veal).

Anyway, the whole thing was apparently a way to get money to rent a billboard. Dan Holbert, the other co-president of BARC, told the Central Florida Tribune,

The money raised for this vent goes to FARM, which does great work within the United States and around the world to address the plight of farmed animals. If OARA and BARC raise at least $1,000 together, then we get a billboard in the Orlando area showing people the cruelty of factory farming and asking them to go veg! If BARC and OARA each get 10 people to raise $50, then we’ve got the billboard.

And, of course, the annual statistics on number of animals slaughtered in the United States for food demonstrate just what a good job FARM is doing in the United States. In fact, since I’m coming out here as a closet activist, let me add that I encourage all of my fellow activists to give as much of their money as possible to groups as effective as FARM.

(On a side note, it is good to see they let Holbert out of his cage once in awhile).


Animal rights club beats meat. Bruce Rabin, Central Florida Tribune, March 10, 2005.

Are Vegan Diets Unethical?

Nutrition researcher Lindsay Allen certainly found herself in the middle of a firestorm in February after numerous news reports quoted her as dismissing vegan and vegetarian diets. For example, according to the BBC, Allen said,

There’s absolutely no question that it’s unethical for parents to bring up their children as strict vegans.

That brought Allen a lot of grief from vegetarians and vegans, but Allen claimed she was misquoted. In a written response posted on VegSource.Com, Allen aid,

The news reporter ‘hyped’ my concern about vegan diets for pregnant/lactating mothers and infants/children by not adding the sentence I was emphatic they keep in, namely that vegan diets were unethical UNLESS those who practiced them were well-informed about how to add back the missing nutrients through supplements or fortified foods.

Allen’s research does have interesting things to say about the common animal rights claim that the entire world would be better off if vegetarianism were universal. Allen’s research has looked at the effect of supplementing the diets of poor Kenyan children with small amounts of meat. Previous research she participated in found that supplementing the diets of Kenyan children with meat increased plasma vitamin B-12, but had little effect on other micronutrient deficiencies.

In the research she was reporting on where she was misquoted, Allen found that children given just 60 grams of minced beef daily showed up to an 80 percent greater increase in upper-arm muscle development than a control group that was un-supplemented. Children whose diets were supplemented with milk rather than meat saw a 40 percent greater increase. Allen said of the children,

The group that received the meat supplements were more active in the playground, more talkative and playful, and showed more leadership skills.

But, of course, we see animal rights activists angered when someone dares to give people in the developing world access to animal agriculture, such as through charity Heifer International.

If anything, the main criticism of Allen’s research should be why she’s bothering to study the obvious. I wouldn’t think the hypothesis that malnourished children could be helped by supplementing their diets with meat would be considered controversial or non-obvious by anyone except the vegan and vegetarian extremists.


Kenyan school children have multiple micronutrient deficiencies, but increased plasma vitamin b-12 is the only detectable response to meat or milk supplementation. Jonathan H. Siekmann, et al, Journal of Nutrition, 133:3972S-3980S, November 2003.

UCD professor’s comments on vegan diet hotly debated. Christian Danielsen, The California Aggie, March 2, 2005.

Children ‘harmed’ by vegan diets. Michelle Roberts, The BBC, February 21, 2005.

Meat diet boosts kids’ growth. Michael Hopkins, Nature, February 22, 2005.

Gary Yourofsky's State-of-the-Art in Pro-Vegan Arguments

When he’s not busy saying that he would unequivocally support the murder of people working in animal enterprises, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals spokesman Gary Yourofksy travels the country with Kate Timko trying to talk students at universities into switching to veganism.

Don’t worry, though, the foray into institutes of higher learning won’t change Yourofsky. The Daily Pennsylvanian, for example, reports that Yourofsky offered the following as an example to buttress his claim that human beings weren’t meant to eat meat,

Put a 2-year-old in a crib with a bunny rabbit and an apple. If the child eats the bunny rabbit and plays with the apple, I’ll buy you a new car.

Wow — PETA’s really getting their money’s worth out of Yourofsky. Yourofsky told The Daily Pennsylvanian that he converts 2-5 people a day to veganism. With arguments like that, I’m surprised he isn’t closer to 4-10 people a day!

Meanwhile, Timko manages to make meat eating sound exciting. The Daily Pennsylvanian quoted Timko as saying,

Eating meat really does mean eating dead animals. It means that your body is transformed into a walking animal graveyard.

Who knew that eating meat meant eating dead animals? You learn something new everyday.

On the other hand, that image of a walking animal graveyard sounds pretty cool. It’d make a great horror film (Pet Sematary 3 anyone?)


Animal rights activists hype veganism. Alanna Kaufman, The Daily Pennsylvanian, September 27, 2004.

Meat Eating Continues to Grow

You probably missed it, but Farm USA’s World Farm Animals Day was October 2. Ahead of the WFAD, Farm USA released a report confirming the obvious — despite all the efforts of animal rights activists, meat consumption in the United States continues to grow far faster than population.

Farm USA extrapolated from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service data to estimate that in 2004 the number of animals (not including aquatic animals) killed for food in the United States rose 2.5 percent to 10.2 billion. The vast majority of those animals — 9.39 billion — are broiler chickens.

According to Farm USA,

The rise in the animal death toll is double the annual U.S. population increase (currently 294.3 million) and reflects the continuing trend of switching from cow meat to chicken meat (a cow yields 200 times the amount of flesh in a chicken). In more personal terms, the average American is directly responsible for the abuse and death of 2,485 chickens, 78 turkeys and ducks, 33 pigs, and 11 cows and sheep during a 75-year life span.

Hmm….makes my mouth water.

Farm USA posted a number of pictures from World Farm Animal Day demonstrations around the world, and I think the winner had to be this one,

That’s Dan Holbert of Florida-based Body of Animal Rights Campaigners (BARC, get it?) Way to go, Dan. As I always say, a pig is a rat is a caged animal rights activist.


World Farm Animals Day 2004 Preliminary Report. Farm USA, October 2004.

Death toll continues to rise. Press Release, Farm USA, September 25, 2004.