Ginny Messina's CV can be viewed on her website: http://www.theveganrd.com/about/my-professional-experiencecurriculum-vitae
Me being a good or bad person has nothing to do with a statement of fact. I didn't give an opinion about whether Ginny Messina has the credentials to give nutrition advice. I merely linked to her CV because there was speculation about her experience. Looking at her CV, she has indeed published and worked with patients, even if that's not her main focus currently.
If you do want my opinion, yes, I think she's qualified to offer nutrition advice. She has studied how to interpret nutrition studies. Her advice is that a plant-based diet can be very healthy, which is what the majority of registered dieticians say as well. Science works by consensus.
I don't know where you're getting these smoking statistics from. I'm not extremely familiar with studies about cigarette smoke, but even a quick search on pubmed shows a lot of studies of social smoking or occasional smoking. And they all show that even limited smoking or second hand (or third hand)smoking is dangerous.
But that aside, smoking and eating meat are two different activities. A dangerous dose for one can't be compared to a dangerous dose for another.
I don't have a horse in this fight, but I think arguments for or against should be accurate and based on scientific consensus, not on the work of individuals.
No posts published so far.
Thanks, Steve. I am not at all surprised. Jeff Novick often talks about the standard hierarchy of evidence established by WHO, NIH, and used in evidence-based medicine. If Jack and Ginny don't like the evidence out there for a low-fat, whole food plant based diet, that is fine. But to dispute it, they have to use better evidence not lesser evidence, and they have both been consistently unable to do that.
Ginny and Jack like to talk about "possible danger" of the McDougall and Esselstyn-type diets, but they have never come up with anything concrete to back up their opinions. The reality is these AR dietitians want people to switch from an unhealthy, fatty animal diet to an unhealthy, fatty vegan diet. That is a strategic decision they have made, and they state that strategy publicly in articles, like the article of Matt's at the start of this article.
I think they're wrong and they end up shooting themselves in the foot for what they want to do. Although they are dietitians, it seems they care most about animals rather than people, and they believe that since "healthy" food won't be appealing enough, they don't want to go there.
And this could help explain why a lot of ethical vegans end up going back to meat-eating; their main dietary sources are dietitians like Jack and Ginny, who provide poor advice -- like the advice you note Jack talks about, based on whacky sources, like a blog comment or email from a stranger on the internet.
At least Jack is more intellectually honest and admits, when pressed, that he was actually speaking out of his ass when he was criticizing the low-fat diet.
Messina and Jack have no real clinical experience, unlike the plant-based dietitians working to improve health. Jack should have known, for example, that low libido is a known side effect of anorexia or extreme calorie restriction, and has nothing to do with low fat, see:
"Sexual dysfunction is common across eating disorders subtypes. Low BMI is associated with loss of libido, sexual anxiety, and avoidance of sexual relationships."
"For men with eating disorders, levels of testosterone decrease along with sexual libido, which often go unreported or unnoticed."
Now I am not saying that these people who posted comments on Jack's blog had eating disorders, I have no way of knowing. But loss or lack of libido is a common sign in those who overly restrict their calories. And that can obviously happen if you're on an Atkins fat-/protein-heavy diet, so it's not the fat.
Jack doesn't say he had them provide a week's worth of food journal so he could evaluate their diets, calculate their calories and understand what might be going on. That may well have shown that if these people had simply added in more calories, they would have been fine, rather than it being anything to do with low-fat.
In any event, taking a couple of isolated anecdotal stories and using that to develop his diet and health recommendations . . . obviously that's worthless.
This is what happens when someone has a bias, an agenda champion a certain diet. Rather than trying to understand why Novick, McDougall, Esselstyn and son, Fuhrman, Pritikin, True North, Ornish and the rest are having such huge success and so many people are thriving, Jack doesn't want to consider low-fat and is focusing on blog comments from strangers on the internet to develop recommendations for his readers.
For all Jack knows, these comments or emails could be from anti-vegan trolls just messing with him. If this represents how recommendations are developed by AR dietitians... No wonder so many are giving up and going back to meat.
I think Matt actually does harm to animals, by trying to convince other activists NOT to give health information to people. He has this ridiculous article advancing his theory that telling people to go plant-based for health reasons causes more chickens to die. And for evidence of this, he offers...nothing but speculation. Matt helps sew the seeds of the destruction of his own work, by trying to convince activists to stay away from learning about and telling others about health info.
I'm sorry but the AR dietitians are completely out of their depth when it comes to plant-based diets and health.
Embracing both health and the animal suffering argument is a win-win for the animals AND people. As Dr. McDougall likes to say: by solving the 2-legged problem (people's health), we automatically solve the 4-legged problem (getting people off animals).
With respect, Mollyjade, I wasn't asking whether you think she's qualified to give nutrition advice. I was asking whether you think it's reasonable for an RD with no patients to assert (eg. with regard to olive oil) that Esselstyn / Novick / McDougall / Barnard / Fuhrman / Goldhamer / Campbell have all got it wrong ?
I'm aware that she admits to the health benefits of a largely plant-based diet. With regard to her stance against the health argument for veganism, the main crux of her argument seems to be that there's no evidence people have to go 100% vegan in order to reap the benefits.
As I mentioned above to another commenter, this argument seems kind of ridiculous because there's no evidence that a person smoking 2 or 3 cigarettes a week is at any greater risk of lung cancer than a non-smoker. And there's actually evidence that smokers who eat a large amount of green vegetables are at a reduced risk of lung cancer compared to non-smokers who eat only a small amount of green vegetables in their diet. So by Ginny's standards, any health professional who tells a person that they need to give up smoking 100% (or that quitting smoking is the only way to reduce lung cancer risk) is straying from the science.
Well there's definitely more "evidence" than there was when I last had this debate. But still only a couple of epidemiological studies, so not the sort of evidence that would convince someone like Ginny "Just The Facts" Messina. But for argument's sake, what if we were to play it safe and go for 2 cigarretes a MONTH ?
I can't say that I understand your point about comparing the risk of smoking to the risk of meat eating. The point I'm making is that there's a level of consumption below which the health consequences become negligible. At which point it becomes impossible to show the associated harm (in a RCT or even epidemiological setting). I'm sure you realise that such a level does exist even for smoking.
Regarding your point about opinions being based on scientific consensus and not on the work of individuals, I agree, but surely you don't think the above-mentioned doctors are just basing their opinions on the work of a few individuals.
Have you seen the number of references that Dr Campbell cites in his book The China Study ? That book includes Dr Campbell's review of hundreds of articles in the scientific literature as well as the China Project itself. I'm sure some people have been fooled by the seemingly persuasive and undeservedly well publicised criticisms of The China Study that are floating around. As well as criticisms from people like Jack and Ginny. Most if not all of which have fallen apart under closer scrutiny. And for the record, I don't think there's any scientific evidence on this planet that could withstand the scrutiny that that book has been subjected to. I'm sure that if you read it, you'll understand WHY it's been scrutinised so hard. Please also note that Dr Campbell has always been very clear about how far the evidence goes, as well as presenting a good case as to why people should go 100%.
As for olive oil, do you think these guys would recommend giving it up if they didn't think it was worth it ? Do you think they're just saying it because they think it'll make them more popular, or because they like destroying everyone's fun ? Do you think people such as Jeff Novick or Dr Barnard aren't reading all the same studies as Ginny Messina and Jack Norris ? I can guarantee you they are, and I can guarantee you that they're also evaluating the results of those articles carefully and seeing how that information fits in with what they've seen in their many years of clinical experience. And during those many years of clinical experience, I'm sure they've learned many things that aren't even IN the scientific literature (yet).
No doubt these docs sometimes resort to hyperbole-esque statements when trying to communicate their message to a brainwashed public, and maybe once in a while they might change their recommendations in line with new findings, and I know not all of them are ethical vegans, and some of them might say "plant-based" instead of vegan. But they still have a goldmine of information to offer you, and most of them risked their careers and professional circles to get that information to you. And not to have a dig, but I know a couple of ethical vegans who lament the use of the word "plant-based", and yet these same people haven't even plucked up the courage to tell their own mothers-in-law that they're vegan.
Vegan Outpreach and Ginny Messina drew a line in the sand many years ago when they said they don't think the health argument exists. And I think they made it quite clear that they wouldn't use it even if they thought it DID exist. And they don't want anyone else using it either. That indicates a strong bias in my view, and may well be clouding their judgement on these matters. And when you draw a line in the sand like that, it also means you're going to be less likely to admit you're wrong if/when that realisation comes.
You may be interested to know that Vegan Outpreach and Ginny Messina also think vegans should stop using the environmental argument:
They want this to be purely about the animals.
Although for some reason, they're happy to try and hook the public in with tasty fat-laidened food, which I find to be quite inconsistent with their values. Because that's really pandering to people's self-interest isn't it ? Just like the health argument. It's called the "taste argument". And there was me thinking it was supposed to be about the animals. And what are people going to do if they're stuck in some low-class hotel with no fancy vegan restaurant and no oven to make their vegan Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cakes ? Might they give up on veganism if the food they're faced with isn't up to the standard they've been promised by all those taste-promoting vegans ? It's just setting them up for failure if you ask me.
Anyways, in light of the possible biases mentioned above, I'd encourage you to contact the above doctors / RD's next time you hear Jack or Ginny or anyone else criticise their work, because there may well be something that Jack and Ginny are over-looking or not wanting to face up to. And it's only fair to give these docs a chance to defend themselves.
I can tell you from first-hand experience that they're very accessible.
All the best
P.S. - I realise that I've responded to a couple of points that you didn't actually make.
Ha ! True words, Jeff.
I think more and more people are getting sick of the non-stop health-bashing coming out of the Norris / Ball / Messina quarters.
At the end of the day, I think they're confused about what they stand for and derive most of their identity from the shots they take at others in the veg world. Others who are far too busy saving lives (human and animal) to retaliate.
I hope Norris / Ball / Messina find their true calling some day.
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