A renowned plant-based doctor compared a proponent of meat-heavy diets to a “flat Earther” on live TV.
Dr Michael Greger, founder of NutritionFacts.org, appeared on a GB News segment to debate whether eating a diet heavy in animal products is healthier than a vegetarian one.
His opponent was Ivor Cummins, a “metabolic researcher” and co-author of Eat Rich Live Long. The 2018 book espouses the benefits of a meat-heavy ketogenic (keto) diet.
Cummins began the debate, arguing that a meat-based diet is nutrient dense and that proteins in meats and animal foods are more “bioavailable.” He also claimed that protein deficiency is an issue among the population, and that meat diets can combat this.
Responding, Greger pointed out that there isn’t any problem with deaths and serious illnesses among the population from protein deficiencies. He also stated that the biggest killers – like heart disease and type 2 diabetes – have been linked to meat consumption.
“People aren’t dying of deficiency diseases,” Dr Greger said. “People are dying of excess, of diseases of excess, of excess saturated fat and cholesterol. The healthiest diet is one centered on whole plant food.”
Cummins then claimed that studies have found that a “low carb, high fat” largely animal-based diet can “dramatically lower blood fats” in diabetic people. He then held up a graph that appeared to show that a reduction in red meat consumption had coincided with a rise in the number of type 2 diabetes cases.
“To be honest, this isn’t rocket science,” Cummins said. “We’ve lowed our nutrient density meats, and we’ve exploded our chronic disease. Including, as per Dr Greger, cardiac disease, the biggest killer. It’s insulin resistance-driven, and a wholefoods animal-based diet – with plant foods – can help counter this catastrophe.”
In response to this, Dr Greger showed his own chart, which was a list of all the diseases that vegetarians have lower rates of. These included cancer (in general), kidney failure, high blood pressure, and dementia.
“I feel like I’m talking to a flat-Earther here,” he said. “But it’s even worse than that. If you want to go around talking about lizard people or something you can just get dismissed as a crank, but what you’re spewing could actually hurt people. Could kill people.”