Don’t accept Greet’s claims at face value

April 7, 2017

In her letter dated April 4, Ms. Greet purports to "set the record straight." What she actually does is attempt to cover up her clear misrepresentation of a 2013 Nutritional Update from Kaiser Permanente, by accusing me of "nitpicking misrepresentation." The reality is that there was no misrepresentation on my part whatsoever.

All that I did was to call attention to Ms. Greet's obvious inaccuracy, which she chooses to ignore, rather than explain. Here are the facts: Her falsification of the recommendations of that KP Nutritional Update came in another letter to the editor dated March 21.

There she stated, "Kaiser Permanente advised its 17,000 doctors in 2013 to instruct all patients to consume a meat-free, plant-based diet." This statement is not accurate. In fact the KP update suggested that, "Physicians should advocate that it is time to get away from terms like vegan and vegetarian and start talking about eating healthy, whole, plant-based foods [primarily fruits and vegetables] and minimizing consumption of meat, eggs and dairy products." Minimizing consumption does not mean halting consumption, as the update goes on to make clear.

The update goes on to say, "Vegetarian or vegan diets adopted for ethical or religious reasons may or may not be healthy." "A plant-based diet is not an all-or-nothing program, but a way of life that is tailored to each individual." "Individuals who follow a plant-based diet that includes no animal products may be vulnerable to B12 deficiency." Please read the update for yourself. The text is available online. Simply Google: Kaiser Permanente 2013 Nutritional Update.

Also of interest is the fact that Kaiser Permanente's current diet recommendations appear to include more variety than is represented by Ms. Greet. They include meats, dairy and seafood as elements of a healthy diet. Here are excerpts from their website along with links to the information: Healthy eating includes:

A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups - dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other; fruits, especially whole fruits; grains, at least half of which are whole grains; fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages; a variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and ultra, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products; oils; limit saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium (salt).

"Protein foods. Most adults need five- to six-and-a-half ounces each day. A three-ounce serving of meat is the size and thickness of a deck of cards. For many people, cutting back on meat has the biggest impact on how much fat they eat. Choose fish and lean poultry more often, and red meat and fried meats less often. Meat alternatives like dried beans, tofu, and nuts are also good protein sources.

Dairy. Choose low-fat or fat-free products from this food group. Most adults need three cups of milk and milk products a day. If you have problems digesting milk, try eating cheese or yogurt instead, since these foods are low in lactose.

There is still much debate on the health effects of a vegan diet. The American Council on Science and Health discourages the practice in their online article titled, "Why a vegetarian diet may be bad for you."

In consideration of a subject as serious as that of nutrition, the reader would do well to not accept statements from the advocates of any position at face value. This would especially apply to militant advocates of veganism, who appear to feel free to misrepresent and disregard facts in order to support their position.

Lawrence McSwain



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