*This article does not criticise individuals within the association but is just a reflection of how the association as a whole represents itself.
Recently, you might have noticed many mainstream news outlets in Australia such as Channel 7, Channel 9 and News.com circulating a similar article on “The Dangers of Veganism.”
Click-baiting and fear-mongering headlines are not something anyone who uses the internet should be unfamiliar with. In the age of fake news and corporate-funded influence, these types of baseless, misguided articles seem to be increasing as the vegan movement grows faster each day.
Google search results on "the danger of veganism."
The articles in question that have been circulating all over the news are based on the advice of the Dieticians Association of Australia (DAA) in which their spokeswoman, Nicole Dynan, had issued a warning to the public on the “dangers” of going vegan.
According to her, basically, the "dangers" are:
“Vegans are falling into the trap of eating processed vegan-friendly foods such as vegan packaged sausages, which are generally high in sodium and salt."
"They're not something you would find in nature," she says.
“But, with the increase in information comes an increase in danger," she says.
"If you actively try to avoid (certain foods) you do end up with a restricted diet ... you're not getting a full consumption of nutritional requirements," she says.
"It can be dangerous for some people without proper guidance."
But hold on a second...
Shouldn't this advice apply to every diet - including the standard Western diet that the majority of people are on - and not just a plant-based diet? Shouldn’t everyone be watching out for excess sodium and processed foods, whether they're vegan or not?
Also, shouldn’t the DAA's main focus be on warning the public of the diet responsible for the leading cause of death, and many other diseases including cancers, instead of fear-mongering about the only diet that has been repeatedly scientifically proven to prevent, reverse and manage - for life - most of the major chronic diseases in the western world today?
Shouldn’t the DAA be focusing on advising the public about the dangers of processed meat? Which has been classified as a Class 1A carcinogen by the World Health Organisation - meaning it’s proven to cause cancer - and is in the same category as tobacco, plutonium, arsenic and asbestos.
Dr Michael Greger explains how thousands of studies show that processed meat causes cancer and why you don't hear about it.
Why doesn’t Ms Dynan and the DAA, who seem to be very concerned about "sodium and salt" intakes, have any advice for us on the dangers of foods that currently contribute the most sodium to most people diets? Australians take in 19-21% of sodium in their diet from bread, 14-16% from processed meat, 7-9% from takeaway foods.
The only information found on the DAA's website on a plant-based diet was one tiny page that acknowledges that fact that "With planning, those following a vegan diet can cover all their nutrient bases..." but it doesn't mention one benefit of a plant-based diet and mainly lists the nutrients that vegans need to be aware of.
Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention…
Of course, this all makes sense when we consider who the top major corporate partners of the Dieticians Association of Australia are:
A screenshot from the DAA's website - Major corporate partners page.
Even though the DAA's policy states on their website that:
"DAA values its independence and will not be influenced by any statements, positions or opinions by its commercial agreements"
But, it's hard to believe that there is no conflict of interest here because it's even harder to believe that the largest dieticians organisation in Australia are completely unaware of the countless of studies linking animal products to disease and that a plant-based diet is perfectly adequate and proven to be healthier than their promoted diet.
Having the Dietician Association’s major partners as Jalna Yoghurt, Meat and Livestock Australia, Campbell Arnott’s, Nestle and the Egg Nutrition Council is like having Marlboro, L&M and other tobacco companies as the major partners of the National Cancer Institute and having them fund research on the harms and diseases caused by smoking tobacco.
A Short video explaining how corporate interest can lead to hiding information from the public.
But it makes sense that when one of your major partners is the Meat and Livestock Association, you somehow forget to mention the countless of studies from the largest health organisations and prestigious universities, such as Harvard and Cornell, who tell us that the optimal amount of meat in a healthy diet is precisely zero.
It makes sense that the DAA has conveniently forgotten which diet is the major cause of heart diseases and strokes, the leading cause of death in the western world.
It also makes perfect sense that they don’t want to mention that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the largest organisation of food and nutrition professionals in the world) released the following peer-reviewed statement:
“It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.
These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood and for athletes.
Plant-based diets are more environmentally sustainable than diets rich in animal products because they use fewer natural resources and are associated with much less environmental damage.
Vegetarians and vegans are at reduced risk of certain health conditions, including ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer, and obesity.”
To learn more on evidence-based science from non-funded industry research, visit Nutrionfacts.org, a strictly non-commercial, science-based public service provided by Dr Michael Greger as a labour of love, providing free updates on the latest in nutrition research via bite-sized videos and articles.
I also recommend reading this article here to learn more about the influence of the meat, dairy and egg industry on Government, Education, News, Media & Health professionals,
Or if you’re not into reading much, then I highly recommend watching the documentary What The Health to learn more about corporate funding and the influence of the meat and dairy industry on organisations such as the Dieticians Association of Australia.