From Jimmy Moore's blog:
An obvious uproar has ensued within the high-fat, low-carb diet
community this week as a result of the seemingly sudden decision by the
most well-known health food retailer in the world to actively market
and promote a low-fat, vegetarian diet in their 289 stores. Whole Foods Market has
strongly branded itself as the go-to place for people desiring to make
healthier food choices for themselves and their family and they have
long offered customers with a variety of dietary choices that ability
to select what best meets their specific needs. But all of that has
changed now that they are pushing what they are calling their “Health Starts Here” campaign.
According to their press release about this educational effort, they are hoping to “help
shoppers and Team Members who want to improve their health easily and
naturally” by implementing “healthy eating education.” They define
this as a low-fat, plant-based diet full of vegetables, fruits,
legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Although they do discourage the
consumption of highly-processed and sugary foods, the focus is very
clearly on limiting dietary fat and increasing carbohydrate intake.
They even have a page on their web site for “Maximizing the Vegetarian Diet.”
Stores like Whole Foods can be great sources of humanely killed, hormone-free, occasionally pastured meat. Or used to be, at least- I won't be back there again.
The store has a hilarious "Maximizing the Vegetarian Diet" page. It starts with a rather strong assertion:
The health benefits associated with eating more vegetables and
fruits and less meat are indisputably clear…studies have shown a positive link between eating a
vegetarian diet and a reduced risk for chronic diseases such as
diabetes, obesity, hypertension, coronary artery disease and some types
Then, however it goes on to list all the common nutritional problems of vegetarians, and how to deal with them:
Vegetarians…may need to eat 10–20% more protein
than recommended in order to compensate for the lower digestibility of
plant-based protein…iron from plant foods is not as available to the body as iron from animal sources…marginal deficiencies in zinc may be common in vegetarians…vegetarian diets, particularly vegan diets, frequently do not supply adequate amounts of omega-3 essential fatty acids…
So "maximizing," it looks like, means "compensating for the numerous deficiencies in." Vegetarians need to eat an unnaturally diverse, processed spread of foods to get the nutrients they need, which pokes a big hole in any nutritional or environmental rationales for the diet. When you have to eat dangerous amounts of soy for your protein and eat ten different kinds of fossil-fuel-fertilized and transported greens for your vitamins, your eco-diet starts to look a little less sustainable.
Spend a little time searching nutritiondata.com, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a diet that supplies all the nutrients of meat, eggs, and fish. I admire the noble intentions of the veggie crowd, but I want to live to 150, and plant-based diets play roulette with the human body.