Identical twins compared a vegan diet with meat-eating and found the vegan diet led to fat loss and more energy – Hugo & Ross Turner

The Turner twins, Hugo, left, and Ross, before comparing a vegan diet with an omnivorous diet in a 12-week experiment. 
Courtesy of Hugo and Ross Turner
  • Ross and Hugo Turner, a pair of identical twins known as “the adventure guinea pigs,” decided to compare a vegan and omnivorous diet and found some striking differences in the results.
  • The twin on the vegan diet had more energy and lost body fat, while his meat-eating counterpart gained more muscle but also more fat.
  • They also noticed a difference in their gut microbiomes, the beneficial bacteria insider the body that might explain how various diets can prevent chronic disease.

The Turner twins have climbed a mountain and trekked to the most inaccessible points on every continent, all in the name of research, charitable causes, and exploration. For their latest adventure, brothers Hugo and Ross Turner trekked into even more fraught territory — comparing the effects of a vegan diet to an omnivorous diet on two genetically identical people.

The Turners decided to study the two eating styles side by side over a 12-week fitness training regime from January to March this year. They were inspired by the growing popularity (and sometimes controversy) of vegan diets for athletes, following documentaries like “The Game Changers,” according to Ross.

“We wanted to take bias and opinion out of it and take down to the genetic level. We can get science involved because we’re twins and genetically identical, so we can compare ourselves in extreme environments,” Ross told Insider.

The pair monitored how they felt during the course of the experiment and were followed by researchers from King’s College, who tracked basic health metrics like weight, cholesterol, and muscle mass.

Both twins did endurance training at the gym five to six times a week, using a program designed by Ross, a personal trainer. They also ate an almost identical number of calories in meals prepared by the Mindful Chef delivery service.

By the end, they noticed some big differences in terms of muscle gains, fat loss, and digestive health.

Hugo had higher energy and lost fat on a vegan diet

Before giving up animal products for the experiment, Hugo weighed in about 185 pounds and 13% body fat. After about a month on the vegan diet, he said he had dropped nearly nine pounds. By the end of the experiment, he measured in at 181 pounds. Nearly all the weight lost was fat mass, with his overall body-fat composition dipping by a full percentage point, to 12%. His cholesterol levels also dropped.

Even more striking were his energy levels. Hugo said he felt significantly more alert during his lunchtime gym sessions, compared with his typical routine.

“On a vegan diet my mental focus was much better, I didn’t have the mid-afternoon energy dips, and felt a bit more charged,” he told Insider.

He said one explanation could be how the vegan diet changing his snacking habits. Since biscuits and chips aren’t vegan, he’d switched to mainly fruit and nuts.

Hugo noticed one exception to his higher energy levels — his libido, which he said dropped off sharply.

“I just lost it — I really don’t know what happened,” he said, adding that his experience may not be true for everyone.

The twins did not conduct blood tests during the experiment, but said they would do so if they tried something similar in the future. They could measure testosterone, for example, to see if it explains some of the changes.

Buckwheat pizza, mushroom, sundried tomato & pesto Mindful Chef
One of the meals Hugo Turner ate in the 12-week vegan-diet experiment, a buckwheat pizza with mushrooms. 
Mindful Chef

Ross gained more mass overall

Ross has always been the slightly bigger of the brothers, and this was exacerbated by the experiment. From starting around 13% body fat, he put on 10 pounds of muscle, in addition to just over four pounds of fat. That brought his overall body fat percentage up slightly, to 15%, and his final weigh-in to 189 pounds.

His cholesterol levels stayed consistent throughout the 12-week duration.

Ross said the meal plan for this experiment was slightly more varied than his typical diet, and extremely balanced in terms of macronutrients, with array of chicken, fish, red meat, veggies, dairy, and grains.

Before this, a typical day of eating for the twins would include toast or porridge for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and some version of chicken, veggies, or pasta for dinner.

The vegan diet also caused big changes in the gut microbiome

For Hugo, the dietary change was even more significant, since his usual animal-based protein was swapped out for things like tofu, tempeh (fermented soybeans), and jackfruit.

“Eating a vegan diet, you almost have to overcompensate with variety, so I was eating foods I wasn’t really used to,” Hugo said.

As a result, his gut microbiome — the populations of beneficial bacteria that live in the human digestive system — also changed in some interesting ways, based on fecal samples analyzed by Atlas Biomed before and after the experiment.

The changes potentially improved Hugo’s resilience to some forms of chronic illness, according to the analysis, lowering his risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. That supports previous research suggesting plant-based diets could reduce the risk of those conditions by improving the microbiome.

But to their surprise, both brothers saw a decrease in their microbial diversity, or the number of different bacteria species present in the gut. That’s generally linked to less resilience against some types of chronic illness such as Crohn’s disease.

Although Ross’ microbiome changed slightly, it remained much more consistent than his brother’s.

It’s not clear why those changes occurred, although the Turners hypothesized that the abrupt change to a vegan diet, and the relatively short duration of the experiment, might have been factors.

The Turners said they plan to incorporate more vegan foods — especially snacks — into their regular diet

One caveat of the experiment, the Turners said, was that 12 weeks wasn’t a long time for a typical dietary study. If they could do it over, the brothers said they’re prefer to trial the diets for six months to a year for better data.

But the brothers said they’ve learned a lot and plan to incorporate more plant-based eating in their lifestyle. The brothers are known for their endurance expeditions and want to test how vegan eating might benefits them on their treks.

“You lose about half a kilo of weight a day on an endurance trip, more than that if you’re carrying extra weight, so we like to be lean and mean nothing in between on the trip,” Hugo said.

He added that being forced to find vegan alternatives also greatly expanded his world of food options.

“One thing to come out of this is we don’t eat nearly enough variety of foods. Often, we kind of just disguise the same foods in different forms,” Hugo said. “But variety is the spice of life.”

Ross said that there tends to be a reluctance for meat eaters to try vegan foods, and he hopes this experiment will encourage dedicated omnivores to branch out, since many plant-based substitutes like vegan burgers are similar in taste and texture to the classics.

If you’re curious about trying veganism, he added, you don’t to go “cold tofu” and jump in all at once. Based on his experience, Hugo recommends starting with your snacking habits, and swapping out between-meal treats with vegan options.

The twins concluded that their optimal diet is a mix of plant- and animal-based foods.

“Having a vegan diet has benefits and so does eating meat. I don’t think either outshone the other here,” he said. “We’ll be doing a mix of both, having non-meat days and adding more vegan foods into our diet, eating better-quality meat and less of it. We’ve taken away the best of both worlds.”

Source: Identical twins compared a vegan diet with meat-eating and found the vegan diet led to fat loss and more energy

Opinion | The End of Meat Is Here | The New York Times

Is any panic more primitive than the one prompted by the thought of empty grocery store shelves? Is any relief more primitive than the one provided by comfort food?

Most everyone has been doing more cooking these days, more documenting of the cooking, and more thinking about food in general. The combination of meat shortages and President Trump’s decision to order slaughterhouses open despite the protestations of endangered workers has inspired many Americans to consider just how essential meat is.

Is it more essential than the lives of the working poor who labor to produce it? It seems so. An astonishing six out of 10 counties that the White House itself identified as coronavirus hot spots are home to the very slaughterhouses the president ordered open.

In Sioux Falls, S.D., the Smithfield pork plant, which produces some 5 percent of the country’s pork, is one of the largest hot spots in the nation. A Tyson plant in Perry, Iowa, had 730 cases of the coronavirus — nearly 60 percent of its employees. At another Tyson plant, in Waterloo, Iowa, there were 1,031 reported cases among about 2,800 workers.

Sick workers mean plant shutdowns, which has led to a backlog of animals. Some farmers are injecting pregnant sows to cause abortions. Others are forced to euthanize their animals, often by gassing or shooting them. It’s gotten bad enough that Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, has asked the Trump administration to provide mental health resources to hog farmers.

Despite this grisly reality — and the widely reported effects of the factory-farm industry on America’s lands, communities, animals and human health long before this pandemic hit — only around half of Americans say they are trying to reduce their meat consumption. Meat is embedded in our culture and personal histories in ways that matter too much, from the Thanksgiving turkey to the ballpark hot dog. Meat comes with uniquely wonderful smells and tastes, with satisfactions that can almost feel like home itself. And what, if not the feeling of home, is essential?

And yet, an increasing number of people sense the inevitability of impending change.

Animal agriculture is now recognized as a leading cause of global warming. According to The Economist, a quarter of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 say they are vegetarians or vegans, which is perhaps one reason sales of plant-based “meats” have skyrocketed, with Impossible and Beyond Burgers available everywhere from Whole Foods to White Castle.

Our hand has been reaching for the doorknob for the last few years. Covid-19 has kicked open the door.

At the very least it has forced us to look. When it comes to a subject as inconvenient as meat, it is tempting to pretend unambiguous science is advocacy, to find solace in exceptions that could never be scaled and to speak about our world as if it were theoretical.

Some of the most thoughtful people I know find ways not to give the problems of animal agriculture any thought, just as I find ways to avoid thinking about climate change and income inequality, not to mention the paradoxes in my own eating life. One of the unexpected side effects of these months of sheltering in place is that it’s hard not to think about the things that are essential to who we are.
We cannot protect our environment while continuing to eat meat regularly. This is not a refutable perspective, but a banal truism. Whether they become Whoppers or boutique grass-fed steaks, cows produce an enormous amount of greenhouse gas. If cows were a country, they would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.

According to the research director of Project Drawdown — a nonprofit organization dedicated to modeling solutions to address climate change — eating a plant-based diet is “the most important contribution every individual can make to reversing global warming.”

Americans overwhelmingly accept the science of climate change. A majority of both Republicans and Democrats say that the United States should have remained in the Paris climate accord. We don’t need new information, and we don’t need new values. We only need to walk through the open door.

We cannot claim to care about the humane treatment of animals while continuing to eat meat regularly. The farming system we rely on is woven through with misery. Modern chickens have been so genetically modified that their very bodies have become prisons of pain even if we open their cages. Turkeys are bred to be so obese that they are incapable of reproducing without artificial insemination. Mother cows have their calves ripped from them before weaning, resulting in acute distress we can hear in their wails and empirically measure through the cortisol in their bodies.

No label or certification can avoid these kinds of cruelty. We don’t need any animal rights activist waving a finger at us. We don’t need to be convinced of anything we don’t already know. We need to listen to ourselves.

We cannot protect against pandemics while continuing to eat meat regularly. Much attention has been paid to wet markets, but factory farms, specifically poultry farms, are a more important breeding ground for pandemics. Further, the C.D.C. reports that three out of four new or emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic — the result of our broken relationship with animals.
Our Cruel Treatment of Animals Led to the Coronavirus

It goes without saying that we want to be safe. We know how to make ourselves safer. But wanting and knowing are not enough.

These are not my or anyone’s opinions, despite a tendency to publish this information in opinion sections. And the answers to the most common responses raised by any serious questioning of animal agriculture aren’t opinions.

Don’t we need animal protein? No.

We can live longer, healthier lives without it. Most American adults eat roughly twice the recommended intake of protein — including vegetarians, who consume 70 percent more than they need. People who eat diets high in animal protein are more likely to die of heart disease, diabetes and kidney failure. Of course, meat, like cake, can be part of a healthy diet. But no sound nutritionist would recommend eating cake too often.

If we let the factory-farm system collapse, won’t farmers suffer? No.

The corporations that speak in their name while exploiting them will. There are fewer American farmers today than there were during the Civil War, despite America’s population being nearly 11 times greater. This is not an accident, but a business model. The ultimate dream of the animal-agriculture industrial complex is for “farms” to be fully automated. Transitioning toward plant-based foods and sustainable farming practices would create many more jobs than it would end.

Don’t take my word for it. Ask a farmer if he or she would be happy to see the end of factory farming.

Isn’t a movement away from meat elitist? No.

A 2015 study found that a vegetarian diet is $750 a year cheaper than a meat-based diet. People of color disproportionately self-identify as vegetarian and disproportionately are victims of factory farming’s brutality. The slaughterhouse employees currently being put at risk to satisfy our taste for meat are overwhelmingly brown and black. Suggesting that a cheaper, healthier, less exploitative way of farming is elitist is in fact a piece of industry propaganda.

Can’t we work with factory-farming corporations to improve the food system? No.

Well, unless you believe that those made powerful through exploitation will voluntarily destroy the vehicles that have granted them spectacular wealth. Factory farming is to actual farming what criminal monopolies are to entrepreneurship. If for a single year the government removed its $38-billion-plus in props and bailouts, and required meat and dairy corporations to play by normal capitalist rules, it would destroy them forever. The industry could not survive in the free market.

Perhaps more than any other food, meat inspires both comfort and discomfort. That can make it difficult to act on what we know and want. Can we really displace meat from the center of our plates? This is the question that brings us to the threshold of the impossible. On the other side is the inevitable.

With the horror of pandemic pressing from behind, and the new questioning of what is essential, we can now see the door that was always there. As in a dream where our homes have rooms unknown to our waking selves, we can sense there is a better way of eating, a life closer to our values. On the other side is not something new, but something that calls from the past — a world in which farmers were not myths, tortured bodies were not food and the planet was not the bill at the end of the meal.

One meal in front of the other, it’s time to cross the threshold. On the other side is home.

Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of “Eating Animals” and “We Are the Weather.”

 

All Digital Content on Our Site is Now Free!

 

Dear McDougall Friends,

During this uncertain time, there is nothing more important than staying safe and healthy. Dr. McDougall’s Health and Medical Center has always been dedicated to educating the public on how to obtain and maintain optimal health through the numerous articles Dr. McDougall has written over the years on various medical conditions and topics. Now is the time for us to help as many people as we can. How? We are offering all digital content on our website free of charge. This includes:

Why are we doing this? Simple, it’s the right thing to do. We hope you share our materials with your family and friends.

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Best of Health,

 

Why Are So Many Authors Writing Books On Low Carb, Paleo, Keto Diets If The Evidence That A Whole Food Plant-Based Diet Is Healthier? Joel Kahn, MD

Joel Kahn, MD, of Detroit, Michigan, is a practicing cardiologist and a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Michigan Medical School and trained in interventional cardiology in Dallas and Kansas City. Known as “America’s Holistic Heart Doc”, Dr. Kahn is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and maintains sub-specialty board certification in Cardiovascular Medicine. He was the first physician worldwide to complete the Metabolic Cardiology curriculum in conjunction with A4M.com/MMI and the University of South Florida.

Dr. Kahn has authored scores of publications in his field including articles, book chapters and monographs. He writes articles for MindBodyGreen, Thrive Global, and Reader’s Digest and has five books in publication including Your Whole Heart Solution, Dead Execs Don’t Get Bonuses and The Plant Based Solution. He has regular appearances on Dr. Phil, The Doctors Show and Fox 2 News. He has also debated plant diets on the Joe Rogan Experience and has been featured with Larry King Live in a recent heart special. He has been awarded a Health Hero award from Detroit Crain’s Business. He owns 3 health restaurants in Detroit and Austin, Texas.

Dr. Kahn can be found at http://www.drjoelkahn.com.

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Flu Factories-Michael Greger, MD FACLM

Bringing you another one of my older presentations on pandemics as bonus video this week. This is about 9 years old, and provides good background on what we are experiencing today. While similar to the “Pandemics: History & Prevention” video we previously shared (https://youtu.be/7_ppXSABYLY), this video includes more information on mad cow disease, swine flu, and antibiotic use on factory farms.

People think How Not to Die is my first book, but it’s actually my 4th. Before I started NutritionFacts.org I had a career as Public Health Director at HSUS specializing in emerging infectious diseases. I wrote a book on pandemic preparedness and prevention and am now updating that entire body of work and will be releasing a new book next month. Stay tuned for the release of How to Survive a Pandemic.

And if you missed my webinar last week, I’ll be going live on Thursday, April 16 at 12pm ET on Facebook, and 6pm ET on YouTube for special COVID-19 live Q&As, and I’m also working on a 2nd webinar for May. Be sure you’re subscribed to our e-newsletter to get all of the latest updates first (subscribe link).

*Please note this video contains graphic human and animal footage*

Subscribe to NutritionFacts.org for free and receive a free copy of Dr. Greger’s Evidence-Based Eating Guide: https://nutritionfacts.org/subscribe.

Thanks for watching. I hope you’ll join in the evidence-based nutrition revolution! -Michael Greger, MD FACLM

Captions for this video are available in several languages. To find yours, click on the settings wheel on the lower-right of the video and then “Subtitles/CC.” Do you have feedback about the translations in this video? Please share it here along with the title of the video and language: https://nutritionfacts.zendesk.com/hc…

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Be proactive and reduce your risk factors (with food!) – Dr. Neal Barnard, PCRM

pcrm-1

Heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, asthma, and hypertension are all huge risk factors for COVID-19 hospitalization and worse.

Do you know the #1 thing that determines your likelihood of having these chronic conditions?

I’ll give you a hint—it’s NOT your genes.

It’s the food on your plate.

Decades of scientific research has shown that with your food choices, you literally shape your destiny.

For example, simple changes in diet and lifestyle may help prevent more than 90% of type 2 diabetes, 80% of coronary heart disease, and 70% of colon cancer.

That’s impressive, isn’t it? So what steps can you take right now to decrease your risk, so you can fare better, and feel better?

There’s a wildly popular online event starting soon that breaks down the science, answers critical questions, and gives you action steps to help you live your healthiest life.

Learn more about the Food Revolution Summit and take your health into your own hands. (It’s free!)

From April 25–May 3, John and Ocean Robbins will interview 24 of the world’s top medical and food experts. I’m pleased to be included along with Matt McCarthy, MD; Joel Fuhrman, MD; Christiane Northrup, MD; Michael Greger, MD; Vandana Shiva, PhD; Daniel Amen, MD; David Perlmutter, MD; and many more.

If you want up-to-date information you can trust about food and health, then this is the place to be.

After all, in the time of COVID-19, your health is more important than ever.

Join the 2020 Food Revolution Summit now.

The best part? Every interview is personally (and brilliantly) conducted by 2-million-copy best-selling author, John Robbins. I’ve been listening to his interviews for years, and I can tell you that you are in for a treat.

Will you join me?

Yours for thriving,

Neal Barnard, MD
President

P.S. When you sign up for the Food Revolution Summit, you’ll join over 300,000 people around the world to get informed, inspired, and empowered to strengthen your immune system and enhance your overall health. Click here to learn all about the Summit and see the amazing list of speakers.

Some People Say Beans And Grains Didn’t Exist 10,000 Years Ago And This Means We Should Eat Animal Products? LDL Cholesterol Levels? Kim Allan Williams, MD

Lifestyle and Medicine for Blood Pressure: What Everyone Needs to Know About the New Guidelines

The convergence of evidence suggests that an affordable plant-based diet can help prevent and even reverse some of the top killer diseases in the Western world, and can be even more effective than medication and surgery. This could save Medicare billions of dollars, but medical training continues to underemphasize nutrition education , in part, perhaps, because lifestyle interventions go against the prevailing conventional wisdom. The USDA, in formulating its dietary guidelines, has been accused of both acting with bias and ignoring relevant research. However, the most recent guidelines take a step in the right direction by recommending a shift to a plant-based diet, which Kaiser Permanente, the largest U.S. managed care organization, has moved in the direction of supporting. Lifestyle medicine attempts to find, prevent, and treat the causes of disease. Patients should receive fully informed consent for treatment, meaning they should be informed about all of their options including dietary changes. Doctors report they don’t practice preventative cardiology because they fear their patients won’t change their diet.

Kim Allan Williams, MD, MACC, FAHA, MASNC, FESC was born in Chicago, and attended the College of The University of Chicago (1971 to 1975), followed by the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine (1975 to 1979), internal medicine residency at Emory University (1979 to 1982), and overlapping fellowships in Cardiology at the University of Chicago (1982 to 1985), Clinical Pharmacology (1984 to 1985), and Nuclear Medicine (1984 to 1986). He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Diseases, Nuclear Medicine, Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiovascular Computed Tomography.

Dr. Williams joined the faculty of the University of Chicago in 1986, specializing in clinical cardiology, nuclear medicine, and nuclear cardiology. He served as Professor of Medicine and Radiology and Director of Nuclear Cardiology at The University of Chicago School of Medicine until 2010. Among numerous awards and honors for his teaching in the medical school, residencies and fellowships, he was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha in 2008.

In 2010, he became the Dorothy Susan Timmis Endowed Professor of Medicine and Radiology and Chairman of the Division of Cardiology at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, MI. At Wayne State, he has started the Urban Cardiology Initiative – a program of education of physicians on disparities in healthcare, primary school education on cardiovascular health and community health screening in inner-city Detroit. In November 2013 he returned to Chicago as the James B. Herrick Endowed Professor of Medicine and Cardiology at Rush University Medical Center.

Dr. Williams has published numerous peer-reviewed articles, monographs, book chapters, editorials, and review articles in the field of nuclear cardiology and minority health issues, with emphasis on education and innovations in perfusion imaging and quantitation of ventricular function. His research interests include selective adenosine receptor agonists, fluorinated perfusion PET imaging, cardiac computed tomography for plaque characterization, health care disparities and payment policy, and appropriate use of cardiac imaging.

Dr. Williams has served on numerous committees and boards at the national level, including the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC), the American Heart Association (AHA), the American Medical Association (AMA), the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the Certifying Board of Nuclear Cardiology, the Certifying Board of Cardiac Computed Tomography, the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography and the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC). He served as President of ASNC from 2004 to 2005. He served as Chairman of the Board of ABC from 2008 to 2010. He also served on the Cardiovascular Disease Examination Board of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM-CV) until 2012. He served as the president of the ACC from 2015 to 2016.

What About The Claims About Reduced Disease Risk From Paleo Diets? Are They True? by Brenda Davis, R.D.

Brenda Davis offers fresh insights on the treatment of animals in food production and other industries, the latest findings on the health benefits of a vegan diet and expanded the information on phytochemicals, Brenda’s information is extensive in scope, yet manageable for anyone who wants to easily understand how to construct a nutritionally balanced plant-based diet.

Here are the latest findings on: using plant foods to protect against cancer, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses; obtaining essential protein without meat, eggs, or dairy products; discovering “good” fats and where to find them; meeting dietary needs for calcium without dairy products; understanding the importance of vitamin B12; designing balanced vegan diets for infants, children, and seniors; and making the most of vegan pregnancy and breastfeeding.

This is a sound blueprint to follow for better health for yourself and the planet.

Dr. Fuhrman – Brian Clement Says Too Much Fruit Is A Problem? Can Beans And Grains Raise Blood Sugar? Are Grass Fed Organic Animals Okay To Eat?

Joel Fuhrman, M.D. – The End of Diabetes & The End of Heart Disease – Offstage Interview – 2019

Joel Fuhrman M.D., a board-certified family physician who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional and natural methods, and #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat to Live, Super Immunity and The End of Diabetes, delivers a powerful paradigm-shifting lecture showing us how and why we never need to diet again.

You will understand the key principles of the science of health, nutrition and weight loss. It will give you a simple and effective strategy to achieve—and maintain—an optimal weight without dieting for the rest of your life. This new approach will free you forever from a merry-go-round of diets and endless, tedious discussions about dieting strategies. This is the end of dieting.””