I have not been silent about my criticism of Michael Greger, I wrote criticism of him on various sites, often to harsh criticism of me. Many people are unwilling to see Greger as anything but this all-knowing infallible fantastic vegan god, but he is about as much as an expert on nutrition as I am. Neither of us has a degree in Nutrition, for example. But people are still unwilling to accept that he is just a guy, and he cherry-picks more than anyone I have ever met, besides maybe Vani Hari. But recently he wrote a book called How Not To Die.
Although I detest Authority Nutrition as a source, as it is a really biased source that seems to suck the toes of unqualified quacks like Weston Price and push supplements and diets for something our body naturally makes, like Vitamin K2, but this post was written just a couple of days ago actually does a really good job in pointing out all the cherries picked by the wannabe nutritionist. Now if only they’d notice the cherries they pick themselves…
Now not to say that Michael Greger is wrong on all counts, even the Authority Nutrition article admits that a fair but of what Greger says is true and useful. However, criticism is not a bad thing, and I personally refuse to trust him on the basis that he only picks studies that he deems beneficial for himself and his preconceived notions.
But aside from all the cherry-picking, there is one real big reason that I really dislike this book:
It pushes the fallacious idea that vegans are immune to disease and possibly won’t die.
Now I know that sounds crazy, as he says at the end of his book that “everyone is
going to die eventually. It’s about how not to die prematurely.”
But at the beginning, he says:
“There may be no such thing as dying from old age. From a study of more than forty-two
thousand consecutive autopsies, centenarians—those who live past one hundred
—were found to have succumbed to diseases in 100 percent of the cases examined.
Though most were perceived, even by their physicians, to have been healthy just
prior to death, not one “died of old age.” Until recently, advanced age had been
considered to be a disease itself, but people don’t die as a consequence of maturing.
They die from disease, most commonly heart attacks.”
This is especially worrisome when you consider that many vegans consider veganism to be a metaphorical philosophers stone, and they will refuse to get a colon examination to check for colon cancer. They will refuse to get mammograms on the belief that vegans don’t drink milk, and won’t get breast cancer. They think that Gerson Therapy, a plant-based vegan quack juice diet, will cure you of advanced cancer. Also, there is a huge idea that any time that anyone has cancer, that it has to be due to the consumption of animal products, like in the case of Furious Pete. Many vegans even go as far as to say a plant-based diet can treat depression and anxiety as a replacement for pills… that’s total crap!
Now with all these vegans running under the false assumption that they cannot get cancer or other diseases, they are more likely to do other risky things, like not getting checkups. Pushing this idea that nobody dies of old age, that they die of disease, while immediately talking about how a vegan diet cuts your disease risk to very small numbers, meanwhile downplaying the role of genetics. This will put into the mind of many people that “Hey, a vegan diet lowers my risk of a heart attack by 90%, so an extra serving of coconut butter is practically healthy!” In fact, I have heard commonly that a junk food vegan diet is healthier than a whole food diet that contains some animal products, so this idea does not seem too out of the blue.
Spreading a message that a vegan may be able to cheat death if they just eat enough strawberries and curry powder does not seem to be helpful at all. Books like Ginny Messina’s (A real registered dietitian) Even Vegans Die is an excellent testiment to help vegans realize that they are not this bulletproof shield that can reverse, prevent, and eliminate diseases and cause us to live forever! Just realize that vegans are human. Vegans get sick. Vegans get diseases. Learning this sooner, rather than later, will help prevent a great deal of shock when their Icarus Complex fades and a random disease they believed they were immune to hits them like a set of bricks.
Greger did not make his title “How not to die prematurely” as he knew that would not sell as well. So he seems to have catered to the worries and woes of vegans, and of vegans struggling with so many fellow vegans urging them to drop their meds and follow a plant-based diet (I have severe acid reflux and was off and on vegan for over a year. The months and months that I was vegan, however, I still had severe acid reflux. It got better after I took medication. A vegan diet did jack squat to cure me). This can be potentially hazardous, as many people have gotten ill after refusing medication in favor of a vegan diet.
He cherry picks, he isn’t qualified to make any statements about nutrition as he does, and he promotes (or at least portrays) a very dangerous idea amongst vegans (He also promotes organic foods, which often puts animals through cruel and harsh testing to push an agenda), so is it of any surprise that I don’t support his book? He may be right on many things in the book, but his obvious bias and harmful ideas push me away.