The BROAD Study or Meat

Is eating meat necessary?  Optimal?


Hint: it’s more important to not eat processed refined junk foods.


Exhibit A. The BROAD study: a randomized controlled trial using a whole food plant-based diet in the community for obesity, ischaemic heart disease, or diabetes (Wright et al., 2017)

Tl;dr: it worked.



The longer version: it was a low-fat vegan diet supplemented with 50 ug B12 (methylcobalamin) daily.


Participants were advised to eat until satiation.

We placed no restriction on total energy intake.

Participants were asked to not count calories.”



Three sentences to make this point!  And it worked — they spontaneously ate less and were just as satisfied with their diet.  The participants were given cooking lessons!



Of course any diet can work short-term, but this one worked long-term (1 year).  Why?  I don’t think it was the lack of meat; I think it was the lack of junk foods — in other words, it was a Hunger-Free Diet:



They didn’t need B12 pills because these weren’t ethical vegans: one oyster is more than enough to meet the RDA, and nooch is pretty cool.


Critiques: they assessed diet but didn’t report it.  From the recommended foods list it looks like it may have been low in protein… which makes me wonder about changes in body composition (which wasn’t assessed).  In any case, they stopped eating meat, lost weight, and HbA1c improved.

No vitamin or mineral deficiencies; in fact the opposite happened: they got healthier.

I’m not anti-meat.  I’m pro-high protein and animal foods are a good way to do it… but not the only way.



Exhibit B. Vegetarian diet and all-cause mortality: evidence from a large population-based Australian cohort – the 45 and Up Study (Mihrshahi et al., 2017)


“Following extensive adjustment for potential confounding factors there was no significant difference in all-cause mortality for vegetarians versus non-vegetarians.”


In sum, eating meat doesn’t kill you.  It doesn’t make you live longer, either.  It’s really not that big a deal unless you’re trying to do high protein and don’t wanna chug down vegan protein shakes all day.  It’s more important to not eat processed refined junk foods.


calories proper





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  • Eve

    So…do low sugar protein bars count as “junk food”? Am I prepared to accept the answer, is a separate question.

    • No. I’m talking about potato chips, Oreo Coolattas, soda, etc.

  • Joshua

    First Principles: It’s the poor, misunderstood acellular carbohydrate.

  • Shameer Mulji

    “In sum, eating meat doesn’t kill you. It doesn’t make you live longer, either. It’s really not that big a deal unless you’re trying to do high protein and don’t wanna chug down vegan protein shakes all day.”

    Just curious, is that implying that doing high protein can age you faster?

    • “Just curious, is that implying that doing high protein can age you faster?”


  • Firebird7478

    Being a vegetarian isn’t going to make you live longer either.

  • Jeff Robertson

    To the author: eating meat, even in the health-conscious, does increase mortality. This is supported by several lines of evidence:

    – observational studies, such as the Adventist cohort study, which found that among a group of health-conscious individuals, the vegans had the lowest morality, followed by vegetarians, followed by flexitarians, followed by omnivores

    – mechanistic data, such as the TMAO formation cycle from carnitine and choline, heterocyclic amines which are bona fide carcinogens and only present in animal products, mercury, PCB’s and dioxins in fish, the list goes on

    – in vitro studies, such as those showing that vegan blood kills cancer cells at double the rate of omnivore blood

    not to mention the zero-cholesterol and low-SF choices leading to lower LDL and therefore stopping/slowing the progression of atherosclerosis … see the marathon runners vs. lazy vegans study which showed that the vegans had lipid profiles and BMI’s similar to marathon runners, and BETTER blood pressure results.

    On top of all of those, you have to contend with reverse causality in studies like the one cited in the article. Many, if not most, vegetarians choose that diet *in reaction to* a negative health/disease diagnosis, which biases the results toward showing no mortality benefit for vegeterians.

    The two longest-lived populations ever studied are the traditional Okinawans and the Loma Linda adventists. the former ate very little meat (97% plants), and the latter ate no meat (vegetarians).

    This cascade of evidence, to my mind, is much stronger than one observational study which may or may not have been properly controlled.