I need info... (about nutrition) - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 10-26-2005, 10:48 PM
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Man, he looks mad. Do not wory, I am not mad. LOL



I'm 28 and just started reading about nutrition 4 months ago, I really knew nothing before that point. FYI, My main source of information comes from the harvard medical schools guide to healthy eating: Eat and be healthy. As I've been learning more I've found myself not really eating "animal products" anymore. Not because I was trying to be a vegatarian but because I was trying to only consume what I learned was healthy. Though, I understand that fish is supposed to be healthy... The first day I became interested in health and nutrition I bought a mens (I'm a guy ) health magazine and have been looking those over since. I just got an internet connection again about 1 month ago and started looking online for information and found a forum on the mens health site. There seems to be alot of misinformed people there and I didn't get much out of it but it left me with a few questions. I think a place like this may help me out a bit. I do not know if I'll end up being a vegatarian but it's kind of looking that way anyways. Just keep in mind that I'm here looking for nutrition and health information at this point. I hope that doesn't upset anyone. Here are my questions.



1) Protein. I know that I can get plenty of protein from plant sources but I am a little concerned with how healthy it is to do so. I know that there are 11essential amino acids that my body needs to build, repair and maintain muscle. I know that soybeans are the only plant source of protein that contains all of those essential amino acids. The book that I mentioned above stated that soy has some kind of estrogen compound in it (can't remember exactly) and may act as a mild estrogen. Remember, I'm a guy. When on the mens health forum I saw a few guys say that testosterone levels will drop on a vegatarian diet, specifically if it contains alot of soy product. I've been consuming alot of soy in the last four months and haven't noticed any difference but they also mentioned that it's a long term thing. I know that I do not need to eat soy to get all of the essential amino acids and, instead, can use alot of different plant sources of protein to get them. What can you all tell me about this?



2) Saturated fat. There are many sources of information that say saturated fat is not good because it plays a role in "heart disease" by lowering your good cholesterol and raises your bad cholesterol and so on... Of course, saturated fat basically comes from animal products. I absolutely have the understanding that saturated fat is to be avoided and I should opt for mono- and poly-unsaturated fats (ie, replace animal fats with plant fats). Again, while on the mens health forum I saw people writing that saturated fat is ok and needed. One guy in particular (works for mens health I think) insisted that it's healthy and pointed out some studies that "proved" it. The book that I mentioned above tells about different types of studies and which are more reliable and, also, conflicting information. This information was defenitely conflicting with what I've read previously and I wondered about the validity of the studies that he mentioned since I've learned that not all studies are reliable. Is saturated fat good or bad and to what degree?



I'm sorry if that's long, I jsut think it's neccessary to let you know where I'm coming from with all this.
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#2 Old 10-27-2005, 07:36 AM
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I am not a nutrition expert (others here are though) but I'll get you started.



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1) Protein. I know that I can get plenty of protein from plant sources but I am a little concerned with how healthy it is to do so. I know that there are 11essential amino acids that my body needs to build, repair and maintain muscle. I know that soybeans are the only plant source of protein that contains all of those essential amino acids. The book that I mentioned above stated that soy has some kind of estrogen compound in it (can't remember exactly) and may act as a mild estrogen. Remember, I'm a guy. When on the mens health forum I saw a few guys say that testosterone levels will drop on a vegatarian diet, specifically if it contains alot of soy product. I've been consuming alot of soy in the last four months and haven't noticed any difference but they also mentioned that it's a long term thing. I know that I do not need to eat soy to get all of the essential amino acids and, instead, can use alot of different plant sources of protein to get them. What can you all tell me about this?

As long as you consume a wide variety of foods, you should have all the amino acids your body needs. You don't have to eat them at the same meal. Most typical veggie "meals" are already complete protien, for example rice and beans together is a complete protien. Basically, you don't need to worry about protien as long as you are consuming a variety of foods.
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#3 Old 10-27-2005, 08:03 AM
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<------not a nutritionist but I have been a vegetarian for over 20 years. As Rainbow said beans and grains is a great way to get complete protein. Nuts and seeds also work. If you are going to eat eggs and cheese you can get some protein there. Obviously do this in moderation for issues related to cholesterol. I think the key to a healthy vegetarian diet is variety.
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#4 Old 10-27-2005, 08:25 AM
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Thanks for the replies.



I do not want eggs or cheese because they're not really healthy. I understand that a varied diet will get me all of the essential amino acids. It's the soy that I'm mainly trying to figure out. Is soy ok to consume and in what amounts? I've gotten responses like "everything is good in moderation" before but...
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#5 Old 10-27-2005, 08:39 AM
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To get a specific answer maybe someone on else on the boards can help, but you might want to speak with a nutritionist. I have eaten soy about 2 or 3 times per week for the past 20 years and have not noticed any problems that being said I have not had my testosterone levels checked.
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#6 Old 10-27-2005, 08:53 AM
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I wish that I had money for a nutritionist. I've been eating soy 2-5 times a day for the last 4 months and that's why I'm concerned. I've been trying to work it into my diet because it has so many benefits. But, I have to wonder about that amount being healthy after hearing a couple down sides to it.
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#7 Old 10-27-2005, 09:23 AM
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I find the hardest thing about being a vegetarian is the prep-time when it comes to cooking. The nice thing with the soy products out there is that they are quick and easy.
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#8 Old 10-27-2005, 09:41 AM
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Not a problem for me. I do not even cook oats. I throw them into cold milk and call it good... I haven't cooked much of anything since watching what I eat. I do have to microwave frozen veggies though... That's hard.
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#9 Old 10-27-2005, 11:42 AM
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A great non-soy recipe is a large can of drained and washed black beans, half a bag of frozen corn, and I jar of green salsa that has been drained of liquid. Put in a bowl, mix and enjoy.
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#10 Old 10-27-2005, 04:33 PM
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eggs and cheese (and saturated fat) are healthy, actually. it's just that one should only eat them in the right amounts.



i recommend the book The Yoga of Eating by charles eisenstein. it is not a nutrition book. it is a book about intuition and discovering what is right for you not from external ideas but rather from your internal needs and wants. this will lead you to the healthiest diet for you.



other than that, you can read all the nutrition articles and books in the world and find thousands of conflicting articles. in the end, you have to do what feels right.
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#11 Old 10-27-2005, 05:34 PM
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Protein: It's easy to get complete protein without soy if you're not comfortable eating it. For example, spinach has 18 of the 20 human amino acids. (I think lysine and tryptophan are the two it doesn't have.) That's the only vegetable where I know its specific amino acid profile, but you'll see the same situation throughout the vegetable world. It's quite easy to get those other two AAs from another healthy food source, and in fact combining legumes and whole grains is a time-honored method of getting complete protein. I used to have a great vegetarian cookbook that had a section listing different food combinations that provided complete protein and I think it listed whole wheat toast and peanut butter, hummus and whole wheat pita, beans and rice, as well as a bunch of others. Wish I still had it.



Caveat: We now know that you don't have to carefully combine foods in a single meal to make complete protein work for you. Just make sure you're eating a varied diet on a regular basis and you'll be fine.



Soy health issues: I've read several books on vegetarian nutrition, and so far I haven't seen a single cite to a study showing that soy either causes hormonal imbalances or cancer. I'm not saying they don't exist, but in assessing any scientific issue, you have to evaluate the totality of the evidence. Part of the problem with nutritional science today is that the scientific community is heavily conditioned to look only at the trees and not the forest. So you generally won't find a study examining the question of "Is food X good for you or bad for you?" Instead they'll isolate certain chemicals from food X and look at whether those chemicals cause health problem Y, which is how you get grant money, but it's not that helpful for the general public trying to decide what to eat. If you really want to evaluate whether you should eat soy or not, you should look for as many studies on soy as you can find, as well as talking to men who've been eating soy for years or decades. I personally eat soy without any particular qualms even though there have been a few noises about possible cancer risks for women, because I've read plenty about the cancer-protective effects of a diet free of animal products and high in whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables, and I think my risk of getting cancer from soy is probably acceptably low.



Saturated fat: You have to realize that understanding nutritional studies is like treading a maze, and it's made worse by the animal industry, who is paying people to do studies that appear to show their products are good for you and publishing them as fast as they can. I'd suggest reading The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, who is himself a nutritional researcher. He's been studying the effects of nutrition on health for years, and when he tried to publicize his findings, he found out first-hand the lengths to which the animal industry will go to keep the public confused about things like saturated fat. He has an excellent discussion of how to make sense of nutritional studies and how the animal industry is flooding the the information market with junk science.
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#12 Old 10-27-2005, 09:45 PM
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zoebird, I've heard a few people say that saturated fat is good but not many. I've heard a ton of people/sources say that saturated fat is bad and had details of why it was bad and how it affects us negatively. There are many sources of information that say saturated fat is not good because it plays a major role in "heart disease" by lowering your good cholesterol and raising your bad cholesterol and triglycerides. That, in effect, clog up arteries and leads to heart attacks, aneurisms (sp?), strokes, etc... I've just never heard of why saturated fat is good in any way. That leads me to stick with the majority that produce details of why it's bad. Some people say that it's good but I need to hear about why it's good.



Tesseract, looks like you've been doing your homework...



"Part of the problem with nutritional science today is that the scientific community is heavily conditioned to look only at the trees and not the forest. So you generally won't find a study examining the question of "Is food X good for you or bad for you?" Instead they'll isolate certain chemicals from food X and look at whether those chemicals cause health problem Y, which is how you get grant money, but it's not that helpful for the general public trying to decide what to eat."



zoebird mentioned something about conflicting articles and I think what you just described is the main reason why there is so much conflicting information. The book that I mentioned has a section that covers the different types of studies there are, which are reliable and why, etc... It's pretty informative and helps me understand different articles a little better. Though, they are still confusing and I cannot rely on them because I'm not a scientist or someone who has much experience with them. I generally rely on getting my information from sources that go through the trouble of sorting through all the studies, proccess those studies and provide objective information.



"If you really want to evaluate whether you should eat soy or not, you should look for as many studies on soy as you can find, as well as talking to men who've been eating soy for years or decades."



Oh man, I was looking for an easy answer... LOL I think I'll have to cut back for now and wait until I get solid information about soy. I do not think there is much of anything that is reliable concerning any negative effects it may have at this time. At least not that I've seen or heard of. I figured I'd ask here to get an answer but I do not think that anyone knows... Looks like I'll have to modify my diet again. I know that beans are good for you and they have proteins but I've never used them before. I'll have to look into that. I see that Magnus already started me off on the right foot...



"He's been studying the effects of nutrition on health for years, and when he tried to publicize his findings, he found out first-hand the lengths to which the animal industry will go to keep the public confused about things like saturated fat."



I've wondered if the cow milk industry didn't have something to do with the negative information on soy because soy milk is competition for them. I do not know who or what to trust... I just do the best I can.



Does that book say anything about saturated fat being good or bad and why? I'll try to check it out in the future but I have no extra funds for a book at the moment and will not for some time, kinda struggling right now...
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#13 Old 10-27-2005, 10:02 PM
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"If you really want to evaluate whether you should eat soy or not, you should look for as many studies on soy as you can find, as well as talking to men who've been eating soy for years or decades."



Oh man, I was looking for an easy answer... LOL I think I'll have to cut back for now and wait until I get solid information about soy.



You may yet get that easy answer from someone who has read more about soy or has been eating it many more years than I have. All I can say is I personally have not seen anything suggesting soy is bad. AFAIK, as long as you're not eating soy 2 meals a day every day, you're probably OK.



Quote:
Does that book say anything about saturated fat being good or bad and why? I'll try to check it out in the future but I have no extra funds for a book at the moment and will not for some time, kinda struggling right now...



Oh, Campbell has plenty of findings regarding saturated fat... none of them good. Check your local library... it's a fairly new book, but they might be carrying it.



And yes, I HAVE been doing my homework! I stopped eating meat about 8 months ago, and I've been devouring literature on the subject.
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#14 Old 10-27-2005, 10:38 PM
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Umm, I'm not all that computer saavy. What is "AFAIK"?



I shall be hoping for that easy answer. Mainly because the hard answer will probably require me to go to school for 20 years so that I can know and understand what I need to to figure out the answer. That's just too hard. LOL
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#15 Old 10-27-2005, 10:49 PM
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AFAIK - as far as I know.
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#16 Old 10-28-2005, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by E-quality View Post


1) Protein. . . . I know that soybeans are the only plant source of protein that contains all of those essential amino acids.

Actually, that isn't true. Quinoa and Amaranth are both complete proteins as well. As others have said, if you eat enough calories from a wide variety of foods, you shouldn't have any problem with protein.



FWIW, my husband eats a lot of soy, and he isn't developing man boobs or a high pitched voice or anything like that. I have yet to see a reliable study linking soy consumption with health problems. Of course, like everything in life, moderation is key.



Re. saturated fat: I have also not seen a reliable study that indicates that saturated fat is good for you. That being said, if you want to deliberately add saturated fat to a Vegan diet, eat a dish made with full fat coconut milk once in awhile.
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#17 Old 11-02-2005, 09:10 AM
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I don't know if it's nessasary to combine foods to get complete protein, but I do anyway just because I think it tastes good. Whole grains and legumes (beans) eaten together will give you all of those 11 amino acids.
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#18 Old 11-03-2005, 02:37 AM
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The idea of combining particular plant foods to get all the essential amino acids being necessary at every meal is crap. If you have a varied diet and eat enough you will get enough of eat amino acid. In fact, it's hard to even study amino acid deficiencies without starvation unless it's in a lab using a bizzare diet.



http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/adapaper.htm



As far as I know, eating small amounts of cholesterol and saturated fats isn't extremely harmful. It's eating too much cholesterol and saturated fats, not exercising, eating too much refined sugar, not eating enough fiber and a variety of nutrients, etc. that will get you into trouble. On the other hand, there is no nutritional need to eat either cholesterol or saturated fats. Your body can synthesize both from unsaturated fats.



The scariest thing I've come across about soy was that in large amounts it appears to cause behavioral problems in males (specifically, aggression). You should be alright on a few servings a day but five may be pushing it.




http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/new...ce-queries-soy



Using www.pubmed.com and www.scirus.com should cut through alot of the crap science. Also, magazines often push an agenda so I would suggest against using them for nutritional information.
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#19 Old 11-03-2005, 07:21 AM
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Yeah, I can't really say that I get the best information from the magazine.



I'll try to check those sites out when I get a chance, been busy lately.
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