The Archive – Bad Sources

Every now and then (all the time, actually) an article gets shared around that says vegan kids are dying, cheese is a superfood and kale screams when you eat it. We just can’t hear it. Because we don’t speak kale. 

There is no shortage of stupid articles with terrible or no sources that just propagate lies and misinformation. When I get my nutritional vegan mitts on one, it’ll end up here, with a description as to why it’s nonsense, and links to any sources I’ve gathered which show this. 


‘Is Dairy Addiction Real? Here’s what science says’, by Lucy Walcott

ZME, 2015

This article came my way early in my milk research. I’ve taken a look at all three sources quoted in the piece, which you’ll find on the Nutrition Archive page, and in now way do they prove or disprove anything. One is a place preference test (not conclusive), a psych case report on one woman and a test that actually SHOWS THE OPPOSITE THING to the article’s premise. I can forgive only reading the abstracts of certain sources – I have to do the same thing as I can’t afford to subscribe to every journal repository (although I always disclose that information in the archive) – but in the case of the 1981 experiment, the writer either only quoted the part of the abstract she understood, or she willfully ignored the other four results. In either case, this is shoddy journalism and damned unprofessional. 

“Tons of food can be addictive, but I can safely say that casomorphin, or food opioids at all, do not play any role in that.”

No, you can’t. 


‘170 Scientific Studies Confirm the Dangers of Soy’ by Sarah Pope

The Healthy Home Economist, 2017

This article lists a whopping 170 scientific studies that prove soy is dangerous for humans to consume. Well, no, Pope lists 10, as the rest are in her friend’s book which you can now buy at all participating retailers, which for some odd reason is linked at the bottom of the article. Oh, and those 10 sources? Most are concerned with very small animal trials, and heavily flawed human studies. If you want a detailed breakdown on why this article is nonsense talk from someone just pushing a book for a mate, you can check out the episode of the show where we looked at this here.


‘Dairy consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease: an updated meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies’ by Li-Qiang Qin PhD, Jia-Ying Xu PhD, Shu-Fen Han PhD, Zeng-Li Zhang PhD, You-You Zhao PhD and Ignatius MY Szeto PhD

pubmed, 2015

Where to start…well, first off this meta-analysis picks out 22 studies to examine, from a supposed possible 861, using a specification requirement (Hazard Risk) which it doesn’t use and appears to confuse for another (Relative Risk), excluding studies that focus on specific elements like calcium and fat, despite “fat content in dairy products [being] a factor of interest” and did I mention that it only looks at 22 studies? Did I also mention that this study was conducted by Nestlé? No, I don’t think I did. Well, it was, which is probably why studies like the Japanese health study (src 13) have had milk consumption pulled out as a reason for good health, despite the fact that people who drank more milk also ate more fruit, exercised more, got more sleep, had regular employment and were generally healthier. The following is an actual quote from the end of the paper;

Ignatius MY Szeto and You-You Zhao are employees of Nestec Ltd and designed the research. The study was sponsored by Nestec Ltd. (Nestlé R&D (China) Ltd) to Li-Qiang Qin. LiQiang
Qin prepared the manuscript. Jia-Ying Xu, Shu-Fen Han and Zeng-Li Zhang assisted Li-Qiang Qin in data collect and statistical analysis.
The authors report no conflicts of interest”



‘Drivers of choice for fluid milk versus plant-based alternatives: What are consumer perceptions of fluid milk?’ by McCarthy KS, Parker M, Ameerally A, Drake SL and Drake MA

pubmed, 2017

So, the industry is panicking. This isn’t news, but here’s a study where the goal was to find out why people were avoiding dairy. This serves to underline the importance of matching their tactics pound for pound.

“A distinguishing characteristic of those who only drank nondairy plant-based alternatives was that plant-based beverages contributed to a goal to consume less animal products, beliefs about animal mistreatment, and perceived lesser effect on the environment than fluid milk”

“Unique to fluid milk consumers was that fluid milk was perceived as a staple food item. These results suggest that the dairy industry should focus on the nutrition value of milk and educating consumers about misconceptions regarding dairy milk. Future beverage innovation should include the development of lactose-free milk that is also appealing to consumers in flavour”


‘Vegetarian diets and depressive symptoms among men’ by Joseph R.Hibbeln, Kate Northstone, Jonathan Evans and Jean Golding

Journal of Affective Disorders, 2018

In this groundbreaking study from 2018 (wait, what?) group of under 10,000 men were assessed to determine the link between their diet and depression. The data is pitiful, the majority of the self-reported factors are nonsense – most of the ‘vegans’ eat meat! This was another study courted by the media because of its amazing ‘silver bullet’ to the vegan fad, but really it’s just more of the same nonsense.


‘Associations of fats and carbohydrate intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 18 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study’ by Dr Mahshid Dehghan, Andrew Mente, PhD, Xiaohe Zhang, MSc, Sumathi Swaminathan, PhD, Prof Wei Li, PhD, Prof Viswanathan Mohan, MD, Romaina Iqbal, PhD, Prof Rajesh Kumar, MD, Edelweiss Wentzel-Viljoen, PhD, Prof Annika Rosengren, MD, Leela Itty Amma, MD, Prof Alvaro Avezum, MD, Jephat Chifamba, DPhil, Rafael Diaz, MD, Rasha Khatib, PhD, Prof Scott Lear, PhD, Prof Patricio Lopez-Jaramillo, MD, Xiaoyun Liu, PhD, Prof Rajeev Gupta, MD, Noushin Mohammadifard, PhD, Nan Gao, BSc, Aytekin Oguz, MD, Anis Safura Ramli, MD, Pamela Seron, PhD, Yi Sun, MSc, Prof Andrzej Szuba, MD, Lungiswa Tsolekile, MPH, Prof Andreas Wielgosz, MD, Rita Yusuf, PhD, Afzal Hussein Yusufali, MD, Prof Koon K Teo, MD, Sumathy Rangarajan, MSc, Gilles Dagenais, MD, Shrikant I Bangdiwala, PhD, Shofiqul Islam, MSc, Prof Sonia S Anand, Prof Salim Yusuf, DPhil on behalf of the show Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study investigators

Lancet, 2017

This study looks at how saturated fat is actually good for you, and carbs are killing you. Sponsored by big pharma. Because of course it was. A video on this can be found here.


‘Orthorexia Nervosa: Obsessive Clean Eating ‘Imprisons’ Sufferers and Endangers Health, Psychologist Says’ by Rachel Hosie

Independent, 2017

Here’s an article that takes a subtle swipe at veganism, connecting it to an eating disorder.