Removing refined carbohydrates, such as sugar, flours, fruit juice, and cereals, makes ANY diet healthier. This is the most likely reason why plant-based diets appear healthier than meat-based diets in some clinical studies. All of the studies I’m aware of claiming that plant-based diets are superior to omnivorous diets suffer from the same tragic flaw. Researchers conducting these studies NEVER simply ask people to remove animal foods from their diet. They always change more than just that single variable—such as lowering fat content or adding exercise—and they always instruct people in the plant-based group to eliminate refined carbohydrates and processed foods. In almost every case, these special “plant-based” diets are then compared to a junky omnivorous diet loaded with sweets, baked goods and manufactured foodstuffs.
This is not a fair fight. How do we know whether it was the removal of the meat, refined carbs, industrially-produced oils, or artificial additives that was responsible for the benefits? I’ve engaged in countless social media conversations with plant-based diet experts in which I politely ask for scientific evidence that simply removing animal foods from the diet—without making any other changes—results in health benefits. None of them have ever been able to cite a single article for me.
The amount of junk science in nutrition studies is just appalling.