Why Plant-Based Diets May Not Be the Best Direction to Head In: Lessons from History and Nutritional Science

In this video, journalist Chris Masterjohn discusses the potential risks and challenges associated with following a plant-based diet. He highlights the importance of nutrient-dense animal foods in human history, emphasizing that our ancestors relied on these foods for optimal growth and health. He also raises concerns about the difficulties of obtaining certain essential nutrients, like vitamins A, D, and K2, from plant sources, as well as the potential detrimental effects of consuming processed plant-based alternatives. Masterjohn argues that while some people may thrive on a vegan diet, it is not a guaranteed path to optimal health for everyone, and individuals should be mindful of their nutrient needs when adopting restrictive diets.

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Key Insights:

  • In 1894, Dr. Weston A. Price discovered that crooked teeth and dental issues were not purely genetic but were also influenced by diet.
  • Interest in plant-based diets, such as veganism, has been on the rise, but many who try it eventually quit due to health issues.
  • Traditional diets that consisted of nutrient-dense animal foods, such as liver, fish, eggs, cheese, and butter, were associated with good oral health and overall well-being.
  • Vegan diets often lack essential nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K2, choline, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, and B12, which are predominantly found in animal foods.
  • Attempts to create meat replacements made from plant sources often do not provide the same nutritional benefits as animal-derived products.
  • There are complexities in trying to replace animal foods with plant-based alternatives, including poor nutrient absorption, gut issues, and the presence of antinutrients in certain plant foods.
  • Historically, humans have thrived on diets that include animal foods and have experienced robust skeletal development and overall health.
  • The convenience and nutrient density of animal foods have made them a preferred option for many individuals.
  • Attempting to replace animal foods completely with plant-based options is a relatively new experiment, and the long-term effects on health are not yet fully understood.
  • Current evidence suggests that a balanced diet that includes nutrient-dense animal foods is essential for optimal health and development.


In 1894, a dentist named Dr. Weston A. Price set off on a 10-year journey to solve a mystery that puzzled professionals: why were people’s teeth becoming so crooked? Dr. Price traveled to 14 different countries in search of people who naturally had excellent teeth and made a strange discovery. He found that crooked teeth seemed to be genetic, even though parents with perfectly straight teeth had one child with very crooked teeth and another child with straight teeth. However, having straight teeth generally meant that the rest of the face was more attractive. So, what made the difference?

Meanwhile, interest in plant-based diets has skyrocketed in recent years, with the rise of veganism. Meat sales have declined, and the number of American vegans and vegetarians has significantly increased. However, studies have shown that a large percentage of vegans eventually quit their diet. Even vegan influencers have struggled with health issues on a vegan diet and have had to reintroduce animal foods.

Dr. Price’s research revealed that the key to good dental health and facial attractiveness was a nutrient-dense diet that included animal foods. Traditional diets, which included nutrient-rich animal foods like fresh liver, fish, eggs, cheese, and butter, provided the vitamins A, D, and K2 crucial for healthy teeth and bones. These traditional diets also had a positive impact on overall health.

The Dutch, who consume the most milk per capita, are known for their height. Animal foods, particularly dairy, have been associated with increased height in various studies. Animal foods, including meat, contain essential nutrients that are difficult to obtain solely from plant-based sources.

While it is possible to replace some nutrients with supplements, the reality is that relying on supplements can be complex and challenging. Nutrient absorption from plant-based sources is often lower, and plant-based diets can present challenges like digestive issues and nutrient deficiencies. Moreover, the complexity of breast milk, with its numerous essential nutrients, illustrates the difficulty of creating a complete replacement for natural foods.

Attempts to create meat replacements often include vegetable oils like sunflower oil, which negatively affect nutrient absorption and overall health. These replacements may also lack essential nutrients found only in animal foods, such as creatine, carnosine, taurine, and others.

The body of evidence consistently shows that animal foods provide a wide range of essential nutrients that are difficult to obtain solely from plant-based sources. While nutrition science continues to advance, the track record of animal-based diets spans millions of years, whereas plant-based diets, especially when applied to children, lack a meaningful track record. Therefore, cutting out nutrient-dense animal foods may not be beneficial for overall health and development.

In conclusion, a nutrient-dense diet that includes animal foods has a strong track record in promoting dental health, facial attractiveness, and overall well-being. While the interest in plant-based diets is growing, it is essential to consider that they may not provide the same benefits without careful attention to nutrient balance and potential deficiencies.