Got Milk? Get Cancer. - anna dc

Campbell, Thomas. “12 Questions Answered Regarding Vitamin B12.” Center for Nutrition Studies,  26 Jan. 2017,

As the title suggests, this article written by Dr. Thomas Campbell answers 12 questions regarding vitamin B-12, such as how it is produced, what foods contain the vitamin, how animals obtain it, and the health consequences of a vitamin B-12 deficiency. This article is particularly important to my episode because it addresses a major argument in the "fake news" article ("Dangers of a vegan diet") I will be critiquing for my episode. "Dangers of a vegan diet" claims a vegan diet can lead to a B-12 deficiency. However, Campbell's article suggests a simple solution to prevent this concern: eat fortified foods and in particular, take a B-12 supplement. More importantly, "Dangers of a vegan diet" ignores the fact that vitamin B-12 is not produced by animals, which makes vegan diets seem unnatural to the human body. However, Campbell's article states B-12 is actually produced by "anaerobic microorganisms" (a.k.a. bacteria), which is found in types soil, some fungi, seaweed, algae, and the guts of ruminant animals, or animals who digest feces. In other words, like humans, animals absorb B-12, not produce it. This article is an online secondary popular resource.

McBride, Judy. "B12 Deficiency May Be More Widespread Than Thought." United States Department of Agriculture, United States Government, 2 Aug. 2000,

This USDA article, a secondary governmental source, is based on a study led by Dr. Katherine Tucker, a nutritional epidemiologist at Tufts University. The study found that based on a 3,000 sample of men and women ranging from 26 to 83 years-old, nearly 40% of Americans are close to being vitamin B-12 deficient. This finding is important because it suggests that vegans should not be the only people concerned about their B-12 intake, as vegans obviously do not make 40% of the American population. Furthermore, Tucker suggests fortified cereals and dairy as good sources of B-12. She speculates that although meat contains B-12, it is not absorbed by the body as well as the B-12 in fortified cereals or dairy. This article debunks a false claim in "Dangers of a vegan diet"; everyone, vegan or not, must be conscious of their vitamin B-12 intake.

[The following two resoures were posted on January 28th, under a different blog called 'beware of lettuce. (part 2)']

Davis, Garth. Proteinaholic. HarperOne, 2015.

This book, written by Dr. Garth Davis, discusses the protein myths in our society. He claims that we are obsessed with protein, especially animal protein; Yet, animal protein is actually unhealthy, as it is linked to various diseases and weight gain. He also states that Americans in general consume more protein than they actually need. As long as an adequate amount of calories (2000-2500 for example) is consumed, the average person will meet their required protein intake. This includes people on a plant-based, vegan diet. This resource debunks another false claim in my "fake news" article: "Lack of protein" and "Be careful of protein shakes." It disapproves that vegans lack protein or have to be especially concerned about it, as "Dangers of a vegan diet suggests"; vegans can get meet their protein requirements exclusively from plant sources, even without protein powder. Proteinaholic is a secondary source and Dr. Garth's conclusions are supported by primary source academic studies.

Greger, Michael. "Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein?." YouTube, uploaded by, 6 June 2014,

This YouTube video discusses a 2013 academic study which determined the nutrient profiles of vegetarians (vegans included) and meat-eaters. The study showed that every group exceeded their protein requirement of 42 grams a day. In fact, both vegans and vegetarians exceeded their protein requirements by 70%. 97% of Americans are getting enough protein; The 3% who are not, are not eating enough calories, Greger assumes. He also states that Americans should be more concerned about their fibre intake rather than their protein, as less than three percent of Americans meet the recommended minimum (meeting only 15 grams a day on average out of the 41 grams recommended). On the other hand, vegans typically receive triple the average American intake of fibre. This video is another secondary source that debunks the "Lack of protein" claim in my "fake news" article. It proves, through multiple academic sources, that protein deficiency is not a concern for vegans. Instead, it is meat-eaters who should be concerned about their fibre intake.


"How big government helps big dairy sell milk." YouTube, uploaded by Vox, 2 May 2016,

This YouTube video uploaded by Vox Media explains how the dairy industry influences the American government to promote milk consumption to its citizens. Dairy companies pay politicians thousands of dollars to include dairy in government dietary guidelines, which in turn, leads the American people to believe that dairy is an essential, rather than an optional component in a healthy diet. This source adds a unique angle to my episode. Instead of debunking a faulty health claim like the purposes of my previous sources, this source addresses a different, but related question. Rather than answering "Can a vegan diet be healthy?," it answers "Who decides what is healthy?" Essentially, it is the dairy industry who does. This video undermines the authority of the claims made in "Dangers of a vegan dietsince it shows an obvious bias towards the dairy industry in health and nutrition guidelines. I will need to investigate more on this topic because Vox does not provide a reference list and I am not completely certain how accurate their information is. However, this popular secondary source is a good starting point for further research.

Moodie, Alison. "Before you read another health study, check who's funding the research." The Guardian, 12 Dec. 2016,

This article from The Guardian exposes the problem of food industry-funded research. Referencing various academic research, it claims that many food and health-related studies are funded by soda, juice, meat, dairy, etc. companies, which create a bias in the research. In other words, the supposed health benefits of these foods found in the research may not actually be true. For example, it references a review of 206 studies that looked at the health benefits of milk, soda and juice, which found that studies sponsored by a food or beverage company were four to eight times more likely to show health benefits from consuming those foods. This resource functions similarly to my previous resource from Vox Media.  It too answers "Who decides what is healthy?" (the food industry) and thus, undermines the authority of the claims made in "Dangers of a vegan diet" because it also reveals a bias towards certain foods in scientific research if they are sponsored by food companies. This article is a popular secondary resource. I will also be citing the academic articles it referenced.

Michelle St. Pierre. “Changes in Canadians’ preferences for milk and dairy products.” Statistics Canada, Government of Canada, 21 Apr. 2017,

This is a secondary statistical source from Statistics Canada is a series of graphs showing the milk and dairy product trends among Canadians from 2015 and prior. In summary, from 2009 to 2015, all forms of dairy milk (standard, buttermilk, skim, flavoured, etc.) sales have been declining, and the amount of dairy milk available for consumption has been declining since 1980, with the most noticeable decline from 2009 to 2015. Furthermore, from 2011 to 2015, while traditional milk sales were declining, almond milk sales were rising in the U.S. Because no Canadian data is available regarding almond milk sales or consumption, Statistics Canada included American statistics in this report. I presume almond milk sales trends are similar in Canada. Because this source includes fairly recent data (2015), it provides relevance and significance to my episode. Although declining traditional milk sales and rising almond milk sales does not necessarily mean a rising vegan population, these stats indicate a growing acceptance to plant-based alternatives. In other words, this data shows the audience the relevance of my topic since more people are opting for vegan-friendly milks, which means more people are either on a vegan diet already, or that almond milk consumption may provide a segue to adopt it.

Le, Lap Tai, and Joan Sabaté. “Beyond Meatless, the Health Effects of Vegan Diets: Findings from the Adventist Cohorts.” Nutrients, vol.6 no.6, 2014, pp. 2131–2147.

This academic paper reviews data from three studies and compares the health benefits of vegetarian, vegan and omnivorous diets on three Adventist groups in North America. Overall, the authors found that vegetarian and vegan diets were better at protecting against “cardiovascular diseases, cardiometabolic risk factors, some cancers and total mortality,” than omnivorous diets, while vegan diets alone provided additional protection against “obesity, hypertension, type-2 diabetes, and cardiovascular mortality.” Although this secondary source does not debunk a specific claim in my “fake news” article, its conclusions provide additional support for the general falsehood of “Dangers of a vegan diet,” especially because this paper reviews multiple studies with all three pointing to the same conclusion. Therefore, according to this paper, vegan diets are not only harmless, but they are also more beneficial than omnivorous ones.

T. Collin Campbell and Thomas Campbell. The China Study. BenBella Books, 2006.

The China Study is a book based on the China–Cornell–Oxford Project, a 20-year study led by Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Chen Junshi. Although it is a popular secondary source, it is based on an academic study. The study examines diet and disease patterns in China and concludes that the closer people ate to a vegan diet, the lower they risked chronic diseases. The book also discusses other studies that supports the findings made in China. For example, in Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn’s study, all 18 of his patients’ coronary disease stopped progressing after eating a whole foods, plant-based diet. It debunks multiple claims made in “Dangers of a vegan diet,” from protein deficiency to the villainization of carbs. Furthermore, The China Project, in which the book is based on, is one of the largest and “most comprehensive” studies of nutrition and diet ever conducted. I have yet to find a similar study with as many participants and variables, nor a study as lengthy, time-wise. It is written by and cites many scholars. Not only does its content support my argument, but its reputation alone appeals to the ethos aspect of persuasion.