After reading about raw animal food diets lately (like the Primal Diet and Raw Paleo), it really stuck out to me that people were reversing heart disease and other issues while consuming a lot of meat, especially red meat, and dairy. From what I understand, the Primal Diet, for example, has you eating a lot of raw meat, alot of raw eggs, a lot of raw milk and butter, a little vegetable juice and a fruit a day. Sounds like the heart attack diet. But I've read several impressive testamonies about people improving health and reversing disease on the diet. It seems that the dairy, meats, etc., if consumed raw are beneficial. Of course many people won't try raw animal foods because their fear of bacteria and parasites, and it's difficult to find good resources for quality meat and raw dairy.
The other day there was an MSN article (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22116724) about saturated fats and how it has never been proven to cause heart disease and other problems. Apparently that idea came from a flawed hypothesis from the 50s and soon became promoted by the AHA and the media. We all know why (money). According to that article, consuming saturated fat does raise LDL cholesterol, but it raises HDL cholesterol in even greater amounts. What really surprised me was the mention of stearic acid (a saturated fat) being converted by the liver into oleic acid, one of the healthy heart protectant fats in olive oil! It seems that a lot of our commonly accepted truisms are showing themselves to be hype and propaganda.
I'm convinced that vegetarian/vegan diets can be healing and cleansing, but so far my experience and research says that they should only be adopted short term because deficiencies and other problems develop. Every vegan I know of in "real life" gets B12 shots to avoid a deficit. What happens if someone's illness causes or is caused by a deficit in these nutrients, and they take up a vegan diet?
I also came across some info talking about how vegetarian/vegan diets can potentially lead to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease as well. It was because of the amount of fiber and the high carbs. The papers mentioned how the high carbs (sugar) can promote bacterial/yeast overgrowth and the overgrowth then further feeds on the fibers. This leads to bowel problems and eventually disease and cancers. Diabetes results from the high blood Sugar causing high insulin levels and eventually insulin resistance and pancreatic failure. High carbs raise triglycerides and lower HDL cholesterol, leading to heart disease. After learning of this, it makes me wonder who is really behind all the promotion of vegetarian diets.
I suppose you can find studies condemning anything you want if you look enough. This is why I now tend to trust anecdote slightly more than research papers and studies.