While reading several articles by Brian Peskin I began to wonder if vegetables are actually that great for you. Peskin claims fiber is bad for colon health and not helpful in cancer prevention. Also, the data seems to indicate most vegetables now contain too many pesticides and too few nutrients to be truly beneficial to us. While researching I also ran across a blogger named Roger M. Wilcox who wrote a ranting but thought-provoking article railing against veggies. But, the embedded knowledge in our culture is that high volumes of veggies in our diets are vital to good health and weight loss. So, what do you all know about the healthfulness of vegetables? I would love links to articles or studies. Thanks!
I found these blog posts by Kurt Harris thought-provoking:
I think the return on investment of industrially produced fruits & vegetables is declining. Between pesticides, other pathogens (listeria from cantaloupe), and reduced micronutrients from soil depletion, it's certainly giving me some pause.
That said, I find the hormetic benefits of vegetables (also from Kurt Harris) idea intriguing. And truth be told, I just like them as parts of my meals. So I try and go local and/or organic as much as possible.
Here's a study that I find interesting and relevant:
Green tea extract only affects markers of oxidative status postprandially: lasting antioxidant effect of flavonoid-free diet. Never mind the title. Here is the abstract, emphasis mine:
Epidemiological studies suggest that foods rich in flavonoids might reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of green tea extract (GTE) used as a food antioxidant on markers of oxidative status after dietary depletion of flavonoids and catechins. The study was designed as a 2 x 3 weeks blinded human cross-over intervention study (eight smokers, eight non-smokers) with GTE corresponding to a daily intake of 18.6 mg catechins/d. The GTE was incorporated into meat patties and consumed with a strictly controlled diet otherwise low in flavonoids. GTE intervention increased plasma antioxidant capacity from 1.35 to 1.56 (P<0.02) in postprandially collected plasma, most prominently in smokers. The intervention did not significantly affect markers in fasting blood samples, including plasma or haemoglobin protein oxidation, plasma oxidation lagtime, or activities of the erythrocyte superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase and catalase. Neither were fasting plasma triacylglycerol, cholesterol, alpha-tocopherol, retinol, beta-carotene, or ascorbic acid affected by intervention. Urinary 8-oxo-deoxyguanosine excretion was also unaffected. Catechins from the extract were excreted into urine with a half-life of less than 2 h in accordance with the short-term effects on plasma antioxidant capacity. Since no long-term effects of GTE were observed, the study essentially served as a fruit and vegetables depletion study. The overall effect of the 10-week period without dietary fruits and vegetables was a decrease in oxidative damage to DNA, blood proteins, and plasma lipids, concomitantly with marked changes in antioxidative defence.
I asked a very similar question quite a while ago, which had a ton of useful information in the answers and comments. Note especially the answers and comments by Stephan-Aegis and Kamal. A lot of scientific references on the topic of veggies. Unfortunately, Stephan-Aegis doesn't post like he used to. Man, I learned a lot from him!
There is so much going on in that thread, that it would be unwise for me to summarize it here...