Vegetarians vs. Omnivores: A Soho Forum Debate

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There is little or no rigorous evidence that vegetarian/vegan diets are healthier than diets that include meat, eggs, and dairy.

That was the topic of a public debated hosted by the Soho Forum in New York City on May 13, 2019. It featured Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise, and David Katz, the founding director of Yale University's Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center. Soho Forum director Gene Epstein moderated.

It was an Oxford-style debate, in which the audience votes on the resolution at the beginning and end of the event, and the side that gains the most ground is victorious. Katz prevailed in the debate by convincing 13 percent of audience members to change their minds.

Arguing for the affirmative was Nina Teicholz, whose 2014 book, The Big Fat Surprise, challenged the conventional wisdom on dietary fat. Teicholz's writing has also been published in The BMJ, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The Independent, The New Yorker, and The Los Angeles Times among others. Teicholz is the Executive Director of The Nutrition Coalition, a non-profit group that promotes evidence-based nutrition policy.

Reason's Alexis Garcia interviewed Teicholz in 2018.

David L. Katz, MD argued for the negative. He's the founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, which practices community and alternative medicine, and is founder/president of the True Health Initiative, a non-profit organization established to promote a healthy diet and lifestyle. The holder of five U.S. patents, Katz has authored roughly 200 peer-reviewed publications and 16 books to date, including textbooks in both nutrition and preventive medicine.

The Soho Forum, which is sponsored by the Reason Foundation, is a monthly debate series at the SubCulture Theater in Manhattan's East Village.

Music: "Modum" by Kai Engle is licensed under a CC-BY creative commons license.

Produced by Todd Krainin.

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