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Why You Shouldn’t Eat Vegetables: 6 Reasons Why Veggies are Not as Good as You Think

By Thomas Wrona Updated on

 Why you shouldn’t eat vegetables is an alarming proposition for many people. Vegetables have been hailed as a panacea for all of our health issues. We’ve been told that veggies fight cancer, clean out our intestines, and load us up with vital nutrients. 

But what if we told you that none of this is actually true. That the whole “eat your veggies” story is based on bad science promoted by biased researchers and it ignores numerous lines of evidence telling a very different story–a story in which there is good reason to avoid vegetables. 

In this article, we’ll detail 6 key reasons why vegetables aren’t as good as we’ve all been told, and why we’re probably better off without them. 

Table of Contents

6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Eat Your Veggies: Fast Facts

  1. Veggies are composed of carbs that get broken down into simple sugar (like glucose) and fiber which ferments in the gut producing alcohols, aldehydes and other inflammatory byproducts.
  2. Vegetables though touted as superfoods are less nutrient-dense than most people realize, lack key nutrients, come with antinutrients that bind to and prevent the absorption of the minerals in the veggies and any food consumed with them, and provide inferior versions of numerous essential nutrients when compared with animal products
  3. Vegetables contain thousands of naturally occurring chemical defenses mechanisms known as plant toxins and antinutrients
  4. Plant foods are a prime factor in numerous digestive issues, including intestinal permeability or “leaky gut”
  5. Consuming fiber from plants is not necessary and likely does more harm than good
  6. Vegetables are often contaminated with harmful bacteria causing widespread outbreaks, hospitalizations, and even death

1 High in Sugar

Vegetables are mostly made up of carbohydrates, fiber (an indigestible carb), and water. The carbohydrates we consume from vegetables all get broken down into glucose, AKA blood sugar. 

In this respect, there’s really no chemical difference between the sugar we get from a potato, a carrot, or a large restaurant salad, and the sugar we get from a lollipop. 

For instance, a popular restaurants market salad contributes 41 grams of carbs.1 That’s more than a can of cola (39 grams carbs).

In fact, the sugar we get from a lollipop may even be less harmful to our bodies when considering that it comes without plant toxins and fiber, two subjects we’ll get into in greater depth below. 

At this point, you might be asking why it matters that veggies are high in carbs/sugar? 

First of all, carbs are a non-essential nutrient, meaning that we do not need them. 

This isn’t a fringe belief–it’s scientific doctrine. The 2005 textbook “Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids,” by the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, states “ The lower limit of dietary carbohydrate compatible with life apparently is zero, provided that adequate amounts of protein and fat are consumed.3

Yet the standard American diet is characterized by a chronic intake of excessive carbs. Chronic high-carb eating is a prime cause of inflammation and tissue damage in the body, contributing to numerous diseases and disorders. 

Glycation

High carb diets promote glycation, a process where sugars bind permanently to proteins, fats, RNA, and DNA. This binding results in the creation of compounds called “Advanced Glycation End Products” or AGEs. 

diagram of glycation from carbohydrate molecule

 

Excessive carbs promote chronic cell and tissue damage that can contribute to kidney damage, heart disease, infertility, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. 

Research shows that the glycation-oxidation process promoted by excess carb intake is strongly associated with:  

  • Reduced immune system strength
  • Kidney failure
  • Eye damage and other complications of diabetes
  • Diseases such as PCOS and insulin resistance
  • High blood pressure
  • Progressive heart disease
  • Cancer metastasis and resistance to chemotherapy

Metabolic disorders

Excessive consumption of carbohydrates promotes metabolic disorders associated with what doctors refer to as “the diseases of civilization  :”

  • Obesity
  • heart disease
  • hypertension
  • type 2 diabetes 
  • epithelial cell cancers
  • inflammatory diseases (including autoimmune diseases, bowel disorders, osteoporosis, infertility, and more)

These are called ‘the diseases of civilization’ because they were virtually non-existent in traditional societies. These disease-free hunter gatherer societies were nourished diets high in animal fats, and extremely low vegetables and in natural sugars.

Common Vegetables High in Carbs

  • Garbanzo beans: 1 cup = 126g carbs
  • White beans: 1 cup = 122g carbs
  • Pinto beans: 1 cup =  120g carbs
  • Green peas: 1 cup = 120g carbs
  • Lima beans: 1 cup = 112g carbs
  • Black-eyed peas: 1 cup = 100g carbs
  • Plantains (sliced): 1 cup = 47g carbs
  • Corn:1 cup = 27g carbs
  • Potato (diced): 1 cup = 27g carbs
  • Sweet potato (chopped): 1 cup = 27g carbs
  • Parsnips (sliced): 1 cup = 24g carbs
  • Butternut squash (chopped): 1 cup = 16g carbs
  • Carrot  (chopped): 1 cup = 12g carbs
  • Pumpkin (chopped): 1 cup = 8g carbs

2 Not as Nutrient Dense as You Think

We’re told to eat carrots for our eyes, to get zink from cereal grains, and iron from spinach. 

But the fact is that most veggies pale in comparison with animal products when it comes to nutrient density.  And even when there are high levels of some nutrients in veggies, the plant version is most often inferior with regards to bioavailability–or the ability of our body to absorb and utilize them.

Let’s take vitamin A for example. Eat carrots for your vision because of the vitamin A, right? Well, not so fast. The vitamin A in carrots comes in a form called ‘carotenoid’. 

Carotenoids are a precursor to vitamin A. The body has to convert it into a useable form of vitamin A, and it’s not an efficient process. 

Studies show that 1 hour after consumption, the body absorbs less than 5% of vitamin A carotenoids, but 30% of the vitamin A retinol found in animal products.

Though the zinc in plants and animal sources is the same mineral, the phytic acid in the grain that zinc comes with inhibits the body’s ability to absorb most of it, and the same goes for plant sources of magnesium and copper.

effects of phytic acid on mineral absorption

Looking now at iron in spinach, studies show that the body only absorbs 1-10% of non-heme (plant-sourced) iron. And even less when considering the mineral binding properties of the plant toxin oxalic acid. Where as heme iron from animal sources is highly bioavailable, with 25–30% of this form is absorption.

Furthermore, the supposed nutrient abundance of vegetables is often touted without a direct comparison with animal products. 

An honest comparison reveals that animal products are truly the most nutrient dense foods on earth. 

beef-liver-beef-egg-kale-blueberry-100g-nutrient-comparison-@2x
Click here for a true list of the most nutrient dense foods on earth. 

Vegetables are also lacking numerous vital nutrients only found in meat. These include:

  • D3
  • B12
  • Vitamin A (Retinol)
  • Creatine
  • Carnitine
  • Carnosine
  • Heme iron
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an essential Omega-3
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA), an essential Omega-3
  • Taurine
  • Vitamin K2 (MK-4)

chart showing relative nutrient abundance and availability in vegetables

Source: Diagnosis Diet

A treasure trove of tips for fertility and for a healthy body and mind

3 Plant Toxins and Antinutrients

Another reason why you shouldn’t eat vegetables is that most people think of plants as passive, harmless, healthy, and happy to sacrifice themselves for the caloric benefits of herbivores like cows, and people pretending to be herbivores. 

But evolution is a game of survival. Accordingly, plants are equipped with an extensive arsenal of plant defense mechanisms. 

Don’t be fooled by plants’ lack of a central nervous. Our ability to run, strike, and scream are relatively unsophisticated when compared to a plant’s arsenal of chemical defenses. 

That’s right, plants have evolved a bevy of toxins to fend off predators. In fact, researchers estimate that we consume about 1.5 grams of natural pesticides every day. This works out to nearly 10,000 times more natural pesticides than synthetic compounds.

In addition to natural toxins, plants also contain antinutrients. These compounds interfere with digestive enzymes and bind to minerals leading to deficiencies and intestinal permeability, which further promotes inflammation and autoimmune disorders.

chart of common plant toxins and their effects on humans

Common plant toxins and antinutrients include:

Plant toxins and antinutrients are frequently the culprits behind digestive disorders, headaches, asthma, joint pain, and other allergic responses associated with food sensitivities and various inflammatory autoimmune diseases.

4 Leaky Gut

Plant toxins and antinutrients–especially lectins from legumes and nightshade vegetables–have been shown to irritate the intestinal lining resulting in intestinal permeability, or what’s commonly known as ‘leaky gut.’

Common foods high in lectins include legumes, grains, nightshade vegetables, squash, and A1 dairy.

When lectins bind with the intestinal wall, the normally tight junctions become porous, allowing harmful pathogens, glucose, and other plant toxins to enter the bloodstream where they circulate in the body. Lectins that circulate through the blood can attach to glucose molecules in other areas of the body, causing chronic inflammation and arthritis.4

diagram of intestinal permeability

5 We Don’t Need Fiber

For decades we’ve been told that we need fiber. That it’s a natural pipe cleaner essential for preventing colon problems, shunning constipation, reducing cholesterol, heart attacks, and more.

The Institute of Medicine recommends daily fiber intake of  38 grams for men, and 25 grams of fiber a day for women.

But modern research on the actual effects of fiber is showing us that these recommendations are essentially just dogma. The reality is that dietary fiber is often unnecessary. And it may even be harmful.

A 2012 study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology looked at fiber’s effects on constipation and concluded that “the previous strongly-held belief that the application of dietary fiber to help constipation is but a myth. Our study shows a very strong correlation between improving constipation and its associated symptoms after stopping dietary fiber intake.”

Research has also revealed that excess insoluble fiber can bind to minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium and prevent the absorption of these nutrients. 

Excess insoluble fibers can also inhibit enzyme activity enough to impair protein absorption, essentially acting as an antinutrient

A 2012 randomized controlled trial looked at the effects of limiting fiber for 60 people with chronic constipation and IBS. 

Researchers found that eliminating fiber for just two weeks led to a significant reduction in symptoms. 

Six months after the diet ended, 41 of the study participants had chosen to stay fiber-free and were still doing well. The ~20 participants who’d gone back to eating fiber regained their IBS symptoms.

Effects-of-Reducing-Dietary-Fiber-1536x1115

The modern resaserch on fiber supports the historical dietary perspective that humans evolved on a hypercarnivorous diet centered around fatty animal products. You can take more deeply explore the human-carnivore question here

As Carniovre diet thought leader Amber O’Hearn points out, animals meant to eat fibrous plant foods can ferment plant fibers into fatty acids. In order to do this they have digestive tracts that are significantly different and longer than those of humans. Herbivore digestive tracts have different stomachs containing microbes that digest fiber into short-chain fatty acids. 

diagram of herbivore stomach

But as humans evolved to scavenge and then hunt for fatty meat, our digestive system adapted by losing our ability to digest fiber, becoming shooter and more acedic.

chart showing comparison of herbivore digestive system with human digestive system

Source: Amber O’Hearn

Dr. Kiltz’s perspective on Fiber

The foods and fiber we’re “supposed” to be eating in abundance create a constant slurry of inflammatory junk. When I examined the studies exploring the benefits of fiber and vegetables, I wasn’t surprised to find that there is zero evidence demonstrating the benefits of fiber for bowel health. What we do know for certain is just how little we actually know about our complex and delicate digestive system. And this is yet another reason why I find the mainstream diet recommendations so troubling.

My observations as a fertility doctor lead me to believe that the constant sugar and fiber fermenting in our bowels spreads inflammation to tissue and organs throughout the entire lower abdominal region, including our tubes, ovaries, uterus, prostate, seminal vesicles, and testicles. It bears emphasizing that in the majority of cases I treat, infertility is an inflammatory disease! And inflammation doesn’t stop in the lower abdomen. Destructive plant antigens—naturally occurring vegetable compounds that attack healthy human cells—and glucose are micronized in our gut and deposited through the blood stream to every organ in our bodies.

6 Contamination with Bacteria

One of the main reasons why you shouldn’t eat vegetables is that fresh vegetables are routinely contaminated with harmful bacteria, including listeria, E. coli, and Klebsiella.

Infectious bacteria like listeria resides in soil and water. Vegetables can become contaminated when in contact with soil and manure.3

In a 2016 study aimed at identifying various microbial contamination in fresh produce, of the 105 samples of imported fresh fruits and vegetables from different countries, potentially harmful bacteria occurred in 60% of fruits and 91% of vegetables

20% of fruits and 42% of vegetables had Enterococcus. E. coli and S. aureus were found on 22% of fruits and 7% of vegetables. And an additional 21 other species of bacteria where identified with E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Enterococcus casseliflavus, and Enterobacter cloacae as the most abundant species.3

A 2021 review found that “raw consumption of many fresh leafy and non-leafy vegetables, root vegetables, sprouts, and fruits results in the exposure of humans to foodborne bacterial pathogens, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) 6]. In recent decades, exposure to antimicrobial-resistant pathogens through the food chain has increasingly been reported to cause foodborne disease outbreaks.

The presence of ARB (antibiotic resistance bacteria) and ARGs (antimicrobial resistance genes) in fresh produce and salads consumed raw poses potential public health risks of unknown magnitude. Preventing ARB/ARG exposure through fresh produce may be challenging considering the cross-cutting issues related to food security and food safety…”

For these reasons, Dr. Kiltz urges his patients not to consume fresh vegetables and refers to our ubiquitous triple-washed lettuce as “nature’s toilet paper.” 

Here are the CDC’s listeria and E. coli outbreaks for the year to date (2022). These only include outbreaks large enough to be tracked conclusively. It’s likely that there are many other outbreaks that go undetected and unreported. 

CDC listeria outbreak alert

CDC description of recent listeria outbreak

CDC E. Coli outbreak alert why you shouldn't eat vegetables

CDC E. Coli outbreak alert

 

Dr. Kiltz's Take
Now try and think of a single recall for rib-eye steak.  All this dirty, sugary, abrasive ruffage we’re eating clogs up our digestive system, spawning bacterial infections and yeast that ferments into highly inflammatory alcohol and aldehyde.
Dr. Kiltz's Bottom Line: Why You Shouldn't Eat Vegetables

Though humans evolved from primates, who ate lots of plant foods, over 2 million years we adapted to a diet high in nutrient-dense fatty animal meats and largely relinquished our need and ability to efficiently digest plant foods. 

Consuming a diet high in vegetables subjects our bodies to high carbs, unnecessary fiber, plant toxins and antinutrients that can contribute to leaky gut and chronic inflammation, and harmful bacteria. 

Though there’s no question that humans are technically omnivores–meaning we can get energy from both meat and non-meat foods, it is more accurate to classify humans as facultative carnivores. This means we evolved by specializing in eating meat, and only resorted to plants when we had to, i.e. when we were starving. 

Returning to our ancestral way of eating and limiting vegetables may be a key to overcoming numerous digestive, autoimmune, infectious, and inflammatory conditions.

 

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