Functional Medicine Research with Dr. Nikolas Hedberg

Functional Medicine Research with Dr. Nikolas Hedberg

The Truth About Plant-Based Diets and Meat with Diana Rodgers

June 28, 2019

In this episode of The Dr. Hedberg Show, I interview dietitian Diana Rodgers in a discussion about plant-based diets, meat, and her upcoming documentary and book project Sacred Cow.  Speaking to Diana was a breathe of fresh air among all the misinformation out there about plant-based diets and meat.  We discussed the potential pitfalls of plant-based diets including protein and micronutrient deficiencies.  Diana covered important information about the true environmental impact of meat and how important grazing cows are to the environment.  You should come away from this interview with a better understanding of plant-based diets, meat, and it's environmental and socioeconomic impact.  I urge you to support Diana's Sacred Cow project and to look out for the upcoming documentary.

Full Transcript of the Interview:

Dr. Hedberg: Well, welcome everyone to "The Dr. Hedberg Show." This is Dr. Hedberg and I'm really looking forward to my conversation today with Diana Rodgers. She's a registered dietitian. And she's known as a real food nutritionist. And she actually lives and works on an organic farm near Boston, Massachusetts. She's an author. And she runs her own clinical nutrition practice. Her work has been featured in the "Los Angeles Times," "The Boston Globe," and "Outside Magazine." Diana writes and speaks internationally about the intersection of optimal human nutrition and environmental sustainability.

And she's the producer of the Sustainable Dish Podcast, which I highly recommend. And Diana is an advisory board member of Animal Welfare Approved, the Savory Institute, and Whole30. And her new film and book project "Sacred Cow" examines the environmental, nutritional and ethical case for better meat. And her website is So Diana, thanks for joining us.

Diana: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me.

Dr. Hedberg: So I was really looking forward to this because there's this kind of avalanche of plant-based propaganda out there. There's been some Netflix documentaries, and some well-known movie stars, and medical doctors, putting a lot of information about this. And it's become a little frustrating and a little extreme. And so I wanted to bring you on to put the brakes on this a little bit and educate people. In fact, I saw this commercial the other day for Raid bug spray. And their big thing is that the insecticides are plant-based. So you're seeing this all over the place, plant-based this, plant-based that. So why don't we begin by just talking about some of the main dietary deficiencies in a plant-based diet? So I'm mainly seeing iron and iodine, B12. So can you talk a little bit about the micronutrient deficiencies, and potential protein issues with plant-based diet?

Diana: Yeah. I mean, I'd love to start with protein actually. I'm a huge protein advocate. And I looked into the recommendations for protein. Where did they come from? Why does everyone think we only need about 50 grams of protein per day, a little less for women, a little more for men? Like, where did that all come from? And turns out that they're really wrong, they're really low. And the recommendations for protein are based on the minimum that we need for basic survival. And they're also based on an ideal body weight of women at about 125 pounds, I think, and men at 154 pounds.