The cynical, unethical, and scientifically worthless dietary study I discussed below, in which a group of malnourished African children were given two spoonfuls of meat to "prove" that vegan diets are tantamount to child abuse, turns out to have been sponsored by such utterly disinterested groups as the National Cattleman's Beef Association, Heifer International, Land O' Lakes, and the Global Livestock Collaborative Research Support Program.
And now that I've read the actual study, I can alert you to these charming details:
The prevalence of malaria, infection, splenomegaly and intestinal parasites was high. C-reactive protein was elevated (>10 mg/L) in 17.8% of all study children. Malaria was found in 31.8% of all children using the faliciparum malaria antigen dip stick (27), and 45% of children had enlargement of the spleen, indicative of endemic malaria. As for intestinal parasites, Entamoeba histolytica (amebiasis) was found in the stools of 21.4%, giardia in 12.5% and hookworm and ascaris in 2 and 3%, respectively. Serum iron values are not interpretable in the presence of malaria (42), but nonetheless low values were seen in 52.4% of all children. Zinc deficiency was present in 66% of children and riboflavin deficiency in ~25%. Both copper and folate concentrations were normal except for 1% having mild folate deficiency. Ferritin concentrations, usually a reflection of iron stores, were seldom low and more often were elevated, probably due to the presence of acute infection and malaria.I really admire the use of "nonetheless" above; that's a rhetorical luxury I intend to indulge in far more often.
All the diseases from which these children were suffering are preventable, which is another reason why this study teaches us more about the moral economy of first-world science - and its strange bedfellows - than it does about good dietary choices.