Vegan vs. Omnivore: Unpacking Twin Diet Study | C, Gardner | The Proof Podcast EP #212

Vegan vs. omnivore: learn about the Netflix documentary You Are What You Eat and the associated twin study with lead researcher, Christopher Gardner PhD. From publication, this study gained major media attention that was only amplified by the release of You Are What You Eat. With popularity comes criticism, in this case from some big names in online nutrition spaces. Hear the truth about the controversy surrounding this study and documentary, straight from the source.

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Christopher Gardner, PhD is the Rehnborg Farquhar Professor of Medicine at Stanford and directs the Stanford Prevention Research Center’s Nutrition Studies Group. His research focuses on randomised controlled nutrition trials, studying the impact of various diets and supplements on chronic disease risk factors like cholesterol and inflammation. Recently, his work has evolved to explore broader motivators for dietary change, such as animal rights, climate change, and social justice, alongside a food systems approach that aims to improve food quality in institutions like universities and hospitals. This shift leverages interdisciplinary collaborations across Stanford to drive community-based nutritional improvements. Today’s episode is his sixth appearance on The Proof.

We cover:
00:00 Intro
01:10 Introduction and background on Christopher Gardner’s recent twin study
08:16 Navigating the Challenges of Science Communication and Critique
16:20 Introduction to the Twin Study and Its Unique Design
22:27 The Role of Identical Twins and Defining Plant-Based vs. Omnivorous Diets
27:05 Dietary Patterns and Health Outcomes: The Vegan and Omnivorous Diets
36:14 Diet Satisfaction and Adherence in Nutritional Studies
41:45 The Science of Study Design: Primary vs. Secondary Outcomes
51:48 Responding to critiques on calorie differences
54:55 Cardiometabolic Markers and Diet: A Deep Dive
59:50 Twin Nutrition Study Deep Dive: Lipid Markers, Cardiovascular Risk, and the Impact of Diet
01:12:13 Responding to Critiques (Peter Attia): The Complexity of Diet Studies
01:27:25 Addressing Critique of Mark Hyman
01:36:54 Funding from Beyond Meat and other organizations
01:42:28 Teaching about sustainability and stealth nutrition – Nina Teicholz critique
01:46:00 Is Plant-Based Diet good for the environmental health?
01:51:44 Reflecting on critiques and potential improvements to the study
01:53:46 Personal experience with the Netflix documentary
01:55:46 Outro

Connect with Christopher Gardner, PhD:
– Twitter/X:
– Instagram:
– Website:
– Stanford Nutrition YouTube:
– Professor Gardner’s previous episodes:

If you have any additional questions you would like answered in the future, let me know in the comments.

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Enjoy, friends.

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Simon Hill, MSc, BSc (Hons)
Creator of and host of The Proof with Simon Hill

Author of The Proof is in the Plants

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