‘Replacing meat with highly processed food would repeat the health disasters of the 1970s’

Dr Gary Fettke, 10/12/2021

Wading through decades of nutrition research led orthopedic surgeon Gary Fettke and his wife Belinda to discover how health concerns over meat consumption have been falsified by statistical manipulation, misinformation, and biased promotion, and underlined the propaganda war designed to create a fear of meat and  drive its replacement with highly processed plant products. Dr Fettke outlined the outcomes of their extensive research in his opening statement to the Senate Inquiry into definitions of meat and other foods earlier this week, which appears in full below.

Dr Gary Fettke

THE 1970’s saw the blame pointed at saturated fat and the introduction of low fat, sugary processed foods.

That was a health disaster.

We cannot repeat that with the demonisation of meat and replacement with more highly processed and fortified foods.

The origin of commercial meat alternatives is a fascinating topic. Religious Ideology should not become the rationale for a scientific discussion on nutrition.

Yet it has shaped the entire topic of meat substitutes for over a century.

I am an Orthopedic surgeon and have been promoting nutrition as a preventative health measure for nearly 30 years.

For many years, the complications of type 2 Diabetes left me amputating bits of toes, feet, and even lower limbs, every week. I was simply band aiding sick-care…

I looked at my patients’ diet, and the national dietary guidelines, especially whilst they were in the public hospital system. It turns out it was a sugary, highly processed menu on offer with very little in the way of animal protein… and… animal fats being pretty much non-existent. My patients’ blood glucose levels were uncontrolled – necessitating more and more medication and surgery. It didn’t make sense.

Wading through decades of nutrition research led me to discover the health concerns over meat consumption have been falsified by statistical manipulation, misinformation, and biased promotion.

Our current dietary guidelines – shaped by vested interests and religious ideology are heavily promoting cereals, grains, and plant protein as ‘health food’ –  are completely flawed.

Meat has effectively disappeared off dietary guidelines in Australia, following the United States’ lead.

Recognising this creates an understanding of how and why ‘alternative meats’, either ‘plant-based’ or ‘manufactured’, have become a growing commercial enterprise.

Claiming to be Australia’s largest manufacturer of ‘alternative meat analogues’, Sanitarium’s Life Health Foods partnered with Food Frontier, an entrepreneurial group whose purpose is to promote alternative meat as a viable, profitable industry. Collaborative reports highlighted projections for vertically integrated businesses involved in alternative meat production and the ‘billion-dollar prize’.

Market opportunities hinge on creating a fear of ‘meat’, and the branding of meat substitutes as safer for the consumer and planetary health. This has become a massive media and propaganda ‘war’.

Incredibly, and unexpectedly, how we understand and interpret the ‘definition of meat and other animal products’ has been heavily influenced by religious ideology over the last century, and particularly here in Australia since 1897…  Sanitarium was founded that year to; – “supply the people with food which will take the place of flesh meat, and also milk and butter” as a way to win souls.

It was based on Kellogg’s successful commercial model in the US. Ellen G White, the Seventh-day Adventist Church founder set up Sanitarium in Australia as wholly owned by the Church to promote her health reform message, given in Vision from God. She is quoted as saying “A religious life can be more successfully gained, and maintained, if meat is discarded, for this diet stimulates lustful propensities, and enfeebles the moral and spiritual nature.”

The Seventh-day Adventist Church and its members largely started the breakfast cereal, soymilk, and ‘meat’ analogue industries of the world. The vegan model of ‘fruits, nuts and seeds being God’s chosen diet’ meant that the development, promotion and ‘research to prove’ the benefits of a plant-based diet have infiltrated medical education and dietary guidelines as far back as 1917.

Currently, the Church owns 20 food industries world-wide producing more than 2,000 products – all meat and dairy substitutes. In Australia, Sanitarium, Life Health Foods and the Alternative Meat and Dairy Companies, come under the Church’s charity status and as such, pay no income tax.

Sanitarium provides free nutrition education to health professionals, conducting and publishing research to promote the health benefits of plant foods. They have partnered and sponsor major Associations over the years including Dietitians Australia, all the while promoting their brand awareness with commercial benefits.

Sanitarium provided a central role in writing the algorithm for the Australian Health Star Rating system, favouring processed foods, and pushing the anti-meat agenda indirectly by scoring against saturated fat. That algorithm supports Sanitarium’s business model and the Church’s teachings to every Australian.

The supposed health and environmental benefits of plant and manufactured meat alternatives has not been established. The claims by others on the cancer and heart disease causing effects by red meat are disingenuous. This is discussed in our submission.

Animal based foods, particularly when eaten from tip to tail, are nutritionally complete.

Plant-based foods are nutritionally incomplete, with poor bioavailability of protein, and requiring fortification.

Let us advocate for whole foods. Let us not repeat the health disaster of the 1970’s.





Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will not appear until it has been moderated.
Contributions that contravene our Comments Policy will not be published.


  1. Samuel, 04/10/2023

    Love a good bbq

  2. Angie Davies, 11/11/2022

    Well done, excellent article. It is a shame people have been brainwashed into thinking ultra-processed fake-meats (or flesh as vegans call meat to make it sound bad) are healthy.
    We only evolved to be intelligent thanks to eating real meat else we would still be living in trees!

  3. Alar Aksberg, 28/12/2021

    The concept of vegetarians attacking meat lovers goes far back to ancient history. In the Bible, Genesis chapter 4, we read how Cain brought a fruits and grain offering, for which God held no favor. Able brought an offering of meat and fat, which God regarded highly. Instead of changing his agricultural practice to raising meat, Cain in vengeance killed his brother Able. This vegan hatred of meat eaters remains by their attempt to feed civilization with meat and slowly kill us off by feeding us incomplete vegetarian nutrition.

  4. David Sinon, 27/12/2021

    Well done Dr Gary Fettke. Hopefully our next elected Federal Government will take a closer look into this and question deeper..
    All the best.

  5. David Ruddlesden, 27/12/2021

    “Timothy”, Chapter 4 Versus 1-3. Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the LATTER TIMES some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.
    2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
    3 Forbidding to marry, and COMMANDING TO ABSTAIN FROM MEATS, which God had created to be received with thanksgiving of them which which believe and know the truth.
    Ellen G. White was selective with her Bible pontificates.

  6. Antonio Villalon, 27/12/2021

    Great article, red meats have the greatest quality, quantity & balance of Proteins, Vitamins & Minerals.
    Fruits, Vegetables, Poultry, Fish & Seafoods add to a more balanced Diet. Oats, Nuts & some Herbs and Spices, Complete rounding up a Better Balanced & Healthy Diet.
    I try to stay away from Refined & Processed Foods, as well as, Oxidative Fats, as much as possible.

  7. Shannon, 27/12/2021

    As I ex vegetarian who based their dietary advice upon the ‘health advice’ provided by the seventh day Adventist church as a young female and suffered health consequences as a result, I strongly believe there needs to be such stricter regulations when it comes to dietary advice and making sure there is more transparency in the industry. I wholly believed the dietary advice they gave me was based on science not ideology and for
    health of our nation and our planet, this needs to change.

  8. Sam, 27/12/2021

    According to a survey “Being Christian in Western Europe,” conducted in 2017 by the PEW research center, only 14% of Christians in the Western Europe say “religion is very important in their lives,” while 68% say the same in the USA, which is inverse proportional to quality of an educational system. Unfortunately, it will take a while to realize that the New Testament was a fiction created by the Roman Emperor Titus and his family.

    Eating meat, fat, and cholesterol caused the brain to grow, creating humans from apes. Eating only plant food, would probably not reverse our evolution back to apes, but is more likely to convert us to pigs. This is why religion is against teaching the evolution. Buying land, and returning it to nature, is a clear indication of brain shrinkage.

    The only plant food I use are spices, mustard, lemon juice, coconut oil, red wine vinegar, and a small dill pickle. In less than 4 months, I am going to be 80 (if I live that long ;-). My educational background is MSEE and PhD in computer science, but during the last 20 years I studied molecular cell biology, endocrine and cardiovascular physiology, nutrition and fitness. I am in excellent health, exercise every day, alternating resistance and HIIT, and train my brain by solving logical puzzles using AI programming in the ECLiPSe Constraint Logic Programming System.

  9. Jane Patchett, 27/12/2021

    Very interesting study.
    I have always eaten a good wholesome diet including meat, vegetables, fruits, fibre and carbohydrates.
    I have been increasingly concerned about the obsession with plant based meat and the belief that meat is vilified!
    Let’s have some common sense and truth out there!

  10. Judy McKay, 26/12/2021

    I concur 100%. Congratulations for a succinct article raising critical issues. What we must promote is real food and expose ultra-processed goods for exactly what they are…ultra-processed! Let’s see a tax on all highly processed foods.

  11. Cecilia Murray, 21/12/2021

    Here here! Commonsense prevails and red meat provides nutrients not available in substitutes.

  12. Sandra Hass, 15/12/2021

    You will find that mainstream Christian churches do not follow the SDA dietary recommendations. They encourage their people to eat a well balanced diet, including meat from animals.

  13. Mary Sparkes, 15/12/2021

    Good job on demonising vegetarians I thought we had freedom of choice with lifestyle found your article biased maybe some people should read The China Study by T.Colin Campbell Phd
    Thomas M.Campbell II, MD thought provoking book.
    Look the blue zones of the world also interesting.

    • Caro, 27/12/2021

      That’s entirely the point – The China Study and lots of other studies that “prove” meat is bad for humans are biased studies! You can obviously eat whatever you like, but you should investigate further before concluding that which you agree with is “unbiased” and that which you disagree with is “biased”. We all need to do that.

    • Robert Hansen MD, 27/12/2021

      The “China Study” misrepresents the actual data from the actual research upon which the book is based. Independent statistical analysis of the data shows decreased mortality in the areas of China with the MOST animal fat and protein consumption. Also, the rodent studies performed by the author misrepresent his own data. Although the animals fed plant based food had less cancer, it was because the died prematurely from liver failure, not mentioned by the author. So the plant based cohort were short lived compared to the control group. Scientific dishonesty at it’s worst.

  14. Jeanette Fisher, 14/12/2021

    Great exposé of big business masquerading as an organisation which has the good of the people at heart.
    The important question is, when is the global meat industry going to speak out against this stealthy indoctrination of the general public?

  15. Phil Donges, 13/12/2021

    Congratulations for having backbone to telling the truth of these matters and exposing it to the whole world

  16. Lyndal Woolcock, 12/12/2021

    The frantic and stressful pace we seem to lead our lives…..we need the iron content and other vitamins found in 🥩…for our continued good health!

  17. Mike little, 12/12/2021

    Church’s should pay tax like the rest of us ,look around the world they helped cause alot of the problems that are happening today , as for plant based food it is all unhealthy . i’m a meat eater and so is my family ,I have tried these so called meat sub product’s and they should not be allowed on the market being called meat of any sort ,I was a farmer for 35 yrs, if we don’t support the arg industry our country will die .

  18. Dan Kyle, 12/12/2021

    This country has been built from farming lets not change what works for us!! Anyway these political fools wont stop me eating meat like many others i will stand against any farming regulation bought in under politics

  19. Robin Steen, 12/12/2021

    Why do Governments allow a no tax situation like this occur.
    We all pay plenty of open and hidden taxes to governments for them to allow these people to destroy the fabric of our society and our meat industries.
    This of coarse all follows through to allowing such products to be called beef ,pork and lamb in shameful labelling.
    It really is time we did something about all this false information that’s poured down our throats daily.
    Very good article -Congratulations keep up the good work and continue to push your health benefits for all Australians.

  20. Arthur Le Feuvre, 12/12/2021

    I totally agree that animal based food is much more nutritious and balanced compared to manufactured plant “food”

  21. Mark Bickhoff, 12/12/2021

    Dear Dr. Fettke,
    I worked on animal nutrition for about 15 years. We were grazing cattle on phosphorus deficient granite based soils with poor quality water issues as well. We were farming in the seasonally dry tropics where it often didn’t rain for six months or more. Those years were also very dry so we had issues with fertility and growing cattle out into saleable meat. We did NRIS and water samples to get improve our animal nutrition so we could turn off grass fed beef in a sustainable way.
    We managed to turn off prime yearling beef which not only helped our bank balance but helped reduce grazing pressure on our property.
    Seventy percent of our great nation is only fit for grazing as the soils are too poor for plant based agriculture but with housing encroachment and the costs associated with the impost of increasing rates farmers are forced to farm more marginal land with the associated health issue of eating produce grown on artificially fertilised soils.
    With an ever increasing population the world needs to stop haranguing farmers as environmental vandals and need to support them as our ultimate saviours against food shortages.
    We tend to have a feast or famine with regards to our food production and farmers are never really compensated for the true value of their produce. Odd times some make big money but more often than not they don’t as when times are tough and goods are in demand the prices are increased or doubled so any gain is negated be commerce.
    Quality grass fed beef, lamb and goat meat still has a place in every one’s diet. It is a good source for all of your Omegas especially in times when there is question over the mercury levels in our dark flesh fish species.
    Mark Bickhoff

    • Lindsay Ferguson, 13/12/2021

      Replied to Mark Bischoffs post absolutely very true

  22. Mark Reynolds, 12/12/2021

    Over the last 60 years, as the fat is trimmed from or diets and replaced with sugar, all of our major health problems follow and increase with the sugar’s (simple or complex sugar’s).

  23. Jason Orr, 12/12/2021

    From my experience in life so far, It seems to me that there are a lot more idiots being born every day. Fortunately, there is also a lot of inelegant people already here. So I say to the meat industry and smart people who love meat because it is healthy and who know that responsible grazing is actually good for the planet and the soil, “don’t worry about the future as truth and fact will prevail in the long run”. All the idiots will get sick and die before then.

  24. Meg, 12/12/2021

    If you’re a poor oxalate metaboliser and can’t eat much vegetables, fruits, nuts and pulses etc meat and dairy are the main staples of my diet.

  25. Deirdre O Donnell, 12/12/2021

    Great article,I agree with your wisdom.

  26. Janet Martin, 11/12/2021

    I was born in Grafton of country parents, spent every holidays, many other days and eventually lived on our ancestral dairy and beef farms in Dorrigo. Sadly, we moved to Brisbane for the stability of us children and local, instead of national work for my truck driving father. I grew up and still am, connected to the land and all living things upon it, wherever I live. I was in my late 20’s when I was diagnosed with intolerances & sensitivities to wheat, gluten, dairy, sugar, additives and preservatives LOL I am allergic to the 21st century and altered & processed everything! I treasured my times visiting, having milk & milk products directly from the dairy, organic milled flours & everything straight from the ground, tree or animal!

  27. Syl, 11/12/2021

    This is what I’ve been saying for a long time.
    Never had a problem with people being vegetarian as I go that way occasionally myself.
    but the extremist vegan movement is being pushed by the corporations involved in manufacturing these products.
    It truly amazes me peoples willingness of people to ingest these products that have been chemically altered to taste like something that is available naturally anyway.
    This has been one of the greatest health problems for some time that these corporations are allowed to continue to get away with the use of all the preservatives, colours and flavourings without any real control by authorities.
    But hey it’s all in the name of profits for the people pushing this way of thinking as It’s cheaper to make than to source the real stuff.

  28. Susan James, 11/12/2021

    Meat has nothing originally to do with religion. We developed from cave dwelling, grain eating forage feeders . We only evolved into intelligent beings when we started eating meat, albeit raw. In short, Wolves shared our hearth for a reason , we accepted their companionship and hunting assistance that supplied our brains with b12 etc from the meat we ingested. There are wolf footprints found in a cave along with human foot prints showing companionship thousands of years ago. Native American diets, Pemmian, dried meat pounded into powder mixed 50/50 with kidney fat and dried choke cherries, sustsinability food on hunts and through winter 1495 they ,saved many God-fearing pilgrims from certain death, once Pemmian held equal valuable to gold! Native Americans saved those religious pilgrims from the brink of death with that sustainable survival food, pity really for the Native American. It woild be good to see profits going to them from Sanitarium! They were are far more Christian in their belief systems than those bloody missionaries and pilgrims! Meat is here to stay we will not be fooled and while rhis Vegan phase of control is about we will see very sick children being born to 2nd generation vegans . Canada’s experiments with vitamins on First Nations children was proof that vitamins and chaff will not sustain the human body alone indefinitely. Tje 74000 child graves is testament to that ,as many are chikdren who were experimented on in residential homes in the name of nutrition? I do however espect people who wish to omit meat from their diets and dairy etc,but I will not be dictated to as plant based being better for our environment and animals or us. A square foot of dairy pasture is a living thriving mass of life,worms caterpillars,microbes centipedes, snails butterflies , mice lizards other small creatures that live constantly in our grazing lands. A square meter of commercial garden has no topsoil no real microbes of benefit no living creatures and no regeneration of healthy biostructures. It’s not that we farm meat and dairy it’s how also. That can 100% be done in a sustainable manner.

  29. Simone Goldfinch, 11/12/2021

    I am a meat eater and all my family and friends. as with most N.Z people

  30. Karen Scott, 11/12/2021

    Totally agree. I am all for making my food from scratch. Don’t understand why people are overlooking the ingredients in these processed foods.

  31. Richard Rains, 11/12/2021

    Dr Gary Fettke, what a wonderful explanation of a seemingly unnecessary issue. Thankyou for your common sense input to the debate. Lets hope common sense prevails.

  32. Connie, 11/12/2021

    I completely agree that meat and meat fats are necessary for the human body to live a healthy life

  33. Paul+D.+Butler, 10/12/2021

    Dr. Fettke is correct. Folks are especially susceptible to the dishonest claims of the Lab Slimers because of the long time flawed dietary guidelines pushed by the government

  34. Peter Dunn, 10/12/2021

    Well done Dr Gary Fettke. Please contact Sky News after Christmas, and any other mainstream outlet which will speak to you, to do an interview. If you can find one hundred like thinking medical colleagues to join you, better still.

Get Beef Central's news headlines emailed to you -