Criticising the Belgian Royal Academy of Health

The Belgian Ministry of Public Health released a statement made by the Royal Academy of Medicine related to plant-based diets. [1]. In short, the statement describes the health risks of adopting a plant-based diet by infants or adolescents. The statement was responded to in a letter by the Physicians committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) [2]. However, critics of the statement also responded in a more aggressive manner.

criticism by PCRM

The PCRM criticised the publication by referring to the evidence-based, peer-reviewed publication made by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) [3]. Their publication ultimately concluded that vegan diets are “appropriate, and they satisfy the nutrient needs and promote normal growth at all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy and lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes.”

The PCRM continue to refute all claims made by the Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine which include, but are not limited to claims about vitamin B12 and D: Letter to Belgian Academie

criticism by the public

Maggie de Bock, Belgian Minister of Public Health

Instead of only attacking the claims made in the publication by the Royal Academy of Health, the public has also publicly shamed the Belgian Minister of Public Health for her appearance.
Such notions completely undermine the factual evidence that one can present to disprove the claims brought forward by the Royal Academy of Health.
Moreover, body/fat shaming is ultimately nothing but harmful and reduces someone to being judged only in regard to their physical appearance. It is completely irrelevant to the contents of the publication of the Royal Academy of Health.

Whether or not Maggie de Bock is a fitting candidate for the position of Minister of Public Health is a discussion that has nothing to do with veganism and thus should not be brought forward in this context.

relevant criticism

When criticising a formal document such as the publication by the Royal Academy of Health, one should focus on its contents rather than the people who promote it or adorned it. Personally attacking people and shaming them may enforce ideas about opponents of such documents that we ultimately would want to disprove.


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