Inverse Daily

Let your dog go vegan — it could help their health and the planet

Plus: The body fuels the brain.

Denver Post/Denver Post/Getty Images

The internet is full of people who want to tell you what to do and what to eat. “You need this $80 piece of jade!” they might say, or “make sure to have a glass of raw eggs in the afternoon.” It can be hard to block out every voice claiming sweetly that it wants to make you just a little bit better, but avoiding fads and sticking to things proven to make you feel good — sleep, friendship, spinach — goes a long way. Unless you’re an actual dog.

If you’re an actual dog, you might end up listening to the voices out of an innate desire to be a “good puppy.” And then you might end up vegan, though, there are worse things to be. You can learn more about vegan dog diets in today’s newsletter, but before you rush your pet to Whole Foods, vote for Inverse Daily in this year’s Webby Awards. But, of course, our real prize is getting to spend this time with all of you.

This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Subscribe for free and learn something new every day.

And a quick note: This is my last newsletter for Inverse, but you can catch up with me on Twitter @ashleybardhan. I’m so grateful for all your emails and correspondence over the past few months, and I hope you continue to enjoy everything Inverse Daily has to offer!

Just a couple of vegans, NBD.Ernst Haas/Ernst Haas/Getty Images

Can I feed my dog a vegan diet?

New research in PLOS ONE investigates the health impact of different dog diets, including “conventional, raw meat, and vegan diets,” writes Inverse nature reporter Tara Yarlagadda. In this case, “conventional” refers to mass-produced, meat-based products like kibble.

Though it is perhaps surprising given dogs’ propensity for gnawing on toy bones, the research found that our furry friends’ stomachs might benefit most from meat-free diets. “Dogs on vegan diets suffered from far fewer health disorders and allergies than pets fed conventional diets,” reports Yarlagadda. “On average, dogs fed vegan diets in the study had half the risk of suffering from health disorders — such as gastrointestinal issues — as pups raised on conventional diets.”

However, there are a few caveats. Don’t chuck your dog a Beyond Burger and call it a day. Researchers instead want owners to know they can “rely on nutritionally balanced, commercially available vegan dog food from a reputable company,” writes Yarlagadda. “Home-made plant-based diets may not contain the right proportions of nutrients — such as proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins — even if pet owners add nutritional supplements.”

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Brain fuel.Denver Post/Denver Post/Getty Images

Exercise lowers dementia risk — scientists want to know how

Let’s move up from the gut and take a look at the brain. Scientists know that physical activity decreases your risk for dementia, but they never really knew why. Recently, a research team at the Institut Blood and Brain at the University of Normandy recently determined to find out at least a bit more about the phenomenon.

Their findings, published just last week in the journal Neurology, suggests that exercise benefits your cerebral glucose metabolism, which powers your brain function. This isn’t the most illuminating conclusion, but Inverse science writer Nick Keppler notes that the study was observational “and therefore cannot show causation.”

“However, the study authors speculate that one factor that could be influencing results is that ‘older adults with a better brain health stay more physically active’ than those whose brains are already showing signs of decline,” writes Keppler. “The confirmation that exercise is linked to one key benefit and a constellation of related factors — exercise levels, insulin, and BMI — are associated with others could be helpful to understanding prevention for people with complicated health profiles.”

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Airborne viruses cower in fear of the mask. SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Here is the last mask guide you’ll ever need

What kind of person are you, mask on or off? Personally, I’m a mask off outside, mask on inside kind of girl. But you might not be sure of what you should do with the panic-ordered box of surgical masks sitting in a drawer somewhere, and you wouldn’t be alone — three years of yo-yoing restrictions get confusing for anyone.

But it shouldn’t be so complicated, Inverse health reporter Katie MacBride says. “As any aerosol scientist or virologist will tell you: Wearing a mask can be one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from the virus,” writes MacBride. To simplify matters even further, “Inverse spoke to two bioaerosol scientists about how to wear masks, when, and what kind is best to keep yourself and others safe, regardless of current mask mandates.”

Above all else, MacBride relays the importance of risk assessment and wearing a mask based on your comfort level if no mandates are in place. “Still, there are many reasons it may make sense to err on the side of caution when making that risk assessment,” she writes. “People who are immunocompromised may still need the added protection, as do many parents and families with kids under 5 who don’t yet qualify for the vaccine. Further, researchers still don’t fully understand how or why long Covid occurs, or who is most at risk or susceptible.” As with everything, you’re better safe than sorry.

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Fourth time’s the charm?NASA/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Artemis 1 wet dress rehearsal fails a third time

“On Friday, NASA announced that the third wet dress rehearsal — a thorough run-through of a launch, including fueling, without actually lifting off — of the Artemis 1 cabin and launch vehicle had experienced a propellant problem, setting back the timeline another week for the Moon-bound rocket,” writes Inverse innovation editor John Wenz. “The mission, which is an uncrewed Orion capsule atop a Space Launch System (SLS) rocket intended for a quick trip around the Moon before humans launch aboard Artemis 2, has seen a series of stumbles in its wet dress rehearsal phase.”

The SLS rocket experienced a liquid hydrogen leak on its Tail Service Mast Unit during this wet dress rehearsal, which made it dangerous and impossible for researchers to complete the test. Though NASA stressed at a Friday press conference that the “rocket is fine,” the leak is just another ill-timed speed bump.

It’s certainly not the end of the road. “The Artemis team is planning to run a new wet dress rehearsal on Thursday, April 21,” writes Wenz. “This places the test close to the launch of the Crew-4 mission to the ISS on April 23, which could provide some logistical challenges.” Ugh. Let’s all toss some salt behind our shoulders to break the Artemis 1 curse.

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Mars in black-and-white.NASA/JPL-Caltech

About this newsletter: Do you think it can be improved? Have a story idea? Want to share a story about the time you met an astronaut? Send those thoughts and more to newsletter@inverse.com.

  • On this day in history: Just a year ago, on April 19, 2021, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter became the “first aircraft in history to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet,” writes NASA.
  • Song of the day: Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” by Bettye Swann.
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