Physicians Told To Recommend Vegetarian and Vegan Diets To Patients For Reversing Disease
Because doctors don’t have formal training in nutrition, yet frequently give out dietary advice, an update has been issued on the importance of plant-based diets as a first-line defense against chronic illnesses. This is because changing your diet to plant-based vegetarian or vegan diet may be the difference between recovering or progressing disease.
Poor Diets Cost Us In More Ways Than One
A nutritional update for physicians, published in The Permanente Journal raised concerns about the rising cost of health care. According to the report, unhealthy lifestyles are contributing to the spread of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. It is for these reasons physicians need a more cost-effective intervention to improve their patients health outcomes. Naturally, this involves becoming more involved in helping their patients adopt healthier lifestyles. That being said,the report states that healthy eating is best achieved with a plant-based diet, which is defined as a regimen that encourages whole, plant-based foods and discourages meats, dairy products, and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods.
This is Good News For The War Against Obesity
In 2006, a review of data from 87 published studies found that a vegan or vegetarian diet is highly effective for weight loss. They also found that vegetarian populations have lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. What is more, it was found that weight loss in vegetarians is not dependent on exercise and occurs at a rate of approximately 1 pound per week. The reviewed data further stated that “a vegan diet caused more calories to be burned after meals, in contrast to non-vegan diets,which may cause fewer calories to be burned because food is being stored as fat.”
Physicians Should Recommend Diabetics Eat Low Amounts Of Animal Protein
According to the physicians update, plant-based diets may offer an advantage over those that are not plant-based with respect to prevention and management of diabetes since vegetarians have approximately half the risk of developing diabetes as non-vegetarians and non-vegetarians were 74% more likely to develop diabetes over a 17-year period than vegetarians. In 2009, a study involving more than 60,000 men and women found that the prevalence of diabetes in individuals on a vegan diet was 2.9%, compared with 7.6% in the non-vegetarians. It is being suggested to physicians that a low-fat, plant-based diet with no or little meat may help prevent and treat diabetes, possibly by improving insulin sensitivity and decreasing insulin resistance.
Plant Foods Are Better For The Heart
Heart studies have found that 82% of patients with diagnosed heart disease who followed a plant-based diet had some level of regression of atherosclerosis. In this plant-based regimen, 10% of calories came from fat, 15% to 20% from protein, and 70% to 75% from carbohydrate, and cholesterol was restricted to 5 mg per day. Vegetarian diets were also associated with lower systolic blood pressure and lower diastolic blood pressure.
Reviews by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee performed a 2010 literature review to determine the effect of plant-based diets on stroke, cardiovascular disease, and total mortality in adults. They found that plant-based diets were associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality compared with non-plant-based diets.
Eat More Plants
Doctors are also being cautioned not to go to much toward one belief system when it comes to eating plant based. They’re told to relay to their patients that although vegetarian diets are associated with lower risk of several chronic diseases, different types of vegetarians may not experience the same effects on health. The key is to focus on eating a healthy diet, not simply a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Minor Concerns With Going Plant-based
The update also cautions that iron stores may be lower in individuals who follow a plant-based diet and consume little or no animal products. However, the American Dietetic Association states that iron-deficiency anemia is rare even in individuals who follow a plant-based diet. They also cautioned that vitamin B12 supplementation is needed.
The Benefits Outweigh The Risks
Physicians have also been updated that the major benefits for patients who decide to start a plant-based diet include the possibility of reducing the number of medications they take to treat a variety of chronic conditions, lower their body weight, decreased their risk of cancer, and a reduction in their risk of death from heart disease.