CARDIOLOGY, PRIMARY CARE AND NUTRITION

Blogpost: Is a Vegan Diet the Best?

We all want to be the best we can be. So why not eat the best so we can be the best. However, when it comes to nutrition, I am more likely to hear, I eat “pretty healthy”. It seems as though most people are quite satisfied with “pretty healthy”. We lower the bar when it comes to nutrition. It is “good enough”. “A little bit won’t kill you”. What exactly are we comparing our “pretty good” to? The Standard American Diet? What others eat? The vegan diet? Keto? When we say healthy diet, are we all on the same page?

I recently read an article asking if the vegan diet is the healthiest? It was in a magazine with a wide variety of advertisements from insurance to pharmaceuticals, and from pet food to processed human foods. They dismissed any environmental or ethical reasons right up front when comparing a vegan diet to the Standard American Diet. So they did not mean healthy for the animals or the planet. So we are just left with the health of humans who happen to need a healthy planet to survive but I digress.

The World Health Organization has classified processed meat including, but not limited to prosciutto, bacon, turkey lunch meat, bologna, and hot dogs as class one carcinogens. All red meat gets the label of class two or probable causes of cancer. There are clear links with red meat and colorectal cancer. There are associations of lymphoma risk and chicken intake. It is a good thing that a vegan diet excludes these cancer risks.

Yes our body needs cholesterol, but our liver is perfectly capable of meeting the demand each day by producing cholesterol. We do not need the genetic material of a chicken in the form of an egg to get cholesterol. Only industry sponsored studies have ever suggested that eggs might be healthy. The problem with turning a blind eye to eating eggs is that they are put in everything. It is not just the boiled eggs without any fiber that one consumes for breakfast, but the eggs in pastries, breads, and processed foods used as binders. So again, the vegan diet dodged the bullet by eliminating eggs. We vegans get the other abundant vitamins that are contained in eggs from plants, by the way.

What about fiber? Places in the world where people consume 50-70 grams of fiber a day, are virturally free of digestive cancers and diseases. I learned in medical school that the risk for gallbladder disease highest in the fat, fair, female and fertile population, when the real risk is the high fat, low fiber diet of most people. It just starts to catch up to women when they are gaining weight during the childbearing years. Can you imaging the increase in these digestive diseases now with the seduction of the fast weight loss keto diet loaded in fat and devoid of fiber? Only plants contain fiber. Fruit, vegetables, and whole grains have fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.

So if we know a plant strong vegan diet is good for the animals and good for the planet, it contains all the minerals and macronutrients we need, plenty of fiber, rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, and leads to a maintaining and achieving a healthy weight, then I believe it is a hands down best choice nutrition plan for people of all ages and stages of life.

So why settle for “pretty good” when you can have a fabulous, nutritious and delicious plant based diet.

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