This summer has seen the release of several great studies that further bolster the case for a plant based diet. This week, we want to highlight several of them and encourage readers to look into them for themselves.
Though the studies and data may seem boring to the average person, being armed with this knowledge can prove extremely beneficial. It has been said that knowledge is power, and that is certainly the case when it comes to diet and nutrition. The more educated we can become on the subject of health, the better choices we can make for ourselves and the more we can use that information to help others. It becomes exciting when so many reputable journals contain data that confirm the efficacy of plant based nutrition.
Keto Diet: Enthusiasm Outpaces Evidence
For instance, in one study published earlier this month (July 2019) in JAMA Internal Medicine entitled “The Ketogenic Diet for Obesity and Diabetes—Enthusiasm Outpaces Evidence”, the authors conducted a 13-study meta-analysis examining the evidence for the use of the ketogenic diet for individuals with obesity or diabetes. When it comes to obesity, the researchers found that the keto diet was “associated with less than a kilogram of additional weight loss over high-carbohydrate, low-fat strategies.”
Among the risks such as muscle cramps, headaches, diarrhea, bone fractures, and restricted growth, the authors found that the greatest risk in pursuing a ketogenic diet may perhaps be “the opportunity cost of not eating high-fiber, unrefined carbohydrates.”
Foods such as fruits, whole grains, and legumes are some of the most health-promoting foods for humans and reduce the risk of developing cancer and heart disease. This is important information, especially because many of our friends and family members often pursue the keto diet due to the hype, not the evidence.
Is White Meat Healthier Than Red Meat?
This isn’t the only surprising study. In June, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition released a study about the effects of white meat vs. red meat on Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) in an article titled, “Effects of red meat, white meat, and nonmeat protein sources on atherogenic lipoprotein measures in the context of low compared with high saturated fat intake: a randomized controlled trial”.
While many American’s have been led to believe that white meat is superior to red meat in preventing CVD, this study found the opposite to be true. They found that both white and red meat cause CVD at equal rates. In fact, the study concluded, “The findings are in keeping with recommendations promoting diets with a high proportion of plant-based food”.
Diet As Treatment for Crohn’s Disease and IBD
Another case study published by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine this summer followed a young adult male who had recently been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease (CD) which is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). After this individual failed to enter into remission after following the standard medical therapy, he was placed on a diet exclusively focusing on fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes.
After following this diet, he entered into clinical remission almost immediately without the need for medication and no longer showed signs of the disease! He has since been in complete remission with no flares. Although this was just a single case study, there have been hundreds of other studies that demonstrate the positive effects of a plant based diet on individuals with IBD.
These are just three of a number of studies released thus far in 2019. These exciting findings continue to build on a solid body of evidence that suggests that a plant based diet is optimal for human health. While a plant based diet is still relatively unpopular in the mainstream, being familiar with the data and evidence can be empowering. Utilizing these studies and more, we can perpetuate true health principles to our friends and family who so desperately need it.