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I'm always interested in hearing about the health benefits of plant-based diets from physicians who are out there doing research on the subject--as well as from physicians who see their own patients benefit when they switch to plant-based eating.
So, when I discovered Janice Stanger's terrific summary of the presentations made at the 2010 Vital Signs: Plant-Based Diets in Clinical Practice, sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine I took a closer look. Thank you, Janice.
Five presenters--all pioneers in nutrition-based preventive medicine share their research and discoveries in the areas of cancer prevention, the safety of soy, diabetes management, the benefits of a starch-based diet, and the dramatic effects that lifestyle changes can have on health.
Take a closer and see what you think.
Here's a link to Janice Stanger's summary of the PCRM Workshop--Linking Nutrition and Health: 25 Expert Tips. You can find each speaker's Power Point presentations below.
My Favorite Tips from Janice's Summary of the PCRM Plant-Based Diets in Clinical Practice Workshop
Food and Nutrition Recommendations for the Prevention of Cancer
Lawrence H. Kushi, Sc.D., is the associate director for etiology and prevention research, division of research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California. His research interests have focused on the role of food and nutrition in the development, prevention, and prognosis of chronic diseases, including breast and other cancers. Dr. Kushi is currently the principal investigator of two NIH-funded prospective cohort studies on breast cancer.
His Power Point Presentation: Food and Nutrition Recommendations for the Prevention of Cancer
1. The World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research report reinforces the importance of a varied whole foods, plant-based diet, physical activity, and lean weight in preventing and fighting cancer.
2. This report also recommends avoiding red meat, processed meat, alcohol, and salty foods.
3. Eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains helps prevent obesity and weight gain.
Health Effects of Soy: Separating the Data from Misinformation
Mark Messina, Ph.D., M.S., is the co-owner of Nutrition Matters Inc., a nutrition consulting company, an adjunct associate professor at Loma Linda University, and the executive director of the Soy Nutrition Institute. He is a former program director with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), where he initiated a research program on the anticancer effects of soy.
His Power Point Presentation: Health Effects of Soyfood: Separating the Data from Misinformation
1. People in China and Japan have been consuming soy foods for thousands of years, with no associated issues with health or fertility.
2. Much of the confusion about soy centers on isoflavones which are unique to soy foods. Isoflavones, which bind to estrogen receptors, have different effects in different parts of the body. These substances are generally health protective or neutral.
3. Soy protein lowers both cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. This food helps the inner walls of your arteries function better, especially if you already have cardiovascular disease.
4. Girls lucky enough to be raised with significant amounts of soy in their diets have a permanent, lifelong reduction in their risk of developing breast cancer. Adult women can safely enjoy soy, but do not get the same protective effect.
5. My comment: Stick to whole soy foods, like tofu, tempeh, or edamame. Avoid isolated soy isoflavones, protein powders, or processed soy faux foods.
A Plant-Based Diet for Diabetes Management
Neal D. Barnard, M.D., is a nutrition researcher, author, and health advocate. As an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine, Dr. Barnard conducts studies on the role of nutrition in diabetes, obesity, and lipid management, among other health issues.
His Power Point Presentation: A Plant-Based Diet for Diabetes Management
1. People eating a plant-based diet enjoy permanent weight loss. The most effective approach is to abandon calorie restriction and focus instead on the kinds of foods you eat.
2. If you are diabetic and go on a whole foods, plant-based diet,
keep your doctor’s phone number handy. Your health will improve so much
that you will need to adjust your medications to avoid low blood sugar.
3. Dairy foods are a powerful trigger for joint pain.
4. Fat inside of muscle cells keeps insulin from doing its job of
getting glucose into the cell. Glucose is the muscle cell’s fuel. Those
on plant-based diets have less fat inside their muscle cells than
meat-eaters do, independent of their overall weight.
5. Although it can take several weeks to adjust to, people who move up to a plant-based diet generally like it a lot. Dr. Barnard recommends a step approach to dietary change. First, try out new plant-based recipes or convenience foods and see what you like. Second, give the plant-based diet a three week test drive. It’s critical not to eat animal foods during this time so your tastes have time to change. Finally, link up with social support for your new diet. Many support groups are online, or find one in your community.
The Starch Solution
John A. McDougall, M.D., is a physician and nutrition expert who teaches better health through vegetarian cuisine. He has been studying, writing, and “speaking out” about the effects of nutrition on disease for more than 30 years.
His Power Point Presentation: The Starch Solution
1. Humans are designed to thrive on starch-based foods, including whole grains, beans, and potatoes. All large populations of trim, healthy people throughout verifiable human history have obtained the bulk of their calories from starches.
2. Since the brain burns glucose, a starch-based diet was the foundation for the evolution of the large human brain.
3. Amylase, a major enzyme in saliva, is designed to start digesting the starch in your food as you chew it. Starch is clean fuel and plant diseases do not attack people.
The Transformative Power of Lifestyle Changes
Dean Ornish, M.D., is the founder and president of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, Calif., where he holds the Safeway Chair. He is clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. For over 32 years, Dr. Ornish has directed clinical research demonstrating, for the first time, that comprehensive lifestyle changes may begin to reverse even severe coronary heart disease, without drugs or surgery.
His Presentation: The Transformative Power of Lifestyle Changes (Power Point slides are unavailable)
1. Avoid false choices, such as “would you rather live longer or have more
fun.” You can live longer and have more fun at the same time.
2. Once you adopt a whole foods, plant-based diet you will start feeling and seeing results very quickly. This gratification will keep you motivated. The amount of dietary change determines your amount of improvement. How old or sick you were initially doesn’t matter.
3. Improved lifestyle for just three months improves how your genes are expressed. Any genes that might dispose you to cancer are turned down or turned off.
Note: This is an excerpt from Janice Stanger's Summary.
For Janice Stanger's complete list of 25 Expert Tips from the PCRM Workshop click here.
Check out Janice's excellent blog here.
Janice Stanger's The Perfect Formula Diet click here