To print: Select File and then Print from your browser's menu
Vegetarian Diets in the Limelight… Again!
January 18, 2011
Have you heard of Michael Pollan, an author, journalist, and professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley? Several years ago he wrote a book entitled In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. One of the “rules” in his book is startlingly simple yet powerful at the same time: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” It’s easy to get caught up in food for many reasons: because managing a chronic disease such as diabetes, trying to lose weight, aiming to stave off the effects of aging, battling food allergies… the list goes on. Despite the many challenges that we face with choosing our foods every day, the fact is that most of us could be better off if we heeded Mr. Pollan’s advice to eat more plants.
Pollan’s book also got me thinking a little more about vegetarian diets. In some ways, they seem to have taken a back seat lately to the animal protein–laden way of eating that many Americans follow. High-protein, low-carbohydrate diets remain popular, especially among people with diabetes, in part, because these diets can help to manage blood glucose. But a vegetarian way of eating has resurfaced as of late. This week and next, I’ll mention three studies that restore the place of plant-based diets on the dinner table.
Vegan Diet Helps Type 2 Diabetes
The other half of the participants was asked to follow a more traditional eating plan with 60% to 70% of calories from carbohydrate and monounsaturated fat, such as olive oil; less than 7% of calories from saturated fat; and 15% to 20% of calories from protein. If they were overweight, they were also asked to cut calories by 500–1,000 per day. Neither group was provided with food but they were given help from a dietitian.
Results: Improvements in glucose and lipid levels occurred in both groups. But the vegan group surpassed the ADA group in several ways:
Conclusions: Both groups enjoyed improvements, likely in part because they were making better food choices. But the vegan group did better. And another pleasant finding: The vegan group wasn’t limited in their calories, carbohydrates, or portions, which may have made this eating plan a little easier to swallow.
Eco-Atkins Diet Helps with Weight Loss and Improved Lipids
Conclusions: Traditional high protein diets, such as Atkins, are typically centered on eating fairly large amounts of animal protein. While these diets do result in weight loss and improved glucose, they often boost LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which could raise the risk of heart disease. This study showed that a high-protein diet based on plant protein sources helped to lower LDL, rather than raise it.
What are your thoughts? Could or would you follow a plant-based diet? More next week!
Disclaimer of Medical Advice:You understand that the blogs posts and comments to such blog posts (whether posted by us, our agents, bloggers, or by users) do not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind and you should not rely on any information contained on such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs. The opinions and other information contained in the blog posts and comments do not reflect the opinions or positions of the Site Proprietor.