A Plant-based Diet Review: What's The Verdict?
It's evident that going plant-based diet is the "in-thing" right now and has links to a a lower risk of heart disease, which leads to better health and a better lifestyle. However ask yourself this, do all plant-based diets have the same effect? And should you really have to completely exclude all types of meat, dairy, all the conventional "tasty" foods for your heart's sake? This article will firstly explore the pros and cons of venturing into this diet, debunk some myths along the way and ultimately, what's the final verdict of this trending diet.
There are many types of plant-based diets, but they all highlight certain foods associated with heart benefits, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and healthy oils like olive oil. The diets that have been most studied for their impact on heart health include the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet, and the MIND diet. These diets are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals that help lower blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol, reduce the risk of diabetes, and help maintain a healthy weight, all of which can lower your risk of heart disease.
The other question deals with a man's appetite for animal products. When it comes to your heart, are all animal foods off the table? Maybe not — if you're smart about your choices.
Dr. Satija led a study, published in the July 25, 2017, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, that examined the dietary data of about 209,000 adults (43,000 of whom were men) over two decades. The researchers compared the heart disease risk posed by these three categories of plant-based diets:
an overall plant-based diet that emphasized consumption of all healthy plant foods while reducing intake of all animal foods, like dairy (skim, low-fat, and whole milk; cream, ice cream, yogurt, and cheese), eggs, fish, meat (chicken, turkey, beef, and pork), and foods that contain animal products like pizza, soups, and mayonnaise
a healthful plant-based diet that emphasized consumption of only healthy plant foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and healthy oils, while reducing intake of less healthy plant foods as well as animal foods
an unhealthful plant-based diet that emphasized consumption of less healthy plant foods, such as fruit juices, refined grains (pasta, white rice, and processed breads and cereals), potatoes (French fries and potato chips), and sugar-sweetened beverages, while reducing the intake of healthy plant foods as well as animal foods.
So no surprise here, it's discovered that the people who followed the healthy plant-based diet (the second group) had the lowest risk for heart disease. They were also more active and leaner.
Nonetheless, there is a belief out there that plant-based diets aren’t actually good for you. Some of the more often-asked questions include:
Where do vegans get their protein from?
Aren’t plant-based diets iron-deficient?
What do you even eat besides fruits and veggies?
The irony of the situation is, most healthy vegans and vegetarians will not only get the nutrients they need but will also get more minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants than your average meat eater.
Here's some other concerns of choosing exclusively a plant-based diet:
They require you to change your eating habits
Adapting to your new diet may take some time
You’ll have to prepare most of your food by yourself
They don’t meet all your vitamin needs, require supplements
With this being said, let’s take a quick look and see how meat affects our overall health. This will give you a better idea should you seriously consider going vegan or not.
Is Meat Really That Bad for You?
Even though meat is a rich source of some beneficial nutrients like iron, zinc and, protein, it still contains huge amounts of saturated fat. In addition, most processed meats are really high in sodium.
Some of America’s favorite meals, like hot dogs and hamburgers, have been linked to chronic diseases for decades at this point. Here are some of the diseases linked to process and red meats:
Various types of cancer – The risk is actually increased 14% for every 100 grams of this meat eaten per day
Heart disease – Each 50 gram serving of processed meat, which amounts to one hot dog is linked with a 42% increased risk of heart disease.
Before you fret, this review is based on following a full-on plant-based diet and eliminating meat and dairy altogether. In conclusion, to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid heart-related diseases, have a healthy and balanced diet of both vegetables and non-processed meats. The rules are fairly simple: you should always try to maintain a nice balance of cooked and raw vegetables that will provide nutrients that you need to function properly. Plus, you should avoid sugary foods and beverages along with processed foods.
In the beginning, you don’t have to give up meat altogether. For instance, you can start by cutting red meat completely out of your diet and eat fish every now and then. Some people other there even regard this as a plant-based diet. For your health, this is possibly the best option.
The focus should be on eating more of the right plants, avoiding the wrong kind, eliminating unhealthy foods, and moderating your intake of healthier animal products.