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Wellness

How To Stop Buying Food And Go Vegetarian

This is for those of us who enjoy a good steak, burger or cheeseburger when we’re hungry. But don’t be misled — a meat-only diet can be detrimental to our overall health and happiness. Eating meat isn’t inherently bad for us; it’s just that it tends to leave us with less energy and less enthusiasm for living. At a minimum, I’d like to believe that when you choose to stop worrying about how to eat enough and how to stay healthy, your quality of life will improve. We’ll come back to this in a moment…

Some of my favorite articles have recently been about the topic of meat consumption and health. The latest one in this line of publications features a compelling set of facts and data concerning the health effects of meat consumption: Eating Meat is Related to Certain Health Problems

In a groundbreaking study presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting on Thursday in Chicago, a group of scientists from the University of Copenhagen examined the blood cholesterol levels of several thousand adults as well as the blood sugar levels of their spouses and found that it was the meat-eaters who reported a greater risk of developing diabetes.

Blood cholesterol levels are strongly linked with the risk of diabetes, and the study showed that blood levels of the fatty acids found in blood were also strongly related to the risk of developing diabetes. In this study, which also showed that the incidence of diabetes had been steadily increasing for several decades in Denmark, the blood levels of the cholesterol-lowering-fatty acids, known as eicosanoids, were strongly linked to the risk of developing diabetes.

Eicosanoid levels are also thought to be closely connected to heart health, but the authors of the study were not able to measure any such link.

The latest study was released only weeks after new data from the same Danish registry showed that the incidence of diabetes had been increasing in Denmark, even as the prevalence of meat consumption had been decreasing from 1977 through 2007. In this latest data, the authors write that the increase in the incidence of diabetes among men is consistent with increases in the consumption of animal fats and the intake of meat among women has coincided with decreases in the intake of animal fats among the women living in rural areas. “Our results suggest that the increase in the incidence of diabetes may have been caused by people eating less animal fat with their animal fat based foods,” explained Dr. Henrik Stenseth, a researcher from the Epidemiology Department of the University Hospital in Copenhagen and the corresponding author of the study.

The researchers wrote that the relationship between animal fat and diabetes was “more than a simple correlation,” and the results indicate that an increase in animal fat consumption is “associated with diabetes in both sexes.”

“This also suggests that a reduction in animal fat is, at least in part, related to a reduction in the incidence of diabetes,” they concluded.

Interestingly, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition last year found that increasing consumption of red meat by high-fat dairy products increased the risk of developing hypertension. In that study, researchers from the USDA Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations analyzed data from the NHANES and found a positive correlation, suggesting that the more saturated fats consumed by the participants, the higher their risk of developing hypertension and heart disease. The data, however, did not provide any information about how long the participants had been consuming the fats, nor does it show whether the participants made any dietary changes to improve their health. It was also unclear if the saturated fats eaten were from meat or dairy products.

It will come as no surprise to learn that while research is ongoing, some of the leading nutritional and health experts are warning against the very idea of a healthy vegetarian diet.

“You’re really going to have to question all the data that we’ve accumulated about whether or not vegetarianism is healthy,” said Dr. William Davis, professor of medicine and public health. “I think that if we’re going to be discussing things that are healthy, it’s better if you have the data first.”

Dr. Davis added, “There’s a wide range of opinion from people around the world about vegetarianism.”

What Are Some Good Sources Of Fat?

This is by far the most common question that I get asked when someone asks me for recommendations on how to eat on a diet of solely plant-based foods.