preventing chronic disease

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The Best Diet for Weight Loss and Disease Prevention

"The Best Diet for Weight Loss
and Disease Prevention" Why are vegetarian diets so effective
in preventing and treating diabetes? Maybe it's because of the weight loss.
Those eating more plant based tend to be significantly slimmer,
and not just based on like looking at a cross-section of the population,
but you can do interventional trials and put it to the test: a randomized,
controlled community-based trial of a whole food plant-based diet. The key difference between plant-based
nutrition and other approaches to weight loss is that participants
were informed to eat the whole food plant-based diet ad libitum,
meaning eat as much as you want, no calorie counting,
no portion control. Just eat. It's about improving
the quality of food rather than restricting
the quantity of food. And then in this study, they
had people just focus on diet rather than increasing exercise,
just because they wanted to isolate out the effects of eating
healthier. So, what happened? No restrictions on portions, eat
all the healthy foods you want. Here's where they started out: on
average obese at nearly 210 pounds; the average height was about 5'5". Three months in they were
down about 18 pounds; 6 months in, more
like 26 pounds down.

But you know how these
weight loss trials go. I mean, this wasn't
an institutional study where they locked people up and
fed them; no meals were provided. They just informed people about
the benefits of plant-based eating and encouraged them to do it in
their own lives, their own families, and their own homes and communities.
And so, yeah, typically what you see in these so-called "free-living"
studies is weight loss at six months, but then by a year the weight
creeps back or even worse. But in this study, they were able to
maintain that weight loss all year. And of course, their cholesterol got
better too, but their claim to fame is that they achieved greater weight loss
at 6 and 12 months than any other trial that does not limit calorie intake
or mandate regular exercise.

That's worth repeating. A whole
food plant-based diet achieved the greatest weight loss ever
recorded at 6 and 12 months compared to any other such intervention
published in the medical literature. Now obviously with very
low-calorie starvation diets you can drop people
down to any weight. However, these medically supervised
liquid diets are obviously just short-term fixes, associated
with high costs, high attrition rates, and a high probability of
regaining most of the weight, whereas the whole point of
whole food plant-based nutrition is to maximize long-term
health and longevity. I mean, even if, for example, low
carb diets were as effective, the point of weight loss is not
to fit into a skinnier casket. Studies on the effects of
low-carbohydrate diets have shown higher rates
of all-cause mortality— meaning a shorter lifespan—
decreased artery function, worsening of coronary artery disease,
and increased rates of constipation, headaches, bad breath, muscle
cramps, general weakness and rash. And yet, still not as effective
as the diet that actually has all the good side effects, like decreasing risk of diabetes,
beyond just the weight loss. Yes, the lower risk of type 2
diabetes among vegetarians may be explained in part
by improved weight status.

However, the lower risk also may
be explained by higher amounts of ingested dietary fiber and
plant protein, the absence of meat- and egg-derived
protein and heme iron, and lower intake
of saturated fat. Most studies report the lowest risk
of type 2 diabetes among those who adhere to strictly
plant-based diets. This may be explained by the fact
that vegans, in contrast to vegetarians, do not eat eggs, which appear to
be linked to higher diabetes risk. Maybe it's eating lower on the food
chain, so you avoid the highest levels of persistent organic pollutants like
dioxins, PCBs, DDT in animal products, which have been implicated
as a diabetes risk factor. Maybe it has to do with the gut
microbiome. With all that fiber, no surprise that there'd be
less disease-causing bugs and more protective gut flora,
which can lead to less inflammation throughout the body, that may be the
key feature linking the heathier gut with beneficial health effects— including the metabolic dysfunction
you can see in type 2 diabetes. And it's that multiplicity
of benefits that can help with compliance and family buy-in.
Whereas a household that includes people who do not have diabetes
may be unlikely to enthusiastically follow a "diabetic diet,"
a healthy diet is not disease-specific and can improve
other chronic conditions too.

So while the diabetic patient
will likely see improvement in their blood sugar control, a
spouse suffering from constipation or high blood pressure may
also see improvements, as may overweight children if you make
healthy eating a family affair..

Video Transcript – As found on YouTube

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