Published on November 22nd, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan2
Plant-Based Diet a Solution for Our Health Crisis?
Before I get into the news, a new report on the benefits of a plant-based diet and its possible role in solving our public health crisis, I thought I’d mention something rather interesting from my life recently. A couple months ago, we were in England, to visit a good friend and then for a CNBC interview on “Energy Opportunities.” While we were there, we found out about a big new program there, “5 a Day.” The essence of the program is that you should eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. I though, at first, “Oh, that’s easy.” But I heard that it was sort of a joke there because no one could get themselves to meet the target. On returning home, we thought we’d keep track a bit and see how we did. It turned out to be a bit of a challenge — not every day, but some days for sure. And we’re vegetarians!
I was thinking about it more today, trying to hit the target, and then when I cam to write this article on a report essentially proposing that we encourage people to get on a plant-based diet to solve our public health crisis, it hit me that that is one of the best proposed solutions out there.
Sure, you can get 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but if you are piling them on top of 5 servings of meat and dairy, then you are probably eating a bit too much.
Anyway, it’s a controversial topic. No one wants to be told what they need to eat. But the bottom line is: we have a public health crisis, and its largely based around eating too much of the wrong foods.
Now, though, to the report….
So, a UK report by the World Preservation Foundation, “Plant-based Diets: A solution to our public health crisis,” uses evidence and essays by a number of doctors to show that a plant-based diet could really address many of the UK’s (and US’) leading health issues.
From the intro:
“Heart disease, the UK’s biggest killer, is a predominantly diet-caused illness while obesity and type II diabetes are also largely diseases of nutrition and therefore preventable. Impressive results, including the complete reversal of the conditions, have been achieved through the adoption of plant-based diets.”
There are footnotes to 4 studies in that line alone.
After mentioning a number of health problems and their causes, the intro also includes these lines:
“Merely promoting the intake of more fruit and vegetables is not sufficiently clear advice. Recommending or promoting a wholly vegan or vegetarian lifestyle as a preventative measure and a proven solution to preventing and reversing chronic disease offers the NHS, our economy and public health a win-win solution.”
As I said above, the simplistic push to eat more fruits and vegetables is a little bit too simplistic, in my opinion. Just eating more is not going to solve our health problems, such as obesity.
Anyway, I highly recommend taking a look at the full report.