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Third of Early Deaths Could Be Prevented By Everyone Giving Up Meat Harvard says

Everybody loves a good ol’piece of steak besides vegetarians and vegans. But new research from accredited Harvard University researchers are now creating the link between meat and obesity.

According to Harvard University, 200 000 lives are taken from unhealthy lifestyles that cause obesity and mortality rates can be reduced if people chose a plant-based diet over meat. The calculations do not factor in physical activity either.  Dr Walter Willet Professor of Nutrition at Harvard Medical school, states the health benefits of a plant-based diet are extremely underestimated.

During the Unite to Cure Forth International Vatican Conference, speaker Dr Neal Barnard of Harvard University suggests that a healthier diet lowers the risk of everything; even more so than physical activity.

David Jenkens of University of Toronto told a conference that vegetarianism has been “undersold” because of his recent study. The study involved research participant’s consuming 63 servings of fruit and vegetables a day and found that 35% fall in cholesterol in a matter of two weeks.

“When these diets are properly constructed I think they are enormously powerful. That’s not even talking about physical activity or not smoking, and that’s all deaths, not just cancer deaths. That’s probably an underestimate as well as that doesn’t take into account the fact that obesity is important and we control for obesity. “

Statins, a drug that is known to prevent heart disease, has the same effect as his plant-based diet study. Unfortunately, people stop using Statin due to side effects.

Dr Neal Barnard suggests that a low-fat vegan diet is beneficial for improving diabetes and also has positive effects on inflammatory disease like rheumatoid and arthritis.

British-born Professor David Jenkins, of the University of Toronto, who is credited with developing the glycemic index which explains how carbohydrates impact blood sugar, also told the conference that the benefits of vegetarianism had been ‘undersold.’

Dr Jenkins said humans would do better following a “simian” diet, similar to lowland gorillas who eat stems, leaves, vines and fruits rather than a “paleo” or caveman diet, which cuts carbohydrates but allows meat.

His team recently teamed up with The Bronx Zoo in New York and travelled to central Africa to record the feeding habits of gorillas.

When they recreated the diet for humans – which amounted to 63 servings of fruit and vegetables a day – they found a 35 per cent fall in cholesterol, in just two weeks, the equivalent of taking statins.

“That was quite dramatic,” he said “We showed that there was no real difference between what we got with the diet and what we got with a statin.”

Around 17.5 million people eligible for statins to stave off heart disease, equating to most men over 60 and most women over 65. But many complain of side effects and stop taking the drugs.

Dr Jenkins added: “We’re saying you’ve got a choice, you can change your diet to therapeutically meaningful change or you can take a statin. Drug or diet.”

Dr Neal Barnard, president of the Committee for Responsible Medicine also said people need to wake up to the health benefits of vegetarianism and veganism.

“I think we’re underestimating the effect,” he told delegates. “I think people imagine that a healthy diet has only a modest effect and a vegetarian diet might help you lose a little bit of weight. But when these diets are properly constructed I think they are enormously powerful.

“A low-fat vegan diet is better than any other diet I have ever seen for improving diabetes.

“With regards to inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis we are seeing tremendous potential there too. Partly because of things we are avoiding and cholesterol but also because of the magical things that are in vegetables and fruits which just aren’t in spam.”

Source: Telegraph

Nutrition Major at University of Guelph.

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