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Consider plant-based diet

20 Dec. 2016 12:02 AM IST

In India, we are still in awe of scientists, doctors and researchers. In a way I am glad, because Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a grouping of the top and most respected physicians and researchers in the world and they bring out a monthly listing of the research that is being published all over the world on diet and disease. Many of these studies are a “study of studies” which means that they take hundreds of studies and make a composite study of them.  They have a website called PCRM and I suggest you look at it.
I have simply reproduced their findings: This one is on research in 2014 and the next article is on research in 2015 and 2016.
Dairy products increase the risk for ovarian cancer among African-American women, according to a study published in the British Journal of Cancer. Researchers followed 1,146 women with and without cancer from the African American Cancer Epidemiology Study and monitored consumption of dairy products, lactose, calcium, and vitamin D and cancer incidence rates. Those with the highest intake of whole milk and lactose increased their risk for ovarian cancer, compared with those who consumed the least, while those who consumed the most calcium decreased their risk for cancer by 49 percent.
(Qin B, Moorman PG, Alberg AJ, et al. Dairy, calcium, vitamin D and ovarian cancer risk in African–American women. Br J Cancer. Published online September 15, 2016.)
Fats, specific to animal products, increase the risk for type 2 diabetes, according to research presented at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD). Researchers followed the consumption of various types of omega-3 and omega-6 fats in the diets of 71,334 women and tracked diabetes incidence rates. Those who consumed the most fats increased their risk for diabetes by 26 percent, when compared to those who consumed the least. Specifically, omega-3 docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) and omega-6 arachidonic acid (AA), both of which are mostly found in meat, fish, and eggs, almost doubled the risk for type 2 diabetes, and, when controlling for weight, by as much as 41 and 49 percent, respectively.
(Dow C, Mangin M, Balkau B, et al. Fatty acid consumption and incident type 2 diabetes: evidence from the E3N cohort study. Poster presented at: the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) 52nd Annual meeting; September 14, 2016: Munich, Germany.)
Red and processed meats increase risk for heart disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses, according to a review published in the Journal of Internal Medicine. Researchers examined the correlation between disease risk and meat consumption in six cohort studies. Consumption of 100 grams of red meat per day increased the risk for stroke and for breast cancer, death from heart disease, colorectal cancer, and advanced prostate cancer, by 11, 15, 17, and 19 percent, respectively. At 50 grams per day, processed meats increased the risk for several chronic diseases including colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, death from heart disease, and diabetes by 18, 19, 24, and 32, respectively. Possible mechanisms include high levels of heme iron, cholesterol, saturated fatty acids, nitrates and nitrites, and sodium found in red and processed meat products.
(Wolk A. Potential health hazards of eating red meat. J Intern Med. Published online September 6, 2016.)
High fruit and vegetable intake will not counterbalance the increased risk for heart disease caused by eating meat, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers followed 74,645 participants from the Swedish Mammography Cohort and the Cohort of Swedish Men studies and monitored diet and mortality due to heart disease. Those who consumed the highest amounts of red meat increased their risk of dying from heart disease by 29 percent, when compared to those who consumed the least. The risks remained consistent when coupled with various fruit and vegetable intakes. High fruit and vegetable intake could not prevent meat-related deaths.
(Bellavia A, Stilling F, Wolk A. High red meat intake and all-cause cardiovascular and cancer mortality: is the risk modified by fruit and vegetable intake? Am J Clin Nutr. Published online August 24, 2016)
Red meat intake during childhood leads to earlier onset of puberty in adolescent girls, according to a study published online in the Journal of Nutrition. Researchers monitored red meat intake and the age of menarche of 456 participants from the Bogota School Children Cohort. Those who consumed two or more servings of red meat per day began menstruation several months earlier than those who consumed less red meat. High levels of iron and zinc, heterocyclic amines, and hormones found in red meat may alert the body to begin puberty earlier. Researchers stress that earlier menarche negatively affects disease risk for breast cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic conditions later in life.
(Jansen EC, Marín C, Mora-Plazas M, Villamor E. Higher childhood red meat intake frequency is associated with earlier age at menarche. J Nutr. Published online March 9, 2016.)
Removing dairy products from your diet may lower your risk of certain cancers, according to a study published online in the British Journal of Cancer. Researchers followed 22,788 lactose intolerant participants from Sweden. They also monitored cancer rates of their immediate family members. The incidence rates for lung, breast, and ovarian cancers decreased among the lactose intolerant. Family members, and the general Swedish population who included dairy in their diet, did not experience the same reduction in cancer risk. Researchers suspect the avoidance of high amounts of saturated fat and hormones found in dairy products may account for the decreased risk.
(Ji J, Sundquist J, Sundquist K. Lactose intolerance and risk of lung, breast and ovarian cancers: aetiological clues from a population-based study in Sweden. Br J Cancer. Published online October 14, 2014.)
People with diabetes, looking for a more powerful treatment, should consider a plant-based diet, according to a team of American and Japanese researchers. Combining the results of six prior studies, the researchers found that a plant-based diet significantly improves blood sugar control in type 2 diabetes. Earlier studies had shown that plant-based diets could improve a key indicator of blood sugar control, called haemoglobin A1c, as much as 1.2 points, which is far greater than the effect of typical oral diabetes medicines. The new study is a meta-analysis, widely considered the highest level of scientific evidence. Focusing on longer-term effects and combining the results of all available studies, the benefit of leaving out meat, cheese, and eggs was as much as 0.7 points in some studies, and averaged about 0.4 points overall. Most of the studies did not require participants to reduce their calorie or carbohydrate intake. The American Diabetes Association’s Clinical Practice Recommendations have cited the value of vegan diets for type 2 diabetes for several years. The new study is published in Cardiovascular Diagnosis and Therapy.
(Yokoyama Y, Barnard ND, Levin SM, Watanabe M. Vegetarian diets and glycemic control in diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Cardiovasc Diagn Ther. 2014;4:373-382.)
Red or processed meat products increase your risk of bladder cancer, according to a meta-analysis in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine. Researchers examined 25 articles published between 1980 and 2014 which included 15,58,848 participants worldwide. High consumption of red and processed meat by participants in America lead to a 25 and 33 percent increased risk of bladder cancer, respectively, compared with low consumption. The results also showed an increased risk of breast cancer with high intakes of these products.
(Li F, An S, Hou L, Chen P, Lei C, Tan W. Red and processed meat intake and risk of bladder cancer: a meta-analysis. Int J Clin Exp Med. 2014;7:2100-2110.)
Iron found in meat may increase your risk of heart disease, according to a new meta-analysis published in the Journal of Nutrition. Researchers analysed data from 21 international studies, which included 2,92,454 participants, for an average of ten years. Results showed heme iron (found in meat) increased risk of heart disease by 57 percent. Conversely, non-heme iron found in vegetables showed no relationship to risk or mortality from heart disease.
(Hunnicutt J, He K, Xun P. Dietary iron intake and body iron stores are associated with risk of coronary heart disease in a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. J Nutr. Published online January 8, 2014.)
Copper in foods increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study published by the American Neurological Association. Researchers analysed several potential risk factors, including age, copper levels, blood pressure, and lipid levels, of 141 participants who had mild cognitive impairment at the start of the study. The only factor that showed a significant increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease was copper intake. Those with the highest levels of copper were three times as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease within 4 years of follow-up, compared with those who had the lowest levels of copper. Copper is found at especially high levels in liver and shellfish. The authors note that while the metals, copper, iron, and zinc, are essential for life, in excess they can be dangerous for Alzheimer’s risk.
(Squitti R, Ghidoni R, Siotto M, et al. Value of serum nonceruloplasmin copper for prediction of mild cognitive impairment conversion to Alzheimer disease. Ann Neurol. 2014. In press.)
To join the animal welfare movement contact [email protected], www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

   
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Maneka Gandhi
 
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