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  • Ross Hammond

Science that proves the health benefits of a plant-based diet


Guest blog by Noemie Demay - Holistic Nutritionist and founder of Mimie’s Real Food


A plant-based diet consists of exclusively plant foods, including fruit, vegetables, grains, and legumes, and avoids meat, dairy, and eggs. Switching to a healthy plant-based diet is one of the most effective steps you can take to improve your health, increase your energy levels and prevent chronic disease. In this article, we discuss the scientific benefits of switching to a plant-based diet.


Do plant-based diets help with weight loss?

A study conducted by the Steno Diabetes Center in Copenhagen and presented at the

European Congress on Obesity (ECO) found that following a plant-based diet for three

months reduced body weight by an average of about 4.1 kg (9lb) and lowered blood sugar

levels.


In another study conducted by the Physicians Committee for a Responsible Medicine

(PCRM), a group of 64 moderately to severely overweight women lost an average of 5.8 kg

(15.5 lbs) over 14 weeks by following a plant-based diet. Participants neither counted

calories nor exercised in any way.


One of the key findings taken away from the study concluded that people on a plant-based

diet lost more weight and maintained a healthier weight than those on a low-calorie diet.

Since it is high in fibre and low in saturated fat, a healthy plant-based diet can contribute to

weight loss without the need to worry about calories.


Can diabetes be reversed with a plant-based diet?

In a 2003 study by the PCRM, a healthy plant-based diet was shown to be three times more

effective in controlling blood sugar levels than a traditional diabetic diet that restricted

calories and carbohydrates. Participants lost weight, improved their insulin sensitivity and

lowered their HbA1c (average blood glucose) levels within weeks.


In another study published in the journal Diabetology, a group of people with type 2

diabetes were placed on a plant-based diet for a period of 8 weeks. The researchers were

able to confirm that the plant-based diet had a positive impact on these patients, showing

not only an improvement in physical and psychological well-being, but also improved HbA1c

control.


Can a plant-based diet help prevent cancer? 

According to extensive research, a predominantly plant-based diet, rich in fresh fruits and

vegetables, whole grains and legumes, is one of the most powerful tools for cancer

prevention. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and their European affiliate

the World Cancer Research Fund advocate for a higher consumption of plant foods to

prevent cancer. 


In her book Cancer-Free with Food, author Liana Werner-Gray shares the foods that are

scientifically proven to kill cancer cells. After being diagnosed with cancer, she switched to a

plant-based diet that was naturally rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients and

low in saturated fats, salt and refined sugars, and within months the cancer had receded dramatically, much to the surprise of her doctors. And guess what? All these foods can be

found in nature, unprocessed and natural foods packed with nutrients.


Can a plant-based diet lower the risk of heart disease?

One in three adults in the UK have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, reports

AgeUK. When your pressure is consistently too high, it forces your heart to work harder to

pump blood around your body and as your blood pressure rises, so does your risk of other

health problems, such as heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. According to the NHS,

diet and lifestyle play a key role in preventing and treating high blood pressure. 


A study published in the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology states that “plant-based diets have

a meaningful effect on both prevention and treatment of hypertension.” In the largest

systematic review, involving more than 1.4 million people, researchers at the University of

Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Population Health found a correlation between red and

processed meat and the increased risk of coronary heart disease. The high amount of

saturated fat and sodium in meat is suspected to be the cause of heart disease. 


Overview

Studies have shown that switching to a plant-based diet is an effective way to live longer

and healthier. A healthy plant-based diet is a nutrient-rich diet, full of fibre, vitamins and

minerals and low in saturated fat and salt, which helps to maintain a healthy weight, reduce

the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers, thus having a lasting

positive impact on your overall health.


Blog by Noemie Demay - Holistic Nutritionist and founder of Mimie’s Real Food

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