More Doctors Are Warning Patients to Eat Less Meat

It’s not exactly news that fruits and veggies are good for you. But historically, physicians have been reluctant to make any diet recommendations at all to their patients. Medical schools don’t teach much about nutrition.

Andrew Freeman, a cardiologist with National Jewish Health hospital in Denver, Colorado, says that doctors often worry that patients will balk at the idea of radically altering what they eat. But that’s slowly changing: Freeman, who follows a vegan diet himself, now recommends a “plant-based diet” to his patients. He talks more about this decision on this week’s episode of Mother Jones‘ food politics podcast Bite:

A number of mainstream medical groups now endorse vegetarian (or vegetarian-ish) diets, including the American Cancer Society, the American Institute for Cancer Research, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and, over protests from the meat industry, the USDA group that issues dietary guidelines. In 2014, the American College of Cardiology elected its first ever vegan president, Dr. Kim A. Williams. In 2013, Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest healthcare network, asked its physicians to suggest a plant-based diet to their patients. Just this week, the American Medical Association passed a resolution recommending that hospitals offer patients non-meat meals.

Dr. James Loomis, an internist who directs the Barnard Medical Center in Washington, D.C., says that over the past few years he has noticed a growing willingness among his colleagues to prescribe vegan and vegetarian diets to patients. “I am being invited to speak about this at mainstream medical conferences about diabetes and heart diseases,” he said. “That never would have happened five years ago.” He said that when he attended the first International Plant Based Healthcare Nutrition Conference five years ago, about 250 people showed up. This year, the group expects attendance to exceed 1,000.

One reason that doctors are coming around to the idea of recommending plant-based diet: The evidence that it promotes health is getting stronger. Freeman was the lead author on a study earlier this year that reviewed a handful of diet trends. The only one that showed any health benefits was the plant-based diet. Last year, a large study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine tracked the dietary habits and disease outcomes of more than 130,000 people. It found that people who got their protein from sources other than meat had a significantly lower risk of dying from heart disease than their meat-eating counterparts. (It’s worth noting that in this study, the effect was only observed in people who had one other unhealthy lifestyle factor like smoking or obesity). The most recent issue of the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology is devoted research on plant-based diets; it includes studies on diabetes, stroke, hypertension, and more.

Source: Mother Jones

Chinese-style Stewed Dried Black Mushroom


2 oz black mushrooms
1/2 cup vegetable stock or 1 can vegetable broth
1 slice ginger
2 stalks green onion


1/2 tsp salt
1-1/3 tsp sugar
1 tsp dark soy sauce


  1. Soak and trim stems of mushrooms. Squeeze out excess water and steam with stock, ginger, green onion and 1 tsp wine for 20 minutes. Discard ginger and green onions.
  2. Cook mushroom and stock together with 3 tbsp oil. Add seasoning and cook until sauce nearly dries up. Add 1 Tbsp sesame oil and remove to serving platter. Garnish with tomato and cucumber flowers. Serve hot.

Source: Hong Kong magazine

In Pictures: Rilakkuma Character Food of Pop-up Tower Records Cafes in Japan

Not All Plant Foods Are Equal

Amy Norton wrote . . . . . . .

For years, the mantra has been that eating lots of fruits, vegetables and grains will ward off heart disease, but a new study suggests that choosing the wrong ones may backfire.

The study, of over 200,000 U.S. health professionals, found those who ate plenty of healthy plant foods — such as vegetables, beans and whole grains — did have a lower risk of heart disease.

That was not true, however, if people loaded up on foods that are technically plant-based, but not all that healthy.

In fact, diets heavy in pasta, bread, potatoes and sweets appeared just as bad as, if not worse than, diets high in animal products.

“Plant-based foods are not all the same,” said lead researcher Ambika Satija, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston.

So it’s crucial that people consider the nutritional quality of the plant foods they choose, she said.

The study did not specifically examine vegetarian or vegan diets, Satija noted. So the findings do not shed light on how those diets affect heart disease risk.

But other studies have tied vegetarian and vegan diets to lower risks of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, according to Dr. Kim Williams, chief of cardiology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

“Plant-based nutrition is superior when it comes to most diseases,” Williams said.

“But what people don’t always understand is that there are healthy ways to do it, and not-so-healthy ways,” he said. “You can do it wrong.”

Williams co-wrote an editorial published with the study in the July 25 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The findings involved three studies that began in the 1980s and 1990s. Every two to four years, the participants gave detailed information on their diets.

Satija’s team looked at the quality of the plant foods people typically ate, and how that overall quality related to their risk of developing heart disease.

By 2013, over 8,600 study participants had suffered a heart attack or died of heart disease.

The risk was lower among people who regularly ate plenty of healthy plant foods, including fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains (such as cooked oatmeal and brown rice), the study found.

Those in the top 10 percent for healthy plant-food intake fared best: They were one-quarter less likely to develop heart disease than those in the bottom 10 percent.

In contrast, the reverse pattern was seen among people who ate a lot of less-than-healthy plant foods — like potatoes, refined grains (white bread, pasta and crackers) and sugary fruit juices. Those in the top 10 percent were almost one-third more likely to develop heart disease, versus people in the bottom 10 percent.

People who loaded up on animal products — such as meat, cheese and butter — also showed a heightened risk of heart disease. But the link between unhealthy plant foods and heart ills was a bit stronger, the researchers noted.

However, the study did not prove that some plant-based foods actually cause heart risks to rise — just that there was an association.

Still, to Williams, the implications are straightforward. “The more healthy plant foods you eat, the better,” he said.

Satija said, “I think the message here is pretty positive.” That is, the findings suggest that people “don’t have to go to extremes” with their diet to reap heart benefits.

Instead, she said, they can start with “moderate decreases” in animal products, for example, red and processed meats, and replace them with healthy plant-based foods such as legumes, vegetables and nuts.

“It’s much easier to adopt changes like that into your life,” Satija said.

Source: HealthDay

Read also:

Unhealthful plant-based diet can increase heart disease risk . . . . .

Drinking Soda While Eating Burger Is Especially Fattening

Dennis Thompson wrote . . . . . .

Combining a sugary soda with your burger or fried chicken can really prime your body to pack on more pounds, a new study suggests.

Folks who had a sweetened drink with a high-protein meal stored more unused fat, compared to others who ate the same food with a sugar-free beverage, laboratory tests revealed.

Their bodies did not burn about a third of the additional calories provided by the sugary drink, researchers found.

The participants also burned less fat from their food, and it took less energy overall to digest the meal.

“If we are adding extra carbohydrates on top of what’s already in a meal, that will definitely have an effect on the body being able to use fat as an energy source, and it will more than likely go into energy storage,” said lead researcher Shanon Casperson. She’s a research biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Sodas, sweetened coffee and iced tea drinks, fruit drinks, energy beverages and the like are leading sources of added sugar in the American diet, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Six in 10 kids and half of adults drink at least one sugary beverage each day.

Food contains three major types of nutrients — carbohydrates, fats and protein. Casperson and her team wanted to see how extra carbs in the form of a sugary drink would affect metabolism of fats and proteins.

For the study, 27 healthy-weight adults were placed in a sealed “metabolic room” that carefully tracked how much oxygen was inhaled and carbon dioxide was exhaled, Casperson said. Urine samples were also collected.

“With those three variables, we are able to calculate the amount of nutrients they use” as well as the calories they burn every minute, Casperson said.

Participants spent two full days in the sealed room. On one day they ate two meals containing 15 percent protein, and on the other they ate two meals with 30 percent protein. The meals consisted of bread, ham, cheese, potatoes and butter, and each provided 17 grams of fat and 500 calories.

Each day, the participants had a sugary cherry-flavored drink with one meal and a sugar-free cherry drink with the other meal, Casperson said.

The sugar-sweetened drink decreased fat oxidation — the process that kick-starts the breakdown of fat molecules — by 8 percent, the researchers discovered.

Also, the sweetened drink consumed with a 15 percent protein meal decreased fat oxidation by an average 7.2 grams, while the same sugary drink with a 30 percent protein meal decreased fat oxidation by 12.6 grams.

The researchers think the extra load of carbohydrates in a soda might reduce the body’s need to process dietary fat for energy, since fat is more difficult to burn than sugar.

“It’s easier for the body to use carbohydrates as an energy source,” Casperson said. “When you provide the body with carbohydrates, it’s going to use that first.” Unburned fat then winds up deposited somewhere in a person’s body, such as the belly or hips.

The study provides much-needed nuance to the understanding of fast-food nutrition, said Erika Renick. She’s a bariatric dietitian with the Comprehensive Weight Loss Center at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City.

“While this was a small sample size, the study backs up what recent research has been pointing to — that adding protein to meals helps to keep us full and that sugary drinks can influence our food cravings,” Renick said.

“However, this study takes it a step further by suggesting that pairing sugar-sweetened drinks with protein-rich meals can encourage weight gain more than we originally understood,” Renick continued.

“This specific combination seems to decrease how well our bodies burn fat,” she said. “More research would need to be done, but steering people away from this combination could potentially be another tool when counseling people on weight management.”

Casperson isn’t sure why adding extra protein to a meal seemed to affect the reduction in fat burning. “That’s something we need to look at in future research,” she said.

The study appears in the journal BMC Nutrition.

Source: HealthDay

Today’s Comic