WASHINGTON—Nationally renowned nutrition researcher Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C., president and founder of the nonprofit Physicians Committee, will dish out dairy-free advice from his latest book, The Cheese Trap, on Thursday, June 15, to help Milwaukee residents interested in plant-based nutrition make a seamless switch to a nutrient-packed, plant-based vegan diet.
Whole-food, plant-based eating patterns are one way to boost weight loss, gain energy, and improve overall quality of life, without counting calories, measuring portions, or going hungry, according to Dr. Barnard’s research.
This dietary intervention, built on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, continues to gain popularity, especially among NFL stars, like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, Hollywood’s elite, including Beyoncé, and is vetted by leading health organizations, such as Kaiser Permanente, the American College of Cardiology, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as an effective way to increase the odds of reaching a clean bill of health, while slashing the long-term risk of chronic disease.
The University of Oxford finds plant-based eating patterns, if adopted worldwide by 2050, could save 8.1 million lives and slash $1 billion in annual U.S. health care spending. A plant-based vegan diet can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent.
One barrier? For some people, it’s cheese.
“It’s never meat, milk, or eggs that people find hard to leave aside,” says Dr. Barnard. “It’s cheese.
After 30 years of conducting clinical research studies, Dr. Barnard finds cheese has a gravitational pull that brings people back for more.
To help his study participants satiate cravings for mozzarella, feta, and brie, Dr. Barnard invested several weeks into conducting field-based research, visiting farms in Indiana and Northern Mass., touring the town of Cheddar, England, and sampling nut-based “cheese” samples, including delicacies from New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. His dietary prescription for a low-fat, plant-based diet remains the same, but it now comes with a historical perspective about agricultural production, success stories to motivate those who can’t imagine a life without cheese, and practical tips, including recommendations for nutrient-packed spices and herbs, along with five dozen dairy-free recipes.
Studies show people who follow a dairy-free diet weigh 15 pounds less, on average, than those who consume dairy products, including milk, yogurt, and cheese. The average American consumes 35 pounds of cheese each year, a 10-fold increase from the average 3.8 pounds of cheese consumed, per person, in 1909.
Extra weight affects two-thirds of American adults, one in three children, and costs $190 billion each year to treat. Pre-diabetes affects 86 million people, about one in three adults. Nearly half of all cardiometabolic deaths in the U.S. are associated with dietary risk factors.
The solution, Dr. Barnard argues, can start on our plates.
“Diet and longevity are inextricably linked,” says Dr. Barnard. “A plant-based diet and a healthy lifestyle can help you in the long run, whether you’re looking to boost your athletic career or you want to want to watch your grandchildren grow up. A dietary intervention can’t guarantee a long life, but you’re stacking the scientific odds in your favor.”
To set up an interview with Dr. Barnard or to learn more about the June 15 lecture, please contact Jeanne Stuart McVey, Media Relations Manager, 202-527-7316, 202-686-2210, ext. 316.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research and medical training.