Last year, my colleagues and I published numerous studies investigating the effects of nutrition on health. Our research showed that eating meat is a risk factor for diabetes, while getting away from the “bad” fats in meat and dairy products can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s—or even improve productivity at the office!
To discuss all of the research surrounding the benefits of plant-based diets, we’ll be hosting a tweet chat on Jan. 22. To join in, follow #PlantBasedRx on Twitter or click here: http://twubs.com/PlantBasedRx
Here are nine of our top studies from 2014:
Vegetarian diets reduce blood pressure. This meta-analysis compares blood pressure from more than 21,000 people around the world and finds study participants who follow a vegetarian diet have lower systolic blood pressure and lower diastolic blood pressure, compared with people who consume an omnivorous diet.
Yokoyama Y, Nishimura K, Barnard ND, et al. Vegetarian diets and blood pressure: a meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174:577-587.
This review showed that consuming meat products is associated with diabetes. Just as overweight, physical inactivity, and high blood pressure are considered risk factors for type 2 diabetes, research shows meat consumption carries similar risks.
Barnard ND, Levin SM, Trapp C. Meat consumption as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Nutrients. 2014;6:897-910.
Not only can adopting a vegan diet improve cholesterol and weight, but such a dietary change can improve signs of depression and anxiety, and boost productivity at work.
Agarwal U, Mishra S, Xu J, Levin S, Gonzales J, Barnard N. A multicenter randomized controlled trial of a nutrition intervention program in a multiethnic adult population in the corporate setting reduces depression and anxiety and improves quality of life: the GEICO Study. Am J Health Promot. Published ahead of print February 13, 2014.
Research continues to show that plant-based foods reduce the risk of cancer and strengthen the chance of survival after diagnosis. While more research is needed in this area, this publication presents a set of six precautionary principles to reduce the risk of occurrence:
Gonzales JF, Barnard ND, Jenkins DJ, et al. Applying the precautionary principle to nutrition and cancer. J Am Coll Nutr. 2014;33:239-246.
This review, which examined the diets and brain health of almost 20,000 participants, showed that reducing saturated and trans fat intake reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Barnard ND, Bunner AE, Agarwal U. Saturated and trans fats and dementia: a systematic review. Neurobiol Aging. 2014;35:S65-S73.
Leading researchers in the field of brain health developed seven diet and lifestyle guidelines for Alzheimer’s disease prevention that offer practical steps for the public.
Barnard ND, Bush AI, Ceccarelli A, et al. Dietary and lifestyle guidelines for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Neurobiol Aging. 2014;35:S74-S78.
I highlighted the benefits of low-fat, plant-based diets when I was the keynote speaker at the Washington Academy of Sciences 2014 Awards Banquet on May 8. I challenged fellow physicians to consider diet and lifestyle changes not as “alternative” therapy, but rather as a conventional approach to chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Barnard ND. A new model for health care. J Wash Acad Sci. 2014;100:23-43.
An intervention study conducted at the Physician Committee’s offices showed that a nutritional approach to migraine pain may improve headache intensity and frequency.
Bunner AE, Agarwal U, Gonzales JF, Valente F, Barnard ND. Nutrition intervention for migraine: a randomized crossover trial. J Headache Pain. 2014;15:69.
People with diabetes looking for a more powerful treatment should consider a plant-based diet, according to this study by our team of American and Japanese researchers. Combining the results of six prior studies, we found that a plant-based diet significantly improves blood sugar control in type 2 diabetes.
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.