The rock star Tom Petty—whose more than 40-year career with his band The Heartbreakers included hits like The Waiting and Into the Great Wide Open—died from cardiac arrest yesterday at the age of 66. I hope that his cardiac arrest will serve as a reminder of the need for action against heart disease—the No. 1 killer in America—and that his millions of Heartbreakers fans will indeed take the message to heart.
Research shows that the most effective steps for fighting heart disease include managing blood pressure, controlling cholesterol, eating better, and losing weight. These steps can all be achieved through a healthy plant-based diet. Meat, dairy products, eggs, and fatty snack foods harbor the saturated fats and trans fats that push cholesterol into the blood stream. Avoiding animal products and other fatty foods allows arteries to clean themselves out.
To learn more about preventing and reversing heart disease with a plant-based diet, visit PCRM.org/HeartDisease.
How did a recent research review dupe Americans into believing that cholesterol isn’t a health concern? Ten of the 12 included studies were funded by the egg industry. Take a look:
The systematic review was limited to studies published after 2003, when nearly all cholesterol studies were funded by the egg industry, in contrast to earlier years when governmental bodies played a bigger role in cholesterol research. Of 12 included studies, 10 were funded by the egg industry seeking to make cholesterol look innocuous.
Want to learn more about how faulty nutrition studies harm public health? Read the Misuse of Meta-analysis in Nutrition Research, my new JAMA commentary with Walter C. Willett, M.D., Dr.P.H., and Eric L. Ding, Sc.D., from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Do you suffer from “protein anxiety?” It’s a condition commonly seen in people who have never had a protein deficiency, but worry endlessly that they’re not getting enough. They pile on the meat, fish, eggs, or cheese, trying to avert an imaginary lack of protein.
Of course, the body needs some protein to build and repair body tissues. But protein is widely available in beans, vegetables, and grains. It is almost impossible not to get all the protein you need, even without eating meat, dairy, or eggs.
Here are the numbers: An average women needs about 46 grams of protein per day; the average man about 56. If a person were to eat nothing but broccoli for a day, a 2,000-calorie diet would provide a whopping 146 grams of protein. Yes, green vegetables are loaded with protein. A person eating only lentils would get even more—2,000 calories’ worth of lentils pack 157 grams. Of course, no one would eat only broccoli or only lentils, and it is much better to combine foods—beans, grains, vegetables, and fruits—to get complete nutrition. The point is that plant-based foods clearly provide abundant protein.
The average American actually consumes too much protein, according to the CDC, with most people getting nearly double the amount they actually need. And more isn’t better. When protein comes from animal products—which are high in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol—diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease often follow.
So how much protein do you really need?
You can calculate your daily requirement using this calculator, or multiply your weight (in pounds) by 0.36 to calculate the grams of protein you need in a day. For example, someone who weighs 140 pounds needs about 50 grams of protein per day. And once you’ve calculated it, forget it. There is no need for “protein anxiety.” Because a varied plant-based diet of whole grains, vegetables, and beans can easily meet your daily protein needs, without the risks of animal products. Read our infographic to below to see how it all adds up!
The new documentary What the Health is fueling an important conversation about the health risks of hot dogs, bacon, and other processed meats. Here at the Physicians Committee, we’ve been urging people to “drop the hot dog” and “ban the bacon” for years. Now, a new report—that analyzed 99 studies including data on 29 million people—adds even more evidence showing that it’s unwise to deny the dangers of processed meat.
The authors of “Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Colorectal Cancer,” the new report by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund, concluded that “consumption of processed meat is a convincing cause of colorectal cancer.” The report also found that eating high amounts of red meat and being overweight or obese can increase colorectal cancer risk.
There is good news. The report concluded that eating approximately three servings of whole grains, such as brown rice or whole-wheat bread, daily reduces the risk of colorectal cancer by 17 percent.
Visit DropTheHotDog.org to learn more about the dangers of processed meats.
How does an NBA All-Star prep for the upcoming season? A vegan diet, of course. Damian Lillard, who plays basketball for the Portland Trail Blazers, is trying to get down to 190 pounds (his rookie weight, according to NBA.com) to get ready for the upcoming season that begins on Oct. 17. No problem on a healthy vegan diet—which can lead to twice as much weight-loss as other diets! The same plant-based foods will also provide him with all the protein and nutrients that keep vegan bodybuilders strong.
Yesterday on Instagram, he shared a video of some of the foods he’s using to fuel up, while losing weight.
Lillard joins a growing number of professional athletes who know that plant-based diets improve performance, including fellow NBA player Jahlil Okafor, the NFL’s Trent Williams, David Johnson, and Griff Whalen, tennis stars Venus Williams and Novak Djokovic, and dancer Derek Hough.
And just this week, longtime vegan and my good friend Rich Roll competed in the Ötillö Swimrun World Championship, an adventure race in which athletes swim and run 46 miles across 26 islands of the Stockholm Archipelago.
Want to improve your athletic performance with a vegan diet? Check out Food Power for Athletes fact sheet.
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