Eating fruits and veggies can’t lessen CVD risk among meat eaters–study
So you think you can make up for all those artery-clogging lechon and papaitan that you consumed by downing them with fruits and veggies? Think again.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a high fruit and vegetable intake will not be able to counterbalance the increased risk for heart disease caused by eating meat. This latest finding was posted in the “Breaking Medical News” of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).
“Researchers followed 74,645 participants from the Swedish Mammography Cohort and the Cohort of Swedish Men studies and monitored diet and mortality due to heart disease. Those who consumed the highest amounts of red meat increased their risk of dying from heart disease by 29 percent compared to those who consumed the least. The risks remained consistent when coupled with various fruit and vegetable intakes. High fruit and vegetable intake could not prevent meat-related deaths.” The study cited was by Bellavia A., Stilling F. and Wolk A., titled “High red meat intake and all-cause cardiovascular and cancer mortality: is the risk modified by fruit and vegetable intake? Am J Clin Nutr. Published online Aug. 24, 2016.”
Plant-based nutritionist/dietician Blecenda Miranda Varona, doctor of public health and author of Healing Wonders of Diet, who is documenting close to 500 patients who have reversed their diseases, told Inquirer Science/Health that there should be no compromise in the prevention of lifestyle diseases: “When my patients with high cholesterol, high triglyceride and high LDL follow a total plant-based diet, these abnormalities dramatically go down just in four to five weeks. A plant-based diet and healthy living definitely protect people from many lifestyle diseases.”
Since our bodies already produce their own cholesterol for our needs, we do not need external sources, according to PCRM, a US-based nonprofit organization made up of doctors, dieticians, psychologists, nurses, other science and health professionals, and lay people.
Cholesterol is found in all foods sourced from animals: meat (pork and beef), poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, yoghurt, and so on. Choosing lean cuts of meat supposedly to avoid cholesterol is a myth; much of the cholesterol is, in fact, in the lean portions.
Varona says cholesterol is a nondietary essential. When we consume the “internal organs of animals (in the form of dishes) like sisig, bulalo and bopis, which contain thousands of milligrams of cholesterol,” we also consume unwanted cholesterol.
PCRM, which promotes preventive medicine, estimates that “every four-ounce serving of beef or chicken contains 100 mg of cholesterol. Also, most shellfish are very high in cholesterol. All animal products should be avoided for this reason. By contrast, no foods from plants contain cholesterol.”
For suggestions on how to start a plant-based diet, check out PCRM’s vegan starter kit, or join vegan support groups (Manila Vegans, What Vegan Children Eat, Pinoyvegs, Cebu Vegans, Vegetarian Society of the Philippines, Vegetarian in the Philippines, and The Real Happy Cow Facebook pages. For access to a global vegan and vegetarian restaurant directory online, log on to happycow.net. You can check these support groups on how to make meatless embutido using mushroom whole-wheat vege-meat, vege-smoked sausage, vegetarian kaldereta, vegan afritada and langka nuggets (from Oscar Anne’s in Leveriza Street, Pasay City).
Tofu stroganoff, on the other hand, consists of tofu, shiitake mushroom (dried or fresh) and a dairy-free cream sauce—cashew nut with blended tofu (from Nona Andaya Castillo of Nurturers of the Earth).
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