6 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

Human Health Strength Longevity Concept

A plant-based diet could be helpful if you want to lose weight, avoid diabetes, or reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s.

New study argues that all doctors should be aware of the benefits of plant-based diets for these six health conditions.

According to a recent commentary in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, all doctors should be aware of the advantages of a plant-based diet for six different health conditions, including COVID-19, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and weight loss.

“The field of medicine, despite its prominent influence in society, has invested little to promote healthy lifestyle choices,” says the commentary co-authored by Saray Stancic, MD, FACLM, director of medical education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “The consequence of this is reflected in our ever-rising chronic disease statistics, most notably obesity and diabetes rates.”

The authors claim that medical schools only provide a meager level of nutrition education throughout the course of four years and that this situation is not improved during postgraduate study. They point out that 90 percent of cardiologists who participated in a recent study of over 600 cardiologists said they had not obtained the necessary nutrition education during training.

The commentary accepts that not all doctors need to be nutrition specialists, but asserts that they should at the very least have a basic understanding of the advantages of a plant-based diet for these six conditions, for which they present detailed evidence, including the following:

  1. Weight loss and maintenance. Those who followed a vegan diet weighed around 9 pounds less than those who did not, according to a study of 70,000 individuals. They also had a lower risk of death.
  2. Cardiovascular disease. Animal products are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which are key drivers of cardiovascular disease. But a recent meta-analysis found that those consuming a vegetarian diet decreased LDL “bad” cholesterol by 13 mg/dl. Another analysis found a 24% lower rate of heart disease deaths among vegetarians compared to omnivores.
  3. Cancer. Adopting healthy habits, such as being active and eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may potentially lower the risk of breast cancer by up to 70%. Furthermore, studies have shown that soy and high-fiber diets lower the risk of breast cancer. Prostate cancer risk is increased by diets heavy in dairy products. Although daily consumption of red and processed meat raises the risk of colorectal cancer, high-fiber diets reduce that risk.
  4. Diabetes. A Harvard study, which included participants from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, Nurses’ Health Study, and the Nurses’ Health Study II, concluded that those who consumed a plant-based diet could expect a 34% reduction in type 2 diabetes risk.
  5. Alzheimer’s disease. A study found that those who adhered to the primarily plant-based Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet, which is focused on brain-healthy foods such as green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, beans, berries, nuts, and whole grains, had a 60% lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  6. COVID-19. Harvard’s smartphone-based COVID-19 study found that in those who consumed a primarily plant-based diet there was a 41% reduction in risk of severe COVID-19 as well as a 9% reduction in infection of any severity.

“It is time for all physicians across the globe to speak to the importance of diet and lifestyle in health,” concludes the commentary, which recommends that physicians do this by counseling patients, assuring hospitals provide healthy menus, lecturing in the community, writing articles, using social media, and providing commentary to media.

Reference: “Six Applications of Plant Based Diets for Health Promotion” by Saray Stancic, MD, Josh Cullimore, MD and Neal Barnard, MD, 26 May 2022, American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.
DOI: 10.1177/15598276221104023

20 Comments on "6 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet"

  1. Ian Marteens | July 22, 2022 at 3:28 am | Reply

    Yeah… because of Ayurveda, and the Tao Te King, and the Pachamama, and whatever crackpot theory that concludes we should be eating insects. Don’t believe a word from this posts, actually.

  2. Clyde Spencer | July 22, 2022 at 6:08 am | Reply

    Something that isn’t addressed are the confounding factors in studies like this. That is, people who are sufficiently concerned about their health to make major changes in their diet, are likely to do other things such as exercise more — or wear an N-95 face mask while driving alone.

  3. I take this with a grain of salt.
    When it comes to diets there is always something influencing these opinions disguised as facts.

    I’m not saying a plant based diet is not good for you but there is NO REPLACEMENT for animal protein.

  4. Cholesterol and animal fat aren’t responsible for heart disease, update your knowledge. Inflammation is – caused by eating huge amounts of carbs and processed “vegetable oils” that are actually seed oils.

  5. Jacqueline cuthbertson | July 23, 2022 at 5:31 am | Reply

    U people r stubborn refuse to do right for the planet. Cows being sold& slaughtered young cause there is no food? bc of drought!plant based/vegan will be the future! So get use to it!! I have bin 35 yrs vegan and have no health problems no covid, no vacs.no meds.so IT must be working?still looking gorgeous at 60.u look at yr self old man?all that $ u give to doctors and pharma? And slaughter houses çoncentrationcampsis murder!u will get ptsd adhd violence suicidal. U r what you eat. Ignorant and selfish people will get the deathly consequences. Just like Uvalde? Kids become killers ? Bc u fed them death? Will b the ticking time bomb on yr watch! Animals r not created for yr lust! Btw flesh creates parasites(magots worms)! Deseases and early death ! Lets see if u make it 65? I doubt it,go vegan b a better human?or we all b doomed on gods planet! This info is correct !but u just don’t want to do right? But u all r wrong!vegan is life!

    • Dear, this comment is an inarticulate bunch of nonsense.
      I have noticed over the years that vegans seem excessively angry.
      Might it be from ill effects on brain?
      Possibly.

    • WOW…those phytochemicals have fried your brain…please seek help

  6. I’m glad to be eating plantbased for 26 yrs and their are alternatives like Beyond Meat Abbotts Good Catch etc more energy plus meat has a high content of cholesterol and uric acid plus small cancerous tumors with added steroids and antibiotics if you want protein theirs the alternatives and chic peas.

  7. These folks have an agenda that means well, but is fundamentally misguided.
    Vegan diets cannot meet all human nutritional needs and require supplementation.
    Diets that truly promote optimal health should not require supplementation.
    They ignore cultures that experience optimal health and longevity, yet eat animal foods (e.g. Sardinian men, a culture where many men attain centenarian status, make and eat charcuterie, fermented dairy) and cherry pick data.
    When centenarian Okinawans were asked (go figure…they were asked), they attributed their longevity to pork!
    Even in the US, where obesity and all these common chronic diseases have soared in recent years, folks WERE eating animal foods for centuries and not huge, not diabetic, so what changed?
    They blame increased animal foods and ignore many alternative explanations, which have valid data to support them.
    Animals fed aberrant foods such as corn/soy – often GMO and therefore containing glyphosate, an antibiotic that impairs the essential shikimate pathway – when consumed by us, leave an isotope signature in our hair that is correlated with obesity and diseases they mention:
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32747534/
    Those grains, legumes they promote?
    Often dessicated prior to harvest with glyphosate, so also bad.
    The way we raise both plants and animals in the US is mostly heinous…I said mostly, but it’s possible to get properly raised foods, but much less likely for the poor.
    In short… nope, you don’t understand nutrition either, you just think you do.

    • Charles G. Shaver | July 23, 2022 at 11:40 am | Reply

      Micki, additionally, there is a kind of food/additive allergy that is not yet recognized or researched by mainstream medicine. And, by the early 1970s about 95% of common allergen, incomplete protein and phytoestrogen rich soy was being processed with toxic hexane with some residue (e.g. US female breast cancer epidemic by 1979; ACS and NCI data). And, too, in 1980 the US FDA approved the expanded use of added ‘cultured free’ MSG, with the US obesity/diabetes epidemic presenting by 1990 (CDC/NCHS data). Finally, for now, I personally inadvertently made myself seriously deficient in calcium (late 2010) and phosphorus (early 2021) by avoiding much dairy and real meats for allergy reasons. Be careful.

  8. Number 1 has to be the best i have read in long time “They also had a lower risk of death”. Vegans have lower risk of death! So vegans might die, but it is highlly unlikely. Congrelttulation on your findings and please make others avare that vegans carry smaller risk of dying.
    Other points , I won’t even comment as it takes complete ignorance and unprecedented lack of knowledge to compose and publicise article like this one.

  9. Randall Hart | July 23, 2022 at 9:30 am | Reply

    What about life expectation? I’ve heard in past that 100% plant base diets reduce your life by 5 to 10 years.

  10. Evette Christopher | July 23, 2022 at 9:52 am | Reply

    WFPB a life changer for me….

  11. Friend of the Earth | July 23, 2022 at 10:42 am | Reply

    Humans are omnivores, just notice our teeth which are a mix of molars and incisors. We are designed via evolution to consume what was most accessible and plentiful: vegetables first, meat second. We cognitively evolved so quickly that we still retain our more primitive gut and biology in general. Primitive humans could miss a few days of animal protein but made up for that when it was available. Now in the first world we can balance that with eating mostly a plant based diet, proportionally minimal carbs and meat.

    That diet has kept me healthy and quite vigorous. At 74 years of age, I am on no Rx and have no diagnoses. I walk 2 to 3 miles a day, lift weights and BMI 20. My mind is sharp. A R
    rational diet (NO dairy, deli, bakery, processed foods and sugars) mixed with good sleep and exercise are key.

  12. I enjoyed the article. I am always surprised at the vitriol in the comments sections. I get that many people are upset with animal agriculture. I do my part (I do not eat animals). Personally I do not care what people eat as long as it does not prevent me from my WFPB diet. I do think that corporations (CAFO) need to do more in regard to safety (human) and animal waste. While human waste is treated in sewer systems animal waste is stored in open lagoons that leak into groundwater etc. CAFO produces 13X more waste than the entire human population.

  13. Next their going to tell us to eat more sugar. Ohhhh wait they already did that in 1967. 🤦🏻‍♂️

  14. Animal Protein all the way.

  15. I personally think people should do their own research on a plant based diet. I am plant based and I have never felt better. My weight is good, no high blood pressure, no hypercholestemia, no medical problems of any kind. Plant based diets are easy to maintain, and very easy on the pocketbook.

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