At least one-third of early casualties could certainly be avoided if everyone switched to a vegetarian diet,Harvard scientists have calculated.
Dr Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard Medical School explained how the advantages of a plant-based diet plan had been immensely underestimated.
Recent figures out of the Office for National Statistics indicated that roughly 24 per cent or 141,000 fatalities each year in Britain were without a doubt preventable, but the majority of that was attributed to smoking, alcohol consumption or obesity.
On the other hand the current numbers from Harvard show that at the very least 200,000 lives could be spared each and every year if people cut meat from their diets.
Speaking at the Unite to Cure Fourth International Vatican Conference in Vatican City, Dr Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard Medical School declared: “We have just been doing some calculations looking at the question of how much could we reduce mortality shifting towards a healthy, more plant based diet, not necessarily totally vegan, and our estimates are about one third of deaths could be prevented.
” That’s not even talking about physical activity or not smoking, and that’s all deaths, not just cancer deaths. That’s probably an underestimate as well as that doesn’t take into account the fact that obesity is important and we control for obesity. “When we start to look at it we see that healthy diet is related to a lower risk of almost everything that we look at. Perhaps not too surprising because everything in the body is connected by the same underlying processes.”
British-born Professor David Jenkins, of the University of Toronto, who is credited with creating the glycemic index, which reveals how carbohydrates influence blood sugar, also explained to the conference that the real benefits of vegetarianism had been ‘undersold.’.
Dr Jenkins said humans would do better following a “simian” diet, comparable to lowland gorillas who eat stems, leaves, vines and fruits rather than a “paleo” or caveman diet, which cuts carbohydrates but allows meat.
His group recently teamed up with The Bronx Zoo in New York and went to central Africa to record the feeding habits of gorillas.
When they recreated the diet for humans – which amounted to 63 servings of fruit and vegetables a day – they found a 35 per cent fall in cholesterol levels, in just two weeks, the equivalent of taking statins.
” That was quite dramatic,” he expressed “We showed that there was no real difference between what we got with the diet and what we got with a statin.”.
About 17.5 million people are eligible for statins to stave off heart disease, equating to most men over 60 and most women over 65. But many complain of side effects and stop taking the drugs.
Dr Jenkins added: “We’re saying you’ve got a choice, you can change your diet to therapeutically meaningful change or you can take a statin. Drug or diet.”.
Dr Neal Barnard, president of the Committee for Responsible Medicine also mentioned people need to wake up to the health perks of vegetarianism and veganism.
” I think we’re underestimating the effect,” he told delegates. “I think people imagine that a healthy diet has only a modest effect and a vegetarian diet might help you lose a little bit of weight. But when these diets are properly constructed I think they are enormously powerful.
” A low-fat vegan diet is better than any other diet I have ever seen for improving diabetes.
” With regards to inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis we are seeing tremendous potential there too. Partly because of things we are avoiding and cholesterol but also because of the magical things that are in vegetables and fruits which just aren’t in spam.”.
Separate Video How Meat Is Linked To Heart Disease