A review of the weeks plant-based nutrition news 27th October 2019
It has been great to be part of London VegFest this weekend, one of the UK’s largest vegan festivals. We organised and hosted the health talks and had a stall sign posting attendees to our educational material. The stall featured one of the UK’s only no oil, whole food plant-based cookbooks, A Kitchen Fairytale, written by our patient advocate Iida van der Byl-Knoefel. Iida reversed inflammatory arthritis with a nutritional approach. Lovely to meet lots of people interested in improving their health with a plant-based diet. We will be back again with our next public event at Plant Powered Expo on February 1st 2020.
It is wonderful to see cities around the world, including London, committing to transitioning citiziens to a ‘Planetary Health Diet’ by 2030. The plantary health diet was created by the Eat-Lancet Commission on Food Health Planet, whose aim was to design a dietary pattern to feed a future population of 10 billion people a healthy diet within planetary boundaries? The diet is a predominately plant-based, emaphasising fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds and is predicted to prevent 11 million premature deaths globally per year. Meat and dairy are considered optional foods within the diet and, if eaten, should account for <15% of total calorie intake. We look forward to hearing how Mayor Sadiq Khan plans to implement this diet in London.
FIBRE, GUT HEALTH AND LUNG CANCER: This large study examines the association between fibre and yogurt intake and the risk of lung cancer. The pooled analysis included 10 prospective cohorts involving 1 445 850 adults from studies that were conducted in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
What did the study find? Those eating the most fibre (28g per day) and the most yogurt (57g/d) had around a 15–19% reduced risk of developing any type of lung cancer, even after adjusting for confounders such as smoking.
What are the potential reasons? It is highly likely to be related to an improved gut microbiome as fibre and yogurt are pre and probiotics foods respectively, which enhance the health and diversity of the gut microbiome. It is clear that healthy gut microbiome is associated with a reduced risk of a number of chronic diseases, including cancer and may even be important in predicting response to cancer therapy. The mechanism may be through anti-inflammatory effects and modulation of the immune system.
What are plant sources of probiotics for those not consuming cows dairy? Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and tempeh are good alternatives. Some plant-based yogurts also have live cultures.
Conclusion: feed your gut bacteria with lots of fibre rich food and consider adding fermented foods to your diet.
PLANT AND ANIMAL PROTEIN AND RISK OF KIDNEY STONES: Two new large Chinese cohort studies with >127000 participants and 2650 cases of kidney stones cases find a 16% and 14% higher risk of kidney stones with more animal protein and non-dairy animal protein, but no association with dairy protein or plant protein. There is a weak inverse association with plant protein, 10% reduction, which is not statistically significant
The average intake of animal and plant protein standardized to 2,000 Kcal was 31.3 and 48.4 gm per day in women, and 30.8 and 51.3 gm per day, respectively, in men. This is a relatively low animal protein intake and a high plant protein intake compared with most Western countries, yet a greater animal protein intake was still associated with a kidney stone risk. Increasing the proportion of plant protein relative to animal protein appeared protective against the risk.The findings are consistent with previous studies which have shown an increased risk of kidney stones with high intakes of meat.
Universities continue to lead the way in diet change to benefit the enviroment. University of Helsinki removes beef from cafeteria menus, which according to UniCafe’s calculations, will reduce its food-related carbon footprint by 11 percent, the equivalent of 240,000kg of CO2 carbon dioxide annually. This follows on from other Universities, including Harvard and Cambridge Universities, who have also made changes to their on site menus to reduce the environmental impact. Did you know that Imperial College London now has a fully plant-based cafe? Do check it out if you are in the South Kensington area.
DIET AND PROSTATE CANCER RISK: Researchers from the Mayo clinic in the US have published an updated review of the literature that further investigates the association of plant- and animal-based food consumption with prostate cancer risk. 47 studies from 2006–2017 met the inclusion criteria, including 2 very large cohort studies (≥100,000 participants), 6 large cohort studies (≥40,000 participants), 11 medium cohort studies (≥10,000 participants), 10 small cohort studies (<10,000 participants), 13 case-control studies, 4 meta-analyses, and 1 population study investigating diet and PCa risk.
The results show ‘that, in general, plant-based foods may be associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer, whereas dairy products may be associated with an increased risk of prostate’. One of the most likely mechanisms by which dairy increases the risk of prostate cancer is by elevating levels of the growth hormone IGF-1. IGF-1 levels can be rapidly lowered on a vegan diet. We have also known for over a decade that lifestyle changes, which include a low fat whole food plant-based diet, can arrest and in some even reverse early stages of prostate cancer.
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