Analysis, Conclusion and Nutrition Strategy

There are thousands Epidemiological, Migration, and Research studies offering data on health consequences of nutrition.

Epidemiological Data:
There is overwhelming evidence that suggests a Western diet or nutrition strategy results in obesity and long term chronic health problems and disease, in contrast to good health and longevity associated with a Vegetarian, Asian, or Mediterranean diet or nutrition strategy.

The largest nutrition study in history was The China Project. T Colin Campbell, PhD, the principle investigator, summarized the results of this study in his book, “The China Study”. It also confirms the results of studies conducted by other researchers which are published in peer review professional journals.

(Among other sources, these data are discussed in the published works of our nutrition and medical experts.)

Migration Data:
By observing health statistics and different nutrition strategies on ethnic populations that move from one geographical location to another, migration studies suggest nutrition is the primary factor in good health and longevity as opposed to genetic traits.

As an example, when Japanese people move from Japan (Asian Diet), where they enjoy low cancer and heart disease rates, to the United States (Western Diet), they suffer the same rates of cancer and heart disease as Americans. And, when Japanese people move from the United States to Japan, they enjoy the same low rates of cancer and heart disease as the Japanese.

This suggests that the primary cause of these diseases is not genetically based, but rather environmentally based, particularly the different nutrition strategies.

(Among other sources, these data are discussed in the published works of our nutrition and medical experts.)

Research Data:
These type of studies take two distinct forms. 1) An experimental group (humans or laboratory animals) are fed a test diet or nutrition strategy and the resulting health consequences are compared to a control group that is fed a different diet or nutrition strategy. 2) Or, modern high tech equipment is used to measure the amount of improvement (if any) as a result of the different nutrition strategies. As an example, blood flow, cardiac health, cancer tumor development or inhibition, and blood chemistry can be measured very accurately now.

There are many research studies that show that low-fat, high carbohydrate, Whole Food Plant Based diets can inhibit and actually, reverse the development of heart, cancer and other diseases.

Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn have documented evidence that a low fat, Whole Food Plant Based diet can actually reverse heart disease. They have reported on the improvement in groups of patients with who started their programs with severe cardiac disease. As an example, Dr. Esselstyn reported on a group of 18 patients who had suffered a combined total of 49 cardiac events in the 8 years preceding beginning with his low fat vegetarian diet strategy. In more than 20 years subsequent to beginning his nutrition plan, none of the patients who followed his program had suffered a cardiac event. Dr. Ornish has reported similar spectacular results in cardiac health improvement with his program. Both Dr. Ornish and Esselstyn have documented evidence with high tech equipment (MRI scans, etc.) showing the improvement in blood flow and unclogging of arteries with their programs.

In addition, Dr. Ornish has begun to study the possibility of controlling or reversing cancer with his program. He has reported promising results, showing the reduction in the extent of prostate cancer in patients following his nutrition plan. He and other researchers expect similar good results with other cancers, particularly breast cancer.

Drs. Fuhrman, McDougall, and Barnard have reported on the health improvements in many of their patients following low fat, Whole Food Plant Based diets. They report on health improvements in many different diseases including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiac disease, cancer, arthritis, etc.

(Among other sources, these data are discussed in the published works of our nutrition and medical experts.)

My Analysis

For me, the evidence is overwhelming. Thousands of Epidemiological, Migration, and Research studies show a low fat, Whole Food Plant Based diet results in good health, disease resistance, and longevity. So, a plant based diet, high in nutrient dense whole foods without animal protein should result in good health, disease resistance, and longevity.

What about including dairy products (milk and cheese), and marine protein (fish and shrimp, etc.)?

T Colin Campbell, PhD reported on published studies that suggests both the amount and kind of protein in a diet can affect both disease and longevity. He reported problems begin when more than 10% of calories (and more dramatically above 20%) in a diet come from protein. This suggests we should strive to keep the total amount of protein in our diet between 10% and 20%, very much preferably closer to 10%. He also reports that animal protein is “toxic”. He reported on studies comparing casein (the animal protein in milk), and other animal proteins,  to soy protein and wheat protein. Animals fed the animal protein showed enhanced cancer development and shorter life spans than animals fed soy or wheat protein. This suggests we should eliminate animal protein, including milk products from our diets.

However, both the Asian and Mediterranean diets include small amounts of animal protein in their diets. Fish is consumed several times per week, while fowl and meat protein is consumed rarely, perhaps monthly. Fish contains the beneficial omega –3 fatty acid and except for shellfish, don’t contain cholesterol. There are no nutritional benefits to fowl or meat protein other than protein which some studies suggest may be toxic. They also include high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat. Therefore, it seems logical to avoid fowl and meat protein, but to include small amounts of marine protein in our diets.

Many Asians are lactose intolerant, so they naturally don’t east cheese and other dairy products. But, cheese and milk are ingredients found in a Mediterranean diet.

High cholesterol levels have been shown to be a prime indicator for cardiac disease. Cholesterol is found only in animal foods, not in plant based foods. Our body does need some cholesterol, but not too much. Our body naturally produces cholesterol from saturated fats in our diets. So, by eliminating or dramatically reducing animal foods and reducing the amount of saturated fats in our diet, we can easily reduce the amount of cholesterol in our body – improving the probability for good healthy cardiac functions, and probably protection from cancer and other diseases.

Because animal products include toxic animal protein as well as high levels of saturated fat, they should be avoided. But, what about olive oil? Olive oil provides a high amount of saturated fat if it is included in our diets. Yet, olive oil is common in the healthy Mediterranean diet. Perhaps all the studies that show diets high in saturated fats are associated with poor health and disease were really looking at the effects of animal protein, and not the effects of plant based saturated fats. I have not yet found studies that prove or disprove that supposition.

Dr. Esselstyn’s diet excludes all dietary oils. He does not allow any fatty oils such as olive oil.

Dr Ornish’s Prevention Diet (as opposed to his Reversal Diet) includes fish protein, oil and diary products. This suggests to me a diet which includes fish protein and small amounts of dairy products and fatty oils (cheese and olive oil for flavor) is still healthy.

The wrong kind of primarily vegetarian diet can also be unhealthy. Whole foods as opposed to processed foods are import in a nutrition strategy. Vegetarian diets where meat is replaced with dairy products, and include pasta made with refined grains, sweets and pastries are low nutrient density diets and are unhealthy. T Colin Campbell, PhD calls people eating these low nutrient vegetarian diets, “junk food vegetarians”.

Also, many medical experts suggest the inclusion of a daily multi-vitamin tablet, particularly one that includes vitamin B12 and perhaps vitamin D.

Conclusion and Resulting Nutrition Strategy

There are thousands of Epidemiological, Migration, and Research studies that show people following Asian, Mediterranean or Vegetarian nutrition strategies enjoy disease resistance and good longevity. I have not found data or studies anywhere that suggest people following these nutrition strategies suffer any poor health of lack of longevity.

So, my conclusion is a Low Fat, Whole Food, Plant Based diet or an Asian or Mediterranean nutrition strategy is very healthy. This healthy diet or nutrition strategy can be summarized as follows: it should be primarily a whole foods, plant based diet, which minimizes the consumption of refined foods, added salt, added fats, and dairy products, but includes small amounts of marine protein and a daily multi-vitamin.

This nutrition strategy is presented in tabular form in the Nutrition Strategy section.