A vegetarian diet* is defined as one that does not include meat (including fowl) or seafood, or products containing those foods.
A vegan diet* is a vegetarian one which excludes milk and dairy products, eggs, honey and and other animal-derived substances.
* diet: the sum of food consumed by a person.
WHY BEING VEGETARIAN?
There are many reasons to be vegetarian:
• your health: first of all, you become more aware of your eating habits and the relation between food and health: in fact being vegetarian helps have a healthy life style; your psychophysical health will improve (see below);
• animals’ health: you will spare the life and well-being of 87.500.000.000 animals: animals are treated like meat machines in the intensive farms, the basic hygienic and respect standards are ignored in name of profit and this is a threat for your own health;
ARE VEGETARIAN DIETS ADEQUATE AND HEALTHY?
The American Academy of Nutrition is the largest and most famous association of nutritionists in the world. Its position about the vegetarian diets is the following:
“Appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle.”
WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF THE MAIN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCHES?
Lyon, France, 26 October 2015 – The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organization, has evaluated the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat.
The consumption of red meat is probably carcinogenic to humans, based on limited evidence that the consumption of red meat causes cancer in humans and strong mechanistic evidence supporting a carcinogenic effect. This association was observed mainly for colorectal cancer, but also for pancreatic and prostate cancer.
The risk of colorectal cancer may increase by 17% each 100gr portion of red meat.
Processed meat was classified ascarcinogenic to humans, based on sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causescolorectal cancer. Each 50gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.
“For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed,”says Dr Kurt Straif, Head of the IARC Monographs Programme. “In view of the large number of people who consume processed meat, the global impact on cancer incidence is of public health importance.”
During the International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition (2013) at Loma Linda (USA), the latest results have been shown from the three main research institutes in the world: Harvard University, Loma Linda University and University of Oxford.
The Harvard School of Public Health studied a group of 200.000 people and made a meta-study of over 450.000 people. The result is that who eats a lot of red and, above all, processed meat has higher risk to develop diabetes (in particular, every 100gr of red meat +20% risk; every 50gr processed meat +50% risk).
The Loma Linda University has been studying vegetarian nutrition and health for more than 40 years. According to their studies, vegetarians show 12% relative reduction in mortality compared to non vegetarians. Moreover, vegetarians have:
• Much lower BMI
• Less hypertension
• Less diabetes
• Lower blood glucose
• Lower blood cholesterol
• Lower CRP, insulin, IGFBP3
• Moderately lower total mortality, CHD mortality, renal, and endocrine mortality.
• Less cancer, especially, G-I female organs, and possibily respiratory.
The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study is a Europe-wide prospective study of the relationships between diet and cancer, as well as other chronic diseases, for example cardiovascular diseases. Coordinated by the World Health Organization at the University of Oxford, it is the largest study of its kind, including 500.000 participants in 10 different countries.
The main results of EPIC so far say that vegetarians have a lower risk to develop:
• Diverticular disease (-80%)
• Cataract (-40%)
• IHD (ischaemic heart disease) (-40%)
• Cancer: stomach (-62%), multiple myeloma (-77%), all tumors (-10%)
On the contrary, a high consumption of fibers (contained exclusively in fruit and vegetables) is a protection factor.
IS IT DIFFICULT TO BECOME VEGETARIAN?
Like for most of the changes in our life style, it is more or less difficult depending on your general life habits, your current diet and eating habits, your motivation and support.
Feel free to contact me to know more about vegetarian diets, what is the best solution for you in terms of chance: we will define a precise path where you’ll be supported step by step to enjoy food with no restriction, regrets and being aware of what you eat!