Is the way forward to consume more plant-based foods?
Okay, so when I set out about this particular topic, I had done quite a bit of research into plant based diets and how good they really are.
My first knowledge of this subject was many years ago, when I had applied for a job in which part of the recruiting process was to give a five minute chat on a particular subject.
Now, with 10 of us in the room, the subjects varied from holiday destinations to favourite pastimes.
As we got to one particular person in the room, she popped up and stated her subject, Plant based foods.
We all stared and looked at each other thinking that this lady is crazy, as she said that one day plant based diets would replace a lot of meats and so on.
20 years on and with rise of veganism, then she was no more a fruit cake than us for not buying into her knowledge.
Today when you visit any local supermarket, you will have a growing plant based section. The food manufacturers have certainly done their homework on this corner of the market.
The technology has allowed for plant based sausages, burgers, and even ice cream.
The health benefits of a plant based diet have kicked started the revolution alongside people's concern for animal welfare; such claims have been made that having a diet consisting of vegetables make it less likely that you will get cancer, slow down the aging process, and one that I came across the other day, which is that it would help cure depression in men.
So how true are these, and do we have any statistical data to back up the claims?
Recently published research findings in the Harvard Health Publishing by Robert H Shermling, MD, stated that people chose the plant based diet to counter modern growing diseases such as type two diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. This was in comparison to some diets that were high in meat and other animal products.
Shermling went on to write about how before the onset of the plant based diets, nutrition experts were giving out guidelines on how we should adopt the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, which are both heavy in fruit and vegetables whilst restricting the consumption of red meat.
RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH PLANT BASED DIETS
Despite the findings and health benefits of a plant based diet, thier are risks involved when adapting to this sole food type source.
The risks associated are that the plant based diet lacks providing an adequate source of protein, vitamins and mineral intake, however, this can be quickly overcome by taking in the right supplements such as soy, quinoa and nuts.
BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL
A new study published in the BMU raised the possibility that even though plant based diets are good, you are still at risk.
Researchers in the UK analyzed the risk of strokes and other health issues in a study over two decades.
The subjects studied highlighted that vegetarians where at a higher level of death through hemorrhagic strokes.
These findings have been challenged and deemed limited.
Shermling wrote: "The study was observational so it only observed what happened to people who followed various diets over time. For example if someone followed a vegetarian diet because of a family history of strokes, then it would be the disease being the driving factor as supposed to the diet itself."
What also came into question from the study, was that it should have included a different study population with different genetics.
The study was also self-reported.
SO WHAT IS THE WAY FORWARD
My personal take on the rise of the plant based food sources, is that it does hold some sway and I personally have increased my intake of plant based foods. However I still have craving for some sort of meat on my plate, whether that is force of habit or just that I do like a bit of everything when eating.