One important aspect of the World Preservation Foundation’s aims is to initiate discussion and encourage governments, public bodies and other institutions to address the root causes of global issues affecting human and planetary health in the most assertive and effective ways for the most rapid and tangible benefits.
Our recent report “Plant-Based Diets: A solution to our public health crisis”, with foreword by Shadow Economic Secretary Kerry McCarthy, MP, gives a qualified overview of how a switch to a diet free of meat and dairy products will dramatically reduce the incidence, and therefore costs, of some of the most prevalent illnesses currently impinging upon public health in the UK. The report asserts, “There is much value in considering proven nutrition science on the benefits of a wholesome plant-based diet, thus avoiding the rising demand and higher costs of treatments. Merely promoting the intake of more fruit and vegetables is not sufficiently clear advice. Recommending or promoting a wholly vegan or vegetarian lifestyle as a preventative measure and a proven solution to preventing and reversing chronic disease offers the NHS, [the UK] economy and public health a win-win solution.”
In this regard, the WPF has outlined steps, which can be taken by the UK Government and health professionals to improve public health and substantially reduce rising costs through taking advantage of the numerous health benefits of plant-based diets. We aim to serve the Government in the successful planning and implementation of these measures. Through such projects and initiatives, the UK will take the international lead in the advocacy, promotion and implementation of plant-based policies and incentives, setting a benchmark in healthcare, environmental protection and policy innovation.
Recommendations include: introducing higher taxes on meat and dairy products reflecting their environmental and health costs, in line with taxation of other products impacting adversely on health, such as tobacco; establishing of a task force or other specific body to develop and assess best-outcome strategies for encouraging a societal shift towards more plant-based nutrition; further training of health professionals on the benefits of plant-based diets and the prevention of chronic disease, and more substantial curricula on nutrition in student medical courses; establishing Nutritional Information Centres to provide advice and support for patients and public as well as information on addressing causes of dietary-related illness; council/regional ‘meat free days’; increasing subsidies for vegetable, fruit, grain and pulse farming; dialogue with food producers and retailers to increase number and availability of meat- and dairy-free options; introducing wholesome plant-based menu options in hospitals, etc, with animal products replaced with meat-substitute products.
Furthermore, such a switch can also help mitigate climate change while providing various environmental benefits to augment personal, public and ecological health, globally.
Some related studies referenced in the report
(Full references given at http://www.worldpreservationfoundation.org/references)
Dr Caldwell Esselstyn who directs the Cardiovascular Prevention and Reversal Program of the Cleveland Wellness Clinic, Ohio, USA, has carried out a 20 year study (the longest of its kind) in successfully reversing heart disease for many patients with severe heart conditions. He has scientifically proven that a healthy plant based diet can prevent and reverse heart disease. His work has been published in the American J of Cardiology, Surgery, Preventive Cardiology, Journal of Family Practice and other peer reviewed medical journals. http://www.heartattackproof.com/
Other physicians such as Dr Marc Katz (cardiothoracic surgeon), Dr Malcolm Baxter, Dr Dean Ornish and others have similarly arrested and reversed either heart disease and/or diabetes.
Dr Neal Bernard is the founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and also president of the Cancer Project, a non-profit organization showing the link between cancer and nutrition, cancer prevention and survival through healthy plant-based nutrition http://www.cancerproject.org/diet_cancer/index.php, http://www.cancerproject.org/diet_cancer/facts/major_killers.php
His work has been published in peer reviewed medical journals such as the American J of Clinical Nutrition, American Journal of Cardiology, The Lancet, Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism, Journal of the American Dietetic Assoc, Nutrition & Cancer, Diabetes Care, Paediatrics, Canadian Journal of dietetic Practice & Research & others.
The following are a few studies citing the effectiveness of a plant based diet in managing and preventing Type II Diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
1. Ann Nutr Metab. 2008;52(2):96-104. Epub 2008 Mar 18.
Meats, processed meats, obesity, weight gain and occurrence of diabetes among adults: findings from Adventist Health Studies. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18349528
2. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 May;89(5):1588S-1596S. Epub 2009 Apr 1.
A low-fat vegan diet and a conventional diabetes diet in the treatment of type 2 diabetes: a randomized, controlled, 74-wk clinical trial. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19339401
3. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 78, No. 3, 610S-616S, September 2003
Type 2 diabetes and the vegetarian diet, http://www.ajcn.org/content/78/3/610S.full
4. Esselstyn CB Jr, Ellis SG, Medendorp SV, Crowe TD. A strategy to arrest and reverse coronary artery disease: a 5-year longitudinal study of a single physician’s practice. J Fam Pract 1995;41:560 –568.
5. Campbell TC, Parpia B, Chen J. Diet, lifestyle, and the etiology of coronary artery disease: the Cornell China study. Am J Cardiol 1998; 82:18T–21T.
6. Key TJ, Fraser GE, Thorogood M, Appleby PN, Beral V, Reeves G, Burr ML, Chang- Claude J, Frentzel-Beyme R, Kuzma JW, Mann J, McPherson K. Mortality. Vegetarians and nonvegetarians: detailed findings from a collaborative analysis of 5 prospective studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Sep;70(3 Suppl):516S-524S.
7. Dos Santos Silva I, Mangtani P, McCormack V, Bhakta D, Sevak L, McMichael AJ. Lifelong vegetarianism and risk of breast cancer: a population-based case-control study among South Asian migrant women living in England. Int J Cancer. 2002 May 10;99(2):238-44.