Plant-based diets appear to protect against metabolic syndrome, also known as syndrome X, which is characterized by the so-called “deadly quartet,” abdominal obesity, high fasting sugars, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure.
Images thanks to James Heilman, MD via Wikimedia Commons.
Metabolic syndrome, also known as syndrome X, is a medical disorder, characterized by the so-called “deadly quartet,” abdominal obesity, high fasting sugars, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure, and it sets people up for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and heart disease. It’s been estimated to afflict about a quarter of the American population. How do we stop it; how do we prevent it. Well, if it’s all about obesity, the level of fat in the blood, and high blood pressure, then that seems like a job for plant-based nutrition. But we didn’t know for sure, though, until recently. Even after adjusting for lifestyle factors such as smoking and exercise, risk was highest in those eating nonvegetarian, intermediate for those eating semi-vegetarian, and lowest in those eating vegetarian, cutting the odds of having metabolic syndrome, by more than half.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Ashley Rhinehart, RN.
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We see this same step-wise progression towards lower disease risk the more plant-based one's diet gets with high blood pressure, cataracts, diabetes, and obesity. So it's not all or nothing-- just adding more healthy plant foods to crowd out some of the animal and junk foods in the diet can offer significant protection. It does appear, though, that to maximize one's benefits one has to move towards maximizing the proportion of plants in the diet.
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