The Negative Effects and Benefits of Plant-Based Diets
What are the pros and cons of plant-based eating?
Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Miranda
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood, created by the body after eating to store calories it does not need to use right away. Elevated levels of triglycerides are a risk factor for developing metabolic syndrome and heart disease, the leading cause of death in the industrialized world.
Ingestion of food rich in fat, particularly saturated fat, leads to a spike in triglycerides. This effect may be exacerbated by simultaneous consumption of foods high in cholesterol, such as eggs or dairy.
Consuming processed sugars, especially in liquid form (soda or juice), may also cause a spike in triglyceride levels. This effect is not seen following the consumption whole fruits, regardless of their sugar content.
Stress may also lead to elevated triglycerides. This is believed to be mediated by an increase in the hormone cortisol during stress, which acts upon the liver to increase the production of triglycerides. Consumption of animal products may also elevate cortisol levels after eating.
Regular consumption of fiber may help lower triglycerides. All whole plant foods contain fiber, but flax seeds, leafy greens, beans and whole grains are particularly rich sources. Beans and other legumes appear to be particularly effective at lowering triglyceride levels, though whether this is due to their fiber content or to specific phytonutrients has not yet been determined.
Decreasing stress through regular exercise and meditation and decreasing the intake of saturated fat, cholesterol, and processed sugars are lifestyle interventions that may help lower triglyceride levels.
The information on this page has been compiled from the research presented in the videos listed. Sources for each video can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab.
Image Credit: Pixabay. This image has been modified.
What are the pros and cons of plant-based eating?
Before there was insulin, there was the “oatmeal cure.”
What can we do to boost the longevity hormone FGF21?
How can you get a perfect diet score?
The spice cumin can work as well as orlistat, the “anal leakage” obesity drug.
For three cents a day, black cumin may improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar control, as well as accelerate the loss of body fat.
Is there a nonsurgical alternative to knee replacement surgery that instead treats the cause and offers only beneficial side effects?
How do the nutrition and health effects of quinoa compare to whole grains?
Bright light exposure synchronizes the central circadian clock in our brains, whereas proper meal timing helps sync the timing of the clock genes throughout the rest of our body.
Are there benefits to giving yourself a bigger daily break from eating?
In this live presentation, Dr. Greger offers a sneak peek into his book How Not to Diet.
Eating every other day can raise your cholesterol.
Though a bane for dieters, a slower metabolism may actually be a good thing.
How the food industry responds to “health food faddists.”
Ground ginger and ginger tea are put to the test for blood sugar control.
Studies funded by the Avocado Board suggest avocados may facilitate weight loss, but compared to what?
Do the medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil and the fiber in flaked coconut counteract the negative effects on cholesterol and artery function?
The effects of coconut oil are compared to butter and tallow. Even if virgin coconut oil and other saturated fats raise LDL “bad” cholesterol, isn’t that countered by the increase in HDL “good” cholesterol?
Since white blood cell count is such a strong predictor of lifespan, what should we aim for and how do we get it there?
Whole plant sources of sugar and fat can ameliorate some of the postprandial (after-meal) inflammation caused by the consumption of refined carbohydrates and meat.
What happened to women who were randomized to eat more meat and dairy during pregnancy? What effect does animal protein consumption have on cortisol and testosterone levels in men?
Sugar is no longer considered just empty calories, but an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. So what happens if you switch to artificial sweeteners?
Being obese may result in as much insulin resistance as eating a high-fat diet.
The cholesterol in eggs not only worsens the effects of saturated fat, but has a dramatic effect on the level of cholesterol and fat circulating in our bloodstream during the day.
The cardiovascular benefits of plant-based diets may be severely undermined by vitamin B12 deficiency.
One reason why soy consumption is associated with improved survival and lower recurrence rates in breast cancer patients may be because soy phytonutrients appear to improve the expression of tumor-suppressing BRCA genes.
The role white and pink (red) grapefruit may play in weight loss and cholesterol control, as well as the suppression of drug-clearance enzymes within the body.
Daily citrus fruit consumption during athletic training may reduce muscle fatigue, as evidenced by lower blood lactate concentrations.
A daily tablespoon of ground flax seeds for a month appears to improve fasting blood sugars, triglycerides, cholesterol, and hemoglobin A1c levels in diabetics.
A comparison of the cholesterol-lowering potential of four dried fruits—apples, dates, figs, and plums.
Though there have been more than a thousand papers published on coconut oil in medical journals, there is little evidence it helps with Alzheimer’s disease.
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.
For a dollar a month, Indian gooseberry (amla) powder may work as well as a leading diabetes drug—without the side effects.
Ground flax seed consumption may decrease breast cancer risk by slowing one’s menstrual cycle. It may also control prostate enlargement as effectively as the leading prescription drug.