Page Summary: Clips, Quotes & Links to 40+ Science News Reports on how: i) Low-Carb Diets are Associated with Higher Rates of Disease & Death (Mortality); and ii) Diets Higher in Unrefined (“good”, “complex”, “whole food”) Carbohydrates are Associated with a Longer Lifespan with Lower Rates of Disease.
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From an article by Harvard Medical School titled “Carbohydrates: quality matters”
an excerpt: “Foods high in carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet. Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity. But carbohydrate quality is important; some types of carbohydrate-rich foods are better than others:
~ The healthiest sources of carbohydrates — unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans — promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients.
~ Unhealthier sources of carbohydrates include white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods. These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.
The Healthy Eating Plate recommends filling most of your plate with healthy carbohydrates – with vegetables… and fruits taking up about half of your plate, and whole grains filling up about one fourth of your plate…”
Article at https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/
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Low Carb Diets are associated with Higher Death Rates – “Mortality” – meaning Shorter Lives.
From a 2013 meta-analysis of studies on low carb diets, looking at over 270,000 people, the conclusion: “Low-carbohydrate diets were associated with a significantly higher risk of all-cause mortality…” The pooled relative risk was 1.31.
Reference: “Low-Carbohydrate Diets and All-Cause Mortality: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies”, PLoS One. 2013; 8(1): e55030; at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/23372809/ and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3555979/
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A study of 42,237 women reported in the Journal of Internal Medicine concluded: “A diet characterized by low carbohydrate and high protein intake was associated with increased total and particularly cardiovascular mortality amongst women.”
Specifically they found: “Decreasing carbohydrate or increasing protein intake by one decile were associated with increase in total mortality by 6% (95% CI: 0-12%) and 2% (95% CI: -1 to 5%), respectively.
For cardiovascular mortality, amongst women 40-49 years old at enrolment, the corresponding increases were, respectively, 13% (95% CI: -4 to 32%) and 16% (95% CI: 5-29%), with the additive score being even more predictive.”
Reference: “Low carbohydrate-high protein diet and mortality in a cohort of Swedish women”, J Intern Med. 2007 Apr;261(4):366-74; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17391111
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A study of 22,944 people reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition concludes: “Prolonged consumption of diets low in carbohydrates and high in protein is associated with an increase in total mortality.”
Specifically, they found: “In models with energy adjustment, higher intake of carbohydrates was associated with significant reduction of total mortality, whereas higher intake of protein was associated with nonsignificant increase of total mortality… Even more predictive of higher mortality were high values of the additive low carbohydrate-high protein score (per 5 units, mortality ratio 1.22 with 95% CI 1.09 -to 1.36). Positive associations of this score were noted with respect to both cardiovascular and cancer mortality.”
In other words, higher death rates for those disease conditions were associated with prolonged low-carb high-protein diets.
Reference: “Low-carbohydrate-high-protein diet and long-term survival in a general population cohort”, Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 May;61(5):575-81; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17136037
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A 2018 news report is titled “Low-carb diet linked to elevated mortality risk: study.” Excerpts: “The findings, published in The Lancet, challenge a trend in Europe and North America toward so-called Paleo diets that shun carbohydrates in favour of animal protein and fat….
Seidelmann and colleagues poured over the medical histories of nearly 15,500 men and women…
People who got 50-55 percent of their calories from carbohydrates outlived those with very low-carb diets, on average, by four years…
“data suggests that animal-based low carbohydrate diets might be associated with shorter overall lifespan and should be discouraged.”
Replacing meat with plant-based fats (such as avocados and nuts) and proteins (such as soy products and lentils) reduces the risk of mortality, Seidelmann and her team found…
A review of medical records for an additional 432,000 people from earlier studies yield confirmed the results, which are also in line with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations…”
From the study: “Low carbohydrate dietary patterns favouring animal-derived protein and fat sources, from sources such as lamb, beef, pork, and chicken, were associated with higher mortality [meaning higher death rates], whereas those that favoured plant-derived protein and fat intake, from sources such as vegetables, nuts, peanut butter, and whole-grain breads, were associated with lower mortality [less death], suggesting that the source of food notably modifies the association between carbohydrate intake and mortality.”
Reference: “Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis”, Lancet Public Health 2018, Published Online August 16, 2018;
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A 2010 report on a study that followed over 130,000 participants for two decades concluded: “A low-carbohydrate diet based on animal sources was associated with higher all-cause mortality in both men and women, whereas a vegetable-based low-carbohydrate diet was associated with lower all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality rates.”
The hazard ratios [HR] for the animal low-carbohydrate score were: 1.23 for all-cause mortality; 1.14 for cardiovascular mortality; and 1.28 for cancer mortality.
Reference: “Low-carbohydrate diets and all-cause and cause-specific mortality: Two cohort Studies”, Annals of Internal Medicine, 2010 Sep 7; 153(5): 289–298; at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20820038 and
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A study of over 4000 people reported in the Journal of the American Heart Association concludes: “Greater adherence to an LCD [low-carbohydrate diet] high in animal sources of fat and protein was associated with higher all-cause and cardiovascular mortality post-MI [myocardial infarction]. We did not find a health benefit from greater adherence to an LCD overall after MI.”
Specifically they found: “Adherence to an LCD high in animal sources of protein and fat was associated with higher all-cause and cardiovascular mortality (hazard ratios of 1.33 [95% CI: 1.06 to 1.65] for all-cause mortality and 1.51 [95% CI: 1.09 to 2.07] for cardiovascular mortality comparing extreme quintiles).
An increase in adherence to an animal-based LCD prospectively assessed from the pre- to post-MI period was associated with higher all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality (hazard ratios of 1.30 [95% CI: 1.03 to 1.65] for all-cause mortality and 1.53 [95% CI: 1.10 to 2.13] for cardiovascular mortality comparing extreme quintiles). An increase in adherence to a plant-based LCD was not associated with lower all-cause or cardiovascular mortality.”
Reference: “Low carbohydrate diet from plant or animal sources and mortality among myocardial infarction survivors”, J Am Heart Assoc. 2014 Sep 22;3(5):e001169; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25246449
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2017 news report: “Cutting carbs can increase risk of diabetes and other diseases, experts warn.” The introduction: “Australians risk increasing their chances of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease and colon cancer if they cut quality carbohydrates high in cereal fibre from their diets, experts say.
A group of leading international and Australian experts say the evidence on the health benefits of eating whole grains is “unequivocal” and those who avoid them are increasing their risk of disease…”
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2018 report titled “Low-carb diets ‘are unsafe and should be avoided’”
Excerpts: “The new study was presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress … examined the links between low-carb diets and the risk of death from any cause among 24,825 individuals … the analysis using data from the survey found that those who consumed the least amount of carbs were 32 percent more likely to die prematurely from any cause. This was in comparison with participants who ate the most carbs …
Also, low carb consumers were 51 percent more likely to die from coronary heart disease, 50 percent more likely to die from cerebrovascular disease, and 35 percent more likely to die of cancer …
In the second part of the study … a large meta-analysis of prospective studies that summed up almost 450,000 participants … found that the overall risk of death from any cause was 15 percent higher in people who consumed the least amount of carbs, the risk of cardiovascular death was 13 percent higher, and that of dying of cancer was 8 percent higher.”
From a related news report: “Speculating on the mechanisms underlying the link between low-carb diets and death‚ Banach said animal protein — specifically red and processed meat — had already been linked with an increased risk of cancer.
“The reduced intake of fibre and fruits and increased intake of animal protein‚ cholesterol and saturated fat with these diets may play a role. Differences in minerals‚ vitamins and phytochemicals might also be involved‚” he said.
“The findings suggest that low carbohydrate diets are unsafe and should not be recommended.”
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A 2018 study reported in Atherosclerosis journal found that a “Low carbohydrate/high fat (LCHF) diet for three weeks increased LDL-C with 44% versus controls.” 
LDL-C means low density lipoprotein cholesterol.
According to heart.org: “LDL cholesterol is considered the “bad” cholesterol, because it contributes to fatty buildups in arteries (atherosclerosis). This condition narrows the arteries and increases the risk for heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease, or PAD.” 
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“Carbohydrates are the main source of calories in a healthy diet and are the primary fuel for the brain and muscles. Typically, about three-fourths of daily calories should come from carbohydrates. It’s also important to choose the best carbohydrate sources. That means two things:
Choose complex carbohydrates, rather than simple carbohydrates.
Choose carbohydrates that still have their fiber, like brown rice or brown bread, rather than white rice or white bread, from which the fiber has been stripped away…”
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More reports like these are listed further below. Let’s first look at some long-living healthy human populations with high amounts of unrefined plant carbohydrates in their diets.
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Quotes from articles about the traditional Okinawan Diet – long lives with low rates of disease on high-carbohydrate plant-based diets.
Regards some of the longest-living people in the world “The traditional Okinawan diet was about 80 percent carbohydrates…” That’s a quote from a 2015 article titled “Why Japan’s Longest-Lived Women Hold the Key to Better Health.” Further excerpts: “Okinawa is sort of a Japanese Hawaii… For almost a thousand years, this Pacific archipelago has maintained a reputation for nurturing extreme longevity. Okinawans over the age of 65 enjoy the world’s highest life expectancy: Men are expected to live to about 84, while women are expected to live to almost age 90. They suffer only a fraction of diseases that kill Americans: a fifth the rate of cardiovascular disease, a fifth the rate of breast and prostate cancer, and less than half the rate of dementia seen among similarly aged Americans…” The article then discusses “Top Longevity Foods from Okinawa…”
“A 25-year study of elder Okinawans credits at least two-thirds of their robust health to lifestyle choices rather than good genes. In stark contrast to American habits, Okinawans eat a vegetable-based diet low in both calories and fats, and rich in soy foods, and they exercise regularly.
“Never in the history of nutrition research has the evidence been more clear and consistent,” wrote Bradley J. and D. Craig Willcox, twin brothers who have written “The Okinawa Program” about the long-running study with co-author Dr. Makoto Suzuki. “A high-carbohydrate, low-calorie, plant-based diet is the best for long-term health.” From article at http://www.okicent.org/news/boston_globe.html
From the science journal Mechanisms of Ageing & Development: “Okinawan elders, many of whom still eat a very healthy diet, represent one of the healthiest populations of seniors on the planet…
“The traditional diet in Okinawa is anchored by root vegetables (principally sweet potatoes), green and yellow vegetables, soybean-based foods, and medicinal plants…
Many characteristics of the traditional Okinawan diet are shared with other healthy dietary patterns… All these dietary patterns are associated with reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, among other age-associated diseases.
Overall, the important shared features of these healthy dietary patterns include: high intake of unrefined carbohydrates, moderate protein intake with emphasis on vegetables/legumes… and a healthy fat profile (higher in mono/polyunsaturated fats, lower in saturated fat; rich in omega-3)…. the lower caloric density of plant-rich diets results in lower caloric intake with concomitant high intake of phytonutrients and antioxidants. Other shared features include low glycemic load, less inflammation and oxidative stress, and potential modulation of aging-related biological pathways. This may reduce risk for chronic age-associated diseases and promote healthy aging and longevity.”
Table 1 of the reports lists the Traditional Okinawa Diet as being 85% Carbohydrate, 9% Protein, 6% Fat, 2% Saturated Fat. 
Dr Michael Greger comments about Table 2 of this report: “only 1% of their diet was fish; less than 1% was meat & same with eggs & dairy; so it was more than 96% plant-based… very few processed foods… most of their diet was vegetables…” 
References:  “Healthy aging diets other than the Mediterranean: a focus on the Okinawan diet”, Mechanisms of Ageing & Development, 2014 Mar-Apr;136-137:148-62; at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5403516/ and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24462788
 Dr Greger report “The Okinawa Diet: Living to 100” at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-okinawa-diet-living-to-100/
“People from the Ryukyu Islands (of which Okinawa is the largest) have a life expectancy among the highest in the world… the daily diet is almost entirely plant based… The traditional Okinawan diet… ” quoted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okinawa_diet
“The elderly of Okinawa [islands south of Japan] enjoy what may be the longest life-expectancy in the world, and are also known for enjoying the relatively good health while doing so. The three leading killers in the West – coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer – occur in Okinawans with the lowest frequency in the world… Compared to Westerners, the islanders age slowly and are about 80% less likely to get heart disease. They’re also a quarter less likely to get breast or prostate cancer. In addition, they have half the risk of getting colon cancer and are less likely than Westerners to get dementia. On average they spend 97% of their lives free of any disabilities…” excerpt from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okinawa_Centenarian_Study
From the Journal of the American College of Nutrition: “Residents of Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture of Japan, are known for their long average life expectancy, high numbers of centenarians, and accompanying low risk of age-associated diseases… A comparison of the nutrient profiles of the three dietary patterns shows that the traditional Okinawan diet is the lowest in fat intake, particularly in terms of saturated fat, and highest in carbohydrate intake, in keeping with the very high intake of antioxidant-rich yet calorie-poor orange-yellow root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, and green leafy vegetables…”
Reference: “The Okinawan Diet: Health Implications of a Low-Calorie, Nutrient-Dense, Antioxidant-Rich Dietary Pattern Low in Glycemic Load”, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Volume 28, 2009 – Issue sup4; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20234038 and http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07315724.2009.10718117
A short video presentation by Dr Michael Greger is titled “The Okinawa Diet: Living to 100.” The clip is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mryzkO5QWWY
Some excerpts: “The traditional diet in Okinawa is anchored by root vegetables (principally sweet potatoes), green and yellow vegetables, soybean-based foods, and medicinal plants… If you look at their actual dietary intake… the traditional [Okinawan] diet… this is how it breaks down: only 1% of their diet was fish; less than 1% was meat and same with eggs & dairy; so it was more than 96% plant-based; and more than 90% whole food plant based – very few processed foods… most of their diet was vegetables and one vegetable in particular – [purple & orange] sweet potatoes… makes it a highly anti-inflammatory diet, makes it a highly antioxidant diet…”
The traditional Okinawan diet is associated with “6 to 12 times fewer heart disease deaths than the USA… 2 to 3 times fewer colon cancer deaths; 7 times fewer prostate cancer deaths; and five and a half times lower risk of dying from breast cancer…”
Dr Greger continues: “The one population who lives even longer than the Okinawa Japanese don’t just eat a 98% meat-free diet, they eat 100% meat-free – the Adventist vegetarians in California with perhaps the highest life expectancy of any formally described population… The best of the best were Adventist vegetarians who had healthy lifestyles too; like being exercising non-smokers…” They reach ages of 87 years for men and 90 for women “on average. That’s like 10 to 14 years longer than the general population. Ten to 14 extra years on this earth from simple lifestyle choices. This is happening now…”
The text is at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-okinawa-diet-living-to-100/
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Reports on the Healthy Long Life Spans of the Vegetarian Seventh-Day Adventists of California.
From a 2013 report on the vegetarian Adventists of California, in a journal of the American Medical Association: “Vegetarian diets are associated with lower all-cause mortality and with some reductions in cause-specific mortality….”
Specific results include: “The adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for all-cause mortality in all vegetarians combined vs nonvegetarians was 0.88… The adjusted HR for all-cause mortality in vegans was 0.85… in lacto-ovo-vegetarians, 0.91… in pesco-vegetarians, 0.81… and in semi-vegetarians, 0.92… compared with nonvegetarians. Significant associations with vegetarian diets were detected for cardiovascular mortality, noncardiovascular noncancer mortality, renal mortality, and endocrine mortality…”
Compared to non-vegetarians (or omnivores) “Vegans had significantly reduced risk” with hazard ratios of:
– 0.45 in men for ischemic heart disease mortality; 55% less.
– 0.58 in men for cardiovascular disease mortality; 42% less.
– 0.70 in women for “other mortality”; 28% less.
– 0.72 in men for all-cause mortality; 28% less.
– 0.74 for “other mortality” in both sexes; 26% less.
– 0.81 in men for cancer mortality; 19% less.
The study was based on “96,469 Seventh-day Adventist men and women recruited between 2002 and 2007”.
Reference: “Vegetarian dietary patterns and mortality in Adventist Health Study 2”,
JAMA Internal Medicine, 2013 Jul 8;173(13):1230-8;
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23836264 and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4191896/ and http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1710093
A 2001 report in the Internal Medicine medical journal tested “the hypothesis that choices regarding diet, exercise, and smoking influence life expectancy.” The “analysis of 34,192 California Seventh-Day Adventists” found that they “have higher life expectancies at the age of 30 years than other white Californians by 7.28 years… in men and by 4.42 years… in women, giving them perhaps the highest life expectancy of any formally described population…”
The report further states: “High physical activity, frequent consumption of nuts, vegetarian status, and medium body mass index each result in an approximate 1.5- to 2.5-years gain in life expectancy compared with the corresponding high-risk values. The sum of these independent effects (9.7 years in men and 10.4 years in women)…
The authors concluded: “Choices regarding diet, exercise, cigarette smoking, body weight, and hormone replacement therapy, in combination, appear to change life expectancy by many years…”
Reference: “Ten years of life: Is it a matter of choice?”, Arch Intern Med., 2001 Jul 9;161(13):1645-52; at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11434797
From a 2013 article in The Atlantic titled “The Lovely Hill: Where People Live Longer and Happier” some excerpts: “In one idyllic community [Loma Linda] in southern California, Adventists live 4 to 7 years longer — and more healthily and happily — than the rest of the country. A look at their diet, lifestyle, and philosophy… While the average American woman will live to be 81, vegetarian Adventist women in Loma Linda will on average live to be 86. While the average American man will live until 76, the average vegetarian Adventist man will live until 83… The death rate from cancer for Adventist men is 60 percent lower than that of the average California male; for Adventist women, it is 75 percent lower. According to Loma Linda University, ground zero in the Adventist Health Studies, “Death from coronary heart disease among Adventist men was 66 percent [lower compared to their California peers]; for Adventist women, it was 98 percent [lower]. Stroke death rates for Adventist men were 72 percent [lower], compared to their non-Adventist counterparts. For Adventist women, death from stroke was 82 percent [lower].”…
Many Seventh-Day Adventists are vegetarians, physically active, and involved in their community. In other words, their lifestyles are quite unique in an America where community has become less and less important and over one third of the population is obese. Smoking and drinking are discouraged by the faith, as is the consumption of caffeine, rich foods, and certain spices…”
From the article at https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/02/the-lovely-hill-where-people-live-longer-and-happier/272798/
From an article titled “Why Adventists live longer” by Jan W. Kuzma, Ph.D., director of research at the Loma Linda University School of Public Health: “Adventist men and women have a life expectancy that is substantially greater than their fellow Californians. Specifically… an 8.9-year advantage over the California male. The corresponding difference for a 35-year-old female is 7.5 years. These differences are higher than those reported in 1967…
These findings bring scientific evidence that suggests that a measurably longer life expectancy results not only from abstaining from smoking, but also from adopting a healthy vegetarian diet, getting adequate exercise, and maintaining normal weight…
Dr. T. Abelin of Harvard University noted that such an increase in life expectancy as the one observed by these adults exceeded all the gains in life expectancy made in the previous 40 years in this country, including all the advances in medical skills and knowledge, plus in numerable improvements in man’s environment…
Three European studies of Adventists, based on smaller samples, show an Adventist life expectancy advantage over their corresponding countrymen…”
From a 1989 article at
From a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition “associating diet with chronic disease in a cohort of 34,192 California Seventh-day Adventists…” some findings:
“Intake of legumes was negatively associated with risk [ie. lower rates] of colon cancer in nonvegetarians and risk of pancreatic cancer. Higher consumption of all fruit or dried fruit was associated with lower risks of lung, prostate, and pancreatic cancers…”
There were “significant associations between beef consumption and [higher rates of] fatal ischemic heart disease (IHD) in men… The lifetime risk of IHD was reduced by ≈31% in those who consumed nuts frequently and by 37% in male vegetarians compared with nonvegetarians… reduced risk of IHD in subjects preferring whole-grain to white bread… Cancers of the colon and prostate were significantly more likely in nonvegetarians [ie. cancer is more frequent in the meat eaters]… and frequent beef consumers also had higher risk of bladder cancer…
Cross-sectional data suggest vegetarian Seventh-day Adventists have lower risks of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and arthritis than nonvegetarians. Thus, among Seventh-day Adventists, vegetarians are healthier than nonvegetarians…”
Reference: “Associations between diet and cancer, ischemic heart disease, and all-cause mortality in non-Hispanic white California Seventh-day Adventists”, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, September 1999 vol. 70 no. 3 532s-538s; at http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/3/532s
For excerpts from more studies and articles about the Seventh Day Adventists of California see this page of studies about the health benefits of plant-based vegetarian and vegan diets.
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Reports on the Benefits of Healthy High Carb Diets.
Regards healthy whole-food carbohydrates “new research has suggested that a high carb, low protein diet is the most effective for stimulating a hormone with life-extending and obesity-fighting benefits…”
That quote is from a 2016 article in the Huffington Post (2016) titled: “Study Proves That Carbs Are Not Bad For You… High Carb Diet Boosts Life-Extending, Obesity-Fighting Hormone…”
Further excerpts: “The hormone in question is Fibroblast Growth Factor 21 — also known as FGF21 if you’re feeling particularly sciencey — which has been touted as the “fountain of youth” hormone…
What Solon-Biet and her team’s research showed was that a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates was the most effective way to increase the levels of this hormone.
“This particular diet has also been associated with improved markers of health — for example, improved blood pressure, insulin levels, glucose levels, blood lipid levels and all these beneficial effects,” Solon-Biet said.
“It makes it a very interesting hormone and, in fact, it’s now being investigated as a therapeutic target for the treatment of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”…
“We found that the optimum combination of protein and carbohydrates was one protein for 10 carbohydrates. So, a one in 10 ratio”…
“This is interesting because it seems to coincide beautifully with the diet of the Okinawan people of Japan, who are actually the longest lived population in the world. It’s called the Okinawan diet.”
Naturally the Okinawan people eat a low protein, high carbohydrate diet… their carbohydrates are more of the complex, slowly digested carbohydrates, so your vegetables and high fibre foods. Not our current carbohydrates which are so easily accessible — chips, doughnuts, pizza and pasta.
“So there’s a clear distinction to be made that a low-protein, high-carbohydrate diet doesn’t mean you can eat all the cake in the world.”…”
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Dr Michael Greger MD – “Plant-Based Diets for Improved Mood & Productivity” is a 5 minute review of science journal “studies showing that diets high in carbohydrate and low in fat and protein are associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression, and have beneficial effects on psychological wellbeing…” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9rx9wQrVdk with text transcript at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/plant-based-diets-for-improved-mood-and-productivity/
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“Busting the Top 10 Carb Myths” is an article by registered dietitian nutritionist, Carrie Dennett. Some excerpts: “As dietitians know from Nutrition 101, carbohydrates come from plants, and many plant foods are rich in the vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber that are vital to good health. Research shows that Mediterranean-style and other plant-based diets with high fiber content and low glycemic load have a beneficial effect on glucose metabolism, whereas dietary patterns high in meat are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Although grains may be the most controversial carb, results of several studies suggest whole grains, but not refined grains, are protective against type 2 diabetes. The intact nutrients and fiber in whole grains, together with their lower glycemic index and glycemic load, may improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, while refined grains are lower in fiber and nutrients and have a higher glycemic index or glycemic load…
bread and pasta can be healthful carbohydrate sources if the pasta is cooked al dente and the bread is very dense, unsweetened, and packed with intact grains.
Cereal, or grain, fiber is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Analysis of data from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study found that higher whole grain intake was associated with reduced mortality, especially deaths due to CVD… Similarly, results from the prospective NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, which followed 367,442 individuals for 14 years, found that intake of whole grains was associated with a lower risk of death from all causes. Furthermore, whole grains contribute to intestinal health and a healthy weight…
Several studies have found that whole grain intake is associated with a reduced risk of weight gain, and similar associations have been observed between fruit intake and weight, provided that calorie needs aren’t exceeded…
The POUNDS LOST trial showed that reduced-calorie diets result in clinically meaningful weight loss regardless of which macronutrient they emphasize…
while a low-fat diet high in processed carbohydrates can program the body for excessive weight gain, a diet with moderate amounts of minimally processed carbohydrates, along with healthful fats, does not…
carbohydrate restriction was linked with a 30% increased risk of mortality from all causes, and a slightly increased risk of cardiovascular events. Carbohydrate intake of only 15% below recommendations has been associated with reduced vascular health, independent of major CVD risk confounders, likely due to decreased intake of fiber, fruit, or root vegetables, and/or increased consumption of protein-dense products such as meat and dairy…
Chronic inflammation is a concern because it may be an intermediary between obesity and cancer, CVD, and other chronic diseases. One reason that whole grains may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes is by reducing inflammation. High intake of whole grains has been shown to reduce concentrations of inflammatory markers…
the sugars found in fruit are natural sources and are different from the sugars that are added to foods and beverages…
research has shown that increased consumption of fruit and berries is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes…
healthful carbohydrate foods including whole grains, legumes, most vegetables, fiber-rich fruits, pasta, and low-fat dairy can be consumed without major concerns, provided individuals stay within their calorie requirements…
experts say a food’s glycemic index value shouldn’t be used in isolation, but should be considered alongside the food’s other qualities, such as calories, nutrients, and fiber, when considering the impact of diet on health. The glycemic load of the food—and the overall meal—may be more critical for supporting healthful blood sugar level…”
Source article: http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0416p30.shtml
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This site contains pages with hundreds of science reports on the higher rates of disease & death associated with eating red meat, dairy, chicken/poultry, eggs, fish/seafood & of the lower rates associated with eating healthy plant-based diets high in fruits & vegetables & nuts.
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More Reports on the Dangers of Low Carb Diets:
Dr Greger clip “Low Carb Diets and Coronary Blood Flow” at
Excerpts: “Well, now we have studies that have measured the impact of low-carb diets on arteries directly, and a review of all the best studies done to date found that low-carb diets impair arterial function…
another study found the same thing. A dietary pattern characterized by high protein and fat, low carbohydrate, was “associated with poorer peripheral small artery function”…
Those sticking to the vegetarian diet showed a reversal of their heart disease, as expected. Their partially clogged arteries literally got cleaned out. They had 20% less atherosclerotic plaque in their arteries at the end of the year than at the beginning. What happened to those who abandoned the treatment diet, and switched over to the low-carb diet? Their condition significantly worsened: 40 to 50% more artery clogging at the end of the year…
This is the best science to date demonstrating the threat of low-carb diets…
a meta-analysis was recently published that finally went ahead and measured the ultimate endpoint, death, and “LOW-[CARB] DIETS WERE ASSOCIATED WITH A SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER RISK OF ALL-CAUSE MORTALITY”—MEANING LOW-CARBERS LIVING A SIGNIFICANTLY SHORTER LIFESPAN”
Text at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/low-carb-diets-and-coronary-blood-flow/
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1) Noto et al. This meta-analysis of 272,216 subjects studied for diet and mortality reported that the risk of “all-cause” mortality in those responding that they followed a low-carbohydrate diet was approximately 30% higher than other subjects.
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“A systematic review of low-carbohydrate diets found that the weight loss achieved is associated with the duration of the diet and restriction of energy intake, but not with restriction of carbohydrates… low-carbohydrate diets cannot be recommended.”
Reference: “Atkins and other low-carbohydrate diets: hoax or an effective tool for weight loss?” Lancet. 2004 Sep 4-10;364(9437):897-9; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15351198
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A warning about the dangers of low carb diets from the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Evidence abounds that low-carbohydrate diets present NO significant advantage over more traditional energy-restricted, nutritionally balanced diets both in terms of weight loss and weight maintenance…
of serious concern is what potential exists for the following of this type of eating plan for longer periods of months to years. Complications such as heart arrhythmias, cardiac contractile function impairment, sudden death, osteoporosis, kidney damage, increased cancer risk, impairment of physical activity and lipid abnormalities can all be linked to long-term restriction of carbohydrates in the diet…” (emphasis added)
Reference: “Low-carbohydrate diets: what are the potential short- and long-term health implications?”, Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003;12(4):396-404; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14672862
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A 2019 report: “Low-carb diets are all the rage, but can cutting carbohydrates spell trouble for your heart? People getting a low proportion of their daily calories from carbohydrates such as grains, fruits and starchy vegetables are significantly more likely to develop atrial fibrillation (AFib), the most common heart rhythm disorder, according to a study being presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 68th Annual Scientific Session.
The study, which analyzed the health records of nearly 14,000 people spanning more than two decades, is the first and largest to assess the relationship between carbohydrate intake and AFib. With AFib, a type of arrhythmia, the heart doesn’t always beat or keep pace the way it should, which can lead to palpitations, dizziness and fatigue. People with AFib are five times more likely to have a stroke than people without the condition. It can also lead to heart failure.”
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A warning about the risks of low-carb diets in Obesity Reviews, a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal: “The current evidence though indicates that low-carbohydrate diets present NO significant advantage over more traditional energy-restricted diets on long-term weight loss and maintenance. Furthermore, a higher rate of adverse side-effects can be attributed to low-carbohydrate dieting approaches…” (emphasis added)
Reference: “Safety of low-carbohydrate diets”, Obesity Reviews, 2005, Aug;6(3):235-45; at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16045639
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A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association: “Low-carbohydrate diets have been popularized WITHOUT detailed evidence of their efficacy or safety… We included 107 articles describing 94 dietary interventions reporting data for 3268 participants… Among the published studies, participant weight loss while using low-carbohydrate diets was principally associated with DECREASED CALORIC INTAKE and increased diet duration but NOT with reduced carbohydrate content.” (emphasis added). Reference: “Efficacy and safety of low-carbohydrate diets: a systematic review”, JAMA, 2003 Apr 9;289(14):1837-50; at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12684364
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A report in the science journal Clinical Nutrition: “Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)… is the most frequent chronic liver disease, affecting about one out of three people in the western world. NAFLD is strongly linked to insulin resistance, which represents a key risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes… obesity, which represents one of the main features of the metabolic syndrome, is strongly associated with NAFLD… although weight loss is beneficial in NAFLD, certain diets known to induce weight loss can actually cause or exacerbate this disease, and therefore induce insulin resistance, such as very low carbohydrate, high fat diets…” [like the keto diet].
Reference: “Diets and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: the good and the bad”, Clinical Nutrition, 2014 Apr;33(2):186-90; at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24262589
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“These 8 Myths About Carbs Could Be Wrecking Your Health” is the title of an article in Reader’s Digest. Some excerpts: “John McDougall, MD, explains why you should embrace carbs and starches in [his book] ‘The Healthiest Diet on the Planet.’…
Truth: Every cell in the body uses carbohydrates for energy. When the brain can’t access the carb glucose for energy—like in a low-carb diet—it turns to ketones from fats instead. But a 1995 study in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders found that burning ketones instead of glucose leads to impaired brain function…
A 2013 article in Nutrition Journal found that people who ate whole grain-rich diets had a 20- to 30-percent reduced risk in developing type 2 diabetes. Dietary fat, on the other hand, can increase blood-sugar levels and cause people with type 1 diabetes to require more insulin, according to a 2013 study in Diabetes Care…
People who ate low-carb diets had higher risk of mortality than those who ate more carbs, and cutting carbohydrates didn’t help protect against coronary heart disease, according to a 2013 report in the journal PLoS ONE. The study concluded that people avoiding carbs tend to replace them with animal-based protein, rather than plants and fiber…
a study in the 2010 issue of the Journal of Nutrition found that women who ate more than a serving of whole grains were less likely than those who didn’t eat any to have moderate or elevated inflammation…
A high-carb diet could actually reduce blood sugar levels. McDougall’s 2014 study printed in the Nutrition Journal found that participants who got 80 percent of their calories from carbs saw an average drop in blood sugar of 3 mg/dL…”
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Regards a book titled “Carbophobia: The Scary Truth about America’s Low-Carb Craze.” From the Amazon summary: “In the first book of its kind, Dr. Michael Greger draws together decades of research exposing the dangerous truth behind the low-carb lies. Carbophobia decisively debunks the purported “science” behind the low-carb claims, documents just how ineffective the Atkins Diet and other low-carb plans have been in producing sustainable weight loss, and lists the known hazards inherent to the diet…
The National Academy of Sciences, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins University, the American Kidney Fund, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the National Institutes of Health all oppose the Atkins Diet. In fact, there does not seem to be a single major governmental or nonprofit medical, nutrition, or science-based organization in the world that supports it. How then has the Atkins Corporation managed to mislead millions of people onto its diet?…”
The above notes are from https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1590560868/ … Dr Greger’s website is https://NutritionFacts.org/
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One of the best known low-carb diet fads is the “Atkins diet”. A website by Dr Greger called http://AtkinsExposed.org/ describes the flaws and grave dangers of this diet.
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Judith C. Thalheimer, RD, LDN – “Ketosis Fad Diet Alert: Skip low-carb diets; instead focus on nutrient-rich choices like whole grains, fruits and vegetables” article at https://www.environmentalnutrition.com/issues/38_9/youshouldknow/Ketosis-Fad-Diet-Alert_152840-1.html
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From a 2018 report in British Medical Journal Open: “On the basis of the current study, it cannot be concluded that a high-carbohydrate diet or increased percentage of total energy intake in the form of carbohydrates increases the odds of obesity... Further studies are needed that specifically classify refined versus unrefined carbohydrate intake, as well as studies that investigate the relationship between high fat, high unrefined carbohydrate-sugar diets.”
Reference: “Does high-carbohydrate intake lead to increased risk of obesity? A systematic review and meta-analysis”, BMJ Open. 2018 Feb 8;8(2):e018449; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29439068
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Excerpts from an article by Dr John McDougall: “Has the world gone mad condemning carbohydrates?… With so much contrary information coming from every direction people doubt their own sanity and everything they once knew to be true about good eating. But by taking a moment to make a few simple observations about people you will know the truth.
First Observation: Worldwide, Trim People Eat Carbohydrates.
If I hand you a globe of the Earth and ask you to identify for me the populations of people who looked the healthiest and trimmest, whom will you name? Immediately, Asians (Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Thai, Filipinos, etc.) stand out. And what do they eat? Mostly rice! – with some vegetables too, but little meat and no dairy products. Not only are they trim for a lifetime, but they have a healthy and youthful look. When you get to know them better you will discover they have extremely low rates of diabetes, obesity, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and cancers of the breast, prostate, and colon…
Confirmation of the importance of carbohydrate is found when people reduce their consumption by migrating to a Western nation, like the USA or the countries of Europe. As they eat less carbohydrate, and more fat and protein, they become fatter and sicker. Similar changes in health are seen within nations, like Japan, as the people become wealthy from industrialization and change to “American” foods.
Scientific documentation of these simple observations was recently reported in a four-nation study from Northwestern University of more than 4,000 men and women ages 40 to 59.3. Researchers found the thinnest people on Earth eat the most carbohydrates, and the people who eat the most protein were found to be the heaviest…
All knowledgeable scientists agree that for winning performance during prolonged exercise the best fuel for the body is carbohydrate. In practical terms, this means eating starches (rice, corn, potatoes, beans, pasta, bread, etc.), vegetables, and fruits – all of these plant foods contain from 70% to 95+% of their calories as carbohydrate. Unbeatable athletes shun foods devoid of meaningful amounts of carbohydrate – these are meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheeses, and vegetable oils. No endurance athlete would ever consider competing while following a low-carb diet…
Carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy for our tissues and all of the cells in our bodies can use carbohydrate for energy. The carbohydrate glucose is essential for the brain (about 140 grams a day are utilized)…
Some tissues of our body, such as red blood cells and kidney cells (glomeruli cells) will only burn carbohydrate. If insufficient amounts are consumed, and after our glycogen stores are depleted, our bodies will synthesize carbohydrate from protein. This process of turning protein into glucose is called gluconeogenesis and is an undeniable testament to the vital importance for carbohydrates…
As we pleasure our taste buds by eating whole (unprocessed) carbohydrate-rich foods (starches, vegetables and fruits), we take in all our other necessary nutrients at the same time. Plant foods, by no coincidence, contain just the right amount of essential carbohydrate, dietary fiber, and minerals to meet our needs. Plants synthesize eleven of the thirteen known vitamins, and all of our essential fats and essential amino acids (proteins). (The other two vitamins are Vitamin B12, which comes from bacteria, and Vitamin D, which is actually a hormone made by the action of sunlight on the skin.)…
What should really cause you to pause is what these low-carb, animal foods, do contain – generous and harmful amounts of cholesterol, saturated fat, animal protein, microbes (viruses, bacteria, etc.) and environmental chemicals. The negative impact upon health can range from annoying to catastrophic. In the short-term, “low-carb malnutrition” causes constipation, aggravation of hemorrhoids, fatigue, dehydration, acidosis, loss of appetite, and nausea. Over the long haul, a diet heavy in these foods will increase a person’s risks of heart disease, stroke, cancer, kidney failure, kidney stones, and osteoporosis, to name a few dreaded, but common, diseases.
Low-carbohydrate diets have dominated bookstore shelves since 1990 and look what has happened to people’s weight over the last 15 years. In 1991, 12% of the population of the US was obese; by 1998 18% of people reached this super-size, and now reports say as many as 26 to 30%% are corpulent. Enthusiasm for low-carb eating is directly tied to increasing rates of obesity – the more people blame carbohydrates for their troubles the fatter they grow – and now two-thirds of people in Western countries, like the USA, are sufficiently overweight to be a threat to their health…”
Reference: “People – Not Their Words – Tell “The Carbohydrate Story”, 2004, at https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2004nl/apr/040400pucarb.htm
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Are High Carbohydrate Diets More Effective than Low Carb Diets for Sustained Weight Loss?
The conclusion of the 2017 “BROAD” study as published in the “Nutrition & Diabetes” journal: “This program led to significant improvements in BMI, cholesterol and other risk factors. To the best of our knowledge, this research has achieved greater weight loss at 6 and 12 months than any other trial that does not limit energy intake or mandate regular exercise.”
They state: “We encouraged starches such as potatoes, sweet potato, bread, cereals and pasta to satisfy the appetite… We gratefully acknowledge Dr McDougall for his support and contribution with ‘The Starch Solution’ books…”
Reference: “The BROAD study: A randomised controlled trial using a whole food plant-based diet in the community for obesity, ischaemic heart disease or diabetes”, Nutrition & Diabetes (2017) 7, e256; at https://www.nature.com/nutd/journal/v7/n3/full/nutd20173a.html
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From a 2017 report in The Journal of Nutrition: “Weight loss is a key factor in reducing diabetes risk… We aimed to evaluate the associations between diet and weight at baseline and to identify specific dietary factors that predicted weight loss…
Conclusions: Diets that are high in carbohydrate and low to moderate in fat tend to be lower in energy. The lowest energy intakes were observed for those on a vegetarian diet. The diet quality as measured by HEI [Healthy Eating Index] was highest for the high carbohydrate groups and lowest for the low carbohydrate groups. The BMIs were significantly lower for men and women on the high carbohydrate diet; the highest BMIs were noted for those on a low carbohydrate diet.”
Reference: “A High-Carbohydrate, High-Fiber, Low-Fat Diet Results in Weight Loss among Adults at High Risk of Type 2 Diabetes”, J Nutr. 2017 Nov;147(11):2060-2066; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28954840
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A 2015 Time magazine article reports on a study which found people lost more fat on a low-fat diet than on a low-carb one – http://time.com/3994328/diet-low-carb-low-fat/
The summary of the study states “Cutting fat resulted in more body fat loss as measured by metabolic balance.” The study is titled “Calorie for Calorie, Dietary Fat Restriction Results in More Body Fat Loss than Carbohydrate Restriction in People with Obesity” and is at www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/abstract/S1550-4131(15)00350-2
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A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association examined: “the relationship between prototype popular diets and diet quality as measured by the healthy eating index (HEI), consumption patterns, and body mass index (BMI).
The prototype diets included vegetarian (no meat, poultry, or fish on day of survey) and non-vegetarian. The nonvegetarian group was further subdivided into low carbohydrate (less than 30% of energy from carbohydrate), medium (30% to 55%), and high (greater than 55% of energy)…
10,014 adults, aged 19 years and older… were included in the analyses of extant data…
Review of the literature suggests that weight loss is independent of diet composition. Energy restriction is the key variable associated with weight reduction in the short term…”
Findings include: “Diets that are high in carbohydrate and low to moderate in fat tend to be lower in energy. The lowest energy intakes were observed for those on a vegetarian diet. The diet quality as measured by HEI was highest for the high carbohydrate groups and lowest for the low carbohydrate groups. The BMIs were significantly lower for men and women on the high carbohydrate diet; the highest BMIs were noted for those on a low carbohydrate diet.”
Reference: “Popular diets: correlation to health, nutrition, and obesity”, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2001 Apr;101(4):411-20; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11320946
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A 2017 study in science journal Gastroenterology reported that lower fat, meaning higher carbohydrate diets, were associated with greater energy expenditure and more fat loss than were low-carbohydrate diets. They state “Weight changes are accompanied by imbalances between calorie intake and expenditure… While low-carbohydrate diets have been suggested to partially subvert these processes by increasing energy expenditure and promoting fat loss, our meta-analysis of 32 controlled feeding studies with isocaloric substitution of carbohydrate for fat found that both energy expenditure (26 kcal/d; P <.0001) and fat loss (16 g/d; P <.0001) were greater with lower fat [high carbohydrate] diets…”
Reference: “Obesity Energetics: Body Weight Regulation and the Effects of Diet Composition”, Gastroenterology. 2017 May;152(7):1718-1727.e3; at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28193517
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A 2017 article in the journal Nutrients reports, regards “patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM)… HC [high carbohydrate] diets are at least as effective as LC [low carbohydrate] diets, leading to significant weight loss and a reduction in plasma glucose, HbA1c and low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) levels… Carbohydrate intake should be individualized, and low caloric intake remains a crucial factor to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce body weight; however, an HC diet, rich in fiber and with a low GI/GL, may be recommendable in patients with T2DM.”
Reference: “Impact of High-Carbohydrate Diet on Metabolic Parameters in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes”, Nutrients, 2017 Mar 24;9(4); at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28338608
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A 2015 report on a study titled “The Importance of Dietary Carbohydrate in Human Evolution.” The abstract states: “We propose that plant foods containing high quantities of starch were essential for the evolution of the human phenotype during the Pleistocene.”
Reference: “The Importance of Dietary Carbohydrate in Human Evolution”, The Quarterly Review of Biology Vol. 90, No. 3 (September 2015), pp. 251-268; at https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/682587
For more reports like that see the page on this site regards nutrition and human evolution.
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For a page of quotes & links that expose the pseudo science of the dangerous low-carb high-protein Paleo diet fad.
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For a page of quotes & links that examine the myth that human evolution depended on eating meat and that show instead how important plant carbohydrates were for developing brain size and intelligence
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More to Come!
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This set of articles were compiled for
Pages on this Site:
Quotes from news reports & science journals on how the Western omnivore diet with meat and dairy products accelerates climate-change through: i) increasing our carbon footprint of greenhouse gases; ii) deforesting & destroying wilderness that absorbs carbon and protects biodiversity; iii) creating massive pollution; and iv) wasting resources like grains, water, fuels and agricultural lands.
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Excerpts & links to medical studies, articles & reports on the links between meat consumption and increased incidences of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and early mortality (a shorter lifespan); also to reports on how cancers are increasing in young people.
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Quotes & links to articles in science, medical & health journals that report great benefits vegetarians and vegans generally have including longer lives with less of the chronic degenerative diseases like cancer, cardiovascular heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and obesity as well as lower blood pressure, hypertension and blood cholesterol levels.
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Excerpts & links to articles in news media science journals about the current ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’ known also as the ‘Holocene Extinction’ or ‘Anthropocene Extinction’ as it is largely caused by human activities.
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This page contains quotes & links for studies & articles in science journals, news media & by medical doctors; on the association of drinking milk to higher rates of osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.
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This page features quotes & links to articles in news media and science journals about the rise of microbes that are resistant to antibiotics; posing a grave threat to all of us; from 50% to 80% of antibiotics are (mis-)used in animal agriculture industries.
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This page features quotes & links to reports that expose how the animal agriculture industries (meat, dairy, poultry) influence government, politics, the education schooling system and news media in order to promote their interests.
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Excerpts from articles about the marine ecosystem collapse that is happening now in oceans, seas & rivers due to over-fishing and the toxic pollution in waterways from land-based animal agriculture meat-farming; worsening climate change; threatening the entire food chain.
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Articles from science journals & news reports that dispute the health claims made regards eating fish; some even find higher rates of heart disease and cancer among seafood consumers.
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A collection of quotes & links for articles by doctors, dietitians & nutrition experts who refute & rebut the negative claims made regards “the soy food debate”
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For Archives of Related Memes see:
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