Vegan Diets Linked to Reduced Cataract Risk

This week, I was planning to write about recent research that found a strong, positive correlation between a diet including animal proteins and type 2 diabetes.  The study "Low-carbohydrate diet scores and risk of type 2 diabetes in men" was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. As I was reading through the articles, though, I found a number of articles in the current volume of the journal that support (albeit indirectly) a whole-food, plant-based diet. Here''s a few of the articles I found:

 

  • A high-fat diet impairs cardiac high-energy phosphate metabolism and cognitive function in healthy human subjects. The American journal of clinical nutrition Vol: 93 Issue: 4 ISSN: 0002-9165 Date: 04/2011 Pages: 844 - 850.
    • This was a small study (n=16) of young males that compared a high fat diet (75 +/- 1% of calories) to a standard diet (23 +/- 1%). The researchers measured cardiac functions and cognitive functions. They found that the high fat diet decreased a major biomarker for cardiac function. They also found reduced cognitive abilities from the high fat diet. The real question to me is how did anyone manage to consume a diet with 75% of calories from fat...I can see why they had to use young males in the study.
  • High-protein, reduced-carbohydrate weight-loss diets promote metabolite profiles likely to be detrimental to colonic health: The American journal of clinical nutrition Vol: 93 Issue: 5 ISSN: 0002-9165 Date: 05/2011 Pages: 1062 - 1072
    • This study followed 17 obese men and put them on both a high protein, moderate carbohydrate diet and a high protein, low carbohydrate for 4 weeks at a time. The researchers concluded: "After 4 wk, weight-loss diets that were high in protein but reduced in total carbohydrates and fiber resulted in a significant decrease in fecal cancer-protective metabolites and increased concentrations of hazardous metabolites."
  • Diet, vegetarianism, and cataract risk: The American journal of clinical nutrition Vol: 93 Issue: 5 ISSN: 0002-9165 Date: 05/2011 Pages: 1128 - 1135
    • I found this study one of the more interesting because they had a large sample size (n=27,670). The results they published: "There was a strong relation between cataract risk and diet group, with a progressive decrease in risk of cataract in high meat eaters to low meat eaters, fish eaters (participants who ate fish but not meat), vegetarians, and vegans."

The last study in the list is just part of the growing body of large-scale evidence supporting the hypothesis that a whole-food, plant-based diet will lead to better health outcomes that a diet rich with animal foods and processed products. Hopefully I''ll get around to a more in-depth analysis of the type 2 diabetes study next week.