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Vegan Diet: It's Powerful Medicine Kim Williams, MD, says in Q&A -

Feb 20, 2016
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Q: What it is like standing in front of a room full of cardiologists and saying you want them to put themselves out of business? And, I didn’t get booed off the stage—that was wonderful, and I can say it parallels the reaction of the entire ACC. Q: You mean your vegan message has played well with your colleagues? I haven’t gotten negative feedback. Even when they eat meat or don’t exercise, my colleagues don’t feel insulted because they know this [vegan diet] is the best thing to do for the population. Q: Isn't eating meat a big part of American culture, like BBQ on the Fourth of July? It is. But getting into the science of plant-based nutrition is interesting. Barbecue isn’t a bad thing as long as it’s a plant. All those carcinogenic things that happen when you char meat, they don’t apply to charred popcorn and things like that. Q: So it's not the grilling process that makes food unhealthy? You may think it’s got to be really dangerous, but it turns out it’s not. That’s a good example of how the science not only needs to be updated, it has to be disseminated—having great mortality data in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is wonderful but it doesn’t help if that’s not on your reading list. We need to get the word out more and more. Q: You mean like the findings in the INTERMAP study in 2006 that showed the inverse relationship between blood pressure and intake of vegetable protein? Absolutely.One of the more dangerous things about the vegan diet--and it's happened to me--is that I encourage a patient with high blood pressure to adopt a vegetarian diet and they do, but they forget their home blood-pressure monitoring. Next thing you know they are in some emergency room with a [very low] blood pressure of 80 over 50 because they are still taking medication that I gave them for a disease they don't have anymore. Q: The diet works that well? It’s very powerful. If people just understood how you could make hypertension just disappear in weeks to months by changing the diet, in a large number of people, they’d find it pretty amazing. Q: So, what is the obstacle? Is it culture? Is it that the data in the studies are not convincing? There is a little bit of variability in the data. But there is a recently published analysis by [Yoko] Yokoyama that looked at 32 studies. Three of them said a vegan diet can raise blood pressure, but the majority showed a significant improvement. When you add them all up the data are positive. Obviously there are other things—drinking to excess, not exercising—which can raise blood pressure despite a vegan diet. It has to be part of a healthy approach to living. - See more at:

Vegan Diet: It's Powerful Medicine Kim Williams, MD, says in Q&A
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