Plant-Based Diet vs The Four Food Groups

Plant-based diets are good for the environment, your heart, your weight, and your overall health.

Most traditional doctors give very little nutrition advice to their patients and take the conventional pill-oriented approach to health care.  It is only when they switch themselves to a plant-based diet that they see the difference in their own health and break out of the age-old myths to healthy eating. The passage of time has seen an increase in our knowledge about the importance of fiber, the health risks of fats, and the disease-preventive power of many nutrients found exclusively in plantbased foods.

Myth: Carbs are unhealthy.
Most people don’t know what carbs actually are.  So, what are carbs? Carbohydrate refers to the sugars, starches, and fiber found in grains, vegetables, fruits, milk products, candy, and junk food.  It is one of the three essential macronutrients, along with fat and protein.   Vegetables and fruit are made up mostly of carbohydrates, so we can easily bust the myth that carbs are inherently unhealthy.  The most health-promoting foods (veggies, fruits, beans, whole grains) contain mostly carbs, but so do some very unhealthy ones (candy, soda, white bread, beer). Instead, of focusing on individual nutrients, it’s more important to focus on the food itself.
Fact: The healthiest foods are made mostly of carbs.
Whole plant foods such as whole grains, fruits vegetables, and beans are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other disease-fighting antioxidants. They are protective against diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers.

Myth: You’ll get weak and frail on a plant-based diet.
Fact: Studies show plant-based eaters report increased energy and better overall health.  There are plant-based NFL players and world champion power-lifters who perform at the highest levels. Elephants and gorillas are some of the strongest animals on the planet and they are not interested in meat.

Choose carbohydrates that still have their fiber, like brown rice or brown bread, rather than white rice or white bread, which have had their fiber stripped away.

Myth: Diabetes is caused by sugar or carbs.
Fact: Fat, not carbs, is most important when managing diabetes.  A top nutrition-expert explains the reason.  Eating sweets is not a direct cause of type 2 diabetes.  People develop type 2 diabetes over time by slowly developing resistance to insulin, the hormone that escorts glucose out of your blood and into your liver.  Glucose remains trapped in your blood because your body cannot use insulin properly.  Elevated blood glucose is a symptom of diabetes and NOT the root cause.  The real cause of insulin resistance is dietary fat.  The more fat there is in the diet, the harder it is for insulin to get glucose into your cells and out of your bloodstream.   

Plant-based diets including beans, grains, and raw vegetables are cheaper and more nutrient-dense than standard American groceries.

Myth: Only rich people can eat a plant-based diet- it’s just too expensive to eat healthy.
Fact: A whole-food plant-based diet is usually cheaper than a diet heavy in meat and dairy.  It’s easier to eat plant-based on a limited budget than it is to eat a meat-centered diet.  Whole grains, potatoes, bananas, rice, fresh greens, and beans are some of the cheapest (and healthiest) things you can buy in the supermarket.

Myth: Carbs make you fat.
Any fad diet, including a low-carb one, can lead to short-term weight loss. However, research studies consistently show that plant-based eaters (whose diets are naturally higher in carbs) maintain lower body weights and have healthier outcomes than their meat-eating counterparts.
Fact: The healthiest slimmest people in the world eat high-carb diets.
Take Japan for instance, which has one of the highest life expectancies in the world and a 3.5% obesity rate (10 times less than America) Overall, the Japanese people eat a moderate – to high-carb diet and are trim and healthy.  A study of 80,000 Japanese people, by the National Center for Global Health and Medicine in Tokyo, showed that those eating within the country’s typical high-carb, low-fat diet did even better than the average- they were less likely to die from any cause, including heart disease or stroke. The places where people live the longest, healthiest lives and have low rates of chronic disease and obesity-carbs, are the main energy source.

Myth: It’s hard for people to get enough protein on a plant-based diet.
Fact: All Americans including vegans and vegetarians eat way more protein than is recommended. Despite relentless food marketing, we don’t need to worry about eating enough protein.  On average, most Americans, including vegetarians and vegans get 70% more protein than they need every day. Research shows that eating a variety of plant foods over the course of the day provides all the required amino acids.  So there’s no need to plan meals around protein. In addition, fiber is crucial for a person’s health, and by definition, fiber is only found in plants. Fiber-rich foods help prevent obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke.

“The most powerful remedy I give to people suffering is the one I do every day…it is a diet of healthy, plant-based raw foods.”  –  Lou Corona