Plant-Based and Unhealthy? – Tufts

I was a fish eating vegetarian for some years. Had no trouble maintaining my weight, but often longed for a burger. While I eat meat now, it is only rarely.

Experts agree plants should make up a large part of a healthy dietary pattern. Humans eat plant roots (carrots and radishes), stems (asparagus and celery), leaves (leafy greens), seeds (including whole grains), flowers (broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke), and the seed-bearing “fruits” of plants (including fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts). All are packed with important health-promoting nutrients, and countless studies have found associations between consuming diets higher in unprocessed plant foods and lower risk for a wide range of disorders such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes.

Heart symbol. Vegetables diet concept. Food photography of heart made from different vegetables on white wooden table. High resolution product.

But recommendations to eat a “plant-based” diet can be misleading. “I really dislike the term plant-based to describe a preferred or healthy diet,” says Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, dean of Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and editor-in-chief of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter. “Not all animal-based foods are bad, and most of the worst things in the food supply are technically plant-based.” A vegetarian diet built on pizza, macaroni-and-cheese, and baked goods may be “plant-based,” but it’s far from a healthy dietary pattern.

4 Comments

Filed under animal protein, plant protein, plant-based diet, whole grains

4 responses to “Plant-Based and Unhealthy? – Tufts

  1. One thing that the author of The Intelligent Gardener points out is that we need nutrient dense food to be healthy. That means eating vegetables that have been frown in soil that is nutiently balanced. If it’s not in the soil it won’t be absorbed by the plant as it grows. The bonus is that nutrient dense food is much tastier than the product of monoculture farming.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree 100 percent. I was a vegetarian for 28 years and about five years ago began eating some grass-fed beef. My vegetarian “friends” were furious; but my blood work spoke volumes. I no longer had thyroid issues. And my blood pressure was finally normal (whereas before it was too low, borderline anemic). I now have many vegetarian, even vegan, days in a row, but I will eat fish or grassfed beef. It’s all about clean, whole foods, not being dogmatic. Vegetarians will be on a high horse about healthy, but go for those processed boxed foods like Quorn, or the overly processed fake meats. To me, those are “treats” not a lifestyle; and not something to stock in your fridge.

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