Sunday January 19, 2020

Group of US based doctors in India to promote veganism, better way of life

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New Delhi: A lot of Hollywood actors were already doing it but when, closer to home, Bollywood icon Aamir Khan recently announced his plans of turning vegan, many became curious. While some may express doubts, a doctors’ group from the US has initiated an India tour to propagate the benefits of a vegan life.

In a country which is all too familiar with vegetarianism, promoting this seems an easy task but is actually tricky. Because, apart from not eating any meat product, going vegan means avoiding meat-based products too, like milk and eggs. So there goes your paneer and curd!

Zeeshan Ali of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a non-profit health organisation in the US, a body of 12,000 physicians-both of Indian origin and from around the world but working in the US – that was established in 1985 and promotes veganism, says that a plant-based diet has been clinically proven to reduce the risk of chronic diseases along with reducing your metabolic risks.

“A low-fat vegan diet, combined with a nutrition education programme, is clinically proven to boost weight loss, lower blood pressure, improve total cholesterol, restore insulin function, alleviate chronic pain, particularly headaches, migraines, and joint pain,” Ali told a news portal.

“It also boosts your mood and combats chronic fatigue. Plant-based dietary patterns are associated with a reduced risk for certain forms of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, he added.

But what about adequate nutrition? Meat, we know, is a good source of protein. Also when it comes to iron, all that we understand are brilliant sources – meat, eggs, poultry, fish, dairy products – which are missing from a vegan diet.

Ali however chalks out alternatives. “A plant-based vegan diet provides an abundance of micro-nutrients we often fall short on while ensuring adequate intake of the three macro nutrients like carbohydrates, protein, and fat. We recommend 80 percent of calories come from carbohydrates, 10 percent from fat and 10 percent from protein.”

“Choosing colourful, low-fat, plant-based foods often ensures this ratio, or a comparable one that will leave you feeling great. Especially good protein sources include whole-wheat pasta, ancient grains, beans, peas and lentils, and even leafy greens like spinach and broccoli,” he added.

Where milk consumption is considered essential for children’s development, Ali says that kids should also be encouraged to take up veganism and thereby a healthier lifestyle.

Talking of vegan diets in children, Dr. Munish Kumar Raizada- a Chicago based neonatologist said that it can affect nutrition if due precautions are not taken. Compared to lacto-vegetarian diets (where milk and dairy products are also consumed), vegan diets may put kids at additional risk of developing deficiency of iron, proteins, vitamin B12, zinc and calcium. Dr. Raizada recommends that the parents should consult a doctor or a dietitian before  starting children on vegan diets.

A diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes provides one with stable energy throughout the day and boosts the immune system.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Here’s How a Low Fat Diet May Cut Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Researchers have found links between obesity and pancreatic cancer

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Pancreatic Cancer
There is a significant connection between obesity and Pancreatic Cancer. Lifetime Stock

The sound of the word ‘Cancer is enough to scare anyone because there is no definite cure for it. Pancreatic cancer is one of those cancers in which the overall survival is very bleak as cases are often less sensitive to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Dr Pradeep Jain, GI Oncosurgery, Medical Oncology, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh informs you about the connection between obesity and Pancreatic Cancer.

The best method to decrease the mortality (death rate) of these cancers is to either catch them early or prevent them happening. In view of non-availability of any screening test and limitation of diagnostic test, it is almost impossible to catch them very early. As dietary modification has been known for a long time to prevent cancer, it is likely to work in case of pancreatic cancer also.

diet pancreatic cancer
Dietary modification has been known to cut down the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Lifetime Stock

Pancreatic cancer is associated with obesity and fat consumption as suggested in many epidemiological studies. Consumption of fat has been linked to pancreatic cancer not only directly but also by causing obesity. In obesity there is a general increase in inflammatory conditions in the body which leads to release of some chemicals (cytokines) which have important role in creation of pancreatic cancer.

Fat consumption (mainly saturated fats) have been shown to increase cancer of the pancreas by many observational studies in last 2 decades. In fact a study published (which comprised of more than half million US adults) in journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2009 demonstrated a positive association between dietary intake of total fat, particularly from animal sources. When people taking highest of fat compared to people taking lowest of fat, they are 23 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer (the effect was more profound when intake of saturated fat was more).

It is very difficult to comment how does fat consumption lead to pancreatic cancer, but it is likely that fat stimulates the release of an important hormone CCK (Cholecystokinin) for biliary and pancreatic secretion. And this hormone is an important instrument in the growth of pancreatic cancer cells.

In fact, in an experimental study, the antagonist of CCK, Proglumide has shown to decrease the growth of cancer cells and decrease metastasis (spread) potential of cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is associated with obesity and fat consumption. Lifetime Stock

Now this leads to an important question whether with diet modification (by reducing content of fat) is it possible to decrease the chances of pancreatic cancer? A recent study published in Nov 2017 issue of AICR’S cancer research update) have found that older women who are overweight or obese had lowered the risk of getting pancreatic cancer by following a low fat diet plan.

Some were arranged to eat less fat and more vegetables, fruits and grains (the intervention group) other followed their normal diet (the comparison group). After 15 years of follow up, 92 cases of pancreatic cancer were identified in the intervention group and 165 in the comparison group. This translates to a rate of 35 cases per 100,000 in the intervention group and 41 per 100,000 in the comparison group.

Low fat diet was particularly effective in reducing cancer risk in over weight and obese post-menopausal woman. A low fat diet was not found to lower the disease risk for women whose weight was normal.

Also Read- Here’s How Sugar Relates to Cancer

Though these evidences support that high fat consumption may increase the chances of pancreatic cancer and by reducing the fat consumption the incidence of cancer may decrease, but these cannot be considered as very strong evidence to support a ‘cause and effect’. But this can be considered at least a caution to decrease fat (particularly animal fat) consumption in diet.

Foods that are sources of saturated or trans fats are butter, margarine (stick), coconut oil, palm oil, vegetable oil and hydrogenated oil. We should motivate the general public to consume more of fibre and exercise and reduce saturated fat content from diet. (IANS)