Going Vegan May Help Blood Sugar, Heart

We’re not big believers in New Year’s resolutions. Like strict diets, we think making strict rules for yourself on January 1 can set you up for disappointment. Only nine percent of people actually complete their resolution. A whopping 23 percent give up by the end of the first week. And 43 percent quit by the end of January.

If you do want to commit to a New Year’s resolution, our advice is to plan now. If you make a plan now with steps and a roadmap, you are likelier to stick to it. You can make a task more manageable with a clear finish and goalposts.

One resolution you might want to make is going vegan. Vegans are vegetarians who don’t eat any products from animals, including milk or eggs. Unlike a weight loss diet, it’s more of a lifestyle than an eating plan. However, like any other diet, it is restrictive. Thankfully, because it has been so popular for so long, many products are on the market to replace animal products.

We always believe that eating a healthy diet in moderation is a great way to aid your health. However, we recognize that everyone has different health needs and goals. Moreover, some people want to try other things. If you have been interested in veganism, a new study may be the extra push you need.

According to a review of 37 published studies, swapping red and processed meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy for plants with similar nutrition may significantly lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and blood sugar concerns. Replacing 50 grams red meat with nuts or beans appeared to reduce the risk of heart disease by 25 percent and blood sugar concerns by 20 percent. Replacing an egg with nuts cut heart disease risks by 17 percent and lowered blood sugar concerns by 20 percent.

Replacing processed meat — like bacon, hotdogs and sausages — had the clearest health benefits. And the research has drawbacks. For instance, it didn’t differentiate between different types of dairy. We all know we’re supposed to go easy on butter. But yogurt and other fermented dairy help the gut and other aspects of health. Nor did it consider the health benefits of replacing red meat with fish or poultry. The evidence for removing seafood from the diet was weak.

Not everyone may wish to be vegan or vegetarian,” said Prof. Nita Forouhi, an expert in nutrition at the Univ. of Cambridge. She believes that the study makes an excellent argument for cutting back on red and processed meat. But she urged more research into the matter.

Getting more protein from plants is a great way to get protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals simultaneously. This new year, try going vegan. But if that doesn’t appeal to you, cut back on red meat and replace it with healthy plants. Your heart and blood sugar may be grateful!    

Banner image: Brooke Lark via Unsplash

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