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WAKE UP AMERICA! Dr. Neal Barnard

A low fat, plant based diet is proven to to improve and in some cases reverse diabetes.

Who is Dr. Neil Barnard?

Dr. Neil Barnard is the President of the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine which began in 1985. An adjunct associate professor at George Washington University School of Medicine, he has authored 15 books and numerous scientific articles. His book, 21 Day Weight Loss Kick Start, was a New York Times bestseller.

Dr. Barnard is sympathetic to those who struggle with their dietary choices. He comes from generations of cattle ranchers in North Dakota. He has vivid memories of bringing cattle to slaughter. His father abandoned the ranching business to become a physician who treated diabetes.

As President of The Cancer Project, Dr. Barnard developed a team of instructors around the country to teach people about food and its effects on cancer.

Awarded a $350,000 grant from the National Institute of Health, he conducted a study of the effects of a low fat, vegan diet on diabetes. With the results published in peer reviewed journals, the diet proved to improve glycemic and lipid control better than the diet promoted by the American Diabetes Association.

In the words of Dr. Neil Barnard

In our study, while we improved or eliminated diabetes in patients, we found multiple other health benefits.

  • People lost weight. The diet was easier because they could eat as much as they wanted on the plant based diet.
  • Cholesterol levels improved. Sometimes patients were able to stop taking medications they had taken for years.

Most people are motivated to change because of a serious wake-up call about their health. Other benefits come later. 

  • Initially the motivation to change their diet is due to diabetes, heart trouble, or desire for weight loss.
  • Peripheral motivations, such as helping the environment or protecting animals, soon become stamps of approval.

Research must be unbiased.

  • Research on food and health must be peer reviewed, unbiased, and not based on social values such as animal rights. The public needs to know the results are significant and apply to everyone.

The popular Atkins diet was promoted by a man who died of heart disease.

  • The public was wrongly lead to believe they could eat high cholesterol, high fat foods without health consequences. This is not true.
  • A Midwest cardiologist reviewed the deceased Dr. Atkin’s coroner’s report and stated that the man who had been promoting this diet was a little less than honest and caused people to take real risks.
Soy is good for you. 
  • The isoflavons in soy look similar to estrogens but they are not estrogens.
  • Soy does not decrease sperm count or cause feminization in men. In China and Japan, where men consume large amounts of soy, there is no problem with fertility, sperm counts, or hormone changes.
  • Adolescent girls who consume soy have a 30% less chance of developing breast cancer than girls who do not consume soy.
  • Women who consume soy have a 30% reduction in their risk of mortality or a previous breast cancer coming back. “Soy is protective if anything.”
  • Consuming soy is one option. You can choose a Mediterranean based diet (veg, fruits, pasta), a Latin American based diet (beans, rice, tortillas), or an Asian based diet (soy, rice), or a combination. All of these options can offer well-balanced, healthy meals.
We must go beyond the individual to societal change.
  • The fight to subsidize junk food must end. Junk food and animal agriculture receive tremendous subsidies where fruits and vegetables do not. Every 5 years the US Congress evaluates subsidies.
  • Food deserts,” areas where there are no big grocery stores, could be eliminated if government food programs wouldn’t allow the purchase of energy drinks and junk food with food stamps. There is no incentive for stores to carry anything but candy and snacks in these areas because of the shelf life. If retailers were only reimbursed for healthier, fresh foods, our most needy population would become the most healthy.

My Takeaway

We need more “Bill Clinton’s” to expose the benefits of a plant based diet on a national scale. When you witness a well known person transform, it resonates with people because they can relate to the “before” and “after.” It sends the message, “This can happen to you too!”

When my family ate at Native Foods in Chicago, one of my very favorite vegan restaurants, I asked the manager if their clientele was mostly vegetarian. He said, “No, actually they are curious meat eaters.” When food tastes great, it tastes great–whether it comes from a cow or a bean or a grain. Most folks haven’t been exposed to great plant based food. I believe this is one of the answers. (Check out Native Foods menu).

A Healthier YOU begins…

…with experimenting with plant based foods. Start by experimenting with some of my easy recipes that include “meaty” products that taste fantastic. Surf the net and find recommended vegetarian restaurants in your area and give one a try. An open mind just might open your heart– literally!

Learn more about Dr. Neil Barnard.  His books are available on Amazon.

Learn more about The Food Revolution and how you can purchase the entire summit in audio and .pdf formats.

The Food Revolution Network, founded by food activists, John & Ocean Robbins, conducted a series of audio interviews with twenty-four of the most well respected researchers, doctors, and authors, with a focus on how we can improve our food systems and lead healthier lives. This series will provide summaries of each of these interviews so that we may all improve our health by eating more consciously. Please read intro to series for disclaimer.

"If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results. " Jack Dixon


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  1. DonnaK #

    Whoa there Nellie! ……..this doctor and you got my attention with the following words: “Women who consume soy have a 30% reduction in their risk of mortality or a previous breast cancer coming back. ‘Soy is protective if anything.’ ” As a breast cancer survivor, it is always in the back of my mind that the cancer could return, especially after my 5-year program of meds is completed. But you can bet I will pick up soy milk on my next trip to the grocery store to give it a try. If I am not mistaken, the brand Silk is pretty good and comes in Vanilla, Choc, Almond and maybe a berry flavored one. Thanks for the info. I shall pass it on to my niece, also a breast cancer survivor plus several others for whom the pink ribbon expresses support.

    September 14, 2012
    • fitskitz

      If it were me, I would also check with my doctor and not overdo it. There still remains some controversy over soy and breast cancer but it seems the latest research is promising. Even for our family, I try and balance soy products with other plant based protein sources like legumes, wheat-based proteins, and of course, LOTS of vegetables.

      September 16, 2012
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