These are great search terms for people wanting to have a healthy diet. So let’s start with what is considered to be an unhealthy diet. A recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in March of this year found that long-term data from two large studies might have more people considering a switch to vegetarianism. Investigators reported results showing that processed and unprocessed meat consumption is associated with a significantly increased risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, as well as increased risk of death from cancer. After adjustment for multiple risk factors, eating one additional serving of meat daily was associated with a 16% increase in the risk of cardiovascular mortality and a 10% increased risk of death from cancer.
“I think the overall message is that we should reduce our meat consumption and for processed meats we should definitely try to avoid or eliminate these from the diet,” lead investigator Dr An Pan of the Harvard School of Public Health. “For unprocessed red meat, most people should reduce the amount consumed to less than three servings per week and to replace these servings with fish, poultry, and healthy whole grains. The problem with the US diet is that a lot of people eat more than one and sometimes more than two servings of red meat per day. That’s a lot.”
Dr. Dean Ornish wrote an accompanying comment on the study saying there is an emerging consensus among nutritionists as to what constitutes a healthy diet. Individuals should aim to eat little to no red meat, more good carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and soy and fewer simple and refined carbohydrates, and more healthy fatty acids. In other words, “more quality, less quantity,” he writes. “Such a diet, would go a long way toward treating the health crisis in the US, as well as reducing global warming and energy consumption.” This describes good functional nutrition that will significantly decrease risk of heart disease, diabetes, joint and weight problems and much more.
Our office lifestyle program uses these functional and nutritional guidelines. See our success story video.