Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

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Plant-Based Burgers: Are They “Healthier”?

A Veggie Burger

Meatless burgers have now become mainstream with their recent presence at Burger King, McDonald’s and supermarkets.  Subsequently a new debate on their health benefits and consumer acceptance will ensue. How do they compare to a regular meat burger and/or other so-called veggie burgers derived from plants (black bean, mushroom etc, etc.) Have you tried the Impossible Burger or a Beyond Beef Burger yet?


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Following a Plant-Based Diet? Simplified

The recommendation to follow a plant-based diet has been applauded as a  way to cut your risks of chronic diseases (heart disease, cancer, hypertension, obesity and diabetes). The truth is that following this type of diet is healthy for our environment as well and many maintain that if we do not, we may not be able to sustain a high meat diet for the entire planet.

What does a plant-based diet really mean? Obviously eating more plants, but this important message needs more clarification. The following article simply tells us about some studies where a more vegetarian approach has resulted in some healthy outcomes. It even has some recipes (although I have not tried any).

There are some indications that even just cutting back on meat-based meals and increase healthier foods (less processed) can have benefits, even weight loss and maintenance. Many of the cultures studied around the world with the best health and longevity statistics occasionally eat some meat.



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An Interesting Survey? How Do You Measure Up?


We can talk and talk about eating healthy. But what is actually happening in the U.S. when it comes to how we view this topic and what we are doing (if anything) about it.


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Why Do Americans Eat So Much Beef?

Why do Americans eat so much beef?  American tastes favor meat and beef is often consumed at least once a day by some people. For more history of eating meat in the U.S.

Cattle were first domesticated 8,000 years ago and descended from the auroch, which was larger and more fierce than the modern bovine.  The last known aurochs died in Poland in the early 17th century.

Lean cuts of modern cattle are high in vitamins B6 and B12, protein, niacin, selenium, zinc, and iron.


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What the Heck are AGEs?


Over the past 20 years, many observational studies have found that people who regu­larly eat red or processed meats have higher rates of several cancers, notably of the colon and rectum. And lab studies have shown that com­pounds formed when meat is processed (that is, smoked, salted, or cured) or cooked at high temperatures can cause cancer in animals or cells. One of these compounds is called Advanced Glycation Endproducts or simply AGE’s. They may  be a piece of the puzzle as to why meats are often associated with certain cancers.

That said, there are plenty of other reasons to moderate your intake of red and/or processed meats. There’s strong evidence linking them to cardiovascular disease.  Also eating more plant-based foods and less meat is better for the environment resulting in less greenhouse gas production.

For more information on foods and AGEs, CLICK HERE.


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What is the Carnivore Diet?

Disclaimer: This post is not a recommendation. With that out of the way, in my opinion:

When compared to the standard American diet, some dietary patterns emerge that have some evidence of improved health. These include the Mediterranean, Paleolithic, DASH/low fat, low carbohydrate/healthy fat, and whole foods plant-based/vegan diets.

The best epidemiological evidence we have seen is the prevalence of low disease rates and increased longevity in populations of The Blue Zones. Their diets collectively appear to be related to more plant-based foods with meat used occasionally or as a condiment.

However, to be fair there is a history of high meat diets found HERE. that fuels the continuing diet debate about what  causes heart disease. The primary alleged culprit remains saturated fats. The comments following this article reflect the opinions of many who adamantly defend their biases on this topic whether it be vegan, vegetarian or meat, dairy, etc. etc.

Bottom Line: This diet is extremely restrictive and avoids healthy foods providing essential nutrients. There is limited research on its long-term effects and any one-size fits all approach should be met with caution. Any reported evidence appears (my opinion) to be anecdotal and conflicts with current and past diet recommendations.

For a  balanced and common sense approach on the Carnivore Diet: