No Meat Athlete?
Live green, run well and recover better on veggie protein
Is it possible that eating meat is as bad for a runner as smoking? ...
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Is it possible that eating meat is as bad for a runner as smoking? Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, director of the Cardiovascular Prevention and Reversal Program at The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, thinks so. “Coronary disease is really a food-borne illness caused by animal proteins and animal fat,” says Esselstyn. “If you’re over 20 and you have been eating these foods, you have heart disease. If you don’t think so, you’re defying every autopsy study done in the last 50 years.”
A 1953 landmark study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association studied the autopsies of 300 battle casualties in the Korean War who consumed a diet high in animal proteins—the average age of the victims was just 22—and it found that 77.3 percent showed signs of coronary atherosclerosis. Coronary atherosclerosis, or the “hardening of the arteries,” is the single largest killer of men and women in the United States.
By contrast coronary atherosclerosis is virtually absent in cultures that eat plant-based diets, including the Tarahumara Indians of northern Mexico, the Papua highlanders of New Guinea and the inhabitants of rural China and central Africa.
Esselstyn, who has researched cardiovascular health for decades and written 150 scientific publications, has demonstrated that not only does a whole-foods, plant-based diet significantly reduce the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions, it can reverse damage already done. A 2010 study published in Current Diabetes Reports states that a plant-based diet combined with nuts, soy and/or soluble fiber can reduce LDL cholesterol by 25 to 30 percent.