Obese? Diabetic? Try surgery!

In 2009, over 220,000 people had bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) in the U.S. – these procedures are growing in popularity as obesity rates climb.1

On Monday, the International Diabetes Federation announced that they now recommend bariatric surgery as a treatment for diabetics with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more; and also as an alternative treatment for diabetics with a BMI of 30-35, either when diabetes is not being adequately controlled with medication or in the presence of major cardiovascular risk factors. As its rationale, the IDF cites effective reversal of diabetes, reduced health costs, reduced risk of all-cause mortality, and reductions in cardiovascular risk factors that occur as a result of the surgery.2

Glucometer. Flickr: AlishaV

 

Of course, bariatric surgery is effective for reversing diabetes (note however that diabetes remission rates do decrease over time3). Obesity is the primary risk factor for diabetes, and bariatric surgery forces weight loss by physically limiting either intake or absorption of food. But should bariatric surgery be recommended before radical lifestyle changes? The IDF and the American public seem to think so. Yesterday, on Good Morning America, gastric bypass was called a “breakthrough” treatment for reversing diabetes.

According to the physician that discussed bariatric surgery on Good Morning America, “For people who are truly obese and have diabetes, diet and exercise just aren’t really effective.”

Really? Diet and exercise aren’t effective?

Hundreds of formerly obese, formerly diabetic individuals have followed my dietary recommendations and would disagree with that statement.

For example:

  • Charlotte, who lost half her body weight (133 lbs.) and reversed her diabetes
  • Calogero, who lost 100 lbs. in only seven months and reversed his diabetes
  • Richard, who was on insulin for 25 years, and was able to stop taking it after just a few days of a high nutrient diet.

Do you disagree too? Have you reversed your diabetes by changing your lifestyle? If so, let Good Morning America know about it. Comment on the article, or send them your story.

I think that the hundreds of people who have reclaimed their lives by losing over 100 pounds following my high nutrient dietary recommendations would also disagree. Scott, Bill, Sue, Theresa, Anthony, and Julia, to name a few.

It’s not that diet and exercise aren’t enough – it’s just that small changes aren’t enough. A slightly modified version of the standard American diet is not enough. Artificially sweetened sodas and processed foods, excess meat, and a modest increase in vegetable intake cannot do the job of reversing diabetes. With their position statement, the IDF is perpetuating a misguided view, that lifestyle changes are not powerful enough to reverse disease.

Only dramatic changes will produce radical results. Surgery is radical. But there is a safer radical change – a radical lifestyle change, to a natural, high-nutrient plant-based diet-style, plus exercise.
In a recently published study, we investigated the efficacy of a high nutrient density diet for treating diabetes – 62% of the participants reached normal (nondiabetic) HbA1C levels within seven months, and the average number of medications dropped from four to one.4 All participants were able to eliminate or reduce medication, except one, who was already on the lowest dosage of Metformin. A high nutrient density diet has tremendous therapeutic potential for diabetes, and for dramatically reducing health care costs.

To those who are considering bariatric surgery, I ask you to please consider my nutritarian (high-micronutrient) diet-style changes first. We live in an obesity and diabetes-promoting food environment, but we can find freedom from these influences. My discovery that high nutrient eating derails toxic hunger and food addictions enables my overweight clients to achieve dramatic weight loss results that parallels or exceeds the long-term results of gastric bypass, and likewise, when diabetic, it most often resolves or dramatically improves.

Diabetics should be aware that superior nutrition works and it works better than drugs or surgery. Surgery will physically limit your portion sizes, but it will not remove addictive foods from your diet, and it will not give your body the nutrients it needs to protect you against heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. Most often the initial results recede over the years as most of the surgery-treated individuals gain back much of the lost weight.

Once you become a nutritarian nutritional expert, consider the sense of satisfaction, accomplishment, and improved self-esteem that can come from losing the weight and watching diabetes disappear. Consider that you may be stronger than you think you are, and that you capable of reclaiming your health.

Also, surgery does not come without risk.

Potential complications of bariatric surgery:
Gastric bypass is the most common bariatric surgery, and carries the following risks5:

  • Infection
  • Hardening of the connection of the stomach to the small intestine
  • Bleeding
  • Obstruction of the small intestine
  • Gastrogastric fistulae (leaks between the “pouch” and the rest of the stomach), requiring additional surgery
  • Internal hernia, a potentially life-threatening complication that requires additional surgery6
  • Venous thromboembolism (blood clots)
  • Nutrient deficiencies7
  • Neurologic complications are said to be often disabling and irreversible, and many do not produce symptoms until over ten years after the surgery8
  • Bone loss

Diabetes and severe obesity both put the patient at greater risk of complications.5 Diabetes is associated with poor weight loss following gastric bypass.9

Laparoscopic gastric banding (lap-band) surgery is also not without complications – a recent study reported a long-term complication rate of over 40% (including leakages and band infections, and esophageal dilatation), a re-operation rate of 20.4%. The failure rate of the procedure after 10 years was 31.6%.10

Addiction and emotional attachment to food is so prevalent and so powerful in our culture that these surgical procedures seem more reasonable than diet change. But it is not – weight loss surgery is extreme and risky; my dietary approach is safe and in most cases, the results are even more effective compared to gastric-bypass surgery. It could save your life.

 

References:
1. American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery [http://www.asmbs.org]
2. Surgical and Procedural Interventions in the Treatment of Obese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A position statement from the International Diabetes Federation Taskforce on Epidemiology and Prevention.
3. Sjostrom L, Lindroos AK, Peltonen M, et al: Lifestyle, diabetes, and cardiovascular risk factors 10 years after bariatric surgery. The New England journal of medicine 2004, 351:2683-2693.
4. Dunaief D, Gui-shuang Y, Fuhrman J, et al. Glycemic and cardiovascular parameters improved in type 2 diabetes with the high nutrient density diet. Presented at the 5th IANA (International Academy on Nutrition and Aging) meeting July 26 & 27, 2010 Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa 1300 Tuyuna Trail Santa Ana Pueblo, NM, USA J Nutr Health Aging 2010;14:500.
5. Campos GM, Ciovica R, Rogers SJ, et al: Spectrum and risk factors of complications after gastric bypass. Arch Surg 2007, 142:969-975; discussion 976.
6. Schneider C, Cobb W, Scott J, et al: Rapid excess weight loss following laparoscopic gastric bypass leads to increased risk of internal hernia. Surg Endosc 2010.
7. Bell BJ, Bour ES, Scott JD, et al: Management of complications after laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Minerva Chir 2009, 64:265-276.
8. Juhasz-Pocsine K, Rudnicki SA, Archer RL, et al: Neurologic complications of gastric bypass surgery for morbid obesity. Neurology 2007, 68:1843-1850.
9. Campos GM, Rabl C, Mulligan K, et al: Factors associated with weight loss after gastric bypass. Arch Surg 2008, 143:877-883; discussion 884.
10. Naef M, Mouton WG, Naef U, et al: Graft survival and complications after laparoscopic gastric banding for morbid obesity--lessons learned from a 12-year experience. Obes Surg 2010, 20:1206-1214.

 

 

Interview with a Nutritarian: Anthony B.

This past December, Anthony, a recent high school graduate, was 67 lbs heavier than he is today. He was given a copy of Eat to Live and the rest is history! You will be inspired by this young man’s passion and determination to get his health and life back. Welcome to Disease Proof, Anthony.

before and after images

 What was your life like before discovering Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian eating-style?

My life was not how I wanted it to be at all. I was obese and felt horrible, and I couldn’t participate in any physical activities. My emotions were thrown off, I had no self-esteem, I had no confidence, and I was mad that I had let myself get so big. I was eating fast food at least five days a week, and I didn’t have a clue what was good or bad food. It was extremely hard for me to accept the fact that I was fat, because I was thin until age 14. Then I started to get the nickname, “Pudgy,” and I hated it so much. Although I had zero self-confidence, high school wasn't too bad because I had an outgoing personality. However, I discovered that peers view fat people differently.

The last month of my senior year we had a Government project where we had to take pictures, and I was stunned when I saw images of myself. At 6’1” I weighed 263 lbs and had a triple chin. I was so heartbroken and disgusted that I joined a gym and tried to lose weight. During the month of June [2010], I started dieting and worked out five days a week, and only lost 6-7 pounds . . . so I quit. 

 

How did you find out about Eat to Live?

This past December 17th, my aunt gave a copy of Eat to Live to me and I committed to follow it. I’ve lost 67 lbs so far, and recently I began sessions with a plant-based wellness coach, and I’m continuing to lose weight. 



How do you feel now?

I’m loving life and have a 360 degree attitude change! I feel amazing; it literally feels like a completely different life!  

Beginning weight: 267 lbs

Current weight: 196 lbs

Beginning shirt size: 2XL (tight)

Current shirt size: XL (roomy!)



Do you have any success tip(s) to share with others?

 

  • Do it for yourself. Do it for your family. That’s all the inspiration you need. Don’t do it for the people who judge you. 

  • Don't be afraid to go to a gym, because everyone there is doing the same thing.

  • I like Dr. Fuhrman’s words, "If a motor is running at full speed compared to a motor running at half-speed, the engine running at half-speed will last longer." Basically, if your metabolism is slow, and you are healthy, you will live longer!

  • Have a support system. I am so thankful for the support of my father, mother, brothers, and aunts; all of them have made the journey so much easier and I couldn’t have done it without them.

     

 

In a nutshell, what has Eat to Live done for you? 

It has completely changed my life!

 

Congratulations Anthony ~ we are so proud of you for choosing to eat for health at such a young age! Keep up the great job!

 

Berries help keep blood pressure down

Over 5,000 different flavonoid antioxidants have been identified, many of these in commonly consumed plant foods – there are many different types of flavonoids:

  • Flavanols are the most common, and are abundant in onions, kale, leeks, broccoli, apples, blueberries, red wine, and tea.
  • Less common are the flavones, which are found in celery and parsley.
  • Citrus fruits have high levels of flavanones.
  • Flavan-3-ols, which include catechins, are found in grapes, tea, and cocoa.
  • Soybeans contain isoflavones.
  • Anthocyanins (derivatives of anthocyanidins) are potent antioxidants and pigments that color red, blue, and purple foods like berries, grapes, currants, blood oranges, eggplant, red cabbage, red onions, and some beans and grains.1

In addition to their antioxidant capacity, flavonoids may help the ability of the muscle layer of blood vessels to relax (vasodilation). Endothelial cells, which make up the inner layer of blood vessels, produce nitric oxide in order to regulate blood pressure. There is evidence that flavonoids increase the activity of the enzyme (eNOS; endothelial nitric oxide synthase) in endothelial cells necessary for nitric oxide production.2 In agreement with the idea that flavonoids have beneficial effects on blood pressure, a meta-analysis of 15 studies concluded that regular cocoa consumption can reduce blood pressure in hypertensive and pre-hypertensive individuals.3

Photo of strawberries and blueberriesA new study focuses on the anthocyanins in berries and their effects on blood pressure. Men and women from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and Nurses’ Health study, respectively were followed for 14 years, and their flavonoid intake was calculated based on the foods they reported eating. Reduced risk for hypertension was found for high intake of anthocyanins (an 8% decrease in risk), as well as apigenin (a flavone) and catechin (a flavan-3-ol). The foods that contributed the bulk of the anthocyanin in the diets of the subjects were blueberries and strawberries.

When the researchers analyzed blueberry consumption specifically they found that compared with those who ate no blueberries, those who ate one serving per week decreased their risk of hypertension by 10%. 4,5

If there was a 10% decrease in hypertension risk for one serving of blueberries per week, imagine how protective it would be to eat one serving of berries every day! Also flavonoids act in several other ways to protect against heart disease, for example by reducing inflammation, LDL oxidation, and platelet aggregation. 1,6 As a result of these effects, several prospective studies have found associations between high flavonoid intake and considerable reductions (up to 45%) in the risk of coronary heart disease.7-10 Flavonoids also have documented anti-cancer properties.11,12

Berries truly are superfoods – they are low in sugar, and high in fiber and phytochemicals, with the highest nutrient to calorie ratio of all fruits. Eating berries daily will not only promote vasodilation, but also provide the body with protection against free radicals, inflammation, and cancer.

 

References:

1. Erdman JW, Jr., Balentine D, Arab L, et al: Flavonoids and heart health: proceedings of the ILSI North America Flavonoids Workshop, May 31-June 1, 2005, Washington, DC. The Journal of nutrition 2007, 137:718S-737S.
2. Galleano M, Pechanova O, Fraga CG: Hypertension, nitric oxide, oxidants, and dietary plant polyphenols. Current pharmaceutical biotechnology 2010, 11:837-848.
3. Ried K, Sullivan T, Fakler P, et al: Does chocolate reduce blood pressure? A meta-analysis. BMC medicine 2010, 8:39.
4. Cassidy A, O'Reilly EJ, Kay C, et al: Habitual intake of flavonoid subclasses and incident hypertension in adults. The American journal of clinical nutrition 2011, 93:338-347.
5. Bioactive Compounds in Berries Can Reduce High Blood Pressure. In ScienceDaily; 2011.
6. Chong MF, Macdonald R, Lovegrove JA: Fruit polyphenols and CVD risk: a review of human intervention studies. The British journal of nutrition 2010, 104 Suppl 3:S28-39.
7. Huxley RR, Neil HA: The relation between dietary flavonol intake and coronary heart disease mortality: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Eur J Clin Nutr 2003, 57:904-908.
8. Knekt P, Kumpulainen J, Jarvinen R, et al: Flavonoid intake and risk of chronic diseases. The American journal of clinical nutrition 2002, 76:560-568.
9. Mursu J, Voutilainen S, Nurmi T, et al: Flavonoid intake and the risk of ischaemic stroke and CVD mortality in middle-aged Finnish men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. The British journal of nutrition 2008, 100:890-895.
10. Mink PJ, Scrafford CG, Barraj LM, et al: Flavonoid intake and cardiovascular disease mortality: a prospective study in postmenopausal women. The American journal of clinical nutrition 2007, 85:895-909.
11. Androutsopoulos VP, Papakyriakou A, Vourloumis D, et al: Dietary flavonoids in cancer therapy and prevention: substrates and inhibitors of cytochrome P450 CYP1 enzymes. Pharmacol Ther 2010, 126:9-20.
12. Ramos S: Effects of dietary flavonoids on apoptotic pathways related to cancer chemoprevention. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry 2007, 18:427-442.

 

Gorillas need greens, not processed food!

The leading cause of death for male gorillas in zoos is heart disease. Sadly, animals that live in close contact with (and fed by) humans end up with human chronic diseases.

Gorilla. Flickr: KjunstormGorillas are the largest of the primates, and they are one of the four species of great apes (great apes make up the Hominidae superfamily, which includes chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, and gorillas).  Following chimpanzees, gorillas are the closest living relatives to humans, differing in only about 3% of our genetic makeup.

Gorillas are herbivores that live in the forests of central Africa, where they can eat up to 50 pounds of vegetation each day, mostly leaves and fruit. Although most gorillas have a preference for fruit, they also eat large amounts of leaves, plus herbs and bamboo, and occasionally insects. In the wild, gorillas spend most of their day foraging and eating.1

In the wild, gorillas eat an extremely high fiber diet, and derive a significant proportion of caloric energy from the fermentation of fiber by bacteria in the colon, producing short-chain fatty acids. The approximate proportions of macronutrients in a wild gorilla’s diet is 2.5% of calories from fat, 24.3% from protein, 15.8% (non-fiber) carbohydrate, and up to 57.3% from short chain fatty acids derived from bacterial fermentation of fiber.2

In contrast, the standard diet for gorillas in captivity is usually not made up of natural leaves, herbs, and fruits – it is a diet of nutrient-fortified, high-sugar, high-starch processed food.

This unnatural diet has contributed to signs of heart disease and enlarged hearts for both of the male gorillas at the Cleveland Metropark Zoo. Researchers at the zoo and at Case Western University decided to change the gorillas’ diet, bringing it closer to what it would have been in the wild.

Since late 2009, the two gorillas have been eating endive, dandelion greens, romaine lettuce, green beans, alfalfa, apples, and bananas. Each of them eats about ten pounds of vegetables each day. The gorillas also spend more time eating (50-60% of their day rather than 25%), which is similar to wild foraging behavior.  After one year on their new diet, each gorilla has lost about 65 pounds, their health is improving and the researchers are noting and documenting their decrease in heart disease risks.3

My question is: why were they feeding processed foods to gorillas instead of their natural food diet in the first place?

Heart disease and heart attacks are just as unnatural for a gorilla as they are for humans.   I guess it is pretty low for the zookeepers to be feeding a gorilla a processed food diet for convenience that will expedite its death. How could they not know that gorillas should eat a natural diet?   But how did our society develop the universal eating cult that permits and encourages the feeding of disease-causing fast food, processed food and junk food to human kids, damaging their future health potential? I guess maintaining our food addictions to processed foods are a more powerful drive than our desire to have our children be healthy.   Maybe humans should not be in charge of feeding humans or animals? Maybe we should hire the gorillas to raise our children? Did you ever watch the Planet of the Apes? Okay, so maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. 

 

References:

1. The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International: Learning About Gorillas. http://gorillafund.org/Page.aspx?pid=769

Wikipedia: Gorilla http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorilla

Doran-Sheehy D, Mongo P, Lodwick J, Conklin-Brittain NL. Male and female western gorilla diet: preferred foods, use of fallback resources, and implications for ape versus old world monkey foraging strategies. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2009 Dec;140(4):727-38.

2. Popovich DG, Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, et al. The western lowland gorilla diet has implications for the health of humans and other hominoids. J Nutr. 1997 Oct;127(10):2000-5.

3. Case Western Reserve University (2011, February 21). Gorillas go green: Apes shed pounds while doubling calories on leafy diet, researcher finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 14, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2011/02/110217091130.htm

Interview with a Nutritarian: Natalie

It’s been a privilege to interview such a variety of nutritarians of all ages, from all walks of life; and especially fun to meet young adults who have embraced the healthy eating style. Natalie is a junior in college and has learned the art of eating high nutrient foods while living in a dorm on campus - it can be done! Welcome to Disease Proof, Natalie.

    

What was your life like before discovering Dr. Fuhrman's nutritarian eating-style?

I ate like a typical “healthy” college student. While I had vegetables and salad every day, I also had my fair share of dairy, meat, and occasional desserts. I usually had three servings of dairy a day, cereal with lots of milk in the morning, yogurt with lunch, and a glass of milk with dinner. After every exam my friends and I would eat ice-cream, cookies, or some other treat to celebrate. Although my friends considered me a healthy eater in general, I was far from healthy. I often got really tired in the afternoons around “nap-time” and would need something to pick me up and keep me going until dinner. I also had exercise induced asthma that I controlled by inhalers, and I had eczema on my upper arms.

 

How did you find out about Eat to Live?

I initially read The China Study and it fascinated me. A friend gave me a CD copy Eat for Health, narrated by Dr. Fuhrman, and my mom and I listened to it while driving over spring break. We were so absorbed in it that we didn’t want to get out of the car.

 

How do you feel now?

I feel fantastic! I have a ton of energy and no longer get sleepy in the afternoons. I also don’t need inhalers any more, and my running times have dropped dramatically. I am on the Endurance Racing Team at school and last spring we ran a relay race across New Hampshire, and I also placed 3rd overall in a ½ marathon in the fall. The eczema on my upper arms is improving as well. 

 

Do you have any success tip(s) to share with others?

 

Go all the way. If you try to limit yourself to one non-nutritarian treat a week or so it won’t work. Certain foods are addictive and once you have them you want more and more. Simply set boundaries for yourself and stick to them. Also, if others know you stick to your boundaries they won’t push you as much to eat unhealthy foods.

 

 What is it like being a nutritarian in college?

It’s hard but far from impossible. My dining hall has a good variety of beans and vegetables in their salad bar. Most of the time I can also get a side of steamed vegetables or a sweet potato. The more challenging aspect is trying to get a variety of foods. Having the same vegetables available day after day can get tiring, and I always look forward to going home where I can cook delicious meals. On the weekends when there are not as many options available in the dining hall I often bike to the grocery store. I get food for the weekend as well as nuts and seeds for the week. This year I invested in an electric rice cooker that I can use in my own room and I use it every morning to make breakfast. I also often use it to steam vegetables. Next year I am hoping to be out of the dorms and live in an apartment with my friends so it will be much easier. I’m looking forward to sharing healthy recipes and meals with my friends!

While none of my friends are fully nutritarians, they support and respect my decision to be one. I’ve also been able to encourage many of them to eat healthier, and they often come to me for healthy recipe ideas. They’ve dramatically increased their fruit and vegetable consumption and don’t eat as much dairy. I was talking about the benefits of kale once, and a friend tried it the next day and said it was one of her new favorite foods. On my birthday my friends surprised me with a delicious, nutritarian, zucchini muffin!

 

In a nutshell, what has nutritarian eating done for you? 

 

Nutritarian eating has provided me with the nutrients for my body to optimally function as it was created!

 

Congratulations Natalie on making wise food choices early in life! We applaud your commitment to health - you are truly a role model to many!

Red meat consumption increases ischemic stroke risk

Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., and the third leading cause of death, killing 137,000 Americans each year.[1]

There are two types of stroke – ischemic and hemorrhagic. Most strokes (about 85%) are ischemic strokes, in which blood flow to the brain becomes blocked either by a clot or a ruptured atherosclerotic plaque. The minority of strokes are hemorrhagic strokes, caused by the rupture of a blood vessel leading to bleeding in the brain. Ischemic stroke, similar to a heart attack, is caused by atherosclerosis, whereas hemorrhagic stroke is primarily caused by vessel damage due to years of elevated blood pressure.

A recent study has found that the consumption of red meat, at quantities similar to the average American’s intake, is associated with a large increase in risk of ischemic stroke. Processed meats were also associated with ischemic stroke risk. [2]

In this study, dietary patterns of 34,670 Swedish women were recorded, and the incidence of stroke was recorded over the following 10 years. The women had no cancer or cardiovascular disease at the start of the study. Women who ate at least 3.6 ounces of red meat daily were 42% more likely to suffer an ischemic stroke, compared to those who ate less than one ounce per day. The average American eats 3 ounces of red meat daily, which in this study was associated with a 22% increase in risk. Also, women who ate 1.5 ounces or more of processed meat per day had a 24% increase in risk for ischemic stroke compared to those who ate less than 0.5 ounces per day.[3, 4]

Raw meat. Flickr: Virtual Ern

In contrast, there is new evidence that dietary antioxidants, as measured by total antioxidant capacity (TAC) of the diet are protective against ischemic stroke.

Participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), with the highest vs. lowest TAC had a 59% reduction in risk. Of course the foods with the highest antioxidant capacity are the nutrient-dense plant foods like green vegetables and berries. [5]

What is the connection between red and processed meats and ischemic stroke?

Atherosclerosis. First, red meat is a calorie-dense, protein-concentrated, saturated fat-rich food with a low content of micronutrients – these characteristics promote inflammation, weight gain and increased cholesterol levels, leading to formation of atherosclerotic plaque. As such, red meat consumption is associated with increased risk of ischemic heart disease and all-cause mortality. [6-9] Since atherosclerotic heart disease and ischemic stroke are so similar, it makes sense that red meat consumption would also increase stroke risk.

Blood pressure is another potential connection. Processed meats are usually high in sodium, which contributes to elevated blood pressure, the most important risk factor for both types of stroke; elevated blood pressure accounts for 62% of strokes.[10] Although salt intake is the dietary factor most known for increasing blood pressure, red meat intake is also associated with high blood pressure. Women who consumed 3.5 servings of red meat per week were found to have a 24% increase in risk of hypertension over a ten-year follow-up period.[11] A 7-year study of middle-aged men similarly found that meat intake was associated with larger increases in blood pressure, while vegetable and fruit intake were associated with smaller increases in blood pressure over time.[12]

Heme iron present in red meat is another factor, which may raise blood pressure and increase oxidative stress. Positive associations were found between heme iron (found only in animal foods) and blood pressure, and negative associations were found between non-heme iron (found in plant foods) intake and blood pressure. [13] Also, the heme iron in red meat can accumulate and cause free radical damage, which is known to contribute to the atherosclerotic process. [14]

These studies paint a clear picture – high nutrient, high antioxidant foods like vegetables and fruit are protective against stroke, and red and processed meats – low nutrient, low antioxidant foods - increase the risk of stroke.

 

References:
1. U.S. Centers for Disease Control: Stroke. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/stroke/.
2. Larsson, S.C., J. Virtamo, and A. Wolk, Red meat consumption and risk of stroke in Swedish women. Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation, 2011. 42(2): p. 324-9.
3. Reuters: Red meat raises women's stroke risk: study. The Montreal Gazette.
4. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Loss-adjusted Food Availibility: Spreadsheets. Available from: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/FoodConsumption/FoodGuideSpreadsheets.htm#meat.
5. Del Rio, D., et al., Total antioxidant capacity of the diet is associated with lower risk of ischemic stroke in a large Italian cohort. The Journal of nutrition, 2011. 141(1): p. 118-23.
6. Preis, S.R., et al., Dietary protein and risk of ischemic heart disease in middle-aged men. Am J Clin Nutr, 2010. 92(5): p. 1265-72.
7. Sinha, R., et al., Meat intake and mortality: a prospective study of over half a million people. Arch Intern Med, 2009. 169(6): p. 562-71.
8. Jakobsen, M.U., et al., Major types of dietary fat and risk of coronary heart disease: a pooled analysis of 11 cohort studies. Am J Clin Nutr, 2009. 89(5): p. 1425-32.
9. Fraser, G.E., Vegetarian diets: what do we know of their effects on common chronic diseases? The American journal of clinical nutrition, 2009. 89(5): p. 1607S-1612S.
10. He, F.J. and G.A. MacGregor, A comprehensive review on salt and health and current experience of worldwide salt reduction programmes. J Hum Hypertens, 2009. 23(6): p. 363-84.
11. Wang, L., et al., Meat intake and the risk of hypertension in middle-aged and older women. Journal of hypertension, 2008. 26(2): p. 215-22.
12. Miura, K., et al., Relation of vegetable, fruit, and meat intake to 7-year blood pressure change in middle-aged men: the Chicago Western Electric Study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2004. 159(6): p. 572-80.
13. Tzoulaki, I., et al., Relation of iron and red meat intake to blood pressure: cross sectional epidemiological study. Bmj, 2008. 337: p. a258.
14. Brewer, G.J., Iron and copper toxicity in diseases of aging, particularly atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. Experimental Biology and Medicine, 2007. 232(2): p. 323-35.