Letter to the Editor: Why students should consider vegan diet

On a campus with as many pre-med and public health majors as Tulane, many students remain unaware of the benefits of a plant-based diet. This diet is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk for chronic disease and maintain a healthy body weight.

The China Study, the most comprehensive epidemiological study of nutrition ever conducted, explains that those who consume more animal products, be it meat, fish, eggs, milk or cheese, have higher rates of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes, as well as obesity, autoimmune diseases and osteoporosis.

Doctor Caldwell Esselstyn and Doctor Neal Barnard’s research shows that those already suffering from conditions like diabetes and heart disease can slow, halt or even reverse disease progression with the adoption of a low-fat vegan diet, something almost unseen of in the medical community.

This kind of dietary treatment has been proven to be as effective or even more effective than prescription medications, and is often easier to follow because there is no need to count calories or carbs. But if such successful and inexpensive treatment exists, why is it so unheard of? The sad truth is that the interests of big-agriculture industries has kept this nutritional information from being promoted by the government, and in turn, kept it from being taught in universities and practiced by dietitians and doctors.

The British Medical Journal reports that research on plant-based eaters shows that they are often much healthier than their meat-eating counterparts, experiencing a 57 percent reduced risk from heart disease and a 25 to 50 percent lower likelihood of developing cancer. Studies have even found that vegetarians and vegans tend to live up to 10 years longer than their meat-eating counterparts. Those who switch over to a vegan diet will likely experience noticeable benefits in the first week or two, such as clearer skin, more energy, increased mental focus and weight loss.

I urge all those interested in medicine, public health or fitness and diet to consider the switch to a more plant-based diet, for their own health as well as the health of our country.


Natalie Amstutz


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