Tag Archives: Vegetarian

A 15 minute interview with Bill Faloon and Michael Lustgarten

If you’re interested, please have a look at my book!

Michael Lustgarten on Calorie Restricting, Nutrient Tracking, and Blood Testing

Video of my presentation starts at 14:28, and lasts until 1:29:00+!

If you’re interested, please have a look at my book!

If Your Goal Is Optimal Nutrition, Which Is Better, Carrots Or Sweet (Orange) Potatoes?

If your goal is optimal nutrition, which orange root vegetable would you choose, carrots or sweet potatoes? 100 calories from carrots vs. 100 calories from sweet potatoes, let’s have a look!

First, to get 100 calories you can eat almost double the amount of carrots, 245g compared with 111g of a baked sweet potato. Protein and carbohydrate are about the same, whereas there is marginally more fat in carrots. However, for the same amount of calories, carrots have almost double the fiber! Fiber feed gut bacteria, which may be involved in lifespan (https://atomic-temporary-71218033.wpcomstaging.com/2014/07/16/are-the-bacteria-in-our-intestines-involved-in-mechanisms-underlying-health-and-lifespan/), so I’m all for that!

carr pot1

What about vitamin content? For the 17 Vitamins below, carrots have higher values for 10 of them, whereas sweet potatoes have higher values for only 3 vitamins. It’s important to note that for the same amount of calories, carrots have almost double the Vitamin A and beta-carotene,  17+ fold more alpha-carotene, and contain lutein+xeaxanthin (whereas sweet potatoes don’t have any!).

vitam

What about mineral content? For the 10 minerals shown in the below, raw carrots are better than sweet potato for 5 minerals, whereas sweet potato leads for 4 mineral categories. However, sweet potato is barely better for some, like magnesium, iron and copper, by 1 milligram, 0.1 and 0.1 milligrams, respectively.

miner

Carrots also contain flavanoids, including flavones (luteolin) and flavanols (kaempferol, myricetin, quercetin), whereas these metabolites are absent in sweet potatoes. An increased flavanoid intake in older adults is associated with reduced all-cause mortality risk (Ivey et al. 2015):

flav mort

So, based on energy and nutrient density (you can eat more carrots, and carrots have far more nutrition than sweet potatoes, for the same amount of calories), I would choose carrots over sweet potatoes. However, as an argument against this, Okinawans, who have one of the highest life expectancies in the world (shown below) consume more than half of the their calories from sweet potatoes (Wilcox and Wilcox 2014). Maybe carrots being better than sweet potatoes doesn’t matter? Or maybe the Okinawans would have slightly better health if they got a similar amount of calories from carrots instead?

okin

Interestingly, vegetables and fruits comprise the base of the Okinawan food pyramid (shown below; Wilcox et al. 2009), which I’ve suggested is both evolutionary accurate (https://atomic-temporary-71218033.wpcomstaging.com/2015/07/17/on-a-paleo-diet-not-if-you-fiber-intake-is-less-than/) and is optimal for maximizing nutrient density (https://atomic-temporary-71218033.wpcomstaging.com/2015/06/03/in-search-of-optimal-nutrient-density-veggies-or-whole-grains/).

okinawan food pyramid

So the take home here is that while carrots are better, it looks like you can’t go wrong eating either carrots or sweet potatoes!

If you’re interested, please have a look at my book!

References

Nutrition info (including flavanoid content) via ndb.nal.usda.gov

Ivey KL, Hodgson JM, Croft KD, Lewis JR, Prince RL. Flavonoid intake and all-cause mortality. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 May;101(5):1012-20.

Murphy MM, Douglass JS, Birkett A. Resistant starch intakes in the United States. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Jan;108(1):67-78. Erratum in: J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 May;108(5):890.

Willcox DC, Willcox BJ, Todoriki H, Suzuki M. The Okinawan diet: health implications of a low-calorie, nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich dietary pattern low in glycemic load. J Am Coll Nutr. 2009 Aug;28 Suppl:500S-516S.

Willcox BJ, Willcox DC. Caloric restriction, caloric restriction mimetics, and healthy aging in Okinawa: controversies and clinical implications. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2014 Jan;17(1):51-8.

Vegans, Vegetarians, Fish and Meat eaters: Which diet is best for minimizing risk of disease and death?

To answer the question proposed in the title, today I’ll look at the results of the Oxford Vegetarian study, in which risk for all-cause mortality, ischemic heart disease and malignant neoplasms was determined (Appelby et al.  1999). 6000 vegetarians and 5000 non-vegetarians were recruited, and, all participants were further divided into 4 groups: vegans, defined as those who never ate animal products; vegetarians, who never ate meat or fish but did eat dairy products, eggs, or both; fish eaters, who ate fish but no meat; and meat eaters (who ate meat more than once per week).

All groups consumed the same amount of total calories. However, when comparing individual macronutrients, vegans had the lowest protein (3.3% of total calories less than meat eaters) and fat intake (4.6 % less), but they made up for this difference by having a higher carbohydrate intake (9.5%), relative to all other groups. A similar dietary pattern was found in vegetarians, when compared with both fish and meat eaters.

A decreased total cholesterol/HDL ratio (TC/HDL) was found in vegans, when compared with vegetarians, fish and meat eaters  The TC/HDL ratio has been shown to be a strong independent predictor for the development of peripheral arterial disease (PAD, Ridker et al.  2001), a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to the head, organs, and limbs. In vegans, TC/HDL = 2.88; in vegetarians, 3.25; fish eaters, 3.21; meat eaters 3.56. Based on these results, the incidence of ischemic heart disease was predicted to be 57% lower in lifelong vegans and 24% in lifelong vegetarians than in meat eaters.

When considered as a whole group (11,000 subjects), significant associations between individual dietary components and mortality risk for ischemic heart disease were determined. For example, eating up to 5 eggs per week did not significantly increase mortality risk, but eating 6+ eggs per week increased risk by 270%. Eating cheese (excluding cottage) up to 4 times per week did not increase mortality risk, but eating cheese more than 5 times per week increased mortality risk by 247%.  Relative to the lowest intake of animal and saturated fat, mortality risk was increased by 329% and 277%, in the highest intake, respectively. Similarly, those that ate the most cholesterol had a 353% increased mortality risk, relative to the lowest intake. In other words, high amounts of eggs cheese, animal and saturated fat were found to be associated with increased risk for ischemic heart disease.

Death rates, risk of ischemic heart disease and the risk of malignant cancer were 20%, 28% and 39% reduced in in non-meat-eaters when compared with meat eaters.Cumulatively, these results provide yet another reason to reduce meat consumption! (Also see http://atomic-temporary-71218033.wpcomstaging.com/2014/07/25/methionine-restriction-extends-lifespan-another-reason-to-reduce-meatprotein-intake/).

If you’re interested, please have a look at my book!

References:

Appleby PN, Thorogood M, Mann JI, Key TJ. The Oxford Vegetarian Study: an overview. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Sep;70(3 Suppl):525S-531S.

Ridker PM, Stampfer MJ, Rifai N. Novel risk factors for systemic atherosclerosis: a comparison of C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, homocysteine, lipoprotein(a), and standard cholesterol screening as predictors of peripheral arterial disease. JAMA. 2001 May 16;285(19):2481-5