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The Vegetarian Advantage. Dr Bevan D Hokin PhD Director of Pathology Sydney Adventist Hospital. The Vegetarian Advantage. Material sourced from: Published peer reviewed scientific papers from reputable Journals Publications from the Adventist Lifestyle study

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The Vegetarian Advantage

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The Vegetarian Advantage

Dr Bevan D Hokin PhD

Director of Pathology

Sydney Adventist Hospital


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Material sourced from:

    • Published peer reviewed scientific papers from reputable Journals

    • Publications from the Adventist Lifestyle study

    • Papers presented at the 3rd and 4th World Congresses on Vegetarian Nutrition


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The Vegetarian Advantage

Types of vegetarian diets


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Types of vegetarian diets:

    Understanding an individual’s definition or degree of ‘vegetarian diet’ is

    extremely important. Theoretically, this term refers to someone who chooses no meat, fish or poultry. But there are many variations to this basic definition.


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Types of vegetarian diets:

  • Plant-based Diet

    The term “plant-based diet” describes the eating patterns of those who decrease their use of animal products and increase their use of plant foods even though they do not intend to become vegetarians.


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Types of vegetarian diets:

    Semi-Vegetarian Diet

    A semi-vegetarian diet may include fish and/or chicken but no red meat.


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Types of vegetarian diets:

    Pesco-Vegetarian

    A pesco-vegetarian includes dairy products and eggs, but no animal flesh

    with the exception of fish.


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Types of vegetarian diets:

    Lacto-Vegetarian Diet

    A lacto-vegetarian diet includes dairy products, but no animal flesh, eggs

    or products containing eggs.

    Ovo-Vegetarian Diet

    An ovo-vegetarian diet includes eggs, but no animal flesh or dairy products.


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Types of vegetarian diets:

    V egan Diet (‘Strict’ or ‘Total’ Vegetarian Diet)

    A vegan diet only includes plant-based products including cereals and grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. It is devoid of any animal derived foods including meats, fish, chicken, eggs, dairy products.


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Types of vegetarian diets:

    Macrobiotic Diet (‘Zen’ Diet)

    People who choose a macrobiotic diet avoid meat, chicken, sometimes fish, dairy products, eggs, vegetables of the nightshade family (potatoes,

    tomatoes, green capsicum, eggplant), tropical fruits, and processed sweeteners. A macrobiotic diet generally promotes the use of wholefoods and also incorporates Asian sea vegetables.


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Types of vegetarian diets:

    Fruitarian Diet

    Fruitarian diets include fruits as well as vegetables that are botanically classed as fruits (such as tomatoes, eggplant, avocado, zucchini), nuts and seeds.


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Types of vegetarian diets:

    Raw Food Diet

    These diets include vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, sprouted grains, sprouted beans all consumed in the raw state.


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Types of vegetarian diets:

    • Obtaining an adequate nutrient intake with a macrobiotic, fruitarian or raw food diet can be difficult, particularly for children and pregnant women.

    • The SDA Church recommends the lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Reasons for becoming a vegetarian


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Reasons for becoming a vegetarian:

    Environmental Concerns: Many people now give consideration to the

    environmental aspects of food production and choose a plant-based diet for the more favourable environmental effects, such as increased sustainability from the production of plant-based foods.


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Environmental Concerns:

    • One acre of wheat will produce 800,000 calories, one acre used to raise beef generates only 200,000

    • Eating beef returns only 4% of calories the steer consumed, and 10% of the protein it consumed.

    • It takes 25 times more water to produce a kilo of beef than it does to produce a kilo of vegetables.


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Reasons for becoming a vegetarian:

    Animal Rights: Concern for animal welfare has created another group of vegetarians, some of whom accept dairy and eggs (because an animal has not been slaughtered in their production), while others totally exclude animal products in the name of preventing cruelty to animals and as an

    objection to inhumane farming practices.


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Reasons for becoming a vegetarian:

    Weight Control: Some people (often teenage girls) may choose to become vegetarian with the intention of controlling their weight. As with other extreme diet changes, the sudden adoption of restrictive vegetarian diets may be masking the signs of an eating disorder.


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Reasons for becoming a vegetarian:

    Religious Beliefs: Some religions such as Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and Seventh-day Adventists include vegetarian dietary practices as part of their religious belief system.


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Reasons for becoming a vegetarian:

    Religious Beliefs:After the flood, God permitted the consumption of flesh food…”for your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning; of every beast I will require it of man.” Gen 9:1-5


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Reasons for becoming a vegetarian:

    Aesthetics: The thought of eating dead animals doesn’t appeal.

    Mary-Tylor Moore was a vegetarian because she could not stand the thought of “eating anything with a face.”


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Reasons for becoming a vegetarian:

    Health:Some perceive the avoidance of red meat as a healthy dietary option (due to the reduced intake of saturated fat and cholesterol), while others focus on the health benefits of a plant-based diet providing plenty of vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, many of which are found exclusively in plant foods.


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Reasons for becoming a vegetarian:

    Health: Studies have shown that vegetarians have lower rates of many diseases, and have an improved life expectancy:

    cardiovascular diseaseobesity

    hypertensionconstipation

    some cancerskidney stones

    type 2 diabetesgall stones


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The Vegetarian Advantage

  • Problems with meat


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Problems with meat:Saturated fat

  • All animal foods contain an unhealthy high level of saturated fats.

  • Saturated fat in the diet is a more significant cause of an elevated cholesterol than the amount of cholesterol we consume in our food.

  • Saturated fats and cholesterol are associated with increased risk of heat disease


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Problems with meat:Cholesterol

  • A person consuming 2000 calories/day and 200mg cholesterol, who increases cholesterol intake to 600mg/day, increases heart attack risk by 30%

  • A person consuming 600mg cholesterol/day who reduces this to 200 mg/day, lowers risk of death from all causes by 37% - equivalent to 3.4 years


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Problems with meat:Cholesterol

  • Food sourceServingCholesterolsizecontent

  • Beef90 gm70 mg

  • Chicken9069

  • Fish9040-60


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Problems with meat:Excess protein

  • Too much protein in the diet is associated with increased stress on liver and kidneys

  • Excess organ meat consumption is associated with increased risk of gout

  • High protein consumption can lead to excess homocysteine production and resultant blood vessel diseases.


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Problems with meat:Disease

  • Meat products in most countries contain various parasitic diseases (Trichinosis, Hydatids)

  • Bacterial infections are common - Salmonella, Listeria

  • Viral diseases such as Bird flu

  • Prion diseases such as mad cow disease


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Problems with meat:Contaminants

  • Hormones

  • Antibiotics

  • Mercury in fish

  • Dioxins


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The Vegetarian Advantage

Health benefits of a vegetarian diet


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Vegetarian health advantages: Less Cancer

  • Adventists who consume meat on 4 or more days a week, had a 66% higher mortality from ovarian cancer, and 41% higher mortality from prostate cancer

  • Consumption of meat, poultry and fish is associated with a doubling of the risk of bladder cancer


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Vegetarian health advantages: Less Cancer

  • The consumption of both red meat and white meat more than doubled the risk of colon cancer

  • Those who eat the most red meat have 2.5 times the risk of developing cancer (any type) than those who eat the least red meat.


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Vegetarian health advantages:Less obesity

  • Adventist meat eaters had 2.5 times the risk of being obese compared with vegetarian Adventists

  • Adventist vegetarians: men 8% and women 16% were >130% of their ideal weight. For Adventist non-vegetarians, the proportions were 20% and 32% respectively.


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Vegetarian health advantages:Less obesity

  • Obesity doubles the risk of heart attack in Adventist men

  • Obesity increases the risk of breast cancer, endometrial cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and several others.


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Vegetarian health advantages:Less osteoporosis

  • Vegetarian women between ages 50 to 89, lose only 185 of their bone mass, whereas non-vegetarians lose 35%, even when they have the same amount of calcium in their diets

  • The bone density of 80 year-old vegetarians is comparable to that of 60 year-old non-vegetarians


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Vegetarian health advantages:Less heart disease

  • Meat users in the general population in their 40’s have four times as many heart attacks as vegetarian men.

  • Adventist men who consumed beef at least 3 times per week had a 60-70% increased risk of fatal coronary heart disease. For women, 30%


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Vegetarian health advantages:Less heart disease

  • Adventist men who adopted a vegetarian diet early in life (before age 20) had half the risk of a fatal heart attack compared with those who did not adopt a vegetarian lifestyle until after 50 years.

  • Those who adopted the vegetarian lifestyle in their 30’s had 1/3 the number of fatal heart attacks compared with those who adopted the lifestyle in their 50’s


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Vegetarian health advantages:less diabetes (Type II)

  • Adventist men who are non-vegetarians have 3.8 times the risk of having “diabetes” on their death certificates as do vegetarians

  • Adventists have less than half the mortality from diabetes as compared with the general population


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Vegetarian health advantages:less strokes

  • Non-vegetarians had a risk of stroke that was 30% higher than seen in vegetarians


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Vegetarian health advantages:less dementia

  • Meat eating doubles the risk of dementia

  • Vegetarians have a delayed onset of dementia (still may develop dementia, but at a much older age)


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Vegetarian health advantages:Vegetarians live longer

  • Adventists at age 30 have a life expectancy of 7.28 years longer than non-Adventists

  • Adventist vegetarians have a life expectancy of up to 12 years longer than non-Adventists


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The Vegetarian Advantage: conclusions

  • There are many forms of vegetarianism - all have health benefits proportional to the reduced intake of flesh foods.

  • Of the many reasons to become a vegetarian, health benefits are compelling

  • Vegetarianism results in a reduced incidence of almost all chronic diseases


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The Vegetarian Advantage: conclusions

  • The Adventist recommended lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet is a healthy choice, providing many health benefits

  • It is relatively easier to obtain all essential nutrients for good health from a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet

  • Vegetarians live longer, and the extra years are quality years


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