There's a new plant-based nutrition textbook and we can't wait to get our hands on it!
This evidence based textbook is aimed at health professionals and students. The book highlights the role of Plant-based nutrition for overall health as well as to potentially prevent better manage and treat chronic lifestyle diseases.
About the Authors
Dr. Shireen Kassam is a consultant hematologist and honorary senior lecturer at Kings College Hospital London with the specialist interest in management of lymphoma. She is also a certified lifestyle medicine professional and is passionate about promoting the benefits of plant-based nutrition for the prevention and reversible of chronic disease and for maintaining optimal health after cancer diagnosis.
Dr. Kassam is also the founder of Plant-based Health Professionals, UK
Dr. Zahra Kassam is a radiation oncologist at the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre in Newmarket, Ontario, and an assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Toronto. Zahra received her medical degree from the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in 1995 and completed her specialist training in Clinical Oncology in 2006 in the UK.
Lisa Simons studied clinical nutrition and dietetics at Cardiff Metropolitan University for four years, before graduating with first-class honors in 2014. She has seven years of clinical experience working in the NHS, providing care to patients in both the inpatient and outpatient setting.
Knowledge Gap in Nutrition
There is currently a knowledge-gap when it comes understanding and implementing Plant-based nutrition.
Several studies have shown that a healthy plant based diet comprising of whole foods, is ideal for human health while also helping lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, PCOS, asthma and many other chronic lifestyle diseases.
However, in practice because of lack of knowledge and proper guidance many people end up deficient in macro and micro nutrients due to eating highly processed foods, too few calories and lack of knowledge of proper supplementation.
The gap of knowledge when it comes to nutrition is not restricted only in the plant based space.
This recent study implied that children are not aware of where their food comes from. Researchers studied a group of 176 children between the ages of 4 and 7. These children were racially diverse, urban dwelling, in the US. The study tested the children's familiarity with the origins of food both plant and animal based and their understanding of edible versus non-edible items.
The study used age appropriate methods like laminated cards featuring different types of foods asking children to sort them into one of two boxes which were visually representative of plant and animal foods. The results of the study show that children between the ages of 4 and 5 could not accurately identify the origins of animal foods consistently.
- Another study show that while the demand to live a healthy life is going up 4 and 5 people across Northern Europe don't know what are the essential nutrients that are required in their daily diet.
- A Survey in India show that 100% of Indians correctly identified healthy food versus junk food. However, a majority of these people, 73% said that they would still consume unhealthy food since their tasty and convenient. While Indians were able to distinguish between healthy and junk food, nutrition awareness ends there. Many Indians define junk food as highly processed and package food, ignoring the high levels of salt, oil, and sugar that form a part of everyday cooking in an Indian household. Indians also lack awareness of the various macro and macronutrients required for optimal health.
Environmental Impact of Animal Agriculture
The environmental impact of animal based foods is huge. Hectares of land dedicated to animal agriculture has increased greenhouse gas emissions, carbon footprint, contaminated groundwater, replaced forests with factory farms.
- Agriculture lands that grow crops also focus on mono cropping particularly on those crops that are animal feed. This has interfered with biodiversity, affected the food supply chain, and depleted soil health.
- Studies found that raising livestock generates 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions that adversely affect the environment. This is more than all the transportation emissions combined.
- Approximately 92% of freshwater is used for farming purposes, one third of which is used in animal agriculture for growing livestock and making animal products.
- Animal agriculture also uses nearly 70% of agriculture land being the main cause for deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution.
Impact of Animal Products on Individual Health
Animal products both meat and dairy have been associated with an increased risk of other lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, PCOS, obesity, asthma etc.
- According to the World Health Organisation and many epidemiological studies consumption of red meat and processed meat has shown to increase risk of cancer in humans.
- Studies about shown that red meat, poultry and fish consumption increases the risk of diabetes. This study showed that eating just 50 grams of red meat or fish each day can raised risk of diabetes by 11%
- Studies has also found that eating red meat increases the risk of heart disease.
- Milk and other dairy products are the leading sources of saturated fat contributing to heart disease, type two diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. Studies have also linked dairy to an increased risk of breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer.
This is only the tip of the iceberg but safe to say that animal products have impacted human health negatively.
About the Book - Plant-based Nutrition in Clinical Practice
Plant-based Nutrition in Clinical Practice offers an evidence based approach that aims to solve both environmental as well as health problems faced by society today.
When it comes to plant-based nutrition this lack of knowledge makes it hard for both professionals and practitioners. Professionals are unable to guide people who want to move to a healthy plant-based lifestyle adequately. Lack of knowledge resources also mean that, the average person is unable to support themselves in eating a healthy plant-based diet.
This is where evidence based nutrition textbooks like Dr. Kassam's plays a critical role.
The book addresses the current food system and connects our rising health issues that with the climate crisis. Our current food system is animal agriculture intensive with factory farms for both meat and dairy. This makes it an environmental disaster.
Consumption of animal foods have also been associated with an increased risk of various lifestyle diseases making it an unhealthy option for the general population.
'Plant-based Nutrition in Clinical Practice' focuses on nutrition as a key component of lifestyle medicine. The book incorporates nutrition interventions based on evidence based guidelines for public and health professionals. An overwhelming body of evidence shows that a predominantly or exclusive whole food plant-based diet is one of the best ways to address both individual and planetary health.
Dr. Shireen Kassam, Dr. Zahra Kassam and Lisa Simon RD make a strong case for a balanced and healthy plant-based diet embracing unprocessed foods. The book presents uses, benefits, and practical application of plant based diet to support patient care disease prevention and Management.
Next Steps - Get Started Today
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, we may be able to help
1. Book an online consultation with Dr. Achyuthan Eswar to understand more about specific lifestyle changes and how you can adopt them
2. Subscribe to our 100% whole food plant based Diabetes meal plan, designed to help prevent and better manage diabetes from the comfort of your home - Bengaluru only
3. Stock up on delicious and diabetic-friendly sweets and snacks that are sugar/jaggery-free, oil-free, maida-free and plant-based - Available Pan-India
4. Learn more about a whole food plant based diet on NutritionScience.in and get started on your journey to a healthier tomorrow
5. Sign up for our Plant Based Diet Masterclass on NutritionScience.in and take a deep dive into a whole food plant based diet and how it affects your health