Plant-Based Foods Could Save A Country Billions

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Plant-based eating is cost-effective, reduces economic costs, such as hospital admissions and doctors’ bills, as well as increasing the number of healthy years people live.

Billions of euro could be saved from a country’s annual health bill if more people can be persuaded to follow a plant-based diet, according to new research published in the Journal of Nutrition. Also society overall will benefit due to less absenteeism from work.

The study looked at the health and economic consequences of two plant-based eating patterns, a diet with a daily portion of soya foods and a Mediterranean-style diet.

The study suggests the British government could reduce its healthcare and societal costs over the next 20 years by £5.21 billion if just 10% of the UK population would emphasize plant-based foods in their diet. Cost savings could be as high as £7.54 billion if 10% of the UK population could be encouraged to incorporate soya products in their daily diet.

“Our research demonstrates that increasing plant-based eating is cost-effective, reduces economic costs, such as hospital admissions and doctors’ bills, as well as increasing the number of healthy years people live, and enabling them to continue having an active life,” said Lieven Annemans, professor of health economics at Ghent University, and the lead author of the paper. “Our study has the potential to contribute to the way healthy eating is promoted,” he added.

There are different approaches to plant-based eating, from Mediterranean-type diets through to vegetarian and veganism. Plant-based eating is in line with the latest government dietary guidelines, the Eatwell Guide. In other words, plant-based eating does not have to exclude all animal products, but places plant-based foods such as soya, fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils at the core of the diet.

The researchers carried out an extensive review of the scientific literature and concluded that both plant-based and soya eating patterns reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and certain cancers. Diets containing soya demonstrated the most favorable health effects from the two evaluated plant-based food patterns.

The researchers calculated the impact of these plant-based food patterns on ‘quality adjusted life years’ (QALYs), which estimate the number of expected years of good health. To calculate disease costs, a societal perspective was taken, including direct and indirect costs. Direct costs are those directly associated with the disease or related conditions including costs related to diagnosis and treatment. Indirect costs include employment related elements such as absenteeism, and productivity loss due to sickness.

For the UK, a diet containing soya is estimated to yield 159 QALYs and 100 QALYs per 1,000 women and men, respectively. Similarly, adherence to a plant-based Mediterranean-type diet also results in living longer in good health and cost-savings to society.

Professor Ian Rowland, professor in nutrition from Reading University, supported the findings of the new study and commented: “Emphasizing plant-based foods in your diet can help to improve nutrition and meet current dietary recommendations. More plant-based eating helps against a variety of diseases which many people are currently confronted with. In addition to the personal health benefits, it can also help reduce society’s healthcare costs.”

This study provides yet more reasons to eat more plant-based foods and is in line with the UK ‘Eatwell guide’ which champions plant-based foods for good health and sustainability. It follows a report published by the Sustainable Food Trust in November – The Hidden Cost Of UK Food – which found that poor diets add 37p of healthcare costs to every £1 spent on food.

Full bibliographic information

Nutrition, Volume 48, April 2018, Pages 24-32. Applied Nutritional Investigation
The potential health and economic effects of plant-based food patterns in Belgium and the United Kingdom
Janne Schepers M.Sc
Lieven Annemans Ph.DDepartment of Public Health, Interuniversity Centre for Health Economics Research (I-CHER), Ghent University, Ghent, BelgiumDepartment of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacologic Sciences, KU Leuven, Flanders, BelgiumReceived 8 August 2017, Revised 6 November 2017, Accepted 11 November 2017, Available online 15 December 2017.


The Story Behind The Why We Buy

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Judges rule that excerpts from scientific/medical journal articles

can be used in advertising and promotional materials,

protected by the First Amendment and New York state law.

This sets a significant precedent.

A federal appeals court found that opinions about scientific studies,

at least when two private parties are involved in cases involving the Lanham Act,

is protected free speech.

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If you say that a food is healthy and may help protect against heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis,

your words have magically changed that food into a drug.

And, guess what, that’s illegal.

Now you’ve created an illegal drug and that’s a crime

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Free Speech Win For Scientific Conclusions in Federal Court

So why after all these years have we not shared all that great research about how food and nutrition can impact public health, access to food and opportunity as well as workforce development?  Where are we today? Take a look at the disruption in our food sector. Amazon buying Whole Foods and thousands of small scale rural and urban growers building local food systems.

From Alliance for Natural Health July 9, 2013

 A three-judge panel of the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York has ruled unanimously that researchers cannot be sued for stating the scientific conclusions made in journal articles about matters of scientific debate.

In this case, the manufacturer of a lung surfactant—a detergent-like agent that reduces the surface tension of the liquid film covering the inner lining of the lung’s small air sacs (alveoli) to help keep lungs from collapsing and help patients breathe better—brought a false advertising suit against a competitor.

The lawsuit alleged that the competitor paid for research designed to show that the competitor’s product was superior; that the findings were false and deceptive; and that the competitor disseminated those findings through an article published in a scientific journal and through promotional material citing the article’s conclusions.

The plaintiff didn’t claim that the competitor distorted the article’s findings, but that the findings themselves were inaccurate, and by publishing them, the plaintiffs suffered damage.

The main question was whether the defendant’s statements about the study were false and misleading under the Lanham Act, which is the primary federal trademark law in the US (the court also looked at this under NY state law).

They didn’t consider the question of whether the study findings themselves were false—only whether their statements about the study were false or misleading. The panel ruled against the plaintiff and found that the defendant did not misrepresent the research findings, and ruled the defendant’s statements to be scientific “opinion,” not fact, and therefore protected speech under the First Amendment.

This sets a significant precedent. A federal appeals court found that opinions about scientific studies, at least when two private parties are involved in cases involving the Lanham Act, is protected free speech.

Whether this ruling can be applied against the Federal Trade Commission’s recent actions toward supplement makers for making alleged “false and misleading claims” by citing scientific studies remains to be seen, as the laws involved are different. You may recall the FTC’s lawsuits against companies such as POM Wonderful for false advertising, even though POM cited scientific articles and studies.

Increasingly, the FTC appears to be applying the FDA’s pharmaceutical approach toward all health claims, including those for food or supplements, via consent decrees, as we discussed last year. These consent decrees are requiring manufacturers to obtain the FDA’s approval of any health claims prior to making them in advertising, and are insisting on a standard of double random controlled studies. In effect, the FTC seems to be doing what the FDA itself would like to do but is barred from doing. It seems to be an end-run around FDA law.

Given this background of increasing government censorship of science, this latest court ruling is very welcome. Companies cannot afford the millions of dollars needed to take a natural, non-patentable product through the FDA drug approval process in order to establish health claims. However, there is a lot of valid scientific literature explaining benefits of natural products, and companies should be able to use it for advertising purposes to inform the public without threat of fines or even jail.

This was the logic behind our push for Free Speech About Science (FSAS). A bill to reintroduce the Free Speech About Science Act is currently being redrafted. We will keep you posted as things. A resurrection is long overdue.

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Is The FDA Losing It’s Mind?

Here’s an example from recent history that speaks to how far certain interests will go to separate us from our food. Before any science came along to validate the idea that food is the key driver to human health and development.

Why is it that after the scientific validation for nutrition, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, as the building blocks for all life, and that they comprise our  food, why wouldn’t that story be worth shouting from the rooftops?

What if the foods we all eat got to tell it’s nutritional bona fides as medicine? Or, at the very least, beneficial and highly recommended for health and wellness. Thanks to CathyBurt at for the alert on the FDA losing it’s mind.

The FDA Wants To Make Cherries, Walnuts Into Illegal Drugs

The FDA has sent a warning letter to the president and CEO of Diamond Foods stating that the firm’s packages of shelled walnuts are “in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act”. Why? Because Diamond Foods dared to list some of the health benefits of walnuts on its website. Health benefits which have been scientifically researched and proven. The FDA says that the walnuts are being “promoted for conditions that cause them to be drugs because these products are intended for use in the prevention, mitigation and treatment of disease”.

In other words, if you say that a food is healthy and may help protect against heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis, your words have magically changed that food into a drug. And, guess what, that’s illegal. Now you’ve created an illegal drug and that’s a crime

Common sense alone should tell you that walnuts, cherries, pomegranates and green tea are foods, not drugs.

Even though potato chips are mostly a deep fried snack food, with no scientifically proven health benefits, the FDA has no problem with FritoLay listing on its website some of what they claim are the health benefits of potato chips. We all know that carbohydrates fried in fat and covered with salt are just not healthy to eat. Plus they definitely won’t give you the GMO Free certification to go along with all their other nutritional needs products. Can anyone say “Gluten Free” ?

This certainly seems like a FDA double standard and it is just not acceptable for a government agency to disregard its own mission of educating the public and promoting health.

The Free Speech about Science Act (HR 4913)  was a bipartisan bill introduced into the House of Representatives on March 23, 2010. This legislation protects basic free speech rights, ends censorship of science and enables the natural foods and health products community to share peer-reviewed scientific findings with the public. The bill had the potential to educate the public about the real science behind natural health. This would have enabled the public to have access to credible information that they can use to make wise dietary choices. It died. It was reintroduced and it died again.

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Meditation Can Lead To Dramatic Enhancement In Cognitive Performance,

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Not All Meditative Techniques Impact the Body Mind Alike

13/08/2014 06:06 GMTNational University of Singapore

Back in the day, our spiritual teacher used to make a point of explaining the wide range of meditations. Each designed for specific results, we used to experiment endlessly. Breath meditations, chanting meditations, silent attention and in motion all work in different ways impacting the body mind spirit.

NUS study revealed that Vajrayana meditation techniques associated with Tibetan Buddhism can enhance brain performance

Contrary to popular belief, not all meditation techniques produce similar effects of body and mind. Indeed, a recent study by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has demonstrated for the first time that different types of Buddhist meditation – namely the Vajrayana and Theravada styles of meditation – elicit qualitatively different influences on human physiology and behaviour, producing arousal and relaxation responses respectively.

In particular, the NUS research team found that Vajrayana meditation, which is associated with Tibetan Buddhism, can lead to enhancements in cognitive performance.

The study by Associate Professor Maria Kozhevnikov and Dr Ido Amihai from the Department of Psychology at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences was first published in the journal PLOS ONE in July 2014.

Vajrayana and Theravada meditation produce different physiological responses

Previous studies had defined meditation as a relaxation response and had attempted to categorise meditation as either involving focused or distributed attentional systems. Neither of these hypotheses received strong empirical support, and most of the studies focused on Theravada meditative practices.

Assoc Prof Kozhevnikov and Dr Amihai examined four different types of meditative practices: two types of Vajrayana meditations (Tibetan Buddhism) practices (Visualisation of self-generation-as-Deity and Rig-pa) and two types of Theravada practices (Shamatha and Vipassana).

They collected electrocardiographic (EKG) and electroencephalographic (EEG) responses and also measured behavioural performance on cognitive tasks using a pool of experienced Theravada practitioners from Thailand and Nepal, as well as Vajrayana practitioners from Nepal.

They observed that physiological responses during the Theravada meditation differ significantly from those during the Vajrayana meditation. Theravada meditation produced enhanced parasympathetic activation (relaxation). In contrast, Vajrayana meditation did not show any evidence of parasympathetic activity but showed an activation of the sympathetic system (arousal).

The researchers had also observed an immediate dramatic increase in performance on cognitive tasks following only Vajrayana styles of meditation. They noted that such dramatic boost in attentional capacity is impossible during a state of relaxation. Their results show that Vajrayana and Theravada styles of meditation are based on different neurophysiological mechanisms, which give rise to either an arousal or relaxation response.

Applications of the research findings

The findings from the study showed that Vajrayana meditation can lead to dramatic enhancement in cognitive performance, suggesting that Vajrayana meditation could be especially useful in situations where it is important to perform at one’s best, such as during competition or states of urgency. On the other hand, Theravada styles of meditation are an excellent way to decrease stress, release tension, and promote deep relaxation.

Further research

After seeing that even a single session of Vajrayana meditation can lead to radical enhancements in brain performance, Assoc Prof Kozhevnikov and Dr Amihai will be investigating whether permanent changes could occur after long-term practice. The researchers are also looking at how non-practitioners can benefit from such meditative practices.

Assoc Prof Kozhevnikov said, “Vajrayana meditation typically requires years of practice, so we are also looking into whether it is also possible to acquire the beneficial effects of brain performance by practicing certain essential elements of the meditation. This would provide an effective and practical method for non-practitioners to quickly increase brain performance in times of need.”


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Evidence Of Reefer Madness From The Stone Age

Nutrition News Cannabis Leaves
Nutrition News Hemp Issue

Founders of Western civilization were prehistoric dope dealers

DAILY NEWS  7 July 2016

It looks like the use of the cannabis plant is part of the march of civilization. A review of the data on cannabis in archaeology, links an intensification of cannabis use in East Asia with the rise of transcontinental trade at the dawn of the Bronze Age, some 5000 years ago.

That wonder weed cannabis keeps showing up in the story of who we are. People who understand how to take advantage of nature’s bounty. Medical and industrial researchers are both deep into the weeds, pun intended, with niche research applications for this plant.

Cannabis entered the archaeological record of Japan and Eastern Europe at almost exactly the same time, between about 11,500 and 10,200 years ago. A review of archaeological data links an intensification of cannabis use in East Asia with the rise of transcontinental trade at the dawn of the Bronze Age, some 5000 years ago.

That’s a long time to be keeping track of humanity”s use of a “Class 1 drug” under the U.S. Controlled Substance Act (CSA). Maybe our ancestors were on to something after.

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