It’s hard to believe, but Kaiser Permanente has endorsed a plant-based diet! Why does this matter?
“Kaiser Permanente is the largest HMO in the United States with 182,000 employees, including 17,000 physicians.” –J. Morris Hicks, Healthy Eating Healthy World
And they could potentially be helping lead the way towards a plant-based revolution in healthcare.
Excerpts from the Spring 2013 Kaiser Permanente Journal:
“Research shows that plant-based diets are cost-effective, low-risk interventions that may lower body mass index, blood pressure, HbA1C, and cholesterol levels. They may also reduce the number of medications needed to treat chronic diseases and lower ischemic heart disease mortality rates. Physicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients, especially those patients with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity)
Of all the diets recommended over the last few decades to turn the tide of these chronic illnesses, the best but perhaps least common may be those that are plant based…Despite the strong body of evidence favoring plant-based diets, including studies showing a willingness of the general public to embrace them, many physicians are not stressing the importance of plant-based diets as a first-line treatment for chronic illnesses. This could be because of a lack of awareness of these diets or a lack of patient education resources.
Healthy eating may be best achieved with a plant-based diet, which we define as a regimen that encourages whole, plant-based foods and discourages meats, dairy products, and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods.”*
– (Bolding throughout excerpts, mine) – To read the full article follow link at the bottom of this page.
Kaiser Permanente’s decision to endorse a plant-based diet could have huge implications for preventative care and potentially the cost of healthcare overall (for those covered under their company.) As Hicks put it in his blog about this announcement:
“Although our medical doctors receive little if any nutritional training in med school, they are the primary gatekeepers when it comes to advising patients about what they should be eating. And since most of the doctors eat the Standard American Diet (the S.A.D.) themselves, naturally that is what they advise their patients to eat. That practice has resulted in the sickest nation on Earth with by far the highest cost of healthcare. But things are finally beginning to change.” (Bolding mine)
Change is indeed coming and it looks like it may come in the form of a giving a WHOLE foods plant-based diet and perspective a chance.
* While the Kaiser Permanente Journal article mentioned in this blog features a good endorsement of a whole-foods plant-based diet, their section on “protein” is a bit misleading. Although the author mentions that you can get all the amino acids (protein) you need from a plant based diet, the wording they choose to use seems to inadvertently perpetuate the myth about needing to “compliment plant proteins” (combine two plant foods together to make perfect protein). To understand more plant-based sources of protein check out 10 Protein Packed Plants.