Neal Barnard, MD, ist außerordentlicher Professor für Medizin an der George Washington University in Washington DC. und Präsident des Ärztekomitees für Verantwortungsvolle Medizin (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, PCRM: (pcrm.org). Dr. Barnard hat zahlreiche Studien, die die Wirkungen von Ernährung auf Diabetes mellitus, Übergewicht und chronischen Schmerzen durchgeführt, einschließlich einer bahnbrechenden Studie von Ernährungsinterventionen bei Typ-2-Diabetes des National Institutes of Health. Dr. Barnard hat mehr als 70 wissenschaftliche Publikationen und 17 Bücher verfasst. Als Präsident des PCRM lanciert Dr. Barnard Programme zur Förderung von Präventionsmedizin, gesunder Ernährung und ethischen Standards in der Forschung. Er hat drei PBS Fernsehsendungen zu Ernährung und Gesundheit moderiert und wird häufig in Nachrichtensendungen als Experte zu den Themen Ernährung und Forschung befragt.
Geboren in Fargo, North Dakota, studierte Dr. Barnard Medizin an der George Washington University. Er arbeitete als Arzt im St. Vincent-Krankenhaus New York bevor er in Washington das PCRM gründete.
Dairy products are a major source of saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, all of which are concentrated in cheese, making it a potential contributor to overweight, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Dairy products also contain estrogens. While the quantity of hormones in milk is small, hormones are concentrated as milk is converted to cheese and other high-fat dairy products, and studies have suggested that they may be sufficient to affect human biology. Specifically, in men, cheese consumption is associated with reduced sperm counts and impaired sperm morphology and motility. In women previously treated for breast cancer, high-fat dairy consumption is associated with a markedly increased risk of cancer-related mortality. The hormones in milk come from the fact that dairy cows are impregnated annually, and the production of estrogens increases over the course of gestation.
Dairy proteins—which are concentrated in cheese—appear to contribute to a surprising range of conditions, from asthma, to migraine and rheumatoid arthritis.
Some evidence suggests that cheese may be habit-forming. As dairy proteins are digested, they release opiates, called casomorphins, that bind to the opiate receptors of the brain. While they are not as powerful as recreational narcotics, evidence suggests that they may be sufficiently strong to lead to habitual intake.
There are many healthful replacements for cheese and other dairy products, which will be discussed.
Maladaptive food habits are the primary cause of the most common and burdensome health conditions, particularly overweight, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension. They also play roles in cancer risk, joint disease, many other conditions as well. As a result, a nutritional approach to health should not be viewed as “alternative medicine.” Rather, a well-planned nutrition program should be part of every primary care practice and included in every patient’s care plan.
Plant-based (i.e., vegan) diets improve body weight, plasma lipids, blood pressure, and diabetes management and, as part of a healthful lifestyle, have been shown to reverse coronary atherosclerosis and improve cancer survival. Overall nutritional quality, as measured with the Alternate Healthy Eating Index, is better on vegan diets than on omnivorous diets. In 2017, the American Medical Association adopted a new set of dietary standards for hospitals, recommending that plant-based (vegan) meals be available for all patients, visitors, and staff, and that processed meats be removed.
Patients can be invited to adopt vegan diets in two steps: First, they are asked to take a week to explore healthful vegan foods. Next, they are asked to adopt a fully vegan diet for a short period, e.g., three weeks, which is ample time for the benefits to begin to be noticed.
Structured group sessions are a cost-effective way to help patients make a diet change together in a supportive environment. Means for implementing these sessions will be discussed. It is also important for caregivers to make diet changes themselves.
Special consideration for patients on medications for diabetes or hypertension and for those on anticoagulants will be discussed.