We all want to feel good and live a long, healthy life. It’s a pretty universal truth in our human experience, which is why it’s no wonder there are so many health and diet trends floating around today. Thanks to the Internet, it’s easier than ever to become a desk-side nutrition expert, but in a time where there is more hype than fact – especially in the case of health – how are we supposed to make sense of it all? We love fitness influencers and famous doctors as much as the next person, but sometimes it seems that getting likes and going viral takes precedence over real, solid science.

If you ask Dr. Joel Kahna practicing cardiologist, five-time book author, and prominent public speaker, getting to the heart of the science when it comes to diet is the absolute key. 

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In a recent episode of #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias, Dr. Kahn breaks down why he is a proponent of a plant-based diet – especially for his heart patients – and explains some of the scientific studies that back this conclusion. As a long-standing medical professional, Dr. Kahn has seen the wave of the ketogenic and paleo diets, and even the utterly ridiculous pure carnivore diet. While he conceeds that some people who follow these diets may end up with abs, their blood markers can tell a different story, with one prominent carnivore revealing he was prediabetic and had hemoglobin levels associated with shortened lifespan.

This is not to say that Dr. Kahn does not agree with some of the tenets of these diets, as most promote cutting back on processed foods, reducing oil and sugar intakes, and avoiding refined grains. By and large, all of the leaders in the health space are opposed to factory farming and do not promote consuming meat pumped with antibiotics, hormones, and a cocktail of other nasty things. Dr. Kahn shares that he supports people who eat mostly plant-based and save the other 10-20 percent for animal products if they chose. Unfortunately, here in the U.S., around 99 percent of meat comes from factory farms, illustrating there is a large disconnect between belief and practice. Dr. Kahn also points to the lack of solid evidence that shows long-term positive health outcomes from meat-heavy diets and explains why promoting a diet centered on animal protein is not only harmful to the public, but also incredibly detrimental to the environment.

In this fact-heavy, fascinating conversation, Dr. Kahn gets into the connection between personal health and environmental health and shares his opinions on how doctors can ensure the diets they recommend to patients keep both in mind – mainly, by encouraging everyone to eat more whole, plant-based foods and less of everything else.

Dr. Kahn also dives into his experience opening and running three plant-based restaurants and speaks more to how he is working to spread the importance of a plant-based diet, and he spotlights a few of his colleagues who share the same philosophy.

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If you want to learn more about what diet a cardiologist recommends for improved health and wellness outcomes, listen in!

You can listen to the full episode below or on the following platforms: iTunesSpotifyStitcher.

If you like this episode, be sure to subscribe to the #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias podcast for new episodes with food industry leaders, health, and sustainability experts, as well as entrepreneurs and creative minds who are redefining the future of food – and order your copy of the #EatForThePlanet book!

Image source: Gecko Studi/Shutterstock

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