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A national diet shift towards plant-based foods could save the UK’s NHS billions, a medical professional has advised.
Dr Shireen Kassam, a consulting hematologist and honorary senior lecturer at King’s College Hospital in London, believes the NHS could save more than £ 30 billion if the country went vegan.
According to 2019 figures, the UK spends more than £ 225 billion a year for medical expenses, Meter grades.
The true cost of eating meat
Diet-related illnesses are at an all-time high, Kassam explained to the outlet, putting avoidable pressure on the UK health system.
The lifestyle doctor highlighted a recently published Taiwanese study, which found that vegetarians have a lower rate of outpatient doctor visits.
As a result, vegetarians were responsible for 15 percent lower medical expenses compared to meat eaters.
This was especially true for chronic conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure, as well as depression.
The researchers said this “significantly lower” expense should be taken into account when developing strategies to reduce medical expense. This is in order to “alleviate the medical-economic burden on selected populations.”
A ‘health crisis’
A plant-based diet is often promoted as a more sustainable alternative to meat consumption. As a result, an increasing number of people are turning vegan for environmental reasons.
But the link between diet and disease should not be left out of the conversation, Kassam said. Meter. “The climate crisis is really a health crisis and we cannot separate the two,” said the doctor.
“Moving towards a plant-based food system is clearly one of the biggest impacts we can have. [on the environment], but I think people also forget that it is a personal health problem, “he added.
It is “well confirmed in the scientific literature” that non-animal diets reduce the risk of various health problems, such as obesity, and most of these “do not have to occur,” Kassam said. “Our daily work is a preventable chronic disease.”
“Almost 80 percent of what we do is dedicated to diet and lifestyle related illnesses that don’t have to happen… and then it would be accidents and emergencies.
“We live 12 years on average in poor health, which requires the use of medical and social care.”
Lower risk of disease
The doctor continued: “We know that a vegan or vegetarian diet reduces the incidence of heart disease by approximately 25 percent and type two diabetes by more than 50 percent. Vegans also have a 15 percent reduction in cancer incidence.
“You are much more likely to have normal cholesterol on a vegan diet. The reduction in the incidence of chronic diseases affects the use of medical care, doctor visits and medications. “
Some insurance companies are also registering the connection. HealthIQ, licensed in all 50 US states, lowered the price of vegan life insurance, citing figures similar to the above.
Additionally, the insurance company noted that vegans are 63 percent less likely to have hypertension than carnivores. Hypertension is the main contributing factor to heart attacks.
Additionally, on its website, HealthIQ highlights a 2013 study that concluded that vegans have a 15 percent lower risk of mortality from all causes.
A change at the national level would require the participation of all sectors, including supermarkets, farmers, advertisers and policy makers, Kassam explained.
But the “impact of personal change” should not be ignored. We could all have our last meal of chicken and never eat meat and nothing again. [bad] It would happen to us, ”said the doctor.
Kassam pointed out that the diets of many people, vegan or omnivore, can rely too much on highly processed foods.
“A healthy vegan diet focuses your diet on whole plant foods. They are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, mainly water for thirst, but tea and coffee are fine if you enjoy it, ”he explained. A variety of herbs and spices are also important, Kassam added.
“And that, obviously, is in contrast to the usual type of British diet, which has become a diet from processed to ultra-processed.”