Conference Highlights Benefits of Plant-based Diet

MSLM @Healthcare Beyond Medicine Conference
6th August 2023 Berjaya Times Square
Lifestyle Medicine for remission of Diabetes
Dr Sivaneswaran Poobalasingam

(Seated from left) Dr Ching and Klapp, (standing from left) Prof Ho, Assoc Prof Mahenderan, Dr Wong, Dr Chan, Dr Sivaneswaran and Dr Zazali at the Healthcare Beyond Medicine Conference.

A MAGNIFICENT drum performance by Tzu Chi International Medical Association (Tima) Kuala Lumpur and Selangor chapter’s drum team marked the opening of a “Healthcare Beyond Medicine Conference” at Berjaya Times Square Hotel.

Over 580 healthcare professionals, medical volunteers and guests convened from various parts of the country and abroad to explore the potential of food in treating and reversing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, cancer and obesity.

Chronic NCDs have become a pressing concern in modern society, with medication alone often falling short of providing effective management.

To address this challenge, the conference took a deep dive into the powerful health benefits of a plant-based diet, backed by scientific evidence and insights from esteemed local and international speakers.

The speakers included Cleveland Clinic’s Heart Disease Reversal Programme director Dr Caldwell Esselstyn, clinical nutrition specialist and New York Times bestseller Dr Michael Greger, Malaysian Society of Lifestyle Medicine president Dr Sivaneswaran Poobalasingam, Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah nephrologist Dr Ching Chen Hua and University Malaya Medical Centre professor and clinical oncologist Dr Ho Gwo Fuang.

Dr Esselstyn advocated for a whole-food plant-based diet as a means to prevent and reverse heart disease.

He suggested avoiding oil, fish, meat, dairy and other foods that could harm blood vessel cells and reduce the body’s ability to dilate blood vessels.

Dr Greger shed light on the common misconception that we had no control over the development of dementia.

He said while Alzheimer’s might be incurable, it was indeed preventable.

Dr Greger said, “Excessive cholesterol in our blood is unanimously recognised as a risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

“When it comes to dietary guidelines for the prevention of Alzheimer’s, we should centre our diets around vegetables, legumes, fruits and whole grains.”

Dr Ching revealed that a staggering 85% of kidney disease cases were caused by diabetes and hypertension.

To prevent or halt kidney disease, she encouraged lifestyle modifications and adopting a healthy diet, with a particular focus on a plant-dominant and low-protein approach.

She recommended a daily intake of 0.6 to 0.8g/kg of proteins from plant sources, underlining the importance of consuming the right amounts and types of proteins.

All the speakers at the conference unanimously emphasised the positive effects of a plant-based diet in reducing the risk of NCDs.

Dr Eddie Chan, initiator of the “21-Day Healthier Me Challenge”, presented compelling evidence supporting the effectiveness of a whole-food plant-based diet.

He highlighted the significant health improvements, with blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol readings returning to normal ranges for thousands of participants who followed a whole-food plant-based diet for 21 consecutive days.

The astonishing outcomes of the programme have led to its expansion from Malaysia to other countries and regions, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Taiwan and the US, with over 15,000 participants since its inception in 2020.

The testimonies of successful cases and medical research showcased the immense potential of a plant-based diet in combating NCDs and promoting overall well-being.

Dr Chan, as the convener of Tima Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, said, “Ample scientific evidence supports a plant-based diet as a vital strategy for preventing, treating and even reversing chronic illnesses.

“A plant-based diet is an effective and sustainable lifestyle.

“With rising cases of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, the medical community must urgently endorse and promote a plant-based diet as an integral part of a healthy lifestyle for the public.

“Together, let’s pave the way for a healthier future.”

Also present at the conference were nutrition and health specialist Anna-Lena Klapp, nutrition lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Mahenderan Appukutty, consultant interventional cardiologist Dr Wong Teck Wee and family physician Dr Zazali Mohd Yatim.

Originally Published  HERE