Before making any diet change, it is important to understand how this change will affect one’s body. At Switch4Good, we value objective research and results. The studies below represent a solid body of evidence to support the dairy-free diet as a benefit to overall health and athletic performance—for all ages.
Centenarian and longevity studies
In the five recognized “Blue Zones” on Earth, i.e. places with the highest percentage of centenarians, the overwhelming dietary pattern shared by those longest-living peoples is 95% to 100% whole food plant-based. Despite their wide separation of geography, from Okinawa to Sardinia to Loma Linda, Blue Zones diets share commonalities: they are especially rich in beans, and whole grains or root vegetables. For more details see the BlueZones website, which also links to books and research articles.
Epidemiology / observation studies
From following the demographic, health, and outcomes data for large groups of people over years, WFPB diets are tied to lower risks of disease. Prominent examples include the Adventist Health Study 1 and 2 (additional summary), the Nurses’ Health Study, and The China Study. Population migration studies can be especially revealing, e.g. chronic disease risks (heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s) can differ by 10× or more for the same ethnic group members living in the US vs elsewhere, strongly suggesting that diet and lifestyle far outweigh genetics, as risk factors.
Clinical research and interventions
The carefully planned and closely monitored use of nutrition-based interventions to treat diseases, provides some of the strongest evidence in favor of WFPB diets. In clinical studies, particularly the “gold standard” of randomized clinical trials having a control group, WFPB diets have been repeatedly shown to reverse severe heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and obesity. This domain provides the key evidence backing “evidence-based” medicine and nutrition.
A well-balanced WFPB diet is most aligned with growing knowledge of healthy biochemistry in the body, especially our need for antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber — only available from plant foods. Those needs are in addition to the familiar macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals). Plants-only nutrients play vital roles in our health, at all levels from molecules, to cells, to larger body systems (e.g. blood circulation, digestion, nervous system) and organs (heart, brain, gut and microbiome, etc).
“The biggest way I saw my performance change when I dropped dairy was in my recovery. I think I would want to tell future olympians to try something other than cow’s milk, that it’s not necessary. In fact, ditching it would actually help them.”