Ever wondered how your blood test will look like on a plant-based diet?
People are always wondering if whole foods plant-based diet is actually safe and if it has negative effects to blood test markers such as uric acid, blood sugar, and cholesterol.
To share a short story, I was visiting a loved one in the hospital and some family members who have concerns about plant-based diet wanted to see my blood test. I’ve been following whole foods plant-based diet for 4.5 years to this date, eating mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. I never had a blood test so I figured why not.
The common concerns when going on a plant-based diet with regards to blood test markers is the high sugar from carbohydrates such as fruits. Another one I personally get A LOT since I love to eat beans as my main source of protein is that eating legumes will lead to gout and arthritis since legumes or beans are associated with high uric acid. To address these concerns, we explained in our previous article what causes diabetes and high blood sugar in the first place. They are is basically caused by saturated fats mostly found in animal protein clogging the cells thus preventing sugar from being digested properly by the body and raising the cells’ insulin resistance. To learn more about this topic, check out our past article on the Top 5 Things You Need To Know About Diabetes here.
For the second concern about legumes or beans being high in uric acid, there is a huge misconception on this subject. First of all, to understand what uric acid is, we have to understand its relationship to purine. A short explanation from www.whfoods.com explains that Purines are natural substances found in all of the body’s cells, and in virtually all foods. The reason for their widespread occurrence is simple: purines provide part of the chemical structure of our genes and the genes of plants and animals. When cells die and get recycled, the purines in their genetic material also get broken down. Uric acid is the chemical formed when purines have been broken down completely. It’s normal and healthy for uric acid to be formed in the body from the breakdown of purines. In our blood, for example, uric acid serves as an antioxidant and helps prevent damage to our blood vessel linings, so a continual supply of uric acid is important for protecting our blood vessels.
The problem is when we consume high purine sources such as meat, organ meat such as liver and kidney, seafood and alcohol, the uric acid by-product of these high purine foods from animal sources are not properly broken down by our body. When our body has a high uric acid, this can lead to gout or other inflammation and auto-immune diseases such as arthritis. Surprisingly, purine sources from plant-based sources despite also having a by-product of uric acid does not cause any negative effects as the uric acid from plant based sources is properly digested by the body.1 In addition to being properly digested by the body, purine plant-based sources such as legumes and broccoli have much lower uric acid by-product than meat.2
Before being challenged to have the blood test, I actually ate 2 hours prior. I perhaps consumed 2-3 cups of rice, (a mix of brown rice and white rice since we ran out of brown rice) 1 cup of minestrone soup filled with beans, tomatoes, celery etc.) oven roasted potatoes, and on the way to the hospital, I had some pitted dates. I took the test anyway despite skipping fasting, as I was confident that although I ate the saif foods before the test, there will be no negative effects on my uric acid, blood sugar, or other blood test bio markers. I just told the lab that I fasted for them to administer the test.
Here’s my blood test 2 hours after eating a meal:
Most people may be concerned that the cholesterol levels are too low, but in fact this is the ideal range as we explained in this article. Achieving a cholesterol level of 150 mg/dl and LDL of 80 mg/dl or below basically eliminates the chances of coronary heart disease since at these cholesterol levels, plaque cannot be deposited into the arteries. I also took the liberty of having my B12 levels tested as this is always a concern when going on a plant-based diet, with the notion that one would suffer from B12 deficiency. I do supplement occasionally with a B12 spray 1-2x a week. Most of our food aren’t organically grown anymore, so the soil is missing cobalt, which is an essential for B12. When supplementing with a b12 spray which basically uses the ingredient Methylcobalimin, it is providing us with the essential mineral needed for b12 that has been stripped away from our conventional food and soil.
Supplementing with a B12 spray (which basically uses the ingredient Methylcobalamin) provides the essential mineral needed for B12 that has been stripped away from our conventional food and soil. Methylcobalamin is the “active” form of B12 in it’s most potent, absorbable & bio-available incarnation.Most B12 supplements use Cyanocobalamin but it still needs to be converted by the body to Methylcobalamin before it can be used as B12, making it not as efficient as only a fraction is converted properly. Methylcobalamin enters the body intact, making it fully usable by the body immediately.
There you have it! I hope by sharing these test results it would shed light on the benefits and the safety of a plant-based diet. If you want to improve your blood test results (ie. if you have high cholesterol, high blood sugar or uric acid) I am extremely confident you can or even get similar results for these blood test markers within a few months by just changing your diet.
1 Choi HK, Atkinson K, Karlson EW, Willett W, Curhan G (March 2004). “Purine-rich foods, dairy and protein intake, and the risk of gout in men”. N. Engl.