“Eat your fruits and vegetables!” A common refrain from frustrated parents as they watch their kids disdainfully play with the peas and carrots on their plate. The emphasis on fruits and veggies is sound, based on a legion of studies demonstrating that populations with mostly plant-based diets are less prone to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer.
Why this should be so is a matter of debate. Is it a matter of what is eaten or what is not eaten? Are the benefits due to some naturally occurring substances in plants, with antioxidants, vitamins and fibre usually being placed on the pedestal, or the negative effects of refined grains, sugar or meat? Or is it a combination of the two?