What’s on Our Plate?
Healthful vs. Unhealthful Eating Habits of Physicians
Plant-based and pescatarian diets, as recommended for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, have been found to be highly protective from moderate to severe COVID-19 illness, and may be protective from an inflammatory response to SARSCoV-2 vaccines. The authors initially sought to correlate the self-reported nutritional habits of physicians in two Chicago-area academic medical centers, with the occurrence of symptoms after each of their two COVID-19 vaccinations. However, of the 274 respondents, 196 (72%) were eating an unrestricted omnivorous diet. The restricted diet group included 41 (15%) semi-vegetarians (reducing, but not eliminating, animal products), 14 (5%) who consumed vegetables, eggs, and dairy, but no fish or red meat, 12 (4%) who consumed vegetables, seafood, eggs, and dairy, but no red meat, 10 (4%) who ate vegetables and seafood without red meat, eggs, or dairy, and one physician (0.3%) who consumed no animal products. Thus, this study was underpowered for the healthy dietary patterns (i.e., pescatarian/vegetarian) as published in the 2019 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, as most physicians surveyed were on an unrestricted American diet in these two academic medical centers. These findings call for more vigorous physician nutrition education and implementation strategies for evidence-based guidelines.