#356: Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD – Plant-based Diets, Meal Timing & Meal Frequency

In Podcasts by Danny Lennon4 Comments

Guest Information


Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD

Dr. Hana Kahleova is the director of clinical research at the Physicians Committee and directs research testing the effect a plant-based diet has on metabolism, insulin function, fitness, and mental health, as well as studying the impact meal timing and meal frequency have on metabolism and body weight.

Dr. Kahleova earned her doctorate in nutrition and diabetes and her medical degree from Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. As a postdoctoral research fellow at Loma Linda University in California, Dr. Kahleova analyzed data from 50,000 Adventist Health Study-2 participants. She analyzed data on meal frequency and timing in relationship to changes in body weight.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Dr. Kahleova's recent studies on plant-based diets, including a 16-wk RCT
  • Issues in determining between different PB diet types
  • Strength of evidence for PB diet in reducing risk of chronic disease
  • Low-fat WFPB diet vs standard vegan/vegetarian diet
  • Are there downsides (from a health perspective) to a diet that is predominantly PB but is still omnivorous?
  • Does restriction of animal products have therapeutic potential?
  • Dr. Kahleova's early meal timing and meal frequency research
  • Benefit of early time-restricted eating, with more calories in earlier meals

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  1. Excellent discussion. PBD needs more attention, especially among the strength/power community.

  2. Hi Danny, With regards to this guest, I think she does need to also take into account a large shift in diet to a processed food diet was primarily due to processed plant products, as listed in the article below. Refined plant products make up about 62% of the calories of a mordern diet.


    Also there was an eye opening paper published a few years back (done by people who worked in the NIH) documenting the change in calorie sources over the last 100 years from 1909 to 1999. The startling find was the 123,810 % increase (no this is not a typo) in consumption in soybean oil. This info is found in table 3 of the study.


    The same study also found that animal products only made up of 30% of the source of calories in the diet in 1999. That has remained roughly stable, with only a marked increase in chicken consumption. This was compensated with a fall in dairy, eggs, beef, pork, isolated animal fats and fish. Basically a decrease in all animal food groups.

    My motivation for writing this comment is that a whole food diet should be much more important of a focus than a plant based one.
    In a nutshell, i am saying whole animal foods are certainly a much better option than plant based processed foods.
    For the record, I am diet ‘agnostic’ and eat a roughly two thirds of my calories from whole plant foods, and the balance from animal foods.
    Whole plants can significantly benefit human health but on the flip side, processed plant foods pose a much bigger problem than any other type of food to human health.

    1. Author

      Hi Sean,

      Thanks for the well considered comment and to be honest I agree with you. In fact, on re-listening to this episode I am disappointed in my own performance as interviewer, as I feel I should have been stronger in pushing back against some points of contention. Whilst I perhaps implied my position through asking about whole foods driving benefit rather than plant vs animal specifcally, I wasn’t clear enough in following up with strong enough push back.

      So I do agree that the benefit of healthful dietary patterns (with most good evidence) relates to factors that are not exclusive to plant-based diets. So I feel your comment is entirely fair.

      Thanks for listening, for the excellent comment, and the willingness to hold the show accountable. All of which are very much appreciated by me.

      1. no problem Danny! I don’t think it was actually your fault. I just find people who aren’t diet neutral(like the guest) to be not very neutral in their analysis. Plant foods are definitely very beneficial for health(otherwise i wouldn’t consume 66% of my calories from them), but processed food is certainly a much bigger problem than the animal vs plant debate.

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