American Dietetic Associations Endorses Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

healthy vegetarian diet“It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain disease,”.  The paper goes on to state that vegetarian and vegan diets are appropriate for every stage of life including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, and athlete’s.

Journal of American Dietetic Association 2009;109:1266–1282

There are many health benefits to a well-planned vegetarian diet according to the American Dietetic Association.  These include preventing and treating heart disease, lowering LDL (low-density lipoprotein, the bad kind of) cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes and even cancer. Specifically increased fruit and vegetable intake is protective against cancer of the mouth, esophagus, stomach and lungs.  Soy food intake is associated with lower risk for breast cancer and decreasing the progression of chronic kidney disease.

Although on a negative note the research found that vegetarian diets can be associated with lower bone density and therefore possibly higher incidence of osteoporosis than non-vegetarians. In this case, vegetarians have to pay special attention to their vitamin D, calcium, vitamin K, potassium and magnesium intake. Also dementia can be increased due to vitamin deficiency of B-12.

This paper showed that a well-planned vegetarian or vegan diet is not only acceptable, but actually more beneficial than non-vegetarian diets when it comes to many chronic diseases. Although it is important to plan out a vegetarian diet that meets all of the current ADA (American Diet Association) recommendations in order to avoid some of the deficiencies in vegetarian and vegan diets.  Especially protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, vitamins D and B-12 .Use of supplements and fortified foods can be a helpful addition to your vegetarian or vegan diet.

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