Vegetarian diets endorsed by the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

The US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has given vegetarian diets a ringing endorsement in its new Position Paper (J Acad Nutr Diet 2015;115:801-810). The Position Statement reads as follows:

It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that vegetarian diets may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain health conditions, including atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Well-designed vegetarian diets that may include fortified foods or supplements meet current nutrient recommendations and are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Vegetarians must use special care to ensure an adequate intake of vitamin B-12.

The abstract of the paper also states that

Vegetarian diets are associated with a lower risk of ischemic heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some types of cancer; low-fat vegetarian diets, in combination with other healthy lifestyle factors, have been shown to be effective in the treatment of these diseases. €Low intake of foods containing saturated fat and cholesterol, and high intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and soy products that are rich in fiber and phytochemicals are components of a vegetarian diet that contribute to reduction of chronic disease.

You can read the abstract in full and download a PDF copy of the Position Paper at http://www.eatrightpro.org/resource/practice/position-and-practice-papers/position-papers/vegetarian-diets .

Paul Appleby

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