Vegetarian Diet Prevents Disease

Photo courtesy of Khalid Mahmood, Wikimdia Commons

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Just in time to refute last week’s atrociously reported story…The American Dietetic Association released a position paper stating that vegetarian diets are healthful and nutritious for adults, infants, children and adolescents, and can help prevent and treat chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes.

The American Dietetic Association is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.

“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 diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life-cycle including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence and for athletes.”

The good news is that vegetarian diets tend to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, with higher levels of fiber, magnesium, potassium, vitamins C and E, folate, carotenoids, flavonoids and other phytochemicals.

Consequently, people eating well-balanced vegetarian diets tend toward lower blood cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure levels, and lower risk of hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Beyond that, vegetarians tend toward lower body mass indices and lower overall cancer rates.

Expanded sections in this updated position paper include: cancer protection factors in vegetarian diets, and the roles of fruits, vegetables, soy products, protein, calcium, vitamins D and K and potassium in bone health.

In other words, a vegetarian diet is better for you than a meat diet. It’s also better for every other living thing on Earth. So why hasn’t this study cracked the headlines?
 

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In "It's Not a Crisis. This Is the New Normal," we explain, as matter-of-factly as we can, what exactly our finances look like, how brutal it is to sustain quality journalism right now, what makes Mother Jones different than most of the news out there, and why support from readers is the only thing that keeps us going. Despite the challenges, we're optimistic we can increase the share of online readers who decide to donate—starting with hitting an ambitious $300,000 goal in just three weeks to make sure we can finish our fiscal year break-even in the coming months.

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