Academy of Nutrition Position on Vegan and Vegetarian Diets

Position Statement Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

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There is so much information and misinformation on the internet about diets, nutrition, dieting, and supplements.  It can be difficult to sort through the information in order to find the optimal diet and nutrition for human health.

It is important to note that many websites are trying to sell supplements, books, and e-books.

In addition to those purveyors, the multi-billion dollar food industry has a lot at stake.  The food industry is one of the top advertisers in the U.S. at 191 Billion spent in 2016.  Their ad campaigns are designed to get you to purchase their goods in order for them to increase shareholder value.  They also fund erroneous studies in order to create confusion about what is healthy and what is not.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals compromised of over 100,000 credentialed practitioners including registered dietitian nutritionists, dietetic technicians, registered, and other dietetics professionals holding undergraduate and advanced degrees in nutrition and dietetics.  They are the leader in food and nutrition issues.

THE ACADEMY OF NUTRITION AND DIETETICS POSITION STATEMENT:

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. A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat (including fowl) or seafood, or products containing those foods. This article reviews the current data related to key nutrients for vegetarians including protein, n-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, and vitamins D and B-12. A vegetarian diet can meet current recommendations for all of these nutrients. In some cases, supplements or fortified foods can provide useful amounts of important nutrients. An evidence- based review showed that vegetarian diets can be nutritionally adequate in pregnancy and result in positive maternal and infant health outcomes. The results of an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Vegetarians also appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than non-vegetarians. Furthermore, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Features of a vegetarian diet that may reduce risk of chronic disease include lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, fiber, and phytochemicals. The variability of dietary practices among vegetarians makes individual assessment of dietary adequacy essential. In addition to assessing dietary adequacy, food and nutrition professionals can also play key roles in educating vegetarians about sources of specific nutrients, food purchase and preparation, and dietary modifications to meet their needs. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864

In addition to this general statement, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics  and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree that: Well-planned vegetarian and vegan eating patterns are healthy for infants and toddlers. That statement can be viewed HERE http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/vegetarian-and-special-diets/feeding-vegetarian-and-vegan-infants-and-toddlers .

Personally, I have been thriving on a vegan diet.  I have gotten blood work done often and I am not deficient in any nutrients.  I do take a vitamin D3 as I live in the Northern Hemisphere and we don’t get a lot of sun in the winter.  I also supplement with a Vitamin B12 twice weekly. (More info on B12 intake here: https://www.arespectfullife.com/2017/05/22/getting-enough-b12/)

If you are curious about what I eat every day, check out my Instagram feed. https://www.instagram.com/respectfulliving1/

I have found that the best source for nutrition for vegans and vegetarians is at NutritionFacts.org .  I would also recommend downloading their free app called ‘Daily Dozen’.  I find it helpful for meal planning and ensuring that I eat properly daily.

If you have any questions about nutrition or a vegan diet, please feel free to reach out to me directly.

JT

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6 Replies to “Academy of Nutrition Position on Vegan and Vegetarian Diets

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