October Issue. A well-planned vegetarian or vegan diet can be healthful for people of all ages. Today’s Dietitian offers tips on how you can help clients cover their nutritional bases. From environmentally aware adolescents to health-focused middle-aged adults, more and more people are interested in the benefits of a plant-based diet. You may be noticing this trend in your own practice, whether you work in foodservice, a hospital, or a clinic. Today, you can confidently tell clients—both young and old—that a well-planned vegetarian diet not only can be nutritionally adequate but also can provide benefits for both health and the environment. After all, that’s the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics1 the Academy and even the recent Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report. Many people are attracted to plant-based diets for their health benefits. Indeed, research shows that vegetarian and vegan diet patterns are linked with lower incidences of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. Studies show that plant-based diets tend to be rich in a number of important nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals.
Donate Why Good Food? Life Science Companies. All Resources. Additionally, the authors concluded that plant-based diets provide health benefits for people at all stages of life—including women during pregnancy, athletes in training, and infants. Compared to nonvegetarian diets, vegetarian diets can provide protection against many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some cancers. Furthermore, a vegetarian diet could make more conservative use of natural resources and cause less environmental degradation. The Academy nods to this, noting that sales of meat-alternatives are on the rise, along with the number of people who are seeking to remove or reduce animal products from their diets.
However, these needs typically can be fulfilled if the diet provides enough calories and diversity of foods. While vegetarians may obtain some through dairy foods and eggs, their intake levels may be low, too. Due to reduced bioavailability of iron, it’s recommended that vegetarians and vegans consume 1. Vegetarians may be getting small amounts in omega-3 fortified milk and eggs, but vegans don’t consume these sources. Publisher of Today’s Dietitian. Today, you can confidently tell clients—both young and old—that a well-planned vegetarian diet not only can be nutritionally adequate but also can provide benefits for both health and the environment. These factors contribute to reduction of chronic disease. Sources of iron for both vegetarians and vegans include grains, legumes, leafy greens, tofu, and enriched cereals.