Now, for the first time, The U.S. Department of Agriculture* is talking about truly good foods, rather than just scientifically discuss nutrients. In the new edition, the guidelines’ healthy eating patterns may or may not include moderate amounts of meat. The guidelines explain clearly that near-vegetarian and vegetarian diets are adequate and have even resulted in better health.
In studies of adults, compared to non-vegetarian eating patterns, vegetarian-style eating patterns have been associated with improved health outcomes–lower levels of obesity, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and lower total mortality. Several clinical trials have documented that vegetarian eating patterns lower blood pressure. On average, vegetarians consume a lower proportion of calories from fat (particularly saturated fatty acids); fewer overall calories; and more fiber, potassium and vitamin C than do non-vegetarians. Vegetarians generally have a lower body mass index.
“These characteristics and other lifestyle factors associated with a vegetarian diet may contribute to the positive health outcomes that have been identified among vegetarians.”
*Every five years the U.S. Dept of Agriculture announces dietary guidelines advising Americans about how to eat; “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010″.
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