AND Issues Position Statement on Vegetarian Diets

Vegetarians generally have lower risks of obesity
Vegetarians generally have lower risks of obesity

HealthDay News — Vegetarian diets are healthy for people of all ages, as well as the environment, according to a new position statement from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). The report has been published in the December issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Studies show that vegetarians generally have lower risks of obesity and chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers, according to the AND. The report also stressed another point: Vegetarian diets can be safe and healthy for people of any age.

The academy also noted that vegetarian and vegan diets can be safe during pregnancy and lactation. These diets can also be appropriate for athletes and the elderly. According to the AND report, vegans should take supplemental vitamin B12. Vegetarians usually need supplements or B12-fortified foods, too, since their dairy intake may not supply enough of the nutrient. The new report also claims that the diets are kinder to the environment.

"Vegetarian diets leave a lighter carbon footprint," Susan Levin, RD, one of the report authors and director of nutrition education at the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, DC, told HealthDay.

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