Well-planned vegan diets 'may help prevent and treat' diseases

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly known as the American Dietetic Association, has recently published an up to date position paper on vegetarian and vegan diets, stating that they are more ‘environmentally sustainable’ and associated with reduced risks of certain health conditions, such as ischemic heart disease, type two diabetes and certain cancers.

“It’s fantastic that both the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the British Dietetic Association recognise that well-planned vegan diets are healthy options for everyone,” says Heather Russell, Dietitian.

“They contain plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, nuts and seeds, and research suggests that the nutritional quality of balanced vegan diets is higher than that of non-vegan diets.”

The Academy recognises that vegan diets tend to be the most beneficial when it comes to mitigating heart disease compared to vegetarian and meat eating diets, as well as being associated with lower blood pressure. The position also highlights findings from one study which suggested that ‘a vegan diet appeared to confer a greater protection against overall cancer incidence than any other dietary pattern’, and that vegans were 62 per cent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The position statement from the Academy also highlights the environmental benefits of a vegan lifestyle. As the Earth is currently warming at a rate ‘unprecedented in the last 1000 years’ now more than ever we need to care for our planet. Animal farming contributes at least 14.5 per cent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and is devastating both to the Earth and to the animals.

There are now over half a million people in Britain following a vegan diet with another half a million vegetarians wanting to reduce their consumption of animal products. Going vegan has never been easier, with far wider availability of vegan products in cafes, restaurants and shops across the UK.

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