The Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research Highlights
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The number of people who are adopting a vegetarian diet is on the increase - in Canada it is estimated that about 4% of the adult population chooses a vegetarian eating style. According to a joint position of Dietitians of Canada and the American Dietetic Association published in the June issue of the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research (2003;64(2):62-81), appropriate planned vegetarian diets are healthful and nutritionally adequate for people of all stages of the lifecycle. A vegetarian diet also provides health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Registered Dietitian and DC member Vesanto Melina co-authored this position along with American colleagues.
The DC / ADA position details the most current science regarding key nutrients and how to obtain them through a vegetarian diet. Numerous health benefits are also cited - lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein and higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E.
Vegetarians have been reported to have healthier body weight than non-vegetarians, as well as lower rates of death from heart disease, lower blood cholesterol levels and lower rates of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and prostate and colon cancer.
To take the guess-work out of vegetarian meal planning, ensuring that food choices are well-balanced, the authors of the position paper have also devised a Food Guide for North American Vegetarians. The new Guide uses the familiar framework of Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating and the US Food Guide Pyramid in making recommendations for numbers and kinds of food choices that would fit a completely plant-based or a lacto-ovo vegetarian eating style. The Guide is also described in the June issue of the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research (2003;64(2): 82-86.
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Source: Dietitians of Canada