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New USDA Guidelines Praise Vegetarian Diets

New USDA Guidelines Praise Vegetarian Diets

The federal government has issued new dietary guidelines that highlight the health benefits of a plant-based diet.

The guidelines are issued by the US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services and serve as a guide for any nutritional initiatives like public school lunches, etc. The guidelines are updated every five years; these guidelines were just issued last week.

It is a big step forward to have the federal government acknowledging the health benefits of a plant-based diet. The guidelines include the following: “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.”

The guidelines contain warnings about obesity and an overconsumption of saturated fat which have been mainstay concerns for health care providers and the federal government for years. However, while the guidelines do have a lot of positive things to say about plant-based diets for those who choose them, they don’t actually make a formal recommendation for everyone to stop eating meat.

We have to remember the lobbies of the animal agriculture industry, of course.

Neal Barnard, the president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, criticized the fact that the guidelines speak in specifics when discussing things to eat more of like fruits and vegetables, but they speak in technical terms when discussing foods to eat less of like meats and cheeses, instead they use the warnings about “saturated fat” and “cholesterol.”

Barnard thinks this coded language is a result of the government’s fear of upsetting food producers.

Although it might be surprising that the government is finally coming around and acknowledging the enormous health benefits of a plant-based diet, the evidence has been around for years. Vegans have a lower occurrence of almost all cancers and heart disease. A vegan diet excludes you from the huge amount of antibiotics being pumped into livestock to promote growth.

The writing has been on the wall for years and the federal government is finally opening its eyes. If you want to lower your chance of cancer, heart disease and obesity, make the transition to a vegan diet. It might be the smartest decision you ever make.

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Photo: Pam Brophy

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137 comments

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12:57AM PST on Mar 8, 2014

ty

7:09AM PDT on Apr 2, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

12:26PM PDT on Jul 14, 2012

Grazie delle informazioni.

5:15AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

how many years have I been saying this?

1:41AM PDT on Jun 13, 2012

Ditto to Mara C. --it's about time!!!

6:12AM PDT on Jun 12, 2012

The commercial producers of food have been, for far too long, stuffing the population with what is more profitable for them to produce rather than what is more ethical and healthier for humans to eat.

6:04AM PDT on Jun 12, 2012

For too long commercial interests have been producing what is profitable for them to produce rather than what is healthier and more ethical for the population to produce. Food is one example, tobacco another.

5:06AM PDT on Jun 11, 2012

“How can we ourselves find peace when we are the living graves of murdered animals?"
-George Bernard Shaw

7:33PM PDT on Sep 5, 2011

Plant-based diets are great! I've been vegetarian for many years now.

5:55AM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

It's so silly when people think a meat-free diet can't be healthy!

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