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

137 comments

Richard T.
Richard T.2 years ago

ty

Duane B.
.3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

federico bortoletto

Grazie delle informazioni.

Joyce S.
Joyce Shulman3 years ago

how many years have I been saying this?

Patti R.
Patti Ruocco4 years ago

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

Susan Griffiths
Susan Griffiths4 years ago

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.

Susan Griffiths
Susan Griffiths4 years ago

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.

antonia maestre
antonia maestre4 years ago

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

Jo Asprec
Jo Asprec4 years ago

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

Megan S.
Megan S.4 years ago

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