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Kaiser Permanente Endorses Plant-Based Diets

Kaiser Permanente Endorses Plant-Based Diets

It’s hard to believe, but Kaiser Permanente has endorsed a plant-based diet! Why does this matter?

Kaiser Permanente is the largest HMO in the United States with 182,000 employees, including 17,000 physicians.” –J. Morris Hicks, Healthy Eating Healthy World

And they could potentially be helping lead the way towards a plant-based revolution in healthcare.

Excerpts from the Spring 2013 Kaiser Permanente Journal:

“Research shows that plant-based diets are cost-effective, low-risk interventions that may lower body mass index, blood pressure, HbA1C, and cholesterol levels. They may also reduce the number of medications needed to treat chronic diseases and lower ischemic heart disease mortality rates. Physicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients, especially those patients with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity)


Of all the diets recommended over the last few decades to turn the tide of these chronic illnesses, the best but perhaps least common may be those that are plant based…Despite the strong body of evidence favoring plant-based diets, including studies showing a willingness of the general public to embrace them, many physicians are not stressing the importance of plant-based diets as a first-line treatment for chronic illnesses. This could be because of a lack of awareness of these diets or a lack of patient education resources.


Healthy eating may be best achieved with a plant-based diet, which we define as a regimen that encourages whole, plant-based foods and discourages meats, dairy products, and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods.”*

– (Bolding throughout excerpts, mine) – To read the full article follow link at the bottom of this page.


Kaiser Permanente’s decision to endorse a plant-based diet could have huge implications for preventative care and potentially the cost of healthcare overall (for those covered under their company.) As Hicks put it in his blog about this announcement:

“Although our medical doctors receive little if any nutritional training in med school, they are the primary gatekeepers when it comes to advising patients about what they should be eating. And since most of the doctors eat the Standard American Diet (the S.A.D.) themselves, naturally that is what they advise their patients to eat. That practice has resulted in the sickest nation on Earth with by far the highest cost of healthcare. But things are finally beginning to change.” (Bolding mine)

Change is indeed coming and it looks like it may come in the form of a giving a WHOLE foods plant-based diet and perspective a chance.

* While the Kaiser Permanente Journal article mentioned in this blog features a good endorsement of a whole-foods plant-based diet, their section on “protein” is a bit misleading. Although the author mentions that you can get all the amino acids (protein) you need from a plant based diet, the wording they choose to use seems to inadvertently perpetuate the myth about needing to “compliment plant proteins” (combine two plant foods together to make perfect protein). To understand more plant-based sources of protein check out 10 Protein Packed Plants.


Healthy Eating Healthy World
Spring 2013 Kaiser Permanente Journal

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Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati

Gentle World is a vegan intentional community and non-profit organization, whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making such a transition. For more information about vegan food and other aspects of a vegan lifestyle, visit the Gentle World website and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.


+ add your own
4:13PM PDT on May 4, 2014

Kaiser Permanente needs to send that memo and encourage all physicians and health care workers especially those who write prescriptions before offering pharmaceuticals. I'm a vegetarian/vegan and member of KP and have never been offered anything other then pharmaceuticals. I take charge of my health and take nothing unless I think it's the only way to resolve my health issue and/or get it under control. Many pharmaceuticals are not needed long term but your doctor never tells you this. So you must become your advocate for your health and body. When you start to move more, lose weight, eat healthier and get your cholesterol high blood pressure etc under control with pharmaceuticals and continue this healthier lifestyle you can stop those medications by consulting your doctor first. If they don't agree get another doctor and/or have them explain why you cannot and then get a 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc opinion. Take charge of your body and what goes into it now. ps doctors are not always right and/or smart as you think they are.

12:22PM PST on Dec 27, 2013

Totally disagree wit Carol P. My partner was born vegetarian and predominantly on a vegan diet. He is near retirement and in very good health. Some vegans may have got sick, but some vegans eat very poorly ! Vegan infants don't die, I know quite a few vegan children in great health.

8:58PM PST on Dec 2, 2013


5:18PM PST on Nov 28, 2013

Very encouraging! These days it feels as if eating organic plants--fruits, veggies, legumes, etc., is the only safe, clean food there is out there. I used to eat fish but feel wary of it even though I love salmon and shrimp! The challenge I'm up for is using veggies, nuts and so on in an imaginative way.

11:34AM PST on Nov 8, 2013

Awesome to hear, it is about time people understand this.

11:44AM PDT on Oct 26, 2013

I hope in the coming future that ALL HMO's will jump into the plant based health alternatives to toxic medications. Let's get healthier with proper diets.
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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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