The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND)—a collection of 100,000 healthcare professionals, the largest in the United States—published its official position on vegetarian diets in the December issue its medical journal. “It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases,” the AND states. While the organization recognizes the benefits of vegetarian diets in general, AND finds the vegan diet is best for reducing the risk of (and treating) illness such as heart disease, hypertension, some forms of cancer, and type 2 diabetes. AND deemed vegan diets effective at promoting a lower body mass index, more environmentally friendly than other diets, and safe for people in all stages of life—including athletes, pregnant women, children, and older adults. The organization relied on a large collection of studies and public surveys to arrive at its opinion. Report researcher and Director of Nutrition Education for vegan group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Susan Levin believes AND’s stance is an important stride for both the vegan and medical communities alike. “Any representative of the medical community who is studied in science and not rumor should be advocating for a plant-based diet as an ideal option for treating and preventing most chronic diseases,” Levin told VegNews. While AND has published various papers on how consuming animal products affects health, this is the first time AND included their position on how the animal agriculture negatively impacts the environment.
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