We all have them—those people in our lives who refuse to believe that you can be healthy without eating meat. Well, now you can point them to the new USDA Dietary Guidelines, in which they'll read the following:
"In prospective studies of adults, compared to non-vegetarian eating patterns, 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.
"On average, vegetarians consume a lower proportion of calories from fat (particularly saturated fatty acids); fewer overall calories; and more fiber, potassium, and vitamin C than do non-vegetarians. Vegetarians generally have a lower body mass index. These characteristics and other lifestyle factors associated with a vegetarian diet may contribute to the positive health outcomes that have been identified among vegetarians."
Now, some folks have been saying this, like, forever, but it's still nice to see the USDA catching up to the mainstream (though it still needs to stop pushing cow's milk, which is anything but a health food). The agency has even included "Vegetarian Adaptations of the USDA Food Patterns" in the guidelines, but if your friends or family members finally get the picture, we can help them get started with a healthy and humane vegetarian diet here.
Written by Jeff Mackey