Extracts from: How to implement a vegetarian diet…use the Vegetarian Food Guide Pyramid
”The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Nutrition Council (GCNC) have written several position statements on issues relating to a vegetarian diet, see brochure. The benefits of following a vegetarian diet include lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol and animal protein and higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, boron, folate and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, carotenoids and phytochemicals. Current research demonstrates the value of a vegetarian diet in the following ways:
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Eat Vegetarian and …eat healthy! Vegetarian diets offer nutritional benefits
“It is the position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada that appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases...
1. There is a significant correlation between the consumption of a high-fat, high-cholesterol, animal products diet, the frequency of their use, the duration of time used, and the incidence of fatal heart disease, certain types of cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Lower blood pressure and less incidence of insulin resistance occurs in persons eating a vegetarian diet.
2. There is a compounding disease potential related to the number of negative lifestyle habits. For
example, meat-eating and the lack of exercise cause more potential for disease than either one alone.
3. Vegetarians are exposed to fewer carcinogens, mutogens, and pesticides than meat-eaters, and they also have reduced risk from certain diseases because of their increased consumption of
dried beans, fruits, nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
4. Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts may be less expensive to produce than meat and the users of these products may be more environmentally responsible than meat-eaters.
5. Vegetarians can have a greater variety of foods, ethnic dishes, and exciting menus compared to the meat-and-potatoes, hamburger-andfrench-fries, coffee-and-donut routine.
Public Policy Statements and Vegetarian Diets
The United States Dietary Guidelines, released January, 2005, does not specifically address vegetarian diets, however the previous Guidelines, 2000, states, “Vegetarian diets can be consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and meet Recommended Dietary Allowances for nutrients.”There may be some who question the adequacy of a vegetarian diet, however, the benefits obtained from eating a well planned plant-based diet far outweigh the risks of nutrient deficiencies.
What does the GCNC Recommend?
The General Conference Nutrition Council recommends that the total vegetarian and those who also avoid dairy, meat, fish and fowl, should include fortified foods high in vitamin B12 or use a vitamin
B12 supplement. This would be especially true of one who is pregnant or breastfeeding a child.
To reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and other chronic diseases, the General Conference Nutrition Council recommends:
• A Lacto-ovo vegetarian diet.
• Eat at least five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day. A minimum of one fruit or vegetable should be high in vitamin C and one high in vitamin A.
• Eat one or more servings of cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli,cauliflower, kale,etc.) each week. A serving is equal to 1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked.
• Eat six to eleven servings of whole grain breads, cereals, pastas and legumes (beans, peas) each day (a serving is equal to one slice of bread and ½ cup cooked of other servings).
• Attain or maintain ideal weight by limiting calories so your weight is at the lower end of the normal range for your height. Keep your waist-to-hip circumference ratio to under 1.0 for men and 0.85 for women.
• Make breakfast the largest meal of the day.
• Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and less fatty foods (meat and desserts).
• Avoid snacks.
• Exercise 30-60 minutes daily.
• Exercise lowers risk of cancers besides controlling weight.
• Reduce your fat intake to between 20 and 30 percent of the calories (read the food label, for 2000
calories, fat intake is about 45-65 grams/day) and adopt the vegetarian diet. To further reduce
fat and saturated fat from animal sources, use only non fat milk/milk products and avoid egg yolks; use only the whites of the egg.
• Avoid the use of coffee, tea and alcohol.
Vegetarian Diets and Nutritional Considerations
For the vegetarian, a well planned vegetarian and plant-rich diet affords all nutrient requirements. Unless fortified, no plant food contains significant amounts of active vitamin B-12. It is essential that all total vegetarians (and especially those who avoid dairy and meat, fish and fowl,) use a supplement, fortified food, dairy products or eggs to meet recommended intakes of vitamin B-12.
While the vegetarian diet is generally rich in n-6 fatty acids, especially linoleic, the vegetarian diet
may also be low in n-3 fatty acids. Most studies show total vegetarians, and especially those who avoid dairy and meat, fish and fowl, have lower blood levels of long-chain n-3 fatty acids. The
recommendation is to include foods such as ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil, soy or canola oil, soybeans, tofu and walnuts. In addition to the above, for total vegetarians who also avoid dairy, meat, fish and fowl, intakes of vitamin D, calcium, zinc and occasionally riboflavin may be lower than
Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Diet
A lacto-ovo vegetarian diet follows the Vegetarian Food Guide Pyramid. Developed by the General Conference Nutrition Council, it is the same as the US Departments of Agriculture and Health and
Human Services’ Food Guide Pyramid in all of its food groups except for the Meat, Beans, Nuts Group. The meat is omitted. The primary nutrients found in the foods in that group are protein, iron, and zinc. All three of those nutrients can be found in abundance in other foods. Beans, nuts, eggs, and tofu (soy) provide all the amino acids (building blocks of proteins) that the body needs.
The protein dish or entrée of the meal then is the only change to be made when moving from a meat diet to a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. All other items on the menu may remain the same.