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From Michael Greger, MD

Low fat vegetarian and vegan diets have proven remarkably successful in the treatment of heart disease,[1] diabetes,[2] and high blood pressure.[3] Many practitioners are hesitant, though, to put people on such diets fearing their nutritional adequacy. This is ironic, given that when people switch from an omnivorous diet their intake of many nutrients greatly improves. They tend to eat less saturated fat and cholesterol, of course, but also experience favorable increases in antioxidants like B carotene and vitamin C, B vitamins like thiamin and folate, and minerals like magnesium and potassium.[4]

The Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine (a great organization--visit ) recently published a dietary analysis of a few dozen women transitioned to a self-selected low fat vegan diet. Although the intakes of most vitamins and minerals improved or stayed the same, the consumption of some nutrients dropped. They conclude: "To increase intakes of these nutrients, people following a low-fat vegan diet should emphasize legumes [beans, lentils] and whole grains for protein; supplemental sources of vitamin D and B12, such as fortified cereals and soymilk to increase vitamin D and B12 intakes; leafy greens, beans, and fortified soymilks and juices to increase calcium intake; and whole, unrefined grains, nuts and seeds to increase phosphorus, selenium and zinc intakes." [4]

There are so many wonderful vegan convenience foods out there now, but the healthiest (not to mention often cheapest and more environmentally friendly) foods are still those that grow out of the ground.


1 Journal of the American Medical Association 280(1998):2001.
2 Preventive Medicine 29(1999):87.
3 Journal of the American College of Nutrition 14(1995):491.
4 Nutrition 20(2004):738.

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We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.