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AJCN 5th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition May, 2009 - SUMMARY - Here's all the latest word on benefits and awarenesses that are important to vegetarian and vegan diets. Please go to http://www.beloit.edu/nutrition/ln/ln09mayajcnvege.htm for explanations of the topics listed below and links to the article abstracts.

Dimensions of vegetarian diets - There are several dimensions to the study of vegetarian or plant-based diets. But even a vegetarian diet cannot guarantee your health against cancer . In contrast to fish oil, plant omega-3s are too short to reduce risk of prostate cancer and even increase risk. Ready-to-eat cereals reduce childhood obesity. Low-fat vegan diet reduces diabetes risk . Omega-3 fats are antiinflammatory, antithrombotic, and antiarrhythmic. Plant-based [antioxidant-rich] diet prevents middle age cognitive and physical decline. Vegetarians reduce risk for chronic disease.

Vegans should be sure to get enough of this list of micronutrients - Micronutrients of special concern for the vegan include vitamins B-12 and D, calcium, and long-chain n–3 (omega-3) fatty acids.

Milk may not help build strong bones . Eating nuts lowers risk of obesity. Eating nuts lowers risk of heart disease. Nuts and fish oil provide healthier blood . Soy has many health benefits . Phytoestrogens in soy do not increase breast cancer risk. Soy formula better for infants than milk formula .
Eating meat is a major cause of global warming - Carbon footprint of foods - A recent study of 20 items sold in Sweden showed a span of 0.4 to 30 kg CO2 equivalents/kg edible product.

DETAILS -
1. Dimensions of vegetarian diets - There are several dimensions to the study of vegetarian or plant-based diets. First, the traditional aspect deals with adequacy of vegetarian diets and the health status of vegetarians. ..The second dimension of vegetarian diets is their role in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. One of the questions that vegetarians often have is whether or not plant sources of n–3 (omega-3) fatty acids can provide health benefits equivalent to those conferred by marine n–3 fatty acids. ..there has been a steady increase in the understanding and awareness among the general public and the scientific communities of the environmental consequences of food production and the implications of dietary choices on climate change. ..Accumulating evidence on the health benefits of vegetarian and plant-based diets makes it imperative to translate this knowledge for nutrition education and for influencing nutrition policy. At this congress, an expert panel discussed the existing evidence that supports the positioning of selected plant foods more prominently in the upcoming dietary guidelines (20). A presentation on food synergy (21) emphasizing food-based rather than nutrient-based dietary recommendations provided the framework for this panel discussion.

2. Human and gut bacterial genetic variation and environmental exposure explain why even a vegetarian diet cannot guarantee your health against cancer .

3. In contrast to fish oil, plant omega-3s are too short to reduce risk of prostate cancer and even increase risk.

4. Ready-to-eat cereals reduce childhood obesity

5. Low-fat vegan diet reduces diabetes risk

6. Omega-3 fats are antiinflammatory, antithrombotic, and antiarrhymthymic.

7. Plant-based [antioxidant-rich] diet prevents middle age cognitive and physical decline.

8. Vegetarians reduce risk for chronic disease - There is convincing evidence that vegetarians have lower rates of coronary heart disease, largely explained by low LDL cholesterol, probable lower rates of hypertension and diabetes mellitus, and lower prevalence of obesity. Overall, their cancer rates appear to be moderately lower than others living in the same communities, and life expectancy appears to be greater.

9. Vegans should be sure to get enough of this list of micronutrients - A vegetarian diet is associated with many health benefits because of its higher content of fiber, folic acid, vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium, and many phytochemicals and a fat content that is more unsaturated. Compared with other vegetarian diets, vegan diets tend to contain less saturated fat and cholesterol and more dietary fiber. Vegans tend to be thinner, have lower serum cholesterol, and lower blood pressure, reducing their risk of heart disease. However, eliminating all animal products from the diet increases the risk of certain nutritional deficiencies. Micronutrients of special concern for the vegan include vitamins B-12 and D, calcium, and long-chain n–3 (omega-3) fatty acids. Unless vegans regularly consume foods that are fortified with these nutrients, appropriate supplements should be consumed. In some cases, iron and zinc status of vegans may also be of concern because of the limited bioavailability of these minerals. Even vegetarians should be sure to get enough iron and vitamin B12.

10. Milk may not help build strong bones - Although cow milk has been widely recommended in Western countries as necessary for growth and bone health, evidence collected during the past 20 y shows the need to rethink strategies for building and maintaining strong bones. Osteoporotic bone fracture rates are highest in countries that consume the most dairy, calcium, and animal protein. Most studies of fracture risk provide little or no evidence that milk or other dairy products benefit bone. Accumulating evidence shows that consuming milk or dairy products may contribute to the risk of prostate and ovarian cancers, autoimmune diseases, and some childhood ailments. Because milk is not necessary for humans after weaning and the nutrients it contains are readily available in foods without animal protein, saturated fat, and cholesterol, vegetarians may have healthier outcomes for chronic disease if they limit or avoid milk and other dairy products. Bones are better served by attending to calcium balance and focusing efforts on increasing fruit and vegetable intakes, limiting animal protein, exercising regularly, getting adequate sunshine or supplemental vitamin D, and getting {approx}500 mg Ca/d from plant sources.

11. Eating nuts lowers risk of obesity.

12. Eating nuts lowers risk of heart disease.

13. Nuts and fish oil provide healthier blood - Including walnuts and fatty fish in a healthy diet lowered serum cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations, respectively, which affects CHD risk favorably.

14. Soy has many health benefits - Some studies in high soy–consuming populations reported an i

15. Inverse association between urinary and serum equol concentrations and breast and prostate cancer risk. Furthermore, several studies of soy supplementation and bone density suggest that soy products may be more effective in maintaining bone density in equol-producing individuals. Phytoestrogens in soy do not increase breast cancer risk.

16. Soy formula better for infants than milk formula

17. Eating meat is a major cause of global warming - Results show that, for the combined differential production of 11 food items for which consumption differs among vegetarians and nonvegetarians, the nonvegetarian diet required 2.9 times more water, 2.5 times more primary energy, 13 times more fertilizer, and 1.4 times more pesticides than did the vegetarian diet. The greatest contribution to the differences came from the consumption of beef in the diet.

18. Carbon footprint of foods - A recent study of {approx}20 items sold in Sweden showed a span of 0.4 to 30 kg CO2 equivalents/kg edible product. For protein-rich food, such as legumes, meat, fish, cheese, and eggs, the difference is a factor of 30 with the lowest emissions per kilogram for legumes, poultry, and eggs and the highest for beef, cheese, and pork. Large emissions for ruminants are explained mainly by methane emissions from enteric fermentation. For vegetables and fruits, emissions usually are ≤2.5 kg CO2 equivalents/kg product.

I hope you are able to have an organic garden like they have at the US White House now.

 

 

 

 

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