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Proposed Dietary Guidelines Highlight Benefits of Vegetarian Diets

The Power PlatePCRM’s Power Plate and 21-Day Vegan Kickstart have helped more than 65,000 people experience the benefits of plant-based diets. Recent findings of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee also highlight the value of vegetarian diets. The committee’s proposed revised guidelines underscore the scientific evidence that plant-based diets are a powerful way to prevent obesity, diabetes, and cholesterol problems. 

Previous advisory panels have noted the value of vegetarian diets, but have never officially recommended them in final guidelines, which are often altered by political forces. The current language is the strongest to date—it notes that vegetarian diets are associated with a lower body mass index, lower blood pressure, and improved health outcomes.

“Vegetarian diets can dramatically cut the risk of obesity, diabetes, and other problems,” says Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., director of nutrition education for PCRM. “America now spends more than $100 billion a year on obesity-related health care costs, and it’s clear that meatless meals can help us stay trimmer and healthier and cut our medical bills.”

PCRM’s own nutrition recommendations, represented graphically in The Power Plate, focus on presenting whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes as dietary staples. The Power Plate rests on dozens of scientific studies showing that plant-based eating habits are associated with lower obesity rates and a reduced risk of heart disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.

On Sept. 6, you can get help incorporating these recommendations into your diet through PCRM’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart program. Kickstarters receive daily e-mails for a step-by-step diet makeover, including recipes and nutrition webcasts. The Kickstart offers an interactive support network—including a Facebook fan page and a discussion board featuring registered dietitians—to help participants make sustainable dietary changes. If you are already following a vegan diet, this program can help you cut down on oils and other fats and add more healthful meals to your menu.

Visit to learn more about attaining optimal health through a plant-based diet. Visit to sign up for the 21-Day Kickstart beginning Sept. 6.

Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.

Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.

PCRM Online, July 2010

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