Vegetarian Nutrition

Vegetarian Nutrition

Welcome to the Vegetarian Nutrition project page. This project was published between 2007-2011. Highlights of this project include:
  • Target audience of adults and children.
  • The evidence analysis questions from this project are in four (4) sub-topic areas - Types and Diversity of Vegetarian Diets; Vegetarian Nutrition and Chronic Diseases; Vegetarian Nutrition and Nutrients; and Vegetarian Nutrition in the Life-Cycle.
  • The Evidence-based Nutrition Practice Guidelines were published in 2011.
  • Expand the Project Resources section for information on products developed from this project.
Use the links on the left to access the project information.
  • Project Team
    The following individuals contributed their valuabe time and expertise to this project:

    Workgroup Members
    • Sudha Raj, PhD, RD, Chair
    • Amy Knoblock-Hahn, RD, LD
    • Diana K.Cullum-Dugan, RD, LD
    • Debbie Lucus, MS, RD, CDE
    • Kimberly J. Thedford, MS, RD, LD
    • Roman M. Pawlak, PhD, RD

      The Vegetarian Nutrition Workgroup members come from diverse backgrounds and varied professional, as well as personal experiences with vegetarianism. Each of the members has practiced a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle for a number of years. Together with their distinctive backgrounds and experiences, and their knowledge of peer-reviewed literature related to vegetarianism, they established the evidence-based Vegetarian Nutrition Guideline to support Registered Dietitians (RD) in his or her practice. The Workgroup’s aim is to guide the RD in facilitating healthy flesh-free and animal-free lifestyle choices that meet nutritional requirements and the personal needs and interests of a broad range of individuals. 
    Project Manager
    • J. Scott Parrott, PhD
    Consultant
    • Tami A. Piemonte, MS, RD
    Evidence Analysts
    • Cynthia P. Blocksom, MEd, RD, LD, CHES
    • Josh Brown, MS, RD, LD
    • Catherine A. Gerwick, MS, RD
    • Alida M. Herling, MPH, RD
    • Elsa Pinto Lopez, MS, RD
    • Linda Rankin, PhD, RD, LD, FADA
    • Claudia Sealey-Potts, PhD, RD, LD
    • Elizabeth F. Tilak, MS, RD
    • Jamie Zoellner, PhD, RD
    Association Positions Committee Workgroup
    • Dianne K. Polly, JD, RD, LDN
    • Katrina Hold, MPH, MS, RD
    Academy Staff
    • Deborah Cummins, PhD
    • Kari Kren, MPH, RD
    • Joan Schwaba, MS, RD, LDN
    • Esther Myers, PhD, RD
    Financial Contributors
    • Evidence Analysis
      • Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group
      • American Dietetic Association Foundation
      • American Dietetic Association
    • Guideline
      • American Dietetic Association

    Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest: In the interest of full disclosure, the Academy has adopted the policy of revealing relationships workgroup members have with companies that sell products or services that are relevant to this topic. Workgroup members are required to disclose potential conflicts of interest by completing the Academy Conflict of Interest Form. It should not be assumed that these financial interests will have an adverse impact on the content, but they are noted here to fully inform readers.
    • None of the workgroup members listed above disclosed potential conflicts.

     
  • Project Resources
    The following resources were developed: 
    • Academy Position Paper - Vegetarian Diets
      Abstract:  It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes. A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat (including fowl) or seafood, or products containing those foods. This article reviews the current data related to key nutrients for vegetarians including protein, n-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, and vitamins D and B-12. A vegetarian diet can meet current recommendations for all of these nutrients. In some cases, supplements or fortified foods can provide useful amounts of important nutrients. An evidence-based review showed that vegetarian diets can be nutritionally adequate in pregnancy and result in positive maternal and infant health outcomes. The results of an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Vegetarians also appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than nonvegetarians. Furthermore, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Features of a vegetarian diet that may reduce risk of chronic disease include lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, fiber, and phytochemicals. The variability of dietary practices among vegetarians makes individual assessment of dietary adequacy essential. In addition to assessing dietary adequacy, food and nutrition professionals can also play key roles in educating vegetarians about sources of specific nutrients, food purchase and preparation, and dietary modifications to meet their needs.  J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109:1266-1281  (PDF).
       
    • Vegetarian Nutrition Toolkit - Implement evidence-based practice and the Academy Nutrition Care Process. This toolkit is designed to assist the registered dietitian in applying the Academy's Vegetarian Nutrition Evidence-based Nutrition Practice Guidelines. The toolkit includes materials such as interactive sample documentation forms, encounter process instructions, outcomes monitoring forms, case studies and client education resources. Click to order.
       
    • Vegetarian Nutrition  Guideline Presentation - this 67-slide MS PowerPoint presentation includes all the recommendations and ratings of the Vegetarian Nutrition Evidence-based Nutrition Practice Guideline. Ideal for you to use for meetings, in-service presentations and classes (not designed for the consumer). Click to order.