The Viva Vine: vol #5, no #1: January / February 1996

Feds endorse
vegetarian diet
for the first time

For the first time ever, federal nutrition guidelines gave vegetarian diets honorable mention; i.e., any mention at all.

Accepting recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman and Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala released the fourth edition of "Nutrition and Your Health; Dietary Guidelines for Americans" January 2 of this year. The Advisory Committee officially proposed in its government report which is released only once every five years: "Lacto-ovo-vegetarians enjoy excellent health. Vegetarian diets are consistent with the 'Dietary Guidelines' and can meet Recommended Dietary Allowances for nutrients."

Thanks to the panel testimony of a number of physicians, some of whose names should be familiar to vegetarians, the guidelines became a landmark break from the past--names (among others) such as: >>Dr. Neal A. Barnard of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, >>Dr. Benjamin Spock, well-known author of Baby and Child Care, >>Henry Heimlich, discoverer of the famous Heimlich Maneuver, >>Dr. William Castelli, Director of The Framingham Heart Study, >>Dr. William Roberts, of the American Journal of Cardiology, >>Dr. Dean Ornish of the San Francisco Preventive Medicine Institute, and first clinician to offer documented proof that heart disease can be halted or even reversed without drugs or surgery, and >>Dr. Frank A. Oski, chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University and author of Don't Drink Your Milk.

The doctors told the advisory committee: "The current recommendation of 2-3 servings of meat every day (or any recommendation for meat consumption) contrasts with the preponderance of scientific evidence showing that meat consumption contributes to several serious illnesses and that those who avoid meats are generally healthier than those who consume them. In particular, vegetarians have much lower rates of hypertension, heart disease, cancer, gallstones and obesity, compared to omnivores."

For more information about the federal guidelines, call the Vegetarian Awareness Network, (800)USA-VEGE.

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