Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Seventh-day Adventist Position Statement on Vegetarian Diets

What is the vegetarian lifestyle?

For more than 130 years Seventh-day Adventists (SDAs) have practiced a vegetarian dietary lifestyle because of their belief in the holistic nature of humankind. Whatever is done in eating or drinking should honor and glorify God and preserve the health of the body, mind and spirit.

The vegetarian diet recommended by Seventh-day Adventists includes the generous use of whole grain breads, cereals and pastas, a liberal use of fresh vegetables and fruits, a moderate use of legumes, nuts, seeds. It can also include low fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheeses and eggs. It is best to avoid high saturated fat and cholesterol foods such as: beef, lamb, pork, chicken, fish and seafood. Coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages provide few nutrients and may interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients.

Has there been any research?

Since 1954 more than 250 articles have been published in scientific journals on the Seventh-day Adventist lifestyle and health. In the 1960s, Loma Linda University, in cooperation with the National Cancer Institute, began to study the health of SDAs. Later, in the 1970s and 1980s, data on the Seventh-day Adventist lifestyle was collected and analyzed under contract with the National Institutes of Health.

SDAs in general, have 50% less risk of heart disease, certain types of cancers, strokes, and diabetes. More specifically, recent data suggests that vegetarian men under 40 can expect to live more than eight years longer and women more than seven years longer then the general population. SDA vegetarian men live more than three years longer than SDA men who eat meat.

Researchers believe this added length of life and quality of health is due in particular to the consumption of whole grains, fruits and vegetables as well as the avoidance of meat, alcohol, coffee and tobacco.

Current evidence demonstrates that the more closely a person follows the lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet the lower the risks of major diseases.

What does current research demonstrate?

1. Vegetarians have reduced risks of certain diseases because of their increased consumption of whole grains, dried beans, nuts, fresh and dried fruits, and vegetables. Vegetarians are exposed to fewer carcinogens and mutagens because they do not eat meat.

2. Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts are often less expensive than meat. Plant foods use fewer natural resources from the environment.

3. Vegetarians typically enjoy a great variety of plant based foods, international and ethnic dishes.

4. A significant correlation exists between the frequent and long term consumption of high-fat, high-cholesterol animal based foods and the incidence of fatal heart disease, certain types of cancer, strokes, and diabetes.

5. A vegetarian diet provides a greater consumption of phytochemicals and fiber rich foods which help protect from heart disease, several types of cancer, diabetes and hypertension.

Are there any guidelines I can follow?

Current recommendations encourage people to eat nine or more servings of fruit and vegetables every day and six or more servings daily of a combination of whole grains, cereals, and legumes.

In 2005 the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Nutrition Council (GCNC) adapted the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Pyramid for a vegetarian dietary approach.

Lacto-ovo-vegetarians should give special attention to the intake of protein, iron and zinc.

Total vegetarians should give special attention to intake of calcium, Vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and protein.

Any special consideration for a total plant based diet?

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that those who choose foods of only plant origin must supplement their diet with vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) and, in addition to ensure adequacy of vitamin D and calcium. The American Dietetic Association's most recent position paper on vegetarian diets stated that those who follow a totally plant based diet should give special attention to reliable sources of vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and zinc. Adequate intake of these nutrients are even more important for growing children and pregnant and lactating women.

What does the GCNC recommend?

The GCNC (General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist's Nutrition Council) supports the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences, the World Health Organization, and the U.S. Dietary guidelines for Americans. Next to tobacco and alcohol, foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol (such as meat) are the greatest risk factors in decreasing life expectancy from atherosclerosis, cancer, and premature death.

The GCNC recommends that all meat, fish, and fowl be eliminated from the diet and the use of egg yolks be limited to three or less per week. Foods of animal origin are no longer viewed as dominant items in a healthy diet. The Adventist Health Study clearly reveals a significant advantage for those who choose a meat free, plant based diet over those who select primarily a meat based diet.

The GCNC recommends the generous use of whole grains, vegetables and fruits; and a moderate use of low fat dairy products (or nutritional equivalent alternatives), legumes, and nuts; a very limited use of foods high in saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar, and salt; abstinence from tobacco, alcohol, and coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages.

The Vegetarian Food Pyramid

The GCNC recommends the following Vegetarian Food Pyramid for menu planning. Plan the meals, starting at the base of the pyramid and include foods from each of the five groups everyday. Each group provides essential nutrients which may not be found in other groups and not one of these groups should be eliminated from a balanced diet.

Follow the Vegetarian Food Pyramid to make daily choices. The number of servings are based on caloric need. If you are sedentary, choose the lower number of servings such as six of grains. If you are very active, choose the eleven servings of grain products.

Examples of servings and serving sizes as follows:

GRAINS
6-11 servings daily of fiber and vitamin rich foods
Example: 1 slice bread, 1/2 cup cooked rice, cereal or pasta,
1 cup dry cereal, 1 bagel, 1 tortilla, 1 pita

VEGETABLES AND FRUITS
7-9 servings daily or more of phytochemical and vitamin rich foods
Example: 1 cup raw vegetable salad, 1/2 cup cooked vegetables or
fruits, 1/2 cup dark green and deep yellow vegetables,
1/4 cup dried fruit

DAIRY OR ALTERNATIVES
2-4 servings daily of calcium and vitamin B12 rich foods
Example: 1 cup dairy milk, or fortified non-dairy alternatives,
1 cup low fat yogurt, buttermilk or cottage cheese. Non-dairy alternatives must be
fortified with 25% or more of the RDA or RDI of calcium, vitamin
B12, vitamin D and vitamin A

LEGUMES, NUTS AND SEEDS
2-4 servings daily of protein rich foods
Example: 1/2 cup cooked dried beans or peas, 1 egg or 2 egg whites,
1/2 cup tofu, 1/2 cup meat analogs, 1/4 cup of nuts or seeds or
2 tablespoons of nut butter.

FATS, OILS AND SUGARS (Food from group number five)
2 tablespoons vegetable oils rich in linoleic acid,
such as canola, olive soy, sunflower or corn.
Use desserts sparingly, which are high in sugar and fat.




Source: Seventh-day Adventist Dietetic Association│Adapted from the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Nutrition Council
Author: Seventh-day Adventist Dietetic Association (SDADA) is committed to promoting excellence in plant based nutrition. SDADA to link professionals and consumers and provide a health-beliefs resource following the guidelines of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

3 comments:

  1. I've been a vegetarian for several months and this is the first time I heard about this seventh-day adventist. Do anyone of you tried this one already? How many people found it effective? Are those foods good enough to avoid zinc deficiency symptoms where most of the vegetarians prone to?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for your very informative post. I’m thinking of going vegetarian after I’m done with my 3 Day Military diet. I lost around 7 pounds with the diet and it was remarkable! I had to do it to get ready for my sister’s wedding in 2 weeks. I’ve been reading a lot about this alternative lifestyle and the more I think about the health benefits, the more I am convinced that it’s the right thing for me. I have to lose a couple more pounds with the military diet and then I’m done. If you want to have a look see about the 3 day military diet since most vegetarians have tried the diet and had shed some weight too. It would be nice for readers like me to read about your review of it. Here’s the link and hope it helps http://3daysmilitarydiet.com/faq/best-drink-for-the-military-diet.html

    ReplyDelete