By Karen L. Brown, MD, MRCP, RN, RD, RDN, DVM, MCPT, CDMEditor’s note: The following is adapted from a talk given at the annual meeting of the American College of Nutrition, February 8, 2019, in Boston, Massachusetts.
You can listen to the full lecture here.
The following is an excerpt from a lecture by Dr. Karen L Brown, M.D., MRCPC, RNDVM, CDN, NDVN, MScD, ND, on the topic of veganism, food choice, and nutrition.
We encourage you to read the full transcript of the talk before reading the comments.
For the most part, the world is eating a vegan diet.
In the U.S. alone, nearly three million people, about 3.3% of the population, have stopped eating meat, eggs, dairy, and any animal product.
We have reduced our consumption of meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and dairy.
In most countries, the majority of vegan dieters eat plant-based foods such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, legumes, and other legumes.
They are consuming less animal products.
For example, the average U.K. vegan diet is 4.4% plant-derived protein, compared to 15.2% plant food.
We’ve found that many of our friends and family eat more plant-dairy and soy-based dairy products than we do.
The vegan diet can also be a source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
In the United States, we are the only industrialized nation that doesn’t produce soy, corn, and sugar.
Most people don’t know that.
The majority of our food comes from animal products, like dairy products, eggs from cows, and soybeans from soybean fields.
The main reason is that most people are unaware of how their food is produced.
Many people don, however, know that animal products are often treated differently from plants.
In many countries, they are routinely subjected to factory farming.
For instance, we’ve known for many years that there is a huge difference between the animals raised for meat and eggs in slaughterhouses and in the dairy and soybean industries.
We also know that soy and corn are often genetically modified to make them more drought tolerant and more resistant to insects.
So what are our health benefits to eating a plant- based diet?
We know that a vegan dietary pattern can have many health benefits.
Many studies have shown that people who follow a plant based diet experience fewer chronic diseases.
It is also a good source of protein, iron, zinc, and calcium.
There are also many benefits for the environment.
According to the United Nations, there are more than 1.2 billion people on the planet who are on a diet of a plant.
This includes the United Kingdom, which has the highest vegan population in the world.
Vegan diets are not only healthy for the planet, but they also provide the best possible health benefits for our families, our communities, and our planet.