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Plant Based Diets are good for the health of the people and the planet. A diet focused primarily on legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables and seeds and nuts use far fewer resources and provide far better health outcomes as compared to diets based on animal and processed foods. (1)
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) put out a report in 2010 that stated that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change. A predicted 9.1 billion global population by 2050 and western tastes for diets rich in meat and dairy products are unsustainable combination. The report states that: 
“Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth increasing consumption of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.” (2)
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Plant based diets also hold the key to solving the U.S. healthcare crisis and the global epidemics of chronic disease including hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Out of every healthcare dollar spent in the U.S., 86 cents is spent on these chronic diseases of diet and lifestyle. (3) Healthcare spending equates to 16% of the GDP (4) which is more than the military, education and infrastructure combined and is unsustainable. Healthcare is costly because so many people require it and because treatment is focused on expensive medications and procedures. Plant based diets, eaten by populations on a large scale, can eliminate the need for the vast majority of these medications and procedures, lowering the cost of healthcare delivery. 

In addition, plant based diets have been shown to:​​

  • Prevent and Reverse Heart disease in 90 and 85% of cases, respectively (5,6,7,8)
  • Prevent approximately 50% of cancers, particularly breast, prostate and colon cancers (9,10,11,12,13)
  • Prevent and Reverse Type 2 diabetes in nearly 100 and 85% of cases, respectively (14,15,16,17)
  • Prevent and Treat many of the common autoimmune disorders including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, lupus, and multiple sclerosis.(18,19,20)

Resources Cited

  1. Springmann M, Charles H, Godfray J, Scarborough P. Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change cobenefits of dietary change. PNAS. April 2016; 113(15):4146-4151). 
  5. Esselstyn CB, Gendy G, Doyle J; Golubic M, Roizen M.  A way to reverse heart disease? J Fam Prac. July 2014; 63(7):356-64.
  6. “Intensive Lifestyle Changes for Reversal of Coronary Heart Disease” Journal of the American Medical Association (PDF)
  7. “Improved Stenosis Geometry by Quantitative Coronary Arteriography After Vigorous Risk Factor Modification” American Journal of Cardiology (PDF)
  8. Thorogood M, Mann J, Appleby P, McPherson K. Risk of death from cancer and ischaemic heart disease in meat and non-meat eaters. Br Med J. 1994;308:1667-1670
  11. World Cancer Research Fund. Food, nutrition, physical activity, and the prevention of cancer: A global perspective. American Institute of Cancer Research. Washington, DC:2007.
  12. . Murtaugh MA, Ma KN, Sweeney C, Caan BJ, Slattery ML. Meat Consumption patterns and preparation, genetic variants of metabolic enzymes, and their association with rectal cancer in men and women. J Nutr. 2004;134(4):776-784.
  13. Norat T, Riboli E. Meat consumption and colorectal cancer: a review of epidemiologic evidence. Nutr Rev. 2001;59(2):37-47.
  14. K Khavand, H Amer, B Ibrahim, J Brownrigg. Strategies for preventing type 2 diabetes: an update for clinicians. Ther Adv Chronic Dis. 2013 Sep;4(5):242-61.
  15. C B Trapp, N D Barnard. Usefulness of vegetarian and vegan diets for treating type 2 diabetes. Curr Diab Rep. 2010 Apr;10(2):152-8.
  16. N D Barnard, J Cohen, D Jenkins, G Turner-McGrievy, L Gloede, B Jaster B, K Seidl, A A Green, S Talpers. A low-fat vegan diet improves glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in a randomized clinical trial in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2006 Aug;29(8):1777-83.
  17. H Kahleova, M Matoulek, H Malinska, O Oliyarnik, L Kazdova, T Neskudla, A Skoch, M Hajek, M Hill, M Kahle, T Pelikanova. Vegetarian diet improves insulin resistance and oxidative stress markers more than conventional diet in subjects with Type 2 diabetes.  Diabet Med. 2011 May;28(5):549-59.
  18. J Kjeldsen-Kragh. Rheumatoid arthritis treated with vegetarian diets. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Sep;70(3 Suppl):594S-600S.
  19. R. L. Swank, J. Goodwin. Review of MS patient survival on a Swank low saturated fat diet. Nutrition 2003 19(2):161 - 162.
  20. A N Ananthakrishnan, H Khalili, G G Konijeti, L M Higuchi, P de Silva, J R Korzenik, C S Fuchs, W C Willett, J M Richter, A T Chan. A prospective study of long-term intake of dietary fiber and risk of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Gastroenterology. 2013 Nov;145(5):970-7.