Farm Sanctuary Emphasizes Benefits of Plant-Based Diets to Dietary Guidelines Committee

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Meredith Turner, Farm Sanctuary, 646-369-6212, mturner@farmsanctuary.org

Farm Sanctuary Emphasizes Benefits of Plant-Based Diets to Dietary Guidelines Committee

Nation’s Leading Farm Animal Protection Organization Applauds Committee for Suggesting a Shift to Plant-Based Consumption, but Recommends Specific Suggestions Are Needed to Facilitate Shift

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - On behalf of Farm Sanctuary, the nation's leading
farm animal protection organization, the Lewis and Clark Animal Law
Clinic has
submitted comments to the United
States
Department of Agriculture (USDA)
and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
regarding a
newly issued report on the dietary guidelines for Americans. The report,
produced by an advisory committee to the USDA and HHS, urges Americans
to
modify their diets to become more plant-based, but still condones
moderate
consumption of lean meats, poultry, and eggs as well as fat-free and
low-fat
milk products.

The report was borne of a meeting in October
2009 when the
Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a group of thirteen independent
experts
in the fields of nutrition and health, concluded that nutrition and
dietary science
had changed substantially since 2005, when the last set of dietary
guidelines
for Americans was published. The committee completed a study of new
science
and, based on that work, issued the Report of Dietary Guidelines Committee on the
Dietary Guidelines
for Americans, 2010
. The report was then opened to public
comment, which Farm Sanctuary acted upon.

"Our comments attempt to augment the
committee's
suggestion of a shift toward a plant-based diet," said Dr. Allan
Kornberg, executive director of Farm
Sanctuary. "Americans should be supplied with a list of healthy
alternatives to animal-based foods. As a practicing pediatrician for
many
years, I know the transition to a plant-based diet would become more
conceivable and easily accomplished for the majority of Americans if our
Dietary Guidelines reflected healthy options and alternatives to meat,
dairy
and eggs."

Paradigm
Shift

Within the submitted comments, Farm
Sanctuary applauds the
Dietary Guidelines Committee for advising that Americans move towards a
more
plant-based diet, but believes that the final draft of the Dietary
Guidelines
should include ways to facilitate the recommended shift in dietary
habits by
suggesting specific plant-based alternatives for Americans to eat. Not
only
would a list of specific alternatives assist many Americans in making
the
suggested dietary modifications, but it would also make the guidelines
applicable to those for whom meat, dairy, eggs, and poultry are
objectionable
for a variety of reasons.

Answer
to the Age-Old Question "Where do
you get your protein?"

Specific suggestions Farm Sanctuary would
like to see taken
into consideration for the final draft of the dietary guidelines include
an
emphasis on plant-based sources of protein, such as lentils, nuts and
tofu, as
well as non-dairy options for calcium. The group would also like to see a
listing of specific "solid fats" to be avoided, most of which are
or contain animal products, and a related listing of accepted
substitutions for
those fats, including unsalted nuts, soy products and vegetable-based
oils.

Evidence-Based
Review

The final suggestion that Farm Sanctuary
makes to the
Dietary Guidelines Committee is that it would be valuable to undertake
an
Evidence-Based Review addressing the benefits of a low-fat vegetarian or
vegan
diet in the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases. Already, many
influential groups, such as the American
Dietetic
Association (A.D.A.)
and the Mayo Clinic have noted the benefits of vegetarian and
vegan
diets and it would be extraordinarily worthwhile to do an empirical
study
addressing the role plant-based diets play in disease prevention and
control.

"Many vegetarians and vegans already know
the health
benefits of their diet but by requesting an Evidence-Based Review of the
impact
of plant-based diets in preventing and treating chronic illness, we will
further prove that plant-based diets are best not only for the animals,
but for
the people's health as well," continued Kornberg. "Past
studies have already linked vegetarian and vegan diets to the prevention
of Type
2 Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and obesity. We hope the Dietary
Guidelines
Committee will consider the suggestions we have made when writing the
final
draft of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines."

More
information on the benefits of a
plant-based diet can be found through Farm Sanctuary's Veg for Life Campaign at
www.vegforlife.org.

If you
would like to speak with Farm
Sanctuary Executive Director Dr. Allan Kornberg,
please contact Meredith Turner at 646-369-6212 or
mturner@farmsanctuary.org.

###

Farm Sanctuary is the nation's leading farm animal protection organization. Since incorporating in 1986, Farm Sanctuary has worked to expose and stop cruel practices of the "food animal" industry through research and investigations, legal and institutional reforms, public awareness projects, youth education, and direct rescue and refuge efforts. Farm Sanctuary shelters in Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Orland, Calif., provide lifelong care for hundreds of rescued animals, who have become ambassadors for farm animals everywhere by educating visitors about the realities of factory farming.

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