A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that vegetarian diets are "nutrient dense, consistent with dietary guidelines, and could be recommended for weight management."
Specifically, intakes of fiber, vitamins A, C and E, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, calcium, magnesium and iron were all higher for vegetarians than non vegetarians. Moreover, vegetarians have lower body mass index than meat-eaters. In other words, if your wish is to be lean, eat sweets, greens, beans and seeds.
According to Loma Linda University professor and researcher Joan Sabate, M.D., Ph.D., we are in the midst of a paradigm shift. He writes:
The word paradigm has been used in science to refer to a theoretical framework and the generally accepted perspective of a particular discipline at a given time. Thus, paradigm refers to the assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitute a way of viewing reality. In his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn (3) coined the term paradigm shift to define sudden changes or advancements in scientific thinking. A paradigm shift occurs when "one conceptual world view is replaced by another."
In the not-too-distant past, it was believed that a diet lacking animal products (in other words, a vegetarian diet) was nutritionally deficient. This misconception endures even today in some circles.
However, the current (and more correct) view is that diets containing even modest amounts of animal products pose the real threat of nutrient inadequacies. Why? Because the more animal food you eat, the less likely you are to consume adequate quantities of fruits and vegetables. And it is these foods - fresh, clean produce - that are the most nutrient dense, not to mention low in calories.
In fact, fruits and vegetables contain most of the 30 or so known vitamins and minerals, in addition to hundreds if not thousands of recently discovered and undiscovered phytonutrients. What are phytonutrients? These chemicals are only found in plants. In fact, phyto is the Latin for plant.
Dr. Sabate writes:
"Plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables (&) legumes...provide active substances on which human metabolism is dependent. However, only a few of those to date have been labeled as 'essential nutrients.' Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of not only vitamins, such as carotenoids, ascorbic acid, tocopherols, and folic acid, but also fiber, indoles, thiocyanates, cumarins, phenols, flavonoids, terpenes, protease inhibitors, plant sterols, and a host of other yet unknown and unnamed phytochemicals and nonnutrient compounds that may protect humans from many cancers and other diseases."
Wow! Terpenes? Thiocyanates? Those chemicals sure are hard to pronounce. But even if you can't say them, you can certainly digest them. In fact, your body requires them, and you can only get them from plants. Sweets. Greens. Beans. Seeds.
"A new paradigm is emerging," Dr. Sabate wrote in 2003.
It's twelve years later.
The Paradigm is here. Do your part. Heal the world one big bite at a time.