A recent European study confirmed the superiority of plant-based or vegan diets. This study used several different indexing systems to rate the healthfulness of a wide spectrum of diets, from vegan to vegetarian, semivegetarian, pesco-vegetarian and omnivorous and concluded that, “the use of indexing systems, estimating the overall diet quality based on different aspects of healthful dietary models indicated consistently the vegan diet as the most healthy one.” The study goes on to say that, “the vegan diet received the highest index values and the omnivorous the lowest. Typical aspects of a vegan diet (high fruit and vegetable intake, low sodium intake, and low intake of saturated fat) contributed substantially to the total score, independent of the indexing system used.”[i]
This confirms the position of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which back in 2009 (when they were named the American Dietetic Association) stated:
“It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.
Well planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”[ii]
[i] Peter Clarys et. al. “Comparison of Nutritional Quality of the Vegan, Vegetarian, Semi-Vegetarian, Pesco-Vegetarian and Omnivorous Diet.” Nutrients 2014;6(3):1318–1332.
[ii] Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 109, Issue 7, Pages 1266-1282 (July 2009)