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Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Sep;70(3 Suppl):620S-622S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/70.3.620s.

Convergence of plant-rich and plant-only diets.

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Tufts University Schools of Medicine and Nutrition and the Frances Stern Nutrition Center, New England Medical Center, Boston, MA 02111, USA.


Discussants at the Third International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition considered the nutritional adequacy, benefits, and health outcomes of plant-only (e.g., vegan and fruitarian), plant-based (e.g., macrobiotic, lactovegetarian, semivegetarian, and meatless), and omnivorous dietary patterns. The increased availability of a variety of plant foods, the advent of nutrient-fortified plant foods, the use of vitamin and mineral supplements, and the widespread dissemination of sound information on dietary patterns mean that convergence between the essential nutrient profiles of plant-only and plant-rich, plant-based diets is possible. Special attention should be paid to nutrition among vulnerable groups by age or physiologic status if they consume diets based solely on plants. Research has shown that both plant-only and plant-based eating patterns have health benefits, most notably in reducing the risk of chronic, degenerative diseases. The panel concluded that evidence for a convergence of scientific opinion on the safety and healthfulness of plant-only diets that are appropriately planned to meet all nutrient requirements compared with plant-based diets is considerable.

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