Vegans of Color

Because we don’t have the luxury of being single-issue

ADA Updates It’s Position Paper on Vegetarian/Vegan Diets July 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alicia @ 10:57 am

I was so elated when I heard the news that the American Dietetic Association has updated it’s position paper on Vegetarian Diets. It now actually has the words vegan in it, which it did not before, and as you can read below is very favorable for Veg*n’s.

Here is the write up from GEN News ( Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News):

CHICAGO The American Dietetic Association has released an updated position paper on vegetarian diets that concludes such diets, if well-planned, are healthful and nutritious for adults, infants, children and adolescents and can help prevent and treat chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes.

ADA’s position, published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, represents the Association’s official stance on vegetarian diets:

“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.”

ADA’s position and accompanying paper were written by Winston Craig, PhD, MPH, RD, professor and chair of the department of nutrition and wellness at Andrews University; and Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, nutrition advisor at the Vegetarian Resource Group, Baltimore, Md.

The revised position paper incorporates new topics and additional information on key nutrients for vegetarians, vegetarian diets in the life cycle and the use of vegetarian diets in prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. “Vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle,” according to ADA’s position. “There are many reasons for the rising interest in vegetarian diets. The number of vegetarians in the United States is expected to increase over the next decade.”

Vegetarian diets are often associated with health advantages including lower blood cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure levels and lower risk of hypertension and type 2 diabetes, according to ADA’s position. “Vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Vegetarian diets tend to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol and have higher levels of dietary fiber, magnesium and potassium, vitamins C and E, folate, carotenoids, flavonoids and other phytochemicals. These nutritional differences may explain some of the health advantages of those following a varied, balanced vegetarian diet.”

The position paper draws on results from ADA’s evidence analysis process and information from the ADA Evidence Analysis Library to show vegetarian diets can be nutritionally adequate in pregnancy and result in positive maternal and infant health outcomes. Additionally, an evidence-based review showed a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease.

A section in ADA’s paper on vegetarian diets and cancer has been significantly expanded to provide details on cancer-protective factors in vegetarian diets. An expanded section on osteoporosis includes roles of fruits, vegetables, soy products, protein, calcium, vitamins D and K and potassium in bone health. “Registered dietitians can provide information about key nutrients, modify vegetarian diets to meet the needs of those with dietary restrictions due to disease or allergies and supply guidelines to meet needs of clients in different areas of the life cycle,” the authors said.




The American Dietetic Association is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the American Dietetic Association at


13 Responses to “ADA Updates It’s Position Paper on Vegetarian/Vegan Diets”

  1. Livin Veg Says:

    I’ve found this to be one of the best things you can give to a person who is skeptical about vegan health. It shut my friend Jack up almost immediately. I’m super excited they updated it!

  2. SweetKaroline Says:

    cool, great post

    slowly but surely…

  3. […] Alicia @ Vegans of Color: ADA Updates It’s Position Paper on Vegetarian/Vegan Diets […]

  4. supernovadiva Says:

    WOW. just wow! i never thought i’d see the day. like livin veg said, maybe this will shut some concerned loved ones up.

  5. Alicia Says:

    I’m a member of the ADA so if anyone wants a printable version of the position paper please feel free to contact me. There’s a read only pdf file at

  6. My question now is, what about all those black vegan couples who had their children taken away for feeding their babies vegan fare but wound up being turned in by stupid neighbors or corrupt doctors only on account of this? Since the early 2000s I’ve heard of at least like three high profile cases around the US of this exact scenario, kids taken away and sent into foster care/ group homes by state youth and family services and what not, because their black vegan parents are raising them vegan. I’m sure there are many other cases like this that haven’t been widely publicized, and to date I’ve never heard this happen to white vegan parents – it follows the pattern of state youth/ family institutions’ historic campaign to destroy the black family. But now that the ADA has put some official words down for veganism for the public health institutions to consider, I wonder if black vegan parents still need to fear the state for targeting their children. What do y’all think?

    • C Says:

      I recently read Raising Vegan Children In A Non-Vegan World and the author, Erin Pavlina, mentions incidents where this has occurred, where family members or doctors, or others, contact CPS “out of concern” for a vegan child’s well being, but she doesn’t state the race of the family involved, as far as I recall.
      Also I just come across this article from France, where this poor woman had her son taken away because she was feeding him a vegan diet –
      What a nightmare..

    • Alicia Says:

      What I’ve always found interesting and rather contradictory about this is that you never hear of anyone taking away someone’s child because the parent is morbidly obese and feeding their children the same food that has contributed to their own obesity. Ironically it is taboo to do so even though all the scientific evidence points to obesity being the leading cause of heart disease, type II diabetes, and certain types of cancers, there was even a recent study that links obesity to a higher risk of contracting the swine flu. Yet there is also scientific evidence that a veg*n diet is healthy and staves off heart disease, type II diabetes and certain types of cancers.

      I do know of one case personally of a family of color (Mexican-American) who were foster parents of a child that was thriving under their care but when it came time to adopt him they were looked over and the boy was “given” (for lack of a better word) to an omni family instead. The social worker told them to not even bother trying to adopt him because it would be too hard as a vegan.

      I worry about these type of prejudices because I want badly to adopt one day, thankfully position papers like the one from the ADA provide really great, evidence based information in support of a vegan diet for all stages of life. I personally have a copy with me wherever I go now. I just love it!

  7. Miso Vegan Says:

    The Precision Afrikan, those high-profile cases were cases of the family’s wacko diets being wrongly labeled “vegan.” One case: baby was fed only cod liver oil and juice. Another case: I think the child was only fed soymilk (all soymilk boxes are labeled “not to be used as infant formula”) and was underfed and neglected. There was a third case, I can’t recall the details, but it was something similar.

    The parents in those cases were not vegan; they were simply irresponsible @sses.

    That’s not to say vegan families are not fully harassed for being vegan – that happens. Neighbors or ex-husbands may call Child Welfare, adoption agencies may discriminate, but kids don’t die of veganism – the media reporting on the cases just mis-leads us to think they do.

  8. nonfictions Says:

    It’s “funny” that this should be posted now (well, I’m a bit late reading it). I am transitioning to veganism and for the first time ever I had SERIOUS doubts about the health of a vegan diet. That’s mainly because for the first time I read criticism of the vegan diet from a “reputable source.” ( – search vegan). Lately, I’ve been really concerned about my (optimal) health and want to make sure that I can enjoy a very healthy vegan diet! (Also, I’m surprised that vegans can have high cholesterol …)

    I also doubted whether or not veganism was “natural” if we have to take supplements for vitamin B12 (actually, I’m a lover of marmite, a yeast extract, that has vitamin B12 and I’m pretty sure that’s it’s natural and not enriched/fortified). I just don’t know if eating a marmite sandwich once a week is enough B12. I’m going to order some vegan vitamins (although I’ve read some negative info about vitamins and how “unnatural” vitamins are hard on our body, but that’s another story).

    All in all, I’m going to take vitamins as insurance and try to eat a more whole, raw vegan diet. Plus, I still need to do some research. Thanks for this blog. I love it 🙂

    • Alicia Says:

      If you head to the ADA website you can read the entire position paper and it answers a lot of the questions you have above.

      And although vegans can have high cholesterol statistically vegans have the lowest LDL cholesterol and higher HDL cholesterol (full section in the ADA’s position paper on this). Plus there is a genetic component to about 30% of all cases of high cholesterol. Although consuming cholesterol does contribute to high LDL levels in humans so does consuming saturated fats. Cholesterol only exist in animal foods but saturated fats do exist in plant foods.

      Becoming Vegan is also a great book to check out that is written by two dietitians. Good Luck!

  9. Superfoods Says:

    Thanks for sharing this awesome paper. Even if certain styles of vegetarian diets are lacking in ideal nutrition, we can supplement our diets with superfoods to really get the minerals and EFA’s we need, like with hemp seeds, chia, marine phytoplankton, etc. Coming from a raw food/superfood fan 🙂 Amazing site, thank you.

  10. […] eat wholesome plant-based foods. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), “Vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. […]

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