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ARS Home » Plains Area » Grand Forks, North Dakota » Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center » Healthy Body Weight Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #408039

Research Project: Dietary and Physical Activity Guidance for Weight Loss and Maintenance

Location: Healthy Body Weight Research

Title: Innovation for a plant-astic future: strategies for healthy vegetarian and vegan diets

item Hess, Julie
item SHOR, DASHA - Mars Wrigley
item FOSSUM, DEBRA - University Of North Dakota

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/9/2023
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Tying together the latest research with consumer insights, this session dives into how to adapt eating patterns in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for different vegetarian diets while including foods that clients enjoy. New food pattern modeling research shows how the Healthy (lacto-ovo) Vegetarian Dietary Pattern in the DGA can be adapted for vegan, dairy-free, egg-free, and pescatarian diets while still providing enough nutrients for healthy adults. Consumer insights shows us that plant-based eating continues to be a growing trend in the U.S. Yet, Americans have strong opinions on plant-based foods, which at times are complicated, if not contradictory. While most believe whole plant foods are healthier than processed options, many consumers also want the meat and dairy-like taste in processed substitutes. Moreover, many Americans, especially younger ones, lack necessary culinary and nutrition knowledge to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets. Learn more about the latest science on plant-based diets and gain insight into the greater plant-based trends your clients are excited to try in this interactive lecture session. Adults who choose not to eat dairy foods or other animal products can still meet their nutrition needs.

Technical Abstract: The most recent official nutrition recommendations for Americans- the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2020 DGA)- include a vegetarian eating pattern. However, the 2020 DGA does not address how to adapt this pattern for vegan, dairy-free, egg-free, or pescatarian diets. Dr. Hess will present the methods and results from two studies her lab conducted this year that use food pattern modeling to adapt the Healthy Vegetarian Dietary Pattern from the 2020 DGA for different vegetarian dietary preferences. She will also discuss practical applications of this research with a presentation of a third study her lab conducted on this topic that actually built a healthy menu of DGA-adherent dairy-free and vegan adaptations of a DGA diet that provides concrete direction on implementation. These sample vegan and dairy-free vegetarian menus, created with publicly available resources, contained enough servings of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, dairy, and oils to meet DGA recommendations but did not provide enough vitamin D, vitamin E, choline, zinc (for males), and iron (for females). Following vegan, ovo-vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian, and pescatarian diets requires careful planning to ensure sources of micronutrients are included in adequate amounts, but these dietary preferences can be incorporated into nutritionally adequate eating patterns while still following DGA recommendations.