A diet based entirely on whole plant foods with the addition of a B12 supplement, and Vitamin D for those living in northern climates, is scientifically-proven to be healthful for all individuals at every stage of life.
According to the organisation “Dieticians of Canada:”
“A vegan eating pattern has many potential health benefits. They include lower rates of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Other benefits include lower blood cholesterol levels and a lower risk for gallstones and intestinal problems. .… A well planned vegan diet can meet all (nutritional) needs. It is safe and healthy for pregnant and breastfeeding women, babies, children, teens and seniors.”
Similarly, the American dietetic organisation “Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics” position is 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…. An evidence-based review showed that vegetarian diets can be nutritionally adequate in pregnancy and result in positive maternal and infant health outcomes. The results of an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Vegetarians also appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than non-vegetarians. Furthermore, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Features of a vegetarian diet that may reduce risk of chronic disease include lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, fiber, and phytochemicals.”
The OPDQ (Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec or the Professional order of Dietitians of Quebec) also recognizes the health benefits of a vegetarian diet and states that “Un régime végétarien bien planifié et individualisé comblera l’ensemble des besoins nutritifs.”
In other words, well-planned vegetarian and vegan diets that include a large variety of foods are healthy because they provide everything needed for optimal nutrition (fiber, lean protein, healthy fats, antioxidants, etc.) while at the same time limiting unhealthy dietary components such as cholesterol, saturated fats, traces of antibiotics, and bioaccumulated carcinogenic substances. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that of the 15 leading causes of death in America “…a plant based diet can prevent nearly all of them, can help treat more than half of them and in some cases can even reverse the progression of disease, including our top three killers”
(Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, 46min15sec, www.nutritionfacts.org.)