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Vegetarian Nutrition (Modern Nutrition) 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0849385087
ISBN-10: 0849385083
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Editorial Reviews

From The New England Journal of Medicine

This book contains expert summaries of various aspects of plant-based, or meatless, diets. It provides not only ethical, moral, and religious viewpoints from different periods of history but also modern perspectives on health promotion and disease prevention. The editor, Joan Sabate, is a physician and nutrition specialist who for several decades has been a principal investigator in observational and intervention studies of health promotion among Seventh-Day Adventists. He has recruited an international group of authors and many of his colleagues at Loma Linda University for this collection. That the 26 contributors include only 2 physicians may indicate the need for this book, since the overall impression the book leaves is that vegetarian diets are safe, palatable, healthy, and at times curative.

The material is presented succinctly, with good use of tables, and is referenced appropriately. Vegetarian diets may be classified as lacto-vegetarian, ovo-vegetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, or vegan, respectively, if they include dairy products, eggs, both dairy products and eggs, or no animal products at all. The macrobiotic diet is an extremely restrictive vegetarian diet that is not nutritionally adequate and leads to malnutrition, especially in children. The book's synopsis of growth studies involving children and adolescents who are vegetarians provides data on children from birth to 18 years of age. Lacto-ovo- or lacto-vegetarians, as most Seventh-Day Adventists are, have normal physical growth, whereas children who are vegans may have slower growth even if they are in good health.

In a discussion of nutrients of concern in vegetarian diets, the authors conclude that appropriately planned vegan or lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets can be nutritionally adequate. There is concern about the adequacy of zinc intake in vegan women and about low intakes of vitamin B12 and iodine in vegans in general, but these needs can be met by fortified foods (such as breakfast cereal and salt). White and Asian vegan women may need to take calcium supplements in order to ensure that their intake is adequate, and those who live in northern climates may require vitamin D supplementation in winter, or year-round if they are elderly.

Tables of health-promoting phytochemicals (beyond the traditional nutrients) provide information about the food and herbal sources of approximately 20 compounds, ranging from carotenoids to tocotrienols. The author of the chapter on phytochemicals recommends that whole foods rather than phytochemical supplements be consumed for the best protection against disease, since the safety and health benefits of concentrated extracts of fruits and vegetables with high levels of phytochemicals are unknown.

The discussion of vegetarian diets in relation to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines and disease-specific guidelines (for heart disease, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and cancer) concludes that these recommendations promote the eating of more unrefined grains, fruits, and vegetables and the reduction of the intake of saturated fat and cholesterol (present in all animal products and in no plants) -- a diet that overlaps with vegetarian eating patterns. The author of the chapter on dietary guidelines concludes that ``present knowledge suggests that diets rich in plant foods with small or minimal amounts of animal foods may be the remedy for modern life-style diseases.'' Dietary guidelines for vegetarians could be developed with the aim of promoting the consumption of a variety and abundance of plant foods; primarily unrefined and minimally processed plant foods; optional dairy products, eggs, or both; and a generous amount of water and other fluids.

The concluding chapters on the historical context of vegetarianism and its relation to religion and spirituality are intriguing and provide new insights. Although the term ``vegetarianism'' was coined in the mid-1800s, the practice of abstinence from eating meat dates back, in Western society, at least to Pythagoras in southern Italy in the 6th century b.c. and to Zoroaster in Persia and Daniel in Babylon in the 7th century b.c. Prominent advocates of vegetarianism in America were Sylvester Graham, the leader of a 19th-century religious movement that called for temperance and the reform of health and hygiene practices, and John Harvey Kellogg, a 20th-century Seventh-Day Adventist who was trained as a physician and operated a Seventh-Day Adventist Sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan. He developed meat substitutes and other vegetarian health foods, including the breakfast cereals that have immortalized the family name worldwide.

Elaine B. Feldman, M.D.
Copyright © 2001 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved. The New England Journal of Medicine is a registered trademark of the MMS.


Two thumbs up (make those green thumbs) for Vegetarian Nutrition. This one volume contains a remarkable summary of the current state of the art of vegetarian diets. …well organized, making it easy …to hone in on a topic of interest and find supporting data, possible dietary deficiencies, sources of recommended nutrients, and areas needing further study. …Overall, I would recommend this book for professionals in academia, administrative positions, community health, and clinical settings. It can deepen one's understanding of the subject and provide sound arguments in the promotion of increased plant consumption.
- Esther M. Trepal, R.D., M.S., Clinical Dietician, The Brooklyn Hospital Center in Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior

…the book is well written and a useful addition to the literature on vegetarian diets.

…an excellent reference text for clinicians, researchers and advanced students… a worthy resource whose time has come.
- Caitlin O'Neill, M.S., R.D., AMC Cancer Research Center, in Journal of the American Dietetic Association
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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Nutrition
  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: CRC Press; 1 edition (March 21, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0849385083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0849385087
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,018,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Bergner on September 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Most vegetarian advocates are prone to selective citation of the scientific literature, quoting those studies that support their ethical beliefs, but omitting mention of the science that is contradictory. Sabate's Vegetarian Nutrition does not do this, and is a fair review of the literature. Each area of concern is addressed with a complete review. Does eating meat cause disease or do other factors in the vegetarian lifestyle than abstention from meat confer health protection? Are vegetarians and vegans at greater risk for nutritional deficiencies? Sabate explores these and other questions with thoroughness and integrity.
Paul Bergner, Adjunct Faculty in Nutrition, Naropa University
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