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October 2009

Healthy Living Handbook for Older Vegetarians/Vegan Debuts
To celebrate World Vegetarian Day 2009, Vegetarian for Life (VfL) is launching its second publication, Vegetarian Living – A healthy-living handbook for older vegetarians & vegans, or those who care for them.

The handbook is aimed at individual older vegetarians and vegans and their changing needs. It offers advice on subjects such as a positive approach to retirement, ‘simple tips to sharpen wits’, housing & care, diet & cookery, and it includes a section of ‘easy recipes-for-one’.

6,000 copies of Vegetarian Living have recently been distributed, and thousands more are available on request – free of charge – to individuals, care organisations and similar. Vegetarian Living is also downloadable from the charity’s website

New Business Supporter
Eau+ Ltd - - V-Pure - The 1st EPA & DHA Omega3 supplement from algae. The only true vegetarian alternative to fish oil and has become a brand consumers trust.

August 2009

American Dietetic Association’s New Paper on Veg Diets  查看完整尺寸的图片
The American Dietetic Association is the world’s largest organization of nutrition professionals. This month, they released an updated version of their position paper on vegetarian diets. . ./advocacy_933_ENU_HTML.htm

Here’s an excerpt. You can read the entire paper online.

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.

May 2009

Japan Veg Soc President Publishes Article in Leading Nutrition Journal
The president of the Japan Vegetarian Society - Prof/Dr Mitsuru Kakimoto's research paper, ‘Vegetarianism and Vegetarian Diets - History and Types’, has appeared in The Japanese Journal of Clinical Nutrition, No. 4 (2009), the most prestigious academic journal in this field in Japan. Below is a short summary.

Considering that nowadays almost all the international airlines that arrive at and depart from Japan's airports offer vegetarian options for the airline meals, one can say that vegetarian food is world food. This article covers the history of vegetarianism, from its origin in India and Greece, to the modern vegetarian movement in Britain in 19th Century, to the foundation of IVU in 1908 as a global network of vegetarian organizations. The author further discusses the various types of vegetarians and explains that IVU's definition of vegetarian includes vegans, lacto vegetarians and lacto-ovo vegetarians. Reasons for becoming a vegetarian and trends in the U.S. and Japan are also discussed, by pointing out that many health conscious people in the U.S. have turned to vegetarianism because of the American Dietetic Association's 1997 recognition of the preventative effects of vegetarian diets. People are also moving towards vegetarian for global reasons, such as environmental protection, assistance to developing countries and animal rights. The journal’s next issue will carry an article by another leader of the Japan Vegetarian Society on vegetarian diets in hospitals.

Video Source from VegSource
VegSource, the organisation that hosts the IVU website, has started a new video feature. Twice a week, they add short video clips of notable vegans and vegetarians, who share personal stories and perspectives about being veg.

If you want to see these videos as they come out, you can subscribe to the VegSource Newsletter. Every time they post a new video, they'll send you a notice by email.

To subscribe to these alerts:

Recent clips include:

Reasons to be Vegetarian – Health or Kindness?
Virginia Messina is a well-known vegan dietician. Here, from her blog - veggiedietitian/.../vegan-for-health-of-it.html - are some thoughts on reasons for our dietary choices:

I’ve been resisting the urge to write about last week’s big news story concerning meat and mortality. The study made a case against high intakes of meat and got lots of press. It reinforced the idea that red meat is bad for us, so that’s a good thing for anyone who promotes a plant-based diet.

Like all epidemiologic studies, it had its share of weaknesses, but the large number of subjects helps to counteract some of that. Furthermore, the results are supported to some extent by other research about the dangers associated with red meat consumption.

But the study also found that eating more white meat, like chicken, was linked to a lower risk of mortality. The take home message, according to many of the articles I read, was “Eat less red meat and more chicken and fish.” It’s the same message we’ve been hearing for decades, ever since people started talking about cholesterol and heart disease. And it’s a message that really sticks. Most health conscious people don’t eat less meat; they eat different meat. And even among those who have cut back on meat for health reasons, most haven’t cut it out.

The same goes for dairy. Whole milk may be taboo on many menus, but it’s simply been replaced with nonfat yogurt.

We have piles of good data about the benefits of eating more whole plant foods and a largely plant-based diet. What we don’t have (yet) are studies showing that vegans have significantly better health than those who eat mostly plant foods but still include some small amounts of animal foods in their diets.

That’s just one of the reasons I’ve never been a big fan of the “health argument” for vegan diet. If we are going to rely on the scientific data in a way that is smart and responsible—as all good vegan health professionals should—then the argument falls short of convincing.

The best advocacy is based on arguments that are rooted in solid fact—the ones that focus on the suffering of farm animals. When it comes to health, I’m not convinced that a few bites of chicken would hurt me. But I know beyond a doubt that those few bites would contribute to animal suffering.

Vegan Diets and Buddhist Nuns in Vietnam  See full size image
The following research abstract was sent by Dr Michael Gregor

Osteoporos Int. 2009 Apr 7. [Epub ahead of print]

Title: Veganism, bone mineral density, and body composition: a study in
Buddhist nuns.

Authors: Ho-Pham LT, Nguyen PL, Le TT, Doan TA, Tran NT, Le TA, Nguyen TV.
Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.

This cross-sectional study showed that, although vegans had lower dietary calcium and protein intakes than omnivores, veganism did not have adverse effect on bone mineral density and did not alter body composition.

Introduction: Whether a lifelong vegetarian diet has any negative effect on bone health is a contentious issue. We undertook this study to examine the association between lifelong vegetarian diet and bone mineral density and body composition in a group of postmenopausal women.

Methods: One hundred and five Mahayana Buddhist nuns and 105 omnivorous women (average age = 62, range = 50-85) were randomly sampled from monasteries in Ho Chi Minh City and invited to participate in the study. By religious rule, the nuns do not eat meat or seafood (i.e., vegans). Bone mineral density (BMD) at the lumbar spine (LS), femoral neck (FN), and whole body (WB) was measured by DXA (Hologic QDR 4500). Lean mass, fat mass, and percent fat mass were also obtained from the DXA whole body scan. Dietary calcium and protein intakes were estimated from a validated food frequency questionnaire.

Results: There was no significant difference between vegans and omnivores in LSBMD (0.74 +/- 0.14 vs. 0.77 +/- 0.14 g/ cm(2); mean +/- SD; P = 0.18), FNBMD (0.62 +/- 0.11 vs. 0.63 +/- 0.11 g/cm(2); P = 0.35), WBBMD (0.88 +/- 0.11 vs. 0.90 +/- 0.12 g/cm(2); P = 0.31), lean mass (32 +/- 5 vs. 33 +/- 4 kg; P = 0.47), and fat mass (19 +/- 5 vs. 19 +/- 5 kg; P = 0.77) either before or after adjusting
for age. The prevalence of osteoporosis (T scores </= -2.5) at the femoral neck in vegans and omnivores was 17.1% and 14.3% (P = 0.57), respectively. The median intake of dietary calcium was lower in vegans compared to omnivores (330 +/- 205 vs. 682 +/- 417 mg/day, P < 0.001); however, there was no significant correlation between dietary calcium and BMD. Further analysis suggested that whole body BMD, but not lumbar spine or femoral neck BMD, was positively correlated with the
ratio of animal protein to vegetable protein.

Conclusion: These results suggest that, although vegans have much lower intakes of dietary calcium and protein than omnivores, veganism does not have adverse effect on bone mineral density and does not alter body composition.

Events: 2009 Healthy Lifestyle Expo – 16-18 October, 2009, Burbank, California

April 2009

‘I Can’t Believe I’m Still a Vegan’ 
It’s always interesting to read people’s ‘How I Became a Vegetarian’ stories. Here’s on from a journalist who went vegan in his mid-50s, mostly to lose weight and to maintain a healthy weight:

Here’s the first paragraph of the article:

More than halfway through my sixth decade, I have learned to live with the routine insults and occasional horrors of passing time—the daily aches and pains, the eroding senses (say again?), the too-frequent diagnosis of cancer and other life-threatening illnesses among my peers. I accept these blows, big and small, as the price to be paid for the joys I've known and whatever wisdom I've been able to acquire over the years. I accept them because, well, I really don't have a choice. There is one thing, however I will not abide: getting fat.

Please send ‘How I Became a Vegetarian’ stories your own country to ‘IVU Online News’:  

March 2009

IVU IC Deputy Chair Testifies to U.S. Congressional Committee 
Below is testimony given in Washington, DC by IVU International Council Deputy Chair Saurabh Dalal to the Advisory Committee for the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Good morning. I’m Saurabh Dalal and I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony as you reshape the influential Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These comments are presented on behalf of three volunteer-driven, non-profit organizations:

The Vegetarian Union of North America (
The Vegetarian Society of DC (
The International Vegetarian Union (

Vegetarian foods offer powerful advantages for humans. A large number and wide variety of scientific studies have shown that well-planned vegetarian diets support good health for all stages of the life cycle. Many nutritionists and other health professionals recognize that a well-planned, low-fat vegetarian diet – and preferably a vegan diet, completely free of all animal products - is the best diet for humans. Animal products are the main source of saturated fats, the only source of dietary cholesterol, and contain no fiber, often resulting in high cholesterol levels and a variety of diet-related disorders in people. Preventing and sometimes reversing heart disease, preventing several types of cancer, preventing and reversing diabetes, lowering blood pressure, and helping manage weight are among the many successes of such a diet.

We urge the advisory committee to clearly emphasize plant foods and alternatives to meat, dairy, and eggs in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. A wide variety of plant foods consisting of whole grains, whole fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fortified cereals and fortified plant milks like soy milk can ensure a healthy, well-balanced diet. Naturally and strongly colorful vegetables and fruits should also be emphasized for their anti-oxidant and phyto-nutrient value.

I’d like to highlight some key points.

  1. A diet drawn from varied plant sources can be nutrient-dense and easily satisfies protein requirements, without the potential for protein excess. Soy protein has been shown to be nutritionally equivalent in protein value to proteins of animal origin. Animal products being acidic, force calcium out of the body, thereby promoting bone loss.

  2. Many plant-based sources of calcium exist. Excellent examples are dark leafy greens like collard greens and kale and fortified soy milk. The more extensive range of dietary sources of calcium from plant foods would increase intakes of boron, vitamin K, and magnesium, helping reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
    Calcium absorption and bio-availability from dark leafy greens have been shown to be very good.
    Also very important in regard to the basic food groups is that each serving of leafy green vegetables count as a serving from the calcium-rich foods group AND in the vegetable group. This is an added benefit, showing the versatility and benefit of plant foods.

  3. Iron is plentiful in beans, whole grains, and fruits.

  4. Flax seed oil and ground flax seeds are good sources of omega 3's, while consumption of fish and other sea animals have the downside of potential mercury and other contaminants, along with significant cholesterol.

  5. An adequate intake of B12 is necessary and straight-forward, and should be from fortified foods or a reliable supplement. Fortified soy milk for example is a good source of vitamins B12 and D as well as protein and calcium.

  6. Eating patterns are changing and the diets of a great many are more plant-based than a decade ago. The Dietary Guidelines must address the needs of those moving away from animal products, consistent with the messages of many major public health organizations, but also with guidance that is more comprehensive in terms of alternatives to animal foods and cow's milk.

We urge the advisory committee to clearly incorporate even more plant foods, specifically a well-planned, low-fat, vegan diet, with its health benefits and other benefits in all respects, as you update the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for 2010

New and Free to IVU Member Organisations from Michael Greger, M.D.  photo of Dr. Greger
Michael Greger, M.D. is one of the vegetarian world’s best-known medical experts. He serves as Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States. Every year, Dr Greger reviews the world’s scientific nutrition literature for groundbreaking developments and compiles key findings into an annual “Latest in Nutrition” talk. He has recorded the two most recent years — 2007 and 2008 — of these talks on 90-minute DVDs available at:

Dr Greger has kindly offered to send copies of these two DVDs by regular mail, not email, plus a copy of his DVD on Bird Flu to any IVU member organisations who send him their postal address. You can contact Dr Greger at and you can subscribe to his free electronic newsletter at

Furthermore, in February, 2009, Dr Greger published two articles in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. They are available free, full-text at In March, 2009, Dr Greger is slated to appear on U.S. tv on the comedic Colbert Report.

February 2009

‘Plant Based Nutrition’ Now Available Online in Spanish and English
'Plant Based Nutrition' is a booklet by Dr Stephen Walsh of the Vegan Society. The English version is available at - and the booklet has recently been translated into Spanish, and is available at:

Stephen’s book, ‘Plant Based Nutrition and Health,’ can be ordered at

January 2009

Vegans and Calcium 
Paul Appleby is an IVU patron and Senior Statistician at Cancer Research UK at their Epidemiology Unit in Oxford, UK. He has co-authored several papers arising from studies of the long-term health of vegetarians, including the Oxford Vegetarian Study, the Health Food Shoppers Study, and the Oxford arm of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) which includes 20,000 vegetarians.

In Sep, 08, Paul gave a talk to members of London Vegans on lessons for
vegetarians and vegans from the EPIC-Oxford study. You can hear
extracts from the presentation and an interview with a dietitian (with
particular emphasis on sources of calcium for vegans), and view Paul’s slides at

Hypospadias in Boys Born to Vegetarian Mothers 
[To understand about hypospadias, please visit:]

Paul Appleby sent along the following article, along with this commentary:

A new study has provided more evidence linking a vegetarian diet during pregnancy with a higher risk of hypospadias in baby boys. However, it should be noted that only 22 mothers (14 mothers of boys with hypospadias and 8 mothers of boys without the condition), representing just 3% of the 719 mothers in the study, were not eating meat or fish, so the statistically significant result is based on a small number of vegetarian women. However, the fact that the result agrees with that of a previous study suggests that this might be a real finding. Whether the cause is a high intake of phytoestrogens from soy foods (which could affect the masculinisation of the male foetus) or some sort of nutrient deficiency during pregnancy is uncertain.

Although vegetarian mothers-to-be should be aware that they might be at greater risk of having a son born with hypospadias, it should be remembered that hypospadias is a rare condition (affecting approximately one in 400 newborn boys in the UK, for example) and one that is routinely corrected by surgery during infancy.

Environ Health Perspect. 2008 Aug; 116(8): 1071-6.

Maternal and gestational risk factors for hypospadias.

Akre O, Boyd HA, Ahlgren M, Wilbrand K, Westergaard T, Hjalgrim H, Nordenskjöld A, Ekbom A, Melbye M., Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Department of Medicine, Karolinska, University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.

Background: An increase in the prevalence of hypospadias has been reported, but the environmental causes remain virtually unknown.

Objectives: Our goal was to assess the association between risk of hypospadias and indicators of placental function and endogenous hormone levels, exposure to exogenous hormones, maternal diet during pregnancy, and other environmental factors.

Methods: We conducted a case-control study in Sweden and Denmark from 2000 through 2005 using self-administered questionnaires completed by mothers of hypospadias cases and matched controls. The response rate was 88% and 81% among mothers of cases and controls, respectively. The analyses included 292 cases and 427 controls.

Results: A diet during pregnancy lacking both fish and meat was associated with a more than 4-fold increased risk of hypospadias [odds ratio (OR) = 4.6; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.6-13.3]. Boys born to obese [body mass index (BMI) > or = 30] women had a more than 2-fold increased risk of hypospadias (OR = 2.6; 95% CI, 1.2-5.7) compared with boys born to mothers with a normal weight (BMI = 20-24). Maternal hypertension during pregnancy and absence of maternal nausea increased a boy's risk of hypospadias 2.0-fold (95% CI, 1.1-3.7) and 1.8-fold (95% CI, 1.2-2.8), respectively. Nausea in late pregnancy also appeared to be positively associated with hypospadias risk (OR = 7.6; 95% CI, 1.1-53).

Conclusions: A pregnancy diet lacking meat and fish appears to increase the risk of hypospadias in the offspring. Other risk associations were compatible with a role for placental insufficiency in the etiology of hypospadias.

Another source of information on this topic is the Vegan Outreach website:

November 2008

Study Suggests a Vegan Diet Can Improve Diabetes Management 
Paul Appleby of Oxford Vegetarians sends along this research report with a short introduction by Paul.

Here is a recent study by David Jenkins and colleagues showing that a vegan diet
compares favourably with a conventional diabetes management diet.

J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Oct;108(10):1636-45.

Changes in Nutrient Intake and Dietary Quality among Participants with Type 2 Diabetes Following a Low-Fat Vegan Diet or a Conventional Diabetes Diet for 22 Weeks.

Turner-McGrievy GM, Barnard ND, Cohen J, Jenkins DJ, Gloede L, Green AA.

Background: Although vegan diets improve diabetes management, little is known about the nutrient profiles or diet quality of individuals with type 2 diabetes who adopt a vegan diet.

Objective: To assess the changes in nutrient intake and dietary quality among participants following a low-fat vegan diet or the 2003 American Diabetes Association dietary

Design: A 22-week randomized, controlled clinical trial examining changes in nutrient intake and diet quality.

Subjects/Setting: Participants with type 2 diabetes (n=99) in a free-living setting.

Research Design and Methods: Participants were randomly assigned to a low-fat vegan diet or a 2003 American Diabetes Association recommended diet.

Main Outcome Measures: Nutrient intake and Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI) scores were collected at baseline and 22 weeks.

Statistical Analyses Performed: Between-group t tests were calculated for changes between groups and paired comparison t tests were calculated for changes within-group. Pearson's correlation assessed relationship of AHEI score to hemoglobin A1c and body weight changes.

Results: Both groups reported significant decreases in energy, protein, fat, cholesterol, vitamin D, selenium, and sodium intakes. The vegan group also significantly reduced reported intakes of vitamin B-12 and calcium, and significantly increased carbohydrate, fiber, total vitamin A activity, beta carotene, vitamins K and C, folate, magnesium, and potassium. The American Diabetes Association recommended diet group also reported significant decreases in carbohydrate and iron, but reported no significant increases. The vegan group significantly improved its AHEI score (P<0.0001), while the American Diabetes Association recommended diet group did not (P=0.7218). The difference in AHEI score at 22 weeks between groups was significant (P<0.0001). With both groups combined, AHEI score was negatively correlated with both changes in hemoglobin A1c value (r=-0.24, P=0.016) and weight (r=-0.27, P=0.007).

Conclusions: Vegan diets increase intakes of carbohydrate, fiber, and several micronutrients, in contrast with the American Diabetes Association recommended diet. The vegan group improved its AHEI score whereas the American Diabetes Association recommended diet group's AHEI score remained unchanged.

Read the complete latest issue of IVU Online News