A panel of scientists and physicians from The American Council on Science and Health has concluded that the widely touted health benefits of vegetarianism are not necessarily due to the absence of meat. In a new report, ACSH health experts review scientific data on the possible health benefits of vegetarianism, explain how vegetarians can plan healthful diets, and discuss the suitability of vegetarian diets for people with special needs. Dr. Ruth Kava, ACSH Director of Nutrition, says: "The mere fact that a diet is meatless does not guarantee that it is healthful. And although eliminating meat is a way to reduce saturated fat and increase plant foods in the diet, it is not the only way. Balance, moderation, and variety are the keys to a healthy eating plan."
Executive Summary ¢ Survey results indicate that 2 to 7 percent of Americans regard themselves as vegetarians, but less than 1 percent completely exclude meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish from their diets. Even fewer Americans choose vegan diets that exclude all foods of animal origin. ¢