12 August 2019 | Medical news site Medical Daily recently published an article detailing the publication’s understanding of the pros and cons of the Adventist diet.
The July 30 article noted that the denomination “preaches to its members about clean vegetarian practices propagated by the Book of Leviticus,” and that about 40 percent of Adventists follow strict plant-based diets, with some allowing for consumption of low-fat dairy, fish and eggs.
No-nos listed were drugs, tobacco and alcohol, as well as processed food, caffeine and artificial sweeteners.
The article addressed the Adventist stance on clean and unclean meats, saying unclean meats included pork, rabbits and shellfish. It also noted that the faith opposed gluttony and excess.
In addressing the pros of the Adventist diet, the piece considered the 96,000 Adventists that participated in The Adventist Health Study ( AHS-2). The study found that following a vegetarian diet lowered risk of obesity, high blood pressure and sugar, and therefore reduced mortality rates. Adventists in the study also had a lower risk of developing colon cancer when compared to others.
In addition, Adventists displayed a lower body mass index (BMI) on average than non-vegetarians.
The longer lifespan of Adventists was highlighted in the article, as was the fact that vegetarian Adventists live one and a half to two and a half years longer than other Adventists on non-vegetarian diets.
Nutrient deficiencies that can result from exclusively plant-based diets were portrayed as the main drawback of the Adventist diet: “Adventists are at risk of developing deficiencies on Vitamins D, B12, omega-3 fatty acid, iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and iodine,” said the piece. It added that the denomination recommend having fortified non-dairy milk, cereals and nutritional yeast to help make up for nutritional deficiencies and that a daily multivitamin tablet could help.
The diet review ended with a statement from the American Heart Association saying that the Adventist diet extends human lifespan but can lead to nutritional deficiencies unless properly monitored.