Within the last decade, 75% of Americans have made changes in their diet to be healthier. Last year, 125 million Americans followed a diet plan: 12% Ketogenic, low-carb, or high fat, 6% Vegetarian, Vegan, or Flexitarian, 5% Mediterranean, Paleo, Whole30, or plant-based. Although few Americans are strictly plant-based, nearly 1 in 3 eat plant-based protein every day. This includes tofu/soy, nuts, beans, and legumes. Additionally, 43 million Americans regularly prefer plant-based alternatives. Restaurants like Subway, Qdoba, and Red Robin have introduced plant-based options to cater to the rising diet. So, what is a plant-based diet?
A whole-food, plant-based diet means minimally processed whole foods, maximum fruit & vegetable intake, and eliminating or limiting meat, eggs, & dairy.
When asking Americans what they think a plant-based diet means: >30% think Vegan, ~20% think Vegetarian, 30% think minimally-processed, vegetarian or vegan, <10% think maximizing fruits & veggies, and 10% are unsure. Many confuse plant-based and vegan.
Nonetheless, plant-based diets can aid weight loss, lower risks of cancer, heart disease & hypertension, and many other health benefits. For example, a poor diet may have a negative influence on blood pressure. On the other hand, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy may reduce blood pressure. In one study, diet change reduced blood pressure 2x more for subjects who were already hypertensive.
Continue reading for more information on the plant-based diet.