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This just in: Vegetarian diets are fine

July 1, 2009 | 10:02 am

Grill Vegetarians have been pretty confident about this -- and it likely comes as no surprise to anyone capable of understanding a nutrition label. But the new assessment comes from the American Dietetic Assn. so might carry some weight with disease-threatened people on the fence.

The judgment is offered up in the organization's updated position paper on the matter. And the more relevant aspect is that the paper says going meat-free may help prevent or treat some chronic diseases.

"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."

The paper was published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Assn. Here's the news release and the abstract.

On a more helpful note, the association is also offering up a detailed nutritional chart of various vegetarian burgers and hot dogs.

In the burger category, MorningStar Farms' Grillers Original and the Boca All American Classic top the protein list with 15 grams of protein each. (The Boca also tops the sodium list, with 500 milligrams.)

The hot dog category is considerably smaller, with only four varieties listed. Of those, the Yves Meatless Hot Dog has the most protein, with 10 grams. 

The chart also includes comparisons with real meat.

No surprise, the vegetarian burgers and hot dogs tend to have less fat and more fiber (both good) than real meat, but more sodium and less protein (not so good). Here's an overview of the results.

-- Tami Dennis 

Photo: Going meatless doesn't mean you have to give up the barbecue.

Credit: Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times
 

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