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Simply Plant Based: Fabulous Food for a Healthy Life

      “Plant-based” has become 1 of the latest buzzwords in the food world. However, like many buzzwords, its meaning has become muddied, somehow simultaneously referring to both vegan and “flexitarian” diets,
      • Storz MA
      What makes a plant-based diet? A review of current concepts and proposal for a standardized plant-based dietary intervention checklist.
      and minimally
      • Ostfeld RJ.
      Definition of a plant-based diet and overview of this special issue.
      and ultra-processed foods.
      • Hu FB
      • Otis BO
      • McCarthy G.
      Can plant-based meat alternatives be part of a healthy and sustainable diet?.
      Simply Plant Based: Fabulous Food for a Healthy Life is for sure on the vegan, minimally processed end of the “plant-based” continuum, but the “v-word” is surprisingly absent from its pages in favor of the much trendier term. Aiming to attract a 21st-century, health-conscious consumer, author Vanita Rahman passionately touts the benefits of a plant-based diet through several personal anecdotes and a somewhat hasty review of the literature. Notably missing from her references are more recent meta-analyses that express less-conclusive findings regarding the adoption of a vegan diet,
      • Dinu M
      • Abbate R
      • Gensini GF
      • Casini A
      • Sofi F.
      Vegetarian, vegan diets and multiple health outcomes: a systematic review with meta-analysis of observational studies.
      ,
      • Lopez PD
      • Cativo EH
      • Atlas SA
      • Rosendorff C.
      The effect of vegan diets on blood pressure in adults: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
      instead opting for dated trials and opinion papers from a handful of principal investigators. In addition, Rahman's promotion of α-linolenic acid as a sole omega-3 fat source was a bit concerning, given that its inefficient conversion by humans to eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid has been documented for decades.
      • Brenna JT.
      Efficiency of conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to long chain n-3 fatty acids in man.
      However, great nutrition information was provided on necessary vitamin supplementation for vegans and adequate protein consumption. Hopefully, more scientific rigor will find its way into the second edition.
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      REFERENCES

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        What makes a plant-based diet? A review of current concepts and proposal for a standardized plant-based dietary intervention checklist.
        Eur J Clin Nutr. 2022; 76: 789-800
        • Ostfeld RJ.
        Definition of a plant-based diet and overview of this special issue.
        J Geriatr Cardiol. 2017; 14: 315
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        • Otis BO
        • McCarthy G.
        Can plant-based meat alternatives be part of a healthy and sustainable diet?.
        JAMA. 2019; 322: 1547-1548
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        • Abbate R
        • Gensini GF
        • Casini A
        • Sofi F.
        Vegetarian, vegan diets and multiple health outcomes: a systematic review with meta-analysis of observational studies.
        Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017; 57: 3640-3649
        • Lopez PD
        • Cativo EH
        • Atlas SA
        • Rosendorff C.
        The effect of vegan diets on blood pressure in adults: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
        Am J Med. 2019; 132 (875–883.e7)
        • Brenna JT.
        Efficiency of conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to long chain n-3 fatty acids in man.
        Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2002; 5: 127-132