Santa Barbara, CA – Santa Barbara resident and Director of Health Science for the Bragg Live Food Products company, John Westerdahl, PhD, RD has been elected Chair of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. With over 75,000 nutritional professionals in its membership, the Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Dr. Westerdahl, also recently honored by being named a Fellow of the Academy, leads the national organization’s practice group of dietitians which specialize in the science and practice of vegetarian nutrition. Vegetarian diets are those which exclude all forms of meat in the diet, including meat, poultry and fish. The official position of the Academy is 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. In recent years, increasing evidence-based scientific research supports the use of vegetarian diets in treating and potentially reversing diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
The Academy’s Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group is the nation’s leading authority of evidence-based vegetarian nutrition for food and nutrition professionals, health care practitioners and the public. The vegetarian nutrition group’s mission is to optimize global health and well-being by creating and disseminating vegetarian nutrition educational materials that is supported by cutting edge scientific research.
Westerdahl will lead the vegetarian dietitian group this month at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo in Nashville, TN. He will be responsible for coordinating and moderating the scientific presentation, Vegetarian Nutrition for a Healthy Body and Healthy Planet. According to Westerdahl, “The scientific evidence is very clear that a
plant-based diet rich in fruits and vegetables powerfully contributes to our individual health and longevity.”