Vegetarian eating is moving into the American mainstream as more and more young adults say no to meat, poultry, and fish. According to a 1998 Cornell University news release, titled, “The Promise of Plant-Based Nutrition,” an estimated 14 million Americans already consider themselves vegetarians and about 1 million people adopt a vegetarian diet every year. Teenage Research Unlimited, a marketing-research firm based in Illinois, found in their Spring 2000/Wave 35 Teenage Marketing and Lifestyle Study, that about 4% of all U.S. teens now follow a vegetarian diet. Those statistics don’t surprise nutritionists and doctors who acknowledge the health benefits of a plant-based diet when compared to a meat-based diet high in cholesterol and saturated fat. Research shows vegetarians on the whole eat better than nonvegetarians and consume about two to three times as much fiber as their meat-eating counterparts. A diet high in fiber can actually lower the chances of developing certain cancers, particularly colon cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
In fact, the National Cancer Institute, the American Dietetic Association (ADA), the American Heart Association, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services now support a well-planned vegetarian diet and its associated health benefits. The ADA stated in a