Consistency in Clinical Practice Guidelines: Eat More Plant Foods
Understanding that there is consistent agreement rather than debate should increase clinicians’ confidence that they are making sound evidence-based recommendations to their patients when recommending increased consumption of unrefined plant-foods.
An important new study by ACLM has found that there is considerable agreement among major organizations regarding the benefit of consuming minimally processed whole plant-foods to treat and prevent chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
The first-of-its-kind study published in Advances in Nutrition titled: Commonalities among dietary recommendations from 2010-2021 clinical practice guidelines: A meta-epidemiological study from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine compared dietary and nutrition recommendations of 78 clinical practice guidelines published by major government, medical societies and health stakeholder groups. It found that nearly 75% of clinical practice guidelines recommend including or increasing consumption of vegetables, 69% recommend the same for fruit and 58% for whole grains. Additionally, 62% of guidelines recommended decreasing or limiting alcohol, and 56% reducing salt or sodium.
This close alignment is good news for clinicians who may be hesitant to make nutrition and lifestyle recommendations for the treatment of chronic illnesses in their practices. Clinical practice guidelines are developed by respected institutions using the most current and rigorous medical research. Understanding that there is consistent agreement rather than debate should increase confidence that they are making sound evidence-based recommendations to their patients when recommending increased consumption of unrefined plant-foods.
With 60% of Americans suffering with at least one chronic illness and 40% suffering from two or more, coupled with the alarming prevalence of overweight and obesity, it is urgent that clinicians educate themselves with the knowledge they need to confidently prescribe nutrition and lifestyle changes for their patients.
The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) announced its official position on diet for the treatment and potential reversal of lifestyle-related chronic disease in 2018. The statement reads: “For the treatment, reversal and prevention of lifestyle-related chronic disease, the ACLM recommends an eating plan based predominantly on a variety of minimally processed vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.”