Is going vegan a healthy or even safe approach?

(ABC News) – Meat. For most Americans, it’s what’s for dinner.

So it may come as no surprise that in this nation of carnivores, only about one out of every 30 people declares themselves a vegetarian or vegan.

But popularity aside, is cutting out all the meat from your diet a healthy – or even safe approach?

This week, a top group of nutritionists and dietitians, issuing an official statement to say yes – vegetarianism and veganism can be healthy. But only with proper planning.

Authors of the statement – pointing to evidence showing that plant-based diets can lower risk for health problems like heart disease, obesity and even certain cancers.

The trick, these authors say, is to make sure these diets are well balanced.

Just because something is labeled vegan, they say, doesn’t automatically mean it’s healthy.

Well-planned vegetarian and vegan diets contain vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

And even though pastries and french fries can be vegan, they won’t be doing much for your health.

And as with all diets, check with your doctor before making big changes.

An important first step for turning over a new leaf, when it comes to your diet.

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