Seventh-day Adventist Diet
Seventh-day Adventists eat a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, one that allows milk and eggs, but not animal flesh. This is because they believe that whatever they eat and drink should “honor and glorify God and preserve the health of the body, mind, and spirit.”
Seventh-day Adventists have followed this diet for more than 130 years. The health recommendations were formed based on a combination of the biblical principles of the Levitical laws, the emphasis on self-control promoted by Seventh-day Adventists, and the emerging health and hygiene principles of the 19th century.
A multitude of clinical studies have used Seventh-day Adventists as the study population. These studies have proven that most Seventh-day Adventists are healthier than other populations. In general, Seventh-day Adventists have a 50% lower risk of developing heart disease, certain types of cancers, strokes, and diabetes.
A study of Seventh-day Adventists published in 2000 showed that the 34,192 self-identified California Adventists who were followed for 12 years lived, on average, 7.3 extra years for men and 4.42 more years for women, when compared to other non-Hispanic Californians.
In 2005, the General Council of Seventh-day Adventists Nutrition Council (GCNC) adapted the USDA’s Food Pyramid to illustrate the recommended menu for vegetarians, as outlined in the following table.
Number of Servings/Day
1 slice bread, ½ C of cereal, pasta, or rice
Vegetables and fruits
1 C raw vegetables, ½ C cooked vegetables or fruit
Dairy or dairy alternatives
1 C milk or fortified alternative,
Legumes, nuts, and seeds
½ C cooked beans or peas, 1 egg or 2 egg whites,* ½ C tofu
Fats and oils
Olive, canola, sunflower, or corn oil
*The GCNC recommends limiting the intake of egg yolks to three or fewer/week.
Other Seventh-day Adventist diet recommendations
Abstinence from alcohol, coffee, tea, and all other caffeinated beverages is stressed. Lacto-ovo vegetarians need to pay special attention to what they eat to make sure that they get enough iron, zinc, and protein from their diet. Total vegetarians should pay close attention to calcium, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and protein. It is recommended that people choose plain and simply prepared foods, whenever possible. People are urged to choose whole-grain and high-fiber foods.
References and recommended readings
Seventh-day Adventist Dietetic Association. The Seventh-day Adventist position statement on vegetarian diets. Available at: http://www.sdada.org/position.htm. Accessed August 3, 2010.
Sherman C. Study of Seventh-day Adventist diet means good news for vegetarians. Available at:
http://www.naturalnews.com/022599.html. Accessed August 3, 2010.
Review Date 9/10