What are plant-based dietary patterns?

A plant-based diet consists of diverse dietary patterns that emphasise foods derived from plant sources coupled with lower consumption or exclusion of animal products. A healthy plant-based diet maximises calories from whole or minimally processed plants.

Dietary patterns that promote eating more plants and fewer animal foods include:

  • Mediterranean diet
  • DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)
  • MIND diet (Mediterranean Dash Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay)
  • Nordic diet
  • Portfolio diet (to help lower cholesterol)
  • Vegetarian diet
  • Flexitarian diet (general meat reduction, also called a semi-vegetarian diet)
  • Vegan diet
  • Whole-Food plant-based diet


  • World Health Organization. Regional Office for Europe. ‘Plant-Based Diets and Their Impact on Health, Sustainability and the Environment: A Review of the Evidence: WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases’. World Health Organization. Regional Office for Europe, 2021. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/349086.
  • Satija, Ambika, and Frank B. Hu. ‘Plant-Based Diets and Cardiovascular Health’. Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine 28, no. 7 (October 2018): 437–41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tcm.2018.02.004.
  • Melina, Vesanto, Winston Craig, and Susan Levin. ‘Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets’. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 116, no. 12 (1 December 2016): 1970–80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2016.09.025.