About the Plant-Based Diet Initiative

As a prominent nutrition scientist and leader of research on the positive benefits that a plant-based diet entails, Dr. Christopher Gardner has created the Stanford-led Plant-Based Diet Initiative (PBDI). This initiative, directed by Dr. Gardner, encompasses a series of seed grant research led by prominent Stanford scientists, convene symposia and other academic salons used to publicize growing research, and produce an overarching repository of resources aimed at cultivating these findings and making them accessible worldwide. Ultimately, the Plant-Based Diet Initiative would focus on science and policy to identify the optimal plants to displace animal products and demonstrate how plant-based diets can maximize the intersection of human health and the health of the environment, paving the way for a better and healthier future for people and the earth alike.

Shifting to a more plant-based diet involves a continuum of choices. At the extreme is a vegan diet that includes no animal products. While many nutrition scientists believe a healthy vegan diet can support optimal health, many intermediate approaches that involve less meat can also provide optimal nutrition, and are likely to be more realistic in terms of broad population-based change. Given the popularity of Beyond Meat and other plant-based alternatives to animal meat and dairy products in the current food market, this is a prime opportunity to identify the role that these products can play in shifting public perceptions (and perhaps behavior) around adopting more plant-based diets long-term.

Photo of Christopher Gardner

Christopher Gardner, PhD
The Rehnborg Farquhar Professor of Medicine at Stanford University

Director, Plant-Based Diet Initiative (PBDI)
Director, Nutrition Studies Research Group