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https://www.health.com: Considering going vegan? You’re not alone: Every month, people test out the meat- and dairy-free diet for ethical and environmental reasons—and for their health. "I think there are compelling benefits to whole food, plant-based diets, which is why I do recommend this type of diet for many patients," says Shilpa Ravella, MD, gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. Among those health benefits: a reduced risk of chronic diseases and possible weight loss.