- One study suggests that vegan children tend to have better heart health but lower bone density and mineral content.
- The calcium and vitamin B and D supplement could help circumvent a healthy vegan diet for children.
- The study also found that a plant-based diet was the healthiest if the child consumed healthy foods without processing.
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Children who follow vegan and vegetarian diets may have better heart health and less body fat, but may be more at risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies than their peers who eat animal and plant foods, research suggests.
Led by researchers from University College London and the Children’s Memorial Health Institute, the scientists looked at data from 187 healthy children in Poland, aged 5 to 10 years. The group included an approximately equal number of omnivores and vegans and vegetarians who followed a plant-based diet for an average of five years.
The vegan group had less body fat and better levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol linked to
, according to the results, published on March 19 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
However, vegan children were on average about 3 inches shorter than non-vegan children, the study found, and they were three times more likely to be deficient in Vitamin B..
It was also found that vegans had 4 to 6% lower bone mineral density and lower bone mass. That could be a concern for growing children, and increase it risk of problems in vegan children such as osteoporosis and fractures later in life.
These results suggest that a diet based on healthy, plant-based foods may have health benefits, but it could make it difficult for children to get enough nutrients needed to support growth.
Vegan children can benefit from supplements
U health benefits of the vegan diet they are probably due to eating more healthy plant foods, rich in fiber and micronutrients, previous research suggests.
But since animal products tend to be rich in protein and B vitamins, cutting out these foods could make it more difficult to get these nutrients. That could explain the potential concern about bone health, according to Dr. Małgorzata Desmond, lead author of the study and researcher at The Children’s Memorial Health Institute.
“We found that vegans had a higher intake of nutrients indicating a type of plant-based ‘diet’, which in turn was linked to lower body fat and a better cardiovascular risk profile.” on the other hand, their lower consumption of protein, calcium, and vitamins B12 and D may explain their less favorable concentrations of bone minerals and serum vitamins, ”Desmond said.
The researchers found that vitamin supplements helped reduce the risk of nutritional deficiencies linked to vegan diets. Many experts advise taking it supplements on a vegan diet for things like Vitamin B., calcium, and vitamin D.. This study could be especially important for the growing bodies of young vegans, this study suggests.
Processed vegetarian diets have been linked to poorer heart health, study found
Not all meatless foods are equal for health, the study suggests.
Vegetarian children had high levels of cholesterol and blood sugar, a fact that surprised researchers at first, according to Desmond.
However, it was revealed that the children ate more processed foods and fewer healthy vegetables, seeds, nuts and fruits than their vegan counterparts.
“Their dietary data showed that they ate a relatively processed type of vegetable diet, with less healthy levels of fiber and sugar compared to vegans,” Desmond said in the press release. “So, we learned that just eating vegetable diets is not a guarantee of health. We always need to select healthy foods.”