Skip to Content

Vegetarian nutrition

« Back to Glossary Index

**Nutritional Concerns:**

Protein combining theory not substantiated by research
– Plant-based protein sources: soy, legumes, nuts, seeds, grains
Frances Moore Lappé withdrew contention on protein combining necessity
Vitamin B12 deficiency risks in vegetarian diets
Vitamin B12 supplementation recommended for individuals over 50
Vitamin B12 sources for vegetarians: eggs, dairy, fortified foods
– Consequences of vitamin B12 deficiency: megaloblastic anemia, nerve damage
– Recommended daily vitamin B12 intake: 2.4 to 3 micrograms

**Omega-3 Fatty Acids:**

– Lack of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in vegetarian diets
– Sources of omega-3 for vegetarians: flaxseeds, walnuts, algae
– DHA and EPA supplements from microalgae to address deficiency
– ALA supplementation impact on EPA levels
– Microalgal oil supplementation for consistent DHA and EPA levels

**Calcium Intake:**

– Calcium sources for vegetarians: dairy, plant milks, almonds, tofu
– Sufficient calcium intake for lacto-ovo-vegetarians
– Good calcium sources: low-oxalate vegetables like bok choy, kale
– Comparison of bone mineral density and fracture rates in vegetarians
– No significant difference in calcium intake between vegetarians and omnivores

**Iron Absorption:**

– Higher risk of iron deficiency anemia in vegetarians
– Plant-based iron sources: tofu, legumes, nuts, seeds, cereals
– Factors affecting iron absorption: phytates, vitamin C
– Recommended iron intake for vegetarians: 180% of non-vegetarians
– Importance of iron for oxygen transport, cellular health

**Zinc Intake:**

– Lower zinc intake in vegetarian populations
– Factors affecting zinc absorption: phytates, dietary fiber
– Understanding marginal zinc intake effects in vegetarians
– Potential need for more than the US RDA of 15mg of zinc daily
– Essential role of zinc for bodily functions and overall health

Vegetarian nutrition is the set of health-related challenges and advantages of vegetarian diets.

A variety of vegetarian, and more specifically vegan, foods

Appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful and nutritionally adequate for all stages of the human life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence. However, vegetarian diets deficient in vitamin B12 or calories may compromise children's health and development. The UK National Health Service recommends that vegetarian diets should also follow the general recommendations for healthy diets, such as low fat, salt and sugar intakes and 5 fruits or vegetables a day. Qatar's public health ministry states, "One cannot be a healthy vegetarian by going to a fast food restaurant and ordering french fries and soda!".

Vegetarian diets tend to be rich in carbohydrates, omega-6 fatty acids, dietary fibre, carotenoids, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium and magnesium. They are possibly low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein.

« Back to Glossary Index