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German Nutrition Society Finds Vegan Diets Are Nutritionally Inadequate

A recent position paper from the German Nutrition Society suggests that it is “difficult or impossible” for vegans to get enough vitamin B12 and that anyone following a vegan diet should always take vitamin B12 supplements. It also found that vegans are often lacking in protein, amino acids, long-chain omega-3 fatty-acids, riboflavin, vitamin D, calcium, iron, iodine, zinc, and selenium.


The paper recommends that a vegan diet — whether or not supplements are included — is not appropriate for pregnant women, women who are lactating, or for children or adolescents. They recommend that vegans permanently take vitamin B12 supplements and also have their B12 intake checked regularly by a doctor.


They also state that the vegan diet “does not lead to the intake of adequate levels of essential nutrients and energy” and that people should follow a diet that includes all food groups. The authors recognized that vegan diets are becoming more popular worldwide particularly in the Western world, where the “typical vegetarian” is a woman, young, educated, wealthy, living in a city, and following a “healthy lifestyle.” They recommend that anyone following a vegan diet get advice from a nutrition counselor and have their levels of essential nutrients checked regularly by a doctor.


The review was published online by the German Nutrition Society in April 2016.


Previous research has linked vegan diets with combating better overall health and with combatting chronic disease such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. If you’re interested in converting to a vegan diet, consult a nutritionist to make sure you’re getting all of the proper nutrients. Many vegans choose to supplement their diets with high quality supplements.

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