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Vegetarian and Vegan Diets: Weighing the Claims

  • Claire McEvoy
  • Jayne V. Woodside
Chapter
Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH)

Key Points

  • 1–10% of the population in developed countries are thought to be vegetarian, with higher numbers among women.

  • Vegetarian and vegan diets are heterogeneous in nature, which makes provision of dietary recommendations difficult.

  • Populations following vegetarian diets have potential health benefits including reduced risk of coronary heart disease and obesity.

  • Very restrictive or unbalanced vegetarian diets can result in nutrient deficiencies, particularly iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamins B12 and D.

  • Carefully planned vegetarian and vegan diets can provide adequate nutrition for all stages of life.

Key Words

Vegetarian diets vegan diet Mediterranean diet health benefits plant-based diets nutrient deficiencies plant proteins 

Suggested Further Reading

  1. American Dietetic Association & Dietitians of Canada. Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: Vegetarian diets. J Am Diet Assoc 2003; 103:748–765.Google Scholar
  2. Mangels AR, Messina V. Considerations in planning vegan diets: Infants. J Am Diet Assoc 2001; 101:670–677.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Messina V, Mangels AR. Considerations in planning vegan diets: Children. J Am Diet Assoc 2001; 101:661–669.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Sinha R, Cross AJ, Graubard BI, Leitzmann MF, Schatzkin A. Meat intake and mortality: a prospective study of over half a million people. Arch Intern Med 2009; 169:562–571.Google Scholar
  5. http://www.vrg.org The Vegetarian Resource Group provides information on vegetarianism, vegetarian books and recipes, and links to related sites.
  6. http://www.soyfoods.com This U.S. Soy Foods Directory website is an essential resource for anyone interested in learning more about soy foods. The site includes a searchable database, recipes, and research information about the health benefits of soy foods.

References

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    European Vegetarian Union. How many Veggies? Available at http://www.european-vegetarian.org/lang/en/info/howmany.php. Accessed January 20, 2008.
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    The Vegetarian Resource Group. How many Adults are vegetarian? http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2003issue3/vj2003issue3poll.htm. Accessed January 20, 2008.
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    Chang-Claude J, Hermann S, Elber U, Steindorf K. Lifestyle determinants and mortality in German vegetarians and health conscious persons: results of a 21 year follow up. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2005; 14: 963–968.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
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    Mangels AR, Messina V. Considerations in planning vegan diets: Infants. J Am Diet Assoc 2001; 101:670–677.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
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    Messina V, Mangels AR. Considerations in planning vegan diets: Children. J Am Diet Assoc 2001; 101:661–669.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Humana Press, a part of Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claire McEvoy
    • 1
  • Jayne V. Woodside
    • 1
  1. 1.Nutrition and Metabolism GroupCentre for Clinical and Population ScienceBelfastUK

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