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Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

View Poll Results: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

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  • Yes

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Thread: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

  1. #1
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

    Studies show than vegans in general have lower B12 levels than non-vegans, but according to this article, 'nearly 40% of the U.S. population may be flirting with marginal vitamin B12 status'. This study also found that in a group who consumed fish, poultry or red meat on a regular basis, 40 per cent had vitamin B12 concentrations below the recommended lower limit.

    A study of elderly people in Italy (90-106 years old!), although appearing well-nourished, had deficiencies in a number of micronutrients, such as selenium, zinc, vitamin B6, Vitamin E, vitamin B12, and folate.

    Other studies show that many are short of recommended levels for certain nutrients such as calcium, iron, zinc, and folacin, some are short in vitamins A and C (based on 'normal' people, not vegans).

    According to this link, 34% of all meat eaters are B12 deficient, and most Americans are not getting what they need from their diet: "For example, in one recent U.S. Dept. of Agriculture survey of 20,000 people, not a single person was consuming adequate levels of all the vitamins and minerals. In this study, the percentage of Americans were found to be deficient as follows: 90% in vit. B6, 75% in magnesium, 68% in calcium, 57% in iron, 50% in vitamin A, 45% in vitamin B1, 41% in vitamin C, 34% in vitamin B2..." and the list goes on.

    According to this study, "The matched subjects who ate meat (including poultry and fish) were more than twice as likely to become demented as their vegetarian counterparts".


    In a study of 402 elderly Europeans living at home, the nutrient content of their diet was found to be low: folic acid intake was low in 100% of those studied, zinc in 87%, vitamin B6 in 83%, and vitamin D in 62%.

    Here's a list of nutrient common deficiencies (again, not based on vegans) from the Hippocrates Institute, Volume 22, Issue 1: 80% are vitamin B6 deficient. 75% are magnesium deficient. 68% are calcium deficient. 57% are iron deficient. 50% are a deficient. 45% are B1 deficient. 41% are Vitamin C deficient. 34% are B12 deficient. And the list goes on like that.

    (Maybe be that the definition of 'deficient' needs to be re-evaluated, or that 'low levels' are mixed up with 'deficient'?)

    To quote on of the sources listed above, there are 'literally hundreds of medical studies to suggest it’s a virtual certainty that you and every member of your family are deficient in one or more essential nutrients' (addressed to 'normal' people, not vegans.)

    Still, it seems that some people think that they need to be more concerned about nutrient deficiencies as vegans than they needed to be before they became vegans.

    We already have a thread about this topic (here), but this time I'm posting a poll: Do you believe that vegans generally need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies/health than they did before they excluded animal products from their diet?
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  2. #2
    frugivorous aubergine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    I voted no.

    As an omni I always suffered from small problems related to vitamin and mineral deficiencies and also was overweight because of how much extra non-essential things I was eating.

    Since going Vegan I feel really well most of the time. My immune system is much stronger and I feel like I've had a body upgrade.

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    No. I tend to believe that bananas, carrots, apples, tofu, peanuts, rice, etc. are much more nutrient rich than say...McDonalds' food.
    I have less to worry about now (even though I never ate much McDonalds).

  4. #4
    auntierozzi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    I am a relatively new vegan, since July. I think more now about making sure I have enough iron, calcium and B12. I have always been in good health and feel especially good now that I am vegan. I voted yes but maybe I'm generalizing from my own experience. I so want to be a healthy vegan but am still pretty new at this.

  5. #5
    steven1222
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    I think it requires more thought (and 'worrying') for vegans to get enough of nutrients, but that is not the fault of a vegan diet. The reason is that the demand for animal products is too high. Animal products are so widely distributed that natural, non-animal sources of the nutrients are not as readily available.

  6. #6
    auntierozzi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    I agree with you. I think maybe being surrounded by omnis gives you the impression that you are somehow worrying them!!! They are the ones that should be worrying about themselves really.

  7. #7
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    Quote steven1222 View Post
    I think it requires more thought (and 'worrying') for vegans to get enough of nutrients, but that is not the fault of a vegan diet. The reason is that the demand for animal products is too high. Animal products are so widely distributed that natural, non-animal sources of the nutrients are not as readily available.
    Maybe the question wasn't very well formulated: I wasn't actually looking for opinions about whether certain products were hard to find or not, but whether there was a reason to be more or less concerned about nutrients (in general, not specific nutrients) in food free from animal products (given that one has access to vegan food).
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  8. #8
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    Quote auntierozzi View Post
    I am a relatively new vegan, since July. I think more now about making sure I have enough iron, calcium and B12.
    Did you worry about the many nutrients meat eaters often are deficient in before you were a vegan?

    I'm know some people - like you - worry more about getting enough nutrients as vegans, and maybe we could have a poll about that too. This poll is about whether we actually need to be generally more worried about nutrients than meat eaters, not if are more worried.

    Another interesting topic is that people who eat meat basically only eat meat from plant eating animals (not from wolves, bears or tigers), so if 'eating plants that already have been eaten once' should cause less worries (a bit simplified, one could say that meat is made of plants), there is a little paradox going on: if omnivores get a nutrient from eating meat, that animal has gotten it's nutrient from plants (or fortified animal food/supplements/nutrients added to the soil).

    [Waiting for a comment about cows having four stomachs and insect poo on grass... ]
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    I voted "NO", because I'm not worried at all about my diet. I'm confident I get what I need - my immune system is better than ever, and I think that's a pretty good indication that I'm doing OK. I've never felt better!

    However, I think that new vegans with little experience should worry a bit about vitamin and mineral intake. I've seen newbies who has no clue about the importance of a balanced diet ending up feeling not so good, and evetually go back to meat eating. It's sad, but I've witnessed this too many times. I think food ideas and lack of knowledge on how to navigate in a non-vegan world (how to find and prepare a variation of v foods and how to deal with difficult situations, which do come up) also play a big role. Many simply cut meat and dairy out of their diet without replacing them with healthier alternatives. Not a good idea, these people should worry.
    "Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends". ~ George Bernhard Shaw.

  10. #10
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    NOT a good idea, these people SHOULD worry.
    I agree. They should worry, just like a meat eater eating junk food or other nutrient poor should worry about his diet.

    I can see that there's room for at least 2 or 3 related polls here...
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  11. #11
    kriz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    I wonder if some ex-vegans are using their lack of knowledge about nutrition as an excuse and don't want to know MORE. I mean, if you REALLY want to adopt a vegan lifestyle and succeed wouldn't you educate yourself enough and try to handle situations effectively so that you'll do well?... Not long ago there was a new vegan on here who was even willing to consult a nutritionist. That's great! I would also give credit to all the new vegans or "almost vegans" who come on here and are asking for advice and are willing to educate themselves.
    "Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends". ~ George Bernhard Shaw.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    Korn,
    If the question is do we need to worry, if we are eating well as a vegan then I would definitely vote NO!! I am convinced that our vegan diet is the best one for everybody and there is nothing missing. It's better in every way. I feel as though part of being vegan is being pretty strong willed. I don't think that there is any way that anybody could be half hearted about it.

  13. #13
    I eve's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    I also agree that we don't need to worry, because a vegan lifestyle is far more nutritious than that of a meat-eater. However, I do have some concerns when I see post after post about vegan cakes etc. Someone used their very first post to say that he/she intends to go vegan, and asked for cake recipes! Cake recipes! I'm sure we wouldn't have so many vegans posting about their sicknesses etc, if they simply ate plant foods, raw or cooked, and forgot about cakes and biscuits.
    Eve

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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    I for one like making cakes. But then again, I have a tendency to give them to omnis and go, "And by the way, it's vegan." later. Yummy sweet things from the "vegan realm" (as one friend likes to call it) tend to give a more favorable impression than eating salad all the time.

  15. #15
    pavotrouge
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    I voted Yes, not because I think and omni or whatever other diet is healthier, but vegans surely need to have a better knowledge on nutritients and the like.

    There are a lot of meat eaters who have defiencies because they eat crap, but I still believe it is easier to get all the nutritients "accidentally" in a balanced omni diet than in a vegan one.

  16. #16
    mangababe rianaelf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    Quote Korn View Post

    According to this study, "The matched subjects who ate meat (including poultry and fish) were more than twice as likely to become demented as their vegetarian counterparts".

    hahahahahahahaha
    best joke i've heard for ages
    what do they expect eating flesh <blech>
    yeah for veganism!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    holding onto the dream that we imagined and painted forever more: elvinridge.co.uk

  17. #17
    I eve's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    what's even better, rianaelf, is that it is no joke!
    pavotrouge, how on earth can you believe, as you say, that it is easier to get all the nutritients "accidentally" in a balanced omni diet than in a vegan one? What about a balanced vegan diet?
    Eve

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    I voted no because everyone needs to check that they are getting enough nutrients whether vegetarian,vegan or not.
    Meat does not satisfy many of our nutritional needs and therefor not eating it shouldn't be a cause for concern.
    I would be more concerned for people who choose not to eat fruit and vegetables, which seems to be a large portion of the population!

  19. #19
    pavotrouge
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    Eve, I didn't say anything against a balanced vegan diet, I just find it much harder- a balanced vegan diet requires much more knowledge about which nutritients are in which food, or at least that's what it feels like for me.

    As an omni, I never worried about nutritients (and the way I was omni for the last seven years before becoming vegan consisted of phases of vegetarianism, and then phases in which I eat meat maybe once a month, fish once a week and almost no dairy and egg products because I never really liked it) and was fine.
    When I switched to veganism, I felt pretty soon that I wasn't getting all I needed and am now always checking what I get...and even on days I think I eat pretty good, I often still lack certain nutritients.

  20. #20
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    Quote pavotrouge View Post
    a balanced vegan diet requires much more knowledge about which nutritients are in which food, or at least that's what it feels like for me.
    This is true for at least one nutrient, but when looking at other nutrients, it seems that meat eaters have more to worry about than vegans, doesn't it? It's a mathematical fact that the more meat people eat, the less plants they eat... There are many nutrients only found in plant food. Meat eaters eat plants as well (to some degree), but the nutrients they are low in, are often those found in plants only, which seem to suggest that eating meat causes people to consume too little plants food.

    I hear that you are saying that this is 'what it feels like', pavotrouge, and I know this is the case for some (especially new) vegans. But have you or anyone else seen any studies/facts that back this up?


    As an omni, I never worried about nutritients
    I've know many meat eaters don't (although lots of take some sort of supplements or multivitamins/fortified milk etc.), but based on a lot of studies (some of them are mentioned in the first post in this thread, you should definitely have been worried/concerned about nutrients when you were a meat eater.


    When I switched to veganism, I felt pretty soon that I wasn't getting all I needed and am now always checking what I get...
    Since there is a myth that humans need to eat animals (animals which get all their nutrients from plants), lots of people 'feel' that they don't get enough nutrients when letting go of meat.


    and even on days I think I eat pretty good, I often still lack certain nutritients.
    Do you lack nutrients, or do you feel that you lack nutrients? If you know that you actually lack nutrients, the interesting question is: do you lack more nutrients than you did before you became a vegan?

    Healthy vegans eat a lot more varied food then eg. cows and sheep, and I wonder how people think that they can get so many nutrients - in healthy amounts - eg. from animals that basically only eat grass and leaves - nutrients that some people think we can't get from a balanced diet consisting of nutrients from 10-20 different plants (or more) every day.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  21. #21

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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    I think this is a really interesting topic! I'm with pavotrouge - I voted yes in the poll because I feel I need to take a much more proactive approach to nutrition when I'm vegan to get all the nutrients I need, whereas when I was veggie I never thought about it. But as you say Korn, there don't seem to be any studies to back up the idea that meat-eaters have less to worry about than vegans. I guess it is all the conditioning I have received over the years that "meat and dairy are healthy and you'll get sick if you don't consume them" Health-wise, though, I feel much healthier as as vegan than I ever did as a non-vegan, perhaps that should speak for itself.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    i voted no too.
    Since i've been vegan everyday feels like i have been through a detox. My body feels so healthy and clean. I eat loads and never feel fat, bloated, greasy etc. The b12 issue is overrated in my view. I could go into it but can't really be bothered.

    On the issue on eating cows, sheep etc, they are designed to be very efficient in how they use the poor foods they eat to produce nutrients, mass etc. It's a whole science topic which i did at college ie like how horses get so lean on plant diets etc because of how they digest foods and the bacterias they have inside them.

  23. #23
    pavotrouge
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    I was talking about what it is like for myself mainly, and at first I lost a lot of weight going vegan and still have trouble getting enough protein and fat - I don't have an eating disorder but was born with a dislike for fatty foods (eg never ate cheese, cream etc), so I also tend to neglects oils, nuts and the like in my diet though I know I shouldn't.

    There are a lot of things concerning my health that have extremely improved since going vegan (actually, that was the bone of contention to try veganism at first), but as said above, I lost some weight and lack minerals and other trace elements. I regularly check my nutrition intake, and if I compare it to what I would have eaten, say, two years ago, the vegan day loses.

    Maybe the fact that I didn't know it any better as a meat eater also plays a role in this, plus, I didn't have much of a choice back then, living with my mother.

    But I've never felt that meat is neccessary- I've had veggie periods ever since I've been 12, eating 100&#37; vegetarian for a couple of months and omni for another period.

    What I still believe is that, whatever diet you follow, your body shows you (and be it through cravings) what you need/lack.

    And I'm into the theory that humans are designed omnivores; that, for me, does not mean a vegan diet is impossible, but harder for sure.

  24. #24
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    Quote pavotrouge View Post
    And I'm into the theory that humans are designed omnivores; that, for me, does not mean a vegan diet is impossible, but harder for sure.
    We have a threads about whether humans are designed omnivores here and here, but why is it harder to be a vegan for you (besides the fact the switching from one habit/lifestyle/diet to another always requires a little effort)? If there are certain nutrients you constantly miss, while you didn't miss any (or missed less) nutrients before?
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  25. #25
    pavotrouge
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    I didn't want this turn out in such a long discussion or make my post sound as if I'm secretly against veganism.

    I don't mean come of as arrogant or not capable of dealing with critic- but I'm out of this discussion now because any further arguments might be too unscientific and too personal or might be misinterpreted in a couple of ways.

  26. #26
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    Again, I should probably have stressed that the intention with the poll was to emphasize the difference between worrying about getting enough nutrients on a vegan diet as opposed to focusing if vegans actually need to be more concerned about nutrients - based on real, scientific studies. I'll set up a new poll when I find a better way to phrase that myth. vs. science-question.

    Don't worry, pavotrouge, I don't think anyone believes you are secretly against veganism or are arrogant.
    Last edited by Korn; Jan 14th, 2007 at 09:03 PM. Reason: Grammar, spelling
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  27. #27
    Mahk
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    Korn, I don't know how to answer the poll question because I feel very differently depending on the specific nutrient. Also the question doesn't state whether the vegan consumes "fortified" foods, which is equivalent to taking supplements in pill form, in my opinion. For what it's worth, here is how I would vote, by nutrient, assuming no fortified foods or supplements are allowed:

    Vitamin A, B's (excluding B12), C, E, (most) Minerals, Protein - No.

    Iodine, Iron, Calcium, Vitamin D - Maybe, depends on the conditions.

    Weird ones that are rarely discussed (Folate, Biotin, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Copper, Zinc) - Um...er...I guess not?

    VITAMIN B12 - YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I recently discovered that the only established vegan form of vitamin B12, nutritional yeast, contains substantial amounts of B12 only because it is fortified with it! Source:http://www.veganhealth.org/b12/vegansources

  28. #28
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    Quote "Mahk" View Post
    Korn, I don't know how to answer the poll question because I feel very differently depending on the specific nutrient.
    That makes totally sense, but instead of having a poll for each nutrient, the poll/thread was meant as a comment to the feeling some people seem to have, namely that they are safe (or more safe) regarding nutrients in general if they eat meat than if they eat vegan food.

    Also the question doesn't state whether the vegan consumes "fortified" foods
    I agree that fortified food = food + supplements, and I don't think it makes sense to include supplements or fortified food into this - although, meat IS already fortified food, because today, animals eat grass from fortified fields and eat fortified food as well.



    Weird ones that are rarely discussed (Folate, Biotin, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Copper, Zinc) - Um...er...I guess not?
    When looking at all these nutrients, the big question IMO is (in this context) if there's any reason to believe that vegans should have more deficiencies than meat eaters. Of course the poll is silly and totally unscientific, because there isn't one vegan diet or one meat based diet - the thread/poll is very general. Letting go of the B12-obsession for a moment, and including important stuff like the antioxidants/B6/vitaminC/phytosterol/fiber/mangnesium, it seems that the more or less common belief (among meat eaters) that they'd have to become generally more worried about nutrients if they would go vegan is only a myth. (and: not only are they often low in a number of nutrients, they have high levels of other stuff that one doesn't want to have high levels of.)




    I recently discovered that the only established vegan form of vitamin B12, nutritional yeast, contains substantial amounts of B12 only because it is fortified with it! Source: http://www.veganhealth.org/b12/vegansources
    There are several ways to cultivate B12 (not using nutritional yeast). Whatever kind of B12 nutritional yeast is fortified with, it's not animal based, and therefor vegan, and thirdly, if you read through the pseudo-scientific and very unbalanced B12 stuff at veganhealth, and check other sources (that they either don't mention, or if they mention them, they do it with a more or less hidden non-vegan bias), you'll see that B12 can and has been found in many non-animal based sources. Not enough few studies have focused on the bio-availability of B12 - you know, the whole thing about plants (and animal products, multivitamins etc) containing B12 analogues etc., which we have discussed in the B12 sections for a few years. By the way, I believe lots of meat eaters who take multivitamins take vegan B12 as well, because the B12 they take is probably synthesized, and not animal based.

    Unfortunately, veganhealth (a sub-site of Vegan Outreach) has a genuine lack of interest in showing balanced information about B12, or providing scientific, real life-based comparisons between nutrient levels in vegans and meat eaters.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

    Years ago, when I ate meat, my diet was terrible - I didn't give nutrients etc a second thought. When I went vegetarian the foods I ate improved a little, although still I didn't pay much attention to what I was eating.

    Now I've gone vegan I've become more aware of what I eat, and to be honest nearly all of it is so healthy I don't worry too much about whether it contains the right amount of vitamins etc. As long as I feel good and look good, I figure I must be doing something right .

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    Quote fiamma View Post
    But as you say Korn, there don't seem to be any studies to back up the idea that meat-eaters have less to worry about than vegans. I guess it is all the conditioning I have received over the years that "meat and dairy are healthy and you'll get sick if you don't consume them"
    I think that conditioning plays into this on more than one level.
    I think it is fair to say that almost all omnis were raised choking down meat. They are therefore conditioned to regularly eat this source of protein.
    Vegetarians/Vegans were often raised as meat-eaters, as well, so it is not as natural (or we are not as conditioned) to eat a handful of nuts here... sprinkle seeds on our salad there, etc. So it becomes something we must keep track of and eventually condition ourselves to do.
    Once we begin to track our protein intake, we become aware of our iron intake... and calcium.. then B12.. and so on...

    So it may /seem/ like we need to be more aware of it simply because we are.
    (Does that even make sense to anyone other than me?)

    I know so many meat-eaters that do not get veggies or fruits on a daily basis. My little brother has refused to eat any fruit at all, since he was a toddler, and rarely ever eats any veggies! I would hate to think of all the deficiencies he must have. (-_-)
    ----

  31. #31
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

    So it may /seem/ like we need to be more aware of it simply because we are.
    I think anyone who goes through changes - moves to a new country, starts to be more aware of the impact his lifestyle has on the environment, or makes major changes in his diet (etc) will have to 'pay extra attention' for a while - because we are so controlled by old habits.

    The problem with meat eaters - and I'm referring to those who both eat meat and vegetables here - is that they are deficient in many nutrients even when living on a diet they know well and have had their whole life to adjust to.

    Part of the problem isn't even the meat itself, but that the fact that they eat something which is not rich in antioxidants, folate, phytochemicals, fiber, vitamin C etc. means that they will eat less plants. Plants are best source for lots of stuff we need to eat.

    Meat = actually plants that already have been eaten and digested once, so it doesn't surprise me that eating meat is associated with a lot of deficiencies.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

    do they need to compared to meat eaters. No!
    (i had a rant going then reread the question
    i've noted in my time as a herbivore that unless there is external pressures on a vegan (drugs/ booze/ psychological stress/ physical illness/ physical trauma)
    then a vegan will naturally eat the right stuff or even crave the right foods, being vegan makes your body more self aware of what it needs. i'm sure this is true. but if the any of the above list of distractions is in place then this self awareness can become very thin and then a price higher than an omni will be paid. only through the fact junk/crap/meaty shit is much more available/accessible then wholesome vegan food( how many places sell a range of preprepared vegan food, wholesome or not?)

    i believe that being vegan and still maintaining the diet and self awareness will see you through the above much better than if you were an omni...

    the exception is the transition period, the time between omni and vegan, the brain and the body are in a state of flux and unless guidance is available then deficiencies could occur, this these days is inconsiderably less that it used to be with much more information being available to the prospective vegan!

  33. #33
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    Default Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

    I've had fatigue for a few months, I don't think it's diet related, (more likely anxiety related) my blood tests were clear, B12 is fine, calcium and iron fine, my diet isn't perfect by any means so I feel happy there's no deficiencies, I think your diet would have to be pretty poor for you to have these deficiencies if I'm ok! I eat too much sweet stuff and not enough fruit, legumes, nuts and seeds, I'm not sure if I'm lacking other vits and as I don't think you can be tested for them.

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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

    i feel that meat eaters are more nutrient deficient than vegans...i know for me, i try to be aware (still learning) of my nutrient intake & how much is needed....as someone who is VERY interested in nutrition, i am always reading articles about the vegan lifestyle...meat eaters, on the other hand, do not (for the most part) keep track of their eating...just because they eat meat, does not mean they consume they correct amount of vegetables, fruits, and grains
    "be the change you want to see in the world"
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  35. #35
    Pilaf
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

    Yes, we are at a higher statistical risk to be deficient from nutrients like iron, vitamin D and the B vitamins. However most of us are very clever people, especially the informed ones who use resources like this site to research this stuff, so I'd say that while my risk is higher the reality is I am getting more of my nutrients than I ever did as an omni.

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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

    Quote Pilaf View Post
    Yes, we are at a higher statistical risk to be deficient from nutrients like iron, vitamin D and the B vitamins. However most of us are very clever people, especially the informed ones who use resources like this site to research this stuff, so I'd say that while my risk is higher the reality is I am getting more of my nutrients than I ever did as an omni.
    Well if this is true, then I would like to believe it is not because we are vegans, but because we are in a minority. Let me explain. The eating patterns of majority groups will always have public nutritional advice tailored to their needs and common deficiences. Deficiences change with communities for a variety of reasons, not necessarily ethics/food. For example the Muslim community has a high rate of Vitamin D deficiency due to women covering, the South Asian community has a higher chances of diabeties due to high sugar foods.
    Also, skin colour affects the ability to absorb Vitamin D. A person of European skin tone needs 15 minutes of sunlight daily for sufficient Vitamin D, but for an Afro-Carribbean person living in the same country (same amount of sunlight), nearly 6 times more time is needed.
    So my point is: deficiences are merely circumstantial.
    If the whole of society had been Vegan for centuries then the role of B12 in the body would change naturally with evolution. Look at Vitamin K and the mineral Boron. We only need small amounts of these, but what happens when we get none? I believe that these trace minerals and vitamins must have had more importance in the body at one point in history, but due to a significant food source being lost, the body progressively changed/adapted.

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

    Quote hiddenfromview View Post
    Well if this is true, then I would like to believe it is not because we are vegans, but because we are in a minority. Let me explain. The eating patterns of majority groups will always have public nutritional advice tailored to their needs and common deficiences. Deficiences change with communities for a variety of reasons, not necessarily ethics/food. For example the Muslim community has a high rate of Vitamin D deficiency due to women covering, the South Asian community has a higher chances of diabeties due to high sugar foods.
    Also, skin colour affects the ability to absorb Vitamin D. A person of European skin tone needs 15 minutes of sunlight daily for sufficient Vitamin D, but for an Afro-Carribbean person living in the same country (same amount of sunlight), nearly 6 times more time is needed.
    So my point is: deficiences are merely circumstantial.
    If the whole of society had been Vegan for centuries then the role of B12 in the body would change naturally with evolution. Look at Vitamin K and the mineral Boron. We only need small amounts of these, but what happens when we get none? I believe that these trace minerals and vitamins must have had more importance in the body at one point in history, but due to a significant food source being lost, the body progressively changed/adapted.
    Evolution needs a catalyst to occur. A species as huge and thriving as Humanity which fills every corner of the Earth and isn't struggling to survive simply has no biological incentive to evolve. I've studied the topic of human evolution in my free time very often since I was a very young boy and I'd like to think I know how this stuff works. Our bodies will logically remain mostly the same until we begin venturing into space, colonizing other planets. Only then, with different groups of humans spread out millions of miles from each other, would beneficial mutations theoretically arise. Such as, for instance, humans living farther from the Sun on planets like Mars, perhaps the people whose bodies need less Vitamin D would be most successful there and their offspring would have a higher survival rate, etc.


    Anyway, my point is that since our bodies have no catalyst to adopt and evolve, even over a long period of time, we must assume the basic nutritional needs of most humans fall within a certain range. We must also realize that in our modern society, the way it's structured and the diet that's promoted by the status quo, that there are one or two vitamins and minerals vegans should watch.

    Does that mean we're probably gonna be deficient? No...because as is discussed elsewhere on this forum, due to an overall healthier diet and a more balanced intake of certain nutrients, a vegan's body may hold onto minerals like calcium more efficiently than a heavy meat eater's body would. But the need for the calcium is still there, of course. Always. It's simply essential. It's just not something most vegans will ever have to worry about, much.

    I think that by checking blood levels of vitamins and minerals periodically and making sure we get enough of everything in the diet there really isn't a problem. I wouldn't count on us to evolve to thrive on less of any certain vitamin or mineral though, at least not anytime soon.

  38. #38
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eate

    Quote aubergine View Post
    I voted no.

    As an omni I always suffered from small problems related to vitamin and mineral deficiencies and also was overweight because of how much extra non-essential things I was eating.

    Since going Vegan I feel really well most of the time. My immune system is much stronger and I feel like I've had a body upgrade.
    I agree with you aubergine,since going vegan I feel so much healthier than when I was an omni.

  39. #39
    Jippia
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

    I am not worrying more about my nutrient intake than I was as an omni or a vegetarian. I always tried to plan my diet in such a way that I would get enough nutrients and I took a multivitamin just to be sure that I was not missing out on something. I even think I am eating better now than when I was an omni. I think one only should wonder about being deficient if the diet is ill-planned. Also, some people, vegan or not, may not be able to absorb certain vitamins very well. Maybe these need to worry a bit more about getting all the nutrients they need. But in general I say that perhaps omnis need to worry more than vegans, because vegans are more aware of what they are eating and really plan a balanced diet. Omni simply assume they get everything they need because they are eating meat, having their glass of milk and their apple or orange every day.

  40. #40
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

    I voted no. Ever since I've became veggie then vegan, I've felt healthier in general and I've been able to maintain a healthier body weight. But the main thing I want to say is, vegans are generally more passionate about what they eat and their food. I mean, consider this forum. Is there a forum out there for people who eat meat? Maybe there is, but we are certainly much more involved with what we eat and what our general attitude towards food is healthier. Because of that reason, we will be healthier. I know vegetarians but I don't know any vegans except me, and all of my meat-eating family and friends couldn't give a crap what they put in their bodies. I see it every day. Now all of my friends are taking bloodtests because they claim they're malnourished. Hate to say I told them so, but seriously, maybe if they changed their attitude towards food, they wouldn't be in that position.

    My conclusion: I voted no because being vegan means you are proud of your food, and if you are proud of what you are eating then chances are you KNOW what you are eating, whereas meat-eaters who cram their bodies with fat, meat and fast food simply take the easy and fast way out - and their health is the sacrifice.

  41. #41
    songlife
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

    The whole B12 thing is so irrelevant now that we have nutritional yeast, and can synthesize it in a lab (and it's EXACTLY the same substance as found in nature) very easily. Take a vitamin B12 supplement. There is no need to torture and kill innocent sentient beings for it. I can't stand it when people tell me vegans have smaller brains. I just want to cry out about all the false indoctrination sometimes, I don't know what to do. But at the same time, being nice to people and calmly explaining about the B12 situation will help more than getting mad. So, I hold my tongue and try to explain patiently

  42. #42
    [LMNOP] ellaminnowpea's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

    Quote Korn
    be that the definition of 'deficient' needs to be re-evaluated, or that 'low levels' are mixed up with 'deficient'?
    If these studies are based on US values, they are based on the RDAs and AIs. In the US, deficient is defined by a specific number. Usually 'marginally deficient' and 'low' are not.

    Anyway...
    I've heard some of these statistics before when researching for classes at uni. I think this a really good point to help support veganism. There are also studies indicating that dairy milk or animal protein inhibits the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals.

    I usually supplement with iron, but I was iron deficient before I became vegan (as a vegetarian, and I don't remember before I vegetarian). I also take B12. But I am definitely healthier in many ways; I get less colds/ flus, respiratory infections, digestive problems, headaches, etc. I'm also much more interested in eating healthily, so I'm more careful about my diet and lifestyle choices.
    I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship. ~ Alcott

  43. #43
    V for Veganica Sarabi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

    Do we? Yes. By very much? No. Should we? No.
    We live in a society that teaches us how to eat meat.
    We do not live in a society that teaches us how to eat animal product-free. It's very, very simple: just make sure you get B12! If people actually did their research, I should think it would be pretty obvious that all you have to do is look for B12-fortified foods. It's not much more difficult than looking for animal products. The only difference is that you need a label and need to educate yourself about what society didn't, which foods it's in, etc.
    "To become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana." - Buddha

  44. #44
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

    81% of this forum is goofy.


    The more foods you eliminate from your diet the more you need to make sure you are getting your nutrients. So a fruitarian really needs to worry, a raw vegan should worry quite a bit, a vegan should worry some, a veggie shouldn't worry as much, and an omni should worry the least....

  45. #45
    V for Veganica Sarabi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

    Quote Fuhzy View Post
    81% of this forum is goofy.


    The more foods you eliminate from your diet the more you need to make sure you are getting your nutrients. So a fruitarian really needs to worry, a raw vegan should worry quite a bit, a vegan should worry some, a veggie shouldn't worry as much, and an omni should worry the least....
    Well-said.

    But in reality, I think just about all of us could be more conscious of our nutrient intake. So a vegan having to worry "some" may be actually only slightly more than the "some" of a meat-eater. It also depends on circumstance. Having plenty of access to B12-fortified milks, I don't worry very much about getting sufficient nutrients. If didn't have access to these, I'd be very worried. How worried I should be I'm not sure, but I would be.
    "To become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana." - Buddha

  46. #46
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

    Quote Fuhzy View Post

    ...a an omni should worry the least....
    I'm afraid you'll have a hard time even finding an omni being able to back that up with any scientific documentation. Omnis are constantly told to change their diet (eliminate certain food stuff, eat more of what vegans eat all the time) - both as a general advice and as advice given when they become sick. And I'm not thinking of advice given to these people my vegan enthusiasts, but plain, common-sense advice given by nutritionists and doctors who know what they are talking about.


    The more foods you eliminate from your diet the more you need to make sure you are getting your nutrients.
    If you eat less of what's bad for you, you'll eat something else instead (unless you simply eat less). If you replace what's bad for you with something that's good for you, that elimination will mean that you will get more of the good stuff: more anti-oxidants, more phyto-chemicals/flavonoids; all that stuff that animal products are known to have close to zero % of. The problem with the typical omni isn't only that so many people living on an omnivorous diet are deficient in a number of important nutrients, but that they consume too much of things that even most omnis know isn't good for them...

    Knowing all the stories about people who feel better and are more healthy after going vegan, and knowing that meat and milk technically are made out of plants that already have been eaten once, I think it's time to let go of the blind faith in the diet we were raised on,and stop assuming that it's the least worrisome in terms of nutrients. After all, it seems to be well documented - by 'omnis' - that their diet isn't as healthy is they thought it was a couple of generations ago.

    Sorry for having one of those 'I couldn't disagree more'-moments...
    Last edited by Korn; Jan 21st, 2009 at 02:39 PM.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  47. #47
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

    Quote Korn View Post

    Knowing all stories about people who feel better and are more healthy after going vegan, and knowing that meat and milk technically are made it of plants that already have been eaten once, I think it's time to let go of the blind faith in the diet we were raised on, and stop assuming that it's the least worrisome in terms of nutrients.
    That's actually another point for going vegan; why use a 'middleman' (the dead animal) when one can get the nutrients directly from the source: the PLANTS! Humans seem to have always preferred eating herbivore animals throughout history. And it's probably the herbivore part of that which benefited us the most.
    "Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends". ~ George Bernhard Shaw.

  48. #48
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

    Quote Fuhzy View Post
    The more foods you eliminate from your diet the more you need to make sure you are getting your nutrients.
    What makes you think we've all eliminated things from our diets? I've only eliminated four things: meat, cheese, eggs, and yogurt/icecream. I can easily replace these four things with a vegan version, if I so chose. In addition, I've added legumes as a part of my daily diet and doubled the amount and types of vegetables I consume. I actually eat MORE variety as a vegan than I did as a vegetarian/ omni.
    I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship. ~ Alcott

  49. #49
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

    Being vegan eliminates over 1/2 of the products in a grocery store, if not more. So the '4 eliminated foods' is BS.

    There is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong (nutritionally) with eating wild salmon or truly free range chicken. It's actually quite healthy. And who says meat doesn't have nutrients?

    3oz wild salmon:
    Thiamin 16%
    Riboflavin 24%
    Niacin 43%
    B6 40%
    B12 43%
    Pantothenic 16%
    Phosphorous 22%
    Potassium 16%
    Copper 14%
    Selenium 67%
    Plus 2g of omega-3's and a protein score of 148.

    Now I'm not advocating eating meat, but anyone who says meat is inherently unhealthy is off their rocker.

    Also, omni and vegan diets both have chances to be unhealthy, and equal chances. Omni's can eat Skittles, vegans can eat Oreos. A vegan diet isn't necessarily healthier than an omni diet, but it usually is simply because most vegans care more about their intake and their health than most omni's. The healthiest diet of all is obviously one that includes small amounts of animal products. I mean, B12 is the most obvious example of this...

  50. #50
    CATWOMAN sandra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do vegans need to worry more about nutrient deficiencies than meat eaters?

    I disagree with you Fuhzy, meat is unhealthy by it's very nature. Not only is it full of hormones and drugs that the poor animal has been given during it's short life but it also contains cholesterol.
    Cholesterol blocks arteries leading to heart attacks and strokes............our bodies make enough cholesterol already without adding to it by eating extra cholesterol that some poor animal has already made!
    I like Sandra, she keeps making me giggle. Daft little lady - Frosty

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