Vegan and vegetarian people without nutrient deficits
According to current studies, vegetarian and vegan people show a healthy nutrient balance. Prescribing a vegetarian diet helps reduce the BMI. These are just two new findings that the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reports in a new journal.
Healthy nutrient balance in vegetarians and vegans
Only a few days ago it was reported that the veggie boom has recently started to subside, but experts say the long-term trend towards vegetarian and vegan diets will continue. There are always critical voices that claim that a diet without animal products leads to nutrient deficits, but current studies show a healthy nutrient balance in vegetarian and vegan people, reports the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in the current issue of the journal "Journal of Health Monitoring".
Vegetarian diets are more common in women than in men
In this new quarterly online publication, the RKI reports on all areas of public health. The topic of nutrition is the focus of the second edition.
As the experts write in a press release, a total of 50.8 percent of adults prepare their meals daily or almost daily from fresh food.
For the contribution to the vegetarian diet, the RKI epidemiologists evaluated data from the German Adult Health Study (DEGS1).
When asked "Do you usually eat vegetarian?", 4.3 of the adults aged 18 to 79 answered "yes". According to the information, this diet is more common in women with 6.1 percent than in men with 2.5 percent.
Socially and ecologically positive aspects
“There are various reasons to eat vegetarian. In addition to health benefits, a strongly plant-based diet also has socially and ecologically positive aspects, ”says the magazine.
Previously, nutritionists and health scientists assumed that vegetarians could have a higher risk of nutrient deficits. But current studies show a healthy nutrient balance in vegetarian and also in vegan people.
Vitamin B12 supply
For some nutrients, it is actually more difficult to get enough of them through a vegetarian and especially a vegan diet. The supply of vitamin B12 in particular can pose problems. However, vegans are generally aware that they should prevent vitamin B12 deficiency.
Other critical nutrients are long chain n-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, iron, calcium, zinc, iodine and selenium. But in recent years, according to the RKI, it has been observed that some of these nutrient deficiencies actually do not occur more often among vegetarians than among people who do not live vegetarian.
Preventive potential for many diseases
There are enough health reasons for a meat-free diet. The preventive potential of a vegetarian or predominantly plant-based diet for chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes mellitus type 2, cardiovascular diseases and cancer is currently highlighted.
According to the RKI, "it could be shown on a broad study basis that prescribing a vegetarian diet can help reduce the Body Mass Index (BMI)". In addition, according to a recent meta-analysis, a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of ischemic heart disease in both sexes.
Reduction in meat consumption
From a societal and environmental point of view, a vegetarian lifestyle is often attributed to positive effects.
According to the RKI, a reduction in meat consumption in Germany is considered useful from a public health perspective, because it is significantly above the recommendation of the German Society for Nutrition (DGE).
"These positive effects would be further enhanced if, in addition to the relatively small group of people who completely avoided meat, a larger population group as a whole would reduce their meat consumption," the authors write.
British researchers have recently been asking what if everyone were vegetarians everywhere. In their study, they found that it would make the planet and humans significantly better. For example, there could be a good seven million fewer deaths per year by 2050. (ad)