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January 2022

J Am Coll Nutr. 1984 ; 3(1): 3-11.

Mineral and trace element content of vegetarian diets.

Kramer LB, Osis D, Coffey J, Spencer H.

Lacto-ovo, lacto, and vegan vegetarian diets were analyzed for calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, iron, and nitrogen at four calorie intake levels ranging from 1,700 to 2,800 kcal/day. Diets containing dairy products had a high calcium and phosphorus content, ranging from 1,279 to 1,755 mg calcium and 1,378 to 2,160 mg phosphorus for the four calorie levels, respectively, and vegan diets contained less calcium, ranging from 612 to 810 mg. The magnesium content of all three types of vegetarian diets was adequate or high, ranging from 366 to 560 mg/day. The zinc content was lower than that of the RDA (15 mg/day), and was particularly low at the 1,700 calorie intake levels of all diets. The iron content of these diets varied widely and ranged from 12.7 to 22.7 mg. This study has shown that vegetarian diets planned and presented at the higher calorie intake levels contain adequate amounts of minerals and trace elements, whereas this is not the case at the 1,700 calorie intake level. This observation is of importance as the mineral and trace element content of relatively low calorie vegetarian diets would not supply sufficient amounts of these nutrients. In addition, the bioavailability of minerals and trace elements from these diets remains to be determined.

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