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August 2021

Br J Nutr. 1993 Jan; 69(1): 3-19.

The energy and nutrient intakes of different types of vegetarian: a case for supplements?

Draper A, Lewis J, Malhotra N, Wheeler E.

Department of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Vegetarians of three types were studied in Greater London: thirty-four meat-avoiders, fifty-two lacto-ovo-vegetarians, and thirty-eight vegans. Weighed dietary intake measures were made over 3 d. Cereals were the mainstay of the diet, supplemented by dairy products (demi-vegetarians and lacto-ovo-vegetarians), vegetables and fruit, and soya-bean products (vegans). Many vegans progressed by stages to complete avoidance of animal foods; some had retreated, but most were highly committed. Demi-vegetarians were the least involved in a 'vegetarian lifestyle'. All groups had mean energy intakes close to the current dietary reference values (DRV), with adequate protein intakes. Only vegans had fat intakes close to current recommendations; all groups had high dietary polyunsaturated:saturated fatty acid ratios. Mean intakes of all micronutrients studied for demi- and lacto-ovo-vegetarians met the UK DRV. Intakes of iodine, riboflavin, and vitamin B12 for vegans were below DRV; more than half considered their diets supplied all necessary vitamins. About 25% took some type of dietary supplement during the survey. The impact of low I intakes should be further studied, and it is recommended that 'new' vegetarians and vegans should use appropriate dietary supplements.

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