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November 2022

Int J Eat Disord. 1993 Mar; 13(2): 229-33.

Dietary zinc intake of vegetarian and nonvegetarian patients with anorexia nervosa.

Bakan R, Birmingham CL, Aeberhardt L, Goldner EM.

Basic Health Sciences Department, British Columbia Institute of Technology, Burnaby, Canada.

Anorexia nervosa (AN) and zinc deficiency, found most frequently in young females, have a number of symptoms in common. These include weight loss, alterations in taste and appetite, depression, and amenorrhea. Approximately half of anorexia nervosa patients (ANs) are vegetarian (VANs), a practice that may increase their risk for zinc deficiency. This study compared the dietary intake of zinc and related nutrients in 9 outpatient VANs with that of 11 outpatient nonvegetarian patients with anorexia nervosa (NVANs). VANs reported significantly lower (p < .05) dietary intakes of zinc, fat, and protein, and a significantly higher (p < .05) intake of calories from carbohydrates than NVANs. There were no significant differences between the groups in dietary intake of calories, calcium, copper, iron, or magnesium. These findings indicate that zinc intake should be routinely assessed in VANs and that zinc supplementation of their diets may be indicated.

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