A vegan diet usually contains only plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds. Vegans do not eat foods ...A vegan diet usually contains only plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds. Vegans do not eat foods that come from any part of the animal, which excludes dairy products, eggs and even honey in some instances.
A vegan diet usually contains only plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds. Vegans do not eat foods that come from any part of the animal, which excludes dairy products, eggs, and even honey in some instances.
The Vegan Diet
There are different dietary classifications based on the foods included/excluded. Below are the most common definitions and variations of these diets.
A vegan diet excludes all animal products: meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs, in most cases they also exclude honey.
Vegetarian Avoids all flesh foods; may or may not consume eggs or dairy products.
Lacto-vegetarian Includes milk or other dairy products but not eggs or other animal foods.
Ovo-vegetarian Includes eggs but not dairy products.
Lacto-ovo-vegetarian Includes eggs and dairy products.
Any diet which restricts or completely excludes food groups will increase the risk of nutrient deficiencies.
So, what nutrients are at risk with this dietary pattern you may ask? The answer, unfortunately, is not clear-cut. It depends on what foods are consumed and how often. Nevertheless, Table 1 below contains crucial nutrients that may need additional planning/preparation to ensure sufficient amounts are provided by a vegan diet.
There are also additional considerations for vegans for exercise regularly: protein, creatine, vitamin D, iron, calcium, and omega-3 may benefit performance, or at the very least prevent premature fatigue, and may decrease injury and illness risk. (Source: Jeukendrup & Gleeson)
Is needed as raw material to create enzymes, immune cells, connective tissue, muscle proteins, support structures for bones and teeth; in athletes serves as a trigger and source for building new muscle proteins
Most will ingest enough protein to avoid deficiency or disease. However, there is a big difference between preventing deficiency and optimal. This depends on your goal. Most would benefit from increasing their protein intake.
While consumption of these nutrients through natural or fortified foods is preferred, these nutrients may occasionally need supplementation (Source: NCBI). Vitamin D supplementation, in particular, may be required when sunlight exposure is limited. Maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels is likely beneficial for immune function and resistance to infections. Supplementing with ~ 1000-2000 IU/day vitamin D3 is the recommendation for those who have zero sun exposure. (Source: NCBI, MDPI)
Iodine supplementation may be needed for those living in areas with low levels of iodine in foods or when not using iodized salts (Source: Europe PMC).
General supplementation should be considered for restrictive or low energy-density diets.
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