Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

2195 Words9 Pages
In contemporary society, Vegan diets have become prolific, especially among youths and adolescent females. Unlike Vegetarians who do not eat meat (the flesh of animals), Vegans do not consume any food sources of animal origin e.g. milk, butter. Many vegans also refrain from using animal products such as wool and leather. The reasons for these nutritional preferences can include, environmental issues, ethical issues on the treatment of animals, the health benefits of a Vegan diet, and the fear of animal-borne diseases. Jenny Brown, a fair-skinned teenager initiated her Vegan diet two years ago. She does not take any nutrition supplements and is currently 14 years old. Jenny’s vegan diet can reduce her risk of chronic disease later in adulthood as studies show that adult vegans have lower rates of obesity, cancer and cardiovascular disease than omnivorous persons. Although her current diet is abundant in plant-source nutrients such as vitamins E and C, magnesium, fibre, folic acid and unsaturated fat content, it is lacking in other important nutrients that include iron, iodine, Vitamins D and B-12, zinc, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, protein and energy. Jenny has to regularly consume foods that contain these vital nutrients or else she will increase her own risk of developing certain nutritional deficiencies and various health problems. It is during these periods of growth that Jenny is susceptible to great risks associated with nutrient deficiency in her diet.

A vegan diet consisting of high-fibre and low caloric density, often does not allow an adequate amount of energy to be consumed before the person feels full. Children require adequate energy for growth and development. Without sufficient energy, it becomes difficult to meet...

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... of vegetarians and even vegan children is within the normal range, although are usually leaner than omnivorous children. Adversely, poor planning and preparation or severely restricted diets can lead to compromise or delay of growth due to various nutrient deficiencies. Adequate nutrition can be provided by a vegan diet when parents or guardians are knowledgeable. To safely manage her vegan diet, Jenny may consult with a dietician who is acquainted and experienced in this area. Unlike a balanced vegetarian diet, which may satisfy all nutritional needs, Jenny will at least have to take vitamin B12 supplements and take extra precaution and consideration based on her age and stage of development. As a young, growing adolescent, it is of utmost importance that Jenny’s diet is restricted as little as possible to decrease her risks of developing nutritional deficiencies.
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