Does science support veganism?
Supplement to the position of the German Nutrition Society on vegan nutrition with regard to population groups with a special need for nutrients
Since the DGE's position on vegan nutrition was published, a number of other publications on vegan nutrition have appeared in population groups with special nutritional requirements. To identify relevant publications, a supplementary systematic literature search was carried out using the dual control principle in the databases NCBI PubMed, Embase and Cochrane using the search term “vegan”.
A total of five publications on three studies were identified. The few, non-representative data indicate that the vitamin B12 content of breast milk and the children's energy intake do not differ statistically significantly between vegan, vegetarian and omnivorous study participants. The anthropometric data show that children of vegan pregnant women at birth and vegan children in the first years of life were sometimes smaller and lighter than omnivorous children, but the values were mostly in the normal range. The food choices of the vegan children showed a higher fiber content and a lower proportion of added sugar, which can be assessed as nutritionally positive.
Due to the still unchanged inadequate basis for assessment, the DGE's position on vegan nutrition remains in place for people with special nutritional requirements. When advising pregnant women, breastfeeding women, children and parents who want to eat a vegan diet for themselves or their children, specialists should point out the risks of a vegan diet, point out options for action and at the same time offer the best possible support in implementing a vegan diet that is tailored to their needs, so to prevent or avoid a nutrient deficit and thus undesirable development.
The supplement was published in the special "Vegan Nutrition" issue of the ErnährungsUmschau. Ernahrungs Umschau 2020; 5th special issue: 64-72
Position of the German Society for Nutrition - Vegan Nutrition
The German Nutrition Society e. V. (DGE) has developed a position on vegan nutrition based on the current scientific literature. With a purely plant-based diet, an adequate supply of some nutrients is difficult or impossible. The most critical nutrient is vitamin B.12. The potentially critical nutrients in a vegan diet also include protein or essential amino acids and long-chain n-3 fatty acids as well as other vitamins (riboflavin, vitamin D) and minerals (calcium, iron, iodine, zinc, selenium). The DGE does not recommend a vegan diet for pregnant women, breastfeeding women, infants, children and adolescents. If you still want to eat vegan, you should get a vitamin B permanently12- Take the preparation, ensure that there is sufficient intake, especially of the critical nutrients, and, if necessary, use fortified foods and nutrient preparations. For this purpose, advice should be given by a qualified nutritionist and the supply of critical nutrients should be regularly checked by a doctor.
The German Nutrition Society e. V. (DGE) summarized in an FAQ paper.
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