Health Effects of Vegan Diets | Is a Plant-based Diet Safe for Growing Children?

(Slim and Smart) Health Effects of Vegan Diets - Is a Plant-based Diet Safe for Growing Children

Vegans may decide to cut out all animal products from their diet due to ethical, environmental or health reasons. Following an all plant-based diet is getting more and more popular throughout the western world. A crucial question which arises is whether vegan parents should advise their kids to switch to a plant-based diet or not. Should you be worried about nutritional inadequacy if your beloved children consume only vegan dishes? Can you provide your kids with all the essential macro- and micronutrients while following a vegan diet? What are the most important things that you need to keep in mind when feeding your kids an all plant-based diet? Our article tries to answer all your questions so you can make an informed decision about your children’s dietary habit, lean back and relax.

The basic principles of veganism

Veganism is more than simply avoiding food that contains any animal product. Those people who follow a vegan lifestyle try to reduce the unnecessary suffering of animals caused by their consumer decisions. The Vegan Society defines veganism as follows.

“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”1

A vegan diet does not contain any meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, and honey. Most of the vegans extend their ethics to other forms of animal cruelty, such as clothing items and cosmetics. While becoming vegan probably comes with saying goodbye to some of the products that you may have used, you can find countless vegan alternatives.

What are the health risks of following a vegan diet?

According to a study2 published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition vegan diets are associated with several health benefits due to their typically higher content of fiber, folic acid, vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium, and many phytochemicals and unsaturated fat content. The study also states that the followers of vegan diets tend to consume less cholesterol, saturated fat and more fiber the vegetarians and meat eaters. One of the most surprising findings of the study is the following.

“Vegans tend to be thinner, have lower serum cholesterol, and lower blood pressure, reducing their risk of heart disease.”2

Cardiovascular diseases are one of the main causes of death in the United Kingdom. Approximately 160.000 people die from heart and circulatory disease every year in the UK.3 Eliminating animal product from your children’s diet can reduce the risk of serious cardiovascular diseases that can lead to death and disability. A poorly constructed, non-planned vegan diet might increase the risk of certain nutritional deficiencies. However, you can reduce the risk to zero by making sure that your kids regularly consume foods that are fortified with these nutrients:

  • vitamin B-12, vitamin-D,
  • calcium,
  • long-chain n-3 (omega-3) fatty acid,
  • iron and
  • zink.

Is an all plant-based diet adequate for kids?

According to the American Dietetic Association4, which is the largest and most reputable dietetic, health organization in the world, well-planned vegetarian and vegan diets are adequate for each stage of life. A vegan diet can provide growing children with all the macro and micronutrients that are required for their healthy mental and physical development.

An evidence-based review came to the conclusion that people who consume no meat at all appear to have lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes, lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates than meat eaters.

Final thoughts

With proper planning and nutritional knowledge, you can bring your children up without putting them at any sort of disadvantage. Plant-based diets can reduce to risk of developing serious health issues.

We highly suggest you checking out our vegan product page if you are concerned about the “gastronomic satisfaction” that your children will suffer from as a vegan. Why don’t you surprise your children with some healthy, vegan donuts and hot chocolate?

Make sure to like our Facebook page and get notified about new blog articles and check out our webshop for our irresistibly delicious vegan snacks!

What are your thoughts on veganism? Have you ever considered bringing children up as a vegan? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

Sources

1https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/definition-veganism
2https://heartuk.org.uk/press/press-kit/key-facts-figures
3https://heartuk.org.uk/press/press-kit/key-facts-figures
4https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864

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