2 AnswersIntermountain Healthcare answeredIf you have chosen to follow a vegetarian diet, you can continue to follow this diet while breastfeeding. Make sure you are consuming enough calories, protein, iron, calcium, vitamin D and zinc. It’s also important to make sure that your vitamin B12 intake is adequate. This vitamin is only found in animal products. A B12 vitamin supplement is recommended for mothers on strict “vegan” diets who avoid eggs, milk products and meat products.
Patients should consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making decisions about healthcare practices. Some safety concerns are discussed below, but this is not a comprehensive list.
Calcium deficiency: Calcium deficiency may lead to osteoporosis. Women who are vegetarians have been associated with low bone mineral density when compared to those on non-vegetarian diet.
Child development: Based on expert opinion, there are several recommendations for pregnant or lactating women or young children. It is recommended that breast milk or formula should be the basis of the diet until one year of age. Fat should not be limited for a child less than two years of age. For children not drinking milk or a fortified substitute, the following nutrients may be limited: calcium, protein, vitamin D, riboflavin. These children may need a vitamin and mineral supplement. Vitamin B12 must be supplemented if no animal products are consumed. Adequate iron intake is difficult to achieve if meat is not consumed. Good sources of iron include prunes and prune juice, fortified cereals and grain products, raisins, and spinach.
Hyperglycemia: Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or blood sugar disorders as high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) may result from a fruitarian diet since the fruits contain high amounts of sugar.
Iron deficiency anemia: A strict vegetarian diet may increase the risk of iron deficiency anemia due to the exclusion of animal products, and high dietary fiber content of foods such as soy protein, bran, and fiber. The dietary fiber in these foods also may inhibit iron absorption.
Protein deficiency: Protein deficiency may lead to loss of hair and muscle mass along with abnormal accumulation of fluid.
Vitamin B12 deficiency: A vegan diet in lactating women can induce vitamin B12 deficiency for their children with risks of impaired neurological development. Vegan diet may be an inadequate regimen for pregnant and lactating women, especially for their children.
Vitamin D deficiency: A vitamin D deficiency may cause rickets in children.
You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Copyright © 2012 by Natural Standard Research Collaboration. All Rights Reserved.
3 AnswersVegetarian diets will not typically affect performance. However, like all people, you need to eat a healthy, balanced diet to ensure that you are getting ample amounts of vitamins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates, and protein to fuel yourself for performance.
One concern with a vegetarian diet is the quality of protein in your diet. The American Dietetic Association recommends that vegetarians eat approximately 10% more protein than meat eaters because many nonmeat proteins are not as easily broken down as meat proteins. As a result, less protein is available to the body for building, repairing, and other vital functions. For a vegetarian athlete, a recommended quantity of protein to include in your diet is 1.3 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. (One kilogram equals 2.2 pounds.)
(This answer provided for NATA by the Appalachian State University Athletic Training Education Program.)
2 AnswersRealAge answered
Educating yourself and your child about this new way of eating will ensure that nutritional needs are being met. I’m not saying it will be easy. You must pay careful attention to providing alternatives for foods that have been eliminated from the diet. Just be sure that the vegetarian in your family is getting enough of the vital nutrients she needs for overall health.
The major concern with avoiding animal products is the loss of protein. However, by pairing certain foods, your child can get the equivalent protein that is found in meat. For instance, combining vegetables or legumes (e.g., beans, lentils) and grains, beans with seeds, and dairy products with grains can provide a complete protein. Eggs also contain protein and iron, but you should not rely on them exclusively for those nutrients.
If your child eliminates all animal products from her diet, including milk, eggs and cheese, encourage her to eat a variety of fresh, dark green veggies for iron, B vitamins and other minerals, and drink soy milk with added vitamin B12 and calcium. Soy- and vegetable-based meat alternatives are widely available, even at your local grocery, so stock your freezer with these healthy protein sources.
From Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children by Jennifer Trachtenberg.
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1 AnswerAnthony Komaroff, MD, Internal Medicine, answeredYes, it appears that a plant diet low in saturated fat can help reverse the build up of fatty deposits called plaque in arteries. But this diet must go along with a healthy lifestyle that includes moderate intensity exercise, managing stress, and not smoking.
Plaque causes trouble when it builds up in our arteries. It narrows the arteries and slows or blocks the flow of blood. This narrowing is called stenosis. It can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Studies conducted by Dr. Dean Ornish and his colleagues showed that people who follow a plant diet low in saturated fat and make other lifestyle changes can reverse plaque build-up in coronary arteries. The study results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998. The researchers found that intensive lifestyle changes decreased the size of stenosis by an average of 4.5% after 1 year. The number was even better after 5 years — 7.9%.
The people in the study who did not make any diet or life changes showed an average increase in their size of stenosis by 5.4% after 1 year. They did worse after 5 years. The increase in stenosis size rose to 27.7%.
However, this study included a very select group of people. Similar results may not been seen in people with less severe disease.
A well-planned and nutritionally varied vegetarian diet should not affect your son's growth any differently than a non-vegetarian diet. In fact, a well-planned vegetarian diet can provide your son with a positive foundation in reducing risk for many chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc. Consult with a registered dietitian to ensure that your son is adequately meeting his nutritional needs through his diet.
1 AnswerAshley Koff, RD, Nutrition & Dietetics, answeredGetting in a variety of foods will help ensure that anyone, but certainly a vegetarian, is getting the nutrients they need. That said, I often recommend looking at supplementation to "supplement" a healthy diet so that if a week's eating ends up less than perfect the body still has what it needs. Some nutrients we pay extra attention to in vegetarians are: vitamin D (other than mushrooms, nature doesn't provide many sources of absorbable D; some products are fortified but often intake levels of a food or beverage would have to be high making the potential for a deficiency more likely); vitamin b12 -- if your child doesn't eat meat and/or any animal products, supplementation is highly recommended; the right balance of calcium and magnesium is important: emphasizing greens, adding sesame seeds to the diet, adding beans and eating whole grains (vs flour products) helps accomplish this; iron is often raised as a concern and growing bodies do need iron to support optimal growth and energy -- sources such as greens, lentils (you can make veggie burgers from lentils and top them with salsa), and dried fruit supply iron, but do check levels every 6 months as iron supplementation may be required if levels fall low (especially as a young girl begins her menstrual cycle).
3 AnswersAshley Koff, RD, Nutrition & Dietetics, answeredVegetarian sources of proteins -- that are also carbs -- include beans (soybeans/edamame are a complete protein), quinoa (a grain you can prepare like rice or like oatmeal or make it with some cheese and broccoli heads; note: quinoa pasta will provide a little less protein). Vegetarian sources of protein that are also healthy fats include nuts and seeds. One seed in particular, hempseeds, provide a complete protein. So instead of a banana, add a nut butter (you can even freeze this and make it a great dessert), instead of just ice cream, have a 1/2 scoop less and add berries and hemp seeds.Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
A vegetarian diet is typically carb-rich. This said, it is possible to control your carbohydrate intake. Enjoy more colorful vegetables and fruits, along with heart-healthy nuts, seeds while monitoring your intake of whole grains, beans, lentils, and starchy vegetables.Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
1 AnswerJoel Fuhrman, MD, Family Medicine, answeredAlthough whole food vegetarian and flexitarian diets that include the occasional or minimal use of animal products may markedly reduce the risk for coronary heart disease, diabetes, and many common cancers, the real Achilles heel of no-animal-fat and low-animal-fat diets is this increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke at an older age. This is because animal products and processed foods contribute to plaque formation called atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis promotes blood clots that cause heart attacks and embolic strokes. However, this process may also thicken, and therefore protect, the small, fragile blood vessels in the brain from rupturing due to the stress from chronic high blood pressure. When a diet is high in fatty animal products and processed foods, the thickened blood vessel walls caused by the unhealthful, heart-attack-promoting diet actually protect against the occurrence of this more uncommon cause of strokes. In medical studies, higher cholesterol levels are associated with increased risk of other strokes, but lower risk of hemorrhagic strokes.
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