This is the first such rigorous and large-scale study of the effects of diet on children 5-10 years of age who test vegan, vegetarian and traditional diets against each other. As Jonathan Wells from University College London, who leads the research, explains it because it has been difficult to find specific and complete data on the health effects of a vegan diet on children: – So far, research on the effects of these diets on children’s health has been largely limited to weight measurements. and height, and they only affected vegetarian children. Our study provides important insight into the health effects of children eating both vegetarian and vegan diets.
The study included over 180 healthy children aged 5-10 years, of which about 60 vegetarians, 52 vegans and 72 omnivores, who were united by the fact that they were fed this way for 5 years. A group of children on a traditional meat-based diet was the control group here, and they were chosen to match the age of the other two. The research showed that children on a vegan diet had a significantly better cardiovascular profile compared to both vegetarian and classic meat-eaters. This led to a specific 25% reduction in low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, compared to meat-eating children.
Surprisingly, however, for children on a vegetarian diet it was closer to children eating meat – higher than in children on a vegan diet, the level of fasting blood sugar, VLDL cholesterol (the carrier of the so-called bad cholesterol) and triglycerides was very surprised by the scientists: – At first, we were very surprised poor cardiovascular profile of children on a vegetarian diet, but their nutritional data showed that they ate relatively processed plant-based foods with less fiber and higher sugar than vegans. So we learned that just being on a plant-based diet is not enough, you still have to choose healthy food – they explain.
However, to make it not so beautiful, there are also disadvantages of a vegan diet, namely, children on such a diet are on average 3 cm lower than other children, more often have vitamin B12 deficiency and 4-6% lower bone mineral density. However, as scientists note, most of these deficiencies can be relatively easily supplemented with appropriate supplementation, and the lower body fat content and better cardiovascular profile are very tempting. And only one thing worries researchers, namely lower height, because it is difficult to assess in the long term whether children will eventually catch up or the situation will worsen over time, which is why, in their opinion, further research in this particular direction is necessary. Nevertheless, according to the researchers, a vegan diet is a good direction, which, by the way, can significantly help with environmental issues, reducing huge cattle farming.
Source: GeekWeek.pl/:University College London
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