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Vegans are naturally incapable of metabolising all the nutrients they eat.


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"Vegans gain some and lose some"


"Vegans consume fewer trans fats, sugars and salt than the rest of do but a new study indicates they get insufficient quantities of vitamins and minerals. One challenge is that their bodies are naturally incapable of metabolising all the nutrients they eat."


doi:  10.1186/s12937-015-0103-3


"Intake of macro- and micronutrients in Danish vegans"



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That's an interesting topic, how to adopt a restricted regime (exclusively plant-based) and thrive just the same.


A few points from the cited article (I also had fun comparing figures with my cronometer records from last week):


  • Average energy comsumption for danish male vegans was 2800 kCal (not little), 2066 for women. Danish vegan dudes eat a lot! Mine is 2330. I don't knopw why, but the males figure seems overestimated, considering the single figures of net carbs, protein and fat. The total would be about 2420.
  • Even with supplementation, some nutrients are lessere than nordic reccomendations: riboflavin, RAE, iodine, selenium, D3, B12
  • Not many relative deficiencies are displayed in vegans:



In contrast to our findings, previous studies, reporting intake of total vitamin A (retinol equivalents; RE) found higher intake of vitamin A in vegans compared to omnivores [5910]. However, it is difficult to compare results across studies since the amount of retinol and beta-carotene, from which the vitamin A intake is calculated, is not presented. 


Maybe the most serious deficiency is vitamin A retinol equivalent (A-RE). It is also omportant to observe that there is a polymorphism which impairs conversion from beta-caroten to A, so vegans should check attentively A-RE ingested. Mine is 252% RDA current week. A safety margin is necessary against possible detrimental polymorphisms. EAting spinach, other green leaves, steamed carrots, should ensure a sufficient safety margin.




The vegans participating in the present study had a low intake of riboflavin and vitamin B12, which corresponds to previous findings [4591011]. The major food sources of riboflavin in Nordic diets are milk and meat products [13], which explain the low intake of this vitamin among vegans.


Riboflavin or B2 is an often reported deficiency in vegans, but soy products, spinach, mushrooms and other foods are rich in it, it's enough to check it with apps like cronometer.


Iron does not consitutes a problem. In vegans, it is known that the RDA should be doubled as a safety margin, but I noticed that it is always present in my diet (this week average 326% RDA)

Most probably I took much less iron when a lacto-ovo vegetarian.


Bottom line:


All in all, the vegan regimen has fared pretty well in this Danish study. It is important to note that it's enough to use a daily app like cronometer to avoid any known deficiency. Everyone of us may have his/her own personal deficiencies due to specific dietary habits. Mine, which is not common in vegans, was Niacin or B3, due probably to the low amount of cereals and legumes consumed.

By the use of cronometer, I adjusted including mushrooms and peanuts and more bread and legumes in my diet.

I also had to take care to check A-RE instead than simple vitamin A, the latter may distort the reality, since our body apparently has to conver beta-carotene.

At the end of it, I can limit the use of supplements to a minimum. 

Using an app like cronometer is probably necessary to beginner vegans and even long-time ones (but this may be true of omnivores as well).

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