Quality not quantity

| Post published on June 3, 2013
minute reading time

A study of almost 72,000 people and their diets has brought very reassuring results. It examined the nutrient intake of people who belonged to one of these groups: non-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian and strict vegetarian (people who don’t eat meat, fish, eggs and dairy products at all or less than once per month). Average protein and vitamin B12 intake was similar in all groups. It’s interesting that strict vegetarians had a slightly higher intake of iron than meat-eaters and their calcium intake was at the recommended daily dose – these results are uprooting many myths about vegetarians and vegans. Compared to the other groups, strict vegetarians had a higher intake of fibre and vitamins and minerals found mostly in plant-based foods and their diet was lower in fat. They were also the only group within normal BMI range whilst all the other diet groups were in the overweight range. This is of particular interest given that total energy intakes were similar for all groups, because it demonstrates that what we eat is more important than how many calories we consume in a day.

Rizzo, N.S., 2013. Nutrient Profiles of Vegetarian and Nonvegetarian Dietary Patterns. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 113(12) 1610-1619.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

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