Differences in nutritional status between vegans, vegetarians and omnivores

H M Crockart
Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1995, 4 (2): 228-32
Well planned vegetarian diets effectively meet Recommended Dietary Allowances and are a 'healthy' alternative to meat eating. Lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets have similar nutrient composition to omnivore diets. Vegan diets may be low in vitamin B 12. The fat content of the vegan diet is significantly lower and the polyunsaturated:saturated fatty acid ratio higher than in the omnivore diet. The fibre content of the vegan diet is about twice that of the lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet which is about three times that of the omnivore diet. Protein and essential amino acid content of the vegan diet is adequate. Protein intake of vegans is lower than that in omnivores. Blood lipoprotein changes due to intervention with a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet are favourable regarding coronary artery disease risk. Infants and children have special needs. Full discussion of the effect of vegetarianism on child growth is beyond the scope of this report. Several dietary guidelines are given; choosing a wide variety of foods is recommended.

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