Nutrition Evidence Alert – September 2021 – Vegan Diets

Welcome to the September edition of the Nutrition Evidence Alert.

Vegan Diets – What does the Science Say?

In the last decade, many people have converted to a plant-based diet. The reasons are varied, but often the motivation is environmental, ethical and/or related to health. Indeed, the desire to eat minimally processed plant foods, in season and grown locally, combine well from both the environmental and sustainability perspectives and health motivations. The newly released National Food Strategy Part 2 discusses this issue in detail and puts forward a number of proposals with regards to supporting population health and sustainable food systems for the benefit of people and our plant and is well worth a read.

Scientific studies have observed several health benefits of a vegan diet including lower blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol and reduced risk of type two diabetes and cancer. However, studies have also noted that plant-based diets tend to be lower in nutrients such as B12, calcium, zinc, iodine and selenium. Therefore, when working with those following plant-based diets, special consideration needs to be given to ensuring adequate intake of these nutrients.

Our Guest Editor this month, Caroline Farrell, brings to our attention the latest evidence on vegan diets and health.  You can access her top picks of the research below.

To expand your reading, the editorial team has selected 48 papers which present more of the current science on this topic.

Happy researching!

Top Pick Articles on Plant-based Diets

The following articles are featured as “recommended reading” this month:

Intake and adequacy of the vegan diet. A systematic review of the evidence in Clinical Nutrition. 2021

Systematic review and meta-analysis of the associations of vegan and vegetarian diets with inflammatory biomarkers in Science Reports. 2020

Association between plant-based diets and plasma lipids: a systematic review and meta-analysis in Nutrition Review. 2017

Vegans, Vegetarians, and Omnivores: How Does Dietary Choice Influence Iodine Intake? A Systematic Review. in Nutrients. 2020

Effects of Vegetarian Diets on Blood Pressure Lowering: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis and Trial Sequential Analysis. in Nutrients. 2020

Effectiveness of plant-based diets in promoting well-being in the management of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review. in BMJ Open Diabetes Residential Care. 2018

Anti-Inflammatory Effects of a Vegan Diet Versus the American Heart Association-Recommended Diet in Coronary Artery Disease Trial. in Journal of American Heart Association. 2018

Vitamin and Mineral Status in a Vegan Diet. in Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2020

Vegan diets: practical advice for athletes and exercisers. in Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2017

A plant-based diet for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes. in Journal of Geriatric Cardiology. 2017

Vegans, Vegetarians and Pescatarians Are at Risk of Iodine Deficiency in Norway. in Nutrients. 2020

Is a vegan diet detrimental to endurance and muscle strength? in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2020

Alpha-Linolenic and Linoleic Fatty Acids in the Vegan Diet: Do They Require Dietary Reference Intake/Adequate Intake Special Consideration? in Nutrients. 2019



Discover more about the BANT Food for your Health Campaign

BANT is spearheading the ‘Food for your Health’ campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of personalised nutrition and lifestyle medicine and to educate the public on making healthy food choices to prevent and manage metabolic conditions, including those associated with overweight and obesity. Click through to our campaign page for a range of free resources including our NED Infobites, designed to help simplify the science and help everybody understand the evidence behind nutrition, and our Eat a Rainbow infographic to help you include more colourful plant foods in your daily diet.

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