Is a vegan diet a healthy choice for kids?


In a scientific evaluate and meta-analysis printed within the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, scientists present an in depth overview of the well being results of a vegan weight loss program amongst youngsters and adolescents. 

Evaluate: Health aspects of vegan diets among children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analyses. Picture Credit score: kuvona / Shutterstock


Plant-based diets, together with pescetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, and lacto-vegetarian, are gaining significance due to potential particular person and planetary well being causes. More and more, vegan diets have gotten widespread because of the destructive affect animal meals consumption has on human and planetary well being.

A vegan weight loss program is characterised by the consumption of solely plant-based meals and the entire elimination of animal-based meals, together with dairy and eggs. Proof signifies that about 6% of People and three% of Europeans are following vegan diets.

The vegan weight loss program is related to decrease protein, fats, and whole vitality consumption and better intakes of carbohydrates and unsaturated fatty acids. The weight loss program is understood to cut back cardiometabolic dangers amongst adults. Nevertheless, the weight loss program might have a destructive affect on bone well being. Nevertheless, not sufficient proof is accessible concerning the well being results of a vegan weight loss program amongst youngsters and adolescents.

This systematic evaluate and meta-analysis have been carried out to research obtainable human research on the well being results of a vegan weight loss program amongst youngsters and adolescents.

Vital observations

A complete of 2075 research printed as much as August 2023 have been chosen from varied scientific databases for the preliminary screening. Of those research, 18 have been included within the systematic evaluate and meta-analysis. A excessive or very excessive danger of bias was noticed in 7 out of 18 research.    

Nutrient consumption

The findings of the meta-analysis revealed larger intakes of carbohydrates, fibers, and polyunsaturated fatty acids amongst vegan youngsters in comparison with omnivorous youngsters who eat each plant-based and animal-based meals. In distinction, decrease intakes of proteins, saturated fatty acids, and ldl cholesterol have been noticed amongst vegan youngsters.

Vitamin and mineral consumption

The meta-analysis discovered that vegan youngsters devour extra folate, nutritional vitamins C and E, magnesium, potassium, and iron than omnivorous youngsters. Nevertheless, they confirmed decrease intakes of vitamin B2 than omnivorous youngsters.

Though a decrease consumption of calcium was noticed amongst vegan youngsters within the chosen authentic research, the meta-analysis couldn’t discover any important distinction between the 2 teams. The next blood degree of vitamin B12 and a decrease blood degree of ferritin have been noticed amongst vegan youngsters in comparison with omnivorous youngsters.

Anthropometric measurements

The meta-analysis confirmed that vegan youngsters have comparatively decrease top than omnivorous youngsters. Nevertheless, no important variations in physique weight and physique mass index (BMI) have been noticed between the 2 teams.

As talked about by the scientists, the noticed adjustments in top amongst vegan youngsters could possibly be because of the inclusion of youthful vegan youngsters in a single research. The meta-analysis excluding this research discovered no important variations in top between vegan and omnivorous youngsters. Total, important variations in demographic traits, together with age and intercourse, have been noticed between vegan and omnivorous youngsters within the chosen research.


The meta-analysis discovered decrease blood ranges of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and whole ldl cholesterol amongst vegan youngsters. Nevertheless, the 2 teams’ blood ranges of triglyceride, hemoglobin, holotranscobalamin (a marker of vitamin B12), and homocysteine remained comparable.

Randomized managed trial

A randomized managed trial involving youngsters with excessive BMI and blood levels of cholesterol was included on this systematic evaluate. The trial was designed to check the dietary affect of a vegan weight loss program, a weight loss program really useful by the American Coronary heart Affiliation, and a Mediterranean weight loss program.

In keeping with the trial findings, vegan youngsters had the next discount in protein, vitamin B12, and vitamin D consumption. A discount in ldl cholesterol consumption, waist circumference, fasting glucose, systolic and diastolic blood stress, and myeloperoxidase (an inflammatory enzyme) was noticed in all studied teams.   

Single research findings

A few of the chosen research indicated decrease intakes of docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, larger intakes of alpha-linolenic acid, and decrease bone mineral content material amongst vegan youngsters. Nevertheless, these outcomes couldn’t be meta-analyzed due to an absence of a enough variety of research.   

Research significance

This systematic evaluate finds each optimistic and destructive well being results of a vegan weight loss program amongst youngsters and adolescents. Given the decrease consumption of proteins amongst vegan youngsters, scientists recommend that future research ought to particularly concentrate on the protein amount and high quality amongst these youngsters.

Deficiencies in sure nutritional vitamins and minerals noticed amongst vegan youngsters would possibly affect their bone well being. This well being subject will be resolved by supplementing the weight loss program with acceptable minerals and nutritional vitamins. The scientists advocate that future research assess the danger of osteoporosis and fractures amongst adults who’ve been consuming a vegan weight loss program since childhood.

Decrease LDL and whole levels of cholesterol noticed amongst vegan youngsters would possibly point out a decrease danger of heart problems. Earlier proof signifies a decrease 10-year danger of heart problems and associated mortality amongst vegan adults.   

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