Whole-food plant-based and vegan meals fail to meet the Recommended Dietary Allowances for vitamin B12 and D without supplementation, and for women aged 51-70 also for calcium

In March 2019 researchers from the USA published the results of their study to assess whether whole-food plant-based and vegan diets meet current food-based and nutrient-based recommendations. Followers of whole-food plant-based and vegan diets reported their most frequently used sources of information on nutrition and cooking. Thirty days of meal plans were created for each diet and nutrient levels calculated. However, because of similar nutrient composition, only whole-food plant-based results were presented. Results showed that the calculated Healthy Eating Index -2015 scores were 88 out of 100 for both whole-food plant-based and vegan meals. In comparison to the USA MyPlate meal plan recommendations, whole-food plant-based meals provided more total vegetables, green leafy vegetables, legumes, whole fruit, whole grains, and fewer refined grains. The level of fibre also exceeded the recommended intake across all age groups. However, the whole-food plant-based meals failed to meet the Recommended Dietary Allowances for vitamin B12 and D without supplementation. In addition, the Recommended Dietary Allowance for calcium was not met for women aged 51-70.

Karlsen MC et al. Theoretical Food and Nutrient Composition of Whole-Food Plant-Based and Vegan Diets Compared to Current Dietary Recommendations. Nutrients. 2019 Mar 14;11(3). pii: E625

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