A new study found that children reared on a vegan diet may have stunted growth and other health problems compared to those raised on a diet that includes meat.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University College London and the Children's Memorial Health Institute. They looked at data from healthy children ages 5 to 10 in Poland.
The study found that the children raised on a vegan diet were 3 centimeters shorter than their meat-eating counterparts. The children were also three times likely to suffer from a vitamin B deficiency.
The vegan children, however, had less body fat and better levels of cholesterol that's linked to heart disease.
The study also found that vegan children had lower bone mass and 4% to 6% lower bone mineral density. This could lead to osteoporosis in later life.
"We found the vegans had higher intakes of nutrients that indicated an 'unprocessed' type of plant -based diet, which is in turn linked to lower body fat and better cardiovascular risk profile. On the other hand, their lower intakes of protein, calcium, and vitamins B12 and D may explain their less favorable bone mineral and serum vitamin concentrations," said Dr. Małgorzata Desmond, one of the authors of the study.
The study also found that there were negative health outcomes associated with a vegetarian diet compared to a vegan diet because many of the vegetarian meals were composed of processed foods.
"We are learning that just eating plant-based diets is no guarantee of health, we still need to select healthy foods," said Desmond, who is also a researcher at the Children's Memorial Health Institute.
The study was published March 19 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Here's more about non-meat food products:
Impossible Burger Blind Taste Test! Can meat eaters taste the fake meat? www.youtube.com