For a long time, a vegan diet has been touted as been the healthiest. A healthy diet contains more fruits and vegetables and less meat and alcohol. However, a recent has warned that a vegan diet can lead to weaker bones. It is the latest addition to the ever-growing list of pros and cons of plant-based diets. According to the study conducted by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), vegans are at a higher risk of bone fractures.
Lack of important nutrients
The study involved one group of 36 vegans and another of 36 non-vegans. When ultrasounds were conducted on both groups’ heel bones, the vegans were found to have healthier bones than the non-vegans.
Research shows that a vegan is likely to miss out on certain nutrients important for skeletal health. Blood tests conducted on both groups showed that vegans were low on lysine, an important bone health nutrient, and vitamins A and B6. Lysine is an amino acid that is only found in meat, dairy, fish, and a few plants. It cannot be produced in the body.
In a statement, BfR President Professor Andreas Hensel said increased calls to environmental consciousness are driving many to adopt a plant-based diet. In addition, many are practicing a vegan lifestyle to taps into its health benefits. He added research has proved that a vegan lifestyle has some health benefits like protecting against diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes.
Another study published in the journal BMC Medicine confirmed that vegans are at a greater risk of bone fractures than meat-eaters. According to the US National Cancer Institute, while fractures are common among the aged, vegetarians are even at a greater risk. Vegetarians were found to have a low bone density, or the amount of mineral contains in a piece of bone.
Vegans also have a low intake of minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and proteins. Protein is very important to bones’ growth, and it has been reported to be lower among UK-based vegans. To get crucial nutrients like vitamin D, Vitamin B12, calcium, and proteins require large amounts from plants from meat or other non-plant foods.