Nutritional Adequacy of Plant-Based Diets

Vegetarian fasting of obese patients: a clinical and biochemical evaluation.

The effects of vegetarian fasting were evaluated in 14 grossly obese patients who participated in a program comprising 5 weeks' fasting in a lactovegetarian health center. Before and after the fasting period the patients were hospitalized and put on a standardized weight-maintaining diet; at the health center they consumed vegetable juices containing less than 1 MJ and 3 g of protein per day. The weight reduction (mean +/- S.D.) was 13.4 +/- 5.0 kg (from 132.0 +/- 27.2 to 118.6 +/- 16.1 kg). Except for the first few days the patients had no severe hunger sensations.

Totally vegetarian diets and infant nutrition.

Observations on the deleterious effects of a totally vegetarian diet in infancy are reported and the difficulties encountered in the prevention of nutritional deficiencies in a vegan religious community are discussed. Twenty-five infants of this community who were seen at the hospital showed evidence of protein-calorie malnutrition, iron- and vitamin B12-deficient anemia, rickets, zinc deficiency, and multiple recurrent infections. Evidence of growth retardation was also found in 47 infants seen at the local mother-child health (well-baby) clinic.

Subtle cobalamin malabsorption in a vegan patient: evolution into classic pernicious anemia with anti-intrinsic factor antibody.

Classic pernicious anemia with abnormal Schilling test results developed in a previously described vegan patient who had coexisting subtle cobalamin malabsorption (demonstrable by abnormal ovalbumin-cobalamin absorption test results but normal Schilling test results). This suggests that the ovalbumin-cobalamin absorption test or a modified version may serve as a prodromal phenomenon to identify patients at risk for developing pernicious anemia. The patient's transformation was also accompanied by the appearance of serum anti-intrinsic factor antibody.

Nutrient intake and hormonal status of premenopausal vegetarian Seventh-day Adventists and premenopausal nonvegetarians.

The relationship between dietary nutrients and plasma estrone, estradiol-17 beta, estriol, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, and prolactin levels was investigated in 14 premenopausal Seventh-day Adventist vegetarian (SV) women and 9 premenopausal non-Seventh-day Adventist nonvegetarian (NV) women. The SV subjects consumed less fat, especially saturated fat, and used significantly less fried food than the NV subjects. Plasma levels of estrone and estradiol-17 beta in the SV subjects were significantly lower than in the NV subjects.

Cancerostatic effect of vegetarian diets.

A cancerostatic effect of vegetarian diets is proposed on the basis of a selective alteration of the metabolic pathways of fatty acids in neoplastic cells. Most vegetables lack the enzyme 6-desaturase (6D), which converts linoleic to arachidonic acid. Human cells have 6D, and therefore humans do not need to eat the higher polyunsaturated fatty acids found in animal tissues. Many neoplastic cells have lost the activity of 6D. A vegetarian diet would deprive neoplastic cells of higher-chain fatty acids and inhibit the activity of 6D.

Bone mineral mass in adult lacto-ovo-vegetarian and omnivorous males.

Past studies indicate postmenopausal women who eat meat may experience greater bone mineral loss than lacto-ovo-vegetarian women. The present study extends those findings by comparing bone mineral in adult lacto-ovo-vegetarian and omnivorous males. Bone mineral mass was determined by direct photon absorptiometry in 320 lacto-ovo-vegetarian and 320 omnivorous males 20 to 79 yr old. Lacto-ovo-vegetarians were Seventh-day Adventists committed to their diet for at least 20 yr. Measurements were made at a cortical site along the radius.

Growth in "new" vegetarian preschool children using the Jenss-Bayley curve fitting technique.

Length and weight measurements obtained on 142 vegetarian and 229 nonvegetarian school children from a normative population were fitted to growth curves using the asymptotic nonlinear regression equation of Jenss and Bayley. All of the children were Caucasian and age ranged from a few weeks to 6 yr. The growth curves obtained for vegetarian children were from 0.5 to 1.0 kg and 1 to 2 cm lower, depending on age, sex, and diet, than were curves for reference populations of nonvegetarian children. Length was affected more than weight.

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