12 Reasons Why a Vegan Diet Is Harmful to Your Child's Health!
May 30, 2017
Nutrition is crucial for a child’s development. Right from breakfast to supper and paying attention to every single meal or what your child is eating and drinking can be a challenging task for every parent. On that note, if you’re considering a vegetarian diet for your child, there are important matters you need to be aware of. Here are 12 reasons why a vegan diet is harmful to your child’s health.
1. Lack of energy
A vegan diet is not rich in energy. The child has to eat plenty in order to get enough energy. However, children don’t eat a lot. Hence, serving them the right amount of calories to sustain throughout the day may be difficult. It gets even problematic, especially if the child is a picky eater.
2. Low proteins
The total protein found in animal sources is higher when compared to vegetable sources. Also, animal protein is more digestible than plant protein. Moreover, plant proteins lack one or more important amino acids.
Iron helps the body to fight against fatigue. According to research, iron deficiency anaemia occurs in children who follow a vegetarian diet. Anaemia occurs with the lack of red blood cells in the body. This further leads to the decrease in oxygen flow to the organs. Children may complain about feeling weak, dizzy or experiencing shortness of breath.
4. Reduced bone strength
A vegan diet may not contain the recommended amount of calcium needed for the body to function appropriately. Calcium deficiency may cause rickets – the weakening and softening of bones in children. In turn, it may lead to the reduction of bone minerals or osteoporosis, and the risk of a fracture is highly probable.
5. Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps in the development and maintenance of strong bones. Also, it helps absorb calcium from the foods. Vitamin D deficiency is known to be connected to rickets. The bone tissue does not appropriately mineralize and leads to skeletal deformities and softening of bones. A vegan diet is not rich in Vitamin D.
6. Vitamin B12 deficiency
Serious conditions such as neurological disorders and megaloblastic anaemia are a result of vitamin B12 deficiency. During adolescence, problems with short-term memory, spatial ability, impairment in cognitive abilities (especially fluid intelligence) is probable. Plants are not a high-quality source of vitamin B12.
7. Mental health problems
Infant terror syndrome and developmental retardation have been noticed in infants who are breastfed by mothers on vegetarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian or vegan diets. Also, problems such as irritability, lethargy, and delayed motor skills, were observed in these infants.
8. Lack of Vitamin A or retinol
It’s a misconception that Vitamin A can be acquired through orange coloured vegetables such as pumpkin, carrots or squash. Only a tiny percentage of beta carotene present in these vegetables can be converted to retinol or Vitamin A. In children, this form of conversion is not possible. Susceptibility to infection, impaired cell growth and eyesight are a result of Vitamin A deficiency.
9. Lack of fatty acids
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) are essential omega-3 fatty acids and they can’t be obtained from vegetarian sources such as chia and flax. Both chia and flax are packed with ALA (alpha-linoleic acid). But ALA doesn’t serve the purpose of benefitting the brain or its development. Deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids leads to ailments such as ADD/ADHD, neurological abnormalities, cardiovascular disorders and autism.
10. No healthy fats
Approximately 50% of human cell membranes are made because of saturated fat and over 60% of the human brain is fat. Your baby needs adequate amounts of fat to help in its growth. Healthy fats are rich in fat-soluble vitamins like A, E, D and K.
11. Digestion problems
Protein is essential to help in the production of hydrochloric acid (HCL) that helps break down proteins. Digestion starts with the production of strong stomach acid. Later, the pH driven digestive process takes place. Without the healthy and regular stimulation of digestive juices, your baby’s digestion process may weaken. Your body will absorb only fewer nutrients.
12. Too much fibre
Vegan diets are mostly high in fibre content. But fibrous bulk foods will make your children feel full. It’s a bigger problem especially since children or infants have smaller stomachs. They don’t consume enough food that gives them more energy.
A vegan diet is not healthy for your children. It negates important nutrients that play a crucial role in your child’s physical and mental development. A well-balanced diet along with clean water will ensure that your child is healthy and strong.
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