Vegan Diets Are Actually Increasing Malnutrition in Wealthy Countries

According to food experts, most of the wealthy countries are becoming malnourished and the rise of vegan diets could be a major factor.

Chris Elliott is a professor from Queen’s University Belfast who is best known for leading the 2013 inquiry into the horse meat scandal.


There are few people (Chen Situ and Claire McEvoy) who has blamed along with Elliot towards “hidden Hunger” because this affects over two billion people, worldwide. The reason is a chronic lack of essential micronutrients in the diet, such as vitamins and minerals. Therefore, this could lead to ‘serious micronutrient deficiencies’.

As per the data which has analyzed, US shows that one in four children are lacking with calcium, magnesium or vitamin A meanwhile one in two children are deficient in vitamin D and E.

There are certain reasons for hidden hunger in established countries. The consumption of cheap, energy dense, nutritionally poor and heavily processed foods, mainly by poorer members of society, is the main factor.

There could be fewer micronutrients in fresh food due to declining soil health.

The growing trend of veganism.

Another major reason for hidden hunger would be the rapid development of veganism. Most of the UK citizens are shifting to the vegan diet and it has risen more than fourfold in the last decade.

According to a study at the Vegetarian Resource Group, it was evident that 5 percent of US populations are vegetarian and about half of these are entirely vegan.

Studies have shown that populations with mostly plant-based diets have longer lifespans and Populations that eat mostly animal products have higher rates of chronic disease. However, Vegetarians and vegans may need to supplement with some of them in order to maintain optimal health because there are a few important nutrients that are impossible to get from commonly consumed plant foods. Children, young women, the elderly and vegetarians seem to be at the highest risk of several deficiencies duet lack of meat consumption.

Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient found in virtually no plant foods. Also known as cobalamin, vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient involved in the growth of red blood cells, repairs of nerves and normal brain function. Without supplements or enriched foods, vegetarians are at a high risk of vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal foods, such as fish, meat, dairy products, and eggs.
The serious signs, symptoms, and risks associated with deficiency include Weakness, fatigue, impaired brain function, A variety of neurological disorders, Psychiatric disorders, Neurological disorders in babies of breastfeeding mothers, Megaloblastic anemia, Possible links with Alzheimer’s disease and Possible links with heart disease.

The matter of deficiency is even more urgent in babies and infants. During pregnancy, the fetus stores vitamin B12 in the liver, and this supply can last for several months after birth, depending on how much the mother supplies. If she has a low intake, and/or weans her baby on a B12-deficient diet, that child will become vulnerable to the effects of B12 deficiency very quickly.

Therefore, low levels of vitamin B12 would affect human health in many ways.

Potential solutions

As a solution, vegans can avoid micronutrient deficiency by consuming foods with extra nutrients and taking enough supplements.

However, supplement usage is frequently resisted by people who are on a plant-based diet and they have been stated to interfere with the absorption of other vital nutrients.

It has also evident that vegan supplements tend to have low biological activity in humans. As an example, Vegan-friendly vitamin D2 supplements are a lesser amount of effectiveness in raising blood vitamin D levels than the extra widely used vitamin D3 supplements.

Further supplements, such as vitamin B12, may be largely inactive in the body.

Knowledge about hidden hunger may help to detect, prevent, and treat these avoidable conditions and improve the health and prosperity of the next generation.

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