The effects of vegetarian diets on children

By Brown Articles Published 12/11/2009 | Nutrition

Vegan or vegetarian diets may be valuable for some aspects, but scientists claim that they are detrimental to children who are in the prime of their development, as they cannot possibly find all the nutrients they need in products deriving solely from plants.

The Vegan Society rebuked this assertion saying that people who consumed products that derive from animals are certainly not healthier that vegetarians, and that all the necessary nutrients can be found in every type of plant food without having to consume meat or any form of dairy product.

Researches have demonstrated that all those mothers who followed a strict vegetarian diet during pregnancy often gave birth to babies that were undersized and frequently showed development problems, which could sometimes leave permanent damage.

All those categories of people, including pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and children should not be morally allowed to exclude foods deriving from animal sources during that particular phase of their lives. Children should follow a well-balanced diet during their development, and parents should not oblige them to follow a strictly vegetarian diet, denying them all the essential nutrients that can be found in dairy products and meat.

Children can be damaged in their development without the necessary nutrients, and this begins from the early stages of the embryos development in the womb. Large quantities of meat are not necessary in order to absorb the sufficient amount of nutrients, but they should be included in a childs diet.

A research was carried out on three groups of malnourished children in Africa, in order to demonstrate the importance of meat during childrens growth. One group was given about two spoonfuls of minced meat everyday, another a supplement of milk or an equivalent amount of energy in an oil supplement, while the last group kept to their daily diet consisting of food low in nutrients.

The changes in the children given the extra supplements were unbelievable, they developed more and were generally more intelligent at solving problems than those who had been left on their diet lacking in nutrients. It was therefore noted that even a small amount of meat or milk was enough to compensate for the lack of B12 they had suffered from in the past.

This research was carried out in a poor district of Africa, amongst children who were undernourished, however the results were evident and the improvements were dramatic, demonstrating that meat and dairy products are fundamental for the correct development of a child in any kind of community.

Adults can choose whether they wish to avoid animal products in their daily diets, for they are no longer in the developing phase, although they still need necessary supplements to compensate the lack of determined nutrients. It is certainly a better idea to consume even in small doses meat and dairy products instead of taking pills as supplements, for it is difficult to determine in what quantities the pills should be taken for a correct nutritional amount.

In African countries animal food was given under the form of dried meat, which was very much appreciated and a very nutritious form of food.