|Saturday, 15.09.2012 18:30-19:20 Room B|
|The vegan diet|
|Health benefits and risks|
A varied vegan diet is associated with many health benefits because of its high content of fiber, folic acid, and other vitamins such as potassium, and phytochemicals. Besides this, a vegan diet contains less saturated fat and cholesterol than other diets. Therefore, vegans tend to be thinner, have lower serum cholesterol, and lower blood pressure, reducing their risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Protein, iron, and calcium are often considered as potential deficiencies, but adequate amounts can be absorbed sufficiently well with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and soy products. However, micronutrients of special concern are vitamin B12, vitamin D, and long chain omega-3 fatty acids. While it is recommended that vegans supplement vitamin B12 or eat enriched foods, there is still a scientific debate about vitamin D and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Recent findings have shown that 60 percent of all people in Central Europe are vitamin D deficient due to sun exposure in winter not being sufficient. Are there vegetable sources for vitamin D? Is tanning a reasonable alternative? DHA can not, contrary to earlier opinions, be sufficiently formed from alpha-linolenic acid. Are algae oil capsules necessary or does a regular consumption of flax seed oil and further apha-linoleic acid sources suffice?