Vegans and vegetarians often have nutrient deficiencies and lower BMI, which can increase the risk of fractures.
- The study found that vegans were 43% more likely to suffer fractures than meat eaters.
- Similar results were observed for vegetarians and fish eaters, though to a lesser extent.
- It's possible to be healthy on a vegan diet, though it takes some strategic planning to compensate for the nutrients that a plant-based diet can't easily provide.
Comparison of fracture cases by diet group
Credit: Tong et al.<p>The results showed that vegans were especially vulnerable to hip fractures, suffering 2.3 times more cases than meat-eaters. Vegetarians and pescatarians were also more likely to suffer hip fractures, though to a lesser extent.</p><p>One explanation may be that non-meat eaters consume less calcium and protein. Calcium helps the body build strong bones, particularly before age 30, after which the body begins to lose bone mineral density (though consuming enough calcium through diet or supplement can <a href="https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-Consumer/" target="_blank">help offset losses</a>). Lower bone mineral density means higher risk of fracture.</p><p>Protein seems to help the body absorb calcium, <a href="https://www.bonejoint.net/blog/did-you-know-that-certain-foods-block-calcium-absorption/#:~:text=Historically%2C%20nutritionists%20have%20warned%20that,may%20increase%20intestinal%20calcium%20absorption." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">when consumed in normal levels</a>. The recent study, along with past research, shows that people who don't eat meat tend to have lower levels of both protein and calcium. When the researchers accounted for non-meat eaters who supplemented their diets with calcium and protein, fracture risk decreased, but still remained significant.</p>
Credit: Pixabay<p>Another explanation is body mass index (BMI). Non-meat eaters tend to have a lower BMI, which is associated with higher fracture risk, particularly hip fractures. In the new study, vegans with a low BMI were especially likely to suffer hip fractures. That might be because having more body mass provides a cushioning effect when people fall.</p><p>Still, the study has some limitations. For one, White European women were overrepresented in the sample. The researchers also didn't collect precise data on the type of calcium or protein supplementation, diet quality or causes of fractures.</p><p>Another complicating factor: Producers of vegan products, such as plant-based milk, are increasingly fortifying foods with nutrients like calcium and protein, so modern vegans are potentially at lower risk of deficiency.</p><p>The researchers wrote that their findings "suggest that bone health in vegans requires further research."</p>
Staying healthy on a vegan diet<p>So, does a vegan diet necessarily lead to worse bone health? Not necessarily. But it's safe to say that people who don't consume meat, dairy and eggs should be extra vigilant about consuming enough essential nutrients. That can be harder than it seems.<br></p><p>One major reason is that the body generally has an easier time absorbing nutrients from animal foods than plant-based products. So, while a salad could contain the same amount of calcium as a glass of milk, the body absorbs more calcium when you drink milk. What's more, there are some molecules and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-nutrients-you-cant-get-from-plants#5.-Docosahexaenoic-acid-(DHA)" target="_blank">nutrients you simply can't get from plants</a>.</p><p>As such, many vegans round out their diets with supplements, including zinc, iron, iodine, long-chain omega-3s, and vitamins D, K-2, and B-12, to name a few. If you're on a vegan diet or considering making the switch, it's probably best to consult a dietician, and to make sure you maintain a <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">healthy BMI</a>.</p>
Everyone in the United States will soon have a chance to try plant-based burgers.
- The plant based "Impossible Whopper" by Impossible Foods will be available August 8th nationwide at all Burger Kings.
- The Impossible Burger is one of the most popular "meatless meat" options in the industry.
- Americans are increasingly becoming more interested in alternative options for meat.
Impossible Whopper at Burger King<p>The Impossible Burger in particular has led in this market as one of the fastest growing and most popular products in 2019. The company had been <a href="https://newfoodeconomy.org/plant-blood-soy-leghemoglobin-impossible-burger/" target="_blank">working with the FDA</a> to get approval for a number of additives inside the burger. The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the key ingredient heme, an animal compound in meat that gives the bloody look and adds to the iron-rich flavor. Impossible Foods sources this from soy leghemoglobin, which is naturally found in soybean roots. </p><p>For Burger King, the product is meant to appeal mostly to flexitarian sensibilities — carnivores looking to expand their meat preferences into the plant-based domain. Vegetarians and vegans are welcome to try it as well.</p><p> Burger King's president, Chris Finazzo, says that so far the Impossible Whopper has been doing well and, "It's driven new guests into the restaurant," as well as also bringing back customers that haven't been there for years. "We're really excited to be able to attract that customer."</p><p>Customers will be able to get the deal from August 8th to September 1st, with the option to taste test both the original and Impossible Whopper.</p>
Americans’ future is meatless<p>Burger King hasn't made any plans for putting the Impossible Whopper permanently on its menu yet. The fast food chain will be reviewing the Impossible Whopper's performance over the next few months before making a decision on its permanence. Finazzo has been encouraged by the results so far. </p><p>Barclays predicts that the alternative meat industry could be worth $140 billion in the next decade. Impossible Foods is confident that the Whopper will be a great gateway product in the new burgeoning industry. </p><p>Impossible Foods has its work cut out for them. Their main competitor Beyond Meat sells meat substitutes to companies such as Dunkin' Donuts and Tim Hortons. Both companies are <a href="https://bigthink.com/culture-religion/beyond-meat-mince" target="_self">fighting to dominate the industry.</a> The world's second largest meat processor, Tyson, also debuted a number of new alternative meat products under the Raised & Rooted brand. A <a href="https://bigthink.com/technology-innovation/meat-alternatives" target="_self">new report predicts that by 2040,</a> 60 percent of meat will come from plant-based substitutes and cultured meat. </p><p>With the influx of vegan meat replacements, cultured meat and other lab grown alternatives — the future market is going to cater increasingly to this new kind of palate.</p>
The McVegan is a real thing... in a tiny small town test market, that is. But what are customers saying? And will it be available to everyone soon?
All over the world, the number of vegetarians and vegans is growing larger. Once considered an eccentric dietary choice, today 13% of Americans say that they are vegetarians or vegan with younger people being more likely to hold that position than the old.
A new study shows how one dietary change in the U.S. could make a 46%-plus dent in greenhouse gas reductions.
Methane gases from livestock production is contributing to the acceleration of global warming. Is a plant-based diet a smart way for individuals to curb the effects of climate change?
Make all the jokes you want, says Bill Nye, but methane is a very potent greenhouse gas, and as Earth's population increases so too does the size of the meat industry that caters to it. Demand for meat is growing steeply in developing nations, according to the Heinrich Böll Foundation, and the methane emitted by livestock is undoubtedly contributing atmospheric gases and accelerating global warming. So is a plant-based diet the answer, slashing the demand placed on the meat and dairy industries? Nye finds himself choosing to eat more and more vegetarian dishes, so while he hasn't gone 'full vegan' yet, his awareness of the problem has sparked a reductionist diet. Nye also mentions that agricultural scientists may soon find themselves under public pressure to reduce methane output. One way they might do that? Changing the bacteria in livestock's stomachs so they metabolize food with less methane byproduct. So we could bio-engineer the stomachs of other animals, or we could simply reduce the amount of animal products that go into our own.