Professor Stephen Mendonca
The objective of this study is to examine the differences between the vegan and omnivore diet and to study the relationship of these diets to body composition, blood lipids, and the serum hormones vitamin D and parathyroid hormone. As seen previously, those eating an omnivore diet consumed significantly more dietary protein than those consuming a vegan diet (2; 3). The values we observed for dietary protein in both the vegan and the omnivore groups were similar to those seen by Hadded et al. (3) and Janelle and Barr (2). The women in our study eating an omnivore diet exceeded the RDA for protein. In contrast to other studies of vegetarians and vegans, our…show more content… We found no significant difference between the two diet groups in the serum vitamin D levels. A study of vegan women in Finland found vegans to be deficient in vitamin D intake without supplements or adequate sunlight exposure through vacations in sunny locations (12). The vegan women in our study had adequate serum vitamin D levels, which may be the result of 1) incorporating enough vitamin D in their diets possibly using fortified foods and supplements; 2) they were exposed to adequate sunlight or 3) a combination of both.
Although reviews of the vegetarian diet (5; 13) warn that deficiencies in several micronutrients are possible, the only marginal nutrient we found in the vegan group is calcium intake. There are several possible reasons for this difference. Vegans may be more health conscious, physically more active, and have a greater understanding of the role of nutrition in general health. As a result, they may also consume more supplements. Another contributing factor may be the recent increase in commercially available foods fortified with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals that may lead to higher levels of intake when whole diets are examined. These results may be somewhat biased compared to the general population because we studied young adult college women primarily. Another possible confounding factor is the