Is it dangerous for kids to be vegan? – Newspaper Zócalo

Mexico City.- More and more families are opting for a vegan lifestyle based on the philosophy of not using products derived from the exploitation of animals. However, when including this type of diet in the diet of small pets, many doubts can arise in this regard, since if meat, dairy products and eggs are excluded from their diet, some of the essential nutrients that they provide can also be lost. .food for their development.

Know what foods to include in your diet so they get the vitamins and minerals they need to grow.

At what age can a child be vegan?

We understand veganism as a way of life that rejects any kind of animal exploitation. For this reason, vegans eat a diet based primarily on plants and legumes and free of animal products such as meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, dairy, and honey.

In this sense, breastfeeding is recommended for the first 6 months, and even better if it lasts longer, in order to make the most of its components and, therefore, the benefits it provides in the development and growth of the child.

Oat or soy milk is not suitable for children under one year old, as they do not have the right ratio of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Therefore, some experts recommend switching to this type of diet. from 2 years to ensure nutrient balance so it is necessary at this stage to offer products of animal origin, in addition to carbohydrates and vegetables, vegetables and fruits.

Precautions Before Starting a Vegan Diet in Children

Of course, animal products contain vitamins, minerals and energy necessary for the proper functioning of the body. Hence the importance of proper planning of this type of nutrition, especially in children, since food restriction and, as a result, low energy intake can affect proper development in childhood.

For this reason, the main problem of the vegan diet is an adequate supply of nutrients, since they only need to be obtained from vegetables, legumes and vegetables, which increases the risk of deficiency, in this case proteins, fatty acids, iron. Zinc, iodine, vitamin D, vitamin B12.

However, nutritionists ensure that properly planned vegetarian and vegan diets are healthy and nutritionally adequate at all stages of life. Hence the importance of including children in this type of diet, provided they follow the advice of experts to avoid malnutrition.

In any case, if you want to transfer your child to this diet from the very beginning of complementary foods, this is very important. create preparation of a daily menu under the guidance of specialistsstriving to ensure that the food offered meets their nutritional needs.

What should a vegan child eat?

It is clear that a vegan diet in young children should not be taken lightly. In these cases, the foods included in your diet should be carefully planned to meet your needs throughout his childhood.

These foods should be selected based on important nutrients for their proper development, including:

• Proteins: To provide a combination of amino acids, legumes such as beans and lentils should be offered. Grains, nuts, and seeds such as quinoa, tofu, walnuts, and almonds are also good options.

• Plant-based milk fortified with calcium and vitamin D.: To strengthen bone mass, include foods rich in these two nutrients, such as green leafy vegetables, almonds, beans and tofu.

• Foods rich in vitamin B12.: This vitamin is essential for the formation of red blood cells and the nervous system. It is found in fortified plant-based milk and soy products, as well as cereals and nutritional yeast.

• Fats: Fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 are essential for neurological development and the proper functioning of the body. They can be found in chia seeds, nuts like walnuts, or vegetable oils like olive, flaxseed, and canola.

• Iron: Iron-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables such as spinach, nuts, and legumes. This iron is non-heme, so it is important to consume it along with foods rich in vitamin C, such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, strawberries, and others, for its absorption.

The intake of nutritional supplements by vegan children usually begins after weaning and should contain, among others, vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, iron, iodine and zinc. Doses will vary with age.

Is veganism dangerous for children?

There are different opinions on this topic. On the one hand, the Royal Belgian Medical Academy. advises children not to follow this diet and that, in cases where the parents so wish, strict medical supervision should be exercised. In contrast, the British Dietetic Association claims that a vegan diet is suitable for all stages of lifeincluding childhood and pregnancy.

On the other hand, the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics appears to combine both criteria, stating that “properly planned vegetarian diets, including vegan diets, are healthy, nutritionally adequate, and may be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases and are appropriate.” for all stages of life, including pregnancy, lactation, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age.

However, it is also specified that these diets should be planned for each child individuallybecause an unbalanced diet can have very negative consequences for their health and growth.

What are the consequences of malnutrition in children?

There is no doubt that good nutrition in children is the key to their optimal development, since, as we mentioned earlier, limiting the group of animal-based nutrients can cause health problems.

The main consequences of malnutrition in the early stages are:

• Height restriction due to lack of proteins and vitamins.

• Psychomotor retardation to meet nutritional and fat needs.

• Rickets caused by vitamin D and calcium deficiency.

• Low power consumptionA: With this type of diet, you have to eat a lot to get enough energy. Children eat little, which can lead to an energy imbalance that negatively affects their intellectual and physical development.

• Anemia due to lack of vitamin B12 and iron.

• Underweight.

• Risk of fractures and osteoporosis.

The benefits and risks of a vegan diet for children

On the other hand, if followed carefully, this type of diet can also offer some health benefits to children. In fact, children on a vegan diet tend to have lower risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetesobesity or certain types of cancer.

In that sense, a 2021 study from University College London analyzed 187 healthy children aged 5 to 10 and found that those who followed a vegan diet had a healthier cardiovascular profile and less body fat. . However, these children they were about 3 centimeters shorter than non-vegans of the same age. In turn, their bone mineral content was also 4–6% lower, and they were three times more likely to be deficient in vitamin B-12 than omnivorous children.

The authors of the study emphasized need for supplements vitamin B12 and vitamin D plant-based diet and the importance of raising awareness among vegan families about this issue. First of all, it must be taken into account that children have special nutritional needs that must be met in order to ensure adequate growth. Therefore, if you decide to introduce your child to this lifestyle, you should consult a pediatrician and follow his recommendations in order to avoid future health problems.

According to “For kids”

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