PSYCHOLOGY

'My Child Is A Vegan!' Is It Dangerous Or Healthy To Raise Children On A Vegan Diet?

Date December 26, 2018

Did you know that the number of vegans in the UK has gone up by over 360% in the past 10 years? Well, veganism, a lifestyle that rejects the exploitation of animals for any purpose, is a major movement that has appealed to a growing population of both young and older people.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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However, while veganism provides alternatives to animal-based foods and ingredients, it has attracted serious controversy over its impact on young children. For health experts, veganism is great in terms of promoting healthy living, but when it comes to children, the lifestyle can have significant dire impacts.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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According to Judy Moore, a dietician in the UK, vegan kids can suffer from many developmental problems since the diet might be inadequate to cover the necessary nutrients and energy required for growth. Some of the most common deficiencies among vegans include the lack of iron, B12, and iodine nutrients that are often found in meat-based diets.

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Should vegan parents go to jail?

The debate against veganism for children has become more vicious in the pasts as some governments have stepped in to protect children as vulnerable parties. In Italy, for example, a 2016 bill called for the legal culpability for vegan parents and proposed jail sentences if they intentionally cut meat from their children’s diets.

The proposal, which attracted both support and harsh criticism, ignited serious debate around veganism as a social issue.

The reactions on the issue were not reserved to Italy alone. In the United States, the Latino organization We Are Mitu, offered help to parents struggling with vegan children, a lifestyle, they claimed, was completely unacceptable.

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Care should be taken with vegan diets

Dieticians advise that if a parent plans to restrict a diet, they have to be aware of what nutrients are being omitted and find alternatives since animal products are enriched with many nutrients needed by the body.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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As such, parents should desist from trying to implement their home-made diets for kids since it is impossible for them to do so without expert help. According to Dr. Mary Fewtrell, the wrong diet plan could have very serious impacts!

The risks of getting it wrong can include irreversible cognitive damage and, in the extreme, death.

Thus, for parents following vegan diets for kids, extreme care should be taken to ensure that the nutrient needs of protein, fiber, fat, vitamins B-12, D, A and calcium, among others, are met for healthy growth and development.

Sentiment is split on vegan diets and children

For others, the focus on the effects of vegan diets is unfair since the vegetarian options are regarded as better than most fast-food alternatives that kids are exposed to every day.

It would seem that while the debate on vegan diets and their impacts on kids is far from over, the general agreement is that care should be taken to ensure that kids meet all the nutrient needs that their young bodies need. Essentially, when a balanced diet is provided, children can grow healthy, the right way. 

So, what do you think about kids on vegan diets? Is it okay or is it dangerous? Share your comments below.

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