Scientists have warned that the growing trend of young women turning vegan may have serious health consequences. Veganism is a type of lifestyle/diet that requires its adherents to abstain from all animal products including dairy and not just meat and fish.
However, experts are concerned that many of these young women are not taking into account the need for nutritional supplements to compensate for the missing nutrients. And an important part of your daily diet provided by dairy is iodine, a vital component for the development of the human brain.
Dietitian Helen Bond told The Sun,
“A lot of people are removing dairy from their diet for all types of reasons. Maybe they're following more plant-based diets, they think they're lactose intolerant or that they chose to remove dairy because of environmental or medical reasons.
“Unfortunately the dairy alternative products out there aren't fortified with calcium.
“One of the best sources of iodine in our diet are dairy products. Other things like fish, eggs and even poultry does provide smaller amounts. Without iodine in your diet it can cause real tiredness in teenagers because it's needed for the correct functioning of the thyroid.
“More importantly babies born to mothers who have really low intakes of iodine during pregnancy can suffer from mental retardation.
“Low intake in children can affect their mental development. It is a real concern."
A study by the World Health Organisation found that when you compared people with high and low iodine levels in the UK, there was a 13 IQ point difference. And perhaps even more frightening is that another study found that 70% of the young women who participated had below the acceptable amount of iodine in their blood supply.
Veganism is often touted by proponents as healthier to the alternative, but it is also criticised heavily by its opponents. However, the truth, according to scientists, is that so long as people are willing to take the necessary supplements and eat a variety of meals then veganism can be a perfectly healthy lifestyle. The concern, however, is that many of the young people embracing veganism do not take seriously enough the risk of malnutrition and are not particularly sensible with regards to getting proper advice and help.