Medically reviewed by Sara Osman,RD,PT

Introduction

Vegan nutrition also plays a role in decreasing obesity risk as its less energy dense than omnivores diet. plant-based sources have less fats and cholestorol content, less energy dense, high in fibre and promotes satiety.

Hence, it’s not a surprise that vegans tend to be thinner, have lower body mass index and are more effective in losing weight than non-vegans [2].

Although vegan diet have less protein, fats,n-3 fats, Vitamin D and B12 ,certain micronutrients (calcium, iron, zinc and iodine) than animal-based sources, it is high in fibre,carbs, phytochemicals and antioxidants which is known to reduce chronic diseases like certain cancer, type-2 diabetes and cardio vascular diseases [1,2,3].

Certain high performance vegan athletes might have also to consume supplementation for creatine and β-alanine [3]. However, poorly constructed vegan diets however might lead to certain macro and micronutrient deficiencies.

The 6 major food groups for individuals eating a plant-based diet are fruits, vegetables, legumes, cereal grains, nuts & seeds and vegetable fats/oils.

Vegan Nutrition and Chronic Disease Risk

Vitamins

Minerals

Macro Nutrients

VITAMINS ( i )

PLANT FOODS ( i )

ANIMAL FOODS ( i )

VITAMINS ( i )

Vitamin A

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
56.52mcg RAE
  • Found in colored & leafy veggies. Cooked veggies provide more vitamin A than raw veggies. Higher intake of provitamin A in plant sources doesn’t cause adverse effects [1,19].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
146.50mcg RAE
  • Found in liver, beef, fish, fish oils, and dairy products. Higher intake of performed vitamin A in animal sources causes adverse effects or even toxicity [1,18,19].
VITAMINS ( i )

Vitamin C

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
18.83mg
  • Found abundantly in fruits and veggies. Raw fruits have 3 times more vitamin C than fruit juices [1,20].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
1.00mg
  • Found in raw liver, tongue and heart of the lamb and milk but in very small quantities [20].
VITAMINS ( i )

Vitamin D

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
0.11mcg
  • Only found in vitamin-d fortified foods and mushrooms specially UV light exposed mushrooms [1,21].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
0.55mcg
  • Found in fish, meat, offal, egg, and dairy only in the form of vitamin D3 [1,21].
VITAMINS ( i )

Vitamin E

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
1.53mg
  • Found abundantly in cooking & edible oils and to a lesser extent in nuts/seeds [1,22].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
0.27mg
  • Found in mainly in chicken thigh, chicken breast and pork shoulder and to a lesser extent in snails and some fish.
  • Vitamin E content is lower than plant- based foods [1,22].
VITAMINS ( i )

Vitamin K

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
24.22mcg
  • Found abundantly in leafy greens and certain cooking oils [1,23].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
0.79mcg
  • Found in meat, dairy foods, and eggs in modest amounts [1,23].
VITAMINS ( i )

Thiamine

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
0.17mg
  • Found in legumes, cereal grains, nuts, seeds. However, 1/3rd and 4/5th of the nutrient is lost in legumes & cereal grains respectively due to cooking [1,24].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
0.15mg
  • Found in meat, fish, and pork and in small quantities in milk which lose up to 20% of its content by pasteurization [1,24].
VITAMINS ( i )

Riboflavin

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
0.13mg
  • Found in legumes, cereal grains, nuts, seeds and veggies. However, 1/2 and 3/4th of the nutrient is lost from legumes & cereal grains respectively due to cooking [1,25].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
0.27mg
  • Found in eggs, organ meats (kidneys and liver), lean meats, and milk that lose some of its content when exposed to heat [1,25].
VITAMINS ( i )

Niacin

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
1.61mg
  • Found in legumes, cereal grains, nuts, seeds and veggies. However, 3/4th and 2/3rd of the nutrient is lost from legumes & cereal grains respectively due to cooking.
  • Niacin is found in the form of nicotinic acid that lowers high cholesterol levels [1].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
5.18mg
  • Found in poultry, beef, and fish. One serving provides about 5-10 mg niacin in the form of nicotinamide that has no effect on cholesterol levels [1,26].
VITAMINS ( i )

Pantothenic acid

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
0.43mg
  • Found in legumes, cereal grains, nuts, seeds and veggies. However, 1/2 and 3/4th of the nutrient is lost from legumes & cereal grains respectively due to cooking [1,27].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
0.74mg
  • Found in beef, chicken, and organ meats that lose about 20%-80% of its vitamin B5 content during food processing [1,27].
VITAMINS ( i )

Pyridoxine

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
0.18mg
  • Found in legumes, cereal grains, nuts, seeds and veggies. However, 1/2 and 3/4th of the nutrient is lost from legumes & cereal grains respectively due to cooking [1].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
0.36mg
  • Found in fish, beef liver and other organ meats with digestibility rate around 79% [1,28].
VITAMINS ( i )

Biotin

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
  • Found in small quantities in certain fruits, veggies, nuts/seeds and cereal grains. Most grains have about a 20-40% bioavailability of biotin while the biotin in corn is readily available [1].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
  • Found in organ meats, eggs, fish, and meat [1,29].
VITAMINS ( i )

Folate

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
55.39mcg
  • Found in legumes, nuts, seeds and veggies. Most of folate content are lost during cooking to be found in the blanching water. Spinach loses around 40% while broccoli loses around 68%[1].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
12.29mcg
  • Found in seafood, eggs, dairy products, liver, meat, and poultry that could lose around 41% of its folate content by broiling and around 50% by frying [1,30].
VITAMINS ( i )

Cobalamin

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
0.00mcg
  • Absent in raw plant- based foods but present in fortified breakfast cereals and fortified nutritional yeasts with high bioavailability [1].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
2.92mcg
  • Found in fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products [1,31].
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MINERALS ( i )

PLANT FOODS ( i )

ANIMAL FOODS ( i )

MINERALS ( i )

Calcium

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
53.16mg
  • Found in small quantities in certain nuts/seeds and veggies. Calcium fortified foods are also a good source of the nutrient [1,32].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
28.25mg
  • Found in milk, yogurt, and cheese [1,32].
MINERALS ( i )

Iron

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
1.89mg
  • Found in legumes, cereal grains, nuts/seeds and veggies. However, 1/2 and 3/4th of the nutrient is lost from legumes & cereal grains respectively due to cooking [1,34].
  • Certain anti-nutrients like phytic acid and polyphenols found in plant-based foods can reduce absorption.[3]
  • Using iron cookware and consuming vitamin c rich foods or supplements along with non-haem iron foods can possibly increase absorption[3,4]
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
2.06mg
  • Found in lean meat, poultry, and seafood in the form of heme iron with high bioavailability. Cooking doesn’t affect the iron content [1,34,35].
MINERALS ( i )

Magnesium

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
56.38mg
  • Found in legumes, cereal grains, nuts/seeds, and green leafy vegetables. However, 1/2 and 3/4th of the nutrient is lost from legumes & cereal grains respectively due to cooking [1].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
22.44mg
  • Found in meat, eggs, and milk in intermediate amounts [1,18].
MINERALS ( i )

Zinc

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
0.99mg
  • Found in legumes, cereal grains, nuts/seeds. However, 1/2 and 2/3rd of the nutrient is lost from legumes & cereal grains respectively due to cooking[1].
  • Like Iron, Zinc's bioavailability and absorption is less in plant-based foods as compared to omnivores diet [3].
  • However, certain cooking methods can possibly help increase absorption [3].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
3.69mg
  • Found in seafood, red meat and poultry [45].
MINERALS ( i )

Copper

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
0.29mg
  • Found in all plant-based foods except oils. However, 1/2 and 2/3rd of the nutrient is lost from legumes & cereal grains respectively due to cooking [1].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
0.19mg
  • Found in shellfish and organ meats in high amounts and found in milk and chicken with small amounts [1,18].
MINERALS ( i )

Potassium

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
383.54mg
  • Found in veggies, legumes, fruits, nuts and seeds. However, 1/2 of the nutrient is lost from legumes due to cooking [1].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
289.62mg
  • Found in meats, poultry, fish, milk, yogurt.
  • However, meat and milk do not contain enough bicarbonate precursors to adequately balance their acid-forming precursors resulting in bone demineralization [1,18].
MINERALS ( i )

Selenium

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
5.02mg
  • Found in cereal grains, nuts and seeds, fruits, and vegetables. However, 2/3rd of the nutrient is lost from cereal grains due to cooking.
  • Also, brazil nuts and chia seeds are excellent sources of the nutrient [1,25].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
25.88mg
  • Found in seafoods, and organ meats with high amounts then to a lesser extent in muscle meats, dairy products, poultry, and eggs[1,18,36].
MINERALS ( i )

Manganese

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
0.73mg
  • Found in all plant-based foods except oils. However, 1/2 and 3/4th of the nutrient is lost from legumes & cereal grains respectively due to cooking [1].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
0.04mg
  • Found in Crustaceans and molluscum including clams, oysters, mussels [1,37,38].
MINERALS ( i )

Phosphorous

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
121.52mg
  • Found in legumes, cereal grains, nuts/seeds, and vegetables. However, 1/2 and 3/4th of the nutrient is lost from legumes & cereal grains respectively due to cooking[1,33].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
207.73mg
  • Found in dairy products, meats and poultry, fish, and eggs with high absorption rate 40%–70%[1,33].
MINERALS ( i )

Choline

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
11.43mg
  • Found in very small quantities in veggies, legumes, nuts, and seeds [1].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
51.83mg
  • Found in meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and eggs [1,39].
MINERALS ( i )

Chromium

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
  • Found in certain veggies, fruits, brewer’s yeast, nuts and cereal grains. Brazil nuts and black pepper are excellent sources of the nutrient [1].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
  • Found in meats, poultry, and fish and in small quantities in dairy products[1,18,40].
MINERALS ( i )

Molybdenum

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
  • Found in certain legumes, cereal grains and nuts [1,25].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
  • Found in beef liver, milk, cheese in amounts lower than plant foods [1,18,41].
MINERALS ( i )

Sodium

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
65.69g
  • Canned or processed plant-based foods tends to have the highest sodium content compared to unprocessed foods [1].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
212.42g
  • Processed animal -based foods tends to have the highest sodium content compared to unprocessed foods[1,42].
MINERALS ( i )

Fluoride

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
0.85
  • Found only in tea plants, fruits, and vegetables in small amounts depending on the fluoride in the soil [1,25].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
0.96
  • Found in marine fish in small amounts [1,18,43].
MINERALS ( i )

Iodine

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
  • Found in Seaweed (such as kelp, nori, kombu, and wakame) [1,44].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
  • Found in seafood, and eggs. Milk contains iodine but the amount varies depending on the iodine fed to the cow [1,44].
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MACRO NUTRIENTS ( i )

PLANT FOODS ( i )

ANIMAL FOODS ( i )

MACRO NUTRIENTS ( i )

Protein

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
5.85g
  • Found in legumes, cereal grains, nuts/seeds and veggies. Most plant-based protein sources are incomplete, missing important essential amino acids (EAA) and hence it is recommended to combine protein sources with different EAA composition throughout the day [1,3].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
22.53g
  • Found in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, and yogurt. Called complete proteins [1,18].
MACRO NUTRIENTS ( i )

Fibre

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
4.00g
  • Found in fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts, seeds and cereal grains [1].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
0.01g
  • Absent
MACRO NUTRIENTS ( i )

Carbohydrates

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
21.12g
  • Found in fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts, seeds and cereal grains.
  • Fruits are rich in sugar whereas other plant-based food groups are rich in starch predominantly [1].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
0.64g
  • Milk dairy products [1,18].
MACRO NUTRIENTS ( i )

Saturated Fats

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
2.61g
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
4.69g
MACRO NUTRIENTS ( i )

Polyunsaturated Fats

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
3.08
  • Found abundantly in oils and certain nuts and seeds [1].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
1.26
  • Found in a higher amount in fatty fish as omega-3 and in small amounts in meat, poultry, and eggs as omega-6 [1,18].
MACRO NUTRIENTS ( i )

Monounsaturated Fats

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
3.79
  • Found abundantly in oils and certain nuts and seeds [1].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
5.10
  • Found primarily in meat fat. Fish may contain significant amounts [1,18].
MACRO NUTRIENTS ( i )

Trans Fats

what do these number mean?
PLANT FOODS ( i )
0.14
  • Found only in processed foods due to the use of hydrogenated industrial oils [1].
ANIMAL FOODS ( i )
0.18
  • Found in milk, butter, and meats [1,18]
Medically reviewed by Sara Osman,RD,PT

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