Switch to plant-based diet requires considerable nutrition correction

Life Style

While a plant-based diet benefits population health as well the environment, the intake of certain vitamins and minerals can vary from what is obtained from an average Finnish diet, which is heavily animal-based.

In fact, comparative studies to understand vegetarian and mixed diets reveal folate amount and folate concentrations in the body were higher in people observing vegan diet, and also to some extent in those who follow a more plant-based diet, whereas iodine and B12 level were reduced for these individuals.

Furthermore, individual studies undertaken reveal iron stores in the body were found to be lower in individuals on a plant-based diet, even if they consumed abundant amount of iron. This is probably at least partially explained by the poorer absorption of iron obtained from plants.

Meanwhile, for climate-related reasons, and in the light of recent studies, Finnish people need to transition to a more sustainable, plant-based diet. This implies reducing the consumption of food obtained from animals, especially processed meat and red meat. This change in food also indicates health benefits, which includes improvements in the quality of fat in the diet, and consequently improved lipid profile of individuals.

From nutrition perspective, the transition to a plant-based diet can be made in a reasonable safe manner, but if the new diet is more plant-based, the changes required for nutrient intake will be higher.

A study undertaken by the University of Helsinki in the spring of 2017 involved 136 healthy adult volunteers who were on one of three study diets for 12 weeks. One of the study diets was based heavily on animal protein much like that of average Finns. Whereas for the other two diets with varying degree of animal protein, including red meat, dairy products, and poultry were replaced by a range of plant protein such as legumes and nuts.

Edward Turner

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