Dieticians Claim Vegan Diets Stunt Babies Growth

Dieticians are warning parents that vegan babies have a higher risk of developing serious health problems including stunted growth.

According to The Mail Online:

The NHS Start for Life website, which provides guidance for new parents, now includes a section about vegan and vegetarian babies.

It recommends that infants on a vegan diet may need vitamin B12 supplements and advises that parents can give their baby plant-based drinks like soya, oat and almond milk, after the age of one, if the drinks are unsweetened and fortified with calcium.

The NHS warns that cows’ milk and dairy foods are good sources of nutrients, so parents should not cut them out of a child’s diet without first speaking to a GP or dietitian.

But some dietitians and nutritionists have raised concerns about babies of being vegan at such a young age, as growing numbers of cookbooks are also published with recipes for vegan infants.

While most experts believe a vegan diet for children can be safe, risks may arise when parents do not rigorously ensure meals and snacks are properly balanced.

Dr Duane Mellor, a registered dietitian and lead for nutrition and evidence-based medicine at Aston University, said: ‘If a baby or toddler does not have enough energy and protein, this can affect their growth.

‘If their diet is low in iodine, or they become iron-deficient, it can affect their brain development and even reduce their intellectual capacity.

‘If their diet is low in B12, it can not only lead to anaemia but also impact their nerve development.’

As a vegan for more than six years, Francine Jordan has always planned to bring her baby up on the same diet.

When five-month-old Peggy is weaned, her first finger foods will include courgette, cauliflower and tofu.

Miss Jordan has done an NHS course on baby nutrition to be prepared and will give her baby extra supplements including vitamin B12 and iodine.

The 32-year-old said: ‘Bringing up Peggy on a vegan diet was not a conversation I needed to even have with my husband, as we are both vegan.

‘If we have chosen this way of life because we are concerned about animals and the environment, it would then be strange to feed our baby meat and dairy…

A study last year led by University College London, including 187 vegan, vegetarian and meat and dairy-eating children aged five to 10 years old, found children on vegan diets were on average three centimetres (1.2 inches) shorter, suggesting they were growing more slowly, or potentially could be smaller as adults.

Vegan children had a lower bone mineral content, although they also had less body fat and lower levels of bad cholesterol.

There has been little research on veganism in babies but Bahee Van de Bor, a former paediatric dietitian at Great Ormond Street, who now runs the company UK Kids Nutrition, said: ‘If you plan plant-based diets carefully, by including a good ratio of carbohydrate foods and fats from vegetable oils, nut butters, avocado and other higher energy foods like hummus, you can meet a baby’s daily energy requirements.

‘But without careful planning for total energy and nutrient requirements, there can be gaps in nutrition which can compromise growth and increase risk of nutrient deficiencies.

‘Parents should not ignore the advice to use dietary supplements for calcium, vitamin D, B12 and iodine, and include foods containing Omega-3, to make a vegan diet safe from birth.

‘A baby’s brain grows rapidly in the early years, so adequate nutrition is crucial to support this early brain development.’



5 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Listen LIVE!

The Richie Allen Radio Show is live Mon – Thurs  5-7pm and Sun 11am -12pm

Click the button to listen live. Stream opens in a new tab.


Support the show!

The Richie Allen Show relies on the support of the listeners.  Click the button to learn more.
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

The Richie Allen Show relies on the support of the listeners. Help Richie to keep producing the show and talking about that which the mainstream media won’t. Please consider a contribution or becoming a Patron, it’s greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Halifax Manchester SORT CODE 11-05-16 ACC No 12130860

New Report