Nutritionally recommended food for semi- to strict vegetarian diets based on large-scale nutrient composition data.
ABSTRACT: Diet design for vegetarian health is challenging due to the limited food repertoire of vegetarians. This challenge can be partially overcome by quantitative, data-driven approaches that utilise massive nutritional information collected for many different foods. Based on large-scale data of foods' nutrient compositions, the recent concept of nutritional fitness helps quantify a nutrient balance within each food with regard to satisfying daily nutritional requirements. Nutritional fitness offers prioritisation of recommended foods using the foods' occurrence in nutritionally adequate food combinations. Here, we systematically identify nutritionally recommendable foods for semi- to strict vegetarian diets through the computation of nutritional fitness. Along with commonly recommendable foods across different diets, our analysis reveals favourable foods specific to each diet, such as immature lima beans for a vegan diet as an amino acid and choline source, and mushrooms for ovo-lacto vegetarian and vegan diets as a vitamin D source. Furthermore, we find that selenium and other essential micronutrients can be subject to deficiency in plant-based diets, and suggest nutritionally-desirable dietary patterns. We extend our analysis to two hypothetical scenarios of highly personalised, plant-based methionine-restricted diets. Our nutrient-profiling approach may provide a useful guide for designing different types of personalised vegetarian diets.
Project description:Recent progresses in data-driven analysis methods, including network-based approaches, are revolutionizing many classical disciplines. These techniques can also be applied to food and nutrition, which must be studied to design healthy diets. Using nutritional information from over 1,000 raw foods, we systematically evaluated the nutrient composition of each food in regards to satisfying daily nutritional requirements. The nutrient balance of a food was quantified and termed nutritional fitness; this measure was based on the food's frequency of occurrence in nutritionally adequate food combinations. Nutritional fitness offers a way to prioritize recommendable foods within a global network of foods, in which foods are connected based on the similarities of their nutrient compositions. We identified a number of key nutrients, such as choline and ?-linolenic acid, whose levels in foods can critically affect the nutritional fitness of the foods. Analogously, pairs of nutrients can have the same effect. In fact, two nutrients can synergistically affect the nutritional fitness, although the individual nutrients alone may not have an impact. This result, involving the tendency among nutrients to exhibit correlations in their abundances across foods, implies a hidden layer of complexity when exploring for foods whose balance of nutrients within pairs holistically helps meet nutritional requirements. Interestingly, foods with high nutritional fitness successfully maintain this nutrient balance. This effect expands our scope to a diverse repertoire of nutrient-nutrient correlations, which are integrated under a common network framework that yields unexpected yet coherent associations between nutrients. Our nutrient-profiling approach combined with a network-based analysis provides a more unbiased, global view of the relationships between foods and nutrients, and can be extended towards nutritional policies, food marketing, and personalized nutrition.
Project description:As the number of subjects choosing vegan diets increases, healthcare providers must be prepared to give the best advice to vegan patients during all stages of life. A completely plant-based diet is suitable during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, and childhood, provided that it is well-planned. Balanced vegan diets meet energy requirements on a wide variety of plant foods and pay attention to some nutrients that may be critical, such as protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. This paper contains recommendations made by a panel of experts from the Scientific Society for Vegetarian Nutrition (SSNV) after examining the available literature concerning vegan diets during pregnancy, breastfeeding, infancy, and childhood. All healthcare professionals should follow an approach based on the available evidence in regard to the issue of vegan diets, as failing to do so may compromise the nutritional status of vegan patients in these delicate periods of life.
Project description:Vegetarian and vegan diets have increased worldwide in the last decades, according to the knowledge that they might prevent coronary heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Althought plant-based diets are at risk of nutritional deficiencies such as proteins, iron, vitamin D, calcium, iodine, omega-3, and vitamin B12, the available evidence shows that well planned vegetarian and vegan diets may be considered safe during pregnancy and lactation, but they require a strong awareness for a balanced intake of key nutrients. A review of the scientific literature in this field was performed, focusing specifically on observational studies in humans, in order to investigate protective effects elicited by maternal diets enriched in plant-derived foods and possible unfavorable outcomes related to micronutrients deficiencies and their impact on fetal development. A design of pregestational nutrition intervention is required in order to avoid maternal undernutrition and consequent impaired fetal growth.
Project description:People who avoid eating animals tend to share their homes with animal companions, and moral dilemma may arise when they are faced with feeding animal products to their omnivorous dogs and carnivorous cats. One option to alleviate this conflict is to feed pets a diet devoid of animal ingredients-a 'plant-based' or 'vegan' diet. The number of pet owners who avoid animal products, either in their own or in their pets' diet, is not currently known. The objective of this study was to estimate the number of meat-avoiding pet owners, identify concerns regarding conventional animal- and plant-based pet food, and estimate the number of pets fed a plant-based diet. A questionnaire was disseminated online to English-speaking pet owners (n = 3,673) to collect data regarding pet owner demographics, diet, pet type, pet diet, and concerns regarding pet foods. Results found that pet owners were more likely to be vegetarian (6.2%; 229/3,673) or vegan (5.8%; 212/3,673) than previously reported for members of the general population. With the exception of one dog owned by a vegetarian, vegans were the only pet owners who fed plant-based diets to their pets (1.6%; 59/3,673). Of the pet owners who did not currently feed plant-based diets but expressed interest in doing so, a large proportion (45%; 269/599) desired more information demonstrating the nutritional adequacy of plant-based diets. Amongst all pet owners, the concern most commonly reported regarding meat-based pet foods was for the welfare of farm animals (39%; 1,275/3,231). The most common concern regarding strictly plant-based pet foods was regarding the nutritional completeness of the diet (74%; 2,439/3,318). Amongst vegans, factors which predicted the feeding of plant-based diets to their pets were concern regarding the cost of plant-based diets, a lack of concern regarding plant-based diets being unnatural, and reporting no concern at all regarding plant-based diets for pets. Given these findings, further research is warranted to investigate plant-based nutrition for domestic dogs and cats.
Project description:To maintain planetary health, human activities must limit the use of Earth's resources within finite boundaries and avoid environmental degradation. At present, food systems account for a substantial use of natural resources and contribute considerably to climate change, degradation of land, water use, and other impacts, which in turn threaten human health through food insecurity. Additionally, current dietary patterns, rich in animal products and excessive in calories, are detrimental to both population and planetary health. In order to resolve the diet-environment-health trilemma, population-level dietary changes are essential. Vegetarian diets are reported to be healthy options. Most plant-sourced foods are less resource intense and taxing on the environment than the production of animal-derived foods, particularly meat and dairy from ruminants. This review article explores simultaneously the environmental sustainability of vegetarian diets, and its alignment with people's health. In general, the progression from omnivorous to ovolactovegetarian and vegan diets is associated with increased environmental sustainability. Greenhouse gas emissions resulting from vegan and ovolactovegetarian diets are ?50% and ?35% lower, respectively, than most current omnivore diets, and with corresponding reductions in the use of natural resources. Concomitant health benefits could be obtained by shifting from current dietary patterns to sustainable vegetarian diets. Thus, there seems to be an alignment of health and environmental outcomes for vegetarian diets. Although this shows the human health and environmental sustainability benefits of vegetarian diets in high-income countries, questions remain about the challenges in other contexts and the political will to promote meat-free diets as the social norm.
Project description:BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES:We aimed to validate the simplified nutrient profiling system (SENS) algorithm based on its ability to rank foods across the four SENS classes in relation to overall nutritional quality of both observed diets and nutritionally optimized diets. SUBJECTS/METHODS:Foods and beverages from the French nutritional composition database were classified according to SENS. Diets consumed by French adults in the latest national dietary survey (>19 years, n?=?1719) were divided into four nutritional quality levels, and average daily frequencies (number of portions per day) of foods from the four SENS classes were compared between the four levels. Then, for each individual observed diet, one iso-caloric and nutritionally adequate diet was optimized, and variations in daily frequencies of foods from each SENS class between observed and optimized diets were estimated. RESULTS:In observed diets, as overall nutritional quality level of diet increased, daily frequency increased for Class-1 foods (3.5 to 8.7 portions/d) and decreased for Class-4 foods (6.8 to 3.0 portions/day). From observed to optimized diets, daily frequency increased for Class-1 foods for 98.4% of individuals and decreased for Class-4 foods for 94.2% of individuals. Class-2 and Class-3 foods also followed patterns that fit the expected ranking. CONCLUSIONS:Results from two WHO-recommended validation approaches showed that the SENS algorithm adequately ranks foods according to their contribution to overall nutritional quality of diets, which is a pre-requisite to use for simplified nutritional labeling in Europe.
Project description:BACKGROUND:To keep global warming <1.5°C as recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), eating patterns must change. However, future diets should be modeled at a national level and respect cultural acceptability. OBJECTIVES:We aimed to identify diets among Dutch adults satisfying nutritional and selected environmental requirements while deviating minimally from the baseline diet among Dutch adults. METHODS:We calculated per capita food system greenhouse gas emission (GHGE) targets derived from the IPCC 1.5-degree assessment study. Using individual adult dietary intake from the National Food Consumption Survey in the Netherlands (2007-2010) to form a baseline, we used quadratic optimization to generate diets that followed the baseline Dutch diet as closely as possible, while satisfying nutritional goals and remaining below GHGE targets. We considered 12 scenarios in which we varied GHGE targets [2050: 1.11 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent (kg CO2-eq) per person per day (pppd); 2030: 2.04 kg CO2-eq pppd; less strict 2030: 2.5 kg CO2-eq pppd; no target], modeled eating patterns (food-based dietary guidelines; flexitarian; pescatarian; lacto-ovo-vegetarian; vegan), and conducted exploratory analyses (food diversity; acceptability; food chain interdependency). RESULTS:Optimized solutions for 2030 required major decreases (<33% of baseline values) in consumption of beef, pork, cheese, snacks, and butter and increased consumption (>150% of baseline values) of legumes, fish and shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, vegetables, soy foods, and soy drink. Eight food groups were within 33%-150% of the baseline diet among Dutch adults. The optimized solution complying to the lowest GHGE target (2050) lacked food diversity, and the (lacto-ovo) vegetarian and vegan optimized diets were prone to nutritional inadequacies. CONCLUSIONS:Within Dutch eating habits, satisfying optimization constraints required a shift away from beef, cheese, butter, and snacks toward plant-based foods and fish and shellfish, questioning acceptability. Satisfying 2050 food system GHGE targets will require research in consumer preferences and breakthrough innovations in food production and processing.
Project description:Animals have evolved foraging strategies to acquire blends of nutrients that maximize fitness traits. In social insects, nutrient regulation is complicated by the fact that few individuals, the foragers, must address the divergent nutritional needs of all colony members simultaneously, including other workers, the reproductives, and the brood. Here we used 3D nutritional geometry design to examine how bumblebee workers regulate their collection of 3 major macronutrients in the presence and absence of brood. We provided small colonies artificial nectars (liquid diets) and pollens (solid diets) varying in their compositions of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates during 2 weeks. Colonies given a choice between nutritionally complementary diets self-selected foods to reach a target ratio of 71% proteins, 6% carbohydrates, and 23% lipids, irrespective of the presence of brood. When confined to a single nutritionally imbalanced solid diet, colonies without brood regulated lipid collection and over-collected protein relative to this target ratio, whereas colonies with brood regulated both lipid and protein collection. This brood effect on the regulation of nutrient collection by workers suggests that protein levels are critical for larval development. Our results highlight the importance of considering bee nutrition as a multidimensional phenomenon to better assess the effects of environmental impoverishment and malnutrition on population declines.
Project description:Plant-based diets provide well-established physical and environmental health benefits. These benefits stem in part from the degree of restriction of animal-derived foods. Historically, meat and other animal-derived proteins have been viewed as an integral component of athletes' diets, leading some to question the adequacy of vegetarian or vegan diets for supporting athletic performance. The purpose of this review is to examine the impact of plant-based diets on human physical health, environmental sustainability, and exercise performance capacity. Based on currently available literature, it is unlikely that plant-based diets provide advantages, but do not suffer from disadvantages, compared to omnivorous diets for strength, anaerobic, or aerobic exercise performance. However, plant-based diets typically reduce the risk of developing numerous chronic diseases over the lifespan and require fewer natural resources for production compared to meat-containing diets. As such, plant-based diets appear to be viable options for adequately supporting athletic performance while concurrently contributing to overall physical and environmental health. Given the sparse literature comparing omnivore, vegetarian, and vegan athletes, particularly at the elite level, further research is warranted to ascertain differences that might appear at the highest levels of training and athletic performance.
Project description:Demand side interventions, such as dietary change, can significantly contribute towards the achievement of 2030 national sustainable development goals. However, most previous studies analysing the consequences of dietary change focus on a single dimension of sustainability (e.g., environment) using a limited number of indicators and dietary scenarios. A multi-dimension and multi-indicator analysis can identify the potential trade-offs. Here, starting from the current food consumption data (year 2011), we first designed nine alternative dietary scenarios (healthy Swiss diet, healthy global diet, vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, flexitarian, protein-oriented and meat-oriented diets and a food greenhouse gas tax diet). Next we calculated three nutritional quality (nutrient balance score, disqualifying nutrient score, percent population with adequate nutrition), five environmental (greenhouse gas, water, land, nitrogen and phosphorus use), one economic (daily food expenditure) and one human health indicator (DALYs) for current and alternative diets. We found that transition towards a healthy diet following the guidelines of Swiss society of nutrition is the most sustainable option and is projected to result in 36% lesser environmental footprint, 33% lesser expenditure and 2.67% lower adverse health outcome (DALYs) compared with the current diet. On the other extreme, transition towards a meat or protein oriented diet can lead to large increases in diet related adverse health outcomes, environmental footprint, daily food expenditure and a reduction in intakes of essential nutrients (for Vitamin C, Fibre, Potassium and Calcium). We found that shifting to the vegetarian and vegan diet scenarios might lead to a reduction in intakes of certain micronutrients currently supplied primarily by animal-sourced foods (Vitamin B12, Choline and Calcium). Results show that achieving a sustainable diet would entail a high reduction in the intake of meat and vegetable oils and a moderate reduction in cereals, roots and fish products and at the same time increased intake of legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. We identify several current data and research gaps that need to be filled in order to get more accurate results. Overall, our analysis underscores the need to consider multiple indicators while assessing the dietary sustainability and provides a template to conduct such studies in other countries and settings. Future efforts should focus on assessing the potential of different interventions and policies that can help transition the population from current to sustainable dietary patterns.