Original scientific paper
POSSIBLE HEALTH RISKS IN SUBJECTS WITH DOMINANT PLANT FOOD CONSUMPTION
2013, 14 (3) p. 894-904
ABSTRACT In two groups of apparently healthy non-obese non-smoking women aged 20-30 years – 79 vegetarians (39 lacto-ovo-vegetarians /plant food, dairy products, eggs/, 40 semi-vegetarians /as lacto-ovo-vegetarians with addition of white meat and fish consumption/) and 81 non-vegetarians (control group on traditional mixed diet) were analyzed the dietary questionnaires of food-frequency and measured the blood concentrations of vitamins B9, C, -carotene, B12, D and concentrations of iron. Young women in both groups had similar values of body mass index, concentrations of vitamin C, vitamin B9 and -carotene. In vegetarian vs. non-vegetarian group was found the significantly increased daily intake of fiber, whole grain products, pulses, seeds and nuts. These finding suggest that both nutritional groups had the similar nutritional regimen from view of fruit and vegetables and different from view of other key vegetarian food commodities. Vitamin B12, vitamin D and long-chain n-3 fatty acids are not contained in plant food. Bioavailability of iron from food can be lower in presence of phytic acid (from whole grain products and pulses) and fiber (pulses, seeds, nuts, whole grains). In group of lacto-ovo-vegetarians (narrow range of animal food consumption) vs. non-vegetarian or semi-vegetarian groups were found the significantly reduced concentrations of vitamin B12, vitamin D and iron with a greater incidence of deficient values (49 % vs. 13 and 15 % for vitamin B12, 67 % vs. 46 and 50 % for vitamin D, 44 % vs. 20 and 30 % for iron). Long-chain n-3 fatty acid intake (eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic) in lacto-ovo-vegetarian group was significantly reduced and very low (no fish consumption) in comparison to non-vegetarians and semi-vegetarians. Intake of these acids in semi-vegetarians vs. non-vegetarians was non-significantly increased. The substrate for long-chain n-3 fatty acid biosynthesis – -linolenic acid was significantly more consumed in vegetarian groups (mainly from linseeds). The findings suggest that limited consumption of animal food and dominant consumption of plant food can be connected with possible health risks (higher incidence of deficient values of vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron and long-chain n-3 fatty acids).