Common deficiencies in a Vegan diet

Patient

Q: I am a 21 year old vegan. I usually stick to raw foods such as fruits and vegetables. I constantly crave cereal. Does this mean I have a deficiency?

Doctor

A:   Vegan diet excludes all animal products, including eggs, milk, and milk products. Some vegans do not use honey and may refrain from using animal products such as leather or wool. Vegans also may avoid foods that are processed or not organically grown. Poorly planned vegan diets can typically be low in levels of calcium, iodine, zinc, vitamin B12, iron and vitamin D and a study of 83 volunteer subjects attending an American vegetarian society conference, who did not supplement their diets, showed 92% of vegans had serum vitamin B12 levels below the normal range. Therefore if your diet is not adequately planned and you are craving certain foods, I would advise dietary supplementations to avoid deficiencies in these essential vitamins and minerals.

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