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Book Review - Vegan Nutrition Vegan Views 70 (Autumn 1995)

VEGAN NUTRITION - 2nd edition by Gill Langley MA PhD MIBiol ISBN 0 907337 18 X 8-95. Available from The Vegan Society, 7 Battle Rd, St.Leonards on Sea.

The second edition of Gill Langley's Vegan Nutrition is an updated version of the first edition of 1988. It includes much research published since that date and has an additional section on mothers and children.

Basically, the book is a review of investigations into the nutritional adequacy of vegan diets and of studies of the health of vegans. Hundreds of research papers have been consulted and are referenced at the end of each chapter. We are given the latest figures for the nationally recommended amounts of nutrients and also the vitamin and mineral contents of various foods (giving recently revised figures).

It is invaluable for all who wish to be informed about the nutritional aspects of veganism. However, this is more than just a scientific treatise. Each chapter starts with brief nutritional information for the non-experts, summarises recommended intakes, gives the key points and conclusions about vegan diets, e.g. are we getting enough protein, calcium, iron, vitamin B12? All those questions which non-vegans and would-be vegans keep asking, are fully and scientifically explained.

The new chapter on mothers and children concludes that vegan diets which include a wide range of plant foods provide all the nutritional requirements of pregnant and nursing mothers and their children. Inadequate nutrition has been found in children who were restricted to a narrow range of foods (usually for reasons not directly connected to veganism). Foods fortified with Vitamin B12 are recommended, some exposure to sunshine (not much is necessary and avoid hot suns); children need high energy foods for growth and activity.

There is research on diseases suffered from the taking of cow's milk and on uses of a vegan diet as therapy. In view of the greater number of people suffering from asthma, it is interesting to note that 92% of patients who followed for one year a vegan diet plus other restrictions (eg tea and chocolate) reported an improvement. There is increasing concern about the health of the population in Britain and most parts of the world. Researchers are now showing greater interest in the vegan diet, which is proving, not only to be adequate, but to being closer to the recommended norm than lacto-vegetarian or omnivorous diets.

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Cross-reference: Nutrition and Health