Going vegan in January has become an increasingly popular new year diet choice and nutritional experts have launched a study to analyse the nutrient changes in people who become vegan for a short time.
Last year 250,000 people world-wide signed up to ‘Veganuary’ and researchers from the University of Nottingham are looking for volunteers who are planning to join in and switch to a Vegan diet in January to take part. Participants will have their diets and micronutrient intake examined to see what changes occur.
A small study carried out by the Nottingham team last year showed those following a vegan diet had a lower energy intake and macronutrient intake (protein, carbohydrate and fat). Intake of other micronutrients was also lower including vitamin A and vitamin B12.
Proper nutrition offers one of the most effective and least costly ways to decrease the burden of many diseases and their associated risk factors. The data from this study will give useful insight into short term vegan diets and micronutrient intake and status.
Our previous research suggested that nutritional planning is particularly important when making dietary changes to ensure a good level of nutrient intake is maintained. Expanding our research with more people will give us a better understanding of how micronutrient intake is affected and what extra nutritional support someone undertaking a short-term vegan diet may need.
The team are looking to recruit participants who will be adopting a vegan diet during January, aged 18-60. They will be asked to complete two online questionnaires about their diet and eating habits and keep two four-day food diaries. There is also the option for participants to provide a urine sample.
The data will be analysed and compared against Reference Nutrient Intakes (RNIs). These are best estimates of the amount of a nutrient that is enough or more than enough for roughly 97% of the UK population. People should be aiming to consume almost 100% of RNI for each micronutrient to prevent deficiencies.
Dr Welham continues: “Making a dramatic change to your diet, whatever that may be is going to impact the intake of nutrients. By understanding what happens with micronutrient intake in a short-term vegan diet we can see the areas where additional nutritional support may be required, which can be gained from adding certain types of foods or increasing the intake of certain foods”
With good planning and an understanding of what makes up a healthy, balanced diet, you can get all the nutrients your body needs whatever dietary preference you choose.