Last week brought more shoddy coverage of vegan diets from The New York Times. This time, it was a debate about the safety of veganism. And it didn’t occur to the Times to solicit opinions from anyone with actual expertise in vegan nutrition.
At the center of the discussion was food writer and farmer’s market expert Nina Planck, who excels at making sweeping, unsupported observations about nutrition. She is woefully uninformed and spectacularly unconcerned about her lack of knowledge and credentials.
Planck believes that we have “extraordinary needs for nutrients not found in plants,” –including vitamins A and D, omega-3 fats, and carnitine–which translates to a need for what she refers to as “synthetic supplements.” I imagine that in referring to these supplements as “synthetic,” ... Read More >
Vegan diets usually include some excellent sources of vitamin A–but it many take a little bit of planning to make sure you get enough on a regular basis.
While vegans don’t have any preformed vitamin A in their diet (it’s only in animal foods), it can be synthesized from compounds called carotenoids found in plant foods. The best known and most biologically active carotenoid is beta-carotene.
As recently as ten years ago, nutrition researchers believed than 6 micrograms of beta-carotene produced one microgram of active vitamin A. But newer research on absorption of carotenoids shows that it actually takes twice that much—12 micrograms of beta-carotene—to produce a microgram of vitamin A. That means that vegan intake of carotenoids is actually only about half the ... Read More >