What Are the Different Types of Vegan Diet Problems?

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  • Written By: Amanda R. Bell
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 29 July 2019
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While a diet that does not include any animal products is often believed to be extremely healthy, there can be some vegan diet problems. The most common are vitamin and nutrient deficiencies, including a lack of calcium, zinc, and vitamin B-12. It is also typical for vegans to experience deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids and iron. Outside of nutritional vegan diet problems, planning and implementing a restrictive diet can often be time-consuming as well.

One of the most common vegan diet problems is the lack of calcium. As this nutrient is primarily found in dairy products, those who do not eat foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt often have to find calcium elsewhere. Eating enriched soy products and juices can often help to rectify this issue, as can consuming dark green vegetables such as kale and broccoli.

Zinc is an essential mineral that is primarily found in meat. Although it is present in some produce, the type of zinc in vegetables is not easily absorbed by humans. Vegans typically need to eat more whole grains, nuts, and beans than do those who consume animal products to obtain enough of this mineral.


The lack of vitamin B-12 is one of the main vegan diet problems. This vitamin aids in the function of the nervous system, including the brain, and the formation of blood. The vitamin is found primarily in animal products and a deficiency can cause numerous health risks. Despite this, the high amount of folate that many vegans consume often hides a B-12 deficiency, making it difficult to diagnose. For this reason, most doctors recommend that those following this type of diet take a supplement.

Omega-3 fatty acids, a nutrient necessary for the metabolism and for a child’s growth, are found in fish and eggs, which are not consumed in a traditional vegan diet. This nutrient is also not found in plants in an absorbable form, making the lack of omega-3s a common vegan diet problem. In most cases, eating foods fortified with this fatty acid or taking a supplement is recommended.

The majority of an individual’s iron is found in meats, specifically red meat, as it tends to be the easiest form for humans to absorb. As vegans do not eat red meat, it can be difficult for those following this lifestyle to get enough iron despite plenty of other vegan foods containing it. In order to rectify this vegan diet problem, it is best to eat any foods containing iron with foods that have vitamin C, as it aids in the digestion of iron.

All of these nutritional aspects together are possibly one of the biggest vegan diet problems. Unlike those who eat animal products, those who do not often need to pay much more attention to what they are putting into their bodies in order to obtain all of the essential vitamins and nutrients for optimal health. Putting this amount of time and thought into food can be difficult for some, although it is often considered worth it for many.



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