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Feb 11, 2005
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Vegetarian diet 'harms children's growth'
By Steve Connor, Science Editor, in Washington

A row erupted yesterday after an expert said youngsters brought up as strict vegetarians suffered mental and physical problems that could affect them for the rest of their lives.

Lindsay Allen, from the University of California at Davis, found just two spoonfuls of meat a day given to children on a vegetarian diet could produce a dramatic and permanent improvement in their physical and mental development. The study took place in Kenya, where children are fed almost exclusively on staple crops. Their diet lacked many of the micro-nutrients essential for the growth of brain and muscle tissue, Professor Allen said. "It's applicable to the West as well. There have been studies on vegetarian women [in Europe and the US] and their children are very developmentally delayed," she added.

Although some vegetarian parents gave their children food supplements, many vegans, who ate no animal products, reared their children on the same food they ate themselves, she said. She told the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington: "There is absolutely no question that
it's unethical for parents to bring up their children as strict vegans. Even when they were adolescents these children who were fed as vegans when they were young still had delayed development or permanently impaired development."
"Around the world, millions of people don't get enough protein. Protein malnutrition leads to the condition known as kwashiorkor. Lack of protein can cause growth failure, loss of muscle mass, decreased immunity, weakening of the heart and respiratory system, and death."

"All protein isn't alike" " Animal sources of protein tend to be complete. Other protein sources lack one or more amino acids that the body can't make from scratch or create by modifying another amino acid. Called incomplete proteins, these usually come from fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts."

"Vegetarians need to be aware of this. To get all the amino acids needed to make new protein - and thus to keep the body's systems in good shape."

"A 6-ounce broiled Porterhouse steak is a great source of complete protein"

Yep, Pass the steak!.... :)

From Harvard.edu...

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