Vegetarians Be A-Ware!
Vegetarians may be at risk of not consuming enough vitamin A and iron and should increase the amount of dark-colored fruits and vegetables in their diets.
This is the latest recommendation from the Institute of Medicine panel, which adjusted the recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) of vitamin A and several other nutrients.
Vegetarians generally rely on foods such as carrots, broccoli and sweet potatoes to meet their vitamin A requirement, but new research suggests the body is only able to absorb about half the amount of usable nutrient as was previously thought.
Non-vegetarians typically consume enough vitamin A, which is essential for reducing the risk of birth defects and guaranteeing optimal vision, from dairy products, fish and liver.
The RDA for vitamin A is now 900 micrograms per day for men and 700 micrograms per day for women. This requirement can be met by eating a half-cup of cooked carrots.
As for iron, vegetarians may need to double their intake because the body absorbs this mineral less efficiently from cereals, bread and vegetables than it does from meats.
Source: International Journal of Eating Disorders, 2001; 29, 23-38.
This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.
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