General Article Can some nutrients be missing from, or at low levels in, the vegetarian diet?

Topic Selected: Dietary Choices
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The nutrient needs of vegetarians are exactly the same as those eating meat and fish. It does not matter what style of eating is followed, if a wide range of foods are not eaten as part of a healthy diet then some nutrients can fall below the level of intake that is needed for good health. Below is some information about nutrients which could be a problem in a vegetarian diet.


Protein is found in a wide range of foods, including meat, fish and dairy products. However, vegetarians get their protein from a wide range of other foods, including:

  • nuts and seeds
  • beans and pulses such as soya, baked beans, lentils and chick peas
  • eggs
  • plant sources such as cereals (wheat, maize and rice), and
  • mycoproteins, commonly known as Quorn.

Animal foods such as meat, fish and eggs tend to have all of the essential amino acids, while plant foods tend to be low in one or more of these. For this reason the concept of combining proteins is important for vegetarians to ensure that they...

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