Nutritionists Warn Vegans about Lack of Important Vitamin

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. sufficient / səˈfɪʃ ənt / (adj) – enough

    You need sufficient sleep to stay healthy.

  2. dismiss / dɪsˈmɪs / (v) – to not consider or think about something

    The news came from a suspicious source, so we immediately dismissed it as fake.

  3. myth / mɪθ / (n) – something that people believe but is actually untrue

    Many people believe your wish will come true if you throw a coin in the well, but I think that’s a myth.

  4. echo / ˈɛk oʊ / (v) – to repeat or copy the words or thoughts of another person

    In his statement, the president echoed the people’s sentiments about the tragedy.

  5. fortify / ˈfɔr təˌfaɪ / (v) – to improve the nutritious value of food by adding vitamins to it

    Formula milk for infants is fortified with important vitamins.


Read the text below.

Experts have warned about the risks of vitamin B12 deficiency among vegans and recommended ways on how to get sufficient levels of the vitamin.

A vegan diet is rich in fiber and low in cholesterol, but it lacks some nutrients like vitamin B12. This vitamin, which is responsible for keeping nerves and blood cells healthy, is naturally present in animal food products like meat, fish, and eggs. Despite scientific evidence linking a plant-based diet to B12 deficiency, some vegans dismiss the idea and consider it a myth.

Some nutrition experts are alarmed by the matter. For one, University of Oxford professor Tim Key expressed that he is worried that some aspiring vegans lack knowledge on how to go on a plant-based diet properly.

King’s College London nutrition and dietetics professor Tom Sanders echoed this fear. He said that a number of people who adopt a vegan diet are unaware of the importance of getting B12. He warned that B12 deficiency caused by unbalanced diets should not be underestimated because it could lead to serious problems like anemia and nervous system damage.

Professor Sanders suggests taking supplements or eating food fortified with B12 to help vegans get the required levels of the vitamin. He believes that vegan products, such as plant-based milk, should have higher vitamin B12 content.

The Vegan Society, a UK-based organization, also posted ways to prevent B12 deficiency on its website. The group’s recommendations include eating B12-fortified food two or three times a day. Alternatively, vegans could take at least 10 micrograms of B12 supplement daily or 2,000 micrograms of B12 supplement weekly.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• In your opinion, what is the value of being knowledgeable about different types of diet?
• How do you think people following a special type of diet (e.g. vegans) can ensure that they have all the nutrition they need? Discuss.

Discussion B

• What do you think are other possible negative effects of going on special diets (e.g. plant-based diet, high-protein diet)? Explain.
• If you were to recommend a certain type of diet (e.g. balanced diet, plant-based diet), what would it be and why? Discuss.