Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Babies, Don't Let Your Momma's Grow Up To Be Vegans

Veganism isn't such a good thing for babies.
"If early humans had been vegans, we might all still be living in caves," Swedish researchers suggested in an article Thursday. Booster Shot’s Thomas H. Maugh II continues: "When a mother eats meat, her breast-fed child's brain grows faster and she is able to wean the child at an earlier age, allowing her to have more children faster. That provided a distinct competitive advantage for early humans when limited resources and a small population made it difficult for them to thrive."

That was then, this is now, right? Not quite.

"Nature created humans as omnivores. We have the physical equipment for omnivory, from teeth to guts. We have extraordinary needs for nutrients not found in plants. They include fully formed vitamins A and D, vitamin B12, and the long-chain fatty acids found in fish,” explains Nina Planck, author of "The Farmer's Market Cookbook," on the New York Times' Room For Debate. She continues: "For babies and children, whose nutritional needs are extraordinary, the risks are definite and scary. The breast milk of vegetarian and vegan mothers is dramatically lower in a critical brain fat, DHA, than the milk of an omnivorous mother and contains less usable vitamin B6. Carnitine, a vital amino acid found in meat and breast milk, is nicknamed 'vitamin Bb' because babies need so much of it." And she concludes: "You may choose to be a vegan. Your baby doesn't have that luxury. Let her grow up omnivorous and healthy. Then watch her exercise her own freedom of choice with justifiable pride."

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