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Study shows VegfestUK could succeed where NHS has failed on Vegetable Deficient Teen diets

Study shows VegfestUK could succeed where NHS has failed on Vegetable Deficient Teen diets

| by Tony Bishop-Weston

For too many years too many dietitians and nutritionists have been warning that a vegan diet is an 'exclusionary diet' missing out key food groups and that good health depends on balance of food groups. 


We now have proof that they had been wrong all along and it’s people eating a typical average diet, not vegans, that are missing out big time on nutrients, particularly teenage girls.



Leading London Nutritional Therapist Yvonne Bishop-Weston says, “The National Diet and Nutrition Study (NDNS) 2016 reveals not only the abysmal statistic that 9 out of 10 teen girls typically don’t get enough fruit and vegetables, but that around half of them are too low in the minerals iron, magnesium and selenium, a quarter are too low in iodine and one fifth are too low in the vitamin riboflavin and minerals calcium and zinc.”



However, a new study suggests that years of misinformation and conflicting advice mean that young people are unlikely to listen to NHS and Govt advice. Teenagers may be much more likely to respond positively to vegan charity messages of “save the world, save the animals, save the trees, save the dolphins”, that have an element of rebellion.


The authors of the study from the University of Michigan concluded that public health interventions for adolescents may be more effective when they harness the motivational power of that group’s existing strongly held values.




It seems warnings of osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, dementia, diabetes and stroke are seen as old people’s diseases and outside teenager’s conscious concerns. Teens are more concerned with the here and now and fear of the now real naked possibility that the planet may not be worth the struggle to live on by the time they get to old age. Mass migration forced by drought, extinction of animals, sea creatures and fauna, loss of rainforest and pollution are far more relevant and imminent and worthy things to worry about compared with middle age chronic disease.


This could mean that an independent organisation such as VegfestUK is better placed than a school to initiate a meaningful dialogue about eating enough fruit and veg than a teacher or Doctor. Altruistic topics of animal rights and sustainability of the planet could grab teenage heartstrings more easily than ‘woe betides’ about chronic disease.


VegfestUK’s independence could also mean it is better placed to coordinate a platform of united focussed action on teen diets by the UK’s top vegan charities such as The Vegan Society, Viva!, the Vegan Lifestyle Association, Animal Aid and also leading manufacturers such as Koko Dairy Free, Nak’d Wholefoods and Oatly.

Yvonne discussed this in Parliament with MPs and civil servants


There are more imminent health reasons why teens need to be aware of a balanced diet full of fruit and veg. Diet can affect performance, looks and mood all which influence the key teen game changer – popularity. The gold standard of teen success.


A study in a London school that involved Prof John Stein (Brother of chef Rick Stein) showed how influential vitamins, minerals and essential fats are on key markers of health, intellectual performance, mood, behaviour and wellbeing.



There are also a group of health professionals who are singing the virtues of a healthy vegan diet. Indeed, come to the Professional Vegan Health Summit on the Saturday October 22nd 2016 at Olympia London Conference Centre, as part of a massive VegfestUK London, which is currently one of Europe’s biggest vegan food and educational event out there. A number of qualified health professionals will talk about the benefits of a plant-based diet based on evidence-based research to convince you that such a diet is definitely not ‘exclusionary’ and can fulfil nutritional needs that a typical average modern diet falls short on.



Check out full schedules, speakers and talk titles of the Health Summit here – 


Find out all the activities at VegfestUK London in the event programme –


Buy your advance tickets in the widget below (or at the link here if the widget does not work on your tablet):

[NOTE: Each ticket includes access to ALL areas of VegfestUK London.]

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