‘Healthy’ drinks could be dangerous for teenage girls and women

AN EXPERT has warned that some “healthy” drinks can in fact be dangerous, especially for women and teenage girls.

Nutritionist and food expert, Professor Ian Givens warns against choosing trendy milk alternatives such as oat, almond and soy milk.

Almond milk and other milk alternatives have become popular


Almond milk and other milk alternatives have become popularCredit: Alamy

Milk substitutes are a staple of plant-based (vegan) diet and are generally lower in calories than standard green or blue.

But they have almost none of the benefits of cow’s milk.

Professor Given’s concern is that young women are reducing their nutrient intake by cutting out dairy.

The growing trend of limiting red meat from the diet has only gotten worse, he said degree of deficiency.

Prof Givens, director of the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health at the University of Reading, said women are at particularly high risk because they are “more sensitive to messages” that go against meat and dairy.

“The worrying thing is, there have been some very specific cases where young children have been switched to these products and developed a type of protein deficiency that you don’t expect in Western societies,” he said. .”

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The data showed that half of women between the ages of 11 and 18 were not getting the recommended levels of iron compared with 11% of men of the same age.

“It’s really happened in the last 20 to 30 years and it’s a worrying thing,” Prof Givens told a news conference. Online email.

About 27% of women between the ages of 19 and 64 did not meet the iron goal compared with just 2% of men.

Iron can be found in plant-based foods such as beans, nuts and dried fruit, but is most abundant in meat.

Iron is an important element that helps the blood transport oxygen throughout the body, and when the body cannot do this properly, it can lead to fatigue and loss of concentration – symptoms of anemia.

A quarter of adolescent girls consume too little iodine, calcium and zinc, the government-funded national diet and nutrition survey shows.

“It’s largely a function of reducing dairy consumption,” said Prof Givens.

He cautions that dairy milk is one of the richest sources of iodine, which is also found in marine fish and shellfish.

All three of these foods are prohibited in a strict vegan diet.

But iodine deficiency is a particular concern in young women approaching childbearing age because it is essential for fetal health, Professor Givens said. Time.

Calcium – as well as magnesium, which is also lacking in women’s diets – is important for bone growth, experts say.

Young women who develop a deficiency in their teens may face bigger problems after menopause, when bone health can decline due to hormones.

Professor Givens said: “Adolescence is very important for bone development.

“If you don’t get it right, it has important implications for bone health in the elderly, increasing the risk of fractures that can reduce quality of life.”

Move with the trend

The NHS says that “with good planning and an understanding of what constitutes a healthy, balanced vegan diet, you can get all the nutrients your body needs”.

But if you’re not careful, “you could miss out on essential nutrients, such as calcium, iron and vitamin B12.”

The NHS says some plant-based milks are fortified with iodine.

And Prof Givens said manufacturers “are starting to try to enhance these products to make them much closer to milk than they were originally”.

But he added that there was “a decent way to go”.

A third (32%) of people in the UK now drink milk made from soy, oat, almond or rice – up from 25% in 2020, according to research conducted by Mintel.

The survey found that among 25- to 44-year-olds, nearly 44% were consumers of plant-based milk.

Residents said they chose to switch to dairy-free products due to environmental and health concerns.

Other surveys have found that young Britons are almost twice as likely to “go green” than those over 60.

A third of Britons say they want to switch to a plant-based diet by 2022, and of those, 53% say it’s a healthier way to eat.

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Fry Electronics Team

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