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Old 11-15-2010, 09:44 AM   #1
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protein, calcium and iron in a lacto-vegetarian diet

Im on such a diet for about a year now and feel great.

Ive read about it in many places like the American Dietetic Association paper. This is a reliable source isn't it? But it still surprises me that some dieticians Ive talked with are against this and say I should consume alot of dairy products ,at least.
One of them also told me to drink 4 glasses of milk each day for calcium and protein
Im always told that there are calcium and iron in plant foods but its simply very little to be enough. I thought cabbage, brocolli, dark green "leafy" vegetables and carrots have calcium, but is it enough? What about iron?

Also, I consume dairy mainly for vitamin B12 myself (strangely they dont talk about this too much). Are cheeses a good source of B12 in general?

Also, how long can it take to notice protein, calcium and iron defficiencies? Ive heard that B12 can take years.

 
Old 11-15-2010, 02:55 PM   #2
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Re: protein, calcium and iron in a lacto-vegetarian diet

emanresu1,

A lacto-vegetarian diet is a vegetarian diet that includes dairy products. Is that correct? If it is, why are some dieticians against it but at the same time telling you to consume a lot of dairy? Are they for or against dairy?

You should be able to get all the calcium you need from dark leafy greens. Milk and cheese contain a lot of calcium but you're not likely to retain it.

Yes, I believe there are many plant foods that contain iron, like raisins.

B-12 comes from animal protein. But if you're a lacto-vegetarian it might be a good idea to take a small B-12 supplement anyway, just to be on the safe side.

 
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Old 11-15-2010, 10:10 PM   #3
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Re: protein, calcium and iron in a lacto-vegetarian diet

Iron is more likely to be an issue for women of child bearing age than for men. Consuming iron containing vegetable food with vitamin C containing food improves iron absorption. Cooking acidic food (e.g. tomato based sauces) in cast iron pots causes those foods to get fortified with iron from the pots (in some poor countries where iron deficiency is common, aid groups have given people cast iron pots to cook food in for this purpose).

Calcium can be gotten from many leafy green vegetables. Vitamin D is necessary for efficient use of calcium, which is why milk is often fortified with vitamin D. It is otherwise difficult to get in a vegetarian diet, but exposing your skin to sunlight (without getting sunburned) generates vitamin D.

Vitamin B12 is found only in foods of animal origin or fortified foods.

As far as protein goes, most people should be ok if they are not consuming a lot of low protein density foods (added sugars, added fats, fruit). It may be more of an issue if you are doing heavy strength training, or trying to maintain protein intake under calorie restriction, since either of these may require increasing the protein density of your diet. Beans and lentils are often favored for increasing the protein density of a vegetarian diet. Leafy greens often have a high percentage of calories from protein, but have very few calories.

 
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:00 AM   #4
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Re: protein, calcium and iron in a lacto-vegetarian diet

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnR41 View Post
emanresu1,

A lacto-vegetarian diet is a vegetarian diet that includes dairy products. Is that correct? If it is, why are some dieticians against it but at the same time telling you to consume a lot of dairy? Are they for or against dairy?
Well I meant some of them are against a diet not including meat (all the vegetarian diets). But say if were to anyway, then dairy would be mandatory for protein and calcium, as plant protein is "low quality" and plant calcium is contained so "little that I would need to eat too much to get enough", also "I would need to drink 4 cups of milk a day" to get enough of them.

Quote:
Milk and cheese contain a lot of calcium but you're not likely to retain it.
Excuse my english, what do you mean by retain?
Quote:
B-12 comes from animal protein. But if you're a lacto-vegetarian it might be a good idea to take a small B-12 supplement anyway, just to be on the safe side.
My main reason to include dairy was for B12, is it insufficient?

 
Old 11-16-2010, 04:11 PM   #5
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Re: protein, calcium and iron in a lacto-vegetarian diet

Quote:
Originally Posted by emanresu1 View Post
Well I meant some of them are against a diet not including meat (all the vegetarian diets). But say if were to anyway, then dairy would be mandatory for protein and calcium, as plant protein is "low quality" and plant calcium is contained so "little that I would need to eat too much to get enough", also "I would need to drink 4 cups of milk a day" to get enough of them.
This is a difficult subject because there are good and bad aspects to every diet plan. No diet plan is perfect. But here are some things to consider:

1) Milk takes up a lot of room in your stomach but one cup only provides about 8.13 grams of protein and no fiber.

2) A big long-term study suggests that a diet high in dairy will make you 30% more likely to get prostate cancer. Try searching, "Too Much Dairy May Lead To Prostate Cancer".


Quote:
Excuse my english, what do you mean by retain?
If you consume a lot of dairy it will increase the acidity of your body. That's because dairy products get metabolized to acid. This will cause you to lose calcium in your urine. That means you won't retain it. This has been observed in various studies where they measure the amount of dairy-calcium consumed and the amount excreted in the urine.

However, when you get calcium from dark leafy greens and other vegetables, your body is more likely to hold on to it. So it's likely that you won't need as much. The average person, who eats a poor diet, needs a lot of calcium because they are going to lose a lot of calcium. It's like a dog who's chasing his tail; he keeps going around in circles but never catches up to it.

Quote:
My main reason to include dairy was for B12, is it insufficient?
I'm not sure. It might be enough. Everyone is different and as people get older they often need more. The best thing is to get a regular checkup, which should include a blood test for B-12. If your blood level of B-12 is normal, then you get another test next year. If you keep a steady diet and your B-12 level stays normal for a few years, then you will know that you're getting enough.

If you decide not to drink milk, then it's easy to take a small B-12 supplement. I did that for 4 years and my blood level was always normal.

Last edited by JohnR41; 11-16-2010 at 04:58 PM. Reason: added a word for clarity

 
Old 11-16-2010, 10:28 PM   #6
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Re: protein, calcium and iron in a lacto-vegetarian diet

So, what does "low quality" protein mean? I know the distinguishing from the amount of essential amino acids. Is there something else to it?
And isnt "plant calcium is contained so "little that I would need to eat too much to get enough" simply true or false? I read that brocolli, cabbage, carrots all contain it but how much? How much do I need? Ive seen many suggested values.

 
Old 11-17-2010, 02:44 PM   #7
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Re: protein, calcium and iron in a lacto-vegetarian diet

"Protein quality" usually refers to the content of essential amino acids. Protein from some food sources is low in some amino acids, although if you consume a variety of protein containing foods, it is less likely to be an issue. Many traditional food combinations, such as peanut butter sandwiches, tofu and rice, beans and corn tortillas, lentils and bread, contain foods make up for the low amounts of specific amino acids in the other food.

Regarding calcium content of vegetables, it various considerably. Collard greens, kale, turnip greens, dandelion greens, Chinese broccoli, broccoli, spinach, taro greens, bok choi, mustard greens, and some seaweeds are among the better vegetable calcium sources. Tofu made with calcium sulfate also has significant calcium content.

Last edited by tjlhb; 11-17-2010 at 02:46 PM.

 
Old 11-17-2010, 10:33 PM   #8
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Re: protein, calcium and iron in a lacto-vegetarian diet

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjlhb View Post
"Protein quality" usually refers to the content of essential amino acids. Protein from some food sources is low in some amino acids, although if you consume a variety of protein containing foods, it is less likely to be an issue. Many traditional food combinations, such as peanut butter sandwiches, tofu and rice, beans and corn tortillas, lentils and bread, contain foods make up for the low amounts of specific amino acids in the other food.
Thats what I thought. I've been told that theres more (what?) to this than that. I sometimes feel that dietitians are simply against the concept of vegetarianism. All this and starting an ethical conversation makes me not take some of them seriously.
Quote:
Regarding calcium content of vegetables, it various considerably. Collard greens, kale, turnip greens, dandelion greens, Chinese broccoli, broccoli, spinach, taro greens, bok choi, mustard greens, and some seaweeds are among the better vegetable calcium sources. Tofu made with calcium sulfate also has significant calcium content.
Well Ive heard that a banana contains about 1g of protein. I would have to eat few dozen of them if I relied on this food as my protein source for the day (not to mention not containing some amino acids).

My point is, from your list above, are there some which contain as much calcium that I would need to eat few dozen a day? Maybe theres a good chart with foods and their nutritional values?

 
Old 11-17-2010, 11:08 PM   #9
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Re: protein, calcium and iron in a lacto-vegetarian diet

Quote:
Originally Posted by emanresu1 View Post
Maybe theres a good chart with foods and their nutritional values?
USDA Nutrient Database: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/

 
Old 11-18-2010, 07:38 AM   #10
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Re: protein, calcium and iron in a lacto-vegetarian diet

Cool.

Can you remind me whats the 'value' in "Value per
100 grams"

 
Old 11-18-2010, 03:27 PM   #11
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Re: protein, calcium and iron in a lacto-vegetarian diet

Quote:
Originally Posted by emanresu1 View Post
Cool.

Can you remind me whats the 'value' in "Value per
100 grams"
Amount or estimate of worth.

 
Old 11-18-2010, 10:49 PM   #12
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Re: protein, calcium and iron in a lacto-vegetarian diet

Well, I mean in what? mg?

EDIT: I must have been blind.
Sorry

Last edited by emanresu1; 11-21-2010 at 12:07 AM.

 
Old 11-23-2010, 09:23 AM   #13
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Re: protein, calcium and iron in a lacto-vegetarian diet

Quote:
Originally Posted by emanresu1 View Post
Well, I mean in what? mg?
I'm sorry too. I thought I understood your question. But now I'm at a loss; I don't have a clue.

 
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