Nutritional Deficiencies in Vegan Runners: A Comparison of Actual Versus Recommended Nutritional Intake and Dietary Recommendations

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Philip Woodbridge
Maria Konstantaki
Gill Horgan


Macronutrient intake, RNI, Vegan, Runners


Introduction: The aim of this study was to assess the dietary intake of vegan runners against targets and Reference Nutrient Intakes (RNIs) to identify potential nutritional deficiencies.
Methods: Thirty vegan recreational runners who do not run professionally (mean ± SD; age: 42.9 ± 10.6 y, stature: 171 ± 0.1 cm, body mass: 65.7 ± 8.8 kg) were assessed using 3-day food diaries. Key nutrients, energy intake, lifestyle characteristics and dietary habits were determined.

Results: Deficiencies (actual v target intake/RNI) were identified in energy intake (2219 ± 531 kcal v 2554 ± 420 kcal), protein intake (72.9 ± 20.0 g v 92.0 ± 12.4 g), vitamin D (5.0 ± 6.3 μg/d v 10.0 μg/d) and selenium (45.7 ± 21.0 μg/d v 60.0 μg/d and 75.0 μg/d for females and males, respectively; all at p<0.05). In contrast, the average intake of iron, zinc, vitamin B12, calcium and iodine were shown to be above the RNI. Conclusions: These results suggest that the dietary intakes of the vegan recreational runners in the study were deficient in some key nutrients whilst being above target RNI in other nutrients. Therefore, careful planning is required to normalize nutrient intake and achieve a balanced diet. This paper presents dietary recommendations to address key nutrient deficiencies in the vegan diet to improve health and performance.

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