One of the UK’s longest-standing organisations that represents dietetics and nutrition has affirmed that a well-planned vegan diet can “support healthy living in people of all ages”.

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) has renewed its memorandum of understanding with The Vegan Society to state that a balanced vegan diet can be enjoyed by children and adults, including during pregnancy and breastfeeding, if the nutritional intake is well-planned.

Andy Burman, BDA chief executive, said: The organisations will also “promote reliable, evidence-based advice on a healthy vegan diet to members of the public, services users and medical professionals”.

Vegans in hospitals and care homes

Registered dietitian and BDA spokesperson Dr Frankie Phillips offers the following advice: “Appetites may not be so great if people are ill or in older people so it’s important to make sure that meals are nutrient dense and not too bulky. Having fortified breakfast cereals with soya milk and yogurt can help with having adequate calcium and these may also be fortified with other vitamins and minerals.

“Protein requirements may be increased during illness or infections so including good sources of high quality proteins are important for this group of people. Soya and quinoa are complete proteins providing all of the amino acid building blocks for protein but combining a grain and a pulse such as lentil soup and bread can provide all of these amino acids too. Ensuring enough fat and especially essential fats is important so nut butters and using unsaturated oils such as rapeseed or linseed can help.

“As vegan diets are devoid of Vitamin B12 a supplement or fortified foods are needed and it makes sense to also give a vitamin D supplement for all older adults to meet requirements especially if they are mostly indoors since vitamin D is made from the action of sunlight on skin.”

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