The energy and nutrient intakes of different types of vegetarian: a case for supplements?

Br J Nutr. 1993 Jan;69(1):3-19. doi: 10.1079/bjn19930004.


Vegetarians of three types were studied in Greater London: thirty-four meat-avoiders, fifty-two lacto-ovo-vegetarians, and thirty-eight vegans. Weighed dietary intake measures were made over 3 d. Cereals were the mainstay of the diet, supplemented by dairy products (demi-vegetarians and lacto-ovo-vegetarians), vegetables and fruit, and soya-bean products (vegans). Many vegans progressed by stages to complete avoidance of animal foods; some had retreated, but most were highly committed. Demi-vegetarians were the least involved in a 'vegetarian lifestyle'. All groups had mean energy intakes close to the current dietary reference values (DRV), with adequate protein intakes. Only vegans had fat intakes close to current recommendations; all groups had high dietary polyunsaturated:saturated fatty acid ratios. Mean intakes of all micronutrients studied for demi- and lacto-ovo-vegetarians met the UK DRV. Intakes of iodine, riboflavin, and vitamin B12 for vegans were below DRV; more than half considered their diets supplied all necessary vitamins. About 25% took some type of dietary supplement during the survey. The impact of low I intakes should be further studied, and it is recommended that 'new' vegetarians and vegans should use appropriate dietary supplements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diet, Vegetarian*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minerals / administration & dosage
  • Reference Values
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage


  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins