If you are a parent considering raising your child plant-based, consider the case of a 12-year-old girl raised on a strict vegan diet. The girl ended up in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow, Scotland suffering from a severe form of rickets.
The girl had already experienced multiple fractures and been diagnosed with a degenerated spine comparable to that of an unhealthy 80-year-old woman.
Fast Food Diet Better for a Child than Veganism
Say what you will about a child who eats junk food, if the diet overall includes animal foods like eggs, meat and dairy…even if from fast food joints…this type of bone degeneration simply does not happen.
For all the downsides of The Standard American Diet, it is shockingly still a better choice than even a whole food vegan diet (aka “plant-based”) that is devoid of numerous critical nutrients a growing child’s body demands.
Pediatrician Discredits Veganism for Children
Media reports indicate that the hospital doctors were under pressure to report the girl’s parents to police and social workers.
Dr. Faisal Ahmed, a pediatrician treating the girl, warned that the dangers of forcing children to follow a strict vegan diet need to be publicized. (1)
If raised strictly vegan, the child would almost certainly have severe deficiencies of Vitamins A and D, both of which are essential bone nutrients that can only be obtained from animal foods.
For example, using aquafaba instead of eggs and plant-based meat substitutes can prove very dangerous.
In all likelihood, the child would also be lacking needed calcium, zinc (the intelligence mineral), B-12 as well as other B vitamins, Vitamin K2, the EPA and DHA fatty acids, and the sulfur containing amino acids methionine and cysteine.
Although the human body is theoretically capable of converting beta carotene from vegetables like carrots into true Vitamin A, children are not able to do so efficiently if at all.
Sunlight could have provided Vitamin D but only if the family spent a lot of time outdoors year-round in a tropical area. Northern climes like Scotland simply do not offer the benefit of Vitamin D-producing sunlight for much of the year.
Other Cases of Child Vegans Suffering Severe Nutritional Deficiencies
Sadly, this is not the first time vegans have been accused of child abuse though it may be the first case involving crippling bone damage. More typically, vegan babies end up in the hospital from malnutrition caused by the use of soy milk instead of infant formula.
Given soy milk alone, babies end up with severe vitamin, mineral, fatty acid, and amino acid deficiencies, which is why soy formula manufacturers are required by law to add methionine and other nutrients that are critical for a baby’s growth.
In 1990, the FDA investigated after a two month old girl in California was hospitalized with severe malnutrition. Her parents had fed her soy milk instead of soy formula. Because of this and a similar incident in Arkansas involving the SoyMoo brand of soy milk, the FDA issued a warning on June 13, 1990. Since then, most brands of soy milk include warning labels in tiny print on their packages.
Clearly, voluntary warning labels have not been enough, and there have been deaths as well as hospitalizations of vegan babies fed soy milk. Vegan parents in Atlanta were found guilty of the death of their six-month-old baby. To supplement the mother’s inadequate supply of breast milk the parents had fed their son soy milk and apple juice. The baby was only 3 1/2 pounds when he died of starvation. (3)
The sad truth is that numerous vegans have been charged and found guilty of unintentionally starving their children from all across the globe, including parents in Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Australia, and the United States among others. (4-10)
Vegan Breastfeeding Dangerous Too
In France, a vegan couple was sentenced to 5 years in prison for the death of their 11-month-old daughter. The baby, who was only 12.5 pounds at the time of her death, had been exclusively breastfed by a vegan mother.
An autopsy showed her to be not only severely underweight and malnourished but severely deficient in Vitamins A and B12. (2, 11-12)
The mother had cared enough to breastfeed, but had an inadequate supply of poor quality milk because of the severe nutritional limitations of her plant-based diet.
While veganism for very young children can be catastrophic, the tragic case of the 12-year-old Scottish girl illustrates that plant based diets for older children are also dangerous. Although finally getting medical treatment, the child’s long-term prognosis for recovery and a normal life remains grim.
Sadly, the word about the dangers of veganism for children doesn’t seem to be getting through to the general public. The continual barrage of highly flawed propaganda-ridden, documentaries such as What The Health guarantees that more well-intentioned but seriously misinformed vegan child malnourishment cases are likely to follow.
(1) Parents of 12-Year-Old Vegan Girl Who Has Degenerative Condition May Face Charges
(2) French Vegans Charged with Neglect After Baby’s Death from Nutritional Deficiencies
(3) Vegan Couple Serving Life Sentences for Starving Baby to Death
(4) Vegan Couple Who Fed Child Only Raw Fruit and Vegetables Charged with Murder
(5) Sydney vegan couple starved 20-month-old girl leaving her toothless and with rickets
(6) Baby Death: Parents Convicted of Killing Son with a Diet of Vegetable Milk
(7) Swedish Parents Jailed for Almost Starving Vegan Toddler to Death
(8) Strict vegan parents starved their baby of nutrients so badly that the one-year-old developed cerebral palsy and was in intensive care for a month with rashes and internal bleeding
(9) Italian baby raised on a vegan diet hospitalized for severe malnutrition, removed from parents
(10) Vegan couple will serve life sentences for starving baby to death, Georgia court rules
(11) French Couple Sentenced to 5 Years in Jail for Vegan Breastfeeding Death of 11 Month Old Baby
(12) Vegan Parents Face Jail
I’m vegan and so is my boyfriend and our son. We get regular bloodwork done for our child and ourselves and our Vitamin A levels are all fine. That pediatrician should be fired if he’s not coaching the couple in the proper dietary requirements their child needs on a vegan diet. It’s possible to get EVERY nutrient on a vegan diet, you just have to do a quick google search on any nutrient you are low in. My son is vegan since birth, at a healthy rate, gets plenty of Omega-3 for brain development, iron, zinc, vitamin D, calcium, B12, etc.
If anyone needs help Challenge22.com gives you a free nutritionist to help guide you so you’re not stupid about veganism like these people clearly were. It’s like if someone strictly ate beef all day every day then blamed eating meat for nutrient deficiencies. You can be healthy or unhealthy with any diet if you don’t educate yourself to any extent. Sincerely a soon-to-be plant-based dietician.
“When looking for specifics about raising healthy vegan children, a good place to start is with the respected Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine. Have a look:”
PCRM is not particularly respected outside of vegan circles. They are simply a propaganda group.
There is no Vitamin A in vegetables of any color; there is only beta-carotene and other carotenoids, which are not Vitamin A. They *may* be converted in the body to Vitamin A at a very poor rate in healthy adults, but babies and young children can’t do this, neither can adults with metabolic disorders, which includes a good segment of the population. If you’re relying on D-fortified soy milk, that’s an admission your diet isn’t adequate. Sunlight is definitely the best source; it reacts with the cholesterol in your skin to make Vitamin D. However, it’s not just sunlight, but sunlight at the right latitude, so most humans who don’t live near the equator cannot get D from sunlight for at least half the year.
Actually you eat the end product of the plant, you don’t “kill” it.
Sarah Pope MGA
As philosopher Joseph Campbell once said, vegans just can’t hear carrots scream! Don’t be so high and mighty my friend. Your chosen food philosophy gives you no moral high ground.
it's me, Jeremy
I have never met one, but in that age there are not that many vegans, and besides that, I haven’t met many of that age in all healthy condition. Sorry, this is not an argument, just a clearly idialistic motivated post.
it's me, Jeremy
Is it true? Shocking! Anyway, Extreme is never good. Too many make a believe system from vegan diet and forget that a good nutrition is first of all based on facts. If you want to live strictly vegan, it is obvious you have to select your food very well and add supplements. There are many good reasons to live based on a whole food plant based diet, and also several studies show how that can heal several diseases. Besides that, it is a good start to decrease the personal climate footprint for up to 50%. Also, most meat and dairy products nowadays are produced in unhealthy and suppressive animal husbandry, leading to unhealthy products from suffering animals.
I personally don’t see a reason to be hundred percent strict, what matters more is that the food is produced in good quality and fair for everyone involved, especially the animals. Prices are higher, but it will so be better for everyone involved to pay a fair price and eat animal stuff only sometimes.
It’s also not finally proven that plants don’t feel pain (but of course it’s not as obvious as when you slaughter an animal).
Besides all that, no one, especially no child you take care of, should be forced to a certain diet. There can be offerings, and everyone has to make their own decisions.
I believe a vegan diet can basically have many benefits when implemented wisely, but there’s also risks, especially through the fact like in all other areas of life that people rather stick to their believe systems and so don’t approve to facts that don’t approve their view.
This is not due to a vegan diet this is due to neglect. It’s a shame we don’t shame all the parents with obese children oh that’s because they’d be a damn sight more to report it. It’s a shame that obese children are now considered the norm
Did you read the article? The doctor treating the 12 year old girl was quoted as saying her condition was definitely caused by her vegan diet.
Oreos are vegan. Who knows what kind of “veganism” diet she was eating. There’s a difference between whole-foods plant-based vegans and processed foods vegans.
Sarah Pope MGA
Actually, there is not much difference! Even a whole food vegan diet is extremely deficient. I would rather my kids live on fast food if it contained meat, eggs and dairy than eat a whole food vegan diet.
Vegan diets are good for detoxing and cleansing,
Animal food diets are good for nourishing and strengthening.
Really? is that why the worlds strongest man, holding several world records in the strength category is Vegan? not to mention many other top sports personalities….
The world’s strongest man isn’t a vegan. Please don’t make stuff up unless you have a citation to go with it.
“Patrik was born in Iran and lives in Germany. In 1999 aged 20 he won German Junior Bodybuilding title. He holds the world log lift record for under 105kg, with a 165kg lift, as well as the German heavyweight log lift record . His heaviest log lift is 190kg. In 2011 he won Germany’s Strongest Man, 105kg category.”
Yes, he is. Look up Patrik Baboumian. While you’re at it, look up Robert Cheeke, vegan bodybuilder, and Scott Jurek, legendary ultramarathon champion and longtime vegan. Athletes of all types notice less inflammation and quicker recovery time on a whole foods, 100% plant-based diet.
I find interesting how vegans want to latch on to any validation they can.
A person eats a normal diet all their life and as soon as they claim vegan all gains and accomplishments are accepted as ‘vegan’.
One look at this Patrik guy makes it clear to anybody with reasoning skills that not only was he not vegan during his progression but he was probably using steroids.
If you don’t eat animals, that’s fine, it’s your ethical right. But please understand that optimum health, let alone a record-breaking feat, takes a back seat.
if we are so sorry about the cattle, chicken, fish, etc… we should not procreate as our expanding human population is driving many animals into extinction. including those we didn’t eat.