Changes in the levels of nutrients, cholesterol and dietary fibre in diets excluding animal products. Part I – macronutrients

Małgorzata Szczuko, Natalia Komorniak, Joanna Hołowko, Kamila Kinowska, Anna Jasińska, Kamila Kowalska



Introduction: Elimination of animal products from daily menu has a significant influence on many aspects of human live, including economics, social relations, psychology and health.

Materials and methods: Based on the principles of rational nutrition, 25 diets were established at the calorie level of ±2000 kcal per day. Each diet was modified, thus forming 5 types of diets excluding animal products: a semi-vegetarian diet, a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, a vegan diet, a diet without meat and dairy products, and diet excluding dairy products only. The obtained average levels of nutrients in the diet were analysed using Statistica 12.0.

Results: In the analysed diets the supply of polyunsaturated fatty acids increased along with the elimination of meat and dairy products, and the supply of long-chained polyunsaturated fatty acids increased with the consumption of fish, meat and eggs. The proportion of vegetable protein, carbohydrates and dietary fibre significantly increased in the vegan diet, the diet eliminating dairy foods and the diet excluding dairy products and meat. Significant changes were also observed in the levels of individual amino acids. The content of histidine decreased significantly after the elimination of meat in the diet. Moreover, the elimination of meat and fish was linked to a significant reduction in the content of valine, threonine, phenylalanine, methionine, lysine and isoleucine. Additionally, a decrease in endogenous amino acids (alanine and cystine) was observed in the vegan diet.

Conclusions: Irrespective of the diet eliminating animal products, one should take care to balance the diet properly to avoid potentially harmful deficiencies. The results suggest the need for supplementation with eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, especially in the vegan diet. Low consumption of tryptophan related to the elimination of meat products may suggest that such diets should not be recommended to athletes, as well as in conditions associated with the disrupted synthesis of serotonin, melatonin and rhodopsin, lowered immunity, and abnormal levels of neurotransmitters leading to anxiety and depressive disorders.


vegetarian diet; veganism; polyunsaturated fatty acids; dietary fibre; amino acids; tryptophan

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