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Vegan Outreach is a 501(c)(3)
nonprofit organization dedicated to
reducing the suffering of farmed animals
by promoting informed, ethical eating.

Donations to VO are fully tax-deductible.
VO’s tax identification no. is #86-0736818.

Vegan Outreach
POB 1916, Davis, CA 95617-1916



Vegan Outreach Enewsletter  •  February 5, 2003


Features: Where's the Beef? | B12 and Infants Analysis

Distribution Update

During the month of January, Vegan Outreach filled orders for 58,270 copies of Why Vegan, Vegetarian Living, and Por Que Vegano. This puts us on pace for nearly 700,000 copies for 2003. We are also working on new projects for the year that will also help advance veganism and animal liberation. This will be possible only with your continued support for printing and shipping costs.

If you believe in this work, please consider making a donation.


Catch Jack Norris in Southern California!

Jack Norris, RD, President of Vegan Outreach, and lauren Ornelas, head of VivaUSA, will be speaking in Los Angeles on February 11. See this page for more details! Also, if interested in helping to organize a speaking engagement for Matt Ball in Tucson between March 27 and 31, feel free to drop us a line!


Boycott Cruelty!

Boycott Cruelty Sticker Back in Stock

You can order copies from our catalog.


Vegan Outreach and Viva! present the 3rd semi-annual
Leaflet Your Local School Day, April 7

Please note, if you sign up via our website (as distinct from snail mail) and do not receive a confirmation within 4 days, please contact Jack Norris.

Looking to veganize your college cafeteria?
See also: US colleges move to meet demand for meatless meals


Help get vegan milks into schools

The Special Nutrition Program, part of the Food Nutrition Service under the USDA, has extended its comments period about adding fortified soy and rice milk alternatives to the public schools' food programs. Please call and fax to support adding fortified soy and rice milk to the food programs in our public schools.

Peter Murano, Associate Deputy Administrator
Special Nutrition Program
USDA Food and Nutrition Service
3101 Park Center Drive, Room 510
Alexandria, VA 22302
ph.: 703 305 2052, fax: 703 305 2782


Where's the Beef (In the Teenage Diet)?

"More teenagers, particularly girls, are turning to vegetarianism. And that's making America's beef producers very nervous."

The article ends with:

“You may think you're eating healthfully by avoiding meat, but here are some low-protein pitfalls you could face: thin, brittle hair, bad skin, low energy. These are problems teenage girls care about — and they could be massaged neatly into a palatable pro-meat message.”

You certainly don’t need to eat meat to get enough protein. Two recent studies measured, among many other things, the protein intake of teenage vegetarians and vegans. They did not go into great detail about protein, most likely because there was no reason to be concerned about it. A few details:

Swedish Study on Teenage Vegans

The vegan females had an average protein intake of 55 g/day and vegan males had an average intake of 72 g/day. The Swedish recommendations are 47 and 51 g, respectively. The 1989 US RDA’s are 55 g and 66 g for females and males. The RDA’s for protein are designed to cover the needs of 97% of the population, and so many people who fall below those levels will still be meeting their needs.

Study on U.S. “Vegetarians”

This study concludes that vegetarian teenagers “have a dietary pattern that is more likely than nonvegetarians to meet the Healthy People 2010 objectives.” The 242 “vegetarians” in this study included 158 semi-vegetarians (i.e., they considered themselves vegetarians but actually ate meat). So, it is a hard study to interpret for actual vegetarians. The average protein intakes were 70.0 g/day for vegetarians and 75.3 g/day for non-vegetarians; not a huge difference.

In any case, vegan teenagers who are restricting calories in an effort to lose weight might need to focus on higher protein foods because a low-calorie vegan diet can be too low in protein. And if you have symptoms of protein deficiency such as getting colds often you might be able to use more protein in your diet.

-Jack Norris, RD


More reason to remain knowledgeable of nutrition, especially B12:
Breast-feeding by vegetarians linked to health ills in babies

"Vegetarian women who breast-feed may be putting their babies at risk for neurological problems. U.S. health officials are reporting that two children in Georgia who were experiencing various neurological problems, including speech and motor delays, were diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency last year."

Note: There are now counter-articles making their way around the web, one saying that these infants were suffering from a genetic defect causing an inability to use B12 rather than suffering from a lack of intake. For that reason, we would like to clarify some points.

Detailed information about the two infants can be found on the CDC’s website.

Case 1
This infant was apparently vegan from 8 - 15 months, possibly with no B12 intake at all (the report is not clear as to whether the baby received breast milk during this period). MMA is the most precise marker of B12 function, and this infant’s markedly elevated MMA shows she was suffering either from a lack of intake, lack of absorption, or inability to utilize B12. She received two B12 injections at 15 months, followed by daily B12 supplements.

Improvement from a B12 injection can generally last 6 months. This infant was apparently still making progress 17 months after her B12 injections, indicating that she did not have a B12 utilization problem. While it is possible that this infant doesn't absorb B12 efficiently and must rely on higher-than-normal doses, her problems were most likely due to a low or absent B12 intake between her 8th and 15th month.

Case 2
This infant had 2 indicators of poor B12 activity: somewhat elevated MMA, and a high homocysteine and MCV with normal folate. Once vitamin B12 was injected, his development improved. His progress was measured again only 6 months after the injection, so it is possible that he was suffering from an inability to absorb or utilize B12. However, there is also no indication that he ever received an adequate amount of B12 on a regular basis. The explanation that this infant did not have enough B12 in his diet is the more likely explanation for his B12 difficulties.

Note: Once someone’s B12 levels become greatly depressed, the intestines can become damaged causing problems with the absorption of B12. Larger doses are then required to replenish health to a normal state where B12 can then be absorbed normally.

Conclusion: Adult vegans or near-vegans should make sure they have a daily, adequate source of vitamin B12. Infants not breast-feeding should have a reliable source of B12.

-Jack Norris, RD


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Vegan Outreach is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the suffering of farmed animals by promoting informed, ethical eating.

All donations are tax-deductible.

Vegan Outreach

POB 30865, Tucson, AZ 85751-0865