This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Published online 22 February Nature doi Michael Hopkin. Meat is a vital part of a child’s diet, according to a two-year study of Kenyan schoolkids. Without it, children grow up smaller, less strong and less intelligent, the results suggest. So clear are the benefits, in fact, that denying children meat or dairy products in the first few years of life is unethical, argues Lindsay Allen of the University of California, Davis, who carried out the research. The children in the study, who had an average age of seven years, were given two spoonfuls about 60 grams of minced beef each day to supplement their ordinary diet.
Western societies notice an increasing interest in plant-based eating patterns such as vegetarian and vegan, yet potential effects on the body and brain are a matter of debate. Therefore, we systematically reviewed existing human interventional studies on putative effects of a plant-based diet on the metabolism and cognition, and what is known about the underlying mechanisms. In addition, little is known, based on interventional studies about cognitive effects linked to plant-based diets. In sum, the increasing interest for plant-based diets raises the opportunity for developing novel preventive and therapeutic strategies against obesity, eating disorders and related comorbidities. Still, putative effects of plant-based diets on brain health and cognitive functions as well as the underlying mechanisms remain largely unexplored and new studies need to address these questions. Western societies notice an increasing interest in plant-based eating patterns such as avoiding meat or fish or fully excluding animal products vegetarian or vegan, see Fig. In , around 0. Likewise, the number of scientific publications on PubMed Fig. This increasing awareness calls for a better scientific understanding of how plant-based diets affect human health, in particular with regard to potentially relevant effects on mental health and cognitive functions.
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