A small study of 18 raw food vegans found that they had surprisingly high vitamin D levels and relatively strong bones for their body mass.
Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine examined the raw food vegans who ranged in age from 33 to 85. On average, the people in the study had been on a raw food vegan diet for an average of 3.6 years.
Compared to a control group of individuals on a more traditional American diet, the raw food vegans had lower bone mass, but nonetheless showed indicators of strong bones. Lead researcher Dr. Luigi Fontana said,
We think it’s possible these people don’t have increased risk of fracture but that their low bone mass is related to the fact that they are lighter because they take in fewer calories.
The 18 raw food vegans had a BMI that averaged 20.5, compared to the control group which had an average BMI of 25.
The group started out with the hypothesis that, since they do not consume dairy products, the raw food vegan group would have lower levels of Vitamin D than the control group, but in fact it was the control group that had lower average vitamin D levels than the raw food vegans.
Dr. Fontana said of this finding,
These people [raw food vegans] are clever enough to expose themselves to sunlight to increase their concentrations of vitamin D.
Raw food vegans thin but healthy, study finds. Reuters, March 28, 2005.
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