Introduction: Studies have shown that vegetarians have lower risk of chronic diseases and longer lifespan. Yet when mean intake of vegetarians was compared with the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), it was reported that vegetarians were inadequate in certain nutrients. With the recent establishment of the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR), the new reference standard for assessing adequacy of population intakes, nutrient adequacy of the vegetarian diet should now be reassessed.

Daily number of servings for each food group of the food guides have usually been theoretically computed based on intakes suggested in menus or cookbooks. We attempted to use the actual intake of a low risk population, who has both an optimal and adequate diet, to compute daily number of servings for a vegetarian food guide pyramid.

Methods: 2 sets of 3 recalls taken six months apart were taken from a cohort of the Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2) calibration study whom were residing across United States and Canada. A vegetarian subgroup from this cohort was identified and their nutrient intake were assessed using the EAR cut-point method. The type and quantity of food taken by vegetarians with nutrient intake above the EAR or the Adequate Intake (AI) for selected nutrients were used to compute the number of servings for the food groups of a vegetarian food guide pyramid.

Results: Vegan were likely to be inadequate in vitamin E (71%), B12 (44%) and A (40%) while Vegetarians were inadequate in vitamin E (71%), A (30%) and magnesium (29%). Non-vegetarian were inadequate in vitamin E (91%), magnesium (50%) and folate (41%). Mean intake of calcium and vitamin D were below their AI for all diet groups but the means of vitamin K, pantothenic acid and manganese were above their AI.

Conclusion: When nutrient intakes were compared with the EAR, Vegan and Vegetarian have a lower proportion of inadequacy for selected nutrients compared to Non-vegetarians and the general population.




School of Public Health

First Advisor

Joan Sabaté

Second Advisor

Ella Haddad

Third Advisor

Karen Jaceldo-Siegl

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Diet, Vegetarian; Nutrition Requirements -- analysis; Nutrition Surveys; Nutrition Assessment; Cohort Studies.



Page Count

xi; 121

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

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Nutrition Commons