The reasons for following a vegetarian diet are as diverse as the more than 7 million Americans who subscribe to some form of vegetarianism. That number is only expected to climb, as a 2011 study reported 12 percent of people in the millennial generation consider themselves practicing vegetarians, much higher than the 4 percent among Generation Xers and 1 percent among the ranks of Baby Boomers.
As the number of people choosing this lifestyle continues to grow, nutritionists stress the importance of finding adequate protein sources. A lesser known need resides behind the emphasis on protein . . . that is vitamin B12. A water soluble vitamin that can only be found in animal meats or products, B12 can prove a special problem for vegans who consume no meat or animal products at all.
"Vegans can get all the proteins they need from grains and legumes, David Seres, director of medical nutrition at the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, said in a recent article in the Health and Wellness section of the The Wall Street Journal. "But you still have to supplement with an animal-derived B12 to be healthy," he emphasized.
That's where dairy has the largest opportunity to cash in on this growing food trend.
Fluid milk, yogurt and cheese all supply high-quality essential amino acids paired with bioactive B12 perfect to supplement any non-vegan, vegetarian's diet.
(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2016
February 15, 2016