Returning to the days of rickets

A vegan child in Scotland was found to suffer Rickets associated with vitamin D deficiency a few months ago – which caused quite a storm in a teacup among a few.

A recent study has found that about 50% of children may be getting not enough vit D – to the extent that bone growth may be suffering – I wonder if this will get the same kind of news coverage.

Some very ill informed members of the public posted comments to the Timesonline.com about veg*ns – that this was further evidence that eating meat and drinking milk is essential to our diet – and mums like myself, who don’t, should probably have our children taken into care – for child neglect.

I say ill informed because meat does not contain vit. D and dairy products do not naturally contain vit D. In this country Vit D has been added to milk – as a precaution – for about the past 50 years.

The main source of Vitamin D is from the reaction of the sunlight on our skin – I don’t want to get too technical, suffice to say it is just not like the vitamins we eat. In the summer months in England we require just 10 minutes exposure to a small area of our bodies. Fortunately, we do store vit D – which is just as well – because in those months when our shadows are longer than our actual bodies then the sunlight is not intensive enough to bring about the chemical changes…

Basically we can’t get enough sun light in winter – more so the further north we are – so it is vital to get out in the sun for a short time each day in the summer months.

My conclusion – in general the western lifestyle is not healthy: it includes limited exercise, not enough walking, too much staying indoors playing with our high tech equipment, and really poor diet.

The typical diet of children is quite shocking: including limited fruit and veg., large amounts of sugary soft drinks and high salt/sugar convenience foods.

There is no reason to think a veg*n is going to be more or less healthy than any other person in our society.

Link: www.wddty.com/03363800371776507641/vitamin-d-half-of-all-children-are-deficient.html

10 Responses to “Returning to the days of rickets”


  1. 1 rick August 28, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Yes Tara I had rickets and had to wear great cricket pad caliper thingies up to my fifth year in an attempt to straighten my legs.

    The bone deformity was such, up to my primary school age, that viewed face on my legs bent behind each other bizarrely resembling a swastika !

    In my forties I was a powerlifting champ. So the old legs came through OK.

    Way back in 1982 I trained in the same gym as a Mr Great Britain body buider and used to p-ss him off by doing greater weights on leg extensions than he could touch. His legs looked the part but my pipecleaner legs had the power.

    Before I would believe that bone development has been hampered by Vit D deficiency I would need to know how many of the kids are on asthma drugs …….

    I now know that Ipswich Hospital was home to a consultant researching such drugs in the late 40s and early 50s ……

  2. 2 Matt (Girth Watcher) August 29, 2008 at 10:34 am

    It’s amazing the folly of the unthinking. I had forgottent he part vit D plays in being healthy thanks for reminding me.

  3. 3 Lizzie September 6, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Why do you think that foods are fortified with vitamin D? Because of people like you! You may not even be alive today if it wasn’t for the fortified food you have eaten during your life. Yes, exposure to sunlight may get you by, but (I know you will have heard this before) the fact is that humans are omnivores. Our dental formation and digestive tracts are designed for a combination of non-animal and animal foods. It is fortunate for you that humans have evolved so it is possible to survive without eating animal products but it does not mean it is healthy. Scientific knowledge is expanding all the time and I would bet that there are as-yet-undiscovered compounds found in animal products which are important for health, as well as the known vitamins and minerals. As a mother I simply cannot understand how you would want to expose your children to unknown risks for your own principles. 200 years of research would not convince me that I was not handing down a potential problem to my children. There are too many unknowns, and surely you accept that you are going against nature? I simply do not understand how any mother could do that to their children.

  4. 4 mrstaraplumbing September 8, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Lizzie, The answer to your question:
    “Why do you think that foods are fortified with vitamin D?”

    Is not: “Because of people like you!” meaning me.

    It is because of high rates of vit D deficiency -historically – which is linked to poor exposure to sunlight.

    It is not a question of ‘getting by’ on sunlight – that is the main natural source for all people, at all times in history.
    It does not occur in meat, dairy or plant food. It does occur in some fish oils.

    It is not really a ‘vitamin’ – there is a chemical reaction in our bodies when exposed to sunlight which triggers the production of a hormone… too much detail.

    As nutrients work in combination not isolation.
    It (foods are fortified with vitamin D) is also because people used to have very poor diets in the past.
    A poor victorian child typicallly lived off bread, sugar and tea – were deficient in lots of things – hence they were so short and high mortality.

    Today – over whelmingly those people with vit D deficiency and rickets will be carnivorous & dairy consuming – as are the majority of the people in this country.

    Just because the majority of people do something it does not mean it is either natural or in their best interests – I’m sure there are numerous examples…

    Just to comment on some of your other points/ assumption:
    1. We have evolved to be able to eat lots of different things – yes what a wonderful choice – so we can adapt to our environment – so there is no reason to eat animal products if we don’t want to.
    2. Scientific knowledge – is expanding all the time. Did you know all we know about nutrition has been discovered within the last 100 years – with hugh advances in about the past 30 years.
    Nutrition is very well studied so I can be very confident in my food choices.
    3. I never said anything about being veg*n because of principles and therefore exposing my child to unknown risks.

    I can confidently feed my child on a vegan diet precisely because of scientific knowledge and known risks. I don’t think there are “too many unknowns” in my diet.

    I think the risks are really related to eating large quanities of meat, dairy, sugar, salt, & processed foods (including white bread)& sweets etc with artifical colourings. Which is the typical diet of our society.

    I can not speak for others who eat a veg*n diet – but I am very well informed. The best information available is science based and in any of the books by:
    1. Patrick Holford (I don’t know if he is veggie – but his books suggest that a plant based diet would be most health)
    and
    2. Plant Based Nutrition and Health by Stephen Walsh (Author) – who is vegan.

  5. 5 Matt (Thanet Star) September 10, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    I am not a veggy nor a vegan. I subscribe to no specific dietry world view and yet the aguments set forth by Lizzie strike me as recieved opinion rather than well considered. Fromt he formation of lanuage used I assume Lizzie is a well educated person and smart enough to think things through and like msot of us once we have an opinion we are loathed to question those we hold. Especially when we have such good sounding arguiments to back them up with.

    There are too many unknowns in crossing the road, breathing in unprocessed air or even getting a job and yet we do these things anyway. My mum does not know how her car works under the bonnet yet she drives it anyway.

    When we buy food from the super market we go on trust that it has not been exposed to deadly chemicals, illegal drugs, borken glass or deadly bacteria. That food may have been handled by over a thousand people before we eat it. There are too many unknowns to eat foor that you did not grow yourself in a sealed unit yet we all do it.

    Scientific knowledge is expanding all the time and so we will have all the facts. It will always be the case that next year more might be known about any given subject and yet we have to choose based upon that information and those ideals that are available to us now.

    The thing called nature is not a god nor has it a will. If you take the secularist/humanist world view of evolution it is simply a series of chance happenings that resulted in the world we have now without wisdom or meaning. We call this chaos and when you tidy your home you go against it. We go against things every day.

    So surely you accept that as human beings we might not ever have the same information and in fact may never have access to nor understanding of half the knowledge of “science” (which has no true central repository anyway) and so we decide with what we have – feelings, ideas, known “facts” and the opinions of those we trust. That’s why debating any world view (politics and religion especially), even diets, is futile.

  6. 6 Matt (Thanet Star) September 10, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Sorry that should say “Scientific knowledge is expanding all the time and so we will NEVER have all the facts” I missed out a word there – I apologise.

  7. 7 Lizzie September 12, 2008 at 8:34 am

    We are lucky to have evolved to survive on different diets and that another consequence of evolution is the ability to exercise choice, but I personally feel that being veg*n is not the most sensible way to use these blessings. As a scientist I know that we don’t know everything and therefore I cannot share your confidence to the point that I would put a child at what I perceive to be a potential risk. I think your confidence in this lifestyle is dangerous and it is unfair to subject your offspring to it. It is natural to everything you can to protect your children; I would not cross a road without holding my child’s hand – why take the risk?

  8. 8 Lee April 7, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    I know I am very late in joining this discussion but it has me intrigued. lizzie can i just ask you what type of scientist you are? Are you aware that the British Nutrition Society states that a vegan diet is healthy for all stages of life from infancy to adulthood? So i persume that you do not work in a dietary/nutritional setting.

    How are there any more “unknowns” eating a plant based diet than a meat based one? As for it being unatural to be vegan did you know that we are the only animals to consume milk after infancy and the only animals to consume another animals milk. Studies show that 90% of humans are lactose intolerant, our small intestines are much longer than other carnivorous/omnivorous animals, we have salivary glands that work to break down only plant food and according to the American food and drug agency over 70% of stomach illnesses are caused by food poisoning from meat.

    Some of the greatest thinkers that ever walked this planet were vegetarian or vegan; Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Leondardo De Vinci and Pythogoras. Of course that does not mean we should just follow in their footsteps, but if you research the environmental, economical and health problems with meat you will find there are many articles to suggest that a plant based diet is the best option for us humans.

  9. 9 George October 10, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    That is a very informative article. Thanks for sharing it.

  10. 10 George October 10, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    That sounds a little too different for me. To each thier own I guess.


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