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Vegetarian Pregnancy : Just when you think something’s good for you, the popular press come along with one of their unbiased articles.
“Pregnant vegetarians are three times more likely to have kids who abuse drugs and alcohol,” reported one tabloid this week.
The headline originated from a report from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) -10k teenagers were asked about their use of alcohol, cannabis and tobacco.
50% responded which is pretty amazing bearing in mind they’re teenagers.
The report authors then compared their answers with the dietary records the teenagers’ mothers had filled out in pregnancy and it appears that children of mothers who ate the most meat in pregnancy were less likely to be users of alcohol, cannabis or tobacco at age 15, compared with those who ate little or no meat.
We’re not sure whether the report was robust in terms of ’cause and effect; but it could be that women who don’t eat meat have lower levels of vitamin B12 or maybe a vegetarian mother is more likely to tip you towards alcohol and drugs which affects brain development in the womb. The links appeared stronger in women who had genetic variations that may allow the body to use vitamin B12 more efficiently.
So it could be a combination of your genes and the food you eat while pregnant that increases the risk. Or it could be that growing up with a vegetarian mother is more likely to tip you towards alcohol and drugs.
Obviously more studies are needed and in the meantime, milk, cheese, eggs, fortified cereals and soya milk are good vegetarian sources of B12, as is Marmite.