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  • Writer's pictureHeather

Identifying And Filling Nutrient Gaps In Your Diet

Making healthy food choices may not be enough to keep you healthy. According to the World Health Organization, over 2 billion people globally have nutrient deficiencies. Many people affected by deficits in critical nutrients may not realize they have a problem because they consume a healthy diet balanced with lean protein, fruits and vegetables.

If you eat healthily but feel just okay, you may have nutrient gaps in your diet. A lack of essential micronutrients can leave you feeling less than your best.

Today, grains, fruits and vegetables contain less protein, vitamin C, calcium, iron, phosphorous, and riboflavin than several decades ago. The information is concerning for people eating plant-rich diets, which are currently the most widely recommended diet types.

Popular Diets and Filling Common Deficits

A one-size-fits-all diet does not exist. Everyone needs to find and follow the plan that suits individual needs and lifestyles. However, when following a diet, you must know its shortcomings to counter any potential adverse effects.

Vegetarian or Vegan

People are turning to vegetarian or vegan diets for environmental, personal and health reasons. If you follow a vegetarian plan, be aware of common deficit issues. Vegetarians and vegans are at risk of protein, omega-3, vitamin B12, iron, and iodine deficits because of the elimination of animal products.

If you want to try a vegetarian or vegan diet, ensure you take appropriate supplements — vitamin B12 and iron for starters — and make smart protein decisions like incorporating soy products or other nutrient-dense and protein-rich foods: legumes, lentils, nuts, quinoa, grains, seeds, etc.


The Paleo diet relies on lean protein sources, nuts, fruits and vegetables. The program's rules encourage eliminating all processed and unnatural foods in favor of only the food groups early hunter-gatherers relied on — say goodbye to dairy and wheat.

While the popularity of the diet may tempt you, understand that eliminating entire food groups, such as dairy, come with considerable nutritional risks. Dairy represents a key source of vitamin D and calcium.

If you want to try the Paleo plan, supplement potential nutritional losses. For example, look for natural sources of vitamin B2 or riboflavin, such as almonds, spinach, eggs and lean meats. You can find adequate sources of vitamin D in soybeans or fatty fish like salmon. Finally, calcium, while abundant in dairy products, also occurs naturally in other foods, such as:

  • Edamame

  • Spinach

  • Bok choy

  • Collard greens

Healthy Eating and Minding the Gaps

Eating healthy is not only about including plenty of lean protein, fruits and vegetables but also about ensuring you receive a healthy balance of vital micronutrients. With many foods less nutritious than decades ago, it is more important than ever to mind the dietary gaps.


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