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Treating Vegan Patients with Eating Disorders

Veganism is a way of living based on the principle of avoiding animal use as much as possible, encompassing both dietary and non-dietary choices. It is becoming increasingly popular within the UK, with more than 1% of the population aged 15 and over now following a vegan diet (The Vegan Society, 2016). This increase is predominantly driven by young people, particularly women, living in urban areas making ethical and compassionate choices around their diet (The Vegan Society, 2016). 

Whilst the link between eating disorders and vegetarianism is well established in literature (Zuromski et al., 2015; Bardone-Cone et al., 2012; Trautmann et al., 2008; Bas M et al 2005; O’Connor M et al., 1987), there has been little research into patients with eating disorders following vegan diets. However, anecdotal evidence from clinicians working in this specialty suggests that a significant proportion of patients requiring in-patient admission for their eating disorder had been following a vegan diet on admission. (Note that veganism should not be regarded as a causal factor in eating disorders.) 

This consensus statement has been developed to fully inform clinicians working within the field of eating disorders about treating vegan patients with eating disorders.