My research project
Exploring the impact of plant-based diets on iodine intake in the UK population
Inadequate iodine intake is a growing concern in the UK, especially for women of childbearing age, as iodine is essential for producing thyroid hormones required for neurological development during pregnancy. Iodine status in any age group is dependent on individual food choice as, unlike many countries, the UK does not have a salt-iodisation programme. In the UK, milk and other dairy products are the main dietary sources of iodine. However, in recent years, there has been an increased interest in plant-based diets and plant-based alternatives to animal products. This trend is a concern for iodine intake as the ingredients used to make plant-based alternatives to dairy products are naturally low in iodine and, unless the products are fortified, will not contribute to iodine intake. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the influence of a primarily plant-based diet on iodine intake and how to minimise the risk of iodine deficiency.