Long Term Health on Vegan Diet

by Eowyn
(New York)

Question:


I have been a vegetarian for about a year and just recently switched to vegan. I don't really have a problem giving up foods or eating a variety of foods because I am a chef by trade. However, I have read some disturbing studies on veganism and how bad it can be for your health if you continue to follow it longterm.

I just read about someone who had a stroke at 41 due to b complex difficiency. I am taking b12 supplements and multivitamin presently, but I have been fealing dizzy and lethargic recently. I just don't want to do anything detrimental to my health, but I literally don't think I can eat meat anymore, I don't think I could choke it down. I think I need some reassurance or something...


Answer:

As far as long-term health, the vast majority of studies show incredibly positive news about the healthfulness of a vegan diet. You have to be careful what you read because the internet can be full of extremely unreliable information. I haven't really seen any studies that suggest plant-based diets aren't healthy in the long run, but I have seen some studies that show eating some dairy or animal products can't hurt. More often than not, those studies end up being sponsored by a dairy or animal company. You have to be very, very careful where you get your information.

From my research, I have found that B-complex deficiencies are extremely rare, and are more likely a result of several deficiencies and other illnesses. If you are taking vitamin B-12, you should have everything you need to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Feeling dizzy and lethargic is certainly not good, and if I were you, I would think about talking to your doctor. Are you eating enough? I know you have a great background in food, but maybe recently have you not had time to really prepare good meals for yourself-- plenty of vegetables and fruits, beans, and whole grains?

I would also look into some good vegan books, like Food for Life by Neal Barnard, The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, and Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure by Dr. Esselstyn. They are all doctors and have done extensive research on a plant-based diet. I have seen other viewpoints before, but nothing that contradicts the healthfulness of a healthy vegan diet, in both the long and short term.

I know just how you feel, I definitely couldn't force meat or dairy products into my body right now if my life depended on it. Luckily, plant-based diets are so much healthier, so we won't have to worry about it!

Let me know if I can help in any other way.

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Good one
by: Anonymous

Oh wow! That is so impressive. I have been thinking a lot to switch over to vegan diet. I’m having severe health issues nowadays. Mostly it is the stomach issues. Your tips have been so beneficial. As a beginner, how can I adjust with my new plan?


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looking for the science
by: Anonymous

Would love references to scientific studies on long term veganism. Have really searched, but not finding anything more than anecdotal & most of that is from former vegans who report it harming their health. The China Study book has been thoroughly debunked. Author cherry picked data. There are some studies of long term vegetarian diets, but can't find any evidence for vegan diet as being healthy.

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Not all omnivorous diets are bad
by: Anonymous

Just as vegans dont like when badly planned vegan diet is called out as "vegan diet=bad diet", it is very misleading and manipulating to subtly equalize "standard American diet" with a *well planned omnivorous diet* (which means healthy fats, no processed foods, lot of greens, organic foods and moderate animal protein). Vegans keep replacing the two all the time.
I pray everybody reading achieves good health and also that they will listen to their body if it doesnt agree with certain diet.
Christina was maybe a bit harsh in her response but she is right.
Please never stick your heads into sand, and instead inform yourselves better of vegan diet drawbacks, to be able to find solutions help yourselves and others thrive on plants if this is possible for you individually. I know that I was not able, I was trying for years. I am not even interested into eating meat and never was I always ate it obligatory until I decided to go without animal products, and my health went so much worse progressively I ended with a few chronic conditions. And I simply HATE when other vegans or vegetarians annoy me with extra advice, as if I didnt try enough or didnt try all. God bless you all.

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I felt better when I ate meat
by: Anonymous

I have been vegan/vegetarian twice, both times for a period of years, both times I grew progressively pale, lethargic, weak, and depressed, and both times my health dramatically improved virtually instantaneously at the first bite of meat. Virtually every ex-vegan I know has had the same experience. Even many of us who did not really suspect that veganism was damaging our health had chronic illnesses vanish and were suddenly able to do a lot more in each day. I have met a couple of people who seem relatively healthy on a vegan diet, but most of us feel a lot better with the occasional steak.

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I've investigated many ex-vegans and that was a pathetic answer to her.
by: Christina Arasmo

The vegan diet, like any diet, is not one size fits all. People can do severe damage on it. Severe. Instead you should have referred her to Registered Dietician, like Jack Norris at VeganHealth.org. Her story is so similar to many people who fail to thrive. Just because you are a healthy on it, doesn't mean that everyone is. We are all not genetic clones of Donald Watson.

http://quasi-vegan.blogspot.com/2010/11/another-ex-vegan-is-vegan-diet-best.html

http://quasi-vegan.blogspot.com/2010/12/malabsorption-and-theoretical-empathy.html

http://quasi-vegan.blogspot.com/2010/12/vegan-disillusionment-one-plant-based.html

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A Vegan Diet =Long Term Health
by: Nia

I have been vegan for about 15 years. I am much healthier than the 19 years I spent (Yes, I feel I litterally "Spent" in relation to this time and suffering) on a standard american diet. I have always paid attention to my overall health in relation to eating vegan. I take into consideration my times of feeling lethargic or dizzy or any other strange experiences. I have my nutrition tested by my medical doctor yearly. I always receive the same results-Healthy and sustaining good nutrition. I credit my lifelong allergies and the side affects of the medications for them to my lethargy. I also get dizzy. My doctor says my diziness is most likely related to sinus allergies and perhaps the caffeine from my daily consumption of coffee. I also know that I could be exercising more (or at all) to build up my energy. These things cold be related to a number of possibilities, it's just easier to blame them on a new and different diet. Please see that life long nutrition is more obtainable on a vegan diet rather than a standard american diet. A standard american diet is proven to be a one way ticket to an early and miserable death.

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by Cathleen Woods   |   © Copyright 2008-2016   |   Vegan-Nutritionista.com

Disclaimer: Everything in this website is based upon information collected by Cathleen Woods, from a variety of sources. It is my opinion and is not intended as medical advice.
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