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Being vegan isn't any healthier than a normal diet

by Rachel

Statistics don't lie, but they don't tell the whole truth either. I don't know the exact numbers, but the average vegan is healthier than a non vegan and can be expected to live longer. However, this doesn't take into consideration that vegans eat specific foods that are mostly healthy, while the average non-vegan diet could consist of a multitude of foods. The non-vegans who eat healthy and avoid junk food will be just as healthy as a vegan.

Editor's Note:
Rachel, I appreciate your posting because this is something that is widely believed, and I think your post could help people. And, you are right, statistics can be confusing and are often manipulated to make a point. To some extent, I agree with what you are saying-- non-vegans who eat healthy foods and avoid junk food will quitely likely be healthier than the general population.

However, through abundant research I've found that many foods that non-vegans eat are not only not necessary for good health, but often add no nutritional value, and can even take away from our health.

As one example, there was an interesting study done that many people read about in The China Study which covered this exact premise. Harvard University did a study of 80,000 female nurses, women who presumably knew quite a bit about nutrition and tried to eat as healthily as possible. As those nurses tried to lower their fat intake for the study, they ended up eating more "lowfat" products like skim milk, yogurt, lowfat cheese, and actually ate more animal products in the process. Not only did the study find that drinking milk did not lower the risk of hip fractures and osteoporosis, but drinking more milk added no more protection against bones breaking. Countries with the highest amounts of milk consumption are also those with the worst bone health.

Dr. Campbell has found that the animal protein (in milk it's called casein) makes our blood more acidic, so in order to balance the acidity, the body takes calcium out of our bones and makes the blood more alkaline. Milk is packed with casein, so drinking milk actually steals calcium from our bones rather than adding it.

So, that's just one example, but when I read that, I was blown away. I spent more whole life believing that drinking 3 glasses of milk would make me healthier, and it did not. In fact, I used to believe I needed milk and cheese to be healthy, and I thought my diet was extremely healthy. Now, as a vegan, I've never been healthier.

If you want to read more about calcium, check this out this page on vegan calcium.


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by: Anonymous

The China study was seriously flawed where one researcher cherry picked his data. In fact a recent study that wasn't biased has shown exactly the opposite. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/07/31/ajcn.113.062638.abstract

As did Dr. Campbell's when you look again at the whole data and not just his cherry picked results.

Being a vegan is fine. i consider it a religious choice even if your religion doesn't require it. You don"t need to come up with all of these reasons for your choice. It's your choice. Grant others the right to choose too.

You have a point, but...
by: Anonymous

First of all; of course Americans have the worst diet. People in America have to become vegan just to get away from any kind of dairy and animal products found in almost everything. Unfortunately, non-vegan products are in most foods as they provide very good stabilizing agents, among other purposes.

On another note: if you become vegan, do it right. If you are a malnourished vegan, then obviously you do not know what you are doing. Follow a healthy vegan diet by expanding your taste horizons. Vegetables are essential! not to mention low-glycemic whole grains like quinoa, sweet potato, etc.

Bottom line: There are TONS of vegan foods that aren't good for you, and tons that are. Unless you commit yourself to a life of eating mostly vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains... being vegan is pointless.

One study does not make a truth...
by: Anonymous

The thing here is that, for every study that says a vegan diet is better, there will be another equally serious study telling you it is not; for every study that tells you meat is harmful, there will be another one that tells you it is vital. In fact, nowadays a number of nutrition specialists seem to be saying exactly the same about grain-based foods as you are saying about dairy: the only reason we believe them to be healthy is because the food industry has been telling us so (I am in no position to judge whether they're right or wrong, but they seem to have a point, when you think that these are foods that, unlike fruit, vegetables and meat, humans can't eat in their natural state: they need to be processed and cooked). Among the healthiest populations on the planet, yes, you do find people who are eating little or no meat, but also some traditional populations surviving almost exclusively on animal products, like the inuit or the masai. There just is no undeniable evidence one way or another, which means for all we know, there might be as many healthy diets as there are people. Ultimately I think our views on a healthy diet, whatever they are, are a matter of belief, not scientific fact. Beliefs that I am more than happy to respect... but that I don't want waved in my face as the only way to salvation!

by: Anonymous

In response to the spa worker:

A lot of people are malnourished- and the majority of obese Americans would be malnourished as well. Just because you aren't skinny doesnt mean your body has the nutrients it needs. So yes, if you want to technically be vegan and eat only french fries and vegan cookies or something of course you'll be unhealthy but the point is to have a plant based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains etc. which is what everyone should be eating anyway.

If you stick to that and choose to fit in a little meat product every now and then you will still be healthy. The fact of the matter is that you can get significantly higher amounts of all the necessary vitamins and minerals from plants than you can from any animal product, never mind the added hormones and antibiotics. (although of course you should mind those very much!)

The idea that dairy is essential to our diet is ludicrous and the only reason we believe that is because the dairy council has been telling us that our whole lives. Asian cultures never had dairy in their diets until a short while ago and as soon as it was introduced the instances of osteoporosis and breast cancer increased dramatically. Also isn't it odd that we are the only speicies that drinks the milk of another species? And the only species that drinks milk long after infancy? Most people cringe at the idea of trying human breast milk but thats exactly what you're consuming from a cow. And they stand in their own feces the majority of the time...

What what?
by: Anonymous

If you choose your foods wisely and still eat meat, fish, shell fish and other sorts of proteins, you will still be healthy. I work in a health spa, and most vegans are extremely malnourished. Can someone explain that to me please? I am not going to hate on vegans, but restricting your self on a vegan diet is not going to necessarily allow you to live longer. I would like to remind, that there is insufficient studies on vegan and non vegan diets. If you want to live on a vegan diet, and endure the health benefits that it provides go right ahead. I guess what i am trying to say is be sensible, this is a no win argument so why try? It just pisses everyone off. When it comes to living longer, you could walk in front of a bus tomorrow and be dead! People should focus more on there current health and conditions. Plenty of exercise, healthy sugar, cholesterol levels, health weight (BMI), good blood pressure. Take a multi vitamin and get some exercise! Quit blaming non-vegans, and food industry for the destruction of the earth. When you do that you discrediting thousands of years of families and cultures coming together around food that they appreciate. Everyone needs to quit being so damn narrow minded. You want to be mad at something, be mad at the FDA for allowing bogus chemicals into our food supplies, and allow food companies to use poisonous chemicals or food supplements. Be mad at the pharmacutical companies for creating a medicine for every problem, that ends up having worse side effects 10 years down the road. Blame the FDA for allowing all the damn hormones into milk that we consume. People need to be educated on a healthy diet, and we need to keep harmful chemicals away from are foods.

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