Is a Vegan Diet Healthy?

“Is a vegan diet healthy?” is a common question, particularly amongst people contemplating a change. Here are answers from three popular, non-vegan, Q&A Web sites, columns, and health resources.

CNN diet and fitness expert Dr. Melina Jampolis says:
“Overall, vegan diets (diets containing no animal products) can be very healthy. They are generally much lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than animal-based diets, which include meat, eggs and dairy. Research suggests that replacing a percentage of the saturated fat in your diet with plant-based proteins such as beans, tofu, and nuts can significantly reduce a number of heart disease risk factors including high blood pressure and high cholesterol. In addition, several studies have found that very low meat consumption is associated with a significantly lower risk of death. …”

The Mayo Clinic says:
“A well-planned vegetarian diet is a healthy way to meet your nutritional needs. … Adopting a healthy vegetarian diet isn’t as simple as scraping meat off your plate and eating what’s left. You need to take extra steps to ensure you’re meeting your daily nutritional needs. …”

Healthline says:
“… A well-planned vegan diet can be nutritionally adequate, even for children and pregnant and lactating women. However, it is important that wise food selections are made. …”

For the most part these sum up my thoughts. Simply following vegan guidelines of leaving out animal products will not constitute a healthy, nutritious diet. There are plenty of junk foods that are vegan. But, a healthy vegan diet has been proven to have more health benefits and less related problems than a healthy meat-based one.

To help grasp what constitutes a “healthy” vegan diet, here is a vegan food pyramid from the Vegan Coach.

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Filed under Nutrition, Veganism

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