The Mail Online has reported that a vegan diet can leave people nutrient deficient, depressed, and low in energy.
The article, titled Dangers of a vegan diet: Why a plant-based diet can crush your energy, skin and make you depressed, says movies like What the Health ‘have inspired a 600 percent spike in veganism in the last three years’.
But it says many of those people are ‘lacking key nutrients’ – pinpointing vitamin B12 and protein as problematic, adding: “Vegans who don’t get enough vitamin B12 and protein can have a nutritional deficiency which causes them to feel tired, depressed and develop acne
“Protein is essential for muscle mass as well as skin, hair and nails and is found in many animal products.”
In addition it says: “Missing those essential nutrients can lead to acne, fatigue and even make you depressed, while feeling bloated and gassy could be from eating too many protein-high beans.”
(Well I’m certainly fatigued and depressed reading this…)
The article warns plant-based eaters ‘may not be getting the proper nutrients they need, normally found in animal products’.
And vegans are also at risk of eating too little fiber – as they ‘tend to replace their protein sources with more carbs’.
Too much veg?
Ironically, the article also warns that some vegans eat too many veggies and beans which ‘can lead to problems with the digestive tract’.
(Are these the same vegans who aren’t getting enough fiber?)
It says: “Many times when people switch to a plant-based diet they go from not eating veggies to eating three times a day.
“Having your body get used to so many veggies can cause bloating.”
This article could be read as scaremongering.
While vegans can suffer from a B12 deficiency, health expert Dr. Justine Butler (writing for charity Viva!) says: “In the U.S., everyone over 50 is advised to take a supplement or eat B12-fortified foods as B12 from animal foods is bound to animal protein, making absorption difficult.
“Oh, and the B12 in meat and dairy isn’t there ‘naturally’ – farmed animals are fed B12 supplements as their food doesn’t contain it.”
This is why she recommends people to cut out the ‘middleman’, and take their own supplements.
Articles like this give weight to widespread beliefs that a plant-based diet is somehow lacking or unhealthy.
This is simply untrue.
There is a huge amount of evidence which shows a whole food plant-based diet can control a number of common – but serious – conditions like heart disease.
The British Dietetic Association [BDA], founded in 1936, is the professional association and trade union for dietitians in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the nation’s largest organisation of food and nutrition professionals with over 9,000 members.
According to the BDA: “A well-planned, plant-based, vegan-friendly diet can support healthy living in people of all ages.”