Is Vegan Healthy?

0pwnidvwlawdovi_zvmc1owdwx7peelwh87qxxnnpvkabaaaraiaaepqAs we know, our daily diet can affect our health. Today, vegetable, green food becomes the synonym of healthy food. People start to modify their diets that eat more vegetables and less meat. What’s more, many choose to become vegetarians. Approximately six to eight million adults in the United States eat no meat, fish, or poultry, according to a Harris Interactive poll commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group, a nonprofit organization that disseminates information about vegetarianism. Several million more have eliminated red meat but still eat chicken or fish. About two million have become vegans, forgoing not only animal flesh but also animal-based products such as milk, cheese, eggs, and gelatin.

However, a research group in Austria set off an alarm bell for vegetarians: be a vegetarian is not healthier. Its results showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with poorer health (higher incidences of cancer, allergies, and mental health disorders), a higher need for health care, and poorer quality of life. In detail, the analysis shows that in the frequency of chronic diseases, significantly higher cancer incidence rates in vegetarians than in subjects with other dietary habits. Also, vegetarians suffer largely more often from anxiety disorder and/or depression. Additionally, they have a poorer quality of life in terms of physical health, social relationships, and environmental factors. This study contains the large sample size, the matching according to age, sex, and socioeconomic background, and the standardized measurement of all variables. And they consider the influence of weight and lifestyle factors on health, such as physical exercise and smoking behavior. So this study actually avoid confounding variables. But it has only shown that Austrian adults who consume a vegetarian diet are less healthy, have a lower quality of life, and also require more medical treatment. Moreover, we still need a more in-depth analysis of the health effects of different dietary habits.

I have heard that there is a connection between infertility and vegetarianism. A research group in University of Munich had this kind of study. They found that vegetarians in their samples has possibility that cause changes in hormone levels. To be specific, vegetarian’s diet easily cause deficiency of protein and fat, which influence fertilization. But the result may cause by confounding variables. For example, because diets of vegetarians are relatively simple, vegetarians are easier to get disturbances in estrogen levels, which influence fertilization, than non-vegetarians. However, this phenomenon unusually exits clinically. Also, it’s hard to consider other factors except diet, such as congenital defects, reproductive system inflammation, age and psychological state. It cannot state whether a causal relationship exists, but describe ascertained associations

lnb1ekx-ugudpxhtv0chtueusegiro0fpu5sf6nsznr0aqaamqeaaepqWhat’s more, a vegetarian diet can be lacking in certain key nutrients, if not well planned. For instance, vegetarian should eat more to maintain healthy and get enough protein. Vegetarians and vegans also need to prioritize their intake of iron, calcium, vitamin B12, and zinc. Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may also be necessary.

Eventually, I’d like to say that be a vegetarian is not the only way to keep healthy. Especially sometimes false belief in vegetarianism can even cause adverse effects. So, trying to balance nutrition, maintain healthy daily routine and exercise is the suitable to keep healthy.

If someone want to become a vegetarian, he or she actually requires planning and knowledge of plant-based nutrition. Here are some resources that can help:

American Dietetic Association

The Vegetarian Resource Group

Source1 Source2 Source3

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11 thoughts on “Is Vegan Healthy?

  1. tmv5147

    Being on a diet as strictly as this is very difficult and this is a great post. I have a lot of respect for people who are determined to stay on diets like these, especially those who continue it in college. The study that was conducted came off with a point I was going to make in that, these diets are not healthy lifestyles. Sure they are a good way to lose weight and maybe guide you towards a diet you may want to be on, but canceling out so many food groups is unhealthy. Your body is not built to only consume one or two food groups day in and day out. It requires balance and that’s what keeps your body going, balance in what you eat keeps your body regulated. Consulting a doctor before you decide to become a vegetarian is a very wise idea, especially if you are at a young age and still growing. Adults are fully grown and diet and exercise are very key for them and that’s why it seems there are more vegans and vegetarians at that age level. The only thing that could be changed in the study is take a portion of vegans and give them a nutrition supplement that could help them balance their diet.

  2. Jacob Alexander Loffredo

    I have always wondered whether being a vegan or vegetarian was the healthier lifestyle. After reading your article I now know that being a vegan is unhealthy in some aspects, the way I see it being a vegan is malnutrition for the body. I personally would never be able to be a vegan, my love for food is on a level some people would not ever understand but I do share a ton of respect for anyone who believes in something so much that they alter the way they live. There are a few pats of you blog that I do disagree with. You talk a lot about how both being a vegan and vegetarian are unhealthier than eating as many of us do “normal” but there are point you leave out such that being a vegetarian consists of a low fat saturated diet that actually reduces risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. The day and age we live in, more than 35% of people are obese; these are the people eating cheese burgers and chicken wings. With that being said both vegans and vegetarians as well as people who can be classified as omnivores all have there pros and cons, I must say though that through all the facts and studies in your blog the vegetarians do seem to have more cons and hazards.

  3. Charles Hart

    I find this interesting due to the influx of articles that have flooded the internet recently about red meat being harmful to humans. You mentioned in the blog that this article does an extremely good job of lessening confounding variables such as age, weight, sex, etc. However, it is important to note that even the best studies could end up being false positives. Look at the prayer and healing example Andrew talked about in class. The study was extremely well done, just as the study you mentioned was. However, after many more studies were done it was proved to be false. This is why this study should be done more than once. Your hypothesis can’t be stated as fact until many more studies are done and agree with your hypothesis. This article ( from the World Health Organization shows hundreds of studies were able to prove red meat leads to cancer. Until scientists do the same for vegans I would not advise a rational student to avoid being a vegetarian.

  4. Mairead Donnard

    I loved reading your blog post! Throughout the years, I have been a vegetarian on a few occasions. The reason that I was never able to keep up with it is because I have found that I have felt weaker when cutting meat out of my diet. I am a firm believer in the fact that a balanced diet is one that includes lean meat. With this being said, I do understand that some people are actually disgusted by the meat industry and that is why they choose to become a vegetarian. With this being said, some of these people are able to stomach fish and therefore become pescatarians. Here is an article that you might find interesting:
    It discusses the benefits of becoming a pescatarian. The benefit that I personally found to be most interesting was how becoming a pescatarian can actually help the planet. For those conscious of the environment, this might be a lifestyle that they might want to live by.

  5. Christopher Ronkainen

    This topic choice is definitely a good one. In my personal experience, most people that I know that have been ‘vegan’ or ‘vegetarian’ for a prolonged period of time do not appear to be healthy in my opinion. Now that is an anecdote but I truly wondered if there was a reason behind it and I think it is because of the nutrients that they are missing out on. In doing research I came across an article that points out five potential issues with vegan diets. I think you should take a look!

  6. Mackenzie French

    I am a bit confused since your title says vegans, but you discuss vegetarians. They are different, which means the effect to their health is different also. But anyways, discussing the points you made about vegetarians, there definitely are pros and cons to being a vegetarian. Although most cases are personal choice, in which I respect, but I do have to disagree with them a bit since they are lacking the proteins that are beneficial to our body, even though it is said that it is one of the healthiest ways to eat. What I have found interesting relating to your post is whether vegetarian diets are good for diabetics. Check out this article containing tips for diabetics going vegetarian.

  7. Reetu Shah

    The first issue that I wanted to point out with this article is how your title talks about vegans, but nowhere in the article are vegans mentioned. It ends with vegetarianism. Also with the title, Vegans; describes a person who doesn’t eat meat or daily products, it’s an adjective. So maybe a better title would be “Are vegans healthier”?

    So for the first study that you analyzed about the research group in Australia, we would reject the null hypothesis. This is because their goal was to study and analyze the difference in results of people who were vegetarians and those who were not. They did find many varying results so the null hypothesis is rejected, but don’t forget that chance is always a possibility.
    I understand that vegetarians have a higher need for health care and have higher rates for certain cancers but what are the actual stats? Is it 50% higher? 20% higher? I know your main source is the actual study and didn’t really explain that. Maybe that is something they should do next time. I actually found a website that gave the stats on this exact study. Me myself being a vegetarian I would like to know that actual stats. It just helps put it into perspective.
    Here is a link where they explained a few of the stats.

    So I am a vegetarian. My religion is called Jainism. There are many specific guidelines we follow but for the most part we don’t believe in eating anything that swims flies, crawls, walks, and etc. I have been a vegetarian my whole life. So in India we have a diet that supplements us with the different nutrients we need. That is why being a vegetarian isn’t too hard compared to people for example who live in America that start going into vegetarianism. In America most of the food is bread, meat, and cheese. My dad and I talk about it all the time. I found an article by the Live Strong Foundation on a “List of Indian Vegetarian Foods” by Eric Coleman. In this article it talks about foods that are staples of the Indian diet that provides us with protein and other nutrients. Since there is no meat in their diets, protein is what they lack the most of. In the article they talk about foods like legumes; soy beans, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans which are rich in protein and iron. Food like tofu and dairy products help with protein and calcium. The Indian diet doesn’t consist of tofu, but buttermilk is a huge part of it, and that consists of a lot of protein and calcium.
    I am not saying I disagree with this article. I do know that I am not getting as much protein as I could be. I do consume protein powder, and I also take supplements like Iron tablets. I am just saying that our Indian diet does provide us with the protein we are not getting from meat.

    So I see how this article is saying that a lot of people who decide to go into vegetarianism lack a lot of crucial vitamins and nutrients, but that was a study done in Australia. I think the data could differ a lot in which environment you study. Maybe if this study was done in different countries, or in America where you have access to many different ethnicities, you could get a wider range of people to get data from.

    Coleman, E. (2013) List of Indian Vegetarian High Protein Foods. LiveStrong.

    Fearnow, B. (2014) Study: Vegetarians Less Healthy, Lower Quality of Life than Meat-Eaters. CBSAtlanta.

  8. Daniele Patrice Loney

    I’m a strong supporter of “everything in moderation”. I feel that that is the healthiest way to create eating habits simply because that way you aren’t missing out on any certain nutrient nor are you getting too much of anything that could be bad for you. I’ve pondered the thought of going vegetarian multiple times, but end up not following through simply because I don’t feel like I’ve gotten enough sustenance in me unless I consume meat.
    The following article explains why humans need meat. For health reasons along with just enjoying how it tastes, I won’t ever go vegetarian. However, I give props to the people who are vegan or vegetarian and but the extra effort into making sure their diet is complete!

  9. Jason Williams


    I believe that having a Vegan diet can work for some people, but it can definitely be harmful to others. I personally do not prescribe to a vegan diet, but know some people that do. It’s very important overall to understand that what may work for some person, will not work for everyone. There are so many different diets that exist and there is not one that is the “best” or “healthiest”.

    For vegan diets, there are many potentials problems like the ones you discussed. My largest problem, and similar to what Kayla addressed, is the idea that you are excluding yourself from certain nutrients and food groups. Sure, many vegans may argue that proper supplementation from natural sources (such as soy protein) can fulfill those needs. However, it’s been seen before how many vegan diets are very lacking in proper nutrients and not every nutrient can be acquired from natural sources.

    For more info, here’s the source: Authority Nutrition

  10. Kayla Neiland

    My roommate is a vegetarian and we are constantly debating over this. She chose the vegetarian lifestyle to be healthier but the right amount of meat is good for you!! Humans and omnivores, we are supposed to eat both plants and animals. Many people choose to be a vegetarian in hope to loose weight but most end up gaining it . If you want to loose weight you should cut unhealthy items from your diet, not meat!!! Without meat you will most likely end up eating more processed food as your substitution.

  11. Jeremy Perdomo

    Dear Luyi Yao,

    Surprisingly, none of this shocks me, and I actually knew that the vegetarian lifestyle was definitely not a healthier one. The human body was created with the ability to digest both meat and vegetables, and so it is only natural that it requires the perfect balance of both to function at its optimal levels. Even if someone became a carnivore and only ate meat, it would still be very unhealthy because of the lack of vegetables in the diet that contain essential nutrients. I found this article that explains the benefits that meat has on the human body:

    Also, I wanted to commend you on the article itself. It seems you have done a substantial amount of research considering all the knowledge and facts that you incorporated in your blog. I found it especially interesting how there might be a possibility of a correlation between vegetarianism and infertility! One would never think that something so detrimental could happen to the body as a consequence of eating only vegetables, the thing we grew up being forced to eat! I guess what they say is right: everything is good, but in moderation.

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