Vegans do not eat animals or anything that comes from animals. This includes, but is not limited to, meat, fish, insects, eggs, milk, cheese, honey, certain drinks that contain animal produce.
Vegan diets are healthy and nutritionally adequate for individuals during all stages of life including pregnancy, breastfeeding, infancy, childhood and adolescence. They are also adequate for elite athletes.
All diets, vegan or not, can lead us to health problems if they are poorly planned or unbalanced. However, that has nothing to do with veganism, but with our own eating habits.
Well-planned and balanced vegan diets may provide health benefits in the prevention of treatment of certain diseases, since they are associated with lower risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, certain cancers and lower cholesterol levels.
Further Information From Leading Health Organisations
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
“It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood and for athletes. Plant-based diets are more environmentally sustainable than diets rich in animal products because they use fewer natural resources and are associated with much less environmental damage. Vegetarians and vegans are at reduced risk of certain health conditions, including ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer, and obesity. Low intake of saturated fat and high intakes of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, soy products, nuts, and seeds (all rich in fiber and phytochemicals) are characteristics of vegetarian and vegan diets that produce lower total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and better serum glucose control. These factors contribute to reduction of chronic disease. Vegans need reliable sources of vitamin B-12, such as fortified foods or supplements.”
“There is strong evidence that a plant-based diet is the optimal diet for living a long and healthy life, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health nutrition expert Walter Willett.”
“A well-planned vegetarian [vegan] diet is a healthy way to meet your nutritional needs [and] can meet the needs of people of all ages, as well as people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The key is to be aware of your nutritional needs so that you plan a diet that meets them.”
American Diabetes Association
“The vegan diet is a plants-only diet that excludes all meat and any animal ingredients (such as dairy and eggs)… This plant-forward way of eating is associated with improved health outcomes and decreased risk for a variety of chronic diseases. Specifically, plant-based diets have been linked to a decreased risk for developing kidney disease in people with type 2 diabetes, and decreased risk of mortality in people with chronic kidney disease.”
American Heart Association
“Well, it seems that leaving out the meat is good for you. In fact, it could help lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease.”
Dietitians Association of Australia
“A varied and well-balanced vegetarian [vegan] diet can supply all the nutrients needed for good health. You can match your vegetarian [vegan] diet to meet the recommended dietary guidelines. Such as eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains.”
Dietitians of Canada
“Anyone can follow a vegan diet – from children to teens to older adults. It’s even healthy for pregnant or nursing mothers. A well-planned vegan diet is high in fibre, vitamins and antioxidants. Plus, it’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol. This healthy combination helps protect against chronic diseases.
Vegans have lower rates of heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer than non-vegans. Vegans also have lower blood pressure levels than both meat-eaters and vegetarians and are less likely to be overweight.”