Is a vegan diet healthier?

One of the prime motivators for a vegan diet is better health. Sharing on social media has contributed to the image of the vegan as a pale, weak individual being replaced by one where vegans are fit, healthy and full of energy.  And there’s certainly plenty of evidence to indicate that more plants in your diet are better for you.

Whether a vegan diet is healthier for you depends on your approach.

Vegan food is plant-based. You’re cutting out meat, poultry, fish and dairy products.  But that doesn’t mean that everything else is good for you. You can eat chips and chocolate and be vegan but you’re unlikely to be in the peak of health on such a diet.  

Taking the vegan option

Vegan options on the high street have massively expanded in recent months. All the major supermarkets now offer a range of vegan foods and vegan is the UK’s fastest growing takeaway choice. But this makes it all too easy to indulge in a diet that’s high in fat and salt. While vegan options are generally better than the animal-based versions a burger is still a burger. It’s never going to beat a plate of wholefood if you’re talking health.

So if you’re exploring a vegan diet look at how you can get the right balance. For most of us, including vegans, we’re eating more processed food and less fresh food. The result is excessive carbohydrates and too much salt, fat and sugar. Despite the myths, protein is rarely an issue.

What about B12?

The one thing that you can’t get from a vegan diet is B12 so supplements are recommended. And even if you’re not a vegan they’d be worth taking. Studies suggest that 1 in 3 people, including meat-eaters just aren’t getting enough B12. 

So there you have it. You can be an unhealthy vegan for the same reasons that you can be an unhealthy non-vegan. If health is what matters to you then start to eat more plants, less processed food and consider taking a B12 supplement.