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  • Writer's pictureAlison Aldred

Why vegans are putting their health at risk for their principles

Updated: Nov 28, 2018

Ok I realise that statement was a bit provocative, but I wanted it to be…that’s because I’m a nutritional therapist who cares about vegans and wanted to get your attention.

There are many reasons why you might have chosen to be vegan…maybe you hate the taste or texture of meat? Or maybe you care about our environment? Maybe you switched for a better lifestyle? Or, perhaps you just can’t stand the thought of hurting animals? Or maybe, it was all of the above?

Let’s just think about animals for a moment and pets particularly.

Would you feed a dog a junk food diet? I don’t think many of us would, as ultimately we would be hurting them, giving them something that will make them poorly. You want them as fit, healthy and happy as they can be. You hate it when your pet is ill, it’s not just the cost of the vet bills, they are part of your family and it hurts you to see them in pain, or unwell.

So here is my gripe…

Why would you feed and look after your animals, better than you look after yourself?

The market for vegan food is growing and every day a new product is out, made of cheap, nutrient poor rubbish and yet I see sensible people rush out to buy it and I jump up and down with concern, shouting ‘no, no, no’.

I’m on a mission to get people to make the link between what they put in their mouths and the health and performance of their body. What you eat makes your cells and those in turn build your bones, organs, skin etc. Your body isn’t built at birth and that’s the end of the story. Not only did it grow into an adult, but as an adult, your cells are constantly renewing themselves. Some cells take just days, others take months, but it happens and for it to happen they need a combination of factors including vitamins and minerals, not just calories. If you don’t believe me, try a really healthy diet full of colourful veg, good sources of protein and fats and notice how amazing your skin looks in 30 days. That is how quickly you can get results!


I’m not suggesting that all vegans eat rubbish. My sweeping statement doesn’t apply to every vegan thank goodness, many prioritise their health. To be fair, jumping up and down for the latest junk food is not just a preserve of the plant eater. And just to be clear, I’m also not suggesting cake and crisps should never be eaten. We are human!

Why am I picking on vegans then? To a certain extent I am being unfair. I totally agree that meat eaters also eat junk. My issue is this, in an already restricted diet, adding empty calories from junk, depletes the diet of even more nutrients and adds harmful rubbish that the body, then has to deal with (if it is well enough to do so).

The British Dietetic Association has a strong partnership with The Vegan Society and promotes veganism, stating that ‘a well-planned vegan diet can support healthy living’, so long as nutrient deficiencies are obtained from fortified food and oral vitamin supplements. Fortified food (such as cereals) and most supplements (including The Vegan Society own brand ‘VEG 1’) contain synthetic vitamins and minerals, not natural, food based.

Why is that an issue?

Let’s brush aside the whole ethical consideration about promoting processed food and money led dietetics. Fortified processed food is big money and is certainly not healthier than real food.