What are the pros and cons of a vegan diet?

Kathy Freston
Nutrition & Dietetics
Advantages of a vegan diet include lower rates of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers; but vegan food is not available everywhere just yet. In this video, veganist and author Kathy Freston shares tips for finding vegan food options in your area.
Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics
Pros: Vegan diets are typically high in fiber, low/no cholesterol. Research studies have found that vegetarians especially vegans have lower BMI, lower levels of cholesterol, lower risk of heart disease, lower risk for developing certain kinds of cancer and in prevention/management of diabetes.

Cons: As long as it is well-balanced and varied, a vegan diet can adequately meet nutritional needs of individuals at all stages of life. This said, a few nutrients of concern can be: vitamin B12, iron, protein, calcium, vitamin D, omega 3 fats. However, all of these nutrients can be adequately found and enjoyed on a vegan diet.
Let me preface my comments that I'm referring to a well structured whole foods vegan diet, not a junk food vegan diet, as the latter has no health benefits, except the karma of grateful animals.

The pros of a whole foods vegan diet:
  • lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes
  • lower cholesterol
  • weight loss
  • healthier skin
  • less body odor and bad breath
  • less PMS and less menopause symptoms (women only)
  • reduction in allergies and severity/frequency of minor illnesses such as colds
  • no mad cow disease
  • less hormone consumption, since dairy products are produced by lactating cows, full of hormones, and much of the beef and poultry in this country is full of growth hormones
  • less expense in meal preparations (beans and rice are much less expensive than meats)
The cons of a whole foods vegan diet:
  • dealing with rudeness and closed-mindedness from some omnivores
  • occasional inconvenience when dining out

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.