Vegan diets exclude all animal products. Veganism has rapidly increased in popularity, although randomized trials are still few in number. Trials do show promise for a variety of outcomes, from weight loss to autoimmunity, although comparisons to other popular diets are rare. A vegan diet should be balanced and low in processed foods (e.g. a "Whole Food Plant-Based diet") for optimal results.
Vegan Diet is most often used for
Even though eating a large variety and amount of plant foods is healthy, a vegan diet per se is not necessarily healthy — but it certainly can be. But what makes a vegan diet healthy?
As discussed in the previous question, a healthy vegan diet is based on whole foods and ideally includes a variety of food sources to ensure all critical nutrient needs are met. Appropriate supplementation can also help. If this is the case, a vegan diet is not only healthy, but may even have some advantages over a standard omnivorous diet.
First, a vegan diet can be more satiating than a regular omnivorous diet. This is because vegans eat more fiber-rich, low-calorie plant foods while avoiding nutrient-dense, processed animal products. Consequently, vegans often consume fewer calories than people eating a regular diet.
Second, a vegan diet may lower the risk of certain lifestyle diseases. For instance, a plant-based diet is linked to lower incidence and mortality from ischemic heart disease (-25%) and incidence from total cancer (-8%), according to a comprehensive meta-analysis of 86 cross-sectional and 10 prospective cohort studies.
To find out more about how a vegan diet could reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases, click here.
Overall, a vegan diet — if it is well designed — can be considered healthy. However, it’s unclear if a vegan diet is healthier than an omnivorous diet, assuming both diets are well designed. In the context of the current body of literature, claims that imply the superiority of a vegan diet over an omnivorous diet lack any scientific basis.
- Plant-Based Diet