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A 43-year-old member asked:

Is a vegan diet healthy?

7 doctor answers11 doctors weighed in
Dr. Randy Baker
Holistic Medicine 41 years experience
If done carefully: There is limited research but a careful vegan diet can be very healthy; vegan diets reduce risk of obesity, high blood pressure, lower cholesterol & likely reduce cancer risk. However, certain nutrients such as vitamin B12, carnitine, taurine & DHA are difficult to obtain with a vegan diet so should be supplemented. See https://vegetarian-nutrition.info/vegan-diets-pros-cons/ for more info.
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 45 years experience
Thank you Dr. Baker for yet another carefully thought-out, balanced, and scientifically-sound answer.
Oct 14, 2012
Dr. Arthur Heller
Gastroenterology 44 years experience
Can be, takes work: Vegan diets can be very healthy, but need extra work to make up for relative shortcomings in b12, calcium, zinc, iron, protein. Avoid vegan junk food, e.g. French fries. High fiber can make getting enough calories a challenge sometimes (especially for growing children). In general, the more restricted the diet, the easier it is to be unbalanced (hippocrates wrote that).
Dr. Ron E. Bell
Cosmetic Dentistry 46 years experience
YES read studies: There have been several noted studies on the benefit of a vegan-like diet. Read the okinawa study, the china study, dr dean ornish --the spectrum, dr. John mcdougall--many titles. Do your research and you may agree with me that a vegan diet is one of the healthiest on the planet! our former president bill clinton is now a vegan! does the news media tell you? He is now much healthier as a result!
Dr. Steven Charlap
Holistic Medicine 38 years experience
Depends...: ...On who you ask. People who believe in the diet may swear by it, but there are plenty of knowledgeable people who believe that you can still eat meat, chicken, and fish and live to 100. Just ask the sardinians in italy who have been doing so since the bronze age. Vegans also need to supplement with vitamin b12.
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 45 years experience
No: If you undertake this for moral reasons, out of concern for animals and revulsion to factory farming (which i share), then hurrah for you, this is a good thing. You also need to know that if you don't supplement heavily, or don't know exactly what you are doing, you will ruin your health quickly. The vegan community is full of both good people and totally dishonest crooks. Be wise.
Dr. Michael Rothman
Internal Medicine 36 years experience
Not really: The long term effect of a low fat, vegan diet is malnutrition. Used for a short time (4-6 weeks) a low fat diet can be employed for weight loss. However, the long lerm effects of low fat diets are miserable. A low fat - high carb diet will lead to high Insulin levels, high triglcyerides, low hdl, metabolic syndrome and finally high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 45 years experience
All plant-based: Vegans have the moral high ground. The claims that it is more healthy have been discredited by the really big studies over the past decade, showing no difference from other folks in longevity or any other category of disease when you control for other habits. You'll get seriously sick and may die if you do not supplement with B12 and probably iron, calcium, vitamin D and some others.
Dr. David Lipkin
Internal Medicine 53 years experience
Studies show a vegan diet will slow progression of chronic kidney disease. There is significant evidence that a vegan diet can halt the progression of coronary heart disease and even reverse it. President Clinton's cardiologist, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, has written extensively on this. SEE: http://bit.ly/1eDUyP1
Jun 1, 2015

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Last updated Jan 31, 2020
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