Go to the comment section of any online article about veganism (if you dare!) and you will almost certainly come across a comment along the lines of “vegan diets are unhealthy” or “humans need to eat meat”. I am happy to report that current scientific understanding of nutrition suggests otherwise.
What Are Major Medical Institutes Saying About Vegan Diets?
Here are some quotes from the major dietetic or medical associations of the UK, US and Australia- These institutions have access to information from the most respected research organisations in the world, and the countries they are based in also have populations whose diets are generally high in animal products (i.e. they are unlikely to have a vegan bias):
The Dieticians Association of Australia
” With good planning, you can get all of the nutrients you need from a vegan diet to be healthy.” 
The American Dietetic Association
“It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” 
The British Dietetic Association
“Well-planned vegetarian diets [earlier in the document it states a vegan diet as an example of a vegetarian diet] are appropriate for all stages of life and have many benefits.” 
The British Dietetic Association have also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Vegan Society, pledging to ensure that registered dietitians in the UK are adequately educated about healthy vegan diets and are equipped to give advice to vegans.
The National Health Service (UK)
“With good planning and an understanding of what makes up a healthy, balanced vegan diet, you can get all the nutrients your body needs.” 
So, are vegan diets healthier than non-vegan diets?
Although many would claim that this is the case, I believe this is far too simplistic a statement to make. I could have a hideously unhealthy vegan diet based on curly fries and vegan chocolate ice-cream, or a pretty healthy non-vegan diet involving some lean meats and fish as well as plenty of fruit and veg. While is true that certain types of meat (particularly processed red meats like salami and bacon) have been classified as carcinogenic by the World Health Organisation, it is silly to say that all non-vegans are unhealthy.
In my opinion, it doesn’t matter that vegan diets are not some kind of wondrous miracle cure for all known diseases, all I need to know is that they can be healthy when done right. The evidence I have listed above, as well as the growing list of vegan athletes, convinces me that I do not need to eat animal products to maintain good health.
- Dietitians Association of Australia website [accessed 29/05/2017] (link)
- Craig, WJ., Mangels, AR., American Dietetic Association. (2009) Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 109(7):1266-82 (link)
- British Dietetic Association nutrition fact sheet: [accessed 29/05/2017] (link)
- NHS website [accessed 29/05/2017] (link)
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