Is being a vegan healthier?

It’s a frequency asked question in online searches, and one destined to return vague answers full of “two sides” types of information and “debate.” Said considerations of the carnivorous-versus-vegan diet argument has been reduced to the typical state of any argument in the 21st century which could potentially be solved by science, namely the presentation of scientific evidence as debatable opinion. In the effort not to offend those whose best argument for rampant meat consumption is “it tastes good,” spurious factual evidence regarding a food, which contains too much protein, too much fat and no fiber is put forth to “balance the argument.”

As a ground rule, we should throw out any study pre-2000 regarding the “necessity” of meat-based proteins for the human diet. Microscopically few to none of these studies should be taken seriously, as most are based on work with lab rats or mice, and animals which need up to 10 times the protein of an average human adult. Americans can also throw out any recommendations by the USDA, as these are shaped more by lobbyists and interest groups than science.

So what about the protein?

This is the main argument proffered by meat eaters: Humans need meat to survive. We’ve even heard the argument that, since the consumption of meat caused greater potential for the pre-homo sapiens human’s brain to grow in size and complexity 1 million years ago, we still need to eat meat today. (To which we’re tempted to say, “Deal- Just make sure all meat you eat you kill yourself with no more advanced technology than flint knives.”)

Most unbiased studies show that the average human needs between 0.5 to 0.8 grams per kilograms (or about 0.23 to 0.36 grams per pound) of body weight – meaning that a 15-stone adult requires only some 65 grams or so of protein daily; the average man and woman needs somewhere between 45 to 55 grams of protein daily. This is stunningly little and can easily be supported by a vegetarian diet; one cup of green peas, for example, contains 7.5 grams of protein; one cup of kidney beans has some 13 grams. And so on...

But what about my energy level?

Popular belief has it that vegans have less energy because they have trouble meeting the daily minimum caloric intake. Particularly for those vegans starting out, protein levels must be paid attention to very carefully so as to avoid this downturn. (Vegetarians can more easy attain the needed protein level via eggs and dairy product.)

However, the balanced diet that vegans ultimately must apply is the key to any person seeking to maintain decent energy levels. Think of that one bloke who chows down a big steak at lunchtime, only to be caught snoozing at his desk in the afternoon. Thanks to the overabundance of fat found in most beef, lamb and pork products, his body must shut down certain functions, i.e. go to sleep, in order to more efficiently metastasize those unneeded calories (and turn them into body fat, by the way).

Is it true about vegans and diarrhea?

Sure, vegans can get diarrhea, but so can non-vegans. This concern/belief stems from the fact that many who shift to a vegan lifestyle as adults do experience diarrhea. Sometimes, this is simply due to the body’s adjustment to a new diet; it can also mean that prior to the switchover, the diet did not contain enough fiber.

Two to three weeks of this condition after switching over to a vegan diet is hardly unusual or damaging unless extreme. A slight tweaking to the diet might become necessary to meet one’s specific needs, but of course that’s true for those of any diet.

Is veganism always better?

Of course not. After all, one could easily construct a diet loaded with vegan foods that one could hardly argue are healthy –chocolate bars, cake and biscuits; chips and crisps; beer, wine and spirits all come readily to mind as some of mankind’s favourite vegan products. Absurdity aside, however, the truth is that more produce in one’s diet is almost always healthier – and all but the most militantly ardent meat-eater would certainly admit that most folks eat simply too much animal flesh.

More information on being a Vegan:

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