Why Being Vegan Is a Bad Idea

We were recently treated to the news that a 34-year-old vegan woman, an Australian university professor, died on Mt. Everest while on a mission to prove that “vegans can do anything”.

Apparently they can’t. (N=1, of course.)

To be fair, plenty of non-vegans have also died on Mt. Everest. But being vegan while climbing seems like tempting fate, the equivalent of fighting Mike Tyson with one hand tied behind your back.

Being vegan is a bad idea.

By depriving themselves of an entire class of food, namely meat and anything that comes from an animal like eggs and dairy products, vegans deliberately make themselves weak and reliant on substandard sources of necessary nutrients.

Veganism is not slimming

My perception is that many people become vegans because they perceive that vegans are more slender than the general population – a feat that isn’t hard to manage.

Somehow vegans got the mistaken idea that meat caused the obesity epidemic. It’s a  strange idea, because humans have been eating meat for literally a couple of million years, and obesity was relatively uncommon until a few decades ago. Yet people who should know better, such as vegan doctors like Drs. Greger and McDougall, promote the idea that meat causes obesity.

Vegan eating conjures images of platefuls of healthy steaming vegetables, maybe followed by some berries for dessert. While many people complain that eating these types of foods makes them bloated and/or gives them gas, if eaten consistently, these foods would likely lead to weight loss. (Muscle loss too, but that’s another story.)

The reality is quite different.

The following foods are vegan:

  • peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • pasta
  • donuts
  • soda pop and energy drinks
  • candy
  • sugary breakfast cereal
  • soy
  • seed oils

These foods promote fat gain or prevent fat loss. Veganism in itself does not promote weight loss. Many people who follow a “zero-carb” diet –  which in reality is 100% meat – report easy fat loss.

Most vegans I’ve known have eaten exactly the kinds of fattening foods noted above. They are being completely misled about what causes weight loss.

In contrast, a low-carbohydrate diet, heavy in animal products, leads to fat loss. Add weightlifting and the loss is pure fat, i.e. no muscle loss, a very common problem with weight loss.


India has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world. India also has the lowest meat consumption of any country in the world for which there’s data, with the exception of Bangladesh. If not eating meat and animal products were so healthy, why would we see this? In truth, the consumption of grains and sugar, both vegan, are the biggest food contributors to diabetes.

Markers of milk-fat intake are associated with lower risk of diabetes, with no association with cardiovascular disease. Vegans of course consume no dairy products, possibly putting them at higher risk of diabetes.  The majority of observational studies have failed to find an association between the intake of dairy products and increased risk of CVD, coronary heart disease, and stroke, regardless of milk fat levels. Therefore one of the main rationales vegans use for refraining from this animal product, namely that it’s bad for cardiovascular health, is refuted.


There’s a great deal of misinformation about protein requirements, most of it broscience, erroneous folk wisdom, or bad advice from the FDA.

The US RDA for protein is 0.8 g per kg bodyweight. That’s too low. Some bodybuilders (bros) recommend 2.2 g or more per kg, and while that’s probably more than sufficient, it does not seem to be harmful.

Older studies of protein requirements used a method called nitrogen balance. Recent studies using a new method of analysis, the indicator amino acid method, have found that protein requirements in young men may be as much as 50% higher than previously thought.

Most vegans appear to believe that you need even less than the US RDA. Furthermore, protein quality matters, as the body makes use of less of the protein consumed if the quality is low. Protein quality is termed its biological value, and animal proteins such as those in eggs and whey are much higher in biological value than plant proteins.

Plant protein is generally of low quality, i.e. of low biological value. While soy protein has a somewhat high biological value, it’s also full of phytoestrogens, so I would never touch the stuff myself, although men who want to practice birth control via erectile dysfunction and loss of libido might give it a try.

The highest quality sources of protein are whey (made from milk), and eggs. Meat is not far behind. Plant sources like legumes and grains are low in biological value.

By consuming low amounts of low-quality protein, vegans set themselves up for sarcopenia (muscle wasting), osteoporosis, and probably senile dementia. (The latter being aggravated by vegans’ non-existent consumption of vitamin B12.)

Chronic fatigue is also associated with low protein intake, since inadequate protein intake predisposes to oxidative stress from low levels of internal antioxidants, mainly glutathione, which is made from the amino acids we obtain from protein.

On the plus side, it’s possible that low protein intake will make you live longer, although that seems increasingly doubtful. But you may have muscle wasting, brittle bones, and dementia, so it won’t be a lovely old age. Vegans can obtain enough protein by supplementing protein, such as using a pea protein supplement, but the fact that you need to supplement on this diet tells me it isn’t optimal, and of course most vegans don’t use protein supplements anyway.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are those that are found in abundance in fish oil, an animal product.

The omega-3 index is a measure of the amount of omega-3 fats found in red blood cells, and it is strongly correlated with good health. This is an example of another healthy nutrient that vegans deprive themselves of.

The body can convert some forms of omega-3, for instance those found in walnuts and the like, into the longer chain omega-3 fats that are critical constituents of cell membranes. But this conversion is low and inefficient, and counting on it to produce the right amount and kind of omega-3 is foolish.

The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is very important for health also. Our paleolithic ancestors are thought to have had a ratio of about 1.0, whereas in the modern world, many people have ratios of 20 to 50.

The chief culprit behind the increased omega-6/3 ratio is vegetable oils, which have no omega-3 and an abundance of omega-6. (Olive oil is an exception; it’s healthy, and not really a vegetable oil anyway.)

Vegetable oils are vegan. So here’s another example of vegans depriving themselves of healthy nutrients and in most cases adding bad ones. Fish and fish oil are healthy and non-vegan; vegetable (seed) oils are very unhealthy and pure vegan.

A study of omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans in Austria found that vegetarians and vegans had a much higher omega-6/3 ratio, while total PUFA level was the same. “The vegetarian diet, with an average n-6/n-3 ratio of 10/1, promotes biochemical n-3 tissue decline. To ensure physical, mental and neurological health vegetarians have to reduce the n-6/n-3 ratio with an additional intake of direct sources of EPA and DHA, regardless of age and gender.”

Vegetarians generally have higher ratios of omega-6 to -3 fatty acids, and this could negatively impact a developing fetus. Since vegans consume no animal products at all, their ratios may be worse.

Vegans and vegetarians may have “unique nutritional deficiencies” that adversely affect a developing fetus as well as infants who breastfeed. Italy has proposed making illegal the feeding of a vegan diet to children. It’s one thing to choose an unhealthy diet for oneself, another to impose it on a fetus or infant who needs high nutrient density foods to grow and thrive, and who has no choice.

Heart rate variability and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids

Because vegans consume no animal products, including fish, they have lower levels of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, than non-vegans. Red cell membranes, plasma, and lipid mediators in vegans all had a lower fraction of long-chain n-3 PUFAs, and in turn, this was related to heart-rate variability. Heart-rate variability in turn is related to sudden cardiac death; high heart-rate variability indicates a healthier heart that is able to adapt readily to changing physiology and stimuli. “Vegans may have reduced availability of precursor markers for pro-resolving lipid mediators; it remains to be determined whether there is a direct link with impaired cardiac function in populations with low-n-3 status.”

Therefore the non-existent fish consumption of vegans may make them at higher risk for sudden cardiac death.

Vitamin B12 and Iron

Vitamin B12 is a required nutrient, and is found only in animal products. It’s absence produces pernicious anemia (that’s a medical term, not my adjective for how bad it is) and nervous system damage. It can also lead to high levels of homocysteine, which is a risk factor for heart disease and dementia.

While a simple supplement can fix this problem, most vegans appear not to take them.

Given all that I’ve written about the ill effects of too much iron lately, one might think that vegans have an advantage in this area. Well, yes and no.

Iron is a required nutrient, low levels of which cause anemia, and vegans are known to have a higher rate of anemia. (See previous link.) So, many vegans appear to have trouble getting enough iron; meat contains abundant iron in a highly absorbable form (heme), so it’s no wonder.

On the other hand, vegetarians were found to have both lower iron than meat eaters, and better insulin sensitivity. Phlebotomy of the meat eaters lowered their iron and improved insulin sensitivity. Chalk one up for the vegetarians, as insulin sensitivity is a key measure of health.

Note, however, vegetarians, not vegans. These were so-called lacto-ovo vegetarians, who don’t eat meat but do consume dairy products and eggs. It’s not necessary and indeed harmful to forego all animal products, although as we see there may be some benefit to foregoing meat – although this can be a detriment in other ways.

I believe a properly constructed lacto-ovo vegetarian diet can be healthy and provide close to optimal nutrition. I don’t believe that a vegan diet comes close. In any case, vegetarians don’t live longer than others.


Choline is an essential nutrient in humans, and was only recognized as such in 1998.(1) It’s necessary for such functions as neurotransmitter synthesis through acetylcholine, cell signaling via phospholipids, lipid transport via lipoproteins, and methylation, for example in homocysteine. Choline is important in fetal development.

Inadequate intake of choline can lead to fatty liver and neural tube defects. During pregnancy and lactation, higher amounts of choline are required.

Inadequate choline intake is associated with heart disease in older men, and supplementing with choline reduces the homocysteine excess seen in them.

It is thought that the vast majority of Americans have an inadequate intake of choline.

Eggs are the most concentrated source of choline, followed by liver and wheat germ.

While choline is found in some non-animal products, such as wheat germ, the fact that most Americans don’t get enough choline even when they eat animal products suggests that vegans are at especially high risk of choline deficiency, which can have major health consequences for them and their children.

Vegetarians and vegans have worse mental and physical health

Vegetarian men have both higher scores on a test used to measure depression, as well as a much higher (about 2/3 higher) risk of depression. The authors of this study suggest that relative lack of cobalamin or iron could play a role in vegetarians increased depression risk, but that they cannot rule out reverse causation, i.e. depressed people being more likely to become vegetarian. This study shows association only, not causation.

Note that this report studied vegetarians, not vegans; vegetarians consume some animal products, so it’s possible (likely in my opinion) that vegans would score even worse in this type of analysis.

Another recent study found that “a vegetarian diet is associated with poorer health (higher incidences of cancer, allergies, and mental health disorders), a higher need for health care, and poorer quality of life. Therefore, public health programs are needed in order to reduce the health risk due to nutritional factors.” [My emphasis.]

Eat meat, and you’ll feel better both mentally and physically

Vegetarian men have lower sperm counts. They also have lower sperm motility, and the scientists who did this study suggest that the results could be “clinically significant”, meaning that vegetarian and vegan men may have lower fertility than omnivores, and consequently a difficulty conceiving children.

Adding soy to a vegetarian diet, as many Seventh Day Adventists do, doesn’t help and may make fertility worse.


Human Evolution and Animals

Humans have evolved to eat meat, and in fact eating meat may be one of the biggest factors that turned us from our former primate selves into humans.

Depriving ourselves of all meat and animal products makes optimal health and nutrition very difficult, perhaps impossible.

Many vegans became so because they don’t like what eating meat and other animal products does for non-human animals. I’m in complete sympathy – I used to be a vegan, and for that reason mainly.

Unfortunately, the reality of humans on this earth is that meat and animal products are necessary for our health.

There are no vegan societies; presumably any that may have existed have disappeared, wiped out due to disease or starvation or low fertility, or absorbed by more powerful conquerors whose meat eating gave them optimal health, strength, and reproduction.

That fact doesn’t condone animal cruelty or make their lives a plaything, but it does put some perspective on morality. If it’s necessary to eat meat, then it doesn’t seem that it can be wrong.

Update: Brittle Bones from Veganism

Here’s an update to this article. Hopefully I will find more items to add to the topic of why being vegan is a bad idea.

Noted vegan physician and lifelong advocate of veganism Dr. John McDougall fell from a standing height in his bathroom and broke several major bones, including several vertebrae (in his back), his pelvis, and femur.

Maybe I’m wrong in singling out this incident, since it doesn’t count much as science, but it is a case study in veganism. And maybe I’m being unfair to Dr. McDougall; however, he was the one who freely brought it up, and he’s also one that brings up incidents like this when it suits his own prejudices.

It’s not normal for a 67-year-old man to break a bunch of bones when falling from a standing height, and in my opinion that is due to his lifelong veganism. A lack of animal protein likely weakened his bones to the point that he developed osteoporosis. Or it could be a lack of vitamin K from grass-fed dairy products caused the osteoporosis.

By the way, Dr. McDougall also boasts that his cholesterol level is 150, but low cholesterol is associated with increased mortality.

PS: If you need to lose weight and you want to save yourself years of poor results with bad information, I’ve put everything in a simple guide for you.

The World’s Simplest Fat-Loss Plan.




Leave a Comment:

Greg says May 22, 2016

Let me offer a different perspective from my N=1 experiment. On a paleo diet, my LDL-P soared to 2566 (very high risk). After a month on a plant based vegan diet, it dropped to 1096. My ferritin levels have dropped into the optimal range as outlined in your latest book. My T and Free T levels have moved back into the normal range. I have lost fat and gained muscle. My BPH symptoms are gone. My blood pressure has dropped. The only “downside” so far was having to buy a new clothes as my old clothes were too big.

I was supplementing B12 on my old diet and have just kept it going. Last blood test was 884. For Omega 3s, I switched from fish/krill oil pills to Ovega-3 in addition to eating various seeds.

My new diet consists of vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, with some grains such as oatmeal and brown rice. No gluten. No junk food. I am eating plenty of protein on the new diet and this protein does not include antibiotics, hormones, or cholesterol.

I am not sure that this is the optimal diet for everyone but it clearly has worked very well for me. I think anyone with APOE 4 genetics like me ought to give it a shot.

    Jose Carlos says May 23, 2016

    I strongly believe that the vegan diet and any other restrictive diet for that matter can cure serious disease, even cancer, but in the long run it doesn’t work for most people. I’ll say it again: for most people. I think it may work well for someone who started the diet very early on, as an infant, who knows? But for the majority of people, the vegan diet has so to speak an expiry date. Although most places cater for vegans these days, I’m afraid the strict follower will also suffer from some degree of social isolation, which for most people is not conducive to health.

      Brooke Johnson says May 23, 2016

      Oddly enough lots of non-vegans want to try vegan restaurants with me all the time so I don’t find it socially isolating. Worst case I can usually eat some fries at a restaurant. I didn’t go completely vegan until I was 23. We ate a lot of meat when I was growing up and before I went vegan I loved sashimi & steak. I really don’t find being vegan hard or complicated 98% of the time. The other 2% is being at a bad station in the middle of nowhere and them not having dairy free coffee creamer or something.

Jake says May 22, 2016

I support Darwinism in its many forms.

Tuba says May 22, 2016

If vegetarians weren’t so insufferably holier-than-thou I would just laugh and ignore them. But these fools what to force others to follow their unhealthy ways by force. I say eat vegetarians: They should taste like grass-fed pork. That’s really an elegant solution. It gets rid of these pests and provides meat for the rest of us. As for the professor, no children were listed so her genes were mercifully extracted before she had a chance to pass them on. Now… if we can get her husband to climb the mountain again we might be two for two. And…. let’s hear it for freedom which includes the right to do something truly stupid and die for it.

    mark sanders says May 23, 2016

    Talk about insufferable.

Tuba says May 22, 2016

One more thought… The percentage of vegetarians who have died on Everest is 100%. Meat eaters have a far better record.

Tuba says May 22, 2016

You can tell I like this post of yours ’cause this is comment number three. As part of what I do for a living I go to a lot of “vegetarian fairs.” Vegetarians go and those who sell stuff to vegetarians set up booths et cetera. I am nearly always the slimmest person in attendance. I am always an antelope among hippos. I fact when they are local I ride my bicycle there and I am the only person there who can even get on a bike. The vegetarian buyers are obese. The vegetarian vendors are obese. It is a fat fest. A Hippo-In. A Blubber Bash. Vegetarianism is a pathetic farce. Indeed, the first premise has nothing to do with health: Eat No Meat. Every decision after that — EVERY DECISION — is an attempt to make up for the problems caused by the unhealthy first premise. And then it doesn’t stop there. All the machinations trying to get back to nutritional par is viewed as “healthy.” Vegetarianism is the perfection of self-deception.

    Anthony says May 22, 2016

    Vegetarianinsm or veganism alone means nothing. It is whole food plant based veganism or vegetarianism that has health benefits. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, No white flour, sugar, oils, preservatives, additives, and processed junk food.

    Brooke Johnson says May 23, 2016

    I should really stop bringing my non-vegan overweight ex to these events lol.

      bluey says May 23, 2016

      Why do you have history of dating overweight people? Can’t you do any better?

Anthony says May 22, 2016

The proteins in dairy, eggs, and meat, and fish contain a higher proportion of essential amino acids, which results in our bodies producing increased levels of the hormone IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1).[i] [ii] [iii]
IGF-1 stimulates cell division and growth, and it is associated with cancer proliferation and malignancy. The role of IGF-1 in cancer promotion is well understood, and animal protein is associated with increased circulating levels of this hormone (and thereby with increased risk of cancer development).[iv] [v] [vi] [vii] [viii]

[i] MF McCarty. Vegan proteins may reduce risk of cancer, obesity, and cardiovascular disease by promoting increased glucagon activity. Med Hypotheses. 1999 Dec.; 53(6): 459-85.
[ii] NE Allen, PN Appleby, GK Davey, R Kaaks, S Rinaldi, TJ Key. The associations of diet with serum insulin-like growth factor I and its main binding proteins in 292 women meat-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2002 Nov.; 11(11):1441-8.
[iii] NE Allen, PN Appleby, GK Davey, TJ Key. Hormones and diet: low insulin-like growth factor-I but normal bioavailable androgens in vegan men. Br J Cancer. 2000 Jul.; 83(1):95-7.
[iv] LD Youngman, TC Campbell. Inhibition of aflatoxin B1-induced gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase positive (GGT+) hepatic preneoplastic foci and tumors by low protein diets: evidence that altered GGT+ foci indicate neoplastic potential, Carcinogenesis. 1992 Sept.; 13(9):1607-13.
[v] GE Dunaif, TC Campbell. Relative contribution of dietary protein level and aflatoxin B1 dose in generation of presumptive preneoplastic foci in rat liver. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1987 Feb.; 78(2):365-9.
[vi] TC Campbell. Dietary protein, growth factors, and cancer. Am J Clin Nutr 2007; 85:1667.
[vii] D Ornish, G Weidner, WR Fair, R Marlin, EB Pettengill, CJ Raisin, S Dunn-Emke, L Crutchfield, FN Jacobs, RJ Barnard, WJ Aronson, P McCormac, DJ McKnight, JD Fein, AM Dnistrian, J Weinstein, TH Ngo, NR Mendell, PR Carroll. Intensive lifestyle changes may affect the progression of prostate cancer. J Urol. 2005 Sept.; 174(3):1065-9; discussion 1069-70.`
[viii] DL Kleinberg, TL Wood, PA Furth, AV Lee. Growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-I in the transition from normal mammary development to preneoplastic mammary lesions. Endocr Rev. 2009 Feb.; 30(1):51-74. doi: 10.1210/er.2008-0022. Epub 2008 Dec 15.

    Orb says May 24, 2016

    You need to brush up on your studies man.

    Protein or their subtypes, red meat, processed meat, poultry, and seafood are not associated with cancer.[i] The available epidemiologic evidence does not appear to support an association between animal protein intake and cancer.[ii] There are no statistically significant associations between total protein intake and cancer mortality…and the only study that also included protein sources found non-significant relations to animal- and vegetable-based protein.”[iii] The association between animal protein and cancer isn’t even clear, and the only real explanation (IGF-1) isn’t very convincing.

    [i]J Natl Cancer Inst. Fat, protein, and meat consumption and renal cell cancer risk: a pooled analysis of 13 prospective studies.
    [ii]Am J Clin Nutr. Meta-analysis of animal fat or animal protein intake and colorectal cancer.
    [iii]Food Nutr Res. Health effects of protein intake in healthy adults: a systematic literature review.

Technus says May 23, 2016

This entire article is full of BS.

    Sub-zero says May 23, 2016

    Try harder.

Brooke says May 23, 2016

I don’t have time to go into detail about why this is wrong but for anyone whose interested you should probably check out PCRM.org or NutritionFacts.org. Personally I have been vegan for 6 years, I was vegan through my pregnancy with my son and the past 8 months that he’s been breastfeeding. I only take B12 which most people not just vegans should take. I charted my nutrition profile on cron-o-meter & I’m getting everything I need without any complicated planning including iron, omega 3s etc

    P. D. Mangan says May 23, 2016

    You’re vegan through pregnancy and breastfeeding? smh

    PS: Brooke, I added a section to the article on choline. Have a look at it. Hopefully you’ll decide that veganism is unwise while you’re breastfeeding your child.

      Anthony says May 24, 2016

      The choline issue is complete nonsense. If anything, there may be more danger in having a higher choline intake.

      ” Claim: The egg industry heavily promotes the fact that egg yolks are an excellent source of choline (which supports healthy brain function) and that one egg provides 250 milligrams, which is nearly half of the recommended daily intake.
      Fact: Choline Recommendations Are Not Clear – High levels Are Linked to Illness
      The USDA Agriculture Marketing Service suggested to the egg industry that they “boast about the choline content in eggs” (one of the only two nutrients eggs are actually rich in, besides cholesterol.) As a result, they developed “advertorials” for nutrition journals which advertised eggs being an “urgent problem and eggs the solution.” They also sent letters to doctors, conjuring up an “epidemic of choline deficiency” – insisting that “inadequate intake of choline has tremendous public health implications.” Dr. Greger insists that “Most people get about twice what they need and, in fact, too much choline may be the real problem.”
      Dustin Rudolph Pharm.D., addresses this claim by saying, “Choline is an essential nutrient for many different metabolic functions including cell membrane functions, normal muscle functioning, and liver health. Eggs provide some of the highest amounts of choline of any food in the diet. However, the amount of choline humans actually need has not been well studied. The Institute of Medicine didn’t even have enough scientific evidence to create a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for choline when it set out to provide the general public guidelines for the prevention of a dietary choline deficiency. Instead, they opted for creating an Adequate Intake (AI) level, which is basically their best educated guess based on the scant science available. The AI for men is 550 mg/day of choline and for women 425 mg/day. However, no study has ever nailed down an absolute minimum amount for avoiding a deficiency, and one study actually showed as little as 138 mg/day may be enough for some males to prevent a deficiency. Furthermore, most studies testing a choline deficiency in humans found that symptoms didn’t present themselves until choline intake was less than 50 mg/day. What’s even more concerning is that recent data over the past few years has been increasingly showing that too much choline can lead to heart disease, cancer, and death.”
      “A landmark study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that choline in eggs, poultry, dairy and fish produces the same toxic TMAO as carnitine in red meat.” Increased TAMO levels are associated with an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and death.
      Studies have shown that choline consumption not only plays a role in promoting and spreading cancer, it also significantly increases the risk of dying from it. A recent study reported that those who consumed the most eggs had a 70% increased risk of lethal prostate cancer. They concluded: “Of the 47,896 men in our study population, choline intake was associated with an increased risk of lethal prostate cancer.” Another recent study found that men who consumed 2.5 or more eggs per week had an 81 percent increased risk of lethal prostate cancer. Their conclusion was the same: “Consumption of eggs may increase risk of developing a lethal form of prostate cancer among healthy men.”
      “New research published this year has shown that a byproduct of choline, a component that is particularly high in eggs, increases one’s risk for a heart attack, stroke, and death.”
      “Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic found that dietary choline, found predominantly in eggs, milk, liver, red meat, poultry, and fish…. may contribute to plaque build-up in peoples’ arteries. This may set us up for heart disease, stroke, death, and cardiac surgery. Choline may be one of the reasons people following the Atkins diet are at increased risk of heart disease whereas a plant-based diet like Ornish’s can instead reverse our number one killer. This new research adds choline to the list of dietary culprits with the potential to increase the risk of heart disease, making eggs a double whammy—the most concentrated common source of both choline and cholesterol.”
      “Animal foods, such as meat, poultry, cheese, milk, and eggs are well recognized as the primary cause of obesity, heart disease, and common cancers in people following the Western diet. Choline, a chemical found in high concentration in animal foods, has profound effects on gene expression and is considered to be an important factor in our modern day diseases.”
      “The U.S. government has created a database for the choline content of different foods here. Two hard-boiled eggs (approximately 100 grams) provides 230 mg of choline. Two thirds of a cup of uncooked, unprocessed soybeans (approximately 100 grams) delivers 120 mg of choline. Using the Nutritiondata.com database 1 cup of cooked quinoa provides 119 mg of choline. Unprocessed soybeans and quinoa (a whole grain) are two health-promoting plant foods that are viable alternatives to eggs (along with many other plant-based foods) for dietary choline sources. These plant foods have also not been shown in multiple studies to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer like eggs have.”
      In 2010, Dr. Erin Richard and colleagues at Harvard conducted a study involving 1294 men with early stage prostate cancer. They followed them several years to find out if their diets were associated with a reappearance of cancer, such as spreading to the bone. “Compared to men who hardly ate any eggs, men who ate even less than a single egg a day had a significant 2-fold increased risk of prostate cancer progression.” Researchers suggested that “A plausible mechanism that may explain the association between eggs and prostate cancer progression is high dietary choline.”
      “Egg consumption is a determinant of how much choline you have in your blood, and higher blood choline has been associated with a greater risk of getting prostate cancer in the first place. So the choline in eggs may both increase one’s risk of getting it, then having it spread and also having it kill you. Choline is so concentrated in cancer cells that doctors can follow choline uptake to track the spread of cancer throughout the body. It’s ironic that the choline content of eggs is something the egg industry actually boasts about. And the industry is aware of the cancer data.” (http://www.drcarney.com/topics/item/262-unscrambling-the-truth-about-eggs#.V0UK7ChM7ww)

        P. D. Mangan says May 24, 2016

        “Animal foods, such as meat, poultry, cheese, milk, and eggs are well recognized as the primary cause of obesity, heart disease, and common cancers in people following the Western diet.” this is total BS, as is the rest of the quoted passage. It’s mainly refined carbs and sugar.

        I see that this Dr Carney is another vegan fanatic who twists evidence or, as in this case, doesn’t provide any.

      Carissa says April 14, 2018

      I’m going on a whim and say doctors and nutritionists know better than a random butthurt stranger on the internet. Call me crazy.

        P. D. Mangan says April 14, 2018

        Enjoy your wasted muscles, B12 deficiency, and broken bones, Carissa!

        Roy says January 5, 2019

        ^^^Appeal to authority. Meh.

    Jose Carlos says May 23, 2016

    You’re lucky that these B12 supplements are so easy to buy nowadays, but I don’t think they were available a couple of centuries ago. Anyway, I read that this supplementation, however ‘natural’ it is, is reported to favor the outburst of latent cancer. Take care.

      Greg says May 23, 2016

      The ultimate source of B12 is bacteria in contaminated water. Humans would have been consuming B12 via drinking water a couple of centuries ago. Fortunately, we now have clean water for humans but not so much for the animals that some of us choose to consume. I never trusted that animal sources of B12 were adequate since there is no way of knowing how much dirty water the animal was exposed to prior to death. I think that supplementation and periodic blood testing is a good idea for everyone regardless of their diet.

    LOL says May 23, 2016

    “I don’t have time to go into detail about why this is wrong”


    Avi Chetlin says April 17, 2018

    I may be multiple years late, but I couldn’t help and see the total flaw with this. “I don’t have time to go into detail about why this is wrong but for anyone whose interested you should probably check out PCRM.org or NutritionFacts.org.” (Brooke, 23 May 2016) First of all, this is the classic burden of proof fallacy. https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/burden-of-proof Instead of actually showing us why it’s wrong, you’re “too lazy” to prove it, which I assume to be you not actually being able to prove it wrong, but acting like you can. Second of all, it’s who’s, not whose.

      P. D. Mangan says April 17, 2018

      Part of the dynamic here is an appeal to authority. I don’t have M.D. or PhD after my name, and in a topic as contentious as this, and as complex, it’s always possible to find a better-credentialed person who disagrees with me and promotes veganism. By the logic of the masses, that means I must be wrong.

Garrett says May 23, 2016

The issue with vegans/vegetarians seems not to be objective, but emotionally motivated, as
can be guessed by observing the often extraordinary emotional outbursts, even aggression, of the
people using such diets.

If it was really only about health effects, the discussion about the topic would include no drama,
no attempts to proselytize others and generally no exceedingly emotional activation of the proponents of
such a diet.

I thought for some time that vegans are motivated by the drive not to hurt or kill cute animals (much alike the no-fur campaigning of PETA), because those trigger “baby face caring and parenting” emotions in some people, especially those having lived all their life in cities, who have never really seen the realities of life and death,
butchering, hunting etc. – and indeed, in rural areas fewer vegans exist; it seems to be a city-people fashion,
also over-proportionally women.

Anyway, I regard some of it as religious, insane even. Those people need to tour a couple of butcheries, maybe chop off the head of some live chicken in some farm, and cook it into a meal to clear their heads.
I have witnessed such things as being normal as a child;
and then , to make clear that we humans treat animals actually quite nice by killing them quickly,
they should be informed how things about eating, predators, and dying work out in real nature – any human
butchery look in comparison to quantity and quality of the pain and distress found in nature 24/7 harmless,
friendly even.

If people got all their life food only from
the supermarket and know real animals mostly as pets, there may be some emotional mixup which leads
to uninformed opinions and behavior, making them think that killing/eating animals is a bit like killing and eating human babies.

While a heavily vegetable/pulses-based diet most certainly is proven to be close to optimal health-wise (statistically and by loads of specific effects and mechanisms), dairy and white meat is perfectly tolerable (we have zero effects seen in people studied eating it). Red meats seem OK if they come from well-fed animals (grass fed cows instead of industrial-chow fed ones).
Meat, however, is certainly toxic if in some aged preparations, like sausages which contains additives like nitrites – combined with the protein in the meat they can react into nitrosamines, which definitely are carcinogenic – just eat good and fresh meat, and you will never touch this stuff.

Meat-eating also has positive effects, for example it seems to improve cognitive ability:
Especially vegans who received creatine improved.

Vegans are statistically healthier, indeed, but there seems to be a heavy bias, because those who
become vegan are also of socially higher class, less overweight, drink less alcohol, and do more
physical exercise, for example.

Also, we see no obvious negative effects on whole populations that eat a lot fish and meat;
the Japanese and French (French Paradox) for example grow especially old and stay fit and slim and healthy.

Evolutionary, we should be most healthy for those things we are adapted to.
Our ancestors were those who not only survived, but also reared children successfully.
Those ancestors greatly desired sugar, but very seldom actually could acquire it;
the food they really lived on was most certainly highly diverse in plant material, supplemented with
food derived from animals.
Logically, we should be best adapted to the food our ancestors actually ate and functioned with well enough to succeed evolutionary, not the food they craved (and we inherited those cravings) but almost never actually had available.
Therefore, the optimum seems to be a multi-plant (mostly vegetables and pulses,also some fruit)-based diet, enriched with meat, eggs, and dairy, while avoiding the kind of fat-and-sugar bombs (“Western Diet”) our ancestors craved, but practically never actually put in their mouths.

James says May 23, 2016

What struck me when I saw the attractive Australian women was how bad her teeth looked. Intelligent and attractive Australian women of her generation tend to have much better teeth.

sth_txs says May 24, 2016

I do think there are some issues with the factory farming of animals for meat. It is too bad that guys like Joe Salatin are not the normal but the exception.

If meat in of itself is so bad, how did Lewis and Clark, and La Salle and other explorers not die of ketosis or whatever when they not recovering from dysentery or malaria? Not like they had fresh vegetables to pick while exploring.

Anthony says May 25, 2016

“We were recently treated to the news that a 34-year-old woman, an Australian university professor, died on Mt. Everest while on a mission to prove that “vegans can do anything”.
Apparently they can’t.” Not True

“Last week, a vegan named Kuntal Joisher successfully reached the summit of Mt Everest and came home to post photos to his Instagram account. Chances are, you didn’t hear much, if anything, about him. No doubt, though, you heard about another vegan climber, one who died while attempting to climb the tallest mountain in the world.”
– See more at: http://www.theveganrd.com/2016/05/yes-vegans-can-climb-mt-everest.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheVeganDietitian+%28The+Vegan+Dietitian%29#sthash.LxrePv3B.dpuf

Anthony says May 27, 2016

(https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002458.htm) Protein is important for muscle growth and to repair body tissues. Protein can also be used by the body for energy, but only after carbohydrate stores have been used up.

But it is also a myth that a high-protein diet will promote muscle growth.

Only strength training and exercise will change muscle.
Athletes, even body builders, need only a little bit of extra protein to support muscle growth. Athletes can easily meet this increased need by eating more total calories (eating more food).
Most Americans already eat almost twice as much protein as they need for muscle development. Too much protein in the diet:

Will be stored as increased body fat
Can increase the chance for dehydration (not enough fluids in the body)
Can lead to loss of calcium
Can put an added burden on the kidneys
Often, people who focus on eating extra protein may not get enough carbohydrates, which are the most important source of energy during exercise.

Amino acid supplements and eating a lot of protein are not recommended.

Steven says May 28, 2016

This post was to get more eyeballs. Not well researched like other posts.
Why? What 2 documented groups lived the longest? This is one of your main tenants – anti aging. Okinawians (pre 1970s prior to SAD entrance and SDA’s in Southern California. 80-95% calories from starch. Plant based, whole foods (not processed oils and processed carbs) nor animal proteins nor fats. Very active in their 80s.

Using a single persons death as a title was sensationalism, not classy nor relevant to your usual usage of proper studies.

    P. D. Mangan says May 28, 2016

    So do you think I should write things that no one wants to read? Why I wrote is irrelevant, and you’re not a mind reader, so you don’t know why, and it’s insulting and absurd to say that you do.

    I linked to my other posts, and that’s where you’ll find the research, but I guess you didn’t look.

    Okinawans and Seventh-Day Adventists are not and were not vegan, so it’s a complete red herring to use them as an example. Mormons live longer than SDA anyway.

    I’m sorry that you think I’m low class. Maybe you need to be reading classier sites than this one.

      José Carlos Martins Barbosa says May 29, 2016

      P. D., you know, you can’t please everyone. (In Portuguese, we say ‘you can’t please Greeks and Trojans at the same time’). Just keep up your good work, please.

        P. D. Mangan says May 29, 2016

        Thanks, José Carlos. I think the commenter is what is known on the internet as a “concern troll” – someone who doesn’t like what you have to say and phrases it in a way that makes it seem as if he is concerned about you and your reputation.

nubwaxer says June 2, 2016

i think people passionate about animal rights become vegans and then want to feel intellectually superior by studying all the good intentions vegan diet advocates offer them. there is also the spiritual aspect in imitating the diets of most indians and their holy men.
i’m going low carb/high fat and finding good fats a challenge to find. http://healthimpactnews.com/2013/sweden-becomes-first-western-nation-to-reject-low-fat-diet-dogma-in-favor-of-low-carb-high-fat-nutrition/

eah says June 3, 2016

Per the linked article, she died of altitude sickness, as have many others while climbing Everest; is there any evidence that veganism makes you more susceptible to altitude sickness? Also, she had successfully climbed other challenging peaks, including Denali. From the article: “Eric Arnold, a 36-year-old Dutch national, also died on Saturday from altitude sickness…It was his fifth attempt at climbing Everest.” I presume he was not vegan.

Her reported reason for climbing Everest was pretty silly — I’m not aware that vegans are generally thought to be weak or malnourished. Everest has killed plenty of very healthy non-vegans — I think she had proved her point well enough before trying Everest.

But I also think the balance of the evidence shows veganism is misguided, and can be harmful. Rather than wanting to be thin, I think more people are vegans because they object to the cruelty, abuse, and just plain stupidity (eg antibiotics) involved in the modern mass production of meat and animal products generally.

    P. D. Mangan says August 4, 2016

    Headline is misleading: nowhere in the article, which does not have a link to the original research, does it say vegans live longer. It says more plant protein is healthier. It also says “Substituting eggs for plant protein led to a 19 per cent reduction in death risk”. Anyway, these are all associations, not causation. Vegans are more likely to live healthier lifestyles through less smoking, drinking, more exercise, etc.

      Greg says August 4, 2016

      The USA is being represented by at the Olympics by a vegan weightlifter- Kendrick Farris. Apparently he can lift more than 800 lbs. and set a new US record at the Olympic trials. https://youtu.be/acjItepUvOk

        Nick says August 5, 2016

        Digging a bit into that story reveals he switched to veganism a couple of years ago, after already having been a two-time Olympic athlete. So, it’s not like he bulked up without meat.

          Brody says November 16, 2017

          I think the idea is that he’s vegan and still maintains enough muscle mass to be in the Olympics

hussein says February 10, 2017

that comment about tyson is funny, since the man has been a vegan for quite some time now.

Protein Fights Fatigue - Rogue Health and Fitness says April 25, 2017

[…] Even if not complete vegetarians, they may believe, as large numbers of people do believe, that meat, eggs, and cheese are unhealthy and to be minimized. Meat, eggs, and cheese (and other dairy products, and fish) contain large amounts of complete protein and are, in my view, necessary for good health. While vegetarians could have a reasonably good diet if they include eggs and dairy, I believe it’s next to impossible for a vegan to eat well. […]

JP says July 23, 2017

“Noted vegan physician and lifelong advocate of veganism Dr. John McDougall fell from a standing height in his bathroom and broke several major bones, including several vertebrae (in his back), his pelvis, and femur.”

It is probably wrong to find this and the “vegan dies on Mount Everest” story oddly satisfying.

Really horrifying: baby dies due to parents putting him on vegan diet’


“A 7-month-old baby died when his health-food nut parents fed him a diet of quinoa “milk” and other gluten-free, lactose-free dairy alternatives, according to reports…. The parents, identified as Peter S, 34, and Sandrina V, 30, first took their dying son to a homeopathic doctor, who urged them to go to a real hospital, the paper reports.

The hippies run a natural food store, and claimed they never noticed anything wrong with their tiny tot.”

You can bet these idiots were smugly congratulating themselves on how they were feeding their child “healthy” food.

Kirsten says September 16, 2017

You should really educate yourself properly before spouting BS to your readers. I’ll now unfollow you and now return 🙂

    Avi Chetlin says April 17, 2018

    “You should really educate yourself properly before spouting BS to your readers.” (Kirsten, 16 September 2017), Kirsten says while providing absolutely no proof of this “BS” they mentioned, no doubt writing this comment in a heated rage after realizing how right the writer of this article is. One more thing. “[A]nd now return.” …What?

Percival Doctrine says September 28, 2017

Veganism bears the mark of religion. I have observed that most vegans are keen are converting people. I believe that if vegans were serious about reducing animal cruelty, they would buy up some ranches and farms and market animal products that are cruelty free. Vanishingly few people are willing to convert to veganism, but growing numbers are willing to pay a premium price for foods that are of high quality and free of cruelty. Most are content to be ascetics, modern day pillar-sitters who suffer for an audience, unburdened by actually effecting change in their society.

Nate says October 8, 2017

By consuming low amounts of low-quality protein, vegans set themselves up for sarcopenia (muscle wasting), osteoporosis, and probably senile dementia.

Where is your referenced work? I am not seeing a link to a study that low amounts of low quality protein can lead to senile dementia. There are currently no scientific studies that prove a correlation or causal inference between the lack of protein and osteoporosis. Osteoporosis in fact is not indirectly or directly influenced by proteins. There are actually studies that show a correlation between rates of osteoporosis and consumption of dairy over a population and the studies actually showed the more diary consumed the higher chances of osteoporosis.

I am not sure if you believe the conjecture you are writing or if you are simply reiterating non scientific opinions you have read in an attempt to monetize this trend of veganism. Either way your blog post is very disinformed.

Brody says November 16, 2017

The following foods are vegan:

peanut butter and jelly sandwiches- peanut butter is vegan, but a lot of jelly has gelatin in it which comes from animals

pasta- egg noodles aren’t vegan, and rice noodles have .4g of fat per serving

donuts- the #1 search result for a recipe for donuts calls for 2 eggs, which is not vegan

soda pop and energy drinks- many sodas and energy drinks contain ester gum which uses glycerol, another animal product

candy- lot’s of candy has gelatin, carmine, and shellac which are all produced from animal products, so not vegan

sugary breakfast cereal- many breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin D3 which is produced from sheep’s wool, so not vegan

What were some good vegan foods to get fat on again?

    P. D. Mangan says November 16, 2017

    Oh please. You saying that if you drink soda pop w/o glycerol, or eat jelly w/o gelatin, you won’t get fat? If so, that’s pretty dumb.

Shane says November 29, 2017

This article is so wack and outdated.
Where did u get this complete misinformation from. I mean seriously nearly every point is complete bull.
Please do your research properly before you share such fake news.

    P. D. Mangan says November 29, 2017

    Such a cogent criticism.

Mark Curran says December 19, 2017

I was willing to consider your words — until I saw the smack about “vegan is not slimming”.

I know that’s a crock because I lost 70lbs, and ate a lot, at plenty, when I went (and am) vegan. 70lbs.

Not only much slimmer, I am much more fit, more active, more energy.

So the rest of your words are not worth my time.

    P. D. Mangan says December 19, 2017

    OK, that’s totally scientific.

Amanda says January 4, 2018

Hi! Just wanted to know… Where did your get your data regarding India having one of the worst epidemic rates for diabetes? Because number one is Mauritius. For 2016, which was when this article was published. And their #1 national dish consists of “inexpensive beef braised in a garlic and wine sauce.” Furthermore, how can you begin your article pointing out a vegan who died in Mt. Everest, and then admitting that there have been some who died who eat meat? Lol. And if all animals get their protein from plants (because we’re all what we eat…) How would a vegan not be getting the same amount as those consuming meat, IF NOT MORE? If we look okay the food chain, don’t we lose LESS energy as we reach the top? Being a vegan is like cutting out the middle man. And the BS. Your article is inaccurate and misinforming the public. I hope your readers look into how different foods are metabolized and which macronutrients matter most.

Bill says April 17, 2018

Good grief PD, the veganists don’t let go do they.. Their ideology is a religious faith got them. Facts don’t count !

    P. D. Mangan says April 18, 2018

    Pretty much. People get emotional when their core beliefs are called into question. I’d rather look at facts and logic myself.

    Jack Kenney says November 14, 2018

    Facts do count, 9.4% of vegans are obese, 33% of omnivores are obese, 16.9% of pescos are obese.

Taylor says June 16, 2018

This is the most bull I have heard in ages!! This website sounds like a 60 year old from when humans had no idea what actual healthy eating was giving a lecture about how thier after- school snack of twinkies are the most “nutritious” item in the world. My grandparents lived in that era. They criticize me of the same arguments that this website makes! Except the funny part is that my grandparents (and probably the founder of this website) think they can lecture about healthy eating, when infact they are both overweight, take multiple medications for obesity problems, and eat at fast food chains (that are known to cause obesity with their link from high saturated fat, cholesterol, high sodium, and even in some cases high amounts of added sugar). For the maker of this website to argue that vegans debrive themselves of “necessary nutrients” and protein is absurd. It was actually proven by a case study funded by the World Health Organization that vegans consume more necessary nutrients and almost the same amount of protein and in some cases more. For an example, I am vegan and on a daily basis consume almost 20g of protein more than what the World Health Organization recommends for my height, weight, and age. I also dont take any added supplements for protein. Now inorder for me to be helpful i must interpret that not all protein is made equal. Infact the protein found in food that has high amounts of saturated fat is proven by the World Health Organization to contain less benfits than food that have less saturated fat ( examples from the experiment include: vegetables and fruits vs. turkey, chicken, steak and even bison). I also noticed that the comment of “vegans consume too little protein” to be very untrue. Infact he or she’s words to back this information up was from the mouth of a bodybuilder! Sorry to break it to everyone, but most of the general population are not bodybuilders! The small amount of information that backs my argument up isn’t even compared to the stacks, and stacks, and stacks of information that conclude eating a dairy and meat-free diet give the most optimal conditions for the human body. One last thing, the human body systems are not made to process meats. If anyone were to compare the digestive system of a carnivore to a human they would find that the human body’s digestive system is no where near similar to a carnivore. Infact humans don’t even have the jaw or teeth for eating meat. Our teeth are not designed to chomp on meat the way other animals do. Humans actually have a very similar teeth line to gorillas (who only eat fruit and insects). Thanks for reading this far and playing into the insite of a real healthy lifestyle of eating habits.

    Bill says June 17, 2018

    Bugger PD, two years later and the veganists are still trying to bite you…I guess they like the taste !

Anthony says July 6, 2018

This is so dumb, these facts are not even true! India has one of the highest diabetics rates?! It’s number 48 on the list! And vegetarian and vegan are two complete different things, in India they eat a lot of dairy, ghee, cottage cheese, etc…. vegans don’t! Lol

Teresa says November 9, 2018

Listen to the wisdom of this essay before it’s too late. My husband and I were both religiously vegan. Our health got worse and worse. Initially, we went to alternative doctors to figure out why our health was getting bad. We had believed that veganism couldn’t have been the problem, since it was ultra healthy. So we went gluten free, too. We both got very sick. My husband lost his balance and fell. Now he has Parkinson’s disease. I started being off balance and developed nerve pain, and finally numbness. We couldn’t accept it was the vegan diet because we were taking all the right supplements. It out both my husband and I have the homozygous MTHFR genetic issues that means our bodies can’t process the type of B12 that is added to food and supplements. I was able to recover from my nerve damage over a three year time. My husband will never recover from Parkinson’s. I now feel veganism is an eating disorder like bulimia. You make yourself sick by strictly over controlling what you put in your mouth, and you ignore/refuse your body’s to eat what your body wants. It’s about control.

    P. D. Mangan says November 10, 2018

    Thanks, Teresa, terrible what you and your husband have gone through. It’s crazy that some people think this is a natural, human way to eat, when it clearly isn’t and can cause great harm.

Jack Kenney says November 14, 2018

vegan is definately the most anti-inflammatory diet
Vitamin b12 supplements that are vegan are for sale also.
Calcium and iron come from vegetables
9.4% of vegans are obese, 33% of omnivores are obese, 16.9% of pesco vegetarians are obese. so it is clearly the best way to avoid obesity. Fat also contains 9 calories per gram while carbs contain only 4. It’s at the virge of impossible to gain weight on
a low fat diet. Also carbs are definately not the problem in USA. We consume the most meat of any country in the world per capita and are the most obese. So if you want to recover as fast as possible with minimal soreness go vegan.

Jack Kenney says November 14, 2018

in 218g of flaxseed oil there are Total Omega-3 fatty acids
116202mg of omega 3, cod has only 43024mg in 218g. so your claim that there is limited omega 3 is wrong. People who buy fish oil for this are sinking their money. It has more calories per gram of omega 3, and much more $$$ than flaxseed.

    Jack Kenney says November 14, 2018

    typo on my previous statement. I meant to say.
    in 218g of flaxseed oil there are 116202mg of omega 3, cod has only 43024mg in 218. so your claim that there is limited omega 3 is wrong. People who buy fish oil for this nutriant are sinking their money. It has more calories per gram of omega 3 and is much more expensive than flaxseed

Jean Jacotin says January 5, 2019

That’s bs. Maybe you are serving a special interest. Which industry is paying you?

    P. D. Mangan says January 5, 2019

    Incisive criticism.

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