In recent years, the popularity of veganism has risen sharply and many more people are now becoming vegan or buying vegan products than ever before. National and international health institutions pay close attention to all health and nutrition issues and have been producing studies and statements on plant-based diets for many years. The support for veganism from these institutions is overwhelming.
Here’s what they say about vegan diets:
Food and Agriculture Organisation & World Health Organisation
Households should select predominantly plant-based diets rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits, pulses or legumes, and minimally processed starchy staple foods.
British National Health Service
With good planning and an understanding of what makes up a healthy, balanced vegan diet, you can get all the nutrients your body needs.
British Dietetic Association
Well-planned vegetarian diets can be nutritious and healthy. They are associated with lower risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity, certain cancers and lower cholesterol levels.
British Nutrition Foundation
Appropriately planned vegetarian diets are nutritionally adequate across all life stages of the life cycle and can provide the nutrients we need.
British Heart Foundation
When it comes to your heart and circulatory health, balanced plant-based diets have been shown to have benefits. One example of this is a well-balanced vegan diet, and another is a Mediterranean diet. These approaches include many of the foods we should all be eating more of, such as fruits and vegetables, beans, lentils, wholegrains, and nuts and seeds. Eating a more plant-based diet could also help our environment.
Canadian Paediatric Society
Well-planned vegetarian and vegan diets with appropriate attention to specific nutrient components can provide a healthy alternative lifestyle at all stages of fetal, infant, child and adolescent growth.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes. Plant-based diets are more environmentally sustainable than diets rich in animal products because they use fewer natural resources and are associated with much less environmental damage. Vegetarians and vegans are at reduced risk of certain health conditions, including ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer, and obesity. Low intake of saturated fat and high intakes of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, soy products, nuts, and seeds (all rich in fiber and phytochemicals) are characteristics of vegetarian and vegan diets that produce lower total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and better serum glucose control. These factors contribute to the reduction of chronic disease. Vegans need reliable sources of vitamin B-12, such as fortified foods or supplements.
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. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.
Harvard Medical School
Traditionally, research into vegetarianism focused mainly on potential nutritional deficiencies, but in recent years, the pendulum has swung the other way, and studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses.
Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
A strong body of scientific evidence links excess meat consumption, particularly of red and processed meat, with heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, certain cancers, and earlier death. Diets high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans can help prevent these diseases and promote health in a variety of ways.
Dietitians of Canada
Anyone can follow a vegan diet – from children to teens to older adults. It’s even healthy for pregnant or nursing mothers. A well-planned vegan diet is high in fibre, vitamins and antioxidants. Plus, it’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol. This healthy combination helps protect against chronic diseases. Vegans have lower rates of heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer than non-vegans. Vegans also have lower blood pressure levels than both meat-eaters and vegetarians and are less likely to be overweight.
Italian Society of Human Nutrition
Well-planned vegetarian diets that include a wide variety of plant foods, and a reliable source of vitamin B12, provide adequate nutrient intake.
The Dietitians Association of Australia
With good planning, those following a vegan diet can cover all their nutrient bases, but there are some extra things to consider.
The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia
Appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthy and nutritionally adequate. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the lifecycle. Those following a strict vegetarian or vegan diet can meet nutrient requirements as long as energy needs are met and an appropriate variety of plant foods are eaten throughout the day.
See Viva! Health’s The Incredible Vegan Health Report for more information on latest science on human health and diets.
Learn more about vegan nutrition.