The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)
The unhealthy vegan diet
Billie Eilish, Woody Harrelson and Mayim Bialik are vegans — and they look like they’re thriving. But according to a study in the journal Nutrients, 53% of vegans don’t eat a healthy diet. Seems that they dine on processed fish and meat alternatives, savory vegan snacks, sauces, cakes and other sweets, convenience foods, fruit juices and refined grains.
Those vegans who primarily chose unhealthy foods have a 29% higher risk of overall mortality, up to 51% higher risk of being overweight or obese, a 29% higher risk of cardiovascular disease and 74% higher risk of Type 2 diabetes than vegans who ate a healthy diet containing far more vegetables, fruit, protein alternatives, 100% whole grains, and healthy vegetable oils and fats. Bonus: Adding a healthy serving of physical activity to that more nutritious vegan diet delivers health and longevity benefits that are even greater.
Tips: If you’re vegan, a healthful diet needs to supply vitamin B12, calcium, iodine and iron, so you may need supplements. And you need to eat plants with lots of ALA (an omega-3 fatty acid); it’s in flax, chia seeds, avocados, and walnuts. That’s because the body can convert ALA to EPA and DHA, two omega-3s that help fight inflammation and boost immune and heart health. However, salmon, sea trout, sardines and herring deliver them directly — that’s why I’m plant-based, not vegan. So, if you’re vegan, pay careful attention to your food sources ... or join me in a plant-based, salmon lovin’ diet.
Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is “The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow.” Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email questions@ GreatAgeReboot.com.