Some recent research has shown that vegans have lower calcium intakes than omnivores and that they have a higher risk for bone fractures.
That’s bad news for vegans. It’s also bad news for farm animals. Anything that makes a vegan diet look inferior is likely to convince more people to eat animal foods.
So what can you do about that? Some vegans choose denial. They say a vegan diet is better for bone health and they cite old—usually outdated—research to prove it. Many vegans cling to the unproven belief that those who eat plant diets need less calcium. Theirs is a misguided effort to prove that vegan diets are better—and in the long run it risks health and creates bad PR for vegan diets.
Now, it may very well be true that calcium needs are lower for those who don’t consume animal products and it could also be true that the government’s calcium recommendations are higher than what most people need. But until we have definitive information about this, why take a chance? It makes better sense to err on the side of caution.
The issue here is not omnivore versus vegan diet. There are plenty of omnivores with inadequate calcium intakes and weak bones. And it is certainly easy to plan a vegan diet that provides plenty of calcium. Despite the title of this article, it certainly isn’t essential that you use supplements, either. You might choose to get all of your calcium from natural sources like leafy green veggies and beans. Or you can use fortified foods like soymilk, orange juice and calcium-set tofu. But if you aren’t getting enough, make up the difference with a supplement. It is always better for farm animals when vegans are healthy.