Nutrition

Vegan Diets, Critical Thinking, and 9 Blogs You Need to Read

I had the great pleasure of speaking to the members of the Vegan Chicago Meetup  last week. In addition to being warm and welcoming, this is another group on my list of organizations that aim to promote an evidence-based approach to vegan advocacy. Before my talk on the Seven Habits of Healthy Vegans, event organizer Dave Sutherland introduced the group’s Vegan Chicago Baloney Detection kit—a guide to critical thinking for vegans, which is based on material from Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World.

Detecting baloney is no easy thing. Resources on veganism are packed […]

By |2012-02-21T13:35:28-05:00February 21st, 2012|Tags: , , |40 Comments

Vegetarian Diets and Eating Disorders

A study published in the journal Appetite took a new approach to examining the relationship between vegetarian diet patterns and eating disorders. I just wrote it up for the ADA’s vegetarian nutrition newsletter, and it’s such interesting research, that I wanted to share it here, even though Jack has already blogged about it.

Past research has suggested that young women who follow “vegetarian” diets are more likely to have restrained eating habits, or a tendency toward eating disorders—probably because some women with eating disorders adopt a vegetarian diet as a socially acceptable way of controlling food intake.

But these studies […]

By |2011-11-30T13:25:58-05:00November 30th, 2011|Tags: , , |20 Comments

Vegan Nutrition: Sometimes the Devil Really is in the Details

Dietitian Elisa Rodriguez published a great interview with Jack Norris on One Green Planet last week. In talking about our book Vegan for Life, Jack noted that there are benefits to a “holistic” view of nutrition, but that his biggest contribution has most likely been in helping vegans understand that “micronutrients matter.” That’s because “being deficient in vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, iodine, omega-3s, iron, or zinc results in real consequences.”

It’s tempting to think that eating a variety of whole plant foods—the big picture or holistic approach—without attention to detail, is good enough for meeting nutrient […]

By |2011-11-15T11:21:04-05:00November 15th, 2011|Tags: , |4 Comments

Countering Claims Against Vegan Diets

Several months ago, I was asked to respond to an article about the “dangers” of vegan diets that had been published in At the Wedge, the newsletter of the Wedge Community Co-op in Minneapolis. It was written by a holistic nutritionist who, among other things, counsels “recovering vegans.”

People abandon vegan diets for all kinds of reasons, but those who are “recovering” from this way of eating obviously believe that being vegan damaged their health and that it may very well damage yours, too.

This isn’t a term that crops up in mainstream nutrition circles. I’ve never heard it from any of […]

By |2011-11-08T13:20:45-05:00November 8th, 2011|Tags: , , , |17 Comments

U.S News Rates Vegan Diets (and Gets a Few Things Wrong)

U.S. News brought together a team of  nutrition experts to rank popular diets commonly used for weight control. According to the report, the best diets were “relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe, and effective for weight loss and against diabetes and heart disease.”

At the head of their list were the DASH and Mediterranean diets — not too surprising since these are well-studied approaches to eating that have a good track record for protecting against disease. The surprise was that a vegan diet ranked pretty low on the list (below Slimfast and Jenny Craig!) While it seemed that the […]

By |2011-11-03T15:47:44-04:00November 3rd, 2011|Tags: , , |21 Comments

Being Picky About Vegan Nutrition

Psychology Today recently published the results of a web-based survey on why vegetarians return to meat-eating. The number one reason given was failed health, and this was followed by the “hassle and stigma” of being vegetarian.

Their study had just 77 participants (I don’t know how many were vegan) and, to my knowledge, hasn’t been published in a peer-reviewed journal, so it’s not much more than food for thought. What impressed me the most about the article was the author’s reference to a 2005 CBS News survey which found that there are three times as many “ex-vegetarians” as there […]

By |2011-07-01T12:32:12-04:00July 1st, 2011|Tags: , |73 Comments

Fat Soluble Vitamins: Do They Stand Between Vegans and Health?

This month, I’m working on a couple of responses to recently published criticisms of vegan diets. Among the issues that are frequently raised is one that focuses on fat-soluble vitamins. Some of the concerns are based on legitimate questions about active forms of these vitamins and their absorption from plant foods, and others aren’t. Regardless of those questions, though, plant foods can and do provide enough of the fat soluble vitamins A, D and K. (Vitamin E, which is also fat-soluble, is not involved in the controversy since it’s found in a […]
By |2011-06-20T12:33:48-04:00June 20th, 2011|Tags: , , , , |59 Comments

Meeting Protein Needs on a Vegan Diet: The Calorie Connection

People often ask why any adult would need a diet providing more than 5 to 6 percent of calories from protein. After all, human breast milk is around 6 percent protein and it supports health during the fastest period of growth of the entire lifecycle. How could adults need a more protein dense diet than an infant?
Babies certainly have high protein needs for their size. They require almost 0.7 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. Vegan adults need far less—around 0.4 […]
By |2019-11-11T09:59:52-05:00March 13th, 2011|Tags: , , |41 Comments

Healthy Vegan Diets Can Include Meat Analogues

A little hot dog stand in my town advertises on a big bold hand-written sign that they have vegan hotdogs. (They used to sell “veegun” hotdogs; I’m not the one who corrected them, but I’m glad somebody did.) Even though I live in a hippie town where this sort of thing isn’t unusual, it makes me happy. Vegan fare at a hotdog stand gives me hope for the future.
The first “meat analog” was invented by John Harvey Kellogg in 1895 and it definitely wasn’t a hotdog. He ground peanuts into peanut butter […]
By |2011-02-17T10:10:43-05:00February 17th, 2011|Tags: , , , |44 Comments

Recommended Supplements for Vegans

Just days before everyone was talking about the Voracious [ex-] Vegan story, I received a severe scolding from a reader for my stance on supplements (this was in response to my post on omega-3s). She was adamant about the fact that “whole plant foods” can easily provide everything we need.
An effort to prove that a whole foods vegan diet is the ideal or foolproof diet of all humans gives rise to all kinds of potentially harmful myths. These include the unfounded […]
By |2010-11-28T13:19:06-05:00November 28th, 2010|Tags: , , , , , |179 Comments
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