Can a diet totally devoid of animal protein be healthy for humans who are, by design, omnivores? Common sense would suggest not, but research begs to differ. A new study is just out, attesting to the fact that a stint of vegan eating boosts both heart health and weight loss, and without imposing restrictions on caloric intake. Could the annual January diet craze be in for a vegan overhaul? This would indeed be music to the ears of purveyors of carbohydrate foods, may they be potato growers, bakery manufacturers or noodle bars.
Healthier in just one week
Rarely has a diet come under such sustained and fervent criticism as the vegan diet. Not enough iron, zero vitamin B12, too little protein, lack of variety and, perish the thought, no dairy – surely this can’t be a healthy way to live?
However, plenty of evidence, much of it gleaned from population studies that reach back decades, suggests otherwise. For example, there is the oft-quoted Danish example, where, due to post-WW1 rationing, animal protein, fats and alcohol were severely restricted, forcing the population to subsist largely on potatoes, bread, barley and vegetables. As a result, the country recorded the lowest mortality rate from non-infectious chronic disease (this includes cardiovascular disease) in its entire history.