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In the Vegetarian & Vegan News...
   VegSource Interactive, Inc. | Diet and Health

Legitimate Concerns for Vegans
by Joel Fuhrman MD

There are some plausible reasons why a person might think that people should include some animal products in their diets. Even if they did not kill and eat animals, small insect metter and bacteria were always present on wild food. Modern washed and sanitized food even makes a natural, whole-foods vegan diet incomplete. There are three weaknesses of a vegan diet:
  • Plant foods contain no vitamin B12 (which all vegan should take).
  • Some vegans have a need for more taurine (or other amino acids) and may not get optimal amounts with a vegan diet. A blood test can be checked to assure adequacy.
  • Some vegans may not produce ideal levels of DHA fat from the conversion of short-chain omega-3 fats found in such foods as flax and walnuts. I advocate that people who do not eat fish should supplement with DHA or get a blood test to assure adequacy.
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These are three areas of potential deficiency on a vegan diet are easily remedied by taking supplements. Obviously, there are loads of advantages of a vegetarian diet that also should be considered, but that is not the topic for this article. A poorly designed vegetarian diet or one that is not supplemented properly with vitamin B12 and vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) can be dangerous. However, these considerations cannot be used as an argument to justify dietary recommendations that include lots of high-saturated fat animal products.

I advocate a diet rich in micronutrients, especially antioxidants and phytochemicals, and the largest percentage of everyone’s diet must be from unrefined plant foods—no matter what your genetic “type.”

In order to do this, you must understand the nutrient density of all foods and eat more foods higher on the nutrient density scale. (Animal products are very low in nutrient density.) This nutrient per calorie density principle is what my book Eat to Live is about.

Joel Fuhrman MD is a board-certified family physician who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional and natural methods. Author of Eat To Live. The above article comes from Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times Newsletter, which is available at www.drfuhrman.com. Dr. Fuhrman's blog site: www.diseaseproof.com.

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