One of the most common excuses animal-eaters give as to why they "could never go vegan" is that it's not healthy.
At first, this sounds like a plausible rationale for supporting the exploitation and abuse of nonhuman animals.
No one wants to kill animals. But if we need to in order to get all the nutrients we need, then it's okay, right?
Well, let's see what the major nutrition, health and dietetic associations from around the world have to say about the nutritional adequacy of strictly plant-based diets.
In order for health concerns to be a reason not to be vegan, vegans (or those following a strict plant-based diet) would need to be shown to have worse health outcomes than the general population.
Fortunately for the trillions of innocent animals slaughtered for food every year, that is just not the case.
That is why the major dietetics and nutrition organizations in the world - the people qualified to make such statements - agree that vegan and vegetarian diets can be just as healthy as standard omnivorous diets.
Here is what they specifically have to say on the subject, with source links in the titles:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as American Dietetic Association)
It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes. See also.
Dietitians of Canada
A healthy vegan diet can meet all your nutrient needs at any stage of life including when you are pregnant, breastfeeding or for older adults.
The British National Health Service
With good planning and an understanding of what makes up a healthy, balanced vegan diet, you can get all the nutrients your body needs.
The British Nutrition Foundation
A well-planned, balanced vegetarian or vegan diet can be nutritionally adequate ... Studies of UK vegetarian and vegan children have revealed that their growth and development are within the normal range.
The Dietitians Association of Australia
Vegan diets are a type of vegetarian diet, where only plant-based foods are eaten. With good planning, those following a vegan diet can cover all their nutrient bases, but there are some extra things to consider.
The United States Department of Agriculture
Vegetarian diets (see context) can meet all the recommendations for nutrients. The key is to consume a variety of foods and the right amount of foods to meet your calorie needs. Follow the food group recommendations for your age, sex, and activity level to get the right amount of food and the variety of foods needed for nutrient adequacy. Nutrients that vegetarians may need to focus on include protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12.
The National Health and Medical Research Council
Appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthy and nutritionally adequate. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the lifecycle. Those following a strict vegetarian or vegan diet can meet nutrient requirements as long as energy needs are met and an appropriate variety of plant foods are eaten throughout the day
The Mayo Clinic
A well-planned vegetarian diet (see context) can meet the needs of people of all ages, including children, teenagers, and pregnant or breastfeeding women. The key is to be aware of your nutritional needs so that you plan a diet that meets them.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Vegetarian diets (see context) can provide all the nutrients you need at any age, as well as some additional health benefits.
Harvard Medical School
Traditionally, research into vegetarianism focused mainly on potential nutritional deficiencies, but in recent years, the pendulum has swung the other way, and studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses.
British Dietetic Association
Well planned vegetarian diets (see context) can be nutritious and healthy. They are associated with lower risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, certain cancers and lower cholesterol levels. This could be because such diets are lower in saturated fat, contain fewer calories and more fiber and phytonutrients/phytochemicals (these can have protective properties) than non-vegetarian diets. (...) Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of life and have many benefits.
Kaiser Permanente, the largest health maintenance organisation in the United States with 12.2 million health plan members, 217,415 employees, 22,914 physicians, 59,127 nurses, 39 medical centers, and 690 medical facilities recommends that people follow a plant-based diet that "does not include animal products, such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs." See also and also
So, now that you know you can be just as healthy, if not healthier, without paying people to kill animals so you can filter nutrients through their bodies... what's your reason for not being vegan?
Click here to see 44 more excuses not to be vegan debunked.
PS. The above list was inspired by this Reddit post.