Vegan diets

Edit: New readers to this topic can join in as of 2 March 2022 at post 12.

Vegan-curious? Eating a well-balanced plant-based diet requires some know-how. We give our top tips for a healthy vegan diet.


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With all the interest in non meat food options, there is an increasing trend for cafes etc to offer Vegetarian and Vegan options. Mixed dining opportunities!

We’ve been away visiting for a few weeks, which increases the opportunities to eat or snack out. For anyone choosing the Vegan alternatives the options were quite appealing. Enough for one regular meat eater to try some of the Vegetarian or Vegan options.

Some of the burgers (roast pumpkin and halloumi with beetroot relish etc) were quite impressive. There are plenty of online recipes around for those interested. Apologies to those with strict interpretations of what Vegan diets prescribe.

I think Vegans would delete the egg and substitute …?


Vitamin B12 is definitely the stickiest issue.
I eat vegetarian to aid with a diagnosed health issue (through a medically guided process of elimination meat was discovered as a big trigger of symptoms).
I still eat cows milk and eggs, and I eat fortified meat substitutes, but still need to supplement b12, iron and vitamin a.
I was advised by the dietician to keep a very comprehensive food diary using an app to make sure I’m hitting my macro and micro nutrient quotas every day, and its a struggle every day. I rely on dairy so much for protein, vitamins and calcium, I think it would be really hard to hit my targets without it.


A couple of articles regarding research finding vegan diets result in poorer bone health.


An article regarding the effect of vegan diets on childrens’ development.

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This is nothing new, and entirely expected.
If you abstain from a class of food source, then you will be deficient in some minerals and vitamins. So be aware and take suppliments. The Choice article heading this topic is quite clear on this issue.


Research undertaken by the University of Adelaide indicates that eating meat still offers important benefits for overall human health and life expectancy.

The researchers found that the consumption of energy from carbohydrate crops (grains and tubers) does not lead to greater life expectancy, and that total meat consumption correlates to greater life expectancy, independent of the competing effects of total calories intake, economic affluence, urban advantages, and obesity.

A summary of the results with a link to the paper can be found…


Is this a balanced report? Has there been due consideration of the academic and peer reviewed studies that have determined opposite, IE the health benefits of plant based diets? Eating adequate levels of proteins and other nutrients is important. Whether only meat can deliver this! Can we assume that’s not the intent of the report?

In context the Adelaide Uni report appears to be looking at something different and is not comparing Vegan with meat based diets. Isn’t the report really comparing outcomes for disadvantaged and poorer communities with insufficient nutrition available to support any complete diet? In such circumstances of bare subsidence carbohydrates from low cost crops are all that may be available. High quality protein from plant sources are less likely to be consumed or available. The alternate reality is consumption of meat (implied livestock) reflects wealthier societies. These have better health care and access to more options for nutrition.

An equally correct summary of the search may be the benefit to humanity of those born into wealthier and more developed communities is they can be expected to live longer. Hence greater consumption and more GHG emissions, debateable?

The study summary makes no mention of individual communities or societies that are not poor, and are low consumers of animal proteins, or perhaps consume fish in preference to livestock?

A casual browse of the internet brings up a diverse range of topics and articles. The commentaries that compare dietary outcomes in more affluent communities suggest it’s often difficult to discern differences in personal outcomes.
IE A good diet does not compensate for other unhealthy behaviours. A poor quality Vegan diet may be just as bad for longevity as a poor quality meat based diet.

It appears it is. If one also looks at the references, the sources used aren’t biased to complement or drive a particular finding. Their limitations (see below) are also worth reading.

I suggest that the full paper is read to see how they derived the conclusions in their paper. This paper is very different to

The paper examined the association between meat intake and life expectancy at a population level based on ecological data published by the United Nations agencies.

It is also worth reading their limitations which state:

Firstly, an ecological study approach offers the advantage of including more data for correlation analyses between meat intake and e(0) in different modelling. Furthermore, the data included in this study tend to avoid the bias in the previous studies at the individual levels.

Secondly, other variables, which were not included in this study, such as dietary patterns determining differences in quantities of meat intake, may have confounded the relationship between meat intake and e(0). However, their potential influence could not be analysed and removed owing to the lack of the availability of such data. Like in other correlation analyses, the influence of variable residuals, which were controlled for in this study, might have not been eliminated completely.

Thirdly, GDP PPP may be a comprehensive life expectancy contributor. For instance, populations with greater GDP PPP may have higher meat affordability, better medical service and better education level. Each factor may contribute to life expectancy in its unique way, but it is impossible to collect all these data and include them as the potential separate confounders in the data analyses to remove their competing effects on life expectancy.

This study seems a step in the right direction as it attempts to eliminate confounding factors. We are still left with the problem that it is a study of association not of cause and effect. Until there is a mechanism developed to say how and why this association exists we will still be watching statistical duels.

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The University of Adelaide is telling us what is widely known. Poor nutrition especially in childhood leads to adverse life outcomes. Apologies for the challenge, however as a leader into the article, it would seem more appropriate to focus on the socio economic circumstances. Suggesting meat consumption improves longevity vs a limited diet of just carbohydrate is open to the wrong messaging.

What is intended by the following?

How do we clarify whether the intent is to support meat consumption because it encourages longevity or there is agreement those who choose to follow a Vegan or Vegitarian diet are equally likely to live a long and healthy life? The report in listing it’s qualifications side steps a more open interpretation.