Vegan Food and Health
Eating vegan helps animals and humans! There is no nutritional need for humans to eat any animal product—all our dietary needs, even as children, are best supplied by a diet free of animal products.
Eating Animal Products Can Lead to Heart Disease
One of the largest studies on lifestyle and health found that heart disease mortality rates for vegetarian males was only one-third that of meat-eating men. BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) published findings from a study concluding that lifelong vegans have a 57 percent reduced risk of dying from heart disease.
Plant foods contain no cholesterol, whereas meat, eggs, and dairy products contain large amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat. Also, the high fiber content of a vegan diet (meat, dairy products, and eggs are devoid of fiber) helps “wash away” excess cholesterol in your digestive tract.
Cancer’s Connection to Eating Animal Products
The number one recommendation in the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Guidelines on Nutrition for Cancer Prevention is to eat a diet “with an emphasis on plant sources.” Researchers have found that vegetarians are between 25 and 50 percent less likely to suffer from cancer, even after controlling for other factors, such as smoking.
Meat Can Be Poisonous
In addition to causing heart disease and cancer, animal products contain harmful contaminants—including bacteria, arsenic, dioxins, and mercury—that can affect our health both in the short and long terms.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Eating Meat
1. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) notes that a vegetarian diet reduces the risk of suffering from many chronic degenerative diseases and conditions, including heart disease, cancer, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.1
2. A study by the ACS found that people who ate 3 ounces of meat a day were 30 to 40 percent more likely to develop colon cancer.2
3. Scientists have found that people who regularly chow down on hot dogs, sausages, or other processed or cured meat suffer from a 70 percent increase in pancreatic cancer rates.3
4. Every year in the U.S., there are 76 million cases of food poisoning, and 5,200 of these cases are fatal.4
5. Researchers for the National Cancer Institute have found that eating meat raises men’s risk of developing prostate cancer, while a study from Yale University reports that meat-based diets can cause cancer of the stomach and esophagus as well as lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system).5,6,7
What You Can Do
With so many great vegan options available nowadays, it has never been easier to be kind to your body and animals by leaving animals off your plate! Order your FREE Guide to Going Vegan.
1The American Dietetic Association, “Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dieticians of Canada: Vegetarian Diets,” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 103 (2003): 748–65.
2Jessica Heslam, “Don’t Have a Cow, Man: Docs: Meat Hikes Cancer Risk by up to 50 Percent,” Boston Herald 12 Jan. 2005.
3China View, “Processed Meat May Cause Pancreatic Cancer,” Xinhua News 22 Apr. 2005.
4Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Foodborne Illness,” Department of Health and Human Services, 11 Oct. 2005.
5R. Sinah et al., “Meat and Meat-Related Compounds and Risk of Prostate Cancer in a Large Prospective Cohort Study in the United States,” American Journal of Epidemiology 9 (2009): 1165–77.
6Yale University, “Animal-Based Nutrients Linked With Higher Risk of Stomach and Esophageal Cancers,” news release, 15 Oct. 2001.
7Daniel DeNoon, “Diet Linked to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: Lots of Meat, Saturated Fat, Dairy May Raise Risk,” WebMD Medical News 9 Mar. 2004.