Why a vegan January diet might be less healthy: Scientists warn that eating a vegan diet for a month can lead to an overeating of meatless junk foods.
- Thousands of Britons are expected to follow the vegan diet for January
- But scientists warn that many will not research before sticking to a vegan diet
- Professor Tim Spector has suggested that people tend to overeat on meatless junk foods rather than trying new fruits and vegetables.
A prominent scientist warns that following the craze for vegetarians may be an unhealthy choice.
This is because those who go vegan for a month tend to overeat on junk food without meat instead of trying new fruits and vegetables.
Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, says they would have done so little research on sticking to a plant-based diet.
Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, said people who follow vegetarianism tend to overeat meatless junk foods rather than trying new fruits and vegetables.
As a result, many people will end up eating meals full of salt, fat, additives, and sugar. With dairy in many of the foods they usually enjoy, vegan burgers and pizza are often the only takeout option—while it’s easy to snack on a vegan sausage roll.
Professor Spector said: “There are a lot of very unhealthy vegetarians, who substitute meat and dairy products with poor food choices, and that presents a real danger to a vegetarian.”
“My concern is that many people end up eating a less varied diet including a few unhealthy plant-based meals on repeat, rather than getting recipe books, trying new fruits and vegetables and, when in doubt, making soup.”
Professor Spector (stock image) said: “There are a lot of very unhealthy vegetarians, who substitute meat and dairy with poor food choices, and that presents a real danger to a vegan.”
Top tips for vegetarians
- Eat a vegetarian sausage roll or burger at most once a week as a treat
- Be aware that meat alternatives often contain harmful chemicals and preservatives
- Try a new vegetable you haven’t eaten before every week
- If in doubt about what to eat, make soup with vegetables in the fridge
- Do not overdo the cheap vegan cheese because it is rich in carbohydrates
- Add lentils, beans and mushrooms for protein
- Consider taking a vitamin B12 and iron supplement if you are deficient in these nutrients
- Try not to make up for lost things with extra sugary snacks
- Try mixed nuts instead of snacks
Last year, 580,000 people signed up for the official vegan campaign – a quarter of them in the UK – but many took part unofficially.
In his book, Spoon-Fed: Why Almost Everything We’re Told About Food Is Wrong, Professor Spector says that many who go vegan feel healthier, but it may be a placebo effect – convincing themselves that it’s good for them.
There’s no evidence that trendy plant-based “dairies” like oats, soybeans and almonds are healthier than cow’s milk, he says, while vegan cheese can be full of carbs, which can lead to high blood sugar and weight gain.
In 2020, Action On Salt found that three out of five vegan restaurant meals surveyed had at least 3 grams of salt — half the maximum recommended daily allowance for adults — while one in eight had 6 grams or more.
Professor Spector said: ‘The general principle for vegetarians is good, but some people may do better by trying to cut out meat first.
“It’s important to plan so you can do it right.”
“Everyone who registers on our site receives dozens of healthy recipes, nutrition planners and weekly meal plans that enable them to cook simple but delicious – and most importantly nutritious – meals,” said Dr. Tony Fernelli, head of communications for Viganware, a non-profit organization. .