Wednesday’s Ask Dr. Walt — Vegan Diet

Dear Dr. Walt,

My son and his fiancé have gone vegan and are very into this. They tell me that God doesn’t want us to kill animals and that vegan people live longer, healthier lives. I study God’s Word and don’t see any place where He tells us to not kill and eat animals. Also, I don’t believe that vegans necessarily live longer. Can you please weigh in on this subject for me?

— Very Concerned in Vermont

Dear Omnivore,

Vegans exclude all animal products from their diets — even dairy and eggs. Vegans don’t eat refried beans with lard, margarine made with whey, and anything with gelatin, which comes from animal bones and hooves. Fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes are their staples.

Research does show vegans tend to eat fewer calories, weigh less, and have a lower body mass index (a measure of body fat) than their meat-eating counterparts.

Multiple studies have linked vegan and vegetarian diets to a reduced incidence of chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes, as well as cancer.

Studies of life expectancy with vegans and vegetarians show conflicting data. Some studies don’t show that vegetarians live longer. Others say these studies are confounded by the fact that these folks usually follow healthy lifestyles overall.

The vegan lifestyle requires careful attention to nutrients, as it can be hard to get enough of the vitamins and minerals found primarily in animal products. Vegans have to eat a balance of foods to avoid health risks.

Many physicians and dieticians recommend vegans consider a vitamin B-12 supplement.

FamilyDoctor.org has an information sheet on the Vegan Diet here.

As far as your biblical question, Focus on the Family has an article, “Vegans, Vegetarians, and the Bible” you can read here. They write:

Here’s the bottom line: If you and your friends feel that God is calling you to stop eating meat, all we can say is ‘more power to you.’ But we would encourage you to be careful about passing judgment on others who think differently. … It’s crucial to remember that discussions of this kind are secondary to the central issue of saving faith in Jesus Christ. In the words of the apostle Paul, ‘Each (person) should be fully convinced in their own mind’ (Romans 14:5, NIV).

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2019. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.
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