Vegans are slowly killing themselves

Veganism isn't always healthy
Veganism isn't always healthy

Ultra-highly processed (UHP) vegan food can increase the risk of heart failure, according to research published in The Lancet. Surprise, surprise: veganism is not healthy. It is time the government and its health agencies stood up to “Big Food” and celebrity proponents of veganism and finally called out the diet for the damage it is doing.

Thanks to the NHS, all taxpayers are stakeholders in the wider health of our nation. This involvement should make us less tolerant of any section of society creating a healthcare burden through any promotion of ignorance.

Governments should legislate to label all foods properly with their quantities of available nutrition: that is to say, the nutrients that the human body is able to absorb from the food. We have known for some time that this absorption is best achieved when food is either in its whole state or minimally processed. Ingredients based on extracts of foods don’t pack the same punch when processed into unnatural compositions, and may actually be harmful.

Many of us believe that UHP food manufacturers are in the same position as the tobacco companies were in the 1960s. If this is the case, certain vegan foods should carry health warnings or even be banned altogether if they contain products known to have a propensity to increase the risk of heart disease.

Full transparency would expose the myth that vegan foods are good for you – I am not talking here about whole grains, fruits, nuts and vegetables, which are perfectly healthy in a balanced diet with meat, fish, eggs and dairy products – but highly processed compounds of them, often laden with colourings, emulsifiers and flavourings.

These health metrics especially matter when it comes to arguments about climate change. Kilo for kilo, vegan plant “milk” manufacturers are able to say that their products have lower carbon footprints than cow’s milk. But when you measure CO2 against kilos of available protein, dairy milk has a third of the carbon footprint of almond “milk” and a quarter that of oat “milk”.

Moreover, we are just beginning to understand the importance of the highly complex proteins in cow’s milk for human health; the caseins, whey proteins and mucins. We have discovered 4,654 of them so far, against a handful found in plant “milks”.

Better nutritional education and a switch from the current absurd labelling legislation, which focuses on calories (irrelevant), and crude macro-nutrients such as proteins, fats (wrongly demonised) and carbohydrates (wrongly praised), to one that provides information on micro-nutrients like vitamins and minerals would have far-reaching benefits.

I don’t subscribe to the NHS-in-crisis narrative: it works daily miracles that would have been inconceivable a generation ago. But improved diets – and the subsequent reduction in the rate of obesity, diabetes and heart disease across the general population – would better help the nation’s health (and pockets) than blowing billions of pounds of taxpayer money on increasing capacity.

Does any party’s manifesto include a commitment to fix the health system by tackling poor diets, I wonder?