Debunking the vegan myth: The case for a plant-forward omnivorous whole-foods diet.
Vegan diets are widely promoted as protective against cardiovascular disease (CVD); however, removing all animal foods from a human's diet usually causes unfavorable health consequences. Our hominin ancestors began consuming meat, fish, seafood, and eggs >2 million years ago. Consequently, humans are genetically adapted to procure nutrients from both plant and animal sources. In contrast, veganism is without evolutionary precedent in Homo sapiens species. Strict adherence to a vegan diet causes predictable deficiencies in nutrients including vitamins B12, B2, D, niacin, iron, iodine, zinc, high-quality proteins, omega-3, and calcium. Prolonged strict veganism increases risk for bone fractures, sarcopenia, anemia, and depression. A more logical diet is a plant-forward omnivorous eating pattern that emphasizes generous consumption of natural, unprocessed foods predominantly from plants. To balance this diet, modest amounts of wholesome animal foods, such wild-caught fish/seafood, pasture-raised meat and eggs, and fermented unsweetened dairy should be consumed regularly.