Plant-based foods ‘less healthy’ than meat, eggs and milk, study warns

  • The study was carried out by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization 
  • It looked at 500 papers to analyse the benefits and risks of animal source foods 

Vegan diets are ‘less healthy’ than including meat, eggs and milk in your meals, a major review has found. 

A report by the United Nations‘ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which looked at more than 500 studies, concluded that animal sources of food offer ‘crucial sources of much-needed nutrients’.

These include protein, fats and carbs, as well as iron, calcium and zinc, which are vital for health and development, it said.

However, these macro and micro nutrients are hard to find ‘in the required quality and quantity’ if following a vegan diet, according to the FAO.

It noted that meat, eggs and milk are ‘particularly vital’ among children, young people and older people, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women. 

Meat, eggs and milk provide key nutrients such as high-quality protein, fatty acids, iron, calcium, zinc, selenium and vitamin B12, the report found

To assess the benefits of risks of consuming animal products, the FAO looked at more than 500 scientific papers and 250 policy documents.

It makes the study its most comprehensive analysis to date. 

‘Terrestrial animal source foods provide energy and many essential nutrients, such as protein, fatty acids and several vitamins and minerals that are less common in other food types,’ FAO deputy director-general Maria Helena Semedo and the body’s chief economist Maximo Torero Cullen wrote in a foreword to the report.

It noted that plant-based ‘meat’, available in all major supermarkets, cannot replace animal products, is deficient in some essential nutrients and is high in fat, sodium and sugar.

Evidence suggests that in adults, yoghurt and milk consumption reduces the risk of all-cause death, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, colorectal and breast cancer and osteoporosis, the report states.

Leading cardiologists rank the 10 most popular diets in terms of heart health (look away now, vegans!) 

The report also found there was relatively solid evidence that egg consumption does not increase the risk of stroke or heart disease. 

Meanwhile, milk and dairy consumption during pregnancy promotes a healthy birth weight of the baby, evidence shows. 

And beef consumption was found to improve cognitive outcomes and protect against iron deficiency – which can cause dizziness, fatigue, headaches, an irregular heartbeat and pale skin. The report states that eating 72g of beef each day is safe.

Source: NHS Eatwell Guide
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Published by Nelle

I am interested in writing short stories for my pleasure and my family's but although I have published four family books I will not go down that path again but still want what I write out there so I will see how this goes

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