Headline Claiming Vegans ‘Have The Worst Diets’ Is ‘Talking Trash’, Says Top Scientist

‘The idea that vegans don’t cook from scratch appears to have been made up’ 

Vegans ‘have the worst diets and are less likely to cook from scratch’ say the Sun headlines this week. We decided to do some digging.

This French study looked at the diets of 19,812 meat-eaters, 646 pescatarians, 500 vegetarians, and 254 vegans. Participants filled in food frequency questionnaires and the researchers put the different foods they ate into categories such as ultra-processed, processed and unprocessed food.

They found that ultra-processed foods (UPFs) contributed 39 percent of the energy intake for vegans, compared to 32.5 percent for pescatarians, 37 percent for vegetarians, and 33 percent for meat-eaters. They concluded that not all vegetarian diets (including vegan) are necessarily healthy.

Vegan mock meats

UPFs in the study included textured soya protein foods, vegetable patties (industrial plant-based meat substitutes) and plant-based drinks such as soya milk. Vegan mock meats may not be the most healthy of foods – just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy – but it’s worth noting that they are not linked to cancer in the same way as processed meats and they don’t contain animal protein, haem iron, carnitine, animal hormones and other harmful substances all linked to disease.

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