Vegans Are ‘Weaker’ Than Meat Eaters, Study Finds

A new study based on data from almost 55,000 people – which included 2,000 vegans – has found that those who say no to meat are 43{c33c21346ff5e26ab8e0ae3d29ae4367143f0d27c235e34c392ea37decdb8bed} more likely break a bone.

Published in BMC Medicine, the study, which followed participants for 18 years on average, showed 3,941 fractures occurred in total with the majority of bones breaking in the hip. But perhaps the most startling find was that the risk of fracturing boneswas 2.3 times higher for vegans against people who ate meat.

“We found that vegans had a higher risk of total fractures which resulted in close to 20 more cases per 1,000 people over a 10-year period compared to people who ate meat,” said lead author Dr Tammy Long.

According to the Vegan Society, there were 600,000 vegans in the UK in 2019. And with research showing the damage meat production is doing to our climate, plus some studies emphasising the health implications of meat eating, this figure is likely to increase.

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But anyone starting a new diet or excluding entire food groups from their normal eating habits should do so with caution. It’s imperative you are replacing the nutrients you are losing through other foods or supplementation. This, however, takes time to work out, which is why any significant dietary change should be gradual. And, most of all, don’t make your decision based off a Netflix documentary.

The Benefits of Plant-Based Eating

There’s no denying that increasing the amount of vegetables, fruits, nuts and pulses you eat will improve your health. These foods contain high volumes of fibre, minerals and vitamins, which have been linked to your cardiovascular system, metabolism, brain health, gut, immunity and even your mood. It just needs to be balanced.

“Despite the numerous health benefits associated with plant based foods, eating plants alone in place of entire food groups such as meat and dairy can quite rapidly result in nutritional deficiencies,” explains Dr Warren Bradley, head of nutrition at Goal Master Fitness.

“You will need to make smart swaps – especially when it comes to nutrients like B12, creatine and omega 3 fatty acids, which are found almost exclusively in animal products,” says Dr Bradley. “Others such as iron and calcium are found in small quantities in plants, but are significantly less bioavailable, which mean they’re less able to be absorbed by the body.”

That’s not to say you can’t build strong bones and muscle on a plant-based diet. Some of the best athletes in the world are meat free. Powerlifting record holder Patrik Baboumain, Tour de France champion Chris Froome and, of course, seven-time Mr Olympia champion Arnold Schwarzenegger have swapped turkey for tofu.

But, with the help of their nutritionists, they’ve been able to swap in plant-based alternatives safely.

You may not have access to a nutritionist, you will, however, find everything you need to know about food swaps, vegan foods and what you need to keep in your diet in these complete guides:

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