Since we’re talking about the incredible benefits of weight loss this week, I thought I would take a moment to remind you of one particularly trendy strategy you should avoid at all costs.
“Plant-based” diets are all the rage these days—but while eating more veggies is always a good idea for your health, going vegan isn’t. And not just because it could raise your risk of depression at a time when we need all the happiness we can get…
The fact is, vegan diets carry very real health risks. I’ve shared some of these risks with you before. But today, I want to tell you about the most recent one revealed by The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment…
Another serious nutrient shortage
Researchers analyzed blood and urine samples, as well as lifestyle questionnaires and dietary habits, from a group of Berliners between the ages of 30 and 60 years—half of whom were vegan and half of whom were omnivores.
Almost all of the vegans (and a third of the omnivores) took supplements. Still, most of the subjects turned out to have a deficiency in the trace element iodine. But surprise, surprise… the deficiency was a lot worse among the vegans.
In fact, a full third of the plant-based dieters had iodine levels below 20 mcg/L—the limit that the World Health Organization (WHO) points to as indicating a serious deficiency.
Here’s why that’s a problem: Iodine is a critical nutrient for the production of thyroid hormones. So if you don’t get enough, you’re headed straight for thyroid disease. (In fact, iodine deficiency is the most common cause of goiter—an enlarged thyroid gland.)
Slow thyroid function is easily one of the most common conditions I see every day—and that’s among people who aren’t vegan. (It’s also a condition that a lot of doctors miss.)
And with the increasing popularity of plant-based diets, you can count on that number rising.
Vegan diets are downright unhealthy
Leave it to the straight-talking, sausage-loving Germans to invoke common sense and set the record straight on this subject. They’re certainly not a culture that minces words. And this isn’t the first time they’ve called out vegan diets for being downright unhealthy, either.
Just last year, the German Nutrition Society published a study that took a firm stance against veganism—asserting that it simply doesn’t offer your body the nutrition necessary to sustain health.
The biggest issue, as they pointed out, is that animal products are pretty much the only place you’ll find ample quantities of vitamin B12. And deficiencies in this essential nutrient can lead to very serious problems, compromising everything from your brain function to your heart health to your bone density to, you guessed it, thyroid function.
It’s also worth noting that this latest study found no noticeable difference in B12 levels between vegans and non-vegans—presumably because plant-based dieters are well aware of the importance of supplementation by now.
But clearly, there are a number of other nutritional risks that come with veganism—and not just iodine deficiency, but low levels of vitamin D, calcium, iron, and zinc, too. So while there are many reasons why you might choose to switch to a plant-based diet, “better health” really shouldn’t be one of them.
Obviously, I’m not saying you shouldn’t eat vegetables. (In fact, I dare say I eat more of them than most self-professed vegans.) On the contrary, you should be eating your veggies at every meal.
Just do it alongside a serving of responsibly raised, grass-fed and –finished meat or wild-caught fish. If you need help incorporating this type of healthy diet into your daily routine, go ahead and order yourself a copy of my A-List Diet book—which outlines a healthy eating pattern and provides various delicious, healthy recipes.
P.S. I discuss the importance of a healthy thyroid in the August 2018 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“The lesser-known, more lethal thyroid disease”). Subscribers have access to that and all of my past content in the archives. So if you haven’t already, considering subscribing today!
“Veganism: Vitamin B12 is well supplemented, iodine is a matter of concern.” Science Daily, 11/10/2020. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/11/201110112502.htm)