Proponents of the vegan diet claim these studies are invalid and that vegans are often healthier than meat eaters, but these suppositions fail to take into account the following factors:
- The majority of soy eaten in developed countries such as the U.S. is processed, altered, and highly toxic to our bodies and the earth. The same is true for many grains and corn.
- Claims are continually made that Asian people have consumed soy for centuries and enjoy robust health. What is seldom mentioned is the fact that Asian people consume fermented soy (miso and tempeh, for example), and in much smaller quantities than people in developed countries (such as the U.S.).
- The fact that most meat consumed by citizens in developed societies is the conventional, factory-farmed variety - the very type of meat which directly contributes to poor state of health in humans. Animals from these operations are given feed that promotes disease - grains, corn, and soy (and much of this feed is also genetically-altered). Then, farmers administer antibiotics to counteract illness. These animals are also given hormones to speed up growth and maximize profits. All of these substances are in the meat you eat - and cause your health to decline. Not only does conventionally meat wreak havoc directly on human health, but the methods used in farming are also exceedingly damaging to the environment.
Traditionally, vegans rely heavily on soy foods to supplement protein in the diet. Research reveals that soy consumption has a negative impact both on human health and the ecosystem. The majority of soy produced is grown with farming methods which use genetic modification, chemical fertilizers, and toxic pesticides. Soy farming is also responsible for the destruction of important pristine lands such as rainforest area in the Amazon.
Another commonly used food in vegan diets is grains. Like soy, the majority of grains produced use farming methods which have a negative impact on the environment. Since the market explosion over the last several decades of vegan and vegetarian foods in food stores, a proliferation of processed soy and grain products requiring packaging materials are now available which also contribute to more garbage and toxins in the environment. Corn is in the same category, and is found in many vegan foods as well as thousands and thousands of other food, household, and personal care products on the market.
It could even be construed that anyone not supporting sustainable farming agriculture for production of food, even those who don't eat meat, are directly contributing to the increase of more pollution and destruction to our environment.
Diets void of meat proteins and replete with plant variety proteins are lacking in many nutrients necessary for optimal health. Soy can inhibit absorption of vital nutrients in the body, and can cause or contribute to deficiencies such as Vitamin B. Parents who impose a vegan diet on their growing children are also believed to commit a gross disservice to the health of their offspring. Professor Lindsay Allen of the U.S. Agricultural Research Service stated, "There have been sufficient studies clearly showing that when women avoid all animal foods, their babies are born small, they grow very slowly, and they are developmentally retarded - possibly permanently." Lindsay is particularly pointed toward those who eliminate fats from children's diets such as meat and dairy foods. "If you are talking about feeding young children, pregnant women, and lactating women, I would go so far as to say it is unethical to withhold these foods [animal source foods] during that period of life. There's absolutely no question that it's unethical for parents to bring up their children as strict vegan."
For more information about the health risks associated with eating a vegan diet, read Death by Veganism by Nina Planck from the New York Times.
For more information on the dangers of eating soy, visit the Weston A. Price Foundation.