Vegan Diet
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Vegan Diet?

The vegan diet can also be called "strict" vegetarianism, in that it excludes not only meat and fish but also eggs, honey and milk products. Many practitioners of the vegan diet additionally avoid the use of animal products in other forms, such as clothing (wool, leather, silk), jewelry (pearls) and cosmetics (lanolin). People who adopt veganism may do so for health reasons, ethical considerations or both. There are several forms of veganism, and these may disagree on various major and minor points. For example, the raw-food diet and the macrobiotics diet are both vegan, but while macrobiotic practitioners believe that raw food is unhealthy raw-foodists believe that cooked food is the source of many health problems.

The word "vegan" was created in 1944 by Elsie Shrigley and Donald...

Safety Issues

With the exception of vitamin B 12 a vegan diet can in principle provide all necessary nutrients. However, in practice, vegans are frequently deficient in calcium , iron , vitamin D , selenium , phosphorous , and zinc . 1 Vitamin B 12 presents a special issue. This vitamin is not provided to any meaningful extent by non-plant foods. (The algae spirulina contains B 12 , but in a non-absorbable form.) Deficiency in B 12 is therefore inevitable among those who follow a strict vegan diet and do not take supplements. 2 3 4 5 Such deficiency has led to serious health consequences among vegans as well as breast-fed infants of vegan mothers. 6 When severe, B 12 deficiency can cause irreversible nerve damage. ...