Hidden, destructive costs of a vegan junk food diet

Sue Morgan writes that vegan junk food is still junk food, while vegan Ian Pickford says his choices are driven purely by issues of animal welfare
A vegan burger and fries
 A vegan burger and fries. ‘When considering an ethical and healthy way to live, we should primarily aim to avoid overconsumption,’ writes Sue Morgan. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

I predict the rise in vegan junk food (Yes-vegan!, G2, 6 September) will be followed by the realisation that vegan junk food is, after all, junk food. The global rise in obesity, metabolic disease and type 2 diabetes, now reaching epidemic proportions, has accompanied our increasing consumption of junk food, particularly of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates trigger insulin production and fat storage; on that score vegan junk food is no better than other junk food. Many adopt a vegan diet over concerns about animal welfare, but they conveniently overlook that there is no way of eating that does not involve death and destruction. Millions of acres of rainforest have been destroyed for soya production, leading to devastating loss of biodiversity. Modern crop production with its heavy use of pesticides has led to great losses in soil fertility, birds and wildlife.

The human body is perfectly adapted to an omnivorous diet. Herbivores are adapted to a herbivorous diet. Many who have followed a vegan diet, even for many years, eventually realise that their health has suffered without supplementation. Without careful planning it is very difficult to obtain all the nutrients one needs in a vegan diet and this has to be a particular concern with children. When considering an ethical and healthy way to live, we should primarily aim to avoid overconsumption and also promote truly high standards of agriculture and animal welfare.
Sue Morgan
Winchester

 “Vegans are often unreasonably mocked” read your editorial (6 September). This made me smile. In my experience, the Guardian regularly takes the piss out of vegans, unless of course you are doing a feature on Natalie Portman. For the majority of us, a vegan lifestyle has nothing to do with achieving a better complexion or greater longevity and everything to do with our abhorrence of the cruelty animals suffer at the hands of the farming industry and in the abattoir. Let’s get this argument straight: animal welfare first, planet second, and health (debatable) third. Remember, nothing tastes as good as veganism feels (with apologies to Kate Moss).

Source: www.theguardian.com

7 Comments
  1. Reply
    Andreas Thaler 2017-09-14 at 10:49 AM

    Vegans “conveniently overlook” that millions of acres of rainforest have been destroyed for soya production mainly for one reason:
    The soy you are talking about is used primarily as feed for animal lifestock that ends up as steaks and burgers on the plates of non-vegans.
    Vegans typically prefer organic, non-GMO soybeans for their own foodstuffs, that are e.g. grown in China, the US, and Europe.

    Some sources, because you should really try out that “research” thing before writing further articles 🙂

    http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/footprint/agriculture/soy/consumers/
    https://shop.fibl.org/DEde/1701-sustainable-markets.html?ref=1
    http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/soy-farming-devastating-amazon-soya-moratorium-renewed/blog/56418/
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-amazon/cattle-not-soy-drives-amazon-deforestation-report-idUSTRE53D65C20090414

  2. Reply
    cyd 2017-09-14 at 12:59 PM

    What a load of bollocks. The majority of soya and ag crops are grown for animal feed. If we were all vegan we would use 1/6 of the current land and the other 5/6 would be available as natural habitat. On the other hand if everyone ate meat there would need to be two Earths worth of arable land. Your ridiculous argument is based on your unwillingness to stop eating rotten flesh.

  3. Reply
    Pete Tinsley 2017-09-14 at 1:20 PM

    A vegan lifestyle is one that tries to reduce exploitation, it’s not just a dietary choice. Food which is “Suitable for vegans” isn’t just animal free, it’s also needs to be ethical – so any food (junk-food or health-food) which isn’t ethical, simply isn’t vegan and shouldn’t be labeled as such.

  4. Reply
    Cornelia 2017-09-14 at 3:29 PM

    Most of the amazon is clear cut for cattle ranching, and Amazonian soy goes toward feeding livestock. Soy production takes less land and water than livestock production, and we eat less of it than cows do (duh, a cow is 8 times my size).

  5. Reply
    Cheryl 2017-09-14 at 6:22 PM

    CYF – exactly!!!

  6. Reply
    Dion Doram 2017-09-14 at 11:54 PM

    Anlmal flesh, animal fats that are just as undigestable as your own stomach are the big problem! They do not metabolize properly,they do not digest completely! Why among other things do you think everybody who devores dead animals,suffer with stomach, weight and sometime colon issues! Etc!!!!!!!…

  7. Reply
    Vegan 2017-09-15 at 1:25 AM

    Totally agree with CYD. The article is bias probably paid by the Meat &Live Animal, Egg and Dairy Board. Ignore fake journalism.

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