Almost every study on diet agrees that the quality of what we eat is extremely important to our health. As we discover more about human health and disease, we keep finding how important diet is. Some people have chosen to be vegetarian or vegan. There are many variations of those, with some eating only uncooked products and other choosing specific animal derived products only. Here i focus on vegans (not eating anything that comes from an animal) and vegetarians (not eating meat).
In terms of our evolution, meat was very important, and indeed our species has evolved to be omnivorous (eating meat and plants). But evolution only cares about surviving up to the point that we can reproduce. Any benefits or drawbacks inherited that affect an individual of a species after that point that he reproduces are lost in the selection shadow. So it is logical that eating meat, while beneficial for short term survival, had negative effects in the long term. In a modern society, we do not require as much energy from our diet and we are very concerned with preserving our health in the long term. The most common diseases tend to be those that occur due to the accumulation of damage through ageing.
Meat does have some benefits still. We do require some nutrient that are very hard to acquire from plants like : protein, saturated fat, long-chain n−3 fatty acids, retinol, vitamin B12 and Zn. Supplements for those do exist but some people are concerned because supplements dissolve in your body in an “unnatural” way and in some cases don’t allow adequate absorption of nutrients in your gut.
AGEs (advanced glycation end products) are also a concern. They accumulate in your body and they can be increased through a bad diet. Meat does increase your AGEs more than plants especially when cooked in an “unhealthy” way. Those molecules can end up introducing oxidative stress and inflammation that in the long term can lead to issues.
It is clear from past studies that vegan diets are healthier.
But, when looking at those studies we have to keep in mind that someone who chooses to be vegan is more likely to take better care of his health in general, thus comparisons should take into account those variables. Also, it is easy to have issues due to lack of nutrients if you don’t ask an expert for a planned diet. A diet like this requires a lot of planning and some people if busy can end up not getting sufficient nutrients.
So, to conclude, yes from the studies i read (linked below) it appears that a vegan diet is healthier even compared to a vegetarian diet. Diets like the ones with uncooked food or other with weird rules tend to cause more problems. I will post another article, with more details once i read enough studies. You can comment and share, have a discussion. Or bookmark Qul Mind for more science articles.