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Dr Manny's Notes

Going vegan: Weighing the risks and benefits

Whether you do it for health reasons or moral beliefs, there’s no doubt about it – lots of people are going vegan these days. But there are things to consider before writing off animal products completely.

We got this email from a curious viewer:

Dear Dr. Manny,
Is there a downside to going vegan?

A vegan diet includes only plant-based foods – no eggs, dairy or animal products of any kind.

Studies have shown that vegans tend to have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) and a reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. But they are also more vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies including:

  • B12
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Vitamins A & D
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Calcium

All of these vitamins and nutrients are vital for regulating energy and mood – among other important functions – so vegans should be sure to eat a lot of foods like:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Beans

If you’re thinking about going vegan, talk to your doctor and/or a nutritionist first and follow up with them if you need to make adjustments to your diet.

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Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's Senior Managing Editor for Health News. Prior to this position, Alvarez was a FNC medical contributor. Click here more information on Dr. Manny's work with Hackensack University Medical Center. Visit for more.