A vegan or plant-based diet excludes all animal products, including meat, dairy, and eggs. When people follow it correctly, a vegan diet can be highly nutritious, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and aid weight loss.
Increasing numbers of people are moving toward vegan diets due to health, animal welfare, or environmental concerns. A 2018 Gallup poll reports that about 3% of people in the United States are fully vegan and notes that sales of plant-based foods are rising.
Well-planned vegan diets can fulfill your nutritional needs. But if your diet isn’t planned properly, you could miss out on essential nutrients. Vegetarians need to make sure they get enough iron and vitamin B12, and vegans enough calcium, iron and vitamin B12. Women are thought to be at particular risk of iron deficiency, including those on a vegetarian or vegan diet.
That said, certain nutrient requirements may be difficult to achieve through diet and fortified foods alone.
This is especially true for vitamin B12, vitamin D, and long-chain omega-3s.
All vegans who are unable to meet their dietary recommendations through diet alone should consider taking supplements. Still, it’s best to speak with your healthcare provider before beginning a new supplement regime.