A TV doctor has raised concerns about the growing trend in veganism and said that people need to make sure they are consuming vital vitamins and minerals.
Dr Eva Orsmond runs several weight loss clinics and has appeared on a number of mainstream TV shows in Ireland.
She has also released her latest book ‘Reverse Your Diabetes’ which tells of how she helped patients reverse type 2 diabetes thanks to changes to their diets, supplements and plenty of hard work.
Dr Orsmond that while a balanced vegan diet can be very healthy, she is worried that a lot of processed says vegan food can be high in sugar.
She said: “I’m not really a big fan of the whole thing because so many people out there just have this idea that they are now vegans.
“Then they go to the shops and buy frozen vegan food. What they do is take the animal fats away from these products which makes the food quite tasty and when that’s not in the product they need to add sugar.
“So often those vegan processed ready-made foods are usually the worst foods you can buy.”
Dr Orsmond said that it is vital for people to read up on exactly what their body needs when they go vegan for the first time.
She said: “Really if you want to be vegan, you need go somewhere and study properly and know your stuff.
“If you were doing a vegan diet properly, most probably it could be better and healthier than ordinary people who just put all sorts of processed grains and bread in their mouth.
“But I think we need to be careful not to start making it look like the vegan diet is super healthy.”
She also raised concerns over the lack of knowledge many people had about the vitamins and minerals that they could miss out on if they do not prepare a balanced vegan diet.
She said: “Then you need to think about B12, you need to think about iron and about Omega 3 fatty acids.
“You need supplements, you need the right supplements because where are you going to get your B12?
“Women menstruating are risking iron deficiency.
“There was one girl in her late twenties who has been basically missing her period for a year and she had been vegan for five years.
“Then we managed to convince her to start eating meat and her period came back in a few months.
“This was just a little while ago. We don’t have a huge amount of these cases but basically (with this case) there was a whole better energy and everything else.
“They usually lack something. Often people who say they are vegan don’t know how to eat vegetables, No. 1 and they don’t know (that with) some of the vegetables, iron doesn’t get absorbed well even though they are in the vegetables.”
Dr Orsmond said she would not like to see any of her family members become vegan as humans were ‘not designed’ for the diet.
She said: “I would be really concerned. We weren’t designed to be vegan. That’s not how our body works.
“I’m not eating a huge amount of red meat myself but I like it and I have absolutely nothing against people who get their protein from red meat.
“I’m not against dairy, I just don’t think people should be drinking milk because of other calories but if you come to my house you will find dairygold butter and I just would not be able to live without cheese.”