Because U.S. News & World Report has never met a ranked list they didn’t like, they recently put together a massive review/ranking of popular diets commonly used for weight loss. They gathered a large panel of nutrition experts and established that their rankings would be based on whether a diet was “relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe and effective for weight loss and against diabetes and heart disease.” Quite the tall order, but as you and I know, doable.
In addition to the usual suspects, the Mediterranean diet, Atkins, Weight Watchers, etc., they also analyzed the vegan diet. They ended up ranking the diet pretty low for a variety of different reasons, some fair, some not. Their analysis seemed to follow that general pattern, getting a lot right and a lot wrong.
Rather than try to refute the conclusions of professional nutritionists or regurgitate what has already been said on the subject elsewhere, I’m going to defer to vegan, Registered Dietician, Ginny Messina, who wrote an excellent post on the topic.
Her final paragraph sort of gets at the heart of why she thinks the vegan diet got such a bum wrap from U.S. News, and I agree:
I’m sure that they were primarily concerned that people who adopt a vegan diet for weight management and who aren’t familiar with this way of eating could fall short on nutrient intake. And that is certainly a valid issue. Vegans do need to understand how to obtain sufficient calcium, zinc, iodine, omega-3s, and vitamin B12 (and, along with the rest of the world, sufficient vitamin D). It’s not true that it requires a lot of work to do this; it is true, though, that it requires a little bit of knowledge. That’s why spreading the word about how to plan healthy vegan diets is crucial activism. Helping nutrition professionals gain a better understanding of vegan diet planning is important, too.