Most people who start eating a plant-based diet will feel very energized and will note a variety of health improvements. However, some people fail to thrive on a plant-based diet, and many times either B12 deficiency, carnitine deficiency, or both, are to blame. Dr. Greger notes that vitamin D deficiency is also rampant among vegans who fail to thrive.
Many of the problems associated with veganism can be avoided by eating a wide variety of real food. It may not have occurred to you, but you can actually be a very unhealthy vegan these days. The devil is in the details, as they say, and many vegans are essentially just eating a vegan junk food diet.
Dr. Greger expounds on this issue, noting:
"It used to be that if you are a vegetarian, you had to by default eat healthy. What was there to eat? Now we have vegan doughnuts. We have vegan lard, vegan ice cream, vegan everything. It's like the gluten-free thing. Celiac patients used to be really healthy. What could you eat? You couldn't eat any junk food, right? You just had to eat real food.
Now we got gluten-free Oreos or whatever you want to stuff in your face. Now you can eat just as unhealthy gluten-free as a non-gluten-free. The same thing with vegan. It has become so popular that you can get every disgusting processed food in vegan form. I see that a lot among college vegans. They're not doing well because they're not eating real food. That's important.
If you look into some of the longest living countries, like Okinawa for example; they were eating animal products, but they were eating 95 percent whole plant foods. That's a much healthier diet than your strictest of the strict, 100 percent vegan here in the U.S. living on vegan Doritos."