Vitamin Deficiencies, Hair Loss, and 6 Other Reasons You Should Think Twice About a Vegan Diet

You might think that a vegan diet is the healthiest.

It’s often touted as a healthier alternative to eating meat, but a new book claims many of its health benefits may be unfounded.

You might think that vegan diets are the healthiest of allSource: Shutterstock

In The Great Plant-Based Con, author Jayne Buxton explains that there are many reasons why giving up meat and dairy can actually be detrimental to your health.

Not only are you more likely to develop anemia and fractures, but you are also at greater risk of stroke and kidney stones.

Jayne says: “We are all made to believe that giving up animal foods like fish, eggs and dairy is a good idea.

“Celebrities are doing it. Vegan restaurants are popping up everywhere.”

American singer Lizzo and TV nature presenter Chris Packham are among the celebrities who follow a vegan diet. Millions of people sign up for Veganuary each year.

Jayne, on the other hand, says that a diet rich in fresh, seasonal plant and animal foods is better for your health.

Here she shares eight reasons why you should think twice before going vegan.


“Vitamin deficiency is one of the reasons I would advise people not to go vegan,” says Jayne.

“Vitamin B12 is essential for neurological and brain functions.

“Most people know you can’t get it from plant foods and vegans will say you have to take supplements.”

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But Jayne warns that relying on supplements to make a diet healthy is a problem.

She says: “The percentage of vitamin B12 deficiencies among vegans is still higher than among omnivores.

“Vitamin B12 isn’t the only thing that’s missing.

“Many other nutrients are difficult to obtain in the right form from plant foods, including vitamin A, D3, K2 and iron. The list is very long.”


“Hair loss is one of the most common reasons vegans give for returning to eating meat and other animal products,” Jayne explains.

She believes hair loss is almost certainly linked to a B12 or iron deficiency, adding: “If you’re not eating enough of the right foods or your body isn’t absorbing enough nutrients, it can cause hair loss, even if you’re only slightly deficient.”

Jayne believes hair loss is almost certainly related to a B12 or iron deficiencySource: Getty


A 2008 research report found that vegans are more likely to suffer bone fractures.

After five years, vegans were on average 30 percent more likely to have a bone fracture than meat eaters.

The risk was the same if they took supplements.

Jayne says: “Without the amino acids and nutrients found in meat, fish, eggs and dairy, you run the risk of weak bones and muscles.”

Jayne says: ‘Meat is very good if you eat it in moderation, usually about three or four times a week’Source: Getty


Oxalates are “antinutrients” found in plant foods such as spinach, almonds, and sweet potatoes.

Eating large amounts of foods high in oxalates can cause kidney stones. Oxalates can build up in joints, causing arthritic pain.

“We call this oxalate overload and it’s common in vegans who drink a lot of spinach and almond smoothies,” says Jayne.

Nut milks, vegan cheese, ‘fake meat’ and other substitutes are not better for our health because they are heavily processedSource: Getty


Nut milks, vegan cheese, ‘fake meat’ and other substitutes are not better for our health because they are heavily processed.

“In the UK we already eat a lot of processed food, about 60 percent of our food is processed,” says Jayne.

“But many of the vegan foods flooding the market are even worse.

“For example, with vegan cream, the real cream has been removed and E numbers, additives, emulsifiers and flavourings are added to give the cream the right taste and texture.

“This doesn’t improve our diet, it makes it worse.”

Mounting evidence suggests that vegans are at greater risk of mental illnessSource: Getty


“Meat is very healthy if you eat it in moderation, usually about three or four times a week,” says Jayne.

“It provides nutrients essential for brain health and there is evidence that it protects against heart disease.

“A 2021 study found that the Paleo diet, which includes meat, eggs, and fish, may have cardiovascular benefits, especially if it means consuming few ultra-processed foods.”

Jayne claims that studies linking meat to cancer are often poorly designed and based on “extremely weak data”.

According to Cancer Research UK, processed meat is a ‘clear’ cause of cancer, and red meat is ‘probable’.

Jayne warns that relying on a supplement to make a diet healthy is a problemSource: Getty


There is growing evidence that vegans are at greater risk of mental illness.

A 2022 study of 14,000 Brazilians found that people who followed a vegan diet were twice as likely to suffer from depression.

Jayne says: “This is not surprising, as many nutrients important for mental health – such as DHA, iodine and B12 – are in short supply in vegan diets.


Some studies show that a vegetarian or vegan diet may protect against stroke, other studies show the opposite.

A 2019 EPIC-Oxford study found that vegans have a higher risk of stroke than meat eaters.

Jayne adds: “In studies showing benefits of a vegan diet, the results may be due to lower smoking and alcohol consumption and other elements of a healthy lifestyle.”

  • The Great Plant-Based Con: Why Eating a Plants-Only Diet Won’t Improve Your Health or Save the Planet, by Jayne Buxton (Piatkus) is available now.


ENTREPRENEUR Viva O’Flynn, founder of cake company Love Viva Cakes and Crafts, lived vegan for ten years.

But she started eating animal foods again after experiencing dizziness, nausea and extreme fatigue.

Viva, 40, from Gloucester, says: “I thought I was helping the planet by giving up animal products, even though I’ve always loved them.

“Almost immediately I started to suffer from a lack of energy. I felt tired all the time and very weak. I didn’t take any supplements, which probably didn’t help. I often felt dizzy, nauseous, and had headaches and vertigo, as well as exhaustion.

“My body just wasn’t getting the energy it needed.

“My nails were also very brittle and kept breaking, and my skin looked dull and dry.

“I ate a lot of vegetables and processed vegan foods that I got from the freezer section of the supermarket.

“Eventually I felt so bad that I went to my doctor.

“That was in 2012 and he basically told me to start eating meat again.

“When I did that, I started feeling like I was old again. I had a lot more energy and looked better than before.

“I would never want to live vegan again.”

Jayne Buxton says there are many reasons why giving up meat and dairy could actually be bad for your healthCredit: Delivered
The Great Plant-Based Con: Why Eating an All-Plant Diet Won’t Improve Your Health or Save the Planet by Jayne Buxton (Piatkus) is out now

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