A vegan (say "VEE-gun" or "VAY-gun") diet is a total vegetarian diet. Besides not eating meat, vegans don't eat food that comes from animals in any way. That includes milk products, eggs, honey, and gelatin (which comes from bones and other animal tissue).
There are many reasons why
some people choose a vegan diet:
If properly planned,
a vegan diet can provide all the nutrients you need. In general,
people who don't eat meat:footnote 1
Good health could be related to a diet of mostly fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
As a vegan, you can still eat a
You may be
worried that you won't get all the nutrients you need with a vegan diet.
But as long as you eat a variety of foods, there are only a few things you need
to pay special attention to.
You can also get the vitamins and minerals listed above as supplements.
Like everyone else, vegans also need to make
sure they get the following nutrients:
well-planned vegan diet can be healthy for children. Young vegan children tend to be slightly smaller but still
within normal growth ranges. And they tend to catch up to other children in
size as they get older.
If you are raising a child on a
vegan diet, consider the following:
With careful planning, a vegan diet can be very healthy for teens.
In fact, it can be a great way to get them into a lifelong habit of healthy
If your teen decides to become a vegan, teach him or
her how to plan meals to get all the right nutrients every day. Teens need
vitamin D. And iron is especially important for teen
girls who are menstruating. Talk with your doctor about how much of these
vitamins and minerals your child needs. Ask if your teen needs to take a daily
You may want your teen to talk to a
registered dietitian to learn how to plan a healthy
It's important to find out why your teen wants to
follow a vegan diet. Some teens adopt a vegan diet as a way to lose
weight, and "being a vegan" can hide an eating disorder like
CitationsCraig WJ, et al. (2009). Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian diets. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(7): 1266-1282. Available online: http://www.eatright.org/About/Content.aspx?id=8357.Other Works ConsultedCraig WJ (2009). Health effects of vegan diets. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89(5): 1627S-1633S. Whitney E, Rolfes SR (2013). Vegetarian diets. In Understanding Nutrition, 13th ed., pp. 62-67. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerRhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Current as ofMay 4, 2017
Current as of:
May 4, 2017
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
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Last modified on: 8 September 2017