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Meat, eggs, milk healthier than plant-based foods – UN agency review

A major review undertaken by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), looking at 500 papers to analyse the benefits and risks of animal source foods, concluded that vegan diets are “less healthy” than those including meat, eggs and milk, and that animal sources of food offer “crucial, much-needed nutrients”.

The report said the vital nutrients included protein, fats and carbs, as well as iron, calcium and zinc, essential for health and development.

However, these macro and micro nutrients are hard to find “in the required quality and quantity” if following a vegan diet.

It noted that meat, eggs and milk are “particularly vital” among children, young people and older people, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women.

To assess the benefits of risks of consuming animal products, the FAO looked at more than 500 scientific papers and 250 policy documents, reports Daily Mail.

In a foreword, FAO deputy director-general Maria Helena Semedo and the body's chief economist Maximo Torero Cullen wrote that plant-based “meat”, available in all major supermarkets, cannot replace animal products, is deficient in some essential nutrients, and is high in fat, sodium and sugar.

Evidence suggests that in adults, yoghurt and milk consumption reduces the risk of all-cause death, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, colorectal and breast cancer and osteoporosis, the report states.

The report also found there was relatively solid evidence that egg consumption does not increase the risk of stroke or heart disease.

Meanwhile, milk and dairy consumption during pregnancy promotes a healthy birth weight of the baby, evidence shows.

And beef consumption was found to improve cognitive outcomes and protect against iron deficiency and that eating 72g of beef per day is safe.

However, the authors wrote that even small amounts of processed meat – such as deli meats, bacon and sausages – should be avoided. The WHO says there is strong evidence that these increase the risk of bowel and stomach cancer.

The FAO called on the livestock sector to address various issues, like deforestation, greenhouse-gas emissions and pollution, as well as unsustainable water and land use, poor animal welfare and overgrazing.

UN food


Daily Mail article – Warning to vegans: Diet of meat, eggs and milk is healthier than plant-based foods, major review finds (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Plant-based diet lessens risk of cognitive impairment — 12-year European study


Low-fat, plant-based diet to low-carb, animal-based diet compared — NIH


ACC review: Plant-based diet with little or no animal products is best


Dairy products may protect against type 2 diabetes – Italian meta-analysis








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