Whether it’s out of an ethical concern or just because they want to change their diet, certain individuals believe that eating animal products is wrong and have decided to avoid all animal foods altogether. However, the suggestion that one should simply remove wholesome animal foods completely and expect no adverse health effects poses some cause for concern. For a few years, I was a pescatarian and realized that I needed to consume more quality protein and essential nutrients to match the amount of activity I was doing every week. In this blog post, we’ll be looking at potential risks associated with avoiding wholesome animal foods and why these choices can put you in danger of experiencing potentially damaging consequences for your health.

The Nutritional Gaps of a Vegan Diet

As more individuals embrace the vegan lifestyle, it is important to understand the potential nutritional gaps that may exist in their diets. Although a well-planned vegan diet can provide adequate nutrition, certain nutrients, particularly vitamin B12, B2, iron, Vitamin D, iodine, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids, may be lacking. For instance, plant-based sources of iron and calcium aren’t as well absorbed as those found in animal products, which can lead to deficiencies over time. Below is a bit more detail on certain deficiencies that could arise from eating a Vegan diet long term.

Lack of ‘Complete’ Protein Sources

Vegans might also have a tough time finding ‘complete’ protein sources that contain all of the essential amino acids. Animal proteins have long been touted for their high bioavailability and complete amino acid profile, both of which are essential for supporting muscle growth and repair. While vegan proteins, such as lentils and quinoa, can provide a valuable source of nutrients, they often lack certain amino acids that must be supplemented to ensure a complete nutritional profile. A vegan could try a plant-based protein powder made from peas and brown rice to help you meet your protein & amino acid requirements.

The Effects of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that is only found in animal-based foods like seafood, dairy products, and eggs. For this reason, vegans must supplement their diets with an oral supplement or fortified foods to ensure a proper intake of this vital nutrient. A long-term deficiency in B12 can lead to several unpleasant symptoms, including fatigue, confusion, irritability, and even anemia. Even more serious side effects like irreversible nerve damage and heart problems can occur if the deficiency is left untreated for too long.

Potential Health Issues with Iron Deficiency

Iron is essential for oxygen uptake throughout body tissues and helps to maintain healthy red blood cells (RBCs). As mentioned before, vegans may have a difficult time getting enough iron from their diet and can be at an increased risk of developing anemia. This is because plant-based sources of iron are not as well absorbed as those found in animal products. Anemia caused by iron deficiency can lead to fatigue, impaired cognitive function, weakened immunity, and even infertility.

Studies Showing the Benefits of Including Animal Foods in the Diet

In addition to the potential health risks associated with avoiding wholesome animal foods, there is evidence to suggest that including these foods in your diet can be beneficial for overall health. For instance, a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that consuming dairy products was associated with lower rates of heart disease and stroke, as well as an increased level of “good” cholesterol. Eating animal products also provides a valuable source of proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, and important vitamins and minerals that are essential for maintaining health. Studies have shown that individuals who include animal protein in their diets tend to have higher bone mineral density than those who don’t. This suggests that consuming some form of wholesome animal foods is necessary for healthy bones.


In conclusion, avoiding wholesome animal foods can have some serious consequences on your overall health and well-being. Not only do animal products provide essential proteins and other important nutrients, but they also contain valuable vitamins and minerals that are often lacking on a vegan diet. If you decide to go vegan or vegetarian, it is important to supplement your diet with fortified foods or oral supplements to ensure you are getting enough of the vitamins and minerals that may be missing in a plant-based diet. Ultimately, only you can decide what’s best for your body and lifestyle. However, it is important to be aware of potential health risks associated with avoiding wholesome animal products so that you can make an informed decision about what to include and exclude from your diet.

Have a Great Day!


P.S. If you are looking for more great content and interviews check out my Get Lean Eat Clean Podcast!

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