Sue Morgan writes that vegan junk food is still junk food, while vegan Ian Pickford says his choices are driven purely by issues of animal welfare
I predict the rise in vegan junk food (Yes-vegan!, G2, 6 September) will be followed by the realisation that vegan junk food is, after all, junk food. The global rise in obesity, metabolic disease and type 2 diabetes, now reaching epidemic proportions, has accompanied our increasing consumption of junk food, particularly of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates trigger insulin production and fat storage; on that score vegan junk food is no better than other junk food. Many adopt a vegan diet over concerns about animal welfare, but they conveniently overlook that there is no way of eating that does not involve death and destruction. Millions of acres of rainforest have been destroyed for soya production, leading to devastating loss of biodiversity. Modern crop production with its heavy use of pesticides has led to great losses in soil fertility, birds and wildlife.
The human body is perfectly adapted to an omnivorous diet. Herbivores are adapted to a herbivorous diet. Many who have followed a vegan diet, even for many years, eventually realise that their health has suffered without supplementation. Without careful planning it is very difficult to obtain all the nutrients one needs in a vegan diet and this has to be a particular concern with children. When considering an ethical and healthy way to live, we should primarily aim to avoid overconsumption and also promote truly high standards of agriculture and animal welfare.