Are There Risks to Eating Vegan?

By Published On: 19 November 2013Last Updated: 17 January 2017

I am starting to question if I am making the right decision for my body. Are there risks to eating vegan?

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Q:I am a new vegan of only 6 weeks. I have some concerns that I hope you can help me with. I originally became a vegan to lose weight but during my journey I found out that I also have a profound concern for animal welfare. So it was an easy transition to a vegan lifestyle. I tried to do my research about the subject. I read, The China Study, Whole, The Starch Solution, and most recently, Engine 2 Diet. I do see some flaws in all of these books, Engine 2 excluded, but I am starting to question if I am making the right decision for my body. If you could please suggest a few books that back up the science behind eating a vegan diet, that would be greatly appreciated. Also, are there risks of eating like this? I ask because I keep reading about the lack of cholesterol in a vegan diet hurting our brains. Then I hear not to worry about it because our bodies produce their own cholesterol. What is the truth?

Sincerely, New Vegan with Questions

Dear NVWQ,

First, congrats on embracing a more compassionate lifestyle. As far as book suggestions to help clear up some of the science, my picks would be Vegan for Life by Jack Norris & Virginia Messina & Becoming Vegan, Express Edition by Brenda Davis & Vesanto Melina.

Jack Norris also have a pretty in-depth website addressing vegan health from a very unbiased science approach:

Also, you may the articles on my website ( to be helpful, along with my entries here on the YDV site.

The only risk which exists in following a vegan diet is failing to take a regular vitamin B12 supplement or consuming fortified foods with the nutrient. And yes, our bodies do create the cholesterol it needs. I have not seen any worthy research to convince me that lack of animal fat for cholesterol is detrimental to anyone’s health.

I hope you find the resources I provided to be of use to you. Thank you for writing!

Ask Anya is a weekly column written by dietitian Anya Todd on vegan health to help educate others on how to live healthier and more fulfilling lives. Anya covers hot topics and commonly asked questions about vegan nutrition. Do you have questions or concerns you would like to see addressed? Simply send Anya an email to [email protected].

Disclaimer: Anya cannot answer any specific questions related to medical conditions, please stick to general questions about diseases, nutrition, or healthy vegan diets.

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HELLO! I'm KD Angle-Traegner.

Writer, activist, and founder of Four Urban Paws Sanctuary. I’m on a mission to help people live a vegan life. Read more about KD…