In August 2023, the famous American vegan physician Dr. Michael Greger posted a video on his webpage Nutritionfacts.org titled, “Why Vegans Should Eat More Plant-Based”, in which he revises the most up-to-date research that shows switching to a vegan diet is not enough to get the benefits normally associated with it, but it must be a Whole Foods Plant Based diet (WFPD), a term attributed to Cornell professor emeritus and nutritional biochemist Dr T Colin Campbell.
Dr Greger talks about a 2018 article titled, “Healthy Plant-Based Diets Are Associated with Lower Risk of All-Cause Mortality in US Adults”, which states, “Healthy plant-based diets are associated with a low risk of all cost mortality but with an emphasis on ‘healthy’. When individuals increase their consumption of plant foods while decreasing their intake of animal foods, there could be an increase in their consumption of less healthy options…One cannot assume that simply avoiding animal foods will necessarily produce such a healthy diet.”
Another 2019 study shows that health-wise vegans in the US do better than vegans in the UK, which may be explained because the number one reason people in the US eat plant-based is health (which will likely lead to eating more Whole Plant Foods), whereas the number one reason given in the UK is Animal Welfare reasons (and so, they may be more likely to eat vegan junk food). If you compare the consumption of ultra-processed junk food across different eating patterns, a 2021 study found that vegetarians and vegans were found eating the most junk, like crisps and biscuits.
According to Dr Greger, a 2019 study showed that “An evaluation of an eight-week WFPB lifestyle modification program in which two dozen were already eating vegetarian or vegan, but not necessarily WFPB, and after eight weeks, even those who already started out vegetarian or vegan experienced significant weight loss, and reductions in cholesterol. They lost 10 pounds and dropped their LDL cholesterol 15 points. So, even a short-term WFPB dietary intervention may provide significant benefits for non-vegetarians, vegetarians, and vegans alike.”