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.
• “Vegans are often unreasonably mocked” read your editorial (6 September). This made me smile. In my experience, the Guardian regularly takes the piss out of vegans, unless of course you are doing a feature on Natalie Portman. For the majority of us, a vegan lifestyle has nothing to do with achieving a better complexion or greater longevity and everything to do with our abhorrence of the cruelty animals suffer at the hands of the farming industry and in the abattoir. Let’s get this argument straight: animal welfare first, planet second, and health (debatable) third. Remember, nothing tastes as good as veganism feels (with apologies to Kate Moss).