Children and adults should avoid consuming animal products to reduce risk for chronic disease: YES

Am J Clin Nutr. 2020 Oct 1;112(4):926-930. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqaa235.


The consumption of animal products exposes humans to saturated fat, cholesterol, lactose, estrogens, and pathogenic microorganisms, while displacing fiber, complex carbohydrates, antioxidants, and other components needed for health. In the process, consumption of animal products increases the risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and other disorders. This dietary pattern also promotes the growth of unhealthful gut bacteria, fostering, among other things, the production of trimethylamine N-oxide, a proinflammatory compound associated with cardiovascular and neurological diseases. When omnivorous individuals change to a plant-based diet, diet quality as measured by the Alternate Healthy Eating Index improves, and the risk of these health problems diminishes. Planning for nutrient adequacy is important with any diet. However, a diet based on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, supplemented with vitamin B-12, is nutritionally superior to diets including animal products and is healthful for children and adults.

Keywords: chronic diseases; dairy; diet; meat; vegan; vegetarian.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control*
  • Diet, Healthy*
  • Diet, Vegetarian*
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Risk
  • Vegetables


  • Dietary Fiber