Week Three

Veganism – News and Opinion

Health comparison between an omnivore diet and a vegan diet:

While Veganuary has ended, I don’t foresee the discussion around the vegan diet ending anytime soon.  Veganuary was a pledge individuals made for the New Year, to try the vegan diet for a month.  The movement started in the UK, but became increasingly popular in the United States.

One of the larger concerns emerging in the media is whether or not the diet supports the health and wellness of humans.  Two emerging narratives are that the diet doesn’t provides enough of the essential vitamins to support the brain, while others would argue that a vegan diet could decrease BMI, cholesterol levels, and other risks.

In my research for vegan diet on health, it seemed to be in the same territory of diets in general.  In this space, I found it a little difficult to decipher news from opinion, but ultimately decided outside sources and facts to be the news, while linked opinions to be more of analysis and opinion pieces.


Vegan diet in news:

Source: BBC

When viewing the top hits on Google News I noticed some of the known news organizations advocated one way or the other.  BBC currently has one of the top articles against a vegan diet.  This article talks about what vegans are low on, but doesn’t always provide the audience with direct sources to the studies.  This article does do a better job on educating the audience about which essential vitamins do what.  I would say that this is a semi-one sided news piece on the omnivore diet, but it does provide many sources to back up some of the claims made.

Other BBC articles discussing the risks of a vegan diet are more of opinion pieces including having a  higher stroke risk or how some individuals could use the diet as a cover for an eating disorder claiming it is a more acceptable way to be restrictive.  I cite these as opinion pieces, because there are few links to outside sources, and some of the bulkier content comes from individual opinions and experiences.


Source: Good Food

Good Food is a news article that presents information about a vegan diet having negative effects on one’s health.  The article does seem to have a stance against veganism and while it doesn’t include direct links, it does cite outside sources which speaks to the credibility of this article.


Vegan diet in opinion:

Source: Insider
Initially, I wanted to believe that this article was news probably because of my own confirmation bias, but after reviewing some of the sources, I believe it is an opinion piece.  How going vegan can affect your body and brain, is an article that generally focuses on the positive aspects of adopting a vegan diet, such as weight loss, more energy, better sleep, skin improvement, and more.  This article briefly touches on the some of the negative effects of a vegan diet claiming that vegans may be deficient in some essential vitamins.  This article does link some sources, but I do not find them credible because they link to other internal Insider sources.


Source: Plant Based News

Brendyn Nyhan, professor at Dartmouth, coined the term “backfire effect.”  Backfire effect is when a person hears the opposite of their opinions or views, and step back or dig deeper into their beliefs.  After reading the BBC article, it was interesting to see this loud opinion against the article.  This piece is an analysis of the facts that were made in the BBC article, but they have a one sided view, pro veganism.  This is a semi-creedible piece as it links to few studies and other opinion pieces.


Final thoughts:

As discussed in this week’s material, it is difficult to navigate the world of science in news.  When reviewing content covering vegan diets and really diets in general, there is a lot of charged emotion feeling one way or the other, and it is important for the audience to follow the cited sources to verify the credibility.