Singer-songwriter and actress Miley Cyrus recently revealed that she is no longer a vegan, claiming that she has felt “sharper” after reintroducing fish into her diet in 2019 in a recent episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. She first adopted a plant-based diet in 2014 and has since represented one of the high-profile celebrities leading the vegan movement. During the podcast, the Hollywood star spoke about her poor nutrition, drug use, health and neurological issues, and said that she began eating fish again in 2019.
“I’ve been a vegan for a very long time and I had to introduce fish and omegas into my life because my brain wasn’t functioning properly,” said Cyrus, who claimed that she instantly felt “sharper” after doing so. She also blamed veganism for her hip pain during the conversation.
Shortly after the news, many social media users were quick to point out the misleading claims Cyrus made about the “benefits” of consuming fish and blaming her former plant-based diet for her health issues. Here, we explore 6 reasons why Cyrus got it wrong about veganism.
1. You can get Omega 3s from plant sources (in fact, that’s how fish get it)
Many social media users have pointed this false claim out after the news broke. One Twitter user, for instance, pointed out that Cyrus used the need to supplement her diet with Omega 3s as a reason to consume fish, when Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids can be sourced in many vegan foods.
The reason why fish and seafood products contain Omega 3s is because they consume algae, a direct plant source of the heart and brain-healthy fatty acids. Plant-based sources are more ethical as well as more sustainable as it does not contribute to depleting marine species and plastic pollution associated with the fishing industry.
Not to mention, fish-based supplements, oils and seafood often carry the risk of mercury poisoning, making plant-based omega-3s a safer option too.
2. The sudden “sharper” feeling she felt after quitting veganism is probably a placebo
Dr. Matthew Nagra, a Vancouver-based naturopathic physician, also took to social media to voice his concerns about Cyrus’ claims. In an Instagram post, the doctor warned that there are often many reasons as to why people experience brain fog and other neurological issues. He added that often, when patients report a drastic improvement after a minor dietary or lifestyle change, this is likely to be a placebo effect.
“Something that should give pause is when someone notices drastic improvements with a small dietary change. This SCREAMS placebo effect. On a physiological level, it’s impossible for a few meals of seafood to drastically change omega-3 levels, especially within the brain,” explained Dr. Nagra. “This becomes even more likely when a vegan has constantly been told that their diet is deficient by those who clearly have not seen the data.”
3. There are many causes of neurological issues
In addition, Cyrus failed to provide background information about her specific medical history, such as whether she had conducted blood tests, or whether she had initially tried plant-based Omega 3 supplements to no avail. Other key reasons that contribute to brain fog include a lack of Vitamin D, lack of sleep, prescription medications and alcohol intake to name but just a few.
4. You can meet all your nutritional needs on a vegan diet
Current scientific evidence shows that all our nutrient requirements – including the nutrients mentioned above – can be met with a balanced 100% vegan diet. A study conducted last August by researchers from Harvard University, Harvard College, and New York’s Bard College found that plant-based diets do provide complete nutrition, and that in addition to being more nutritionally sound, plant-based alternatives would also be environmentally optimal.
More recent studies have further supported the health advantages of consuming a plant-based diet. One study published in the British Medical Journal concluded a link between high intake of protein from plants such as legumes, whole grains and nuts to a lower risk of death from developing a number of diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
5. Why only tell the public now?
It is unclear why Cyrus decided to reveal she had ditched veganism almost a year after the fact, especially as she has often represented a celebrity face of the plant-based movement. In the podcast, she did not specify any reason for why she went silent for a year on the issue of what she believes is the link between a plant-based diet and her poor health.
6. She contradicts her own commitment to animal welfare
Finally, many animal lovers emphasised that with Cyrus’ fame and platform, the star failed to consider the consequences of blaming veganism for her health problems. As a high-profile celebrity who previously identified as a vegan, to share misleading claims on a podcast that garners over 200 million monthly listens and views had led many to believe Cyrus’ words were irresponsible, especially for the animals that she has professed she loves and cares for.
Lead image courtesy of Miley Cyrus Instagram.