That's a part of it, but one cannot deny that lots of people have serious problems that are directly related to animal products. Check eg. this thread: High B12 levels associated with an up to 3-fold increased prostate cancer risk (or the links inside that thread).A vegan diet isn't necessarily healthier than an omni diet, but it usually is simply because most vegans care more about their intake and their health than most omni's.
First of all, since circa 40% of all people living on a standard diet have low amounts of B12 - and these people eat a lot of animal products - "small amounts" won't guarantee anything. The problem is that if you increase from 'small amounts' to medium or high amounts', you are definitely risking suddenly being part of the statistics that show the links between consumption of animal products and all the diseases associated with them.The healthiest diet of all is obviously one that includes small amounts of animal products.
I disagree. Whatever B12 related topic that is being discuss, one has to remember that due to all the B12 reducing elements in our modern lifestyle, we can't say anything general about what the healthiest diet is (in term of B12), because if you a meat eater eat 10... "units" of B12, and 7 of them are destroyed by all the B12 killer out there, he ends up with 3 units being absorbable and effective.I mean, B12 is the most obvious example of this...
If a vegan from natural plant sources would get, say 3 units of B12, but live differently, none if these 3 units would have been 'killed' before they were utilized by the body. They would both end up with 3 units, but the meat eater would end up with both the side effects of eating all the animal products, and also the additional side effects of the "B12 killers". An average European is sick for about 10 years of his life...
I'm not saying that people should do this or that - but the most obvious part of a healthy solution seems to be to avoid the unhealthy stuff, the B12 killers etc.
And - since we don't live in that ideal, more or less non-destroyed environment eg. these plant eaters do, we should supplement with B12 if necessary. That's what they do with the animals humans eat anyway - regularly. I never understood what it is that so great about eating a supplement that has been eaten once already...
Using animal products in any amounts products won't guarantee healthy levels of B12, neither will it guarantee healthy levels of other nutrients. It will actually guarantee lower levels of the nutrients that are only found in plants (or only in very small amounts in animal products). This is important, because while every omnivorous nutritionalist are advising people to eat more salad, fruit and vegetables, none of them (pretty much) are known for encouraging people to eat more beef or cheese. Some people suggest eating more eggs (for B12), but eggs are actually known for having very low levels of absorbable B12.
For every portion of egg, meat or cheese you eat, there's less room for plants in your belly, so you'll eat less plants when adding animal products to your diet, and therefore risk becoming (more) deficient in all those nutrients meat eaters normally are deficient in (or have very low levels of).
Some may assume that they have to eat (fortified) animal products to get enough B12. They may not know that due to soil issues etc, animals aren't any longer 'natural products' - they need supplementation.
Anyway, these people forget the nutrients they will get low level of if they reduce on plant products, and whether they know it or not - they're most likely deficient in a number of these nutrients already, "in spite of" (read: probably because) they eat animal products.
Therefore, it's far from 'obvious' (for me) that the most healthy solution is to add a small/medium/large amount of animal products.
(Now, before any of our non-vegan visitors think that they should start hunting for their own food... don't forget that that we're not even close to having enough wild animals, birds or or fish to supply humans with enough nutrients. If you look at any random area populated by humans, it's very likely that this area won't even have enough animals to keep the local population alive for more than a few days. And.. before you say that this isn't true in really rural areas: no, but it will be true if the population currently living in non-rural areas would start hunting in the wilderness!)