'Vegan frozen meals are worst foods you can buy', says Dr Eva
Dr Eva Orsmond has slammed processed vegan meals, calling them "the worst foods you can buy".
The former Operation Transformation star has health concerns about the new trend toward veganism.
It is Beyonce's favourite weight-loss diet, while former Miss World Rosanna Davison regularly espouses the virtues of eating a plant-based diet.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's revelation that he was cutting back on eating red meat to reduce his carbon footprint also caused some controversy last week.
However, days later, a major paper by international health experts recommended reducing meat intake and increasing vegetable consumption to protect the planet for future generations.
Dr Orsmond, who runs weight-loss clinics across Ireland, said a balanced vegan diet can be very healthy but cautioned against going on one without ensuring you're getting vital minerals and vitamins.
The leading weight-loss expert, who has just released her new book Reverse Your Diabetes, said processed vegan food can often be high in sugar.
"I'm not really a big fan of the whole thing because so many people out there just have this idea that they are now vegans," Dr Orsmond said.
"Then they go to the shops and buy frozen vegan food.
"What they do is take the animal fats away from these products, which make the food quite tasty, and when that's not in the product they need to add sugar.
"So often those vegan processed ready-made foods are usually the worst foods you can buy."
The straight-talking Finnish doctor said people embarking on a vegan diet for the first time need to do their homework to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need.
"Really, if you want to be vegan, you need to go somewhere and study properly and know your stuff," she said.
"If you were doing a vegan diet properly, most probably it could be better and healthier than ordinary people who just put all sorts of processed grains and bread in their mouth.
"But I think we need to be careful not to start making it look like the vegan diet is super healthy."
The weight-loss expert said she has concerns that people who turn vegan don't realise the type of minerals and vitamins they will be lacking.
"Then you need to think about B12, you need to think about iron and about omega-3 fatty acids," she said. "You need the right supplements.
"Often people who say they are vegan don't know how to eat vegetables, number one, and they don't know [that with] some of the vegetables, iron doesn't get absorbed well, even though they are in the vegetables."
Dr Orsmond said she wouldn't like to see any of her family members going vegan.
"I would be really concerned. We weren't designed to be vegan. That's not how our body works," she said.
"I'm not eating a huge amount of red meat myself but I like it and I have absolutely nothing against people who get their protein from red meat."
Dr Orsmond said she is delighted with the reaction to her book, Reverse Your Diabetes.
"I'm delighted because I think this message is a really important one," she said.