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Let's say someone says that they want to know if going vegan or vegetarian would reduce their symptoms if they suffered from some specific disease or allergy.

If there is evidence that this is so, or even evidence that it has no effect then clearly we can point to research that shows this.

Is it appropriate to point out non-vegetarian diets that may benefit them? How far should we go here?

It seems deceitful to tell them they could go vegan and reduce their symptoms a little if it's known that some other non-vegetarian diet might reduce their suffering even more. On the other hand non-vegetarian diets are kind of off-topic here rather by definition.

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  • Some examples of this would be great. Of course we should always answer with the best intentions for the OP in mind - maybe we could redirect the user to health.stackexchange.com if it ends up being completely off topic? – dsgriffin Feb 3 '17 at 22:11
  • My answer here is what prompted me to ask this. – Robert Longson Feb 3 '17 at 22:16
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I think definitely yes.

Although this is a page about veg*nism, if someone comes here looking for answers to their health problem and you possess information that would help them, it would be questionable at least if you did not share it with them, just because it does not fit your/this site's views.

Answers should be provided based on evidence, not despite it. This site is by users for users, not by users for an agenda. While the general format is not a discussion or a forum, the voting system here is a democratic tool for choosing the answers. Ultimately, users will choose the "right" answer, your non-vegetarian option is just giving them a chance to make informed choice.

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I don't think the purpose of the site is or should be to explicitly promote veg*n lifestyles (although I do hope it will help us to do that). We are aiming to produce and share useful knowledge and seek truth, I think.

I imagine most health questions will be along the lines of "for health condition foo, how can I best avoid/manage/cure it while following a veg*n lifestyle". In this case, obviously recommending fish oil, regardless of the medical literature, would be a failure to answer the question.

However, if the question, like your example, is "can following a veg*n diet help me to avoid/manage/cure condition foo?" then I don't see any reason to avoid mentioning that other dietary practices are considered beneficial, and neither do I see any obligation on your part to mention them.

So my conclusion would be, it is OK to mention it, but not required. Personally I think I'd prefer such information to be presented as footnotes1 if you consider it necessary to include.


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Yes, of course!

Your goal is to make the site useful for future visitors. We are of course amenable to vegetarian visitors.

Please post respectfully when crossing vegan boundaries. Say something like, "This answer may be of use to vegetarian visitors who do not keep vegan."

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  • I believe OP asked about recommending non-veg'n diet benefits for certain problems, rather that "just" vegetarian instead of vegan. Excuse me if I msunderstood your answer. – Alexander Rossa Feb 6 '17 at 10:16

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