Justine Butler

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Dr. Justine Butler is the senior health researcher and writer at Viva! She joined as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. She also holds a BSc in biochemistry, and a Diploma in nutrition.

Justine's scientific training has helped her research and write numerous scientific reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelled out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. Viva! were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

Justine has also had an extensive list of articles published in health and trade journals, as well as national and regional newspapers.


  • You can all get all the nutrients you need from a varied, vegan diet – and often in a form our bodies can better use. Plus, you avoid all the harmful health effects of eating meat, fish and dairy. Here, we set the record straight with the top 10 food myths – busted!

  • Are you getting enough fibre in your daily diet? Probably not! 

  • Do you think that our little canine teeth show that we are natural meat-eaters? If so, you are not alone, but you are wrong. Consider how carnivores eat, you might not (literally) have the stomach for it; could you snatch up a rabbit and tear into the flesh with your bare teeth like a lion does? Their canines reach up to seven centimetres in length and can rip just about anything apart, yours can’t! 
       

  • In spring and summer, most people in the UK can get enough vitamin D through the action of sunlight on the skin, but in the winter months, a supplement is required, and for some people, it is a good idea to take one all year round. 

  • If you’ve been having trouble getting pregnant, forget about oysters and champagne; the best fertility foods are fresh fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, healthy fats and plant protein.  

  • According to some ‘health’ writers vegan diets are deficient in vital nutrients. So, do vegans need to become pill-poppers to stay healthy?   

  • Spending more time in the sun or taking vitamin D supplements could help reduce the risk of Covid-19 complications, say some scientists.

  • Some people who stop eating meat continue eating fish in the belief that it’s good for them and that fishing is less cruel and less destructive than farming. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  • The 2019 Netflix documentary The Game Changers took the sports world by storm, with hordes of bodybuilders, runners and athletes going vegan to improve their health and performance.  

  • Most people know that saturated fats, like those found in meat, cheese, butter, pies and biscuits, are ‘bad’ and unsaturated fats, in nuts and seeds, are ‘good’. But are some of the good ones better than others and where can we find them? 

  • Why do we need it? Which foods are the best sources and can too much be harmful? 

  • We all know that we need calcium for healthy bones and teeth, but many still believe that we need cow’s milk and dairy products to get it. Do vegans fall short of this essential mineral?

  • No other plant food divides opinion like soya – some champion its health and nutritional benefits, others say it should be avoided at all costs. Why are there so many scare-stories surrounding this humble bean and is there any truth to them?

  • Avocados, wholegrain bread and nuts are a good source of some B vitamins

    The B vitamins are a collection of eight, water-soluble vitamins essential for a range of important functions in the body. They help release energy from food and are essential for our immune and nervous systems. They are not stored in the body so we need to eat foods that contain them. Why are they so important and which foods contain them?

  • The first time most people hear about vitamin K is when they’ve just had a baby. In the UK and many other countries, the government recommends all babies should be given vitamin K soon after birth to prevent internal bleeding. So why is vitamin K important, and which foods provide the best source? 

  • There’s a battle going on in your body. Unstable molecules called free radicals are hell-bent on wreaking havoc, causing damage to cells, proteins and DNA. Antioxidants are the home guard, good guys that come to the rescue! But is it really that simple or have free radicals been given a bad rap and antioxidants over-hyped?

  • At a time when good nutrition is seen as a priority, it's incredible that vegan hospital patients are being forced to either go hungry or make their own arrangements. 

  • How friendly is your gut flora – the billions of bacteria that inhabit your intestines? This is your intestinal microbiome and it helps you absorb and digest nutrients, synthesises vitamins, boosts your immune system, helps regulate metabolism and combats disease in ways that we are only just beginning to understand. Gut health has a huge influence on your overall health and when unfriendly bacteria move in, trouble soon follows.

  • Brazil nuts

    Selenium was discovered over 200 years ago – it’an element vital for health so long as you don't overdo it.                                                                                   

  • As sales of plant milks continue to soar, the dairy industry has turned its focus on iodine – trying to persuade people to drop plant milks in favour of dairy on the basis that cow’s milk contains this vital trace element.  However, there are much healthier ways to get your iodine…

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