Vegan diet: advantages, rules, and what to consider
The vegan diet has its chances – but it also has risks. We explain what should be considered in a vegan diet and how you can benefit from them.
Those who label the human vegan diet as “radical” or “extreme” are often not clear to people why they eat vegan. You can also make people believe that you can trust them.
On the other hand, Vegans don’t consume meat and fish and all products of animal origin. Vegans apply to eggs and dairy products.
Livestock farming is also a common reason for a vegan diet. Most farm animals experience pain and stress when kept on factory farms.
Is a Vegan Diet Healthier?
In general, a diet high in fruits and vegetables is considered healthy. Excessive animal fat consumption is seen as a common cause of obesity and cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure.
In addition, according to studies, not eating meat can reduce the risk of cancer. Plant-based foods may also be beneficial in the case of rheumatic diseases and multiple sclerosis. Regardless, a purely vegan diet is not required, as a significant reduction in meat consumption or a switch to a vegetarian diet would be beneficial.
Scientists from different countries have now investigated these scientific findings, which have survived today, in five various analyses. A key result is that only a few studies are appropriate to link meat consumption and possible health outcomes. Because they recorded people’s eating and exercise habits and drug intake, this led, for example, to the finding that active people with low meat consumption had a lower risk of colon cancer. But these are just hints.
Without informing the investigators, the interviewees may have other defects and diseases that they may not know. How much healthier veganism is than a vegetarian or traditional diet depends entirely on the variety on the plate.
The World Health Organization has confirmed that red and processed meat increases cancer incidence. That’s why you should avoid it.
Is a vegan diet good for weight loss?
Yes, you can lose weight on a vegan diet – but there are no guarantees. Because you can theoretically lose weight with any diet – only if you don’t eat chocolate, chips, cola, and fast food.
While the vegan diet has clear advantages: It often includes a variety and variety of vegetables, legumes, fruits, grains and whole-grain products, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils. One study showed that a vegan diet could mean 8.1 million fewer deaths per year. (1)
According to the researchers, more than half of these prevented deaths can be attributed to decreased consumption of red meat (beef, pork, sheep, goat) and about a quarter to increased consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Furthermore, vegans generally lead healthier lives: They smoke less, drink less alcohol, and exercise more. It is not entirely clear to what extent diet is decisive here or whether healthy people generally prefer a vegan diet more often.
What are the risks?
The risks of a vegan diet lie in the one-sidedness mentioned earlier. While fruits and vegetables provide a good supply of essential vitamins, there is a risk of an insufficient supply of certain minerals, primarily found in foods of animal origin. The resulting deficiencies can lead to physical complaints and diseases. The spectrum ranges from fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle weakness, and skin diseases to heart problems and growth disorders. A vegan diet can lead to deficiencies.
- Vitamin B12,
- Omega-3 fatty acids and
- People living vegan should pay more attention to adequate intake of these nutrients accordingly.
How can you effectively address nutrient deficiencies?
Of course, each mineral balance is individual. However, there are a few essential nutrients to consider when following a vegan lifestyle:
Vitamin B12 deficiency is sometimes the hardest to compensate. Vitamin B12 is low in various types of cabbage, salads, seeds, and sprouts. An additional source of folic acid – including raw vegetables – is beneficial for vitamin B12 absorption.
You can correct calcium deficiency with broccoli, kale, nuts, spinach, whole grain products, and sesame in a vegan diet. Vitamin D intake also increases calcium absorption.
Green vegetables, legumes, and fresh herbs help with iron deficiency. It is good to take it along with vitamin C.
If you are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, high-quality vegetable oils such as flaxseed oil and walnuts can help.
Also, with a vegan diet, you can correct iodine deficiency with the help of salt and nori seaweed, which contain a small amount of iodine, as used in Japanese cuisine.
Vegan – not suggested for children
Besides calcium and vitamin B12, vegans need to make sure they get enough other nutrients like iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Babies and children especially need it because they are still growing. If they eat only vegan, there is a high risk of nutrient deficiencies. An example is essential amino acids. These are the building blocks of protein that the body cannot produce independently. If a child doesn’t get enough, it can delay their growth.
Vitamin B12 or iodine deficiency can cause nerve damage. In individual cases, the study has shown that infants suffered from vitamin B12 deficiency and brain damage due to their mother’s vegan diet . There is also an assumption that the urethral opening (hypospadias) malformation is increased in newborn boys of vegan mothers .
For these reasons, the Austrian Nutrition Association recommends that children not be fed vegan. Professional societies also advise against it during pregnancy and lactation . The US American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, on the other hand, sees no problem if parents take care to provide adequate amounts of all nutrients from pregnancy onwards .
Most nutritionists consider children’s vegetarian diets to be trouble-free. A prerequisite is that parents take a balanced, nutritious diet with many different ingredients.